Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Journalism Final Project, Music Report on the Island

Final Interview by jsarachik

My initial focus of this project has changed a bit since its inception, but the overall focus is still intact. Originally the blog postings where going to be about the closing of Staten Island's the Cup. The one problem is that after closing on August 31st, it already reopened two weeks ago. Now for any new viewers reading this, the Cup was essential because it was the only place for young local bands to play on S.I. It's importance to the band scenes is tremendous, providing all the up and comers with their first chance to expose themselves to an audience and play live. Read about the final show at the Cup here.

My band mentors, EveryNight Drive

POF playing at the last show at the Cup by Scott Vollweiler of Broken Records
My new focus instead has changed to a series of questions: 1. How important was having a place like the Cup to play at? 2. What are you doing to further pursue music, and possibly get off of Staten Island. 3. Where do you see yourself in 3 to 5 years?

It was these questions that I have found garner the most interesting of answers. I gathered a few quotes from different personalities in the scene and this is what they had to say:

(On the importance of the Cup)
"I think it's quite healthy for the scene to have something like that [Cup] because when a local band wants to book a show and have a band come from out of state to play with them it's much easier because you don't have to pay to book a show. More venues should be like that because it comes with having a good reputation."

(Local bands looking outside of the Island)
"It doesn't have to just be the Island. Any local band needs to do research. That's the most important aspect of networking. Social Media is a huge contribution, but the best advice I can give is research bands on Myspace. It can really give you a scoop on other cities and their scenes."

-- Promoter/PR for EMC Records, Gerard Ucelli

(On the importance of the Cup)
"The Cup is an essential part of our little bubble of bands. It's where most of us got our start. For lesser known, straight out of the basement bands, the cup is invaluable. It's a great place to grow and get experience and meet other bands and even get a small following of kids that go to shows... However, there comes a point where the Cup runs out of things to offer a band. When that happens, bands tend to use the Cup as a crutch. I know I find myself playing shows with the same 5 bands to the same 20 kids. That's when it is time to seek other opportunities."

(On promoting yourself as a band)
"One word- CONTESTS. Contests are a great way to get off the Island. Since not many contests are offered on the Island, it forces you to play other places like Manhattan, Jersey, and Brooklyn. It's a great way to meet new bands and it's a great tool for perspective. You might be a hometown hero, but you get to a tri-state contest and all of a sudden, there's 30 bands that do better than you... Listen to the judges and the other bands when they give you feedback and criticisms... try out what they suggest. You never know, they might be right. If you would like to make a living playing music, be open minded."

-- Bass player for Spread the Rumor, Val Bond

I couldn't agree more with those statements. That's what my band, Process of Fusion and our friends in It's Not Over are doing. We are branching out to bigger venues, meeting bigger bands, and just trying to push the envelope whatever way we can. The audio clip at the beginning of the article is my band sounding off on similar questions. It appears everyone has the same ideas, it's the action part that most people aren't reacting on.

There are plenty of opportunities for bands to attempt to step in the right direction on the local level without using the reopened Cup as a crutch. Process of Fusion is trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. We have created our own shows, making them an experience and being different than something typical. We have also done free shows in attempts to draw more people out.

Promo Video for our November 5th Free show.

Also more bands could get free press by going to the college radio station WSIA. The station is always looking for new bands and will gladly listen your demo. Other things you can do, are charity events or spread the word through social media events. Facebook is a great tool for this.

WSIA soundboard by Justin Sarachik

The music scene on this Island is diverse, but somehow everyone needs to learn to work together. Whether the band is punk, metal, ska, or pop- everyone is the same place. Network and build a resume of sources and experience. In the countless bands I have interviewed, the more famous ones have attributed to success by connecting with that one important person. The right people mean everything in this business.

Rap group Freestyle Fam at WSIA for the Emilio Sparks Hip-Hop show by Justin Sarachik
Local start up groups are also starting to become prevalent on the Island as well. There is EMC Records, which is a company looking for bands to manage and do press work with. They have signed our friends in It's Not Over. Another company started by entrepreneur Scott Volweiler is, Broken Records, who currently publish a magazine, have band management (POF), photography, travel recording, and pretty soon a web show. I have been working with them very closely and this blog will be sponsored by them shortly.

Not to mention Backslash Bomb Productions who are working with Gerard Ucelli of EMC to produce a Staten Island music documentary called, the Others, highlighting some of the best acts on the Island.

In conclusion, the lesson I've learned the most during this whole project, is really just work hard. A little bit of hard work will make the difference in the long run. Don't be afraid to try something new and step out of the comfort zone. Like in the book Journalism 2.0 talks about, the world is changing and we have to adapt to the times. So move forward and complete the objective no matter who or what you do, whether journalist or musician. The industries are similar and the competition is just as hard, it's the few who step out the box that make it.

Staten Island Hip-Hop group the Higher Concept doing some pretty awesome things with their music video "Life's Good"

Jaime Scott of band Graffiti 6 by Justin Sarachik


  1. thanks dude, what's your last name, so I know who you are? lol

  2. Giordano, we may have met before!

  3. haha I'm so dumb, I'm like, who is Mike G lol. You are the only Mike G I know ha.

  4. Justin, this was really interesting! A great read. Congratulations on all your hard work :)


  5. This is so cool man thanks


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