448 S. Main Street Los Angeles, CA
8pm | Get Tickets Here | 18+
$10 Advance | $15 at Door
A short Live performance by:
It’s My Party & I’ll Cry If I Want To
3 Short Stories Of Nightlife Nightmares (Hollywood Edition)
1. The Real Slim Shady : So a few years ago, my girlfriend at the time and I decided we wanted to throw an event in WeHo for our LGBT friends in a venue that was pretty much the perfect fit and vibe for what we were looking for in the party we wanted to produce. At this time pretty much all of the events we were attached to or producing were because of our networks, following and mailing list. You wouldn’t really catch us at something that was wack and didn’t have a diverse crowd of people dancing and having a good time. I can’t quite remember how we met with this guy who was advertising the space but we decided to roll the dice and check it out. Most new venues in LA don’t last long, I’d say a 3-5 year shelf life if they’re lucky, Hollywood/WeHo being even more difficult to maintain. So we go and meet up with this guy, he seems legit. Introduces us to the security, bar manager, bartenders, and proceeds to give us a complete walkthrough of every nook and cranny of the place. We were asking the right questions to assess the situation while given the tour and he seemed to answer everything with the typical responses and expectations. Now at this time, we already had 1 or 2 other events going on in the following month or so, the majority of our funds were in the hands of others for deposits, almost like escrow on a house. So we were pretty tapped out, but we still wanted to do this party as the space was ideal and fit the criteria for our needs. Being that we were pretty much out of our own funds, it was a matter of getting sponsors who have been in bed with us for awhile with other functions, or asking one of our investors. We figured it was too short notice to hit up our typical partners and sponsors, so we got the money from 2 investors. She got 1 half of the bread together, while I obtained the other in lieu of them making a 10-15% on their investments. Having the money ready to go for the deposit on the space, we asked for a contract. The fact that we received the investment from 2 friends put more pressure and emphasis on us having a successful event. Saying as all of our other parties were very lucrative, we didn’t have any doubts about this one being anything but equal if not greater, and honestly we were really fucking excited to do something different. We get the contract for the space, negotiate the terms, kick it back and forth a bit until everything is correct and in order for us to feel comfortable with doing business with the space. After signing the contract, we send off the check as you typically would. At this point we’re ready to go, and start putting together the pieces of making the flyer, booking talent, setting up our marketing and promotional efforts, and generally getting all of our ducks in a row. About 3 weeks out from the event, we need some additional amendments made and we spend about 2 days of not being able to get a hold of the guy. His social media is active, so I hit him up online to no response, a day after messaging him that we couldn’t get a hold of him. All of his social media accounts magically vanish, not responding to emails, phone is disconnected. Oh and keep in mind, we already gave him the $$$ to lock in the date. So at this point we start to sweat a little bit for obvious reasons, let’s not forget the fact that the $ came from (2) people who trusted us greatly adding more fuel to the fire of this whole scenario. I call the venue, apparently in the timeframe of our contract and now, the ownership of the club has changed hands, there’s completely new operators, and nobody seems to know the guy who wrote up a contract and put names of former owners ( who hadn’t been attached to the venue in months ). We look at their calendar, the night that we were looking at is booked with some other event. At this point, I kinda fall into private investigator mode. I type in his name to google, see some old flyers in google images that have his logo on them. I start to look up the other companies/logos I see on the flyers beside his and begin reaching out to all of these random strangers with this whole story. The calls and messages generally started like ” Hello, I know this is going to sound really weird, but do you happen to know of anyone by the name of xxxxxxxx? with a promotional company called xyz?” the first three people I contacted literally had responses like “Wow, that guy again? yeah I know of him, he owes my brother xyz amount of money, if you see him to fuck off ” another answer was like ” Yeah, I’ve got a restraining order against him, he owes my sister a ton of money ” the calls just kept getting more and more hostile as I dug deeper and deeper. At this point, the event is essentially paused til we get to the bottom of the situation, but more importantly was us retrieving this money, otherwise we’d be on the hook for it. I keep going through these old event flyers and looking at the talent, the logos, the hosts, the clubs, and keep contacting more and more people to hear more of the same stories of essentially this guy ripping off about a dozen people, not paying back a cent and getting away with it. Now, I didn’t grow up with money, I’ve worked hard my entire life for everything that I have and I’ve never been the type to just “charge it to the game” or “let someone off the hook” because “it’s Hollywood” or “I mean what do you expect with people in nightlife or promotion”. I have to admit, I was pretty intrigued to hear all of the different people and stories of how they all managed to get taken advantage of by the same guy, and how nobody really gave a damn about catching the guy. Meanwhile I was hot on the case and building a pretty hefty story, logging these conversations, saving everyone in my phone as (Scammed) – Which mindfully, they still are in my phone if you’d like to see next time you’re around 🙂 even some of these people I’ve since built friendships with! Anyways, back on track – so he still is off social media and hiding, we don’t really have to cancel the event with the venue because they don’t know who this guy is and there’s nothing on the calendar or contract anyways besides forged signatures and other phony information. After about a week his phone is back on, so my girl and I took it upon ourselves to call him every night between the hours of 10pm til 5am about 30x anyways because we were already up and it was no skin off our back. Eventually he said he’d meet up with us with the money after hearing countless voicemails and text. We literally filled his inbox to the point that it couldn’t take anymore messages. We agree to meet at The Falcon in Hollywood to get our money back. I end up waiting in the cold for this fool for almost 3 hours, eventually I see him show up in his pickup, drive by slowly, he sees me and bolts off. You could imagine how frustrating this is to be chasing your money like this. At this point, I start calling up the big homies infuriated explaining the situations, and seeing who’s interested in handling this shit in a not so polite manner. I look back at emails we exchanged, check the source and I’m able to find the IP address he was corresponding from. I plugged in that IP address and managed to find his place on Googlemaps! Low & behold, in the google street view screenshot, the same truck he rolled by The Falcon with and originally picked up the cash from and met us in was there, blocked in by 2 other vehicles in front of the garage on the driveway. At this point, we had already been more than patient. I did reverse phone lookups and more and managed to get a hold of his sister and mother. At this point, I sent over a cropped image of the google street view of his place, said we had already spoken to both his mother, sister and ex-girlfriend with the restraining order and he’ll either get us our money and some extra for the effort or we’ll be by his place to …take what we need to in order to make up for the wasted time, money and recover the balance. Surprise surprise, dude calls us back almost immediately and asks us to meet him in downtown Whittier at some sushi spot. I explain the severity of the issues at hand and state that if he’s not there this time and we don’t get our money returned in this attempt, we will be taking it into our own hands to solve the problem. Fast forward, we’re sitting at the sushi place eating, dude shows up in a brand new tux, gives us our money and then some… says maybe two words. neither of which were my bad or I’m sorry and then just disappears. Annnnnnnnd that’s all folks 🙂 so the bottom line, be very careful who you do business with, keep records, and cross-reference people. It never hurts to research the business and people you are intending on doing business with before actually doing business, that’s just being smart. plain and simple. Don’t Trust Anyone.
2. And For My Next Trick! – Ugh, so this was like 2011 or 12 I think? I launched a series called Westside Wednesdays at Dim Mak Studios in Hollywood with some kids I was helping with parties, we featured Warm Brew, Andre Nickatina, YG, Casey Veggies, and Pac Div alongside several other acts. Also had my homies from HamOnEverything on a bill or two – crazy to see how far we’ve all come. I’m only going to focus on one of those shows, because there was just all kinds of fuckery throughout this whole place. Let’s start at the beginning, so let’s imagine you just drove across town to catch YG who was a buzzing artist and blowing up right before your eyes. Now I can talk further about the bullshit I had to go through to even “make the show go on” … like calling my friend Nocando who had a connection to a guy named Brandon who was managing him at the time with Stampede, but we’re just gonna skip over that part and focus on the stupid club shit. Right, so imagine you drove across town to see this artist, you wait in line for 30-45mins while nobody is inside, you finally get to the front. They ask you for ID, then take it it from you, while simultaneously pushing you forward into the venue, so by the time you got upstairs and the bartender asks you for your ID – you realize that you somehow have managed to lose it between the doorman who asked for it prior, and the bar. Sounds like the start to a good night, right? So imagine getting back downstairs and the head / lead guard has your ID, and says they found it on the ground. Furthermore, they say you’re not allowed inside the venue (after paying) without an ID. Then they say if you want to get your ID back, you’ll have to pay them $40 and if you don’t have it, you’re going to have to leave because you cannot be inside the venue without a valid ID. Fun right? Well beyond that shady shit, so there was a moment where my homegirl Ashley who was working the door caught these guards running side deals all night, basically slip a guard anything from a 20 to a 100 under your ID in line, and he’ll have you step out, and enter through the alternative entry OR just walk you in past the door. Some people would pay in line, get the lineskip, then have to pay again at the door, but would be complaining at that point about having just paid someone (a guard) for entrance. This shit happened at least 5x in the night to the point that it was brought to my attention by Ashley who I then rounded up all the guards with and said stop fucking cutting side deals. We will take care of you guys at the end of the night, just please do your jobs right. Between holding the line in order to get impatient people buying into this garbage technique of a hustle. To the ID thing, to YG’s entourage of 40 bloods then all the people who went in behind them it was just a shit show from start to finish. His set was good, people who got in without the bullshit enjoyed themselves despite the discomfort of the room being packed with people who were there for more security/support than anything. The 30-50 people who got fucked with that night proceeded to write me and sound off. The owner said he’d talk to his crew the next day and take some action (yeah right) – long story short, nothing was done. Our series ended and we got the fuck out to never return. Again, just a moment of trust, and being on your p’s and q’s, this shit killed the customer experience and definitely ruined some peoples night, and it also cost us quite a bit of money at the door. Some people were leaving after seeing those in front of them just being whisked right in for an additional surcharge.
3. Cruisin For A Bruising – I feel like I’ll end this one on a high note as this story is kinda funny with some twists and turns. This happened on a Thursday night when LA has a residency called Respect, a dope gathering for people into Drum & Bass, Jungle and similar sounds. The regulars here are/were as consistency as Low End Theory’s crowd is for electronic instrumental production. Always a good time, community vibes featuring emcees, producers and dj’s alike. This event happened at The Dragonfly, a place I’ve blown the roof off of with a few events, and was happy to have a good relationship with. Bear their head guard was always there to greet people and his crew was solid and ethical. Anyways, so I was out doing my rounds, dropping on events that friends were producing and performing at, and was on santa monica blvd passing by and decided to drop in. I grab a drink at the bar, get on the dance floor a little, step outside for some air and to smoke some trees. This girl comes out of the hallway and walks up to me, asks for my name, introduces herself. She’s cute so I talk it up with her for a bit, meet her friend briefly who then disappears and leaves me to chat with this girl further. I ask if she wants to smoke, she says no, I go inside. At this point I felt like I had already been here too long, I normally don’t spend more than an hour or so in a spot unless it’s really jumping, I have friends with me or I just don’t have anymore stops for the night. So I end up going inside by the entry near the photobooth. She walks up and grabs me and begins to start kissing me. Now I’m not mad, again she was cute – I didn’t think she was drunk or on anything at the time so I was like, this is different, let’s see where this goes. back against the photobooth, we go inside of the booth and continue making out a bit. She starts taking off my belt, pants, etc, turns around and before you know it, we’re fucking in the photobooth. Irony here is this isn’t the first, or second time I’ve handled biz in a photobooth, but I had mixed feelings here because I literally just did an event a month or so prior and I genuinely respect the spaces that treat event coordinators/promoters and nightlife pros right. Plus I knew a handful of people there, and really just wasn’t completely sold. Too fast, too soon? Who knows. Anyways, a guard comes to the booth… he opens it up with me pants down. Of course it’s a guard I fucking know, and he’s like “awww it’s you bro? I don’t even know what to do at this point, do you wanna finish? want me to stand outside? I was like nah man, I’m good here it’s cool – I don’t wanna disrespect the spot. So I exchange info with the girl ( which I guess would’ve been smart to do beforehand ) – she says she’s gonna go outside and smoke, I say I’ve gotta bounce to Echo Park. She asks me to come back to her place, says she’s only in town for a few days from the bay. I say I live here, I’ll be around tomorrow if she wants to get together. I promptly go out front ready to leave and Bear calls me out saying “that was you? damn man, with xyz girl? yeah, she’s cute” so he convinces me that the girl is worth going after, verifies her ID wasn’t from LA, and was military. Said her friend was already in the car waiting for her…I tell him I’ve never in my life chased pussy and really just let things kinda take shape on their own. Somehow he convinces me to go with her. She comes out shortly after this convo and then asks me to follow her to her hotel in studio city. At this point, I figured you know, why not – I was already past the point of no return with her so I may as well just go further. I follow her up wilcox, she pulls into 7-11. I pull in behind her, grab some condoms, a gatorade and smartwater and ask if she wants anything. She already has her starburst and whatever the fuck else. I hop back into my car and lower the window, saying “so we’re good, I’ll meet you over there – it’s only about 13minutes away right” and she says yeah, closes the door. Friend is still asleep in the passenger seat. She moves her car into reverse and then slams into the front bumper of a BMW m6, smashing the front lights and grill. Then she immediately pulls into drive and jets out of the 7-11 parking lot and north into the freeway. The dude runs out of the store and chases her car on foot after cursing a bit then hops in his car and speeds out of the lot and up the freeway too. At this point her phones dead, I’m following him and I don’t see her car in front, but I’m assuming that he does with the way he’s driving. Eventually my GPS tells me to get off as the hotel is down the street, I take the exit, sit at the light and then just go to the hotel and wait… Her phones dead, my phones dying. So I wait in the parking garage of the hotel for 15minutes or so. At this point, I’m just like is it even worth it? This is such a crazy night, and now she’s committed a crime. I should just bounce. I express the story to my homie who was the guard by text and then head start heading to echo park keeping in mind that this is exactly why I don’t chase women haha. I get to the gas station before the freeway and think, maybe I should go back and just at the very least see if her and her friend are alright. I go back to the parking garage, the cars there – all fucked up, looking like she backed into the fist of the incredible hulk. I call her phone, dead. I ask the hotel manager/cashier person if he could tell me what room the two girls just went into, he said without a police escort he’s not permitted. I took that as a hint as I should definitely just leave and not come back. I go on with my night, drop by short stop, say hi to some friends, tell the story, shoot some pool, then head home. The next day she hits me up with paragraphs of apologies by text, tells me she’s got another day in town til she goes to Vegas. Adds me on social media, I see she’s got a kid… It was all too much for me. Haven’t seen or spoken to her since. Dragonfly is now closed, Respect DNB has moved. Haven’t seen Bear since (sadly), The End.
🙂 So I hope you enjoyed these stories, with over 7 years of events I’ve got some pretty funny, sad, interesting, cool and exciting memories to tell. Since these are all Hollywood, I’ll probably jump to DTLA next then maybe Westside or EchoPark/Silverlake/EagleRock… Even got some crazy SXSW and 6th street stuff from when I lived in Austin, and a few from when I lived in New York.
Artist – AISE BOURNE
You can find more work by him at instagram.com/aiseborn/
DJ / Producer – SWISHA
You can catch him tearing up clubs from West to East Coast & beyond. Holla @djswishasweet
Vocalist/Singer-Songwriter – Joyce Wrice
You can reach out to her at: @joycewrice
Producer – Swarvy
You can get a hold of him at @Swrvy
Emcee – Waju
Holla at Waju via @EyyWaju
Hopefully some if not all are artists that you can check out, follow and support in the future. If they are published here, it’s because I’ve caught their live shows, older projects and newer ones and feel they’ve put in the work to deserve some shine much like the prior 10 Artists You Should Know posts. Thanks for listening.
Beat Junkies Record Pool:
So as I’m doing more artist consulting this month, I’ve noticed that a few of these guys and girls are really struggling on trying to get true feedback and readings on their music. Getting that response is extremely important in the direction you may take an incomplete project, or maybe start a new one. People’s first impressions are generally their rawest, then a second listen or look yields different results ( the “sleep on it” and revise the next day, approach ). Regardless of if you want either of these reactions, you first need to have places to get an unsuspecting listen. So below I’ve made a list of a few ways that have worked for me, and others I work with, hopefully they work for you!
Aux Cords – I know it may sound stupid, or maybe even like a no brainer, but if you think about coffee shops, cafes, diners, uber, lyft, house parties, and so many other places that an aux cord can come in handy, if you get creative with you can literally replace the world around you with your own soundtrack (tactfully) — Note: I say please use this one at your discretion, your music may suck and your taste in music could also suck. I wouldn’t want a room full of people to
CD-R’s turned Data Discs – So I go to anywhere from 3 – 8 events per week here in Los Angeles, it’s not as exhausting, expensive or time consuming as you may think. Infact most of it’s paid for but I will say one thing that really gets my friends is when I’ve got 2-3 in the car and I have my mixes on. I constantly get asked “What is this track, my shazam won’t work” and other similar questions as they look at my LED dash that says SPIV_Untitled28. So I started distributing my mixes and music I intended on mixing or playing out at gigs to the friends who’d roll with me. It’s also great economically because these data discs can hold upward to 80mb (which depending on the size of the songs, could be upward to 150 tracks). Also in 2016′ they play in most systems. So at the start and middle of each month I burn about a dozen new cd’s and when I interact with Bartenders, Security Guards, Event Coordinators, or just have friends in the car or make new ones at functions and I can give them my music. Note: I generally also include a prerolled joint and preface them listening to smoking and ask them to give me their thoughts on it after.
USB – Similar to the above, except smaller and easier to get preloaded with music. You can get bulk orders of usbs pretty in expensively these days. They also have a larger capacity. Get innovative with customization aspects and you can really get your music far in these little babies. I give them out like candy on Halloween, and if I don’t get custom designs, I’ll put a small sticker that correlates back to my social media and just leave them at various unique spots around the city. Taped to bathroom stalls to sticky notes, I’ve put them in envelopes that say “Listen To Me!” and gone around parking lots and garages outside of events that have a demographic I’m trying to reach, and dropping them in any window that’s left cracked open or putting them on sideview mirrors. Get Creative. Your distribution techniques should be unorthodox and untraditional. Be unique in your approach and you’ll go far.
Shortcut Links – Long web addresses are hard to type, and remember. Keep it short and simple, using a site like www.bit.ly or other ‘link shorteners’ help people reach your music more easily and faster. You can press these on yellow manila envelopes, but them on USPS stickers, even pull tab signs. The shorter the better. It should either go directly to a download/autoplay link or a place giving people very minimal options of what they can do, and if they like what they see or hear — they should have a way of reaching you.
Digital – Distribution through digital channels is easier than ever with things like Tunecore, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, etc. Me doing guerrilla and viral marketing alongside business development and growth hacking. I choose to again, go a think differently approach. If you have 5,000 friends on facebook, export your friends list, alphabetize it, organize it, and highlight people who’d likely be down to share your product. Whether it’s a campaign, a service, a product, whatever you have, you know who’s down to ride for you, and there may be some people you don’t know who are also down to ride for you. If the quality of what you have to offer is good, people will naturally share it. I’ve done the angle of having multiple people change their profile pictures across 3 networks all at the same time, as well as create a share/RT/RP campaign that was very effective. There’s also a few other tips and tricks to the digital marketing game to explore, but I had to work for this knowledge, and you shall have to as well 🙂 — Think about the avenues of video channels, live streaming, podcasts and more. You’re smart, I believe in you.
Crowdsource Campaigns – Similar to my mentions above in the retweet/share/repost campaigns. Crowdsourcing is a great way to get yourself heard (and get paid). A very strategic and savvy campaign that showcases creativity, authenticity and ingenuity will definitely help get you heard by peers. Not to mention it allows you to generate revenue if the product is good or they believe in you. I think about having 5,000+ friends on facebook, and then my other social networks then my 25,000 person email list and I think. If each of these people were to share 1 hit song or 1 dope clothing article or just something that has the potential to spread — there’s just so many opportunities that can come from that. $5 x 5,000 people = $25,000 | Most people spend more than $5 daily on stupid shit they don’t need. They don’t need your music either. Make your music that stupid shit they spend their $5 on. Except, make it extraordinary and special, and actually worth much more than $5 so it doesn’t feel, look or sound like a stupid purchase.
Stickers – Not just “stickers” but window decals, murals, wheat paste, billboards, skywriting. whatever it takes. Take into consideration how long these things last, and how inexpensive they are. If they are designed well, they garner a lot of attention and can spread like wildfire in photos and videos. Much like several coveted locations in LA that people use for backdrops for their ” look at me, I’m basic” IG photos.: Much like stickers, stencils are also a valid route, but also more risky – Look into Post No Bills and other signage issues to make sure you don’t get in trouble placing stuff where it doesn’t belong or on other people’s property that it will have a negative result or impact on you. I have some stickers that are in nightclubs and bars that have hung on for 10 years and they STILL to this day get me new eyes/ears that occasionally reach out to me to compliment my music.
Business Cards – The less permanent route. So business cards are inexpensive, they don’t have to be used as “business cards” they can be used as promotional cards. Due to the cost vs quantity situation with this, you can easily throw hashtags, websites, catchy quotes or art and literally give these out EVERYWHERE YOU GO. I used to drop them in checkbooks when I was bartending and waiting tables to every single guest of mine, I’d also leave them on the busses and subways, inside friends cars, bathroom mirrors, literally everywhere imaginable. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you the return on investment with these. I do a lot of things in this manner, what is the easiest or least expensive way to make the longest, biggest and best impact. — My only downside to these is environmentally, it’s waste. In general, I am conscious of these things so I do actually use this approach a little less often these days. I suggest making it reusable or plastic like a membership card instead of temporary paper promo.
Brand Alignment – What does your sound invoke? How do people feel when it’s on in the background, or if they’re working out? Is there any feeling in your music? I hope there is. Match the vibe of your style, content, and sound with like-minded people and businesses to get better results. If my music is very uptempo and fast paced like Styles Of Beyond, or maybe some Jungle/Drum&Bass/Breakbeat sounds. I’m probably better off trying to get it to people in the hands of people into active lifestyles, as opposed to couch potatoes or cubicle slaves, who probably prefer something more mellow and downbeat. If you’re loud and flashy, don’t pitch yourself to reserved, closed-minded suits. Find your niche and go for it. I look toward start-ups and publications to offer commissioned original music, production, writing, and songs to, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it definitely has benefits once placed to get you heard.
Collaborations – This is how you bridge an audience. Got a singer/songerwriter who’s really dope? get her acapellas remixed by a producer that’s equally matched and let them play with each others sounds to create something new and fresh. Collaboration over competition any day, every day. I’ve teamed up with Skating, Fixie/BMX brands, Shoe Companies, Clothing Lines, and much more in regards to creating collabs that extend beyond music. Once you get the hang of pitching yourself and your brand/product/service you really gain perspective on how businesses operate, who their markets are, and you can come up with ways of intertwining yourself with them in a mutually beneficial manner that allows you to reach their crowd and vice verse.
That’s it for today’s lessons, I hope you gained something from this and continue to create new and unique ways of getting yourself out there. Feel free to leave a comment below or drop me a line at any of the places below 🙂 If you need help with marketing, promotions, pr, design, etc. I can also help with that. Please repost this article as it doesn’t just pertain to music and have a wonderful day full of good music and vibes~
Adversity in business, relationships and friendships has always been something I’ve paid attention to. I actually have quite good memories of people watching in many environments. When you’re producing events you get to interact with hundreds of people for very short periods of time for a few hours. Behavioral habits and human nature have always been interesting to me. Luckily, over time my curiosity in this matter has actually paid off by making me a good judge of character, and very rapidly. So this article comes from a near and dear place. Regularly I see friends in art, music, and various lines of business have their ups and downs, highs and lows, get taken advantage of, beaten up, broken down, ripped to shreds, chewed up and spit out. By peers, friends, enemies, frenemies, and any other variation of the sort. The internet has definitely made it easy for people to sound off when they dislike something and want to get their opinion heard (social media, yelp/google+ etc)
We all have them, we know what they are, but here’s a reminder:
“TOP DEFINITION: Hater
A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.
Hating, the result of being a hater, is not exactly jealousy. The hater doesn’t really want to be the person he or she hates, rather the hater wants to knock someone down a notch.
So let’s speed this up and put it into more of a perspective, do you see ‘nobodies’ on the TMZ, Ellen or Jimmy Kimmel reading damaging blows against themselves? No. These people have reached a level of success to a point that their name is on display for the masses, which comes with a lot of positive and negative responses. In business, we’ve got online review platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google+ encouraging people to sound off on the good, bad and ugly. Which then allows for Reputation Management jobs to come in and do damage control, much like a Manager/PR to a Musician. I’ve made moves in my past that have gotten me ridiculed, in the spot light, and my name and credibility tarnished all over the internet, including being blacklisted by certain people because of them seeing such negative things about me in the headlines. Did that stop me from reaching my goals? starting my own businesses? continuing to follow passion projects and creative projects? Hell, fucking no. It just further emphasized the power of PR, it showed me that if I don’t respond and essentially ignore or let it roll off my back, that eventually it’ll subside. It made me realize that while all the attention is on me, I can do really good things that win back my audience. Luckily, I learned this life lesson at an early age and allowed it to again, teach me the benefits of having people try to create road blocks and obstacles that otherwise wouldn’t be produced, had it not been for the moves I was making. Consumer Reports, Amazon, Rotten Tomatoes, Countless Music Blogs.
We’re constantly regurgitating hate spew. My only qualm is the lack of consistency in the haters. What an incredible waste of time and energy it is to just follow people achieving? Let alone the flipflopping hate where people play both sides of the fence. So here’s where the value in haters lies, outside of being motivational, sometimes they point out flaws or things you may have missed. If someone is clowning on your style, or an outfit – perhaps that ‘hate’ is actually an observation vocalized and pin pointing something you missed? Haters can also help give perspective and insight on weak points of things. I remember a guy was hating on a friend of mine’s music for years through online channels and in person. He made it a point to constantly talk shit, to the point that one time he got his jaw broken, but that’s beside the point. Some of the things this guy was saying while funny or made for satire were actually fucking valid points, imagine that? This hater was mentioning how my friends music wasn’t transparent or aligning with his character. Regardless of being portrayed through lyrical content in albums and songs, certain messages could be received or twisted to show my friend in a poor light, and make him seem to lack authenticity, not be genuine and essentially leave himself open to be called “fake”.
After I brought it up to him in a “maybe he’s right” approach, my friend broke down his past work to current and realized it was true. So, in this example his use of the negative energy, allowed for a positive change to come from something intended to destroy, but instead, allowed him to reroute or detour to greener pastures. A lot of us look at haters as envious, insecure, weak, and fearful. A lot of it stems from a lack of not being able to do the same thing deep down. That means you’re doing something they can’t, or perhaps are scared to even attempt to do. Haters, can also turn into supporters. I used to send my own personal work to people who used to talk shit, over and over til I won them over and the hate turned into love. These people are already attracted or interested in what you do at some capacity, why not challenge them and yourself, and try to convert a hater to a fan/admirer? The difference between the two is really just you going from good to great. Haters also help you gain visibility you otherwise wouldn’t get. See who’s paying attention, and instead of defending yourself or enabling the behavior, talk to some of the people who chime in on a real level and give them alternatives? Maybe they are bandwagon riders and agree in the moment, but that’s because they don’t know of anything else you’ve done or have in the bag. The only way to avoid these people is not doing anything that grabs their attention, sounds fun right? You play it safe and tread lightly on eggshells and thin ice with a cloud above you and behind your back at all times. OR you soar to new heights and make them see you, hear you, and love you. To hate on your music, your art, or your event. They have to actually invest some form of interest, time, and maybe money in order to access it. People buy tickets to Dave Chapelle’s standup so they can hate on Dave Chapelle’s standup, and heckle from the audience. Do you care about a little bump in the road, or making money and having a packed house?
DJ Morse Code ( 1/2 of POOLS )
Since wordpress makes it difficult to create space in postings sometimes. The people featured above are pretty easy to find online and shouldn’t be slept on:
James Jirat Patradoon / Kadhja Bonet / Suzi Analogue / Faimkills / DJ Morse Code
Marco Polo – Port Authority
The U.N. – UN Or U Out?
InI – Center Of Attention
Blu – Below The Heavens
Fashawn – Boy Meets World
Faith 47 – is an internationally-acclaimed street and studio-based artist. Following an active street art career spanning more than 15 years, her work can now be found in major cities around the world. Using a wide range of media, her approach is explorative and substrate appropriate – from found and rescued objects, to time-layered and history-textured city walls and their accretions, to studio-prepared canvas and wood. Through her work, Faith47 attempts to disarm the strategies of global realpolitik, in order to advance the expression of personal truth. In this way, her work is both an internal and spiritual release that speaks to the complexities of the human condition, its deviant histories and existential search.
Her first solo exhibition, Fragments of a Burnt History (2012, David Krut Gallery, Johannesburg), considered the transformation of Johannesburg into a more representative African city, exposing the harsh realities of day-to-day life and capturing the remnants of South Africa’s complex history in a personal and symbolic manner. Through the creation of an immersive environment in the gallery space, this work challenged the viewer’s detachment. Her solo exhibition, Aqua Regalia (2014, London & 2015, New York), further extends the possibilities of immersive spaces, enveloping the viewer into a sacred ‘room’ filled with collected objects and other intricacies from everyday life that – together with figurative paintings – explore the notion of the mundane as sacred, celebrating the discarded and unwanted as holy.
Vince Staples – is an American rapper from Long Beach, California. He is one-third of the group Cutthroat Boyz, alongside fellow California rappers Joey Fatts and Aston Matthews. Staples was also known as a close associate of Odd Future, in particular Mike G and Earl Sweatshirt. Staples is currently signed to Blacksmith Records, ARTium Recordings and Def Jam Recordings. He came to prominence with his appearances on albums by Odd Future members and his collaborative mixtape titled Stolen Youth, with Mac Miller, who produced the majority of the project. In October 2014, he released his debut EP Hell Can Wait, which included the singles “Hands Up” and “Blue Suede”. His debut album, Summertime ’06, was released in June of last year (2015) and has gotten critical acclaim. *He was also chosen as part of the XXL Magazine 2015 Freshman Class. It’s crazy looking back to see how far he’s come, I think it was about 2010 when him, mikeg, syd, speak, nikko gray and a few others were rocking my showcase inside the Fox Hills (now westfield) mall in Culver City. Since then I’ve done plenty of other shows, even worked Camp Flognaw/OddFutureCarnival doing merchandising and pushing Vince’s goods. Bottom line, It’s great to see the climb/growth/progress of people who are dedicated convert to success in the eyes of many.
Astronautica – 23-year-old Los Angeles native Edrina K. Martinez is Astronautica, one of Alpha Pup Records’ newest artists. Bringing a unique style of lush electronica and a playful sense of exploration to the label, the young producer is a fresh face to the thriving local beat scene. Learning to play guitar by ear at an early age, Astronautica soon began mixing her own samples and beats. Quickly becoming addicted to the burgeoning beat sounds of the West Coast, Astronautica is now a full-fledged member of the movement. Been lucky enough to catch her more then a few times live, and recently had her play one of my showcases – definitely a sure bet for a solid set, every time.
IllFightYou – This is IllFightYou ( Glenn, Uglyfrank, and Khris P ) I Couldn’t find a real bio or much info on them, but I’ve been listening to these guys for quite some time now and putting up homies on them after playing out their music in the whip or at shows. They did a pretty thorough interview last time they were in LA with Intuition for his program Kinda Neat ( which can be heard here http://kindaneat.net/illfightyou/ ) they also rocked LowEndTheory and a few other shows. Music speaks for itself, check it out below and more on their soundcloud.
Bibi Bourelly –
Bibi Bourelly is a Berlin-born Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter. She wrote the Rihanna song “Bitch Better Have My Money” and features on “Without You”, a track by Lil Wayne that features on his 2015 album Free Weezy Album. She also co-wrote and features on Nick Brewer’s Top-20 UK debut track “Talk to Me” and she’s featured on Usher’s single “Chains”. Bourelly is of Moroccan and Haitian descent. She was born in Berlin, her father being the guitarist Jean-Paul Bourelly and her mother, the head of the art department at Berlin’s House of the World’s Cultures. She moved to America in the tenth grade to pursue a music career, first ending up in the Washington, D.C. then moving to Los Angeles. Her break came after a producer she had been working with online, Paperboy Fabe, arranged a session with Kanye West, who isolated her in a booth. The result was Rihanna’s “Higher”. She also wrote the singer’s “Bitch Better Have My Money”, which caused some controversy after Houston rapper Just Brittany claimed that Rihanna had plagiarised the song.
In April 2015 Bourelly issued her own single, “Riot”, an effort to prove to people she was “authentic”, detailing how wanted to be heard and recognised as a legitimate musician. Bourelly is also involved with quite a few other projects and artists which will soon come to light. Most recently being her features beside Usher & Nas…. I mean c’mon son haha. bright future ahead.
These days, the internet has become one of the most instrumental, and sometimes detrimental building blocks for success. Although a big obstacle for many is learning how to navigate the landscape and figuring out the most effective methods of getting what you want, to who you want with the least amount of resistance for the lowest cost and the fastest, whew… Sounds like fun, right? At least, the ever-changing environment of what channels we use to distribute our content keeps things fresh, and requires us to be aware of new platforms to quickly adapt to for that ‘edge’ being first to: myspace>facebook>tumblr>soundcloud>twitter>bandcamp>instagram>snapchat>????? – After years of blogging, consulting, doing PR and producing events – I still have to keep my finger on the pulse of most outlets in order to know what’s best for the artists and brands that I work with and represent. That said, I’m going to share some advice below that should assist you in reaching the goals mentioned above as the title of this is how to get heard by who you want, which is synonymous w/getting what you want.
1. Ethics & Integrity – Are fundamental and part of the basics to this whole thing. Think about the impressions you leave with people, whether that be communicated via email, in person, or even on social media. Your online persona could be just your ‘way of expressing yourself’ or feel more vocal about things, but you have to remember that it’s all a reflection of you. Much like recording over someones production without asking permission from the original producer or creating a remix to something then pushing it as if it was requested just to ride the wave of the popular artist who’s original song is getting play. Common sense plays a big role in a lot of this, but if I have to explain that then I’m wasting your time and my own. Try your best to maintain artistic integrity – if an opportunity arises that doesn’t change the alignment of your direction, branding, presentation and fabric that holds your product unique. by all means – go for it. Although, on the b-side if you’ve got wavering ethics or conceptual integrity it can be seen from a mile away and that may prevent some people from connecting with you on a business or personal level alongside turning your audience away because you weren’t true to what you might do or say. ex: The hip-hop head who starts to experiment with other genres (Which is completely fine) or worse, the hypocrite who outs themselves on and off record.
2. Trim The Fat – Keep correspondence short, nobody needs your life story. From your bio to your press kit, to your messages for collaboration or even attempts to volunteer or get involved with things bigger than yourself. KISS ( keep it simple, stupid ) being short and straight-forward in correspondence and requests will make it easier for the recipients to respond quickly in a similar manner. No means no, but months or years later could mean yes. As long as you keep it short.
3. No More Parties In LA – LA and NY are meccas of culture, entertainment, fashion, music and art. People come here on a 30-day to make it plan and either burn through everything they have and go back home or they make moves strategically and do things right so they can live off of their craft almost immediately. Then there’s the 9-5’er or freelancer who supplements their income with a balance til they are doing what they love full-time. Anyway you cut it, I think another important part of getting heard by the right people ( or at least, who you want to listen ) does require the legwork of going out and networking. There are several websites that will tell you what’s going on in your city at any given moment, and each one is a gateway drug to more events, much like flyergum that ends up on your mirror/dash after a party… I’m not suggesting you street perform or start soliciting people while you barista or wait tables. On the contrary, I do tell people to create a calendar of events that they go to each month that are beneficial to what they are doing and where they are trying to go. There’s so many different groups and demographics of people to reach, and you only have so much time and money to do such. Going out on a decently consistent basis allows you to see performance spaces and other shows in which you’ll potentially be interested in performing at, gain inspiration from and again – spread your art among the masses. You can drop your music with event coordinators, promoters, venue owners, talent bookers, deejays, and other people of potential importance when you’re checking out the nightlife as well.
4. Sampling – If you’re seeking placement or licensing situations, be smart about your sample usage. Unless you have the money to pay for clearance, most of the time that amazing track of yours is going to require a lot of additional work and money to have actual use. It sucks, but it’s part of the game and a very expensive, time consuming one at that. Try to create original compositions so your work is original and has more flexibility, thus allowing you more opportunities in where it can take you. Otherwise, seek the originators of that music, request permission to repurpose their work and who knows – you may not only get their approval but several additional stems and pieces to work with. Dare I say, sometimes it works out that if they like what you put out there, you can collaborate with them on an official level because of a mutual respect or interest. There’s no better feeling then after years of trying to work with a certain someone, them finally responding to you and inviting you to meet up and build. Most of the guys and girls I’ve wanted to work with almost 10 years ago, I’ve now done shows or projects with and consider friends today.
5. Presentation & Packaging – If it looks like garbage, and smells like garbage, it might possibly be garbage, or at least that’s the place it will end up if your presentation isn’t on point. The easiest way I’ve found to clean up your presentation is working with a designer who’s actually into what you create. Someone who would be excited, and benefit from working with you and creating for you. I can’t even count on both hands and feet how many designs I’ve done for free that I call “portfolio” to make myself feel better about not being compensated for them, only to have them start hiring me when their money was right. It was all original work for artists who I believed in, and little did I know would be moving mountains several years later and remember my efforts in supporting them. This is a good reminder of how things you do in the past, can help you in the future. Working with the same people creates a good synergy, relationship and creates consistency in your branding. If everyone’s on the same page, you’ll gain some form of identity from this and it’ll benefit you tenfold as opposed to hopping around with every photographer, video guy, designer and stylist you meet. Last note on this, keep in mind what I said about trimming the fat, because this also applies to overproducing or going too-minimal with your work (whether art or music). There is a happy middle ground which you should hopefully reach.
6. Submissions – Unless it’s a very small mb file, do not attach files to emails that you’re sending out to labels, blogs, promoters and more. Nothing is worse then being on the receiving end and finding out someone just left an elephant on your doorstep that you didn’t ask for and now you’ve gotta call up a moving company, wasting time and money to move it so your important packages can arrive. Always be mindful of your recipient, this includes how many paragraphs that will be ignored inside of your email. You’ll have a higher success rate on having your hail mary passes reach the end zone if you consolidate and simplify what you’re trying to say. If the goal is to just have someone hear your music on the other end, make it as easily accessible as possible – no download links, no attachments, god forbid you have to sign-up to some new service to get to it. Just simply upload it on a platform where the person clicks once, doesn’t need to be logged in, and they end up at the file with a functional Play & Stop button with volume control and leave the rest in their hands. It’s really that easy, and if you’re not getting a response from said bloggers, editors and more – they are either too busy, not interested, or you need to change your approach.
7. Unique Approach – In a perfect world, a great idea or solid product would just fly on its own and create an abundance of wealth and opportunity for the creator of such things so they could reinvest in themselves. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world and everything requires a solid gameplan because there’s levels to this sh*t. Having a unique approach will definitely help you get what you want as this shows you’ve thought outside of the box, and managed to think differently in how you present yourself, product or service. A few years back I had 2 friends ask me to redo their resumes. I asked them what they wanted to do, why, and what makes them think they are the most suited for the job. Both answered all the questions with confidence and with enough good reasons for me to move forward. Little did they know, if I didn’t feel like it would be sensible, I would’ve told them my opinion and suggested they work with someone else out of respect for their time and my own. One resume was for a new luxurious bespoke cocktail bar opening that would be extremely difficult to get into and had practically a 12 step hiring process. The other was for one of the biggest music festivals worldwide that happens annually in SoCal. For the bartender, we sat down and analyzed all the collateral the bar had released through press and media outlets. We took a screenshot of their menu, names of their drinks, their color schemes, and the overall idea/concept that they were sharing and integrated all of this into a resume. Her resume looked exactly like their menu, and had unique accents and design elements that were deemed clever or witty, ex: instead of where the bars website, address and phone number were, it had her contact information/Website/LinkedIn. She printed this on a thicker resume cardstock similar to a diploma and delivered it to this bar. From the moment they received it, others were called into the room to check it out, surprised and excited to see the efforts put in by this potential candidate to get the job. The story gets deeper, but to summarize – she got the job for being different and unique in her approach. Against hundreds of people trying to get the same position before and after her. It was this, that paved the way for her to stand out and gain the attention of the audience ( getting heard by who you want ). While the other person I mentioned was applying to Coachella and basically had me create an entire promotional kit with backpack, shirts, stickers, flyers, a poster, lanyard and more all with personalized/flipped-Coachella branding, so instead of any of their details, it had his resume and credentials. This included a flyer with him playing every stage lol… Instead of sending it off to Goldenvoice, he actually ended up taking it with him to an interview in Hollywood, CA for an advertising agency and got hired almost on the spot. I can give a few other examples that I was involved with things like this in music/art etc but I absolutely encourage anyone to push the limit on creative application and distribution of themselves. This includes when you are producing Cassettes, Vinyls, CD’s and more.
8. Working In Reverse – This is sometimes a good process to accomplishing goals, I’ve done this a few times when assembling press kits and reworking resumes. As another example, there was an artist a few years ago that approached me about wanting to get on a festival. I looked at their guidelines for submission, who the headliners were, the openers, the region, and had to work in reverse to tear it all down to step 1 of what would give this girl the best shot at getting picked up for it. I started with the region, where she had already done many shows in the area with some of the biggest names that came into town fitting for her genre of music, so it was easy to make a list of these venues and shows she’s played, alongside the likes of who she performed with. That built value in her potentially bringing more attendees/promotion/ticket buyers to the festival due to familiarity. I continued to roll down their lists of steps required to get “on” and looked at anything else that would give her an edge when applying. When we worked through all of those, it was a matter of how we served up her introduction email, organized the rest of her content to be most fitting for the acts performing and type of festival (omitting tracks that didn’t make sense or wouldn’t be of interest, and pushing the ones that were/would be instead ). We were even so detailed to change the photos on her press kit out to show a different side and that she’s rocked stages with thousands in the crowd before instead of the smaller venue, intimate, candid shots she had there prior. The list goes on and I’m sure you get the idea, but long story short – she got booked/paid because she had the basics down, but also learned how to tailor her pitch, after deconstructing the event and making a roadmap to reach her intended destination and audience.
9. Good People Are Hard To Find. – From managers, editors, event producers, curators, bloggers, and more. When you find people who genuinely appreciate what you say, do, and the direction you’re going. Don’t fuck up by letting them vanish, and don’t push them away with an ego. Everyone is trying to be the best they can be in their field, and who knows what their long term goals are. Some people you’ll work with from the start of their career and find helping you out a decade later just based on your consistency in being dedicated to your craft and humble in your ways. Others you’ll show a little bit of promise to, they’ll spot it early on and they will ride for you til the wheels fall off opening doors along the way. It may not be fun to weather the storm over and over again, but that persistence and patience pays off most of the time if you aren’t making the same mistakes ( not to mention it helps end the cycles of factory farmed creatives with mass distributed content that’s unhealthy clickbait, fodder and fluff distracting people from actually being productive). Build your team wisely and keep it thorough.
10. Asking. – They say a closed mouth doesn’t get fed, but an open one can potentially get smacked for saying the wrong thing. Be tactful in your choice of words, especially if you don’t know who you’re talking to. I know people who blame being introverted or anti-social to their lack of success in their industry when realistically it’s a matter of them not speaking up and asking for what they want. So instead of getting the help they need or want, they’ll bitch and complain about it (which also, has the same result) until they give up entirely or fall into some mental sickness like depression. Asking questions, gets answers and people like to talk. Don’t be afraid to do some outreach and remember, what’s the worst that can happen, they say no? or there’s no answer? Note, Please & Thank You still work in whatever year it is that you’re reading this article and last but not least. Don’t be an askhole, you’ll never get what you want if you continually ask for advice and then do the opposite, people notice and they remember. Asking is better then assuming, and that it’s better to ask for forgiveness then permission thing is definitely bullshit. That means you ‘assumed” the outcome of your question, and decided to do something because you weren’t strong enough to pose your request properly enough to get the results you desired, that shit is wack. Learn how to communicate better and you’ll see that most things aren’t as difficult as you think. Lastly, don’t name drop unless that person will vouch for you, it’s not going to give you any points if you’re lying, and if someone like myself decides to do a verification text. “xyz says he knows you, and you’ve worked together, is he cool? ” and the results come back negative, you just blacklisted yourself with 2 people at once…
So that about covers it, I hope you learned something new or found some tips within that will help you reach your goals in whatever it is that you’re aspiring to be or do.
Sir Anderson – Just stumbled across this guy the other day per a friends mention on the internet and low and behold, I dug his stuff and like magic – he’s now featured here. Maybe next time I mention him I’ll have a lot more to say because I’ll actually have met him 🙂 check out David’s work below:
He’s on the right path with his mixed media work and I feel like it’ll only get better and better, so continue to check his page out and show some support (not to mention, his work at the moment is pretty reasonable) https://www.facebook.com/artofsiranderson
Doc Illingsworth – I’ve listened to this guy for years and always really dug his versatile sounds and constant interest in kinda bringing something different to the table. I feel like Detroit takes hip-hop seriously and you can hear it infused into most of the creations from that city. Illingsworth I used to feature on StrictlyBeats and also pass his music along to friends who may have no heard of detroit cydi, him and ErikL. I want to say since 2006′ I’ve seen him reach new heights and recently saw him kill it out here at Low End Theory, alongside several other platforms that have given him some positive light. Humble cat, deserves what he gets and I hope he continues to push the ante with a quality sound that’s undeniable. Hopefully someday he can find that “illonthehunt instrumental’ for me 🙂
You can support his new project here: http://www.fatbeats.com/products/illingsworth-worth-the-wait-lp
Linafornia – I have a big heart when it comes to seeing people go from tragedy to triumph and Linafornia is definitely someone whom I feel can give you that story. In Los Angeles, she’s quietly made waves in the scene that she’s supported mutually for years on nights and weekends. I feel like I’ve physically been to the same events with her at least 100x now and she’s always shown love to anyone and everyone who reciprocates and deserves it. I don’t wanna get into her car accident and story or too deep into detail in regards to how amazing this girl is but I do want you to know she’s a real one and you can hear it in her music, which realistically only started surfacing in the past year or so. In a short period of time she’s garnered attention from our Bananas crew to Beat Cinema, Low End Theory, RUN and more. Great sample selections, unique change-ups, cut points, loops and mixture of lo-fi and high-end sounds to make you zone out, as I’ve done when having the pleasure of catching a set, or rapping on it. Her debut album “YUNG” comes out Jan 22nd, 2015, keep your eyes peeled and follow her through social media.
Zack Sekoff – Started listening to this guy back when he lived in LA (he may be back now), next thing I knew he disappeared to go to school on the east coast, and I had a CD of his that I played until I couldn’t anymore… Heard about him through the grapevine of the beat scene, and our LA underground community, he was also close to peers like Speak, Westside Ty/Beeper King, and many others. This dudes musicianship is nuts and one can only assume he’s continued to progress and impress. He’s been quiet for quite some time now but steadily working under the radar to produce big sounds that boast his talents across many styles and formats. Zack’s won plenty of competitions, worked with the likes of Thundercat, Austin Peralta, KCRW’s Anthony Valadez, and a slew of others. His diversity is endless and I think without sounding like a total fanboy I should just let you decide for yourself.
He’s got a new album coming out soon, I highly suggest following him on Soundcloud & Twitter. Remnants of a Winter Sun” out 1/15
Bryson Tiller – Bryson Djuan was born on January 2, 1993, in Louisville, Kentucky. His mother died when he was four years old. He has three siblings. Tiller started receiving massive internet attention from music industry insiders with his breakout single “Don’t”, which he originally released on his SoundCloud page. Early co-signs from record producer Timbaland and Canadian rapper/singer Drake led to major label attention for Tiller, with him eventually choosing to sign a creative partnership with RCA Records. Announced on August 25, 2015 : T R A P S O U L debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200. Talking about his musical style, Tiller said, “It’s just trap and hip hop-influenced R&B, the perfect marriage between hip hop and R&B.” Tiller has cited American singer Omarion as his biggest influence. Other influences include R. Kelly, The-Dream, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown and Drake. Critics have compared Tiller’s style to Jeremih, Drake, Ty Dolla Sign and Tory Lanez. Keep an eye on him, because his promise continues to show through his consistency. I mean fuck… he’s already reached over 30 million plays on more then 3 of his songs/videos, not bad at 22 years old. Here’s a few great joints:
That’s All 🙂
-SPIV / Eric Spivak
Feel free to reach out and ask me any questions directly via:
Are We There Yet? shortcuts for success in the internet era
These days the internet has definitely thrown a monkey wrench into the way artists rise, fall and survive. You can have a great video or song and dance go viral at any time and in less then 24hrs garner millions of views. You could get remixed by a well known and established artist athen get picked up to their label/signed overnight. You could even have music placed in a 30second commercial or picked up for the theme song of a online tv show and get offers from licensing companies and residuals for the life of the show.
It’s really crazy to see the wave of advancement, adapation and transformation the entire music industry has gone through over just the past decade, it’s pretty incredible to say the least. The rise & fall of tidal, applemusic, soundcloud, bandcamp, tunecore, and the hundreds of other sites out there are really reshaping the music world.
In business and people, this idea goes hand in hand, you need to have the basics in order to proceed to the intermediate and advanced areas of whatever you’re aiming to do. Walking before you run, not putting the cart infront of the horse or biting off more then you can chew. In music, I’d say the basics are having your Name and the meaning behind it, secondly your logo and branding, third would be your bio/story fourth would be your online presence and last would be an overall branded package.
Having these things will give you a solid foundation, and from it will innately bring structure, which would be followed by your own leadership ( unless of course, you’re at the point where you need management, representation, an agent, etc ) | which by no means, am I suggesting those last things (mgmt/agent etc being a requirement)
So that was:
1. NAME / reason for it
2. LOGO / colors/theme (there’s a reason corporate standards come in with big companies using the same colors on everything they do)
3. BIO / background – we’ve all got stories, highs and lows, and this is a brief look at you.
4. Social Media / this is just getting your accounts in order and making sure they have matching names, so you are found the same way across any network, much like a website that is ‘responsive’ and visible in the same manner, across any device (phone, desktop, laptop, tablet, etc)
5. #EXCLUSIVE HASHTAG / this will help you archive as you go, and it will let people also take a peek into how far you’ve come, where you’re going, and how relevant or recent certain posts or articles are. This is your online signature if you will.
6. WEBSITE / websites are very important because they are like a brick & mortar store, except visible from anywhere in the world, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 a days a year. This is the sign outside of your store, this is the wallpaper inside your store, this is the music in your store, this is the merch in your store. This is literally a store hahah. It should have all the things listed prior to this point, some content of your best video/photo representation, and then a contact page.
7. Electronic Press Kit – This is everything on your website, wrapped into one comprehensive package, while an EPK is great for sending out to blogs, PR people, magazines, talent bookers and more. The point would be to get it down to “onesheet’ therefore it can also be printed on a nice cardstock and physically mailed to more valuable potential clients and partners. It should be easily downloadable on the website into a PDF file type. This is an easy way to get looked at as being a serious artist / professional because you’ve got all of your other ducks in a row. It’s much more appealing to a label, manager, agent, or booker to scoop someone who has it all together with the stuff mentioned above, as opposed to having to do a ‘development’ situation which requires someone else to produce all of these things for you.
8. BUSINESS CARDS – I’m pretty good with organizing business cards based on what field of work they are in, and transfering the information to my phone and spreadsheets to make sure I can keep in contact. While some people think cards are dated, I probably get asked for 5 per week in my outings here in Los Angeles. This is just another opportunity for you to extend yourself to others. Less expensive and faster then printing the epk to hand out to everyone like a resume, and cheap enough that you can leave them with check presenters when you pay bills, drop them into tip jars, let a few go at once, etc etc.
That’s all the “busy work” that are prerequsites in my opinion for you to become successful in the music world. Now sure not everyone needed or had these things to make it, but it definitely separates who’s ready to get to the next level and who isn’t, alongside who has their shit together, to put it bluntly. The DIY route is also not the best suggestion for this, get all of this stuff professionally done in collaboration with someone you trust who does high quality work, otherwise you’ll end up redoing everything in 6 months and wasting time/money. Buy once, buy right.
Finally, so like it, love it or hate it – those are the breaks and above are some of the best ways I can suggest for you to streamline your own success. The music is equally important, to the image you portray. This isn’t difficult stuff to do, and not too expensive, so why not?
As the saying goes “Remember that it takes 13 hours to build a Toyota and 6 months to build a Rolls-Royce.” The idea being that if you want to achieve big goals and accomplish your dreams, you’ve gotta significantly invest in yourself.
That said, I’m now offering web & graphic design services and branding packages to all of you… ( kidding, kind of 🙂
Enjoy your week! Til We meet again.
Tonight (October 16th) BoilerRoomTV Los Angeles returns with another special performance installment. This time, It’s Krondon & Shafiq Huesayn aka The White Boiz, plus the incredible Dj Khalil & our very own J.Rocc. along with some surprise special guests. Make sure you don’t miss this live broadcast. It starts at 8pm PST and you can catch it by watching it at www.boilerroom.tv
“Neighborhood Wonderful” is out right now on Stones Throw.
All of these albums bring me to a special place and time, and definitely got fair play and several spin cycles til they were rinsed. If you’re familiar and have listened to these before, I’m sure you’ll feel some kind of way, and if you haven’t, I hope you thoroughly enjoy some of these great projects.
Rawkus – VA – Soundbombing II
Factor Chandelier – 13 Stories
Apathy – Eastern Philosophy
Psalm One – Death Of The Frequent Flyer
Hieroglyphics – 3rd Eye Vision
PAID TO PLAY.
There’s a great divide of artists who are paid to play, those that pay to play and those whom just perform for free their whole careers. I think one of the biggest hurdles for musicians or anyone in a talent based profession is how to get compensated appropriately for your time. Asking for things in general just
seems like a taboo concept to most, but after awhile of doing a job without being taken care of, you really should renegotiate your situation before it gets too late and harder to get out. This goes for models, actors, actresses, photographers, promoters, bands, rappers, dj’s, producers, engineers, writers and
generally anyone who does ‘favors’ or things ‘for trade’. When you open up the doors for people to get something for nothing, or a discount, they can either realize the value in what their getting or they can take it for granted and expect you to give it up for free, over and over again.
Here’s a few ways you can protect your investment (time) and to prevent getting taken advantage of by so-called industry professionals and the likes.
Justify Your Contributions – What you put in is what you get out. If you are actively seen promoting the show you’re on, manage to bring a few new faces out, show up on time with all the right gear, and ready for the transition before and after your set. I’d happily book you again, and would likely give you a bonus that you weren’t expecting as an additional thank you. This also falls in line with getting guestlisted for shows, or receiving free drinks. If you get a free drink, tip at least 2x what you’d normally tip. If your skipping a $20 cover, promote the show beforehand and push some new heads there, as opposed to the very last day 30minutes before it starts, then asking for handouts. Remember, nobody owes you anything… Which brings you to the next point.
Invoices – Always work out your financials upfront. be transparent, and aim to get deposits prior to the show. I normally ask for half before and half upon delivery of services.
This leaves me incentive to finish for the remaining balance, and leaves the client not completely assed out losing 100% if you don’t deliver.
This also protects you if they “made no money’ or ‘overpayed XYZ” and have nothing for you, or want to make a million other excuses up about why they can’t be a standup individual that keeps their word. Also if you don’t deliver, or under deliver you can always give them the $$$ back, or overcompensate to make up for it if something comes up that hinders your delivery/execution/performance.
Their trust is on the line paying you upfront. They are invested, and you should be too. It’s a valuable way to increase your equity in the eyes of whomever is booking you, if you deliver a homerun, you’ll continue to get pitched opportunities.
Another route of getting compensated for your performances is having an itemized list or breakdown. While it may seem a little extreme, it does help the other party understand where you’re coming from.
An example is below:
+ Gas x Time
+ Performance ( think about what you feel your show is worth, take into consideration everything and remember to be realistic. )
* Keep track of your drinking – if a drink is $7-14 and you’re given 10 tickets, that could be $70-140 from the bar sales.
While it’s shady, I’ve seen promoters take into account how many drinks artists have, and take that $ out of their payment.
+ Keep Track of your guest/attendees
– Keep your guestlist minimal – each person you left in free, is a cost to the promoter.
Total Payout= …
– Do Be sure to take into account the distance you are going for an opportunity.
– Remember not all that glitters is gold, and not every opportunity is a good one.
– Don’t be afraid to ask for more money.
– Don’t be afraid to reject gigs that are too far or requiring you to go to extreme lengths.
Good communication will help you establish better rapport and a clear line of communication, so your expectations are met and everyone is happy.
Lastly, back to the subject title: Never Pay To Play.
I could go on for days with this but here’s the low down on why you should never do these shows.
Your crowd isn’t engaged, they don’t know nor do they care about anyone on the bill besides you and “possibly’ the headliner who’s decently known. They will likely buy tickets or pay the cover to support you, but leave shortly after your set. The same thing will happen with the guy performing before you and after you. If you’re lucky, some people from the last guys set will hang around sipping their overpriced drinks while staring at their phones in the corner. The synergy of pay to play shows is always horrible because there isn’t a cohesive point of interest. It’s like being stuck in a cramped elevator with someone
who smells, but you have to get to the bottom parking garage. You’re not there because you want to be, you’re there because you have to be.
You paid… You bought into a nigerian prince of the industry offering you an island in the sky of Hollywood next to the broken wings of fallen angels beside a cemetary of hopes and dreams. If you pay to play, you’re literally giving yourself an uphill battle because you have to sell X amount of tickets in
order to regain your initial investment, and then even more sales in order to make a profit after you break even. Are you a musician? or a Kirby Vacuum salesman? You shouldn’t have to be going door to door with tickets, that you paid for, that have no cash value.
Even if the headliner is someone you’ve always wanted to perform with or meet in person, it’s still not worth it. Even worse, most people who do these shows like to add to their bios they’ve rocked stages with XYZ and ZXY, mindfully the terms or details aren’t included on the terms in which they played the show. Anyways, I could keep going but the point is made, just don’t do it. Don’t enable the Sean Healy’s of the world to keep producing shows that bring together a socially awkward crowd and giving hope to
artists while taking advantage of them.
You could have all the talent in the world with no money,
or you could have all the money in the world with no talent.
So the bottom line is, the guy/gal with more money, will be able to buy their way ahead. The guy with the talent will gain community and a level of respect that cannot be bought. So that’s it, again, just my opinions – feel free to message me if you’ve got a problem, or leave it in the comment box. I say take
the road of least resistance, keep your guard up, don’t become starstruck, and value your time because it’s the only thing you don’t have the luxury or purchasing.
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From years of running Strictly Beats ( a benchmark in Instrumental Hip-Hip / Beat Tape sites ) and also trying to merge another popular blog that I was a part of HHB ( hip-hop bootleggers ) I’ve been digging music for years online and off. Some of my favorite artists have faded away, while others have stood the test of time and found ways of navigating through the changing music environment. I feel like these 5 albums were really amazing pieces of work that would’ve gone a lot further had the internet been more like it is now. From content to production, delivery and cadence, and the emcees/producers/dj’s involved. These projects definitely had a fair share of quality control and all deserve a second life / resurface. Check them out in their entirety, and tell a friend…
1. Stories About Nothing : Intuition – Los Angeles, CA
2. Stick Figures : Prolyphic & Robust – Chicago & Rhode Island
( Unfortunately I can’t find a full album link but you can purchase it at the link below )
Click Here For Full Album
3. Rhyme Asylum – State Of Lunacy – London, United Kingdom
4. Symbionese Liberation : Third Sight – Los Angeles, CA
5. Force Fed : IDE – New York, NY
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How To Book Better Gigs More Often
In my 10 years of working at various capacities in and around this industry, I never once took into consideration how difficult, complicated and overwhelming things must be for aspiring talent that lacks proper guidance to “make it” as they say… We all know the internet has provided several articles, tutorials and resources for people to independently help themselves become as aware and knowledgeable as possible. With the addition of social media and platforms like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, it’s become even easier for you to project yourself to the masses and correspond with potential investors to your brand (fans). My question is, what happens when you get offline? Like, ok great! You’ve been featured all over the world and your mixes, songs and videos have thousands of plays, you’ve got a little blog traction and managed to open for a few established acts that you can namedrop into your bio, but what’s next? I feel like several talented people hit this peak and then unfortunately start questioning what they are doing or drag their feet. This is when we start to look at other options like Agents, Managers, PR/Publicists and Peers for help.
*Now I must really like you guys, because I’ve decided to put together this basic visual aid to illustrate what happens at this moment.
Alright, so that was quick and painless right? Now I’m not saying all artists follow this pattern, but through the ones I’ve mentored, managed, and coached from the sidelines and on the field. I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was a very real and common thing,
so congrats, you’re not alone.
Here’s my tips on how to land more bookings, more often (and help improve your overall self)
Maybe in the next Artist Essential piece on The Beat Junkies site, I’ll we can break down the differences between expectations and duties of Agents, Managers and Publicists.
I’ll leave you with this last nugget of advice. At the end of the day, It’s all about how you serve it up.
If you have the worst food in the world and it looks amazing — People will give it a shot.
If you have the best food in the world, and it looks like shit — People won’t touch it.
Swap out food with Events, Music, Art, Film, Photos, etc and the lesson is the same. Presentation, Connection, and Communication are Keys To Success. Don’t do anything rushed or forced, don’t put out half-assed looking event flyers or album artwork. Spend a little extra time and money on things you value most, so others can recognize that when they feel, see, and hear the product you are delivering, especially when that product is yourself.
Hope this helps you land more bookings, as it has for a handful of others whom I see living off of their craft. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
For anyone with a problem with this article, they can check out my friends video – Otherwise, we’re back in a week, next Wednesday with another post. If you missed my last one, you can check it out 5 Artists You Should Know
On the first Wednesday of each month, we’ll be turning the spotlight on five select artists that you should probably know, if you don’t already. While the internet has definitely bridged the gap for aspiring talent to reach new heights and larger audiences faster than ever before. It’s also created a bit of a surplus problem in regards to the quantity of projects not matching the quality expectations that we were once accustomed to. While I won’t say that it’s all bad, It’s definitely thrown the music industry into a whirlwind and really requires more finesse and strategy than ever to really push your way to the top. That being said, the goal of this section isn’t necessarily to give you deep interviews that talk about your favorite rappers prior charges, drug habits, or executive producers who squandered away their royalties. The goal here is to focus on discovery, exploration, and hopefully to put you up on some talented individuals you’ve missed in the streets and on the web.
( Artist )
Bisco Smith, is an artist steadily in search of his own personal truth and most raw expression. His aim is to blend his experiences in life with the energy in the moment and create work that moves, questions, and inspires. His work is a blend of graffiti deconstruction, graphic design, and fine art that captures the untamed energy and uncharted environments of street style and expresses a sense of duality, spontaneity, and movement. He is currently living and working in Venice, CA with New York and Miami on the sides. Currently looking for a wall near you.
For more info, commission pieces, and original work inquiries please contact Bisco by email: email@example.com say the Beat Junkies sent you. You can also find him online at http://www.biscosmith.com
A couple weeks ago, a TV station in France called OFIVE TV had some crazy technical difficulty and ended up playing one of his music videos on repeat for four days straight. Obviously, it generated a lot of buzz out there. Here’s the video that got stuck on repeat:
( Emcee )
LA based rapper, Henry Canyons, transcends your typical boundaries of hip-hop identity. The self-described Brooklinite-French-Jew took to music at a young age; from his training as a jazz saxophonist to his teenage years spent in Brooklyn ciphers, his melodic style and bilingual lyrical integrity reflect a diverse musical background. After graduating college, Canyons moved to LA intent on following his passion for the art form. Since then Henry has steadily worked at his craft, putting out several different projects. “the Brooklyn-turned-LA native stays within a lane equal parts humor and quality hip-hop, generating impeccably delivered lyrics.” Emerging as a new artist on the scene, Paul Thompson of Passion of the Weiss assures listeners that, “Fortunately, the man at the mic has your attention. Canyons casts himself as the young Leo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can—alternately reckless and over-thinking, but with enough inimitable cool to pull it off.” Below is a link to his latest project that features smooth jazzy, boom bap-centric and introspective sounds guaranteed to leave listeners wanting more.
Zackey Force Funk
( Producer/Singer/DJ )
Zackey Force Funk was born into this wild world in Tucson, AZ in 1974. In and out of prison since the age of 17, ZFF began producing on pirated software his brother gave to him once he had given up a life crime to focus on writing tunes and raising his family.
First discovered by Kutmah back in the golden era of Myspace, Zackey’s signature “Force Funk Sound” swiftly grabbed the attention of a number of formidable producers. Collaborations followed shortly after with the likes of Salva, Lazer Sword, Lorn, Baron Zen, Daedelus and B. Bravo, as well as forming the group Demon Queen with Tobacco. As these tunes were scattered across various labels, finding their homes on their respective collaborator’s projects, ZFF continued to hone his style, delving deeper into the psychedelic future funk realm of which he has created for himself. The fruits of his discipline all add up to his forthcoming debut LP entitled ‘Money Green Viper”, to be released in July of 2014 on LA based collective Hit+Run.
When Zackey Force Funk isn’t robbing banks with baseball bats he’s rocking late night discotheques with soul songs for the armageddon.
Below is a link to his album on Hit+Run called Money Green Viper, which was also released on a limited edition emerald green skin vinyl by his crew.
( Producer / DJ )
Vinny is one of those silent but deadly artists’ with extreme versatility in his production. You can tell he thinks about every sequence, sound and sample incorporated into his tracks and isn’t afraid to do something different. These days when the market is flooded with so many repetitive sounds, it’s very refreshing to have guys like this creating more of an abstract mood music to take you through your week. He’s based out of Long Beach, and also part of the Soulection crew, occasionally you can catch him live in a beat or dj set spreading more of the good vibes throughout dance floors across your city. Modest. Creative. Solid.
Below is what he had to say about his instrumental project titled “Vista” which is also embedded below and available for Name Your Price. Pick it up and support him if you get a chance to.
” Dedicated to & inspired by the people in my life. Each track is named after someone who I feel has made a huge impact on my life & the way I see the world. I got sounds that reminded me of them (favorite songs,movie scenes,etc.) and made tracks from those samples after I would spend time with them..talk to them..or even just think of them. I tried to put whatever emotion I had from those moments into song form. During the time I was making this project I had a lot of things going on with my life..working on these songs helped me get my mind off everything. It was great because I didn’t have to leave my own room to go to another place,all I had to do was close my eyes and listen. It was a fun idea that turned into a whole project that helped me more than I thought it was. I’m happy to share it with you. Much love to anyone who supports my music & all I wish for is to inspire some minds…”
Til Next Time.