INDY ROCK BLOGS
INDY ROCK BLOG #222
By Tom Bland
Spotify or not to Spotify
I don’t play the Spotify game, guess I’m just stubborn but I know lots that do. I feel that musicians don’t get the return they deserve. .003-.005 on a download just doesn’t cut it for bands that spend so much time and energy practicing, touring and recording. We have some bands that do okay but far from the majority.
I may be wrong but most indie bands primarily reach family, friends and fans that have seen them live. I personally have never searched out newer bands on Spotify unless I knew them from the earlier ways that I mentioned. It’s pretty clear that bands that tour more tend to attract more attention along with merch sales and downloads. Touring is tougher now due to limited venues and the sheer cost of touring but it seems that’s the only way to get the exposure needed to get better downloads or revenue in general.
So that brings me to, why Spotify? Would it be better to just deal with music sales yourself for hard copies or downloads. Indy Rock Network promotes the bands involved and our radio has an iTunes buy now that apparently pays out around 60 to 70 cents a song, going by their information, so why Spotify I am genuinely curious.
Love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on directions your band has taken to generate sales. Whatever your process is, if it works keep it up and all the luck to you.
Indy Rock Network
Let us know your thoughts in the comments on our Facebook page for this post.
INDY ROCK BLOG #221
By Paul Denton
This has got to be one of the most heartbreaking thing’s that can happen to a band. I don’t believe it happens very often but when it does it can be quite gut-wrenching. I’m not really talking about what was happening when the bars were shutting down due to world events. To me that was a totally different situation. I’m talking about what may occur with an individual bandmate.
Unfortunately we all have to have our day jobs to help support what we really love to do on the weekends. Because we all work, anything can happen to anyone of us causing the band to cancel shows.
I was planning this blog to be about our bands experience from the Sun Peaks Festival, but unfortunately our situation had to change. Our guitar player had a serious accident while being at work by falling off the back of a work truck and breaking his hip. This was a freak accident that could happen to anyone of us, so there are no bad feelings even though our injured bandmate feels bad there is no blame. This is a time to rally around in wishing him a speedy recovery.
As we all are becoming older this unforeseen situation could become more of a reality, not just an accident but our health as well.
Here’s looking forward to next years festivals and what shows maybe attainable before then.
Lets all help in wishing Shawn our bandmate a speedy recovery and best of health to everyone out there.
INDY ROCK BLOG #220
Troy Mck (Drums, 18 Rabbit) Shared This interesting
Article by Brian Eno, We Thought We Would
Pass It Along
BRIAN ENO ON THE LOSS OF HUMANITY IN MODERN MUSIC
In music, as in film, we have reached a point where every element of every composition can be fully produced and automated by computers. This is a breakthrough that allows producers with little or no musical training the ability to rapidly turn out hits. It also allows talented musicians without access to expensive equipment to record their music with little more than their laptops. But the ease of digital recording technology has encouraged producers, musicians, and engineers at all levels to smooth out every rough edge and correct every mistake, even in recordings of real humans playing old-fashioned analogue instruments. After all, if you could make the drummer play in perfect time every measure, the singer hit every note on key, or the guitarist play every note perfectly, why wouldn’t you?
One answer comes in a succinct quotation from Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, which Ted Mills referenced in a post here on Miles Davis: “Honor Your Mistakes as a Hidden Intention”. (The advice is similar to that Davis gave to Herbie Hancock, “There are no mistakes, just chances to improvise.”) In the short clip at the top, Eno elaborates in the context of digital production, saying “the temptation of the technology is to smooth everything out.”
But the net effect of correcting every perceived mistake is to “homogenize the whole song,” he says, “till every bar sounds the same… until there’s no evidence of human life at all in there.” There is a reason, after all, that even purely digital, “in the box” sequencers and drum machines have functions to “humanize” their beats—to make them correspond more to the looseness and occasional hesitancy of real human players.
This does not mean that there is no such thing as singing or playing well or badly—it means there is no such thing as perfection. Or rather, that perfection is not a worthy goal in music. The real hooks, the moments that we most connect with and return to again and again, are often happy accidents. Mills points to a whole Reddit thread devoted to mistakes left in recordings that became part of the song. And when it comes to playing perfectly in time or in tune, I think of what an atrocity would have resulted from running all of The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street through a digital audio workstation to sand down the sharp edges and “fix” the mistakes. All of its shambling, mumbling, drunken barroom charm would be completely lost. That goes also for the entire recorded output of The Band, or most of Dylan’s albums (such as my personal favorite, John Wesley Harding).
To take a somewhat more modern example, listen to “Sirena” from Australian instrumental trio Dirty Three, above. This is a band that sounds forever on the verge of collapse, and it’s absolutely beautiful to hear (or see, if you get the chance to experience them live). This recording, from their album Ocean Songs, was made in 1998, before most production went fully digital, and there are very few records that sound like it anymore. Even dance music has the potential to be much more raw and organic, instead of having singers’ voices run through so much pitch correction software that they sound like machines.
There is a lot more to say about the way the albums represented above were recorded, but the overall point is that just as too much CGI has often ruined the excitement of cinema (we’re looking at you, George Lucas) —or as the digital “loudness wars” sapped much recorded music of its dynamic peaks and valleys—overzealous use of software to correct imperfections can ruin the human appeal of music, and render it sterile and disposable like so many cheap, plastic mass-produced toys. As with all of our use of advanced technology, questions about what we can do should always be followed by questions about what we’re really gaining, or losing, in the process.
#brianeno #lossofhumanity #music
#dirtythree #minimalism #avantgarde #milesdavis
INDY ROCK BLOG #219
By Paul Denton
By the time this blog is posted my band will have already played the Sun Peaks Festival or will be very close to making the drive out to B.C. For me this is the show I’ve always wanted to play, so as we are closing in on the date, it got me thinking about what we all do to prepare for a show and how much time we spend in doing so.
The band will be doing a heavier rehearsal schedule than normal and discussing notes and video from the last show in hopes to tighten and improve a few small details. I must admit there is some uncomfortable feeling doing some of these festivals because you are never sure what will be supplied for the backline. I guess I have to relax trusting that our management know what we need and will take care of all the details.
I know for sure a wireless Bass system is a must for my performance so most likely I will pack my power rack and hope the Bass cabinet is sufficient.
The question then becomes packing your personal suitcase. I’ve often packed my suitcase weeks in advance but it seems the night before we leave I have to unpack and repack to assure myself something has not been forgotten. A valuable lesson learned, as from now on packing will be only done 2 days in advance lol.
Once all the stage gear is sorted time will be spent changing Bass strings stretching them out in the last few rehearsals and deciding which 2 will be picked to travel with. This is also the time when our set list will be printed (large enough for the older blind bandmates)
The morning of our travel will have been discussed the evening before. How many vehicles, time of departure, but as we all know musicians are not all that reliable with time schedule. Drummers and vocalists are the worst from my experience; lol.
However you may prepare for a show and travel experience, please feel free to share with us. It’s always great to hear from other members of this crazy business.
INDY ROCK BLOG #218
By Johnny Fast
Finding inspiration is the challenge that besets all musicians. It's the lifeblood of creativity. As soon a the inspiration is found the creativity will stem from it. This is the space I always find myself in after an album is completed and released. What next? At first I usually have a period where I have no desire to write anything new. There should be a moment where you relish the fruits of your labor but this doesn't last long for me. The nagging thought creeps in, shouldn't you be writing something new and better? OK, watch this. Challenge accepted.
It's important to know that the best is yet to come. Every song and every album is a stepping stone on your improvement. My awareness of composition, dynamics and the balance of an album is greater with each project experience. Enjoy the moment of peace between the project and the next inspiration because once it hits, it is a non stop whirlwind of ideas that has me scrambling to put notes on paper, riffs on my phone and ideas to reality.
Guitarist - Despite The Reverence
INDY ROCK BLOG #217
By Tom Bland
IS MUSIC YOUR ESCAPE?
Music definitely has always been my personal escape from life’s day to day existence. For me personally when I’m at band practice, gigs or just hanging with musicians life’s issues don’t come up often. It’s the one time I can relax and not give a shit about the current issue that other people may be engaged in.
Now by no means am I saying topics that are important to an individual aren’t important, I just prefer if it doesn’t influence a musicians focus. I think it’s great to write songs that are passionate to your own musical identity but at the same time I feel that musicians should keep their views off the stage. I’ve seen great bands with excellent live shows ruin people’s experience, not by writing songs about issues they are passionate about but pushing it on the audience during or after the show.
People all have their own opinions about todays big topics but deep down don’t care about what someone else’s opinion is. They are not being selfish or trying to cancel your opinion they just want the live experience of your music and performance. In most cases the music fan loves your songs but want to decide for themselves if they want the message that’s attached to the song.
I love tons of bands and don’t agree with some of their personal opinions. It just doesn’t matter, they play and perform great music and that’s what it’s truly about. So keep pumping the tunes out and enjoy the opportunity to get on stage and show fans what you have.
INDY ROCK BLOG #216
By PAUL DENTON
Spending the 80’s and 90’s travelling across Canada our bands were subject to many different experiences with many of the rooms we had to stay in. I guess part of the excitement was not knowing what you were about to face until you arrived. After travelling all night in some cases to reach your next weekly adventure you just wanted to check in and get some rest. I quickly realized that this often could be a luxury or a real let down.
Flying to Inuvik for a month was an experience I will not forget. Being an older hotel it was in the process of remodeling some of the rooms. After the second week of boredom our guitarist and myself stole roles of new carpet left in the hallway so we took it upon ourselves to re-carpet our room. Thought it looked quite luxurious after we were done.
For anyone who played at the old Windsor Hotel in Red Deer, I’m sure you can add to this. The rotting smell and cockroaches were an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Having to sleep with the light on and luggage off the floor was not fun. The club itself was always great to play but the accomodations were something else.
I personally enjoyed staying in some of the band houses. Having a kitchen to cook and reading some off the messages previous bands had written on the walls were always a pleasure to read .Prince George, B.C. I could not forget.
Accommodations back then were all provided by the club owners so we shouldn’t complain. Today I know some clubs do not supply rooms which ends up coming out of the bands payroll. Are there bands out there that have experienced this and what are your thoughts? Personally I believe all club owners should provide rooms for the bands, especially the out of town bands.
What are your thoughts and memories of your road accommodations?
INDY ROCK BLOG #215
By PAUL DENTON
How do we all feel before a show? Nervous, anxious, excited! I’m sure we’ve all felt this at some point throughout our lives. Do these feelings, and should this still happen with all the live experience we have?
I’ve talked to some musicians that think if your not a little of the latter then you should just pack it in. On one hand I can see that point BUT there’s another side to this which I would beg to differ.
I do agree nerve’s before a show can run rampant, especially in the younger years. Could this just be the lack of live performance, or just ones own insecurities as a performer?
My own experience in the early days was to control my nerves with alcohol, which I’m sure a lot of us could attest to. I believe at that time it gave us the courage and power to perform and keep the energy alive. But by putting all that stuff aside and what we all went through, how do we all feel today as we approach
Personally I was totally flabbergasted at our last performance with a newer band. From past experience any new project you may present for the first time can present uninvited nerves and every other unwelcome emotion one could imagine. Soundcheck and load in under 2 hours definitely put my mind at ease. Having dinner and time to relax before the show made things totally relaxing and comfortable for me.
This is why I differ from the saying “if you don’t feel nerves you should just pack it in”.
I’m having the best time of my life with my band. Nerves, anxiety, excitement. Call it what you will. However you feel at that very moment it should all be left on the stage.
INDY ROCK BLOG #214
By Tom Bland
Just like starting over.
So we took an extended time off starting with the Covid fiasco and then some family requirements after. Now we are back in our studio basically relearning our own songs. We aren’t really progressive but our songs are fairly long and tend to have lots of changes in them. The first couple of weeks were extremely hard, just remembering intros, bridges and solos were challenging to say the least. Felt sorry for our guitarist (Pete) as his parts are complicated and pretty much drive the songs. Each song one of us would just look at the other band members like a deer in the headlights with no clue what was coming next. We’d stop, collaborate on what comes next and try again. Some of our songs were recorded or even ruff tracks that we could refer to but others, were a guessing game. Message to self… start recording everything!
Our last practice things definitely started to fall into place. The songs were more natural and relaxing to get through and our individual chops were getting back to the norm. So that makes about ten songs back on the list with probably thirty to go, this may be fun or frustrating, we’ll see.
I guess we will keep trudging along, it’s what we’ve been doing for years. It’s still fun and definitely not about the money or fame. Just great to get together with amazing band mates, socialize and play some tunes. I think that’s really what it’s all about no matter what level you are at, it’s just fricking fun and should be.
Indy Rock Network
INDY ROCK BLOG #213
By Paul Denton
Thinking back to why and how I became a musician.
My dad as far as I recall was the only one I was aware of that had an inkling of any kind of music ability or interest in music. The first and only song I believe he taught me to play was Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling; a 1952 hit if I’m not mistaken. I thought I was a Rockstar at that very moment strumming a mean acoustic guitar. My dad is actually quite a talented spoon player, something I have never yet to master. Definitely would not be in the cards for me with such swollen fingers these days.
I’m sure most of you all had the rock posters on your bedroom walls and dreaming of what it would be like to be on that stage. Is anyone old enough to remember the rock magazines with mailing address to some of those bands? I guess you could say that was the early days of the Fan Club.
The friends that I grew up with or happened to bump into throughout my school years definitely would have been an influence. I remember writing songs at an early age and playing them for whoever cared to listen. Quite the solo artist (lol). I’m not quite sure how I got my first guitar but I do remember it.
Does anyone remember hanging with friends and trading albums? This to me is probably how I captured the bug for music. Those songs, bands that for some strange reason just hit you, and then you would meet little Harold who just happens to play guitar and he knows Vince who plays the drums and so on.
After all these years I must say that music has been one of the best experiences one could ever imagine.
When I hit the stage next week it will feel like it did the very first time.
INDY ROCK BLOG #212
By Johnny Fast
I was just on a business vacation and during some time off was able to catch a live concert. A lot of times when I see bands perform I get inspired. I get new ideas watching bands performing all the time. Either things I can relate to that I think we could do as well or things that we could do better. The visuals, stage energy, clothing and even the antics during the space between songs.
We are taking the summer to practice and prepare for a fall tour and a bigger and more prepared show than the usual. There is a lot of ideas flowing on how we can do better and put some thoughtful planning and preparation into place. Like anything, preparation is key. It instills confidence and the end result will be much more satisfying. You've put hours into the preparation and mastery of your instrument and the same should go into the performance.
We are really focusing on the visual. There is something about seeing the band for the first time on stage. Not before. The lights go dark and shadows make there way through the curtains to their instruments and bang the lights and music kick in and you finally see the band performing in all their glory. It's almost a magic show or at least gives some mysticism to the show. The figures loom larger than life, more so than when you had a couple beers with your buddy on the main floor and then he leaps the monitors to set up and play.
Keep the audience surprised and guessing. Keep the mystery to the performance and what the stage looks like and what they'll see when it starts. All things to ponder as we begin counting the days.
INDY ROCK BLOG #211
By Les Mitchell
I have written to great lengths about the trials and tribulations of being an indie musician: if/when to acquire more gear, if/when to get rid of excess gear, how to rearrange a living space to accommodate said gear, questions about recording hardware/software, et cetera et cetera. Despite experiencing several revelations while writing these blogs, I have still not created that dream music cave that fits perfectly into my space and lifestyle. Part of the issue is surely procrastination, a mild character flaw of mine. My tendency to overthink does not help either. Too many rapidly evolving ideas can overwhelm the mind and become counterproductive. The more thought that goes into something and the more time that goes by, the harder it is to get started, trapping one in a frustrating cycle of futility.
I was very curious to check out my recently moved bandmate’s new music room and I was completely blown away. It is expectedly over the top and well beyond even the most elaborate visions of my own room but, much to his credit, he had a plan and saw it through to completion. He somehow navigated his way through the string of roadblocks that I have encountered. Not only has this given me many practical ideas to incorporate into my own space, but the confirmation I needed that all it takes are some clever ideas and the mental wherewithal to implement them.
Sometimes an inspirational push in the right direction can do wonders. Hopefully, this can lead to my own ideas coming closer to fruition. We shall see…
INDY ROCK BLOG #210
By Pete Zilinski
To Tune or not to Tune
To tune or not to tune. That is the question that I am constantly asking myself as we get geared up for recording some new material. I am speaking about the common practice of tuning vocal tracks. If you take some time to listen to the current batch of pop songs, you will hear copious amounts of auto tune on the vocals. Sometimes to an extreme level. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that using the available technology is both time saving and valuable. The dilemma is how to use these tools judiciously. For those of you who have recorded and spent some time engineering and mixing your projects, you already know that the best scenario is to record your tracks in time and in tune rather than trying to fix it in the mix.
As the default lead singer in our band, and the person who will not be winning any vocal awards in the near or distant future, my desire to make the perfect vocal track is in direct conflict with my desire to keep the auto tune to a minimum. I think that it goes without saying that if you are paying someone to mix your tracks, it would be to your benefit to have your parts polished to the best of your ability.
We can all see that in the future with Chat GPT and Ai, there will be many more choices to be made in terms of how to use technology. Some of these advancements seem promising while others tend to fill me with dread. Hopefully we will all be able to survive and flourish in these new times.
INDY ROCK BLOG #209
By Paul Denton
To all the Indy Rock Network artists that contribute to the writing process for your bands, this is for you.
Where do the ideas come from? Life experience, Global influence, or from just a simple riff! I tip my hat to all that have the skill and ability to do this. Playing your instrument well is amazing, but having the talent to write the music for your band is an accomplishment of it’s own.
What grabs my attention to a well rounded song has always been the riff, hook and vocal ability. If all 3 align, that to me is magic.
As I’m writing this I think of the past playing with Tyrants Of Chaos. Remembering coming into our studio with a song idea that in my mind was complete. ( or so I thought). After pitching the idea, Phil (vocals) suggested if I could make the song sound more evil. At the time I was thinking ( what the hell do you mean lol). After hearing the song in its final stage with every ones input, it made me realize what he had been saying. The song was originally written in the key of (G) and ended up in drop (D). Because of such key change it obviously made the Bass line change to a simpler kind of feel but gave the song a more thundering drive, which now as I here the song today I understand the Evil that Phil was talking about. The song turned out to be called Chaos Train. Not sure if I had an original title to this but proud of how it turned out.
Too me this is just one example of how an idea can turn into something so much greater with the input of everyone involved. I’m sure T.O.C. are still writing and recording the same way. Listening back after several years Tyrants O Chaos ( Into Oblivion) was a good album, but their latest ( Relentless Thirst For Power) is even stronger.
This is what it’s all about. Putting your own stamp on what you believe in. The dedication, sweat, tears and sometimes arguments. All of this always seems to balance out when hearing that final track.
INDY ROCK BLOG #208
By Johnny Fast
Sometimes you gotta step back and say, let's do this the right way, even if it takes a little more time. Our new album comes out in 10 days and we are really pushing the marketing of it because it's awesome. It's really good and probably our best yet so of course we are excited and can't wait for everyone to hear it, and you will. When it came to the big release show however, everything was just moving too fast so we decided to postpone it and do it right.
After we weren't able to get the bands we wanted to open, and trying to fit it into the only weekend that we were all available on short notice, and then getting the merch ordered plus the new backdrop and stage set up Yada Yada Yada... it was going to be miserable, honestly. We were going to kill ourselves to put it all together, then try to promote it to an audience to fill the venue. This is supposed to be fun right?
Of course it would have been fun to take the stage if everything worked out (and even if it didn't) but, it will be way more fun when we do it in the fall and have 5 months to put it together just right and really make an impact. Time to build up anticipation and make sure we have everything just how we want it.
We are planning to play a few shows abroad through the summer, just to stay sharp and have a little fun. Anything worthwhile is worth waiting for and we can't wait to put on the show that captures everything we want it to be.
INDY ROCK BLOG #207
By LES Mitchell
Being in a smaller city and somewhat isolated geographically and sometimes climatically, it’s often challenging to find opportunities to perform. Venues come and go and there are only so many to begin with. A healthy music scene can benefit from stages of all shapes and sizes for taking full advantage of its talent and diversity. An acoustic duo may not be ideal in a large club and a five piece metal band may not be the best thing for the corner of a coffee shop but there is a necessity for both of these venue types along with everything in between.
Several things can happen to create and sustain a vibrant music scene. There are places in every urban area that have just always supported live music, whether a strict business venture, a passion for music, or a combination of both. New events spring up constantly and new venues can be created outright but are more likely to be established as add-ons to an existing business. These can create new opportunities for the music scene to explore and everyone in the community can benefit. There are promoters out there that are putting together shows that match artists with other artists and venues. Other supporters are sharing the music and news and coming to the shows. The musicians themselves can also adapt in order to indulge their creative side. Playing in different groups or taking up a new instrument can open up some stages for those that love to perform. I was very late arriving to the conclusion that I could just pick up an acoustic guitar and start singing and someone might actually watch that. We’ve even done a few shows in small venues we normally wouldn’t fit, where members of our rock band would each do their own acoustic set. Not quite the full band experience but enjoyable nonetheless.
There are a lot of moving parts to a lively music scene. Owners, promoters, musicians, and fans all have important roles to play and anything is possible when everyone is imaginative and on the same page…
INDY ROCK BLOG #206
By Paul Denton
Many of my closest friends have often tried to help expand my musical taste and experiences. A couple of drummers come to mind, you know who you are. That being said, when this road trip opportunity was presented, I thought ! why not. Going into this I had no clue as to what to expect, no real expectations, feeling almost blindfolded if you will.
This trip made me think of some of the experiences I had gone through in my younger touring days. We left early on Thursday morning during a bad snow storm. In fact approximately an hour after we had just got through the toughest part of our journey the highway was closed down. How many times has this happened to us all? This is what got me thinking about how we survived such dangerous conditions without cell phones, G.P.S. or hell even a good reliable vehicle. Too me this is the life of a musician and fan who will go to no end to make that journey reality. A young fan standing stage right clutching an album hoping to have it signed, my only thought was to clear a path to center stage in hopes there dream comes true.
The venue in its own right was something to experience, all any musician could ask for. Full concert production and lights. My only wish would be to see more of this in Canada. I’m sure there are, please let me know. I’m not sure what this venue holds or why it was called the Knitting Factory but it was a sold out theatre kind of crowd.
I think the biggest surprise to our traveling party was the opening act. (at least to me). This band was never mentioned on the tickets or any other promo for the event. My stage hand Jeremy J. and I had the opportunity to chat with the band after their amazing set. Really a bunch of down to earth guys from California flogging their own Merchandise, doing their own promotion, performing on the smallest part of a stage just like any Indy band would do. Matt Zane the vocalist didn’t miss a beat by performing on his back, jumping up and down, giving the performance of his life.
So to all Indie bands, thankyou for such work and dedication you put forth.
Make all your road trips be safe and successful.
INDY ROCK BLOG #205
By Johnny Fast
The album is ready to be released, but there is still lots to do. Actually it seems like an endless amount. I mean all I want to do is get on stage and rock out in front of a crowd but if you've never done it, you can't understand how much work goes on behind the scenes. Honestly it's a little nerve racking. We have a venue and a date for the show, Saskatoon April 22nd. The album drops April 14th. Now just gotta line up opening bands, market and pre sell tickets, prepare the stage set up, art, merchandise and effects. How are we going to get as many people as possible to attend? Radio is becoming more and more unreliable as the numbers at live music venues has drastically dropped.
The risk is all ours. We have to front the money, set up the bill, do the heavy lifting and at the end of the night it can be either a celebration of a great night or slightly discouraging if we weren't able to fill the place or cover costs. We are going with a slightly bigger venue this time as the sound and atmosphere will guarantee a great show. Now we just need to sell it. A wise man once said, if you build it, they will come. Fingers crossed!
INDY ROCK BLOG #204
By Tom Bland
I’ve talked about the talent of musicians that we associate with in Indy Rock Network and nothing has changed, the talent keeps advancing. It doesn’t matter the style, bands can be more progressive and pump out technical masterpieces or smooth, calculated playing styles telling a story. Indie musicians work extremely hard on their craft with the odds mostly against them. Bands have a lot to contend with, life changes at a blink of an eye. Younger bands are constantly dealing with members school commitments or beginning a family etc., older musicians deal with career commitments, family and the worst, AGE (LOL) The bands and musicians we have been a part of with the exception of only a couple of occurrences are modest, respectful and have a genuine interest in other musicians progress and success. Musicians are a tight knit group and in the Indie rock game it has to be, you help others even in a support aspect it will be returned.
I was out at a social function for my wife’s work place and sitting down the row of tables was Dennis Dunphy, drummer extraordinaire for The Midgard Project. Now, we know who the other is but have never met in person. We nodded to each other and asked how each other was doing, that was it. Dennis moved over and we discussed drumming and music off and on over the next couple of hours, which the wives and people around us appreciated immensely I’m sure. Now there is quite an age differenced here me being much older and we have very different playing styles, me being a straight ahead drummer and him being, well much more progressive in his drumming than myself and he does what he does exceptionally well. We discussed everything from different kits, electronic kits, online recording, bass pedals and on and on. Again, I’m sure the wives appreciated it. Everything I said about musicians earlier is spot on. There were no egos or attitude, just two musicians with common interests sharing. I learned a lot about something I’ve been doing for many years in just a couple of hours and am not to proud to say I appreciated the suggestions and conversation. So goes to prove, you never stop learning and when you do you are done.
Keep doing what you are doing, hang in there and be persistent, communicate and be kind, the future is yours.
NEXT WEEK JOHNNY FAST #205
INDY ROCK BLOG #203
By Les Mitchell
Refraction I recently found myself pondering the very polarizing subject of backing tracks in live performances. While the concept was not really well known until the Milli Vanilli incident, it was likely in use long before that and has since become the norm in most genres, involving anything from a few sound effects to full blown lip synch. With a fair amount of performing and recording experience, I’d like to think that I have a decent idea of what is and what isn’t being performed live. Most people I’ve watched shows with don’t seem to know the difference or they do and just don’t care.
I understand all sides of this. Some artists want to sound exactly like they do on their increasingly complex studio recordings and many fans want hear it the same way, so backing tracks are used. At the other end of the spectrum are artists and listeners that prefer rawness and spontaneity, so everything is live as you hear it. I say to each their own. There is plenty of room for all. I have experienced and enjoyed both sides as a listener. The most important thing is whether you are moved by it.
I do have an affinity for live albums as there is often great beauty in the raw performance, warts and all. I don’t need to hear everything as in the original recording. A voice crack or an instrument feeding back can be an amazing thing. A different tempo can create an entirely new experience. While realizing that most live albums are ‘polished’ before release, I still enjoy them as much as studio recordings.
As far as performing, I would prefer not to go beyond taped intros and interludes but I don’t begrudge those that do so to great effect. Personally, I would rather just hear my boys do their thing…
INDY ROCK BLOG #202
By Johnny Fast
In my last blog, I was speaking about marketing and putting more of an effort into getting our music out to the media. That's always been a place where we have been lacking. We have now started our marketing campaign and it's pretty exciting to see the music we've worked so hard on reaching different markets that we would have had no idea how to reach. I'm learning the importance of finding someone you can trust and who has the connections to help. We've found in the past that a lot of agents and promoters really don't have the clout they claim to have and are looking at you to make them successful and not the other way around. It should be a mutually beneficial relationship. At the end of the day you will just have to go with your gut. You can look at references and the marketing agents portfolio but when the decision comes you'll have to trust your instincts. If it fails, don't give up, you just need to keep searching until you find the right fit. The biggest tragedy is creating something beautiful and not putting the effort behind it to promote it.
INDY ROCK BLOG #201
By Paul Denton
Back In The Saddle
Well I must say this Blog was not expected. But I must say how much sharing my experiences with everyone is always special and I wish all our Blogs are helpful and inspiring to everyone. Feel free to express your own thoughts with us as we do for you.
As most friends of mine have known that suffering with arthritis and musicianship don’t agree. Well all I can say ,it takes more than a bullet to stop what’s in your heart. Many changes over the years have made me make some of the hardest decisions, and unfortunately, lost some friendships along the way. For those that have been by my side, family, friends and of course the vast music community that have always supported what I have accomplished, my heart goes out to you.
So here it is to be unannounced, definitely not planning on spilling all the beans but I’m giving this one last kick in the arse.
INDY ROCK BLOG #199
By Tom Bland
Over the years in my musical journey I have been blessed with playing with some very talented musicians. Pete Zilinski, Mark Watson, James Gregory, Rick Saunders, Bill Isfeld, Suzanne Mcintosh, just to name a few, all truly talented and helped in my progress over the years. While not being Neil Peart and being the “weak link” in most cases due to their talents, I held my own. I did what I do in life, be as dependable as possible, try not to burn bridges and be as open to ideas and direction as possible. These things don’t always work out and there is the odd time when you have to stand your ground. Younger me, as most newer musicians often see, egos prevail over good decisions. I’ve seen band mates get ousted over nothing more than someone needing to stroke their ego. Now that I’m older I’m happy to say I don’t see much ego stroking. As you mature in this business we seem to know when to “hold them and when to fold them”, with no one getting damaged in the process. You find the right people for the right results. I have played in a band with my guitarist, Pete who is behind most of the music we play for over 30 years (god, I’m old). The new guy lol Bill, has been with us for over 15 years, he’s the young pup. Even though we are slowing down and not in the hunt as much anymore we will continue getting together in Pete’s studio to work on new tunes and record. This music thing never leaves your soul but time plays a significant role that you don’t have a say in. So to all you young guns out there, leave the egos at home and giv’r shit, love what you are putting out there so far, ROCK ON!
Indy Rock Network
INDY ROCK BLOG #198
By Paul Denton
How important is it to promote your band? I realize that I’ve talked about this over the years. For me it means everything. Call me crazy, but I truly believe that a band should always be in the media. Even though we all support each other, as a band we still strive to get a leg up on the rest. I will be honest and say with all the bands our Network supports its easy to forget who some of you are, what your about because there is so much talent being added. This is one reason I enjoy our year end charts, because it gives me a chance to catch up and listen to everyone who is apart of this Network.
The real reason I wanted to re-hash the promotion topic was due to some of the things that caught my eye over the past several months. Some of the Christmas greetings, some of the ways you got us involved by showing us the venue and what it meant to you and the bands that put out Christmas video recordings of your version, were truly priceless.
It doesn’t have to be a certain season to promote yourself. The year is long, and as a fan we wait to see what you have next to offer. Paralandra were the Indy Top band for 2022. Like many of our bands I think they caught our attention not just based on talent but how they promoted their product. The full package.
As a fan of music they and others were able to grabb my attention.
We are just beginning a New Year and look forward to what everyone of our bands may have to offer.
Remember! 2023 could be your year. Promote yourselves and be creative.
INDY ROCK BLOG #197
By Johnny Fast
The dawn of a new year approaches and it's time to set some goals for 2023! I'm sure you've been through it a few times. Write, record, play some shows Yada Yada Yada. Maybe you want to think a little deeper though? Get outside of the box. What can you do differently this year to take your band to the next level? Is it inspiration for the music or better band chemistry? Hire an outside marketing agency to push your exposure or spend some money on a professional music video?
We have been thinking of all these things. As we get ready to release our 5th album the thought is, what can we do differently for this one instead of the old rinse and repeat? What other options are out there relating to marketing and promotion, merchandise, venues so that we can really make an impact? Already notes and ideas are being formed for the next project but I read somewhere that the greatest sin is creating something spectacular and then not marketing it. We have pushed back our album release until the spring for that specific reason. This will give us time to really focus and put together an event and promotion that will hit a little harder. One of our goals, play meaningful shows. Happy new year rockers!
INDY ROCK BLOG #196
By Pete Zilinski
As we head into the Christmas season, I can’t help but think that things sure have changed since I was a kid. Waking up to see what Santa has brought, the excitement around seeing what everyone else got too. Maybe it’s just that I’m not a young man anymore, but I do know one thing, it pays to keep a sense of humor during the holidays. This brings me to my rant. Could everyone please lighten up and stop worrying about whether we should say “Christmas” as it may offend those that are not of a religious nature. Full disclosure, I am a Christian and believe me, I’m not offended by Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or any other word that you want to use to describe a special day. To each his own.
It’s a time to celebrate family and enjoy the season. Maybe strike up some good old Christmas tunes or some Trans Siberian Orchestra stuff. Have an eggnog or two, reminisce about the good times and wait for Santa to deliver that Marshall stack on Christmas morning.
Merry Christmas to all you shred heads and rockers. Stay safe and warm.
INDY ROCK BLOG #195
By Les Mitchell
A recent change of residence within the group has once again brought most of my music equipment under one roof and inspired me to ask myself certain questions.
First of all, how did it come to this? How have I managed to acquire this much gear? For some items, I can’t even recall the exact circumstances that brought them into my possession. Ah the strange looks I get when I have to ask a bandmate if said items actually belong to me.
Having established my ownership of everything, do I really need all of this stuff? As far as the instruments themselves, I could never seriously consider parting with any of them, so any reduction would have to come from elsewhere. Given the fact that most pieces of music gear ‘seem’ to gain weight over time, is it hazardous to my overall well-being to keep lugging the wall of Marshalls that I recently wrestled back into my house? None of them are currently in my live rigs so why hang on to them? Effects take up far less space but when was the last time I used the Talk Box or the Space Echo or the effects units from past pedalboards? Surely something could be sent to a new home.
After serious consideration, I’ve arrived at the expected conclusion that nothing is expendable and I will just have to make room for everything. However, the Marshall stacks may find a permanent place in the living room. I’ll call that a compromise and revisit these questions another time…
INDY ROCK BLOG #194
By Paul Denton
As another year comes close to ending I often find myself reflecting on the past year. Could I have done things differently, better? I guess only time will tell!
I think the last live show I played was sometime in April. A highlight for sure playing the Fernie Alpine Resort. So much fun performing for everyone, especially for the kids who don’t often get to see performers at such a young age. For me this was my Super bowl experience. The rest of this year was some what of a strange experience not being able to perform. Although the decision was difficult to make I now realize it was the right choice. A much needed break and taking care of health issues became more important.
I did however get a chance to rehearse with a new project near the end of summer .It’s funny how the excitement and spark takes over once your within a band situation. Something I don’t think any musician will ever lose.
So as I reflect back I also look forward to the next year and challenges music may have to offer. I look forward to continuing with a new project and playing some great shows. Applying new ideas and inspirations. Music will always be in our hearts.
Long Live Rock N’ Roll
INDY ROCK BLOG #193
By Johnny Fast
Tradition starts as an idea and over time grows into something we look forward to. We have a few traditions which we look forward to and which form a part of the experience. We always order a pizza to the room after the show. Nothing tastes better at 2 in the morning after a night of sweat and rock and roll. It's like a reward for the hard work and effort of the night. When it shows up to the hotel we dig in and devour, usually winding down and talking over the gig, observations and the events and funny things that always seem to take place.
Food usually is a big part of the trip as it is in any venture or vacation. There's the quick meals grabbed on the road and the decision about what to eat for supper before the gig. If the venue also has food, we'll often eat there during or after the set up.
Second to the pizza, my favorite is the morning after breakfast where we can sit down and pound back coffee, get a big breakfast and reminisce some more before hitting the road. The whole experience is so unique and to be enjoyed. Even the tiredness the following day feels different because you know you are tired from having a great night.
There are so many little things in touring that make it amazing. It's nice to make a little money to cut down on the expenses but the riches of experience far outweigh the monetary. We have unique memories and are able to rehash old stories, bands we've met, hilarious or terrifying moments that only those that have experienced the tour life can relate to. We've been playing together now for over 10 years. Looking back at the time we've been doing this, it's pretty amazing and hopefully we have a lot more ahead.
Despite The Reverence
Indy Rock Network
INDY ROCK BLOG #192
By Les Mitchell
Looking back at the shows we have done this year, I see among the many artists that we have performed with, musicians of different ages, styles, and backgrounds at various stages of their musical endeavours. First bands, new bands, established bands, original bands, cover bands, solo acts, loud, quiet, fast, slow, heavy, light, etc.
Accepting the fact that I may be closer to the end of my musical continuum than the beginning, I realize that I have probably experienced all of the above at one time or another. I always find joy in checking out and supporting newer artists, while fondly remembering how I felt at that early stage of band life - a combination of nerves and excitement that can’t quite be replicated.
Any music scene just keeps evolving over time. Musicians and groups are continually entering and exiting scenes, often multiple times in multiple scenes. There is no single cataclysmic event that changes an entire scene. It is a ongoing entity that requires new blood and new energy to be sustainable - yet another reason to encourage new artists.
I’m not sure exactly at what point I became a veteran within our music scene, but it surely has occurred. I will offer whatever advice that I can to the up and comers while simultaneously trying to keep up to them and wonder what I would do differently if I myself were back in those same shoes…
INDY ROCK BLOG #191
By Pete Zilinski
Today, I would like to give an opinion on the state of media as it pertains to rock music. Don’t get me wrong, as I, like many other musicians am all for the various platforms that are available to the artists out there. With the plethora of sites available such as Youtube, Spotify, Soundcloud etc. there are numerous ways to get music out there. This all seems to be a great way to get exposure. The downside is there is very little monetary gain from said sites.
The way that I see it is, how then do musicians generate an income that allows them to sustain their music career. Playing venues seems to be one of the only ways to make money and as we all know the payouts are not great. How many of you will take a paltry sum of money to do a gig just so that you can climb up on a stage and perform. Personally, I would always take an opportunity to play in spite of the lack of funds provided.
It begs the question; do we hold out for more money or suck it up and take whatever is offered. It is disheartening to think about how much time and money musicians invest in their craft. I must admit that most of us don’t do this for the money. It is the pure love of creating music and standing on a stage feeling that energy in the air. I will never forget the words of my father when I told him that I wanted to be a musician, He said “don’t quit the day job”. He may have been right, but I have never given up on being a musician. It’s the day job that has allowed me to pursue my own musical endeavors.
So, keep loading those tunes on each media stream and keep playing and creating the music that we are all passionate about.
Guitar/vocals Dream Sanctuary
INDY ROCK BLOG #190
By Tom Bland
As we begin to wind down 2022 and look back, Indy Rock Network has seen some great bands come on board this year. Canadian bands had a bit of a slump until the end of June and has been picking up since then. We saw the addition of great Canadian bands like Polarity, lords of cowtown, hunting giants, raven witch, lynx, Iron Kingdom and Osyron. Internationally, bands from the USA, France, Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Germany and Cuba were added to the Network. All these bands have their own unique sound and style while showing the immense talent the indie scene has.
With Covid restrictions slowly being removed we’ve seen an insurgents of events and the breath coming back to bands. I’ve noticed particularly that November is going to be one of the best months in over two years for live events. Bands seem to be pushing hard now to get back on stage. With bands hitting the stage more and the influx of new bands to Indy Rock Network 2023 is ramping up to be a stellar year.
A lot of bands are fantastic for promoting the Network and we greatly appreciate it. If we could get more bands to do the same that would be incredible. It doesn’t take much, a mention of us, a link or letting other bands know we exist goes miles for Indy Rock Network. We also appreciate constructive suggestions and feel free to submit a blog about the indie rock scene or your band’s journey.
The end of 2022 and into 2023 is looking to be a new beginning for the music business and I personally feel excited for the future for the first time in a while. All the best to all the Network bands, keep on rockin!
INDY ROCK BLOG #189
By Paul Denton
The Power Of Music
Music has such a strong force that can be considered a phenomenon, religion or cult, if you will! It has the power of reaching into your soul and making you feel overwhelmed with so many emotions. That special song that you may have grown up with and still hold deep in your heart. I remember the first time listening to Supertramp’s Breakfast In America in the summer of 1979. I feel this album still holds up today. Such a memorable time in my life. Of course there were other influences but this one album has reminded me of summer and all the great times that went along with it.
The Power Of Music is not just about the song or album. It is also about how it is able to bring people of all races and ages together. Standing in line many times at an Iron Maiden concert talking to so many people with the same interest and excitement is truly priceless.
Music is also a way of giving. Musicians have always stepped up in supporting various charities and sadly tributes to those we have lost. Music is definitely a strong force. Community and fulfillment describe what music means to me.
I believe we have built a great community here at the Indy Rock Network and I always encourage all of us to support and participate.
I share with you what the Power Of Music is to me. What does it mean to you?
INDY ROCK BLOG #188
By Johnny Fast
The joys of trying to organize a tour! I don't know how anybody does it but for me, it is one of the most tedious things. It comes down to persistence. Over years I have built relationships with different booking managers and owners and developed a bit of a circuit that we like to play. Even with that, it is always a challenge. Many emails and phone calls to line up the venue's and in an order that makes sense and then trying to line up bands, openers and closers. Some are quick to respond and others don't at all. There's the unexpected which can happen and threaten to collapse everything. Like a band having to cancel or a sudden illness or of course, the weather. Our arch nemesis! It never fails to make things interesting.
Once the hotel rooms are booked, vehicles loaded the fun really begins. Arriving at a new, never played venue is a guessing game so we make sure we are prepared for the worst. Extra cables and connections, tape, strings and zip ties, soundboards and speakers. Where to load in and what time does the soundman arrive, or maybe the soundman doesn't exist. Be prepared my friend, it's showtime!
INDY ROCK BLOG #187
By Les Mitchel
As the clock winds down on the summer music season, I can now objectively reflect on the past year of shows. Since live music became a thing again, I’ve re-experienced the whole gamut of performing - an inclusive mix of indoor/outdoor, electric/acoustic, single set/multi set, single band/multi band shows. It was all memorable and I have to say that it was very close to how I remember it.
As expected after a long hiatus of not performing, certainly the longest such break since I became a musician, there were a few clam notes played and brain malfunctions. Strange how the mind can go completely blank, even during a part that I may have written and played flawlessly for years. Overall, I think the performances were solid given the circumstances. We laughed, we cried, we laughed again, and we tried to leave all that we had on the stage. There were nights where everything worked perfectly and there were other nights where it seemed like there was just one long series of technical difficulties.
As this past year seemed like a bit of a musical rebirth, I experimented by using different guitars, different strings, different pedals, even different picks - no small feat for a creature of habit like me. I’m guessing that this approach contributed to some of my gear malfunctions but I’ll be damned if I didn’t create some fascinatingly bizarre sounds that have no musical value whatsoever. Back to the lab before the next show…
INDY ROCK BLOG #186
By Tom Bland
In todays rock and metal music more and more females have graced the stages to entertain their fans. This is fantastic and added a whole new direction especially in metal. Metal bands with scorching hot songs that had growling vocals (nothing wrong with that) now have vocalists with pristine voices fronting the band. Yes, earlier on we had Lee Aaron and others but it was limited up until the last ten or so years. Just in the short time I started Indy Rock Network I have seen an insurgence of talented female performers in all aspects of the industry. From guitarist, bassists, drummers, vocalists and behind the seens workers. Evergray came through a couple of years back and their sound person was a tiny blond that got huge sound for the bands, she was exceptional at her job. What I like about this trend is that we are seeing an influx of female hard rock/metal musicians that will only bolster the band/group dynamic. So keep rockin ladies, I can’t wait to see what the future brings.
Indy Rock Network follows some of the best and here is a list, check their bands out on our band page. My apologies if I missed anyone.
-Casandra Carson - Paralandra
-Kendra Jae Emms - Northern Royals
-Emelle Eternal - Eternal Frequency
-Eva Shamira - Ember Sea
-Valerie Ann - Black Optic
-Chantelle Night - Eternal Now
-Mirte Van Der Ham - Manora
-Yanairis Fernandez - Bonus
-Suzanne Mcintosh - Dream Sanctuary
-Erin Lyndsay - Raven Witch
-Chris T’ Anti - Queen Of Distortion
-Kristina Gasparic-Block - Kriss The Sky
-Krista Lundemo - Wabash & Lake
-Fallon Weidner - All From Nothing
-Jordan Skelly - Co Komono
-Zosia West - Reign Of Z
-Jasmine Virginia - Polarity