Zach Quillen: The Man Who Opens Doors

*Warning: geeking out to the max, hardcore extreme style*

As a Music & Entertainment Business student pursuing a degree in an extremely volatile (and unpredictable) industry, let me just tell you that it’s incredibly comforting to know that there are people like Zach Quillen out there in the world. This man has completely changed the industry on the business side– it’s literally INSANE.

Below are 3 game changers that no manager of a band has done before him (all at once that is).

See for yourself:

1) Zach Quillen set up a ONE TIME contract with Sony to get their music on the radio. This is very important because it allowed them to completely evade signing a major record deal while still getting mainstream radio play.

Why is this important? One word answer: FREEDOM.

By remaining independent they have been able to maintain control of how they make music and where they do shows, while keeping all of their own capital. (If you’re not aware of the history of record contracts with major labels in the past and present, I suggest you look into it)

The trend that I’ve personally been seeing is that most people just want to make music without selling out. Sure that’s not the case for everyone, but some of the most talented artists I know still don’t care about the fame. But everyone has to eat. Am I right, or am I right?

The point is, Zach Quillen has completely changed the process of how artists can get their music on the radio, whether it’s at a local level or a national level, he’s paved a new wave for artists to share their music (I mean, do you really think that Sony will NEVER do that again considering the Grammy results a couple weeks ago).

It’s incredible and inspiring.

[note source 1 below]

2) In the beginning he booked them SMALL venues that he knew they could sell out to build up their press.

All press is good press, so whether it’s a crowd of 200 or 2,000, he still gave them the opportunity to say to venue owners, “look you need us to play here, we WILL give you a sold out night.”

It seems like common sense, but as an observer of my peers, many have BIG dreams to sell out BIG stadiums… All the while forgetting the build-up of all the “little shows” that that they’re completely skipping over.

[note source 2]

3) He made it a point that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis stick to easily accessible/mobile social media websites. He made sure that his clients stuck to posting items personally as well as communicating with fans as much as possible. (And I’m sure that’s hard to do, especially now… So props!)

The most interesting thing is how they used Tumblr. Zach Quillen realized how easy it is to use and share items on that site. And basically he applied those concepts to their own website, making it extremely accessible and easy to use.

[note Source 3]

Whether you like Macklemore or not is of no importance, their manager Zach Quillen has COMPLETELY opened new doors for independent artists everywhere (and look how far it’s gotten them).

In all honesty, I love underground hip hop and I’ve been a fan of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis since 2009, but I’d definitely have more of a “fan girl” moment meeting Zach Quillen than I would meeting Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. (Sorry guys!)

Now please excuse me, my mind being blown repeatedly has made a bit of a mess all over the place.

Stay funky.

Source 1

Source 2

Source 3

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One Can Dream, Right?

Remember the days when people would gather around at someone’s house to listen to an artist’s new record? Or the days where there were house parties that had a band come in and play a live set for entertainment wasn’t just a scene from one of your favorite movies? 

Yeah I don’t either. Mostly because no matter how old I feel sometimes, I am in reality just way too young to have those kind of memories circulating my mind-hole.

The internet is such a GREAT tool that everyone utilizes to stay connected with one another, and it’s truly an epic way for bands to distribute their music to their fans around the world. But sometimes I can’t help but recognize this whimsical part of my being that wishes that I can have a little bit of both worlds. A world in which I can find an amazing array of music from all over the world by the click of a mouse; music that encompasses all sorts of different genres throughout the universe. And a world where every weekend I can go to an actual house party with a 6-pack of a nicely brewed IPA, and listen to a band play in the middle of someone’s living room- I’d say watch a band play outside, but this is Minnesota so let’s be real.

But wouldn’t that just be a glorious world to live in? 

So to anyone out there reading this- whether you’re a musician, or know someone who is a musician, or even someone who knows someone who knows someone that is a musician- get a friend to throw a party together, put some beer on ice, and hook up an amp in their living room. And if this just so happens to be in Minnesota, send me an eVite! 😉 

Hip Hop, I have a bone to pick with you…..

These days, 90% of the mainstream music on the radio should just be considered white noise. And honestly, it’s a really sad thing. Most people say that about the radio quite often-as if that’s normal… and sometimes I just want to shout from the roof tops, “IT WASN’T ALWAYS LIKE THAT!!!”

That’s how I feel about mainstream hip hop too though. The ghettoness, the gold teeth, the girls with the big booties dancing all over stage, the whole thug appeal that artists try to portray, THE VIOLENCE…. is it just me, or is that stuff all a little over-rated these days, and getting -well, to be frank- a little old??

I absolutely love hip hop. Like love it with every inch of my soul, beyond what words can truly explain. And while I am mostly a huge fan underground hip hop artists (because 98% of them DON’T do this in their work), I still LOVE artists like TuPac, Notorious B.I.G., Gangstarr, Bonethugs & Harmony, WuTang…etc. Which seems a little redundant when I’m sitting here typing a rant about modern day hip hop. But to be honest with you, it’s really not hypocritical for me to have a bone to pick with hip hop artists who are trying to portray an image like that. And here’s why:

1) Hip hop artists from the past-like say 15 to 20 yrs ago, and I don’t care who you first think of, the majority had finesse in their music. It flowed.

2) THEIR IDEAS WERE ORIGINAL. Whether their songs were about violence, bangin chicks, or their “crew”, they had ideas that were revolutionary, and still are to this day. They came up with it. They went extreme with it. THEY were ORIGINAL.

3) I’m gonna just drop this here, and not elaborate or touch this again with a ten foot pole because if I do, this rant would never end and my fingers might fall off… BUT JUST BECAUSE TWO WORDS RHYME, DOES NOT MAKE IT A LYRIC IF IT MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE AT ALL. Songs like that (be honest you know you’re thinking of one right now) make me wanna punch a baby. [Chill out, it’s a figure of speech, I could never punch a baby]

I understand that imitation is the biggest form of flattery, but sometimes, when I hear a new hip hop song (whether it’s mainstream or underground), I can’t help but picture TuPac rolling around in his grave…or uh, hologram.

I’m no expert or anything, I’m just a big flaming nerd who actually appreciates hip hop with every inch of my being.

I appreciate original ideas…

I appreciate original lyrics…

I appreciate songs that are NOT created from samples…

Call me crazy, but cliches exhaust and bore the crap out of me.

So to the mainstream hip hop artists out there, or any artist trying to “make it big”… Please. Just stop. Don’t get sucked into this idea that hip hop is about being ghetto and looking tough. Remember what the acronym for “R.A.P.” means, and please, for the sake of all babies out there, don’t ever forget it. Please…..? I just don’t know how long I can fight off the urge to punch a baby every time I hear someone rhyme “drink & sink” in the same line. [figure of speech– chill]

 

 

Marijuana Deathsquads

“Marijuana WHAT?”

Yeah. That was my reaction to the name of this band based out of Minneapolis. But after my reaction to their crazy name, I immediately snapped out of it when they started playing their song Ewok Sadness.

Let me first just state for the record that I am really not all that into EDM music. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the occasional EDM show because how can you not have fun at a live show with a good group of friends. But I have never been one to sit on a bus and listen to that genre of music. There’s just something about it that doesn’t get my blood pumpin, and I really can’t explain it any more than that.

But as I was walking around with my friend during the annual Zombie Pub Crawl event in Minneapolis a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but stop and become completely engrossed and engaged in their music.

The best way that I can describe this band is this: they create the filthiest and grimiest beats that completely twist and turn your mind into a puddle of awe.

And I’m not the only who thinks their music is incredibly different. Tigger Lunney of the Minneapolis City Pages also has a very intriguing review of their music: “ear-bending improv/dance grooves that defied listener expectations and spit in the face of easy categorization.”

On this particular night, they had two different drum sets on stage playing simultanenously, someone playing the guitar and two or three different boards on stage with them. Their stage set up completely blew my mind because they were literally doing their own live version of reverb and multi-tracking, and it sounded amazing.

And it felt like fate when I learned a few days later that P.O.S. of Doomtree let Marijuana Deathsquads completely remix his latest album. I can’t say that I was surprised though, because if you’ve been a long time Doomtree/P.O.S. fan like me, then you would know that Stefon Alexander is notorious for combining hardcore rock and crazy beats in his rap songs. But the end result of his remixed album is like something out of a fairy tale- it’s almost too good to be real life, and it is absolutely stunningly different in the best way possible.

Take a listen:

MDS Newest LP: Oh My Sexy Lord

http://www.spin.com/articles/marijuana-deathsquads-oh-my-sexy-lord-album-stream/

MDS/P.O.S. album: We Don’t Even Live Here

https://soundcloud.com/rhymesayers/sets/p-o-s-wdelh-mds-rmx/s-OtDL2 

Link to their website/Tour schedule (You best believe that I will be at their show on November 30th!)

http://marijuanadeathsquads.com/

it sucks to suck

Wow. It’s been a minute since I’ve posted on here, and I send out my apologies to the blogosphere world for that. My life has been completely engrossed in school and working multiple part time jobs. If there’s one thing I can say for certain, it’s this: if I could be granted any two wishes, they would be: 1) That I could have more hours in a day 2) That I could have a third arm (as silly as that sounds, I could definitely get SO much more done in a day if I had an extra arm).

Don’t get me wrong, as busy as I have been with studying for my music & entertainment business degree, and networking with my professors, peers and fellow musicians, and as much as I hate having to work multiple part time jobs to support myself in the mean time, I couldn’t be any happier. Every week I get schedules from my jobs, and every week I think to myself, “Ok. On Monday, I can go to school at 4-5am to work with ProTools and study and then I can take a nap on the couch after my 12:30pm class before my night class. On Tuesday I can get a solid 4 hours of sleep and get to school early to study and then after work that night I can go back to school… On Wednesday, I can get about 3 hours of sleep… etc.” And as rough as it sounds to have to plan your sleeping and studying schedules like that, studying music and pursuing something I love is the drug that keeps me going everyday.

And the best part of ALL of this is that even though I have been SO busy, I am still in the #2 ranked music & media city in the country (#1 being Nashville): the beautiful (and freezing cold) Minneapolis. With that being said, be prepared for a couple posts on music and artists that I have been turned on to and some of the shows that I have gone to in the past few weeks….

Keep that music bumpin. Much love. 

 

 

9/4/13

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Mac Lethal 9/4/13

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Mac Lethal 9/4/13

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Mac Lethal 9/4/13

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A friend of mine and myself right up front…. Along with an epic photobomb in the background by the man himself.

 

I remember when I first heard a Mac Lethal song about 4 years ago…. I was living in Hawaii and my best friend and I were going through our usual routine of staying up way too late, and listening to music for hours on end. We used to call them “our music sesh nights”, because the only thing we truly cared about was music: we would sit there, blast music, dissect their lyrics and beats, and talk non-stop for hours about what the songs we listened to meant to us individually.

There were a lot of nights where we would just sit there, quietly, listening to music and we would just reflect. Sometimes all it takes is a moment of peace and music playing to reach a moment of clarity when life throws you through a loop.

One night during our music sesh, which by this point in time, became a weekly ritual, the songs “Speak Low” began to play and I’m sure it looked like my eyes were going to pop out of my head because I was so touched by the lyrics that I instantly had to know everything possible about the artist and had to find all of his songs. 

http://youtu.be/7Izm3vq5mP8 

The lyrics in the song “Speak Low” amazed me… so honest, so raw, so heartfelt… The second verse of that song goes like this:

“Speak low, you’re weakening the stock
Cause all you do is talk talk talk talk talk like 2Pac
In interviews so crass and ravenous
Passionately soaking me in old-fashioned adages
Reload, my ego is so damn savage
That it sometimes convinces me that I’m above average
Below madness, right here, right there
If I never heard your voice again I probably wouldn’t care
So just stare with the jolly crooked stare
Finding people like me in Hollywood is rare
See I don’t act, I don’t retract any statements
And I don’t give a fuck where all the cuteness in my face went
I got a belly and I’m balding on my skelly
And I’m not in need of food, love, or money so I’m wealthy
My well-being works like this, I’m satisfied with my life
Therefore I’m rich, get it?”

And then I heard the song “Manifesto”, and fell even more in love with his music….

Last verse of “Manifesto”:

“wow pretty girl you’re so fly
you’ve been single forever saying you can’t find a guy
but every guy you meet you don’t talk you don’t speak
he’s a little too sweet or he don’t have enough mystique
you’re alone forever as a paradox in heels
looking for another nice candlebox to steal
don’t rub steel wool on your own skin
or act like your made of steel and you wont bend
let a guy steal your heart then accept him
its not love if there aint a single imperfection”

Mac Lethal is just an extremely talented and accomplished artist. He’s an amazing lyricist, a published author (he just released his first novel a few days ago), a talented producer, and he’s just a hysterically funny guy. He has his own YouTube page where the parodies he has posted have up to THIRTY MILLION views because of how funny and clever he is. 

His presence on stage is just impeccable. He is larger than life when he performs and it is impossible to not jump around and crowd the dance floor when he gets up there. In fact, he even jumped off stage and sang this beautiful song in the middle of the crowd (3 inches away from me too!!):

https://soundcloud.com/mac-lethal/jake-olive-unmixed-demo

It’s such a beautiful song… and one of the things I will always love about him is that he can be such a comedian in his songs, and then suddenly the next track is something like this piece of art. He’s so complex. Being a fan of his is so fun, you never know what to expect but you know for sure that it will be amazing.

Links for Mac Lethal:

https://soundcloud.com/mac-lethal

http://maclethal.bandcamp.com/

Tick Tock

Everyday I learn more and more about the music and entertainment industry, and at the end of the day I can feel the adrenaline just coursing through my veins.

It’s constant.

It’s frightening.

It’s exhilarating.

It pushes me more and more to fight through the mundane tasks of working two part-time jobs, so that I can just survive those days and hours and minutes and seconds that I am not surrounded by an environment of music enthusiasts.

And as I sit here counting down the days and hours and minutes and seconds, I can’t help but feel a sense of urgency.

Time has to pass by faster.

I have to get back into those classrooms.

I have to hear my professors talk about their careers in music.

I have to learn everything and anything I can about music.

Time is my enemy.

Tick tock, tick tock…