Possible indie music interviews

February 14, 2010 at 4:54 am (Music Reviews, Musings) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’ll keep this short. Through communicating back and forth these musicians have agreed (in principal/theory) to do an interview with me. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s in person or by phone b/c. in this cases, the bands are a far distance away. The trick is trying to schedule it when their tours arrive in Toronto.

For example, in the summer I got in contact with Vancouver artist, Leah West & she agreed to do an interview when she came to Toronto, however, she wasn’t scheduled to come for a few months. When I realized it, she was gone in other cities on her tour. My bad mistake.

Leah West - singer/songwriter

Leah West - alternative/pop/folk rock

1. Eternia (Toronto/NYC)

Eternia's going worldwide! (Congrats on the record deal!)

Eternia's going worldwide! (Congrats on the record deal!)

2. Papermoon (Winnipeg/Manitoba)

Indie pop rock band - so underrated...

Indie pop rock band - so underrated...

3. The Mountain & the Trees (St. Johns/Newfoundland)

Coming to Toronto for Canadian Music Fest 2010

Coming to Toronto for Canadian Music Fest 2010

4. Fields of Green (Vancouver/B.C.)

New album "Blanktown" out now...

New album "Blanktown" out now...

We’ll see if I can organize this all & do it properly. We’ll find out, however, I’ll get trying to set these up in the next few weeks. Right now, I want to throw up as many articles & content on the Examiner page, and some on NxEW. Check you later…

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Interviewing indie music artists

February 14, 2010 at 3:36 am (Musings) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m writing this to help me remember, but also as a guide for you to get some ideas on interviewing musicians.

1) Most indie musicians love writers b/c. it gives them more exposure, attention, contacts, etc. Knowing this will give you some confidence, be patient, positive, brief (don’t waste their time) – meaning, be direct and clear when you ask them for an interview.

2) You’re already at the show, you see the singer. Be proactive! You have to create your own breaks, stories…so go find them. Don’t waste a chance if your gut says go talk to THAT band.

3) At a show, you can approach in many ways, but always be respectful & handing over a nice looking business card, always looks good. State that you are writer, right off the bat, so they’ll probably get that you are there wanting to interview or get a quote for an article.

4) Nowadays, contacting a band through a website is actually a decent way to go. I have scored most of my interviews writing a direct e-mail to their official website, Myspace, Twitter, even Facebook. Social media does work for writers to connect with the artist….really!!

At first I would write comments & stuff on their site, and then the artists sometimes would comment back..huh? So, the more it happened, I thought, why not? E-mail directly and see if they want to talk, the worst they can do is say no or ignore your message. For example, if I get a response, I usually either try to meet when they next come to town, or I try to do a phone interview & set it up.

*The hardest thing about doing an interview is setting a suitable day & time. It can be frustrating if they have to re-schedule, etc., however, this comes back to the patience thing. If you want to interview an artist, it’s still awesome to have to interview, even if you have to wait a long time. But be persistent and patient. Remind yourself that musicians are busy, practicing, recording new stuff, so be prepared for example, if they say come to show  I’ll talk with you after the show, and the show ends at 2am…you stay till 2am happily & do that interview to your best.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t go through their indie record label reps, & that’s fine. You will probably have to go that route if they’re a big “indie artist”.

O.K. this blog is getting horrendously long, I could tell you a lot more things, so I might in a continuation blog.

~Jason

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10 years of waiting for…Dawn Langstroth

September 18, 2009 at 1:07 am (Indie Artists, Music Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Dawn Langstroth exclusive article (The Examiner)

Written by: Jason Chu

http://bit.ly/2a6dqw

Dawn Langstroth "Highwire" will release Sept. 25th, 2009

Dawn Langstroth "Highwire" will be released Sept. 25th, 2009

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Beth Moore Performances & the Peter James Project

August 24, 2009 at 9:20 pm (Music Reviews, Unsigned Artists) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Beth Moore Band

The Beth Moore Band (photographer: Brad Moore)

The Toronto Independent Music Awards (T.I.M.A.’s) occurred in late June, and Beth Moore was one of the acts playing that night, and an article was supposed to be written at the time. In typical independent writing/blogging fashion, it didn’t quite get done, however, it lead me to her next show on August 11th, 2009 at Mitzi’s Sister in Toronto.

First of all, who is Beth Moore? We surely aren’t talking about the pop/punk mega-star “Pink” whom we all know Beth Moore is her non stage name. Well, Canadian local, Beth Moore is an indie/folk singer/songwriter who mixes many styles most notably indie rock, folk, Americana, Blues, etc.  About two years ago, was when I first heard Beth’s music and I could tell right then, she had a unique sound and a strong voice.  Over the past couple years we’ve kept in touch on Facebook and from time to time I’ve heard her new songs posted online, and am impressed by her developing musical style.

Remembering that night at the T.I.M.A.’s was special as Beth Moore played live with a full backing band, which was unusual to see (she plays solo acoustic most nights). So, I grabbed my note pad (not taking my laptop into a bar/club) and scribbled a bunch of notes throughout the night.

I came a little early to ensure I wouldn’t miss her performance and happened to see a great rock band Japhy that was getting the energy of the intimate crowd quite high. At about 10:50pm Beth Moore took to the stage, and I was excited to hear her perform live.

Beth Moore

Beth Moore (photographer: Brad Moore)

They were introduced as, “The Beth Moore Band.” They brought a mix of sounds and styles, but one thing was unmistakable, Beth’s fiery power vocals. Again, after hearing her mostly singing soft acoustic lullaby guitar numbers, it was quite jarring and impressive to hear her let loose on a song. The band was solid and definitely filled out the sound.  She has a unique vocal style and voice that would be comparable to: Sarah McLachlan, Sinead O’Connor, and a healthy dose of Ben Harper. The keyboards in this group really add another element to their sound. The real emphasis is on Beth’s vocal talents mixed with the interesting songwriting and lyrics of their music. Anyway, in their half hour set they showed a lot versatility with their band and the music.

To show support, Beth Moore was having another show on August 11th, 2009 at Mitzi’s Sister in Toronto, which i went to. Also, on the bill was the Peter James project. Beth played first, and again she played solo acoustic, but what missing from the bigger band experience was the funny performer side of Beth Moore. Her jokes and stories made great interludes between songs and kept it memorable and interesting. It’s doubtful anyone one there will forget her “Mandarin 10 hr gig” story. She debuted some her new songs live and they were all well crafted songs, but sometimes wondered what the song would sound like with the backing band. Anyhow check out the video links below to see Beth Moore play live at Mitzi’s Sister.

The Peter James Project is an Irish/New Zealand/Toronto mix band that plays a pop/rock/ska sound with influences like: Crowded House, The Smiths, and the Dave Matthews Band.  As luck would have it, though traffic caused me to be late by half an hour, I missed none of the shows. The HD camera was brought for some filming, but it was uncharged, however, some footage was still captured of Beth Moore and the Peter James Project. The Peter James project was technically crisp and band had their chops down. Peter James vocals were crystal clear and the lyrics were easy to follow. Take a look and listen.

By: Jason Chu

http://www.linkedin.com/in/chodidee

http://www.google.com/profiles/Jason.Chu18

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Bridgestock 09′: A New Canadian Indie Music Festival

August 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm (Music Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

My first article with Examiner.com! I’m pretty excited because it has taken a long time to get to this point. I can’t wait to cover music exclusively, and I will continue to write my blogs (thoughts & stuff I can’t put down for Examiner – here). It’s a busy next few months, seeing shows, networking, doing interviews, and staying ahead the tech/social media game so that I can be effective at what I’m trying to do. And that is to be a respected writer online or otherwise, writing great articles with cool pictures, and links!

Here my 1st article with Examiner.com

It’s about a Canadian Indie Music Festival called Bridgestock 09′. Check it out! http://lnk.ms/1bGdT

~ Jason Chu

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Writing updates…Examiner.com

August 4, 2009 at 5:37 pm (Musings) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I apologize right away for my lax writing in the past couple weeks, however, negotiations & arrangements were still in the process of being arranged at my new writing job – Examiner.com (Canada). They have yet to hire all the writers and get the site procedures down for the Canada version, but I am fully confirmed now as the 1st National Canadian Examiner (will have to live up to that title & write really good stuff and be an example for the website).

As you know, my position will be on National Canadian Music Examiner, and I will be following the Canadian music scene intensely in all forms. I will attempt to look at some broader issues/trends that are affecting Canadian music as a whole, and so on and so forth. It will be really exciting to have this opportunity to write about Canadian music period.

I don’t know exactly when I start, but will inform you of course as soon as I know. There are many entry processes that I have to go through before I’m ready to start with Examiner.com, from orientation, Q & A, and all the other details. So bear with me as I have to go through these hurdles before I get my column/Examiner spot on the website.

O.K. that’s it for now, but I will tell a.s.a.p. when things are set, and ready to go from my end. It is very exciting to have a new beginning (not really knowing what the future holds).

Talk to you soon,

Jason Chu

National Canadian Music Examiner

http://www.examiner.com/National (For now – till Canadian site is ready).

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Alicia Silverstone & Alanis Morissette in hilarious Road Trip parody!

July 27, 2009 at 1:35 am (Musings) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

My Mother’s Red Hat w/Alicia Silverstone & Alanis Morissette from Alicia Silverstone
Keywords: alicia silverstone alanis morissette road trip indie movie trailer garden state soundtrack
Credits: Starring: Alicia Silverstone and Alanis Morissette
Directed by: Steve Carr
Written by: Lauren Palmigiano
Produced by: Lauren Palmigiano, Mike Farah, Jason Taragan
Baby Hitchhiker: Gary Owen
Director of Photography: David Thies
AC: Ryan VanAusdall
Camera: Will Shipp
Audio: Jason Perez
Editor: Ross McNamara
Pos… more >

Credits: Starring: Alicia Silverstone and Alanis Morissette
Directed by: Steve Carr
Written by: Lauren Palmigiano
Produced by: Lauren Palmigiano, Mike Farah, Jason Taragan
Baby Hitchhiker: Gary Owen
Director of Photography: David Thies
AC: Ryan VanAusdall
Camera: Will Shipp
Audio: Jason Perez
Editor: Ross McNamara
Post Sound: Jayce
Production Assistants: Zak Zeman, Josh Simpson
Alicia Make up: Shauna O’Toole
Alicia Hair: Gregory Russell
Alanis Make up: Kayleen McAdams
Wardrobe: Emilie Pereira
Special Thanks: Alissa Vradenburg, Lisa Giglio, Karey Dornetto

Hahaha! After I saw this video clip, I had to embed it! I didn’t expect their video to be so funny! Priceless
🙂

Jason Chu

http://twitter.com/Chodidees

http://www.youtube.com/Chodidee

http://www.myspace.com/chodidee

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Revisions to my Music Reviews

July 27, 2009 at 12:13 am (Music Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

What I’m come realize over the past two months, is that my music review templates are great in theory, but difficult to apply in practice. Why? I guess I get too detailed and than the review becomes wordy, and takes away from probably the best part of review, which are my song picks & links to those videos. The main reason is that I cannot put out as many music reviews as I would like using this format (ie. I have a waiting list of reviews to do!)

So recognizing changes were need, here is what I propose to do:

1) I will cut down on the artist/band information portion because that is already covered in the links I provide.

2) Each category of analysis will be just given a mark versus descriptive feedback.

3) The marks will be eighth notes: ♫ = 2 eighth notes represents one full mark; ♪= 1 eighth note equals a half mark

4) A perfect score = ♫♫♫♫ ( or like 4 stars in a movie review)

For example – Sample Review:

Chodidee Band

Musicality:

♫♫♪

Vocals:

♫♫♫

Lyrics:

♫♫♫

Flow/Rhythm:

♫♫♫♪

Freshness:

♫♫♫♫

Technicality/Quality of Recording: ♫♫

Visuals/Marketing: ♫♪

Overall: ♫♫♪

At this point I give a brief (one paragraph max) descriptive review of the most important points I want to share about that artist/band.

After my brief summary, I continue on with my favorite 2 songs, & video links to those songs.

This will allow me to do quicker, easier, and frankly more music reviews while keeping it relevant and entertaining for you. I realize that in today’s internet saturated world, everything must be quick, relevant, to the point, and worthy of your attention (the song choices/video links).

So that’s it, that will be more format that I use for music reviews and we’ll see how it goes!

P.S. I haven’t given up on my “Top 15 Underground/Indie/Unsigned Songs of the Week”. I’m giving it a name change that makes it easier for me. I will call it “Recommended Underground/Indie/Unsigned Songs” and I will have the date of that week in brackets.

O.K. everybody, I’m excited about the changes, and hoping that I bring music reviews to you quicker, more effectively, and on a “consistent” basis in order to improve my blog.

Sincerely,

Jason Chu

http://twitter.com/Chodidees

http://www.youtube.com/Chodidee

http://www.myspace.com/chodidee


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DJ Lemon8

July 21, 2009 at 1:02 am (Indie Artists) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

http://www.myspace.com/djlemon8

http://www.youtube.com/lemon8productions

DJ Lemon8

DJ Lemon8

Name:  DJ Lemon8

Genre: Progressive House/Techno/House

Major/Indie/Unsigned: Indie

Album: N/A as far as I know, but his new website is coming soon!

Record Label: Bandung-Armada-Plus8-Bedrock-Basic Energy & more

From: Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Overall Rating (out of 4): 3.5

Musicality – The music of this Techno/Dance/House pioneer is extraordinary. The beats are steady, straightforward, and constantly pounding (drive the floor of any dance floor). The interweaving beats create complex rhythms within the music. The mixing of the synthesizer notes and the throbbing/driving bass music, keep DJ Lemon8’s music very vibrant & exciting. Surprisingly, there is a complexity in each track, and each one has a completely different vibe (not all the same).

Singing – The vocals are much like most dance/techno tracks, with a female voice weaving in and out of the song, repeating phrases. The vocals are distinguishable, but not the driving force of the tracks. The main thrust of the singing is to have the vocals pop in at key moments like the chorus/hook, and provide memorable counterpoints to the thundering music underneath the vocals.

Lyrics – The lyrics are simple enough revolving around the themes of the title of the songs.

Flow/Rhythm – Incredible flow and rhythms! You can almost feel yourself inside a club (I provided links to DJ Lemon8’s performances). The progressive nature of DJ Lemon8’s music is such that the beats, build, switch, and interchange at such precise moments that make it so contagious to listen to! The bass parts at many times counterpoint or “fill” the gaps of the drums, to create a marvelous “full” rhythm section. It is also worth noting, that DJ Lemon8 doesn’t rush into his creative  climax in the track, but let’s it build like a rising wave, where we await the impending the crescendo!

Freshness – DJ Lemon8 is a trendsetter and pioneer in dance music, so it comes as no surprise that his music sounds so fresh. There is a clean crispness to his music, not sloppy, and always interesting to listen to the first through ten times listening to it.

Technicality/Recording – The mixing and recording of Lemon8 music is near flawless. Everything is on and sounds tight. DJ Lemon8 definitely shows his  expert mixing skills with careful listening to all his tracks!

Visuals – DJ Lemon8 uses primarily an image of himself in most of his photos/profiles. Sometimes the photos are in a glossy colorful look, but other times it’s a simple photograph of himself. It’s fine, however, one thing he could do to improve, would be to make a “brand” or logo of his DJ Lemon8 name itself. That would help spread his name a bit more visually, but that’s a small thing.

Top #2 Songs:

1. New York New York (Just an amazing track with powerful techno beats, and cool breakdowns)

2. Greed – Strange World(A great track that just builds and builds, adding layers until you hit the frenzied climax, that will probably have you dancing!).

*Bonus: More Live Performance by DJ Lemon8

3. Triple Funk (Funky djembe-like rhythms with driving high hat percussion, makes this a crazy busy track. The synthesizer melodies just make it trippy.)

~ Jason Chu

http://www.twitter.com/Chodidees

http://www.myspace.com/chodidee

http://www.youtube.com/Chodidee

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The Myriad

June 7, 2009 at 11:25 pm (Indie Artists, Music Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

http://www.myspace.com/themyriad

http://www.themyriad.net/

http://www.youtube.com/user/themyriadmusic

Name:  The Myriad

Genre: Indie/Rock

Major/Indie/Unsigned: E1 Entertainment (Formerly Koch Records)/Epic Records

Album: With Arrows, With Poise

Released: 2008

Overall Rating (out of 4): 3

Musicality – This is a band that likes to challenge themselves with their music. They create interesting variations and layers to their songs, which add a delicious texture and makes the music always interesting. Also, you notice they mix with some sampled electronic sounds, but never overdo it to take away from their indie rock sound.

Singing – Jeremy’s vocals are subtle, but have a distinct character in his voice, almost a bit like Thom Yorke of Radiohead (meaning softer sounding breathy tenor vocals). I like how he doesn’t try to over sing, but has a good voice and knows how to use it. I would find it a little more interesting if he could vary his vocal dynamics and tones, just to bring some variety and liven up the vocals at times. As well, in the few tracks where they made the keyboard a focus, it really added a missing element (middle) with it’s melodies and chords. I wish the keyboards would be in more songs.

Lyrics – Their lyrics are very poetic and you need to search a little for the meanings to make sense to you (thinker’s lyrics). Even with the lyrics on a sheet, it would still take a few listens to adequately understand what “The Myriad” is saying. That’s a compliment.

Flow/Rhythm – Mellow/chill/cool/indie rock is what comes to mind when I think of “The Myriad’s” music. It’s music you would chill to, or even study to, and read a book to. I would almost think they are a slightly more rock sounding “Coldplay”. So, they do have a quieter vibe, but it works.

Freshness – It is pretty decent, but I think you need to be careful with the chill rock/alternative/indie sound. There are just so many people doing that style that you need really have some strong qualities in different areas to stand out.

Technicality/Recording – I’m not sold on the recording here. I think the engineers could have done a better job with the mixing. For example, i think most songs mix the instruments in a way that doesn’t maximize the best sound for the listener. The drum cymbals completely drown out the vocals, and the instruments cover the vocals a bit, which isn’t the greatest if you are a “lyrics” listener. But I’m just being nit-picky! All in all, great music!

Visuals – Top notch Myspace page. Excellent Youtube channel. Their homepage for the band is very good! No complaints on the online presence/marketing. The only thing is if they get twittering/tweeting, it will help them even more!

Top #2 Songs:

1. A Thousand Winters Melting (Just a great song, musically, lyrically, and it makes you feel good when you hear it!) – Unfortunately there was no video/live performance that I could find of this song. So I’ll choose a third.

2. You waste time like a grandfather clock (A great mix of rhythms, effects, dynamics, and amazing lyrics – just a compelling song; one that I would want to listen to multiple times).

2. A Clean Shot (A well balanced track, a bit New Wave-like, driving drums & bass, catchy vocals)

~ Jason Chu

@Chodidees

http://www.myspace.com/chodidee

http://www.youtube.com/Chodidee

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