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Raven Paradox

TFM Q1: Has being accepted to the editorial playlist changed your music plans/future releases and process or collaborations? Raven Paradox: I definitely feel more pressure but my processes stays the same. --- TFM Q2 : Have you been reached out to for collaborations after getting featured on the editorial playlist? Raven Paradox: I've got 2 collaborations coming out soon, one with vocals! --- Brad Chee$e, Mr. Oddzo: How many streams did you get from the editorial playlist? RP: I’ve got over 160k at the moment. --- Saiid Zeidan: I like the instruments and the arrangement what was your inspiration? RP: I just wanted to make a track with a sick guitar riff and the rest just came along. --- Desai: What are your tips for editorial pitching? RP: I think the most important thing is to make sure you pitch your song at least 3 weeks before release the rest depends on your music... --- DJ Ben Waller: How have you dealt with music writing block. What sort of things have you done to overcome it? RP: When I wrote "my point of view" I loved it at first then I thought it's actually not that good and I left it for few months, so I guess sometimes you might just need a break from writing... Do something else or write another song. --- Oghamyst: How many monthly listeners and streams did you have when you made the editorial pitch? RP: I've always been adding my songs to lots of different playlist so I had a few streams already I think probably 1000 listeners. Can’t remember how many streams exactly but I can tell you I’ve been on over 100 playlists. --- Origin: Did you do anything specific to solidify your chances of getting placed or was it completely unexpected? RP: I just did everything by the book... Like I said the important thing is to submit well in advance. --- Keepers of The Earth: I’ve heard you need 20,000 streams to get on a Spotify editorial playlist. So you have used MySphera, Submithub, indie bible playlists, YouTube, Musosoup, daily playlist push, NAS and have a good number of streams 1,000 so how do you get to 20,000? How many followers did you have on Spotify? RP: Followers don't matter, I only had 90. Now I'm on 180. For me it's Submithub, Soundplate and Daily playlist those are the main ones. I don't think you have to have 20,000 streams I know I didn't. --- Marc Schmieder: How much did the streams from the editorial list influence your spotify followers and social media followers? Have you taken any measures to get your new listeners to your followers? RP: I've gained possibly 50 followers on Spotify and probably over 100 more on Instagram, I don't think many people want to follow you on Spotify; I know I didn't follow others before I started making music. I can tell you that my song has been saved 500 times so at least I know there are 500 people out there that would love to listen to my song again! --- James Hawken: Did you write with playlist genres in mind, or just created what you felt and found the relevant playlists? RP: I know some people do that, I just write whatever I feel, I think picking your music genre is very important, to be honest in my submissions I did suggest that "my point of view" would fit on so and so Spotify playlists, but it's not where it's been added in. --- N Square: How important is mixing and mastering in getting chosen for an editorial playlist? RP: I think production quality is very important unless you are making pure lofi but even that is well produced music. --- Clau Sotelo: Do you need a team to follow and control social media and streaming channels behavior? RP: I think it would be nice to have a team, it takes a lot of time to do it all by yourself, I've spent a lot of time just finding the right playlists. --- Size 11: Was wondering if you see any common mistakes other artists make when pitching/promoting? RP: Yes, a very common mistake is not having anything on your Spotify profile. You need to let them know about yourself and get your Bio sorted, your links to Instagram and Facebook pictures are also very important. --- Plummy: What has been the most unexpected thing/biggest surprise that has happened as a result of landing on a Spotify playlist? RP: Just having my song saved 500 times it's a great feeling that's a nice surprise. --- Bokeh: In order to appear in a Spotify playlist, was it necessary to focus on only one track or were you promoting several tracks simultaneously? RP: I've only ever been releasing singles so I can't comment on that, obviously you can only pitch one song from the album but I've been told that sometimes editors might pick a different song from that album so I don't think it matters which song you've been promoting the most. --- Harry Devereaux: If you could go back in time before you started seeing progress with your music, what would you tell yourself knowing what you know now? RP: I would say believe in yourself and invest more money in your gear. I'm constantly on the look-out for plugins that can help me in producing music. I'm a self-taught producer, still learning every day and having the right equipment for me is a game changer. --- Skinny Dippers: I'd love to know what kind of descriptive language Raven used in the pitch to catch the attention of the editorial curators. RP: I just told them that being on the Spotify playlists would make my dream come true! --- Ed Eagle: What did you take from NAS that has helped you the most. Obviously your own talent is what landed you the placement by Spotify, let's make no mistake about that. You couldn't have done this without immense talent and hard work. But all that being said, what is it from NAS - if anything - that you think helped you the most? And by contrast, what could we be doing -- as a group and as individuals -- to help us to add a 4th and 5th and 6th person like you in the near future? RP: All those things we do to promote ourselves add up to a bigger picture, what I can say that it's been amazing experience to be with NAS, I've gained followers, streams and more importantly friends! I think I've learnt that together we are stronger. --- Kiirstin Marilyn: Since being on the Spotify curated list, have you noticed a large increase in followers and plays? RP: Yes definitely a large increase in listeners, it has gone up from 1000 to 50k. I get an amazing amount of streams most of the time between 3k to 4k per day, my followers haven't grown massively that's one thing I'm disappointed with but I think that could depend on what playlist you are in. --- Fin the Chaef: What is an effective way to begin a pitch, create a story or narrative for a song so that it does not get rejected outright? RP: Make sure to pitch your song well in advance at least 3 weeks before release. It's important to give them time to go through all the thousands of artists that are pitching music everyday. My song came out on the 7th of August and it was been added to the playlist on the 29th of August. --- Maurice and The Stiff Sisters: Apart from participating in NAS, what are some of the other ways you self-promote to gain followers on Spotify/social media? RP: I do the usual follow for follow on Instagram and a lot of playlist pitching through Submithub, Daily playlist and Soundplate. I'm currently on 180 playlists. ===

Maaya Mattoo

Oghamyst: What do you think is the major factor (like streams, listeners etc.) for getting into the editorial playlists? And also language isn't a barrier, right? Maaya Mattoo: Great question! Here’s the deal: Spotify editorial playlist curators are extremely, extremely selective as we already know. But what they really look for is an overall great presence on Spotify so make sure that 1) your music fits at least one of the genre/mood playlists in your region/country, 2) your Spotify artist profile needs to be really neat, professional and 3) the most important is the form that you fill up. Sometimes people tick off things that don’t even correspond to their music in the first place so it ends up being submitted to the wrong editorial playlist curator which means you’ve lost your chance altogether. And lastly, there’s no language barrier! Spotify has songs in TONS of languages and nearly each language/culture has playlists curated around it. --- Yours Truly Q1: What was the moment in your music creation career that you really saw your numbers and fanbase go up drastically? Maaya: I think it started with my Instagram. Not Spotify, not YouTube and none of the others. Instagram is where I started posting covers and gained a following. I’ve been on Instagram for about 2 years now and I’ve got 2500+ super engaging followers somehow. But all said and done, this year I popped up on Spotify and it’s been growing ever since! Though I started growing about two years ago, Spotify and other streaming platforms have given me a solid push. --- Yours Truly Q2: What tips would you give for someone to make their Instagram content more engaging and gain more traction? Maaya: Develop an aesthetic, of sorts. Chalk out a social media plan for yourself, it’s what I do every week (things I want to focus on out of YouTube, Spotify, Instagram Reels and more). Be original with your content, there are tons of people doing the same old stuff on loop. If the algorithm picks it, fantastic! If not, the rule is to keep sharing your content and collaborating with others. As for the content itself, Paul, I strongly feel you NEED to do more of those improv videos maybe create your own hashtag. Have an IGTV series where you and another artist collaborate, this could be weekly thing. The audience likes consistency so don’t forget to post on days you plan to. Again, your IG insights will tell you so much about your audience, follower behaviour, reach, chances of being on the explore page and more! --- Charles Connolly: My new single, To See My Lover Again, was released today (Friday November 6) - I wanted to ask you about Spotify vs YouTube and emphasis. I have made a little video for the song, but am wondering how to go about pushing them. If I push the single, will people care about the video? If I push the video, will people bother to go to Spotify if they have just heard the song on the video? Would you say a video can actually be detrimental to gaining popularity in Spotify? Maaya: I absolutely understand the level of frustration and confusion this might cause! I’ve been through it. Having a video is quite helpful actually; a music or lyric video always gives a boost in the right direction. However, please bear in mind when you should be uploading it. I’d suggest looking at the insights that your promotional content (another important thing to do for each release) has received and how it’s been doing. Notice how the stats are on the release day, it’ll tell you a lot about your followers, the reach on the IG explore end, if the algorithms are in your favour at all. Similarly, check the same out for YouTube. As for pushing it out, I’d suggest giving a breather between the single and the video. I waited a week for my first single’s lyric video. For the next one, I waited about a week and a half and I’ve got a good response on both. It’s important to keep finding ways of promoting yourself. Interact with your audience at all times! --- Ed Eagle: Would you mind telling everyone here why you chose to release western music like Pink Floyd, which I still sing all of the time! Maaya: So as I mentioned earlier, I started posting covers on Instagram and they did pretty well. But my music never started with western music. It started with Indian Classical Vocals! I finished my years and picked up the keys and guitar at about 10 and 13 years of age, respectively. Slowly, the switch happened to western when I fully took up western vocals! And as for Pink Floyd, it continues to be one of my favourite bands of all time so I just had to give it a go! Didn’t know people would like listening to it the way I’ve sung and played it haha. --- Elion Melody: How long did your song remain on the editorial playlist and approximately how much traction did you receive from it in terms of new followers, saves, listeners, etc?" Maaya: So overall, I’ve been featured thrice on a Spotify editorial playlist - all with different releases and I’d like to give a slight background: the first was my cover of Wish You Were Here, it went up on Women of Indie India and my originals, Some Days and Blue Over You made it to Radar India and it’s currently the biggest playlist here. So, for the cover, it still is on the playlist and was featured in June earlier this year so you can do the math, haha! I’ve received some really dedicated fans from that playlist, they followed me on my socials and still interact with my content. Traction and stream count grew considerably too! As for the other two, Radar India changes its list every two weeks. But oh boy, while my songs were on it, I used to get at least 300-400 streams ALONE from that playlist. It’s because of that playlist majorly that my latest single, Blue Over You has already hit 10k! --- Clau Sotelo: What is your experience with royalties?? what platform works better for you? Maaya: Okay so to be completely honest, I don’t have the best audience on Apple Music yet. Spotify has been paying me some bucks, thanks to NAS, editorial playlists, algorithmic playlists and personalised ones. Of course, since I’ve uploaded covers on Spotify, I don’t earn the most out of those since a % goes to the original artist. As for the singles, it’s going great for the two as well. On Spotify, I’ve earned $50 till August haha. I use DistroKid and I like that they don't take any % of the artists' earning so I plan to stick with them for a while. --- Bokeh: What do you think was the most important thing to get on a Spotify playlist? Maaya: I’ll answer this briefly since I addressed a question similar to this one earlier but yes, if I had to pick 1 thing, without a single doubt, it’d be the form that you gotta fill to submit your song. PLEASE DO NOT TICK OFF ANYTHING THAT DOES NOT FULLY DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC OR ELSE IT WILL BE SUBMITTED TO THE WRONG PLAYLIST CURATOR and we know what happens don’t get playlisted for that release at all! --- Psychedelic Genetics Q1: Do you send in your tracks to any professional mastering engineers? Maaya: Yes! I do. I make sure to send my music to mastering engineers because mastering is as important as a mix is. When it comes to mixing as well, I’m only on the critiquing end. My best friend is an audio engineer and specifically, a mix engineer so he’s the guy who helps me out. He and I are also the ones behind all the production! Sorry for the excess info haha. --- Psychedelic Genetics Q2: I saw what you had said about the importance of Instagram and being consistent and developing an aesthetic. One of my biggest issues is just knowing what to post daily. I struggle to stay on top of social media because of my lack of ideas on posting (social media is not my strong suit) any suggestions on how to combat this and stay motivated to post? Maaya: I completely understand your position! Been there. Maybe check out a few independent musicians or any musician for that matter that you like the social media presence of? Or you could see what I do on IG, might give you an idea of how to develop your own niche and aesthetic. @maayamattoo is my profile. The whole point is to stay true to yourself with what you make. And of course, you don’t need to stick with just music content. Focus on other stuff, what you like: it could be art, craft, science and what not. There’s no limit to what a niche can be. As for the motivation, I think the more you push yourself initially, the higher the reward is. Oh and don’t hesitate to promote your posts via IG Ads. They’re great for that initial boost. And after a while you won’t need it. I’ve been growing organically this whole year! Even went viral with my Instagram Reel. I hit 200k+ views! Pro tip: make reels, it’s like Tiktok and stuff but man, they’re really helpful. --- Plummy: In your opinion, what has been your most effective marketing strategy for getting the most attention to both your music and social media? In other words, was there a certain something you did that made you think “this works! I’m going to keep doing this!” Maaya: Instagram. Reels. Are. Absolutely. Amazing. You should definitely give it a go! The first few might not go as well but don’t give up! It’s what’s working for me, with the whole going viral and stuff. After hitting 100k, I’ve been gaining 100k views day-wise. Secondly, it all did start with sending personalised DMs on Instagram. If somebody has been my follower for about 2-3 days, I send them a short text with a link to my music and what they might like in it/why they should give it a listen and share it around. Collaborations have also helped me a lot. To top it off, doing live shows on Instagram and Zoom is so much fun! And it’s even better when it’s an interactive session with another artist on an Instagram live - both parties gain a portion of each others’ followers! Also, with the whole social media thing, I’d highly recommend checking out a live show platform called Sessions. I signed up with them for a couple of shows and gained nearly 20 followers after each live show I did with them! They’re super helpful and have a short 10 minute audition that you’d have to clear but it’s hella easy so don’t worry about it! --- Pancham_b: I wanted to ask you in more depth about engaging via Instagram, and also: you've gained a considerable social media following, and it's increasing quite rapidly. With this comes the negative aspects and evils such as trolling. I know you had a negative experience recently. Would you have any advice for the other people on here who are looking to build social media engagement? Maaya: ah yes, I have been trolled quite a bit in the past for my music and how I choose to portray my art on social media. The recent experience was especially hurtful because the person called me “unoriginal” and claimed that I’d copied one of my reels from another creator - which is odd because I wrote that song and if she meant the chord progression oh my f*ing god that would be classy. Coming to the engagement bit I think this list of things might help:

  • Stories, almost everyday at the highest engagement times according to your insights. Even if it’s like 50 people at max say, at 6 pm on a Wednesday, make sure post then
  • Instagram Lives. For this, you can have a short setlist, I do one with about 3 songs max. People tend to not stick around the whole time so a short & crisp one works best
  • Feed/grid posts at least thrice a week. Follow a niche/aesthetic. Use relevant hashtags, make your own hashtag too! It could be as simple as your artist name or something quirky!
  • Have a particular time of posting: mine is 5:30 pm on whichever day of the week the audience engagement according to my insights is considerably high.
  • Keep a neat Instagram bio, it needs to give out just the right amount of info. If you’re in a duo or a band, don’t forget to mention that.
  • Switch to a creator account on Instagram ASAP if you haven’t already
  • Follow other creators/artists too! It’s not a one-way street!
  • Facebook is pretty helpful too. Having your own Facebook page adds to the professional look.

The Nathaniel Hardy Project

MoodMessages Q1: What made you get into the music industry? Nathaniel: I was a 15 year old living in the Baltimore “Projects”... so to keep out of trouble I joined a school band. Played the Bass Cello. Once it proved to hard to carry home I switch over to the trombone, then taught myself a little keyboard. --- MoodMessages Q2: As a young artist what challenges did you encounter? Nathaniel: Racism, was the first challenge I encountered! We as a band only were offered $35,000.00 whilst a white friend of my older brother’s received an advance of $250K. I went back to RCA and told them to keep the money then they did something that I thought that they would not do. They split the money five ways! And only two members of the band actually used the money for what is was meant for! Terrance (Balfour) and myself! I made a killing! We were dropped and the other knuckle-heads had to pay the money back. --- MoodMessages Q3: Have any labels approached you to sign with them? Nathaniel: Yes labels have asked me many times and I have turned them down. Labels didn’t have my best interest. Think of George Michael, Prince, and Michael Jackson. --- Oghamyst: How can someone not from the US get radio airplay in the United States? Nathaniel: You are in luck! I happen to have something for all of you! “You have to do the work!” You should not limit yourself to one region of the world. China and India are coming online to streaming. That’s a big piece of pie! Last year I sent a song to South Africa and now it is on a Teen’s Children show!! You can do this yourself! In the ‘80 when the masses didn’t have Internet. I was in the U.S. Navy, and pitched music to radio stations. --- Harry Devereaux: How did you get into such a great position to work with so many huge stars? Nathaniel: A friend moved from Belfast, Northern Ireland...his father managed a company back in the ‘80 in Baltimore. They actually were the only white family in this community. They both played some mean “Blues”. We connected, he had also a drum machine but did not know how to work it. I read it and taught him. We came up with a beat. He called it “Krush Orange Groove” after his political ties with the “IRA”. I thought that was crazy but he was my friend. I was approached on a public bus by a Jewish guy that I should take the track to a friend of his Russell Simmons. --- Saiid Q1: Do you think we have a chance to reach the point we can live from the money we make through our music? Nathaniel: Yes, Spotify is not your friend, first of all! It’s a business. I just won a “Class Action” lawsuit against them as an “Independent Artist”. I have been on Spotify since 2012, and never used it until artist that I recorded with an CD Baby told me it. Make Spotify work for you. Ed Eagle is a genius. Spotify got you to the world, now it’s up to you to push your music. Google “Radio Submission”, setup appointments with music directors, dress nifty. Use Spotify for your advantage. Don’t worry about the stream counts. Because Spotify doesn’t pay much anyways if your song hasn’t charted on the Billboard. I have three under people i co-wrote with: Bobby Brown, Crystal Waters, and Run-DMC. When Spotify pays them, I get paid. --- Saiid Q2: I recently got into music licensing and all things related to it. Do you have a library you can recommend to us? Nathaniel: Run! Don’t walk to this site: in 2021 this company will issue blanket music that “ALL” streaming services have to adhere to. Remember this and that I said this: “No matter if your music has not charted. “Someone is playing your music and making money in their business i.e.: Restaurants, Pubs/Bars, etc...” I belong to an awful lot of music societies and I talk to “A-List” artist as well that I have told them about. Some of the “A-List” artist are very busy. They aren’t watching their potential money until I bring it up to them. No one looked out for Terrance and I. We had to go to the library or an attorney. Only “THREE” artists ever told me anything about the music business was: Nile Rodgers, both the late: Bernard Edwards, and Luther “Ronnie” Vandross. --- iconDARK: What are the biggest, most impactful changes you've seen in the music industry across your career? Would you consider them changes for the better or worse? Nathaniel: To me “Disco” never left. I call it “EDM”.Rap which I would label “Trap Music” which was starred in Atlanta. Has made a biiig impression on the labels. But the beat sound the same to me!!! “Content ID” on YouTube. Trap Music sounds so much the same that I had to file a complaint when YouTube would not give it to me for “Pandemic Nation 2020 that I had to do “Remix”. Need to say I won! --- Keepers of The Earth Peace: How do you know which radio stations are worth targeting? Is radio worth the effort? Nathaniel: Listen to the music on the radio. Don’t let radio “Dumb” your creative process! You all are better than this! --- Raging Coast: Would it be much harder to grow a fanbase and become successful if you don’t stick to a single genre? Nathaniel: Fan base! I don’t even have a fan base. I learned one thing about “so-called” if you aren’t releasing within two years. You are dead to them.! Look you can be in many “Genres”. If people like your music it won’t matter. Look at “Nelly”, he is in Rap and Country. --- Brad Cheese: What was it like to work with Run-DMC? Nathaniel: Both Joseph and Darryl where great! Darryl was the “thinker” very quiet! Joseph was the boaster! Sh*t talker! Typical New Yorker to me. Jason Mizzle (RIP) was the one who came up with the idea of the leather hats and the “Adidas”. It took them about 15 tries to record “Sucker MC’s”. --- Plummy: If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be? Nathaniel: That everyone be treated equal and that there was some class an artist could take so he/she would not end up broke. I have friends that ended up owing the record companies money and lost their rights to their music i.e.: George Clinton. “Don’t do drugs!” Drugs and your money in the record industry do not make good bed fellows! --- Clau Sotelo: Is it easy for an independent artist to follow all the legal matters without a lawyer's help ? Nathaniel: You don’t need a lawyer. But you need to make sure that your work(s) are “Copyrighted” in the United States of America .It’s not necessary. But, this will protect you should “EVER” have to go to court like I did! Read up on this industry! There are some good people, but more “BAD” than good! -----

The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara

Plummy: Besides the high quality of music, what would your best guess be as to what helped you land on those Spotify playlists? TCOMAS: But it is really about making great music, we have to emphasise that! It is very important to make music that comes from you, it is kind of a reflection of your soul. Don’t believe that you should be making music to suit the ‘industry’ in order to be noticed. You need to release new music constantly with a strategy behind it. --- Yenner: Is it vital you pay various promoters for your work or can your content speak for itself? TCOMAS: We tried some promotions at the start but we found that it didn’t help at all with building real listeners and followers. So we stopped wasting our money on this. --- Saiid Q1: Do you have any advice or strategy we can follow to land ourselves on the editorial lists? TCOMAS: When we released our music, we made sure that we really pushed our song out there, applying and contacting as many radios, blogs, magazines, etc as possible. We really milked the hell out of each release - promoting it on social media and also by creating good quality music videos and content. --- Saiid Q2: What was the increase in your daily followers? TCOMAS: To be honest, we actually didn't take note of the numbers. --- Kiirstin Marilyn: How did you find out you were on the playlist? Did someone contact you or you just saw it on your list? TCOMAS: We found it in our Spotify profile on the release day under ‘Featured on’ and after, we received an email from Spotify and it appeared on our Spotify for Artists dashboard. --- Bokeh: Do you think there was any particular thing that you did that led you to be on featured on a Spotify playlist? TCOMAS: We don’t think it’s a one step process - getting in a Editorial playlist - or at least we don’t feel it should be seen as such. We gotta look at the big picture To be honest we think that if you have the right song for the right playlist, they’re probably gonna pick you. --- Oghamyst: How much time did it take for you to be on the editorial playlists after releasing your music on Spotify ( do you feel it's a stats-based numbers game thing or anything else) and also how would you pitch songs, like what would be your usual points of focus? TCOMAS: We were added on the release day itself, found out when we woke up. Best morning ever, hehe. About your Q regarding stats, we don’t think they look at your number of followers or streams - well at least it’s what they said officially. About the pitch - Make sure to pitch it to Spotify at least 2 weeks before. Help them by listing the name/s of the Spotify editorial Playlist/s that you think your track might be suitable for. Make sure you do the research here, and that your track is really suitable for the playlists you suggest of course. --- The Nathaniel Hardy Project Q1: How long have you been recording and what made you want to start putting your music out in 2019? TCOMAS: We started recording early this year - we ended composing and finishing a whole album between February and June 2020 during the London lockdown. --- The Nathaniel Hardy Project Q2: Other than Spotify, have you had any Airplay on the BBC Introducing, Satellite Cable, or Terrestrial Radio? What’s next for you two? TCOMAS: Not on BBC introducing, yet. Hehe. But recently, we’ve been played a lot on radios all around the world. Just last week, we were interviewed live on SG1 Radio. --- The Nathaniel Hardy Project Q3: Did you ever think in your “Wildest Dreams” that you’d be successful with your music on platforms such as Spotify? TCOMAS: We didn’t expect it really. When we got the news that we placed, it was surreal and unreal seeing all our favourite bands in the same playlists as us! We guess the most important achievement from this Editorial playlist placement to us was that Spotify acknowledged us as one of the most innovative and forward-thinking metal bands of today. --- Harry Devereux: What's the one piece of advise you would give to someone on here that wants to expand their listener base past NAS? TCOMAS: Build long lasting relationships with the radios, blogs, musicians and your contacts. They are more likely to share your music with their community this way. Show your gratitude whenever you get reviewed/played on radio, share it to your socials. For example, when someone adds your song to their playlist, share it on your socials and tag them. Small actions like that take little effort but it does a lot to build long lasting relationships. If you check our Twitter account you will see that we do this regularly. --- Mood Messages Q1: What are some difficulties you've had to encounter with coming up with new music? Any creative block? TCOMAS: Making music is the best part...promoting it is the difficult part for us. --- Mood Messages Q2: Have any labels approached you? TCOMAS: We had some small labels that have approached us. But they were offering us things that we are already doing for ourselves. --- Tom Duggan: Hi, I see you are in the top 20 of a 88 song playlist. Does your positioning change much? and do they tell you how long you will be there? TCOMAS: It really depends on which playlist. Some are weekly, some monthly, etc. We don’t really know to be honest. --- Rod Fritz Q1: I'm curious to know how many songs you submitted before being selected? And do you think it is a cumulative thing or they just take each song on its own merits? TCOMAS: We released 5 singles before this one, all this year. About the other question, we don't know, you gotta ask Spotify. But we'd imagine it would be the case. --- Rod Fritz Q2: Was the track they selected your favorite track and was that the one you were expecting to do well? I know you have more than one track on their lists so which ever applies. TCOMAS: No, not really. It is actually the heaviest song in the album - music and meaning wise - in our opinion. --- Rod Fritz Q3: Do you think that will impact on your writing? i.e. will you attempt similar styles to get on yet another curated playlist? TCOMAS: We definitely won’t be trying to cater to other people’s/playlists needs. We will continue to make music we love. But what is important is to make the music first, then see where it can fit in - not the other way round. This has been very difficult for us, but we found ways. If you listen to us, you will see that it is difficult to fit us in a category. But that being said, we got creative with this. --- Rylei Nathaniel: How many followers do you currently have on Spotify? TCOMAS: We currently have 14k monthly listeners, and 125 followers. As we're realizing, the number of followers is not a significant factor in getting the Spotify editorial team's attention, it's more the quality of the music and proper pitching of said music. --- Clau Sotelo: How did the lockdown impact your creativity? TCOMAS: The lockdown gave us both the time and headspace to focus on making new music. We didn’t just make music actually - we also made art together. You can check us out here, hehe: -----

Ed Eagle

Harry Devereux: Hey Ed, I wanted to ask you what your personal highlight was of last year and what are you hoping to achieve this year? Ed: My personal highlight of the past year was my immediately family staying COVID-free, though one of my sisters and her family tested positive a couple weeks ago and they are all doing OK. Otherwise, it is has been meeting you all and finding a community of like-minded, hard-working folks who are down for what we're all about. My goal for this year is to help get as many of you like-minded, hard-working folks on Spotify-curated playlists as possible. --- Piriye: What inspired you to make this platform and what would your end goal with the NAS platform be? Ed: I was inspired by the fact that I knew The Team was a legitimately good track and it was getting zero love from tastemakers because no one knew who the hell I was. So, selfish reasons at first. But then I thought about how many thousands of young people every day - those who are chasing their dreams and not just some middle-aged cat having fun like me -- must be dealing with this, and I decided to try to do something about it. My end goal is to help get as many of you like-minded, hard-working folks on Spotify-curated playlists as possible. --- JHM: You’ve said that one of your biggest musical influences was Radiohead. What was so different about them and how specifically did it influence how you write your own material? Ed: I love that they defy genre, which has absolutely inspired the few originals that I have written. They also don't always follow the "rules" of music. Since I have little or no knowledge of music theory, sadly, I like that we don't have to follow the to make shit sound good! --- Christine: What is your songwriting process like? Ed: I see something that pisses me off or makes me upset -- something that cuts to the core of who I think I am -- and I feel almost compelled to get it out there. As J.H.M could tell you, I am exactly the same in person as I am on here. I am a big, loud American who isn't afraid to share his opinion. But I'm also one of those old-school Yanks who believes in using that loud voice for what is right and to help those in need. So, seeing as I am mostly stuck in a basement and not traveling around the world with a lot of people reading what I have to write every day like I used to, this has become my creative outlet for trying to do good. --- Evan Thomas: Ed looking at all your releases whether original or a cover song, it’s clear that your musical taste is very diverse. That being said, out of all your releases.. and obviously excluding your Christmas tune.. was there one project in particular that you enjoyed more than the others, or that you just felt more connected to? Ed: That was smart to exclude the Christmas song because that was a no-brainer as my favorite, getting two of my kids involved. And I'd have to say "It's Fine" is next. Although it sounds completely autobiographical, it is actually a compilation of the thoughtd and fears and struggles that so many of my friends and family go through. And what struck me, as someone who grew up poor and in a violent environment compared to the vast majority of North Americans, was that it was my friends who seemed to have everything they could ever want who were still suffering as bad as my family members who struggle to pay their bills each month. As Evan Thomas and a lot of the mods know, I had been working on that track since the summer. I wabted to make sure I got it right. I hope that I did. --- Saiid: What is your goal for NAS and on the personal level, how do you want to be seen? Ed: I want to make it onto some Spotify-curated lists, too. I want to make art that people can hear and respond to on a personal level. How do I want to be seen? Just as you see me, my friend, if I can be so lucky! --- Bokeh: How did the idea of founding NAS come about? Ed: I grew up poor and put myself through univeristy and grad school. I then became a university administrator and professor, and during that time I tried to do my best to help folks that grew up like me to reach their dreams even if they didn't have a lot of money. I wrote state grants to fund leadership programs for minority students at school and was even the Black Student Union advisor at my last university job because I felt a kinship to those kids because many of them grew up like I did, despite the fact that I'm (mostly) white. So, long story short, it is my passion to help people who are willing to work hard, no matter their background, and especially if they don't have the financial resources. That's why NAS has always been and will always be free. --- Motion Sickness: Being a musician and also a sports guy, if given the chance to be 20 again and have the opportunity to be a big star at both, which path would you choose? Ed: Music for sure! I have a good friend and fraternity brother I reconnected with recently who has been a guitar tech for some of the biggest rock acts in the world. I've told him a few times how jealous I am that he got to meet a lot of the rock stars we grew up idolizing. But maybe I just feel that way because I was already lucky enough to have met most of the sports stars I idolized as a kid. --- Skinny Dippers: What do you feel has been most successful about NAS or what are you most proud of to date? Ed: I think the most successful part has been this: Most of us started out having to beg our riends and family to listen to our tracks to have any kinds of listeners and streams at all. Now, we share our art with other like-minded folks who don't just see us as Ed the baseball guy who is doing music for fun, but as Ed, the vocalist and guitarist who writes songs about some kinda deep shit. In a few months, we've transformed the very way that people think of us and how we think about ourselves as artists. I am most proud of the fact that not only have we kept this thing going -- this community spirit -- we've actually improved upon it as we've gotten bigger. I think the interviews and podcasts and reviews and such really have helped, and we'll be looking for more ways, always, to improve upon it. --- Wilko Wilkes Q1: I loved It’s Fine. I know this is just the second self-penned track you've released and I wanted to know if you can feel the fire inside him growing? How far ahead are you planning? Ed: I haven't yet been inspired to write track 3 yet. I have about a million riffs and musical ideas recorded on my phone's voice memo app, but I haven't had anything hit me in the gut hard enough to write lyrics as of yet. When it happens, it is like they are poured into my head. I wrote the lyrics to The Team and It's Fine literally off the top of my head both times. It was crazy. I'm hoping I get hit again, but I'll never try to force it. It could also be that "It's Fine" burned me out a bit. I put months into making sure the sounds in my head made it into the DAW, and that was thanks to SovRin, Raven Paradox, ConnollyTunes and J.H.M helping me. I am still an absolute novice when it comes to engineering and I find that part to be the most exhausting, because I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my originals. (As you can tell from the lack of quality in my covers, those are just fun collabs for the most part). --- Wilko Wilkes Q2: How much time per day do you spend on music and does your wife get mad about it? Ed: It varies wildly from day to day and week to week. I earned a lot of time off from work that I have been using lately, so I have been able to put more time into music. Does my wife get mad? Of course, and with good reason. In fairness, I wasn't doing a good job of work-family-NAS balance when we were first starting to really get this off the ground and she was rightfully upset. I have tried to do a much better job of that since. And my wife just came down to bring me lunch because she's the best person ever and I showed her this answer. --- Oddzo: Why Ed “Eagle”? After the British ski jumper or the famous NHL goalie? Or a strange love for the aviary creature… Ed: My name is actually Ed Eagle, Joe… --- Tom Duggan: How did you and the first Mods meet up? Ed: Mostly through submit hub, and I'm not even sure how I found submit hub in the first place. I saw all of these folks doing F4F and started to join in. Then I made a playlist for myself and some friends I knew who were making music (or their kids, actually). I started just adding the people who asked me to follow them back to the playlist. After awhile, I asked them to stream it a couple times per week. It grew very quickly. Then Mr. Dawzo reached out to me and gave me some tips for setting up a list like this. And I think it was Christine who first suggested the IG chats to organize it. --- Agastya Bhardwaj: Who is your biggest inspiration and what inspires you to write music? Ed: My biggest inspiration is my mom. She raised me on her own in pretty dire circumstances and taught me to treat everyone as equals from a very young age. She was also quite a barrier breaker. My parents had me when they were both only teenagers, yet she went on to be an All-Star softball pitcher, a member of a large union (I was out picketing in the streets for fair worker treatment as a young kid) and she was often one of the few women in any position that she took. She's my idol and I try every day to make her proud with my actions. --- Desai: What are your plans for the future? Ed: I’d be thrilled just to jump on stage with Evan Thomas and his band the next time they are in town and maybe perform The Team live for the first time. --- Plummy Q1: What has been the best and worst surprise since starting NAS? Ed: The best surprise has been the amazing people I have met whom I can now call friends; kindred spirits who get my original vision and what we're all about. The worst surprise has been the haters who have tried to copy us, failed and then talked shit and wanted to watch us fail as well. I guess I shouldn't be surprised because it is the world today and this business in particular. But it absolutely hurts to hear people saying I'm trying to use you all or rip you off somehow. No good deed goes unpunished. --- Plummy Q2: If you could see one specific thing about the music business change, what would it be? Ed: Greed, Selfishness. I guess that is two. The music business is like the worst parts of society amplified by 100 and put on steroids. --- Kiirstin Marilyn: Watching everything going on in the US right now, how does it feel being in Canada? Do you feel relieved that you escaped the madness? Ed: Thanks! And no, not at all. It is killing me. I watch it closely every day and feel absolutely helpless. I have a huge, huge family and I worry every day about my mom, stepmom, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. I am and always will be an American, no matter how long I live here and how much I love it here. It is crushing. And it sucks to have to explain to my many Canadian friends how we could let this happen when there is no simple explanation other than racism is and has always been the cancer that is eating my beautiful homeland from within. --- Clau Sotelo: How does it feel to have such an international community of artists? Do you think we should have our own version of “We are the world” ? Ed: I love how diverse this group is. Wouldn't want it any other way. And I think that would be a cool idea if it could be done in a non-corny way. That's the trick. -----


Call Me T: What is your opinion of the Scorpions, one of the most successful rock/metal bands to come out of Germany? SovRin: Personally I am more a fan of heavier tones, but the scorpions and what they have done in the past trying to unite people is awesome. Sadly I don't know anything outside of their main works --- Ed Eagle: As someone who works for a record label, how much weight does “people also listen” carry with you all? SovRin: That is actually a difficult one. When looking at submissions through the various platforms, the most important thing for us is the sound. If the sound is right and kinda fits our roster we will go into detail. Such as looking at your social profiles, do you have a brand established, are you set on what you want to represent or how you want to be represented on the internet. After that we look at numbers. People with 300 followers but millions of plays are a no go for us, same goes with someone on Instagram who has posted 2 pictures but has 14K followers. If people already have some kind of brand established (where people also listen to also falls under) and everything looks in order you are basically good for us. --- Bokeh: What music are you listening to lately? SovRin: Today, except for the daily dose of NAS, I listened to the various submissions I got for my playlists and the label. When I am off duty I would rather hear something called Gaming Dubstep or Filthstep: Favourite Artists being Teminite, Savant, MDK and Virtual Riot to some extent. As some might know I was once a metal head and still listen to things like Lamb of God, Devildriver, Killswitch Engage for example. Basically it's about 200 songs on repeat either Metal or Dubsteppy. --- Charles Connolly: How do you go about promotion in terms of your own music? What do you find to be your most effective method? SovRin: Promotion-wise I am still learning a lot, I joined the label about 2 years ago. At the moment I am currently building up a list of legit Promotion services (like ours, but except you don't have to do something so you pay money). I found out reaching the first 1K followers was the hardest part of the journey. I try to use my "small built up" influence to help others. We have/had a twitch show where we promote label music (so also mine) and just people we like. I tried several paid promotions and taking those off my list that are scams (also passing them on to Spotify for example, so they won't scam anyone). Reaching out to people has been the best success so far. Engage your audience, get to know who really likes your music, possibly create a subscriber email (via Bandcamp) for example. It's all steadily growing so maybe in 3 to 5 years I can tell you what was good and what was not. --- Motion Sickness: How did you come up with the name “SovRin”? And how did you become involved in electronic wherein you are a heavy metal fan? SovRin: The name is pretty easy to explain. I like gaming, and was a huge fan of Mass Effect. The story was awesome, and the first time meeting the Entity called Sovereign blew my mind. Since he pronounced his name SovRin (kinda) I chose that as my Tag. something like a seemingly all mighty entity from outer space (also used the voice sample in Nazara). As for music, that is a good question, I had experiments with musical taste, also going to a Gothic / Industrial Disco one time. and the mix of guitars with heavy electronics was kinda nice, then around 2007 or so i was at Rock am Ring in Germany and Skrillex was there, that was about the time Korn also did some Dubsteppy stuff, and I was totally into it. It was really hard discovering what I liked, until I found Savant, I actually discovered him in an Skiing Ad on Youtube (his music that is--Splinter if you want to have a listen) and thought man that is absolutely my style. I listened to everything by him, and he puts out a lot of stuff (hence the name Savant (he is autistic) like every year he would be dropping 2 albums, so you always had music to listen to. --- Oghamyst: What inspired you to start making gaming music? SovRin: Well I was always a nerd, even as a kid I would sit in front of the C64 just for an hour watching the little computer people play the piano, or I would listen to the Game on! Demos that came with magazines. I was always a musician (got my first guitar at 16 and played 4 to 7 hours a day) once I got a job I didn't have time to practice anymore, and discovering the electronic music genre gave me an opportunity to make music without having the need of a band or a timeframe of hours and hours to practice. --- Brad Cheese and Tom Duggan: If there was one game you would love to hear your music in, what would it be? SovRin: The one game I would like to do music for: At the moment? Beat Saber, all time favourite? A Monkey Island Title. I would be totally proud to be featured in anything music related as a game to be honest. So Monkey Island obviously it being my all time favourite game series, but I used to play the hell out of games like Guitar Hero and Rockband. So Beat Saber or this new VR DJ Game that I forgot the name would be awesome. But since I am not featured anywhere yet, I would love to be featured in any little arcade, platformer, jump n run or agility game. --- Oddzo: What was the inspiration for Dungeon and Jester? SovRin: No real inspiration for Dungeon I was just going for the feel Melody Circus by Savant gave me. It's not as good but it has a lot of elements that I liked about that song. Jester actually got inspired by Undertale, I never heard a Chiptune that was based around Swing and I wanted to do a swingy song myself, Jester came out. --- Origin: How do artists go about reaching record labels? Is there a good way that doesn’t require you paying for contact info from online artist personalities? SovRin: My personal success story was, find an outlet and just pitch to labels. Sites like Label Radar or Submithub don't require you to pay money, only if you want to be first in line and for me personally that doesn't matter. Most important thing is be consistent to put out stuff and reach out, never get discouraged. --- Jade Robbins: I was just curious if you could describe your writing process. Such a unique style! I’m also curious if you have a preference for software, digital or analogue synths. SovRin: My writing process is chaotic. In the Case of Void, I was cleaning the house and got this melody stuck in my ear, I couldn't make it stop, so I dropped the vacuum and got to the studio, 8 hours later I was done. No more edits and the song was out of my head. In generaI, I come up with something in my head that lasts about 10 to 30 seconds and try an build on from there. I got a lot of shit as I am totally self taught and obviously made noob mistakes, but I got better. Now a usual song takes me from start to finish about 6 to 10 hours of worktime. The new works in Process are a bit out of league though as I really sat down and learned music theory, so I wrote some Bach-style melodies first and then worked my way. Latest piece the melody alone took 9 hours to come to an end. I can give a tip though. Get yourself a Template, routing inside of DAW of your usual steps, keeps it clean and reduces worktime and anger by about 2 hours. My favourite DAW is FL-Studio, just because Savant used it and I Bought it (Yes good little fanboy). Favourite Synth, I don't have anything analogue, Favourite software Serum (it's so easy to use and can do most of the stuff) Plogue Chipsounds for the retro feeling, Sytrus (FL studio standard) for FM Basses, and the good old trusty 3x Osc for Sub Basses. --- Copperstone: What is your advice on how to best market to Apple Music users / playlists? Everything seems so geared towards Spotify and there doesn't seem to be as much info out there on ways to go about targeting Apple Music. SovRin: I am no apple user sadly and despise those that pay $500$ for a idolized piece of tech! It's always trying to get to find what suits you best. If you look at the successful people in my Niche, they all have something they focused on. You can (as a normal person) not be Instagram God and Twitter God, you have to find one main outlet. Apple plays a bit more, but also the audience is more nichey? Is that a word? If you go by numbers you should put everything on Napstar for maximum profit, getting someone to listen on there though? hard... So my advice, find something for you that you find easily accessible or find someone who is a real pro at those things and let them teach you. --- DJ Ben Waller: How does he begin making a song. Like does he start with chords, or melody. Or does he start with the drum pattern. SovRin: I almost never start with drums, though I like drums they never get me inspired. Also I usually never start with chords, I do that if I want to improvise or create a feeling first. So long Chords for sad lofi or chill stuff, doing them staccato if you want to go Dubsteppy Reggae. Most of the time I either have a Melody or a Bassline in my head, or just a cool effect I try to rebuild in Serum or such. So sad to say I don't have a scheme, if I feel inspired I open up the DAW and play away until it fits. --- Saiid Zeidan: How do you find the time to manage your record label and your music, including NAS ? I know that you dont sleep a lot but how do you find the energy? SovRin: I think finding the energy isn't hard for me, I am a workhorse, I get angry if I don't have anything to do. If I sit around doing nothing I will take the dog for a walk for an hour, or rip out stuff in the garden. I used to be quite depressed and had headaches all the time when I was a teen. I did Martial Arts and it kinda built me up. People having your back, training you, teaching you. After that I just felt better and since then I always try to help people to the best of my extent, part of the reason why I ended up here. --- Keepers of The Earth Peace: Is it better to promote your music independently or try to connect with record labels? When is a good time to try and send your music to record labels? When you think you have a good show and ability to perform and are ready to tour? SovRin: Touring especially at the moment is kinda off the table. before it all started going downhill I was actually hit up by booking agencies that wanted me to DJ, but not my own stuff. I used to work a lot as a Rent-a-DJ for Weddings and stuff, and to be honest I hate it, all those drunk drugged up people annoying you. As for Promotion it kinda depends where and what you want to do. If you find a major Label they will do everything for you, but I have seen royalty cuts of 85%, so keep in mind that you may have a big outlet, but they will get the money (or most of it). We as a small label take less but only have a reach of 33K people worldwide at the moment. In today’s time, you can do everything by yourself, but maintaining a social profile, advertising, promoting, pushing, graphic design and such, can take up pretty much all of your time. So I would say it's a personal decision. Do I want tons of people listening? Aim for a major label. Do I want control over everything I do? Go Independent. Or anything in between. --- Skinny Dippers: What's one thing an artist did that got your attention while working at a label? SovRin: In a good way? We actually onboarded someone who got on one of our first shows on twitch (as a fan, not an artist), we featured one of his songs and though it lacked technicality but the heart was right, so we just decided to approach the artist and they got on. In a bad way? People being horrible; we once had someone that submitted a song to us, we accepted it, but they immediately involved a lawyer to go through the Artist agreement. As we are a 2 to 5 people Label, we said, sorry we can't deal with that, take the Artist Agreement or leave. They then tried to sue us for being dicks. --- Even Fred’s Happy: Based on your experiences, do you think record labels will continue to play an important role in the industry ? Or is the DIY approach going to continue to take off, especially post pandemic? SovRin: I think if you just want to release music, there are plenty of helpful sites on the internet that let you do everything you want. A Label is only important if you solely want to focus on making music and not dealing with the side quests. I think as the sites evolve it will get easier and easier to bring your music out there. But then again? What do 12 releases a year get you if you don't get your ass up and promote that. If you want medium to big success I think you don't get anywhere without connections or a truck load of luck. --- JHM: What was the first time you remember hearing music of any kind, in any form? And do you hear any of that in the music you do today? SovRin: The first time I heard music, damn that's tough. I don't remember much of my childhood, but I remember some tunes from the C64, like super Mario, Gianna Sisters, Sisyphus and stuff, I can still hum the melodies. My first real experience with music was at my Cousins wedding when they played that big organ. Also I remember going through my Dad’s Compact Discs and finding Best of Reggae 87 I think those were my first musical things I can recall. I hear a lot of the music from old games in the music I do today. Though I never try to sound like a Video Game Soundtrack, I always do. Whenever I send someone something it's either, hey they should make a game to that, or wow what a creepy subnote. --- Bourbon Blues Ensemble: Most indie artists have heard that "You don't need a record label this days" I still believe there are advantages to have one. What are this advantages and what should an indie band look for when looking for management and or a label? SovRin: In my opinion look for a label that has their heart in the right spot. There are some that just treat you like a product. We actually have someone on the label now, that had some pretty epic line ups in the past, but now sticks with us, as his 11th Label (take that in, No. 11). He is with us now for 2 years and happy about it and even donates some of his money to charity because he likes the aspect that we were founded to help out small unknown artists and he wants to do his part. So yeah, find a label that suits you and take a close look. Take Monstercat for example. They are huge but i got in contact some times with them and they are really nice Canadian people. So long story short, if you can find someone that helps you with the stuff you either hate to handle yourself or lack the ability, take the help. No one becomes David Guetta over night, but some people can give you a head start on the process. --- Plummy: What is the most advantageous thing you have learned about the music industry since working for a label? SovRin: Nothing in the industry works without a network! You need to build knowledge where to push things, whom to talk to, get to know people that can give you tips. In the beginning I thought, music can't be that hard, I can do it, but without people telling you where to improve you might not improve at all. And believe me the internet is full of doo doo heads that just say stupid things (Ah Virtual Riot sounds better, stop making music). Never give in to the hate the internet offers you, take the advice honest people give you that take the time to listen and to understand. --- Kiirstin Marilyn: How many other artists are on your label? How did you raise capital to fund the label? SovRin: Let's just say, founding a label is not the hard part, building up a brand and maintaining it to stay alive are the costly things. At the moment we have 33 Artists on the Label with about a third of them putting out music on a regular basis. So Far money wise we went for our own money from other sources (so private money). Doing Fundraisers or Patreon stuff is good for Solo Artists (as the audience can engage directly with the artist). It's not as good for labels. For now making money from streaming services that you can then reinvest is the biggest thing I guess. Still trying to figure out if people would buy SovRin T-Shirts for a good cause (me). -----

Elion Melody

Carter Senpai: How do you decide when a song is done and ready for the masses? Elion: Honestly this as difficult of a decision as it sounds! I myself am a perfectionist and always feel that I can perform a line or verse better than it already stands. I also am constantly developing ideas that can be added to that song that’s currently in the making. But sometimes you just got to call it quits, otherwise you’ll be working on that same track forever. I try to keep in mind that I can use those ideas on future works. --- Srv-musicmaker: Who are your biggest inspirations and which artist has inspired you the most? Elion: My main inspirations include Young Thug, Drake, Trey Songz, Eric Bellinger and the list can on. Honestly, I adore what each of those artists bring to the table both in terms of vocals and production. Young Thug is crafty and cunning with how he fearlessly manipulates his voice and can perfectly capture the listeners’ ears. He’s honestly one of the reasons why so many upcoming artists are not afraid to be whoever they want to be on the tracks. Love the confidence. Drake is just one of the GOATs I grew up on (alongside Lil Wayne) so I appreciate their lyrical ability and musical prowess. --- Call Me T: Love the "Handle " is Elion Melody you real name or Artist Name? If it's an artist name where did it originate from? Elion: Appreciate that greatly! Elion Melody is my artist name, my real name is Elisha (pronounced E-lie-sha). Really took the development of my artist name to heart. “Elion” is a nickname that my closest friends gave me (pronounced E-lion) to symbolize a lion. I thought it would be cool to add an artist “last name “ to that and took inspiration from Trey Songz’s name. After some time, I decided that “Melody” would be the perfect fit because it added some contrast to my name where Elion was fierce and Melody was more soft hearted. Funny enough, meeting people online and in-person, they pronounced Elion as El-lee-on, which I have started to like and now use that pronunciation. --- Bokeh: How did you get started in music? Elion: Started music in church as a little kid. I played the drums and was lead singer several times for youth choir events. In middle school, I started writing my own lyrics to my favorite songs. The first song I ever wrote was to Chris Brown’s Yo Excuse Me Miss in 5th grade --- The Blindfold Experience Q1: Could you describe your song writing process? Elion: Always a great question! It has always varied for me. Commonly, I’ll listen to an instrumental and create lyrics off of that. So I’ll start off my freestyling harmonies or lines and see what I’m really feeling. I further challenged myself by finding another instrumental later on that I feel works for my song and re-develop my song to fit that new instrumental. So for example, my upcoming song “In The Wrong” was originally made in early 2020 to a beat by this producer that goes by the name of 808c. After listening to one of Padre Toxico’s beats recently, I adapted the song to that and it totally blew the song out of the water because it forced to be even more creative! Other times, I’ll just make a song from scratch, freestyle the lyrics and tempo and try to find a suitable beat for it later --- The Blindfold Experience Q2: And how do you record? In a "professional" studio or in a home studio?" Elion: Professional studio! My current living situation wouldn’t be best for a home studio with my mother and brother making noise all over the place most of the time --- Saiid and Faded Element: What would be your dream collab after you are ready to produce a global hit? Elion: My dream collab would be with Young Thug or Eric Bellinger. I’ve really been inspired by their craft over the past several years and even had Eric Bellinger respond to a DM of mine late last year, so you never know what could happen! --- Carter-senpai: Who's on the production team behind your releases? Where did you meet? Elion: My production team is Stronger Bond Studios! They’ve worked with countless indie artists and even some mainstream artists such as Post Malone, Jeremih, etc. The head engineer, Anthony, is a phenomenal guy and clearly talented with this mixing and mastering capabilities. He’s given me great advice and helped me figure out interesting ways to layer my vocals and whatnot --- Starzi: How do you create the melody/beat for your songs? They're so catchy! Elion: I don’t do too much on the beat side of things, I just work with producers who really fit my vibe and inspire me to produce creative vocals harmonies/melodies. Thank you so much for that! I love that listeners tend to find my works catchy, which is great because I want it to stick with you indefinitely! --- Oghamyst: Which is your favourite Elion Melody track? Elion: It’s a tough decision between The Storm and Red Mercedes for me right now. They’re great counterparts to each, The Storm being about relationship trauma and Red Mercedes being about someone healing you from relationship/life trauma. Might have to pick a song title out of a hat and call it a day. --- Ed Corrado: What would have to happen in his musical career to feel successful? Elion: Honestly I already feel successful because I never really imagined that I’d take it this far. I’m just appreciative of the journey! But my next steps for success would include having listeners continuously excited for my upcoming releases, working with a variety of artists, performing live shows, releasing a well-rounded EP and making it onto a Spotify editorial playlist --- Keepers of the Earth Peace; How much does it cost to produce a song? Is the extra cost to get that next level of sound quality critical in your view? Elion: The song production costs kind of vary for me, depending on how happy I feel with my performance on the song, the mix and if I come up with any new components to add. But let’s go through the process a little bit. I book a 4-hr session for $240 and I can usually set the foundation for 2 songs in that time with some of the mixing done. I will take that draft home with me and listened over and over for a few weeks and decide what needs to be fixed, added, etc. I will then do another 4-hr session and make all adjustments. If the adjustments are quick, I can get the mixing and maybe mastering finished then. If not, then just book an hour eaxh song to finish any other mixing and mastering. So about $300 a song at times. But for me, it’s worth it because I wanted to come into the music industry sounding the most professional I could. --- Dorian Whisper: How do you manage a working life with all those moderator activities with NAS and other playlists? I remember that Ed once mentioned that you never sleep, but is that your secret? Elion: Honestly I still don’t know :joy: it’s not good but yes my sleep is very lacking. I get 4-6 hrs of sleep per night and that includes the weekends. During any breaks or travels in between jobs, I spend on my phone trying to complete my mod duties and just help artists where I can. --- The Ennrons: You’re about to become a doctor, but let’s say your music career blows up and you leave the medical profession. Would you consider that a waste of your doctorate? Elion: I would still say no! Education has always been made a priority and it’s been important for my family to have someone achieve the highest level of degree, being that my mom and everyone before her came from Jamaica. So I will be happy to say I achieved that and will be grateful to have that in my back pocket in case of anything. --- Charles Connolly: How do you get all the girls? And do you plan to leave any for the rest of us? Elion: I am trying my best but some things can’t be helped when you’re the upcoming king of R&B/new sex symbol 😎I will be sure to leave you a few in another lifetime! -----

Eveline Armina of Marble Waves

Panem: How did you get to do the TV thing? Was it part of a promo plan or you jumped on an opportunity, and what did it bring you? Eveline: Actually I was cast by them. They saw a video of me singing extra ordinary live, and send an email if I wanted to come for a casting. It brought me a lot! It was very very interesting to go through this process of the casting and the styling, it was very interesting!! But about 2.5 million people watched it, which is a lot in Holland cause we are a small country, and since then things have been going really well for us. Now we have actual serious radio play and some shows and we just got actual fans from it. --- SovRin: It’s not even been a year since you guys released your first track. Yet we only hear amazing things from you. How was the journey for you til here? Eveline: True we released our first single Through The Dark on april 17th. Actually me and Frank started writing the songs in 2017 already so we have a long journey together, and Rutger and Ame joined in the end of 2018, so yeah the band is already together pretty long. But we worked on the songs and the sound for a long time before we felt ready to really release something. And we did follow some workshops on how to release your new music and to come out as a new band, which was very good for us since we developped a good release plan. SO we didn't just drop the music and see what happened but we have a whole plan. --- Ed Corrado: How did you come up with your sound? Was it conscious or did it just kind of happened when you all started playing together? Eveline: I think it was a bit of a mix. I think me and Frank (the guitarist) always already knew what we wanted soundwise, but we needed some time to figure out how to get it to sound how we wanted it to sound. --- Oghamyst: Hello and congrats for all that you and your band have accomplished so far I like your songs a lot, and my favourite one is the "Extraordinary" what's your favourite song among all of yours? I would like to know about your songwriting what goes on your mind, is it a mood thing..also like do you write the music part and then the vocals or vice versa..I do like your sound production quality much - one of the best in NAS for me..Do you guys self produce and also are you open for collabs? Eveline: Hi! Thank you! I think my personal favorite is also Extra Ordinary, because the lyrics are very dear to me. I feel like they really express a feeling that I have been struggling with for a long time. But actually truly my favorite is not released yet….. So about the songwriting. It's not always the same, but in general I do most of the writing at first, together with Frank, the guitarist. I can play a bit of guitar and piano, so some songs I wrote myself (usually on guitar) and I would send some rough recordings to Frank who would then work on some nice guitar melodies and we would go from there. Sometimes it actually starts with a recording from Frank. Sometimes it starts with a jam (Moon and Mars). So it's not always the same. But usually it starts with just a basic guitar and a melody and lyrics from me and then when that base is composed we start adding the rest, so drum and bass, and then harmonies and extra instruments. Also lyrically I always write with a picture of something in mind, and I try to put double meanings in the lyrics. And the production was done by a professional producer that I know because he works with my boyfriend (who is a drummer and sometimes drums stuff for his recordings). He gave us a bit of a discount because he knew me but it was still VERY expensive, but we really wanted to invest and make sure that the first EP we would release already would be good quality production wise. I really really think thats very important if you want people to take you serious as a band/musician. Every release, and especially the first one, needs to be of good production quality if you really want to make it. Thats what I think. --- Call Me T: Through the dark...sounds awesome !! the harmonies are "Angelic" long have you guys been together? also are you guys just friends or family ?? Eveline: Thank you!! Me and Frank, the guitarist, actually met up in 2017 when we both went to sort of a try-out for a new band, and we immediately clicked, both personally and musically. And the rest of the people trying out for the band were nice and all and we played with them a while, but me and Frank really felt very quickly that we needed to make music together. Back then we also had another singer with us, and we started writign with the three of us, but after a while, the other singer left as well. In the end of 2018 me and Frank had a whole list of music and had gotten really close friends, and we decided to hold auditions for a bassplayer and a drummer, and thats how Marble Waves was formed! And we are actually really close friends now And thanks for calling the harmonies angelic, actually the harmonies have always been very important for us, and the requirements for the drummer and bassplayer in the auditions were that they also had to be able to sing, because we wanted three part harmonies in the live shows as well, and great news, in the past few weeks we've been having auditions for a second guitar-player that can also sing, and we found her last week, so we now sort of officially have a fifth member as well, a female guitarist. --- The Blindfold Experience: I'm curious if you write collectively, or separate and then bring a finished song to the band? Eveline: Basically, me and Frank are the composing team Frank records A LOT of guitar melodies and ideas and always sends me a lot of recordings from him, and when I hear something I really like I start writing on it. But I myself can also play a bit of guitar and piano, so sometimes I also start writing myself and then send it to Frank so he can work his magic with it. And I have a notebook app on my phone in which I have MANY MANY drafts for lyrics haha. Im Dutch so I cycle basically everywhere I go, and very often when Im on the bike I find myself suddenly thinking of amazing lyrics lol, and then I just literally stop biking and write the lyric , which sometimes is a whole verse, or sometimes just one sentence (For example today when I cycled home I stopped and I wrote down = Just take a look around and see, the flowers are back in the field) And sometimes when I feel uninspired I just scroll through this notebook app and I immediately get inspiration. --- Tom Duggan: I see you have a gig lined up for next year already. What is your priority for this year, to get out and play live, to work on new material or to try and do both? Eveline: Actually we have about 6 in 2022 already lol! Everything keeps being cancelled Well actually we originally had planned to really try and 'make it' and we had booked a lot of gigs, but now Corona literally cancelled everything. So we changed our plans and we have been spending our time mostly on writing and making demos for an album. Which actually sort of almost is ready to record now But we did decide to hire a 'plugger' who plugs us at radio stations, and that was EXPENSIVE, but has actually given us a lot of cool chances! We have now been played quite a few times on a few of the biggest Dutch radio stations and we received an email from our plugger on wednesday that starting next week, THE biggest radio station will start playing us! --- Brad Cheese: Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now? Eveline: Well my dream is that we really will have made it as a band. Like I really hope we will be a 'big' band. Not because I want to get famous or something, but because I want to be able to do this as my only job. Now I have a job as a filmmaker as a well, which is very fun, but actually my dream would be to only be a musician full-time. --- Air Vibration: How did you guys come up with the band name? Eveline: Good question! So when we started writing most of the EP it was back in 2017/2018. Thats when most of the songs that are on the EP were born. Back then I was personally struggling a lot with the question if I was walking the right path in life. Like if I was making the right decisions... I felt like I was working really hard to reach goals but was getting absolutely nowhere. I felt like I was stuck. So a lot of the first songs from Marble Waves were about that theme lyrically. (Through The Dark, Caught In A Current, Extra Ordinary are about that theme) And then we needed a bandname and we had soooo many options, and suddenly Frank said 'Maybe something with marble, marble sea, or marble waves' And I immediately knew 'That's how I feel, I feel like I'm a marble wave.' (This is literally what Caught In A Current is about) Marble Waves is a great contradiction. Marble is stone, frozen, it will never move. But a wave is always moving. And that was how I felt. So yeah, that's why. --- Wilko Wilkes: Do you take time to look back and take stock of what you’re achieved? Eveline: Yes!! Its important to keep realizing the achievements and not only want more more more! I do tend to want more more more and not really stand still and be happy with what we already achieved but my bandmates (especially our Drummer Rutger) reminds me a lot, and also my boyfriend tells me a lot like, hey dont complain that this radio has only played you once so far. be happy they played you!! And this helps. --- Amaury Laurent Bernier: Hey Eveline, I’ve seen you studied at the Film Academy. Are you planning on going that way as a director further? And if so in which genre? Commercial, features...?(Selfish question, of course as I’m always looking to connect with more directors!). Have you directed your last clip? Eveline: Yes true! I studied at the Amsterdam Filmacademie I actually directed all of our videos myself And wrote the scrips and produced and edited and everything .It’s actually how I earn my money. Filmmaking is my 'actual job' but music is my passion! -----

Rod Fritz

JHM Q1: I was wondering if it have always been Rod Fritz the solo artist or whether you were ever part of a band? Rod Fritz and the Fritzlings perhaps…. Rod Fritz: I've had several bands. One in Australia called Fritz and the second in Germany called FritzBand. --- JHM Q2: Just wanted to say everyone here would agree you are a super genuine person. I feel your music gives off that genuine sound. Is that something that you feel is important to you when writing your songs? Rod: I don't know. I am just the way I am and never really thought about it too much. My songs just come and I have very little control over what comes out. Most of it comes from my personal experience however these days I do put thought into sending out a positive message in my lyrics. That kind of thing just makes me happy and there's no other real explanation. --- Wilko Wilkes: With 7,500 monthly listeners and top quality music I get the feeling you are a bit of a Don! Do you ever get recognised in the street? Rod: I live in a fairly small town here in Germany so yeah occasionally someone will come up to me and say, hey, you're the singer/songwriter from Australia. Obviously my home town in Tasmania and also Melbourne Victoria it was often I'd bump into someone who knew me… --- Oddzo: What do you think is the best song that you gave written and which one is the best to play live? Rod: Oh, that's a tough question. I really like playing them all. Honestly I'm really comfortable with Caught on you. It's a nice song that just flows and I don't have to think about it at all while I'm playing it. Just go more with the emotion of the song. --- Ed Eagle: What have been the biggest changes you have seen in the music industry in your time as a musician, and what are your predictions for where it will go in the future? Rod: Unfortunately I've seen a trend away from live music or more importantly valued live music. It's getting harder and harder to get paid gigs etc. I'm really not sure what the future holds but as we're seeing it's trending to more streaming type services.Just to elaborate. Remember when we were young and you'd buy an album. Whatever it was, Abba or Beatles or Led Zeppelin. First it cost a lot of money, you'd have to save for a long time to buy it. Then when you finally got it you'd listen to it 10 times in a row and when you were done you'd invite all your mates over to listen to it as well. It was the best most amazing thing ever. Now my Nephews have like 30k songs on their iPads and skip every song after 15 or 30 seconds. --- Call Me T: Did you ever get a chance to meet Keith Urban or better yet Jam with him? Rod: No I didn't but I met Ed Sheeran one night. Even performed for him and his family. Ended up talking to him for about 20 minutes. Really nice guy. I asked him if he was happy and he kind of looked at me and said, "You know, It's like any other job. 20% is bullshit and the other 80% is awesome. --- DataBass: What have you found was the most difficult obstacle with your music? Rod: Firstly, I'd say my motivation and dedication! You know as a solo touring artist you end up putting on a lot of hats. I'm kinda like tour manager, booking agent, accountant, accommodation Booker, Office worker and finally a musician. That's really only 10% of the work. Obviously if I had ppl to fill the other roles then life would be much simpler and of course I could focus more on the music aspect. Even now, if I had the budget i'd release a song every week. --- Srv-musicmaker: Who are your biggest musical inspirations? Rod: I really avoid listening to a lot of music. I've never had a cd collection or anything like that and if I listen to music it's generally from the radio. I never really wanted to be too influenced by the one artist if you know what I mean. Of course I really dig Elton John, Beatles, oh too many to mention really. --- Bokeh: How many previous projects did you have before launching as a solo artist? Rod: I started solo, as a singer/songwriter. Actually, that's not true. I started in a band as a saxophonist. That had a pretty bad ending and I went solo. I've had several bands but prefer solo. You know when the base players kid is sick and he cant make rehearsals etc. As a solo artist I just need to rely on myself to be where I need to be when I need to be. Also it's a lot better paid. --- Plummy: You’ve been in the music game for quite some time, what has been the biggest change for you in the past 20, 10, or even 5 years? What has been the hardest thing to adapt to? Do you miss anything in particular about how the way things used to be? Rod: I think it has run exactly the way it was meant too. The biggest changes I've noticed was within myself. My confidence has grown and really and funnily enough I am at my peak now. I play gigs with a smile on my dial and without having to think about it and without any effort. It just come naturally. I guess I've adapted to my surroundings without noticing my surroundings changing all that much. One thing I'd say is get out of you comfort zone and travel as much as you can. That's been the best experience. --- Ed Corrado: Your worst live show and your best, what happened at each of them? Rod: I went through a pretty bad phase of drinking a lot and taking some other stuff at gigs. I wish I'd never done that! Some of my best gigs or the ones I love the most are outdoor festivals in summer. I cant get enough of that. Best gigs...House of Blues in Hollywood and Viper Room, Brooklyn summer fest in NYC and too many to mention really. At the Brooklyn gig, I was the only solo artist. There was a problem with the power supply and the sub woofer blew up and caught fire. Don't know if that was the worst though... --- Oghamyst: How is your overall experience using different ad resources for your music promos? Which platform has performed better for you? Rod: Are we talking live gigs or streaming. I've found most of the time it really sucks. You end up spamming all of your friends for attention or you end up with groups of musicians who are trying to promote their own work. Add resources is also a difficult one, I haven't placed that many ads, some on facebook and have had mixed results. But nothing worthy of mention.I'm at this one point in my music career. The live stuff has died and I don't know when it'll be back. I've spent the last 12 months working for this one point which is right now. It's either going to work or otherwise probably never. It wasn't with paid advertising or anything like that. It was really through networking with you guys here and the contacts I've made over the last 12 months. Too much info to divulge right now but it's all about what I call the breakout factor. And, that's essentially getting out to the wider public. It really is just like the radio group and about mathematics, luck or both. --- Tom Duggan: When you tour, do you get paid a flat fee for gigs or a share of the takings? Rod: I book all my own gigs but mostly just take what I can get. Sometimes fixed sometimes a hat deal and sometimes both. I've made over 500 euro's in one night with a hat deal in the past. Just depends. Here in Germany seems to be the last place in the world where someone like myself can actually make a decent living from music. USA UK and Australia are more like just playing for fun. Simply too many people doing it these days and doing it for nothing. --- Dorian Whisper: How many guitars do you take with you when you tour? Rod: I have one guitar and that's it. She's my baby and I'd be cheating on her if I played with another. --- SovRin: Are you going to pick up on digital live concerts or do you have experience with that? Rod: No I hate the thought. I just can't bring myself to do live streaming. In fact I'm undergoing a massive change in the way i look at things. Although I have considered calling a friend who has a pub with live video recording facility's so I might yet give it a try. At the end of the day, I don't want to keep going the way I have been. Live or streaming so I'm putting it out there for the universe to change it. --- Filthy Laugh: Your music is so full of joy and honesty, it champions happiness and tries to positively confront sadness, which is brill! My question is were you always like this, and if not, what happened in your life which made you so life-affirming in your music? Rod: My music came from a serious bout of depression. It's too much to go in to right now but depression saved my life! Music was my therapy and the only thing that really got me through it. If I had a problem or a feeling I could write it down and share it with everyone. So to speak. At some point I realized that if music can help me then maybe it can help others and I turned my songwriting around. --- Elion: What has been your biggest difficulty during your music journey and how have you overcome it/plan to overcome it? Rod: I don't believe in planning for anything. Too many plans have been changed by factors out of my control so why bother. Just go with the flow and see what happens. My biggest difficulties have really been my own motivation and dedication and sometimes not going with certain opportunities that have presented themselves. I've learned never to say no, cause you really just don't know what is going to happen. --- Charles Connolly: When do you sleep? You seem to be available to speak, answer questions and generally be a helpful little so-and-so, at all times of the day or night...! I am impressed with your evidently flawless routine and discipline. Rod: Oh, yeah, I don't sleep much. Up really late most nights too. I'm on a mission though and hopefully that will reveal itself soon. I've earned a good rest! -----

Fred Kowalo

Wilko Wilkes: How has music affected your personal relationships? You’ve obviously been around the world and been knee deep in the music game for so long previously and that must’ve included a lot of sacrifice on seeing your family etc. How did you strike that balance? Fred Kowalo: Wow, wow - that’s a good one right off the bat. It’s opened a lot of doors for me but it’s also closed a lot of them as well. It’s hard being away from a family when you’re on the road for nine months a year; I missed a lot of things. People always say “oh but you saw the world” but I didn’t see MY world, grow up with my kids, my wife, my family. They were all affected by my job. It’s tough being away but that’s your job. To get some balance in it, I try to stay connected Via FaceTime or social media. --- Oghamyst: What is your best memory of a show? Fred: Best memory from a show...There’s been so many… I got to work with my heroes so every day was a concert for me with the best seat in the house LOL. I think the big four shows with Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer were great, especially the one in Sofia Bulgaria that they taped for the DVD. Just being on stage with Ozzie and Zakk was amazing every night. --- DataBass: Before you started working in this field, did you ever expect to be where you are now? Fred: Funny thing is, this job of being a guitar tech came by accident. I was working at a television station here in Pittsburgh and I got a call to fix Zakk Wylde guitar From Nick Catanese. Zakk Had me meet him at Wrestlemania and brought his guitar with him. I expected to fix the guitar, get a photo and maybe an autograph. But we were drinking for four days prior to Wrestlemania and I never got to fix that guitar, but I drank so well I could keep up with him: he asked me if I wanted a job LOL. What’s cool about the story: it’s being made into a comic book which should be out early next year! I went to school to be a director and ended up being a guitar tech which took me back to the film industry. --- Mercury Teardrop Q1: I’m wondering what Zakk’s most coveted guitar is? Is it one he uses live or does it never see the stage? Fred: Zakks most coveted guitar it was probably that bullseye - the white and black original one. The thing with that one was right after we did the movie Rock Star it was lost when the truck bay door opened and it fell out. I was not on tour with him at the time because I was home with my daughter. But it was eventually found in Texas and flown home on its own plane seat so it would not get lost again. He was so happy to get that back and we never took it on tour again in fear of it getting lost. --- Mercury Teardrop Q2: I’m always curious of guitar techs’ favourite guitars - What makes a guitar your favourite? Fred: I love working on Gibson guitars, I really do. They’re easy and that’s kind of where I started with Zakk... I have at least one of every kind of guitar you can think of, LOL. From Gibson, Fender, Washburn, Parker, Dean, Jackson, Charvel, Rickenbacker... Some other brands… The Gibsons by far are the easiest for me to work on, LOL - and I like easy. --- Harry Devereux: Have any of the artists you've worked with surprised you with a caring side, maybe behind the rock ‘n’ roll persona? Fred: That’s one of the great things about the artists I work with. They are all great guys. You hear these rock ‘n’ roll stories about how this one’s hard to work with or that one is hard to work with, but I’ve been lucky and have enjoyed my time with everyone I’ve been with. Zakk Wylde has a huge heart who would give the shirt off his back to you, as would Brent Smith from Shinedown and all those guys. Everyone that I’ve worked with are all great guys. --- Charles Connolly: What is Ozzy actually like behind closed doors? Fred: Ozzy is great, he really is. He’s nothing like you see on television. When I was with him back then he was just beginning to get Parkinson’s, or symptoms of it, so he had good days and bad days. It seemed like when he was having a bad day they would put that on the TV show. He is a great guy and very funny and could make you laugh all day. I remember the first time he called me by my name I ran out in the hall and called my mom and said Ozzy knows my name LOL! He was a very generous and kind man too… --- Brad Cheese: What difference do you notice between working with a famous musician and a not-so famous musician in regards to the mindset they put towards their craft? Fred: I treat each musician the same way as I would treat anybody whether you’re famous or not. If I’m home working on a guitar for a local guy I’ll give him the same care as I would a famous musician. Now the local guy might get a discount LOL but just don’t tell the famous artists. Everyone gets treated the same. It’s my name on it as to fixing the guitar or instrument, so in my eyes no one is better than the other just because you’re famous. --- Wyn Arciaga: As the bands grew older, did their guitar needs change? Like preferences in pedals, strings, volume… Fred: Yeah, what’s funny is when I started with Zakk we kept the same rig he had from his early Ozzy Osbourne days - it’s the same thing he used in Black Label, and Ozzy.... He knew the sound he likes and wants, so he stayed the same. But as I got to different bands, technology was going so fast. At the end when I was with Megadeth we went from the Digitech DSPs to the fractals, and the fractals would update every few weeks with better technology. I’m an old-school guy I prefer amps and heads and cabinets, so I had to learn the new technology: the new digital technology, like fractals. I have had artists chain string gauges etc. or certain brands that they use. But for the most part there’s no difference in how I approach setting things up with a different product. But like with anything new you have to work it in to make sure it works the way you want it to on stage LOL. --- Liz-Bad Scullianz: What are your best memories working with Zakk? Fred: We’ve had adventures over the years. He gave me my break in the rock ‘n’ roll touring business and I’m forever grateful to him, and I tell him that all the time, not just sucking up LOL. We’ve seen the world together and I’m forever grateful for his giving me the chance - go figure. I was unknown, I’d never done this I’d never been a guitar tech professionally, so I owe everything to him for getting me started. --- Copperstone: I was fortunate to have a small run as a touring musician 15 years ago and back then the norm was begging every small club or even bookstore to let you play and handing CDs out on the street corner. The industry has clearly evolved into being dominated by Spotify streams and social media presence. Do you see the industry continuing down this path or evolving (or devolving) into something new? If so what are your thoughts as to where? Fred: Yeah, I was on that path two years ago where you had to play a club and you passed out tapes to get noticed or get radio play. But now anybody can do it in their house; they can record in their house and be on Spotify. I think that’s great to have technology working for them to get songs out there. But I think part of the fun that a lot of people are missing is the actual adventure of having to play live or having to promote yourself person to person rather than promoting yourself on the internet. Yes it’s much easier, but I hate to say it: I think they are missing out on the funnest part of making it, and that was meeting people in person. --- Amir Hossein Bazhrang: Have you ever wished to be on stage like Ozzy or Zakk? Fred: Yes, yes. I have. I used to say “If only I had practised more" LOL. I had a few chances to be signed to record labels with my local bands... But I am an all-for-one kind of guy. My first band they didn’t want some of the members and I wanted all of us, so I took it upon myself to just say “it’s all of us are none of us” and I remember the guy from the record company telling me to “have a good career, kid” and I said “I will”. Thing is, I took it as a challenge and I knew that I had drive, and I would try to make it one day to be on a big stage. I never let anyone shatter my dreams of rock ‘n’ roll or making movies. At a young age my parents were very supportive of me, and they told me I could do anything I wanted. And if I screwed up they pick me up and said “don’t do it again”... But I did, and I kept pressing and I know it sounds cliché, but I knew I was going to make it if I tried hard enough. I never quit until I got on that stage and Zakk introduced me to a great world of Rock n Roll. When I got on that big stage from playing on those little stages for so long, even though I was a tech and I had a cord, the audience reacted and that’s pure electricity. It’s the biggest jolt of adrenaline to hear those people cheer. It gives you chills up your spine - hell I got chills up my spine just recalling the first time I did that at a festival. Then the fun thing came - I would play the same songs for soundcheck or linecheck before the band went on and the fans would actually request I would play the theme from King of the Hill TV show and so on. When the crowd heard that, they knew the show was about to start so I got to show-off a little bit on stage I guess and be there. I’ve been lucky enough to sit in on soundchecks when my player could not be there. I played with Alice In Chains. I played with Shinedown. It was always fun playing Symphony of Destruction with Megadeth. Somewhere out there there’s a great bootleg tape when we are with Ozzy, and we played a great version of Melissa by the Allman Brothers and I played Zakk’s acoustic guitar, and he played the electric, so in a way I got to play with my heroes even though it would be a soundcheck or rehearsal. -----