New Music Friday: November 10, 2017

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?

Follow Music Made Me – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below!


Say Less (feat. Ty Dolla Sign)
Ashanti

R&B/Soul, Pop


Probably Wrong
Parker McCollum

Country, Singer/Songwriter


Swipe Musik
Selfmade Kash

Hip Hop/Rap, Soundtrack


Guidance
Benjah

Hip Hop/Rap


Faren Rachels
Faren Rachels

Country, Pop


Love Of My Life

Freewill

Christian/Gospel, R&B/Soul


Rad Science
Eleventyseven

Rock, Electronic


Rot
Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys

Rock, Alternative


Radio Silence
Snugs

Dance, Electronic


The Menace Mixtape
Datin

Hip Hop/Rap, Christian/Gospel


Wedding Song
The Well Pennies

Singer/Songwriter


Supernova
Dillon Cooper

Hip Hop/Rap, Pop


Young, Dumb & Broke

Walk Off the Earth

Pop


Cartoons
Cupcakke

Hip Hop/Rap


Field Party, Vol. 1
Mud Digger

Country


Where Ya At?! (feat. Cypress Spring)
Tommy Chayne

Country


Obsession
Ryan Robinette

Country


All Blue Everything
Traffic

Hip Hop/Rap

3 Tips For Nailing Your Next Interview

[Editors Note: This article was written by Suzanne Paulinksi, an artist consultant with over 10 years in the music industry and owner of The Rock/Star Advocate.]

 

All musicians understand that press is crucial for growing their fanbase and getting attention to their music. Not all musicians, however, know how to create the greatest impact with an interview.

An interview is more than simply answering questions. The information potential fans find in an interview can be incredibly insightful, allowing them to connect more deeply with the you than if they simply read a review of your music.

An interview is a way to show people who you are, what you stand for, and what you’re currently promoting. In order to properly execute this interaction and leverage the exposure that comes with it, below are three things every artist should keep in mind when preparing for an interview (whether in print, over the phone, or on video).

1. Remember It’s About More Than Your Music

Let’s say you’ve just finished a song and you’re ready to release it to the world. It’s completely understandable that that would be all you’d want to talk about. However, keep in mind most of the readers/listeners have never heard of you before and therefore have no reason to care about your latest release.

An interview allows them to dig a little deeper – learn the story behind the music, behind the performer. They want to get to know you. Make sure you have a few relevant antidotes handy to share during the interview that will resonate with the outlet’s audience.

Not sure what stories to tell? How about what inspired you to write your latest song, or the thing that keeps you going despite all the hardships in this industry? What about the memory of your first concert, or the moment you knew you’d want to write music for the rest of your life? You could even share who in your family/circle of friends are your biggest supporters and what they mean to you (every reader loves a good “This is Us” moment).

Being relatable is what attracts new fans who will then be interested in downloading or streaming your music once they’ve connected with you.

2. Get to Know the Interviewer

It’s not difficult to spend a few minutes researching the person who will be interviewing you. Find out who else they’ve interviewed, what their interests are, who they follow online that you’re a fan of as well.

This will do two important things for you: (1) it will enable you to speak more freely as you won’t feel you’re opening up to a complete stranger and (2) taking time to respect and acknowledge the person who is sitting down to speak with you illustrates to them you’re a professional and appreciate the work they are putting in to help you spread your message.

3. Work Within the Medium

It’s important to consider ahead of time who you will be reaching with this interview. For instance, if this interview is being broadcast over YouTube, you’ll want to consider what you’re wearing and where you want to make eye contact during the discussion; you’ll want to focus on how you’re physically presenting yourself. Could you be wearing your band’s merch or a t-shirt that supports a cause you care about? Will you be bringing a copy of your album to show on camera?

On the other hand, if the interview is over email and will later be in print, make sure your answers are clear and concise, as readers will not hear your tone of voice and have a much shorter attention span when scrolling through on their phones. If the interview is for a podcast, realize that people won’t be able to see you wearing your latest t-shirt or see your album’s artwork, so you’ll want to make sure you take a moment to verbalize where to find you online and where to purchase your music (for obscure names, spelling out your social handles and/or website help).

No matter what, always lead with a confident attitude and don’t be afraid to practice a few times with a bandmate or friend beforehand.

Exposure via interviews can be a very powerful thing. Don’t miss out on making the most of your next opportunity by taking some time to think through your strategy. Get clear on what you’d like to see come from your next interview and then do everything in your power to ensure that happens.

What message are YOU looking to share with your audience? Tell us in the comments below!

Wednesday Video Diversion: November 8, 2017

How time flies! Did you know that on this very day back in the year nineteen-hundred seventy-one, UK rockstars Led Zeppelin released their fourth (and perhaps most iconic) LP? Known to most as “Led Zeppelin IV”, the behemoth went on to sell over 37 million copies worldwide. You’ve heard this thing right? I don’t care what kind of music you’re making, if you haven’t dug into it, consider this an assignment. Practically every song on it was/is a hit! So go bump it loudly. Right after you’re done checking out these awesome TuneCore Artist music videos, of course.

Lonzo Ball, “Get Off”


Moccasin Creek, “Hillbilly Rockstar”


Traffic, “All Blue Everything”


Daniel Antopolsky, “Fish Bait Blues”


Mike Sherm, “AssHole”


BlocBoy JB, “Shoot”


Smooky MarGielaa, “Stay 100”


Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, “Victoria”

“One Is The Loneliest Number”: Reflections On Being An Artist Manager

[Editors Note: This article was written by John Mathiason and Antony Bland, co-founders of CandyShop ManagementCollectively John and Antony have over 50 years of industry experience, and since CandyShop’s start in 2009, they’ve navigated the careers of multiple artists and currently represent The Rocketboys, The Mowgli’s, Lincoln Durham, Monakr, Kid Runner, TeamMate, Baby Baby, The Wealthy West, Radar State,  Split Party and Friendswithbenefits.]

 

One of our artists sent us a photo of a coffee mug recently. It said, “Being a manager is easy. It’s like riding a bike. Except the bike is on fire. You’re on fire. Everything is on fire. And you’re in hell.”

Sometimes that’s a good day. Sometimes if it doesn’t feel like that – if it’s a slow day, the kind of day where you feel like Jack Lemmon in “Glengarry Glen Ross” and you want to be Al Pacino – it can drive you nuts. You can make yourself crazy trying to be proactive, trying to drum up business, grasp for new ideas. Breaking out of this mentality is critical to your wellbeing and creativity. Learning to take advantage of downtime to read, think, learn or even just relax is not often an easy or natural process but overworking yourself on the details blocks you from looking at the big picture and doesn’t allow you time to reflect on what’s working and what is not.

For a manager there is no sense of completion. There is always another mountain to climb. And you’re most likely climbing several mountains at once, constantly falling, constantly finding yourself at base camp and having to repack and start again. Every footstep forward is a success. Every synch license, publishing deal, successful tour or well executed brand-activation is an affirmation that something is going right. Every time a deal falls apart, or a license doesn’t happen, or a band breaks up or someone quits or the finger is pointed at you it’s a cause to question yourself.

The biggest mental challenge to management is that it can be a lonely business. It can feel like it’s you against the world, like you’re fighting against everyone else for the table scraps. Re-orienting your thinking here is important. Communicating and sharing with other managers is vital – not only to our business as a whole so we can educate each other, learn from each other and advocate for our artists together in the face of inequitable practices, but also for the simple relief in knowing that to some degree we have all had, are having or will have – a similar experience.

Having a partner (or partners) allows you to share this journey. While you might still be stuck on a tiny rowboat – at least there’s someone else in the boat. You’re in it together. You share the wealth as much as you share the pain. Having a partner gives you more viewpoints with the common goal of trying to find the best outcome. As partners, we frequently argue for hours about a plan of action before finally realizing that neither of us was entirely right. And from that argument the best course of action often emerges. But this demands honesty – and security, just as any relationship does: You have to be able to argue your point often vociferously without fear that your partner is going to walk out the door and file for divorce – you have to be able to fight, hang up the phone, sulk, be pissed. I would go so far as to say the relationship you have with your partner can even be more open than with a spouse – or at least be on par: It constantly demands that you listen and learn from each other, express how you feel about each other’s actions and be united in the vision you put forth.

It can be hard not to second-guess your gut, (“What if the band is right and a nine minute concept video is what their fans want?”), but doing so leads to indecision. You won’t always be right but it doesn’t matter. Decide on a plan, stick with it and see it through to the best of your ability. In the end the decisions are made are made by the artist. Managers are here to advise, give their opinions and try to guide their clients to the best of their abilities,

You will always be caught in the middle – between the label and the band. Between the band and their families. Between the singer and the guitar player. Remember that the first responsibility is to the band and their career and that sometimes means you have to disagree with the band in order to truly advocate for them. Sometimes you’re fighting for your artist over things they don’t realize are important, or that they don’t want to fight for. It’s like flying a plane where the passengers are all trying to grab the controls or jump out the windows.

Artists are driven by ego and id. For many this ego, sometimes unfortunately coupled with mental and emotional issues, is what makes them great. Whether they’re tortured geniuses baring their soul or they just create because they enjoy it, believe they’re good at it, are good at it and/or make a living from it, they are human. As humans we all want to be told things that are agreeable to us, that we identify with. That we are smart and pretty and talented and good.

Conversely, as a manager you can’t have an ego. You have to give in to the notion that everyone will give you credit for the ideas you have or your contributions to an artist’s success. We are on the front lines of an artist’s success, but often the least recognized: The artist, the record label, the agent, even the attorney tend to get the accolades long before a manager gets any recognition. If you’re waiting for a thank you or some kind or acknowledgement, you’ll be endlessly disappointed. Maybe (hopefully) this means that the artist sees the manager as one of the core circle and thanking them would be like thanking the bass player…maybe!

Your artists are surrounded by people – friends, spouses, other industry characters telling them what they want to hear, what “your manager should be doing”, what they would be doing in your position. Over the course of my career we’ve had numerous artists tell us all the things their manager isn’t doing or didn’t do. Of course there might be endless truth here but it’s also possible the manager was engrossed in a hundred other things. We’ve rarely heard bands say “we just weren’t good enough” so when you are meeting with a new artist and they are pinning all the blame on the former manager, watch out – it could be a sign that they do not understand or respect the relationship.

Your artists will believe anyone if it aligns with what they think at that moment. A 22 year old A&R person’s advice will carry a lot of weight because “they work for a record company so they know what they’re talking about”. (Anthony: I’ve been that 22-year old and I didn’t know sh*t!)

Ideas flow from everywhere and a disagreeable reality is yes – sometimes those significant others, or parents, or bartenders might have a valid idea. However they do not have the full picture of what is happening in the artist’s life, so it’s important to check your ego, keep an open mind but still have the clarity and patience to explain why something won’t work, why it’s not a great idea – or, how you can take that idea and make it work.

You occupy that uncomfortable space between the artist’s perception, aspirations, beliefs and hopes – and reality. Obviously you need to encourage and support them, nurture their abilities and fight for what they want. But you need to be a mirror and a sounding board, to help them focus on what’s attainable and not fanciful, to serve as a buffer between their ideas and the practical execution of those ideas.

When it comes to critiquing their art, every artist we’ve ever met has told us they want honesty, but again they are human. We are lucky enough to work with a few artists who we can be almost entirely straightforward with, but with few exceptions, regardless of whether it’s a song that tore at the artist’s soul or a quick demo for a TV show, brutal honesty usually isn’t the best option – finding the positive in what an artist does or how they perform is the best starting point. When something is completely off base it can take a lot of patience to get the artist to see where they’re missing the mark.

Getting involved in fights between band members is akin to trying to break up a fighting couple on the street. You’re going to get punched by both of them. Be a sympathetic ear, but be the diplomat and the confidant. You are there to try to help them see the other person’s perspective; and when you’re talking to the “wrong” party, your skill here is in making them understand they’re wrong while communicating that you see their viewpoint. We’re often “wrong” – or at least not completely correct. Where we learn is by understanding where we are going wrong and fixing it rather than stubbornly sticking to what we wanted to.

Beware the sociopath. This is a not uncommon character in the artist world. Their charm, eloquence and single-minded vision can be inspiring but it can sap you of energy as well as self-esteem. They work by drawing you into their bubble, getting you to nod your head to more and more outlandish ideas until you are convinced they are a genius. Frequently self-destroying, generally unable to forge a relationship with anyone providing structured guidance, they play to your desire to be associated with true greatness and demand absolute concurrence with their vision.

Help your artist understand the business. The more they know, the more they will appreciate what you do. And the less likely they will believe the honey-in-the-ear from a prospective poacher. And to that end: don’t poach other manager’s clients. If an artist wants to part ways with their manager that’s fine. Let them do that before they come to you. Poisoning the well is a low trait. An artist that can’t honorably part ways with their current manager is going to do the same to you someday.

There is an upside to all this emotional treachery: Sometimes you get to stand on the side of the stage and watch thousands of people enjoy the band that you’ve helped get to that place. Sometimes you hear the genesis of a song and get to watch it transform into something that connects with the public. Sometimes you get to hear music in a movie or in a commercial and recognize your place in making it happen. Sometimes you get to tell people that you manage the band and have them be excited to talk to you. Sometimes you get to use your band’s platform to do something good, to raise money or awareness for a cause and make the world a better place. Sometimes you get to pay your bills from the fruits of your labors. Ultimately we do this because we live for those moments – that no matter how stressful or tenuous it can be, no matter how much discord is rife during the planning, recording, marketing, promoting of the artist – when things come together it’s all worthwhile.

There are good times and bad times but there is never a time not to be learning from the experience. And what you learn, pass on. Be free with advice. Be glad for and vocal about the success of others. Do favors. Help your friend’s bands out. Give people chances.

You’re managing a store. Sometimes you get to truly manage it. But sometimes you have to stock the shelves, order the inventory, sweep the aisles and run the cash register. The only problem is that the cash register is on fire. And you’re on fire. And the store is on fire. And you’re in hell.


More about the authors:
ANTONY BLAND
Antony Bland rose through the ranks at Chrysalis Music Publishing in the late 1990’s, from tape librarian to song-plugger, to A&R Manager and finally to run the International Department at the acclaimed independent music publishing company. Overseeing 250+ worldwide writers and artists, he was the primary US publishing liaison for such groundbreaking artists as Portishead, Spiritualized and Morcheeba, whilst also coordinating strategy with 15 international offices for the companies U.S artists and many A-list songwriters. From 2000-2011 Antony was Director of A&R for American Recordings. During that time he was an early champion of artists such as The Killers, Imagine Dragons, All-American Rejects, Mumford & Sons and My Chemical Romance. He also worked on the Grammy nominated final release by Pakistani Kaawali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, but failed to become fluent in Urdu.


JOHN MATHIASON
John Mathiason began his career in 1993 managing the million-LP selling alternative rock act Sponge. From there he joined Susan Silver Management, responsible for brand endorsement for Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. As an independent manager from 1998 onwards, John oversaw more than 10 major-label recording artists, working with Island, RCA,Columbia, Warner Brothers, as well as several independent acts. He negotiated all associated Recording, Publishing, Merchandising deals, coordinated U.S and Worldwide tours (including creating tour budgets, hiring of crew and interacting with booking agencies), negotiated numerous music licenses for commercial, TV and film placements and oversaw all aspects of A&R, marketing, budgeting, promotion, publicity, web presence included in the set up and release of albums. He also became a highly sought after merchandising consultant, negotiating deals for Giant Merchandising, Cinder Block Merchandising and The Merchandise Company for artists including The Shins, Bloc Party, Larry the Cable Guy, Frightened Rabbit, Stan Lee/POW, Afghan Whigs, The National, Phoenix, Tiesto, Jet and Rise Against.

Make Your Guitars LOUD!!!

[Editors NoteThis article was written by Chris Gilroy, producer and house engineer at Brooklyn-based Douglass Recording. Chris earned his degree in Sound Recording Technology from UMass Lowell.  Chris has worked with a diverse range of artists including Ron Carter, Mike Stern, The Harlem Gospel Choir, Christian McBride, to name a few.]

 

I love guitars. Something about them excites all my nerve endings. From softly picked acoustics to a mountain of amps at full blast. These nuanced instruments can be tricky to record. Luckily for you, I’m setting up for a session right now where we will be tracking distorted guitars for the next 3 days. Let’s talk a bit about getting some of the best results you can while recording and the things I will be doing for this session.

Before you even get into the studio to shred, find a few different examples of recordings where you, the artist, producer, or whoever is in charge of the project, are inspired by for this session. Guy Picciotto of Fugazi has a very different tone then Matt Pike of Sleep/High on Fire. Talk to your engineer about how these different sounds speak to you and how they were achieved. What amps, guitars, pedals, etc etc were used for tracking.

If you are engineering, you need to learn the different sounds between guitars. Why grab a Fender Stratocaster over a Telecaster? What’s the draw of a hollow body guitar? Each instrument sounds very different. Then there are amps! A Fender Deluxe sounds AMAZING when cranked, but very different from a Marshall JCM50. It is a never ending task for us to learn these differences. I’m not a guitarist (my mind was simpler and could only handle smashing two pieces of wood against a drum) so every session I work on I make sure we try a few amps and guitars. Mostly so we can make sure that we have a sound we are happy with in the room, but partially so I can listen to different combinations of instruments and amps, learning it and internalizing it.

Luckily I am fortunate enough to work in a place that has a bunch of great sounding amps. When you turn the gain till the pre amp starts to clip, we reach a magical land. Which is emulated through so many pedals. To get geeky for a second, a lot of distortion pedals are trying to recreate the sound of tube amps distorting. Housed in much smaller and cheaper enclosures they are create to throw a few flavors in your bag for a gig.

But these boxes use transistors and diodes to compress and clip your sound, which will flatten your dynamics and take a ton of life out of your guitar. Live they totally rule, but if you are in the studio and have a Marshall Bluesbreaker, you probably also don’t need that OCD pedal on. Turn up the amp, and rock out.  

A hard balancing act while tracking distorted guitars is not OVER distorting. When we play live we have the benefit of watching the player’s hands on the instrument. We don’t get that same luxury through a recording. Our guitar sound must be clear enough to make out all the notes and harmonies played. For listening example, blink-182’s Enema of the State is laden with giant and punchy sounding guitars that we hear everything Tom DeLonge is playing. Back a few albums to Cheshire Cat, it is much more difficult to hear exactly what he is playing. His sound is muddied and a bit too crunchy to full hear everything. When we are tracking back down the amount of distortion a little less then when we play live. The clarity will come through but we still have the amp growl.

Kurt Ballou of Converge is a master at getting an insanely aggressive sound while still maintaining note clarity. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE horribly recorded black metal records. But after a short period of time my ears get fatigued because the guitars basically almost white noise (which then I wonder why I didn’t put on a Merzbow record).

When I double guitars I first make sure I know why we are doubling. Recently I finished mixing the new Nihiloceros EP. I wash’t involved in tracking, so during mixing I heard sections that I wanted a slight energy boost like after a bridge into the final chorus of a song. To solve this we tracked a meatier guitar sound to blend in slightly behind the rest of the guitar assault. Mixed in you can’t quite tell that there is another guitar, it just feels like the part swells a little more.

For another record, a new band from Philadelphia called Puriden, we wanted to have a massive wall of hard panned guitars. They had recorded an SG through a Vox AC30 as the main guitar. Since the guitarist has that rig as his tone, we didn’t want to lose the Vox sound so we doubled using the same amp and a Telecaster. This gave us enough sonic difference to know that we had two guitars, but have no phasing issues between the two.

Steve Albini spoke about this very eloquently in Mix with the Masters. In short, if you have a different initial sound source with a different timbre you decrease the chances of having phase issues. Even if it is a different amp, mic, etc, the initial harmonic character is the same. For the most clarity and less phase related issues down the line change your instrument. If you have the ability then change your whole rig but at the very least try a different guitar.

Micing amps is a whole other beast. This section alone can be a whole book so I will only briefly gloss over some ideas here. Or buy me a beer at a show and we can chat all night.

The placement of an amp in the room affects your sound dramatically. Having an open back amp against a wall will increase the amount of low frequencies in your sound. Having a small amp on the floor will increase first order reflections. Is the room large and live (reverberant) or tight and dry? Often the room sound will slip into your mics and affect your recordings. Speaking of mics, each type of mic responds differently and adds or subtracts to our sound.

The SM57, love it or hate it, will always be around and serve it’s duties wonderfully. Learn it and how to use it. Ribbon mics, like the Royer R-121, will add extra lower mids to your sound and often tame harshness. Condenser mics also sound incredible on amps. I love the sound of a Schoeps M22 (tube small diaphragm) on amps like a Fender Deluxe. Or a Soyuz 017 slays on guitar amps, as do so many other large diaphragm options.

Be mindful that each mic has a limit of how loud it can handle. If you have a Marshall Plexi at full blast some mics won’t be happy and give you thinner or distorted tones. You could also damage the microphone, like the sensitive ribbon mics, rendering them into very expensive door stops.

Placement of the microphone on the cabinet has a big change of sound. The more on the center of speaker cone you get, the brighter a sound you capture. As you move off axis, the sound gets a little darker, or warmer. How far or close your mic is will also change the timbre and room tone. Among other reasons, if you place a cardiod mic too close you will get a bass bump known as proximity effect. Listen to talk radio to hear this overused. Justin Colletti, of Sonicscoop, has this wonderful video exploring the different sounds we get with just this principle alone.

Originally I was hoping to get into mixing guitars, but that must wait till next time. The last point I want to drive home is that this is a skill set that we can always improve on. We are constantly learning. Go to conferences (AES), workshops, talks. Read magazines (Tape Op!) and watch videos. Talk to peers at all levels. Whenever possible I try assist other engineers. It lets me see how other people do things and handle situations. The amount I have learned from that or the conversations after the session about techniques and decisions used in the session has been monumental.

New Music Friday: November 3, 2017

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?

Follow Music Made Me – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below!


Sugar On Your Tongue
Silver

Alternative


Sweet Love
Jena Rose

Pop


Run Me Down
Truett

Rock, Alternative


Black
Eric Nally

Pop, Dance


Stay
Captain Kidd

Alternative, Pop


You and Me
Shallou

Electronic, Dance


Ordinary Girl
Annie Leblanc

Pop


At Home in the Big Lonesome
Drew Kennedy

Singer/Songwriter, Country


The Study on Falling
Asaf Avidan

Alternative, Rock


Exiles
Seeker & Servant

Alternative, Christian/Gospel


My Friend
SonReal

Pop, Hip Hop/Rap


Natural Disaster
Sam Lewis

Singer/Songwriter, Rock


Me Without You
Sam Lewis

Singer/Songwriter, Alternative


Bold Like a Lion
Meghan Linsey

Pop, Country


Cheer Up Charlie
The Social Animals

Alternative, Pop


My Chick (feat. Kydd Jones)
Cory Kendrix

Hip Hop/Rap