Thursday, September 30, 2010
2. Annie Eve interview (British solo act)
3. Backslashes and Bad Ideas (new Staten Island band)
4. Omnia (jazz/folk group)
5. CiG album review (Staten Island rapper releasing first album in 5 years)
6. EMC Record label (New Staten Island production and label)
My wish is to create a web of journalism connecting me to as much local music as I can. I want to be "the" guy when it comes to an authority of the Staten Island music scene. In that way I can "monopolize" myself of sorts. I enjoy what I'm doing and I've met some awesome and talented people along the way.
The news elements of this are:
1. It's local, and serves the community.
2. It can impact the music scene.
3. Music is important to a lot of people.
My reporting methods will stay the same. I do interviews either in person or through email. Sometimes I observe the band live, or just do a question and answer, and other times I make it a story.
This is obviously relevant to Online Journalism because I can reach people through a network of websites like: Facebook, Twitter, Email, and even on here.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
To further explain, Twitter is essential for anybody trying to be a somebody. Look at celebrity Twitters, they have millions of followers. Why? Because people care about famous people. Everyone wants to be involved in someone else's business, and we all put it out there anyway.
So who needs a Twitter? If you are a journalist, writer, musician, painter, w.e.- Twitter can be something that jump starts your career. If you start to build a following, and people start spreading your Twitter, you may have caught fire. It is the perfect quick and easy way to plug your work whether it be article or new song. Just post a link, and say "check it out".
I thought Twitter was something to annoy me throughout the day seeing all these crazy good-for-nothing statuses, but now I see it as something better. I Tweet every article and Blog I write. I Tweet my band, and follow other people from Staten Island. My hope is that they check out the page, like what they see and follow back. Ultimately that is a quick and easy way to network. It's a link to your catalog of works, or links to something you have in common with your followers. It's a powerful tool if you use it wisely. Give it a shot.
Follow my band -http://twitter.com/POF_Band
Follow me- http://twitter.com/JSarachik_POF
Monday, September 20, 2010
IB, Tekst, Matty J (left to right)
New York City is known as the birth place of hip-hop, with underground and old school legends hailing from all over Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. However, Staten Island has its fair share of legendary lyricists as well- the WU-Tang Clan. The WU are/were some heavy hitting emcees and producers coming together to form rap the way it should be- raw, gritty, emotional, thought provoking. The mastermind creators of the "Shaolin World" over came obstacles and hard living to create a legacy on this Island that will be tough to follow. Yet here we are today, on an Island filled with a decent amount of good rappers. So to anyone who doubts Staten Island's place in hip hop history, don't sleep on us. The vision was laid by the WU, and portrayed on their records. Now their concepts are pushing forward to the future of lyricists who just want to be heard. The Higher Concept is this future, bringing back the fresh feel to a genre desperately needed a face lift.
Here's an interview with The Higher Concept. Answers are from IB Profyn with collaborative help from Tekst and Matty J.
How did you guys form? Did you know each other, or was it by chance?
Senior year of high school consisted of after school time spent in Glaze's mom’s apartment working on a “real” album. We named the group Manifest Destiny and released an 18 song album by the end of the year. All three of us knew we wanted to follow this career path so we went off in three different directions to meet as many people as we could and make as many connections as possible. Tekst went to
As far as us being booed off the stage, that has never happened. The closest instance was probably back in 05 or 06 when we did our first show on
Usually it’s the other way around. We get on stage and see people pointing and snickering and joking with their friends about us, but once we get off stage, they are the first ones to come up and tell us how surprised they were by how good our show was
Our biggest venue to date would definitely be the
Give me a list of all your achievements and successes.
My favorite success to date came at a show we played three years ago in
Matty J has been my nickname since I was in middle school, and there's no hidden meaning. What you see is what you get!" - Matty J
Hip Hop was started as a means to keep gang members off the streets and get them dancing and having a good time. Hip hop is returning to that vibe by becoming much more dance party oriented.
3. Gift of Gab
4. Chali 2na
Tekst: I’ll base this answer on a combination of my favorite artists but also judging them all on ability to perform live along with the album material and everything else. In no real order -
Matty J: These are my top 5 favorite artists, which is a different list from my best lyricist, best rapper, and also my best emcee list. No order, except that Black Thought is #1-
Does THC freestyle?
Does THC freestyle well? Not exactly…
Being in this game for this long it’s been impossible not to dabble in freestyling. When you’re doing tons of shows, there will always come a point where you forget a lyric or something goes wrong and it’s imperative to freestyle to save the set. In those cases I think we thrive because of our skills as emcees. We've been doing it so long that we know how to move and control a crowd. We also try to visit Sin Sin in NYC once every couple months to work on our freestyles. Every Monday night in the city at Sin Sin (
I read about the Projectivity Movement. Pitch it to me in a nutshell. Why is it important, and how do you become involved?
-You should listen to The Higher Concept when the sun is shining and Life's Good.
-You should listen to The Higher Concept when you need somebody to relate to.
-You should listen to The Higher Concept because we make music specifically for YOU.
I think The Higher Concept brings a new sound to a game that has been lacking in freshness for some time. We make feel good music with a positive message and there aren't too many groups doing what we do. The majority of our fans are not hip hop fans; they are people who appreciate good music. I often hear comments about our music like “I don’t normally listen to rap, but you guys are great.” I think we bring a new image to a culture dominated by guns, drugs, and misogyny. We will make you think twice about your perceptions of rap music.
Most groups that make music in our genre ignore or abhor the commercialized version of the genre so much that they refuse to analyze the better qualities of commercial rap music and so their message or lyrics, though they may be great, get lost because the production quality isn't up to par. We mix a strong message and a feel good attitude with more modern and poppy production so you get the best of both worlds.
check out all of our free downloads here - http://www.thehigherconcept.com/downloads.html
check out all of our video content here - http://www.youtube.com/knotlionthc
Our website is http://www.thehigherconcept.com/
Twitter is Http://www.twitter.com/higherconcept
myspace is http://www.myspace.com/thehigherconcept
facebook is http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Higher-Concept/26801494552
to download our newest album for free - http://piff.me/3d3648b
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
So what is today's topic? Well I posted it above, and yes it was brought about by my Online Journalism Class again. As usual I'm going to put my little musical twist on it and tie it all together.
The key thing to remember in all this is that the world is changing everyday, and with the changing of the world come the changing of technology. That is a lot of "changing" in one sentence, but it proves a point. With the advancement of the Internets role on our daily lives we see just how important or reliable it has become. What are some things we use it for? We use it to check our email, check our social networks, update us on the weather or the news, play games, and listen to and download music. The best thing about this is that it's mostly free! Why do we need anything else if it is in front of our fingertips in seconds and it's free? This is why so many "old style" media publications and organizations are going out of business. This is why a multi-million dollar band like Metallica has to sue Napster for copyright infringement. What do you think it feels like to pour your heart and soul and countless dollars into something and then watch it be given away for free to millions of people without you seeing a single penny? I'm just assuming here but, it must suck!
Journalism and the music industry are two of the hardest fields to break into. Lucky for me, they are the two career choices I chose and they are the only thing I'm good at... With that being said National newspapers that have been around for close to a century are flopping and cutting down on production. Journalists are being laid off left and right because now they once specialized field can be written about by a soccer mom. Also the expense to run a publication is forcing them to fire people as well. Newspaper and magazine sales are down and so is advertising. The little guy is completely cut out, and now editors are forced to work with three writers on staff who also dabble in other things. It's a little upsetting walk into the Advance on Monday morning and see more empty desks than ones being used to work on stories.
On the music front, from what I hear is there no longer is any money to be made in music unless you're a total superstar. How many CD's have you purchased this year as compared to the last couple of years? It's not even necessary anymore. You can download an album for free on Limewire, or buy a CD used off of Amazon. I've even listened to whole albums off of Youtube. Most artists now-a-days make a ton of money off of ringtones for the cellphone. I know back in 06, rapper Chamillionaire, became the all time top selling artist in ringtones with his one hit wonder song "Ridin' Dirty". I'm sure by now it has been passed. The point is, in both fields we are all guilty of succumbing to these methods. But don't feel bad about it, I don't have any money and love free things too! There has to be some way to come up with something to serve both the user and the creator a happy medium of a solution.
One thing I can do is try on my own. As a musician and a journalist, I know the competitiveness of both fields. I know in what ways they are struggling and the problems faced in both industries. The only immediate answer I have is to keep doing what I'm doing. By linking both of my passions together maybe one of them will get picked up first and drag the other along. You have to be proficient in many fields and all aspects of those fields. Be sure to be able to do a little bit of everything, and you can never go wrong.
On campus CSI interviews of students asking two questions:
1. Where do you get your news?
2. Do you think the Internet changes Journalism?
1. I get my news from the USA news packet that gets sent to WSIA. I also occasionally read the Advance.
2. The Internet is free and easy, of course.
1. CNN on TV.
2. Online ruins everything. Email stopped letters from being written. Kindle stops books from being read and everything is on the computer. I won't be surprised to see if kids don't know what books are in the future.
1. The Daily Show and the Colbert Report.
2. I prefer the change. I don't read the paper. but I'll run through an article online and read it that way.
So that's it readers, I'll talk to you all soon!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
On the music end, stick true to your guts. Don't "sell out" in the sense of making top 40 hit music unless that is your genre. If you are a metal band who sees Lady Gaga on TV, don't become a dance/pop group. Stay true to yourself. If you decide to sway into a different direction of music be sure to have something about it sound distinctly like you. If not, be prepared to explain yourself in detail. My bands new album coming out is very different from the first one, but when you hear it there is no doubt it's Process of Fusion.
I'm in a rock/rap band, we play rock/rap music. I write a music blog, so I write about music. Stick to your guns, and do what you love. Don't let anyone try to change you, and don't change because it's not popular.
This concludes my 5 part Journalism Project series. More interviews coming soon.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Both of these, as wishful as they may be, are not true. All serious jobs require hard work- music is no different. No matter what field, no matter where you live, there is always someone better or higher up than you. Everybody and everything is in a total competition. A lot of bands, as good as they might be, have it engrained in their minds that their music will get them fame. Just because you are the best band in your town, doesn't mean anyone outside of it will think that way. I have a friend who played High School basketball. He was the best player I have ever seen, and was never outmatched by anyone. When he made it to college he made the team, but he was the twelfth man on the bench. Yeah, my friend was upset, but he understood. There are so many people that can do what you do. Even if you apply yourself and work the hardest, unfortunately nothing could happen.
I know so far this sounds depressing, but don't worry I'll get to some light in a bit. For any musicians reading, do a test. Go to Myspace music search and type in the style of music you play. Now look at the thousands of bands that come up. Next click on where it says unsigned, and look at the thousands there. Talk about competition huh? Here is where you can take it to the next level. Click on a few of the top ones. Check them out, listen to their music, look at the page design. What do they have that you can do better? What do they have that you can't do better? Take some notes. What do you like, what don't you like? Bring these things to attention next time you meet with your band. Strive to beat it. How do you think we learn in the first place? We see someone else do it first. Take what you observe as the ground work of what you want to be.
I can equate the same thing to writing. To be a good writer you need to first read. Read about things that you are interested in writing about. To be a sports writer, read sports columns. To be a music reviewer, read reviews. And to be a blogger, read some blogs. Blogging and journalistic writing can be two different things. If I'm blogging, I'm having a conversation with using my speaking my voice. I can say "I" and "me" with no fear because this is a personal talk. When writing something for the Advance or if I'm reviewing a band, it has to be professional. You can't refer to yourself, or any past experience. You state the facts, and keep it to a formulaic pattern of: intro, body, closing.
Just like music, blogs have their fair share of competition, perhaps more too. Anybody can blog. You don't even have to know how to complete a sentence to log into here and start mashing buttons. What makes my blog different or better than anyone else's? For one, it's my target audience. I didn't have the goal of setting out to interview Linkin Park and Jay-Z. My goal was simple and small, lets do Staten Island. Go ahead, go Google search for blogs about Staten Island music. You will find mine and Ben Johnson's of the Advance. I don't have much to worry about. Start small and build a big reputation with that, and then see what big things come your way. Find something specific and home in on it like I talked about in post #2 on "Branding".
Recently I've been thinking about hosting events under the blog. I've also been trying to contact charities and organizations to get the band involved with them. If you could attach your name to something and do work for a good cause, that sets you off from a whole group of people. It's easy to garner community support if you support the community.
Be different, stand out, and always try your hardest whether an audience of one or ten thousand.
This has been part 4 of 5 for my online journalism class. 5 will be out tomorrow night to wrap up the series.
Monday, September 13, 2010
I used to be the kid who stood in the back of the choir during plays. I never had any speaking parts. When I became a musician I was a drummer, and was fine hanging out in the back. Then I got thrust to the front of the stage as a front man. This is a big difference. I was expected to sing or to rap, and most importantly convey a sense of confidence with my delivery. I can't go up there and look scared. I remember the first time up there I figured I had two choices: 1. Say nothing and look like a fool or 2. Get up there and say something. When the pressure was on, I'm glad I made the right choice.
Now what does this have to do with anything? What does this have to do with my previous posts? Well here it is- if you are trying to build a network or a brand, it's going to take some risk. Like I said the Cup closed (apparently it's re-opening which kills one of my ideas), my best shows were in that building. Why? It's because I had a familiar crowd, and familiar stage. The Cup was like home court for a sports team. Everybody plays better for their fans. What I wish is I can bring that same energy to an unknown place in front of people I have never seen before. It's a work in progress, but I believe with practice and a little courage, I can get there some day.
From a music journalist stand point, you can't be afraid to approach a band or artist. I'll email every band on this Island if I have to. You have to keep your options open, and you have to aggressively go after the info you want. If you are in a band and you are playing unfamiliar territory, make sure you go out after the show and shake a few hands. Introduce yourself, make a good impression. Make at least one person remember you for more than just your performance. Like I said last post, you keep bothering people until you bother the right one.
Someone asked me, "How do you get to interview so many bands?" My answer is simple, I ask. I send them an email or a message. Why wouldn't they want the free press? The only thing I ask in return is to help spread the word about the blog. Some cool bands or artists I've written about are: Stereofix, Elevaters, Analog Dive, Furthermore, and Carnival of Souls. Some of these have played in front of 10,000 people plus. Stereofix and Elevaters have been on HBO and MTV. Furthermore was on Tooth & Nail. And why did they get where they are, because they weren't afraid to step out their comfort zone.
This is part 3 out of 5 for my journalism project. Keep reading for part 4 tomorrow.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
In the competitive world of music and journalism, it's important to have an edge. Now-a-days anything can be done online. There are thousands of music blogs, there are thousands of bands on Myspace. Why should anybody pay any mind to you?
This is something I've been learning in my classes and in trying to market my band and blog to a wider audience. You have to go above and beyond. To those of you reading this that are annoyed and hassled by my constant Facebook attack of links- I'm sorry. I am just trying to extend my reach.
A serious musician or writer has to have a grasp of every social network possible. You need a Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress/Blogger, Reverbnation account, email, etc. You have to be compatible to that medium just in case you can grab one extra person. I'm not saying it's easy because it's not. It actually is quite time consuming. But that's the price to pay if you want it bad enough, and honestly that still may not be enough.
The way I see it, as long as I can get my work out there and maybe help or encourage some along the way, I'll feel accomplished. But a good feeling is like a temporary high because it doesn't pay the bills. So for the time being I'll keep annoying my Facebook friends in hopes of bothering the right one.
This is part two in my journalism project. Part 3 will be out tomorrow. Let me know how you'll build your brand.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
By constantly interviewing and working to expand my network, I found the ability to make connections. For example: Gerard Ucelli, a promoter, got my band a photo shoot for a magazine called Broken Records Magazine. After the photo shoot I pitched the idea of writing a story about a local guy running a magazine out of S.I. to my editor at the Advance. He okayed the story, so I interviewed owner, Scott Vollweiler. Scott in turn was very grateful and in turn "owed" me a favor of sorts (not that I asked or expected one). Scott came to my bands show at the Greenbelt and "fell in love" with our music. He wanted to become our manager and sign us as the first band to his label "Broken Records Management". Now he's using his connects in the music industry to help us out.
That is the beauty of this business. Unfortunately it is difficult to get anywhere on your own anymore. It's all about who you know, so the only work you can do is just be nice. Lend a helping hand to a stranger and don't expect anything back. Unless they are total jerks, more than likely they will pay it forward.
So what does all this mean? It means THROW EVERYTHING AT ME! I'm here, I owe it to the scene. It is my way of giving back to all the bands that have supported me, and to "monopolize" or "brand" myself as an authority for local music. I am searching for the same goals as the hungry who want it. If we all do it together maybe one can get there. Then they can look back, and pay it forward...
This is part of my class blog for "Online Journalism". I'm trying my best to keep both relevant to each other. Give me a comment and let me know what you think. Part 2 will be out tomorrow "Networking".
Friday, September 3, 2010
Back in 2000 all I listened to honestly was top 40 pop. I danced around to and sang N*SYNC, Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, New Kids on the Block, etc. Yeah I know, I know, pretty lame. But hey, I was like eleven or twelve, what did I know? Prior to that, I had only listened to Christian artists like dc Talk (my first inspiration), Newsboys, and Audio Adrenaline. My friend Joe (practically a brother to me) started introducing me to new music. I received my first rock albums: Lifehouse, P.O.D., Linkin Park, MxPx, and then this peculiar group, Furthermore.
Furthermore was a three piece rap group on Tooth & Nail Records consisting of Fischer (rap vocals and production), Pepe Lee (singing vocals), and DJ Jason (dj and background vocals). To describe Furthermore is difficult. Fischer makes reference in a song and calls the style "pop rap". I guess that's the closest thing to it. The first album was called, "Flourescent Jellyfish" and released in 1999. The album features an eclectic dose of hard hitting rap vocals, pop choruses, and scratchable rock mixes. It is truly an underrated and phenomenal hip-hop album. The first single from that album was, "Are You the Walrus?", and although you may not get it, there is no doubt you'll be singing along with it.
(Furthermore's Are you the Walrus?)
After the initial success of "Flourescent Jellyfish" it was time for Furthermore to release a second album. On April 23, 2002, they released "Sheandi" or "She and I". The new record saw the departure of DJ Jason from the band, which is how it got its name. Fischer and Lee powered on and put out an album that is a solid and enjoyable listen from beginning to end. Lyrically, this album cuts more into a storytelling experience with a consistent concept of "love" at hand. The album is a bit more poppy from the first one, but no less powerful as it changes from fun loving lyrics to a more serious tone.
("Letters to Myself" off of Sheandi)
Overall Furthermore was an amazing group that disbanded sometime in the mid 2000's. I have to admit, I wouldn't be the type of musician/lyricist I am today without ever hearing these guys. Furthermore, thank you for rocking my stereo! Below is the interview with front man Daniel Fisher.
Band Guy- Who are you? What do you do? Why do you do it?
DF- My name is Daniel, I make beats and sometimes rap/sing.
BG- What artists/bands are you influenced by, and did you aspire to be any of them?
DF- I’m yet another kid who lived through/was influenced by the golden era of hip-hop, although I always liked early waver stuff such as OMD, ABC, The Smiths, etc. as well.
BG- When did you start getting serious about music, and what were your first projects?
DF- I used to record songs tape deck to tape deck in junior high, but my first real group was called the Numbs (Utah hip hop group still around today), we released an album in 1995.
BG- Tell me about Furthermore. How'd you start, where'd the name come from, what was it like, why'd you end?
DF- Another member of the Numbs and I left the group and started Furthermore in 1997. We split the following year and Furthermore became just me for the most part with help from my friend Jason and Pepe (who did some singing on a number of songs and managed the band). Pepe actually named the band by opening a book and pointing at a word with her eyes closed.
BG- What was it like being on Tooth & Nail and did you get to work with people you were big fans of?
DF- I never heard of anyone on Tooth and Nail except for MxPx when I was signed. It was a great experience and I enjoyed touring with a number of bands.
BG- "Melted Vinyl" is one of my favorite songs ever. Why did you write it and why is it so awesome? (The song is a crazy rap about Marvel super heroes that even non comic fans would enjoy.)
DF- The song was originally a Numbs song, although I added two more verses and reworked the beat a little. I was really into collecting comics and action figures at the time. I also loved watching the X-Men Saturday morning cartoon in the early 90’s when the song was written (1st verse that is).
(Listen to "Melted Vinyl in all of its awesomeness)
BG- Are there ever going to be any Furthermore reunions and do you still have a big fan base?
DF- I have no idea how big a fan base Furthermore had, and it is very doubtful a reunion will occur.
BG- Did you always make beats and produce or is that something you picked up after Furthermore?
DF- I made all the beats on the Furthermore albums (Jason co-produced one of the songs on Fluorescent Jellyfish) and Barry Poynter helped polish and add some live elements to them. I’ve put a lot of focus into producing more so than rapping over the years.
BG- Do you still perform live or are you strictly doing studio stuff?
DF- I’m in a band called Rotten Musicians and we have performed locally a handful of times in the last few years. Everything else thus far has been “studio stuff”.
BG- What's the song writing process like for you?
DF- I dig for records, find a little nugget that excites me, sample, add to, rework then write to it or give it to someone that I think would fit it better.
BG- What is your biggest rock star moment? What's your biggest failure moment?
DF- A rock star/failure combo moment was when a couple of girls came to a show wearing home made Furthermore shirts. I was never the best at small talk or being social so it was a little awkward talking with them after the show. They ended up hanging out with the boys of All Wound Up whom I was touring with at the time.
BG- Where do you think hip-hop is going or maybe just music in general?
DF- I have no idea.
BG- Anything else you want me to know? What can we expect for the future?
DF- Lately, I’ve been doing production for a couple of local rapper: Mark Dago (of Numbs/Rotten Musicians) solo album ‘Self High Five’ and Dusk One (of Mindstate) 3 song demo ‘The Brady Effect’
I’m also working with a couple of local singers including Michael Gross (of Michael Gross and the Statuettes).
Contact Daniel at any of these sites listen below or click here to go the Tooth & Nail page.
Myspace Music Pages
http://www.myspace.com/mydanieltiger - solo
http://www.myspace.com/fischloops - beats and production
http://www.myspace.com/rottenmusicians - group Rotten Musicians
http://www.myspace.com/juliochild - side studio project, Julio Child (great album by the way)
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Josh Cronopulos of Backslashes and Bad Ideas, smashed his guitar at the end of his set.
Photo Credit: Alexa DeMaio
Manny of Every Night Drive, mastermind behind the whole night. Music won't be the same without you.
Photo Credit: Alexa DeMaio
|Nick Cardona of Through the Year... only because he's banana's. Photo Credit: Alexa DeMaio|