Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Jordan Tishler has twenty years of experience in the music industry a producer, artist manager, mixer, and songwriter. He serves as Chairman Emeritus of the New England Section of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), founder of the Music-Producer's List, and is active in the Recording Academy. Here he gives us the honest straight-talk on how artists can enable their success, and where to put your money so it so it counts most.
Monday, September 27, 2010
The Independent Music Conference is proud to present Scorpion Bowl V! Featuring IMC bands Remember September (recently opened for Train), local heroes Groove Shoes Funk Orchestra, and a third band TBA. Good times to be had by all on Saturday, November 13, at the Postrionic Lair. Directions and more info can be found here.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
1. Please tell us a little about your background and what inspired you to get involved with the IMC?
I was a gymnast for fourteen years. A member of the Junior National Team for five years (’90-’95) and trained for the 1996 Olympics. Unfortunately, I was injured in 1996 in a competition and was unable to continue training.
It was at this time that I committed myself to my professional dance career. In October of 1994, I became a member of Rennie Harris Puremovement. We became the first Hip-Hop theater company in history. In 1996, I decided to move forward with the crew/company and my career in entertainment began.
I became interested in the IMC by luckily making an inadvertent phone call. The call was answered by Noel Ramos, Director of The IMC, and here we are now.2. Music and dance have always been intertwined, but it does seem like the genres of music that incorporate dance into their live performances has expanded recently. Why do you believe this has happened?
From artist using a lot more dance in their performances, to the new dance shows (“So You Think You Can Dance”, “America’s Best Dance Crew” etc.) has a lot to do with this new appreciation for dance. I also feel that these shows need to move more into the business of edutainment (A term created by KRS1 of Boogie Down Productions) rather than just entertainment by reinforcing the history, theory and technique of the craft, as well as the performance aspect.
3. You are a dancer, a musician and an educator. How do you balance these creative talents without feeling overwhelmed?
A dancer, musician and educator is who I have always been. I don’t feel fulfilled unless I am executing all three.4. Musicians tend to separate the use of the body and the mind when thinking about what they do. How do you best explain to musicians the importance of the process as a whole? (for example, how breathing, movement, etc. contributes to stamina and to the creative process).
I feel that all aspects of the Arts (Performing &Visual) are relevant. It’s left to the artist and where they are in their development to take on this perspective or not.
5. Since you have been involved and successful in various parts of the entertainment industry, is there one common thread that has helped contribute to your success in each area?
Those common threads that I’ve found have benefited me are: Faith, Humility and Discipline.6. What can participants expect to take away from a workshop with you?
Participants of the workshop will take away a sense of confidence in being a dancer, as well as gaining a new respect for dance from a cultural, historical and physical perspective.
7. Any final thoughts?
I am really looking forward to attending and participating in The IMC 2010!
Thanks again to Duane Lee; see you at the IMC!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
We've asked the inspirational couple Bill & Kay Pere a few questions. Below are Bill's answers! Named one of the "Top 50 Innovators, Groundbreakers, Iconoclasts, and Guiding Lights of the Music Industry" in 2008 by Music Connection Magazine, and a "Hunger Fighting Hero" by Wakefern foods in 2009, it's hard to find an aspect of music that Bill Pere hasn't been involved in. Alongside his prolific songwriting career, Bill is a founding member and President of the Connecticut Songwriters' Association, runs the Connecticut Songwriting Academy, author of Songcrafters' Coloring Book: The Essential Guide to Effective and Successful Songwriting, and Founder and Executive Director of the Local United Network to Combat Hunger (LUNCH). LUNCH features the LUNCH Ensemble, composed both of professional musicians and young students, and was recognized by World Hunger Year in 2005 as "an effective grassroots solution to fighting hunger and poverty."
1) You and your wife, Kay Pere, are both very inspirational figures in all you've done for youth in the US and to combat hunger and poverty. What do you believe makes music a good tool for fighting the world's afflictions and shaping tomorrow's leaders?
Bill: Music and songs have an amazing power to reach people and move them to act. Reaching people's emotions is all well and good, but that alone will not make a difference in our society unless there is some kind of action. Well written songs about important issues can serve as a call to action.
2) How did you first get involved with the IMC, and what made you stay strong supporters?
Bill: I originally heard of IMC when the first one was being planned back in 2003. The Music business was in the throes of a major shift from the old school label-dominated model to the new Indie model, and it seemed like this Conference was the right thing at the right time for educating artists about the new paradigms. As the President of the Connecticut Songwriters Association (www.ctsongs.com), I've been committed to artist development and education for more than 30 years, so I decided to see if it would live up to its promise. The first IMC in Philadelphia was a well run, well attended event and was certainly in keeping with my goals of educating artists about the craft and business of music. As long as the goals of the event remain focused on education, I and my songwriters organization will continue to support it.
3) Why do you consider songwriting, critique, and vocal workshops to be so important?
Bill : Over the years, I've worked with tens of thousands of aspiring songwriters and artists. The obstacle I most often see standing in the way of artists reaching their goals is the lack of education about the business and craft of music. Many artists follow the path of least resistance, that is, to just do what "feels right", and it so often leaves them coming up short as songwriters, performers, and business persons. Songwriting is what produces the products, and performance - primarily vocal performance - is what sells the product. Objective feedback in the form of knowledgeable, constructive critique is the fastest and most foolproof way to refine the skills of producing and marketing quality products. How can any business succeed if its products and marketing are not top-notch? I spent many years researching and writing "Songcrafters' Coloring Book: The Essential Guide to Effective and Successful Songwriting", and since its release in 2009, it has become a widely used 'how-to' reference book (see www.songcrafterscoloringbook.
4) You're both incredible musicians in your own right. What led you to the path you're on today?
Bill: I grew up listening to all kinds of music, and started writing and singing original songs when I was 12. It was in college in 1972 that I first heard the songs of Harry Chapin, and it opened a whole new world of viewing songwriting as cinematic storytelling. Then I learned of how Harry Chapin, and his friends, like Pete Seeger, used their music to make meaningful differences in social causes like hunger and the environment. As a child in New York City, I was no stranger to seeing hunger and homelessness, and I always saw my mother extending a helping hand to those in need, so it felt natural for me to try to make a difference in addressing basic human needs through my music. Thus, I founded L.U.N.C.H. (Local United Network to Combat Hunger), and since 1989, we’ve done hundreds of benefit concerts, involving more than 3,000 kids in our shows, and raising more than $1,000,000 for social services. See www.lunchensemble.com
5) Helping others is more than a reward in itself! Still, how can artists benefit from bringing social activism into their music?
Bill: I do workshops and panels at conferences around the country, and I see so many artists for whom the idea of using their music for something other than their own career is a foreign idea. I teach workshops on how to do successful benefit shows, and this has been a well received presentation. It is important for artists to realize two things: (a) whenever they have an audience, they have an opportunity effect changes in they way people think and act, and (b) non-profit does not mean no-profit. It is certainly possible to produce effective benefit events and still be fairly paid for service rendered. An artist can garner far more support from the public and the community when they make an event stand for something larger than themselves. The type of work we do has provided many exceptional opportunities for us, including the chance to perform several times with the members of Harry Chapin's original band.
6) What is one suggestion you have for artists looking for innovative ways to integrate music and action?
Bill: View every time on a stage as an opportunity to reach people's social conscience, giving them substance to think about and a reason to act. Make every event about something more than just you and your music, and you'll find that rewards will follow.
7) Why do you think it's important for Indie artists to attend events like IMC?
Bill: The current music scene is extremely competitive. It is no longer enough to be 'good'. You have to be exceptional. One way to elevate yourself above the crowd of 'good' artists is to be truly knowledgeable about: (a) the craft of songwriting; (b) the music business; and (c) how to present yourself as a professional. IMC is one of the few conferences that places emphasis on education rather than just performing. It is truly a conference, rather than just a "festival".
8) What will you be sharing at the IMC that musicians need to hear?
Bill: I am glad to discuss any topic in detail with any artist who shows a willingness to want to learn. My workshops cover all of the topics I've mentioned above, and I'm available any time at the conference to give constructive critiques of songs, career guidance, business advice, etc. I just returned from a conference in the Nashville area, where I participated on panels with very accomplished music industry pros. They all said the same thing as I indicated above – "Good is not good enough – you have to be exceptional, and you have to know what that means and do what it takes to get there." At IMC, I will be glad to help any serious artists move forward along the path to that goal. I invite conference attendees to visit my website at www.billpere.com to see what questions they might want to ask me.
Thanks to Bill! He's done so many wonderful things, only a fraction could fit into his bio. Don't forget to visit his site - and his talk at the IMC!
Saturday, August 28, 2010
1) You give consultations in the "business of music". This is sometimes a tough concept and even tougher to implement. What are a few brief recommendations you have for artists trying to fit business into their music?
If you want to get paid for your music you have to accept the fact that your music career is your job and smart business strategies are essential. First and foremost, any artist or band should treat their music careers as a small business. It really is a lot like opening up a shoe store or any other business. Sound business is sound business regardless of the field or industry. Many artists don’t pay enough attention to this philosophy. “I’m a musician not an accountant. I just want to make music!” In today’s independent music environment, that rationale can be very self-defeating.
2) What steps can artists take to allow themselves to focus on their music while still having ample opportunities to get their music out to the public?
Creating a good strategy for your career is the best thing you can do. If you spend most of your time running around willy-nilly without a business and career plan there will not be much time left for the music.
I think an artist should have a six month, 1 year, 2 year and 5 year plan for their career. Be honest and realistic with your goals.
It is imperative for today’s independent artists to realize that in order to be successful (whatever that term means for you personally-nobody else can or should define that for you) you have to have a plan and the tenacity and fortitude to implement it.
3) What challenges and advantages can recording pose for Indie artists?
The challenges are pretty much the same as they have always been. Money is the first issue. How do you raise money to pay for either going into a commercial studio or building your own?
I have been involved in the home studio movement since 1980 when I built my first studio. Today’s technology has made it possible for nearly anyone to set up a personal recording rig. The big caveat to this: understanding the learning curve that’s involved with having your own recording setup. It takes a long time to learn the software involved as well as how to record.
4) What should artists do to ensure that their recording experience is as positive as possible?
Be prepared! Know your parts and be well rehearsed. That alone will save time, money and aggravation.
Also, if you choose to use a commercial studio find an engineer or producer that you feel good about working with. Music is a highly personal thing and working with the right people behind the glass as well as in front of it goes a long way. Most importantly, and this holds true for everything, have fun!! Recording can be stressful to be sure, but it’s also a hill of fun.
5) You picked up and moved to Ireland and played in pubs and on the street in order to learn traditional music - a courageous move. What advice would you give to musicians turning toward new styles?
Great question! Be true to yourself and true to the music. Never be afraid to learn. Ever. Seek out those in that style who really know what they’re doing and devour everything they can teach you.
I knew I would never learn such a complex and subtle form of music as traditional Irish dance music in music school where I was headed after high school. I figured the only way to really become proficient was to skip school, go right to the source and learn from the great players in Ireland.
Do the same thing with your music. Get it from the source if at all possible, whatever and wherever that may be. Also, check your ego and be humble. The people you want to learn from will be more apt to help you.
6) What are you teaching at the IMC this year that Indie artists can benefit from hearing?
I’m giving a workshop entitled Digital Recording and the Home Studio. I will be discussing the pluses and minuses of the home studio, what equipment is needed, and basic information about digital recording. This is the route an ever increasing number of independent musicians are taking.
7.) How do the purpose and goals of the IMC fit into your reasons for teaching, as someone who is both a musician and someone who teaches, counsels, and records musicians? What is your motivation for teaching at the IMC?
I have been enthusiastically independent for my entire career. I played in a working band for over a decade but in recent years I have devoted more time to studio work and teaching because of the complications touring and gigging can impart on family life. I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter, a 19 year old son in college and the most wonderful, supportive and understanding wife any musician could ever hope for. Being away from them is tough.
I don’t want anyone else in charge of my career which is why I have always been a disciple of the independent music movement-and it is a movement! At least this way, if things go south I have no one to blame but my dumbass self!!
But mostly, I am a very big believer in the adage “give something back”. I have been very blessed and lucky in my life. I feel very strongly that I should share the stuff I’ve learned over the years with other musicians, engineers and producers in the same way so many have shared with me and taught me through the years.
I would also like to say what Noel Ramos does with IMC and the philosophy behind it should be applauded. He is a real champion of the indie artist and I am honored and very grateful to be involved in any way with the IMC.
Thanks again to Tommy for his excellent advice for sharing his experiences with us! You can find him with his music at TommyByrnes.com and with his Massachusetts based company Sovereignty Music Services, which offers a wide range of services to musicians across the country. Again, just a little taste of the benefits of the 2010 Independent Music Conference!