Archive for the ‘New York’ Category

I’ve switched into vacation mode. It always happens when I go back to Ohio for breaks in between semesters. BUT I’m getting back into it, finding time between relaxing and working for my parents’ sandwich shop to write to you beautiful people. The posts may be a little scattered for the next couple weeks, but there will definitely be a schedule once again when I’m back in Boston and in school.

The end of my internship was August 13th…it was bitter sweet to say the least. I learned so much this summer and am really happy to have found such a phenomenal place to work, but I was ready for a break.

A couple weeks before the end of my time there, they had their annual Digital Press Conference (which was sponsored by Reverbnation, so that’s cool). I was lucky enough to be able to interview all the artists that performed, so here’s an overview of the day!

The schedule was packed full of amazing musicians. I asked each of them to describe their music in one word – here’s what they said:

3:15 Amy Lynn & The Gunshow – Sassy-fresh
3:40 Tom Fuller Band – Brilliant
4:05 Jesse Terry – Timeless
4:30 David Bronson – Honest
4:55 Crazy Mary – Psychedelic
5:45 October Project – Romantic
6:10 Block – Complicated
6:35 Jenn Summers – Colbie collait/Jack Johnson driving down the PCH in a VW van heading to a Beach Boys concert
7:00 The Plaine Truth – Soul-Rock
7:25 Trew Music – Alternative Hip-Hop
7:50 Pete Herger – Rock & Roll

Some of them took creative liberty on the definition of “one,” but hey, they’re musicians.

I also asked the artists what methods – online or offline – bring them the most fans. The most popular answer was, in fact, live music! It makes sense to me, because I’ve found many bands that way. The second most popular was using social media sites and actually connecting with people. Tweet conversations, responding to Facebook comments, etc. Also, not surprising. It’s good to know that connection is still that important.

Being way up on the third floor, I was slightly separated from the chaos of the main floor, which was good for me, because it was pretty intense! There were 30+ people in the living room, kitchen, and back yard when I finally made my way down to the action. I staked my claim by the hummus and Stacey’s Pita chips (seriously, I could eat two bags of these), and mostly observed.

Each performer had the stage (the raised section of Ariel’s living room – awesome) for 15 minutes. In that time, the acts that I was able to see managed to get their essence across and blow everyone away. The two that stick out most were The Plaine Truth – with powerful female/male vocals – and Trew Music – with an attitude of someone doing exactly what they should be.

Trew Music!

The Plaine Truth rockin’ out

Trew also premiered his music video right after his performance. He started it with a warning that it’s not the usual music video, which I had a hard time believing, but he was right. It had a futuristic narrator that took us to different sections of the song, and the story it told. You can check it out here and let me know what you think!

The music video director himself. Trew’s entire crew were incredibly close and just seemed like great people.

The staff at Ariel Publicity ended up staying until around 10:30, which left us all exhausted the next day, but it was a great experience and I met some people I hope to meet up with whenever we manage to be in the same city! Couldn’t ask for more than that.

Oh and every aspect of the house was utilized to accommodate all the people – including the roof.

The staff of Cyber PR, ladies and gentlemen

I can definitely feel the end of my time in NYC coming up. I feel like I’m preparing, but in the wrong way. I should be pushing to do as much as possible before I leave, but I’ve started feeling like I’m already done instead. Not such a good thing with about a week left!

This week started off with some insanity and just got better from there:

Ariel Publicity had our 2012 Digital Press Conference and there were SO MANY awesome artists. Trew Music (above) was so much fun to talk to and see perform.

Helped a friend film a promotional video…on a rooftop in the upper East Side. Beautiful.

Brick + Mortar posted my review! I was pretty fucking pumped. You can read it here.

Checked out Alice’s Teacup with my friend Hannah. They have awesome “brookies” (brownie and cookie). Good way to celebrate an awesome week =]

If anyone knows of some awesome New York bands, I’m looking to get to know the scene more so let me know! I’ll totally bake you cookies (or mention you in a Tweet if you have an aversion to baked goods)

Late post! That might be happening a lot in the next two weeks…Speaking of which, I only have two weeks left! Excuse me while I wipe the tears from my keyboard.
But really, I’m fine, I swear. This week I was due for my bi-annual two day knockout sickness. It happens a couple times a year without fail, I’ll wake up one day with just a hell of a cold (or so it seems) and two days of sleep later it will be gone. It’s one of the mysteries of my life.

Besides being sick for two days, I had some pretty awesome adventures this week…

Received a rose from an overly enthusiastic Russian at a sketchy bar deep in Brooklyn (I was flattered)

Hunter became my best friend at work this week after I gave him treats that are apparently his crack

Went to a market in Williamsburg and ran across this. I don’t even know what it is, but I like it.

Also got this sweet iPhone case at that market (reclaimed vinyl ! )

And finally, The Oats had an awesome gig at Trash Bar in Williamsburg

All in all, this week made me realize I was born to live in Williamsburg. Time to start apartment hunting…

Having been here almost two months, I’ve learned a couple things I was woefully ignorant of before. I’m not even close to being a “real New Yorker” (I haven’t even cried on the subway guys), but I can definitely share some knowledge that’s helpful to people visiting or moving to the city.

Getting Around

#1 – Look up (and figure out) subway directions BEFORE you leave

#2 – Know the difference between going downtown and uptown

#3 – Local trains stop at every station; express trains DO NOT

#4 – The traffic on even numbered one-way streets go East; odd traffic goes West

#5 – The city is a grid, avenues go North-South; streets go East-West

#6 – 30-day passes can only be swiped once every 18 minutes

#7 – It takes longer to get there than you think

 

Food Stuffs

 

#8 – There will ALWAYS be a $1 pizza place. And yes, it will be delicious

#9 – The food trucks are better than you think; and cleaner.

#10 – There are restaurants for every culture…don’t be afraid to try something new

#11 – Look at the ratings that are posted on every restaurant; A and B are good, “grade pending” means a failing grade…

#12 – If you’re on a budget, stick to bagels and small falafel places, or cook at home

#13 – Mid-town is full of tourists and the prices rise accordingly

Staying Safe

 

#13 – Don’t walk alone

#14 – If you must walk alone, stick to popular streets (a good bet is 2-way streets)

#15 – The Lower East Side is actually pretty safe

#16 – When dealing with catcalls, pretend like you didn’t hear them, don’t look at them, and keep walking

#17 – When in Brooklyn ghettos, put your iPhone AWAY

#18 – Make a wide berth around the more insane-looking homeless, they can be grabby

 

The Music Scene

#19 – Open mics happen in various cafes and bars every night of the week, and they’re a great way to get gigs

#20 – The East Village has the best venues, all within walking distance of each other, a lot them free

#21 – “Free” means there’s a drink minimum

#22 – Just like any other big city, busk whenever you can (even on the subways)

#23 – Play as much as possible, form a relationship with other musicians, and make sure the audience knows where to find your music when you leave the stage

I’m gonna be honest, it’s been kind of a rough week, but there were some awesome parts!

For instance:

The Oats played at Don Pedro’s Friday night and rocked the place (naturally). I had to scrape together a mailing list signup due to shitty circumstances, but we made it work, and got 7 new fans!

Smiley faces are infinitely better than giant Xs

Checked out the Highline for the first time! Why haven’t I been there before?? It’s beautiful. And has delicious gelato (pistachio fucking ROCKS)

Beautiful

Went to a show at Bowery Ballroom (by myself, because I’m cool like that – also I’m writing a review for it) and discovered this AWESOME rhythm-based, bass heavy band, Brick + Mortar.

And of course saw River City Extension, who were fantastic, unsurprisingly. There were, however, several drunk uber fans that made the experience significantly more sweaty and mosh pit-y (at a folk show? Really??)

I really should be writing that review, but the events of this week have left me emotionally drained, so I think I’ll devote today to listening to Muse, Mumford & Sons, and just not a giving a damn.

Who’s with me?

I’m halfway done already? What?? I’m already thinking about my plans for the end of the summer…and it’s kind of depressing. I wish I could just stay here, but I suppose I should probably get a degree. Being so close to graduation and all.

The good news is I got a new phone this week! Pictures are back (although I’ll definitely miss the puppies). Here are a few things I did this week:

 

Went to Googie’s Lounge to see my friend Jordan play, although I couldn’t stay the whole because of how insane my life has become…I swear I didn’t have a social life this week.

Decided to attempt to get back into running, especially because it’s such a nice area, but alas my knee started hurting almost immediately so that’s probably not going to be happening any time soon.

My awesome boss with her cat Hunter! She’s leaving for a week and he was being mopey the WHOLE day. He totally knew.

Last night I went to this awesommme rooftop party in Chelsea, with free food and drinks. I felt a wee bit under dressed…it was fancy as shit.

Went to an awesome bar called Home Sweet Home this weekend. They played music that was exclusively from the 50s and 60s, I want to go there always.

Tomorrow’s going to be a little bit of a different post. I’m going to talk about life and emotions and all the fun stuff that comes with taking on too much. Plus some single lady talk. It’s gonna be a good time.

Show Count: 1 (see? no life)

I had a week that was so full of the most jolting ups and downs, I had to resist the urge to look for Ashton Kutcher (Punk’d anyone?).

In order:

1. Started managing The Oats (awesome)
2. Confronted my venue internship supervisor (not awesome)
3. Got my purse from the MTA lost and found!! (awesome)
4. Was mugged by a ballsy 16-year-old in Brooklyn (not awesome…don’t worry, I’m fine)
5. Now work 4 days at Ariel and have a 3 day weekend (awesome)
6. Can only sleep on the weekends (not awesome)

I think my body decided to shut itself down yesterday due to some kind of PTSD. I slept 10 hours, then took a 3 hour nap

Because I now have no phone, there is a lack of pictures to document the past week…Also, I’ve been living off of bagels and peanut butter and jelly because he got my debit card. Welcome to Brooklyn.

To fill in for the lack of pictures, I was going to post a visual representation of why Pinterest is pushing women’s rights back few generations, but I decided I needed something soothing in my life instead.

Therefore, I bring you puppies:

 

 

Source: google.ca via Marla on Pinterest

Source: petapixel.com via Sara on Pinterest

Source: via Ashton on Pinterest

 
 

Source: lnkgt.com via Smile on Pinterest

You’re welcome.

When I announced that I’m now managing a band in NYC on Sunday, some people (okay one person, I’m not exactly big time here) were curious about the events that led to that decision. Here I’ll tell the tale of how I came to manage them, from first meeting to now, with a sprinkle of advice thrown in (you know how I do).

NMS and Determined Networking

A few weeks ago, I attended the New Music Seminar at Webster Hall and posted about it here. What I didn’t mention was the band from Mexico that I met on the first night, the opening concert.

Before the show, there was a “red carpet” of sorts for all the media to take pictures and do quick interviews. I only had my iPhone so I was mostly there to see who was at the concert and hopefully learn a little more about the seminar. There were a couple bands that walked through that had the potential to play my preferred genre of music, one of which was The Oats.

I am not the most social person. Every outing takes a good deal of energy from me and I have to force myself to walk up to new people and start a conversation. But that’s exactly what I did. The first band did NOT seem interested in what I had to say…they replied with obligation and gave me their card, but they clearly had better people to talk to. Refusing to be deterred, I walked up to the next band in the hopes of, at the very least, getting their information and finding some new music. I didn’t realize I was starting a friendship and a partnership.

The Oats were very enthusiastic about meeting new people (my friend was with me) and we talked for a bit about their sound (The Pixies, The Strokes, The Libertines), their story, and my aspirations in the music business. We exchanged information and went our separate ways.

Networking Tips (Trust me, I know this shit. Thanks Google!):

  • Be Confident – If you don’t believe you’re an interesting person to talk to, no one else will either, and they’ll quickly run the other way
  • Have A Conversation Starter – With those bands, I opened by confirming their band name and inquiring about the genre of music they play. It can be anything from complimenting an article of clothing to asking about their position in the music industry.
  • Focus On Them – People love talking about themselves
  • Get Their Contact Info – Ask for a card, a number, or an email, and make sure not to lose it!
  • Follow Up – Send a quick email saying how great it was to meet them and include an open-ended suggestion to meet or work together

Follow-Up and A Show At Public Assembly

After the New Music Seminar ended, and I actually had some free time again, I sent out a follow-up email saying I liked their music and asking for a list of show dates. Of course, they added me to their mailing list (good move guys) and sent me a free download (and again!) along with their calendar. Naturally, I went to their next show, which was at Public Assembly in Brooklyn. At 8pm on a Sunday. What I’m saying is there weren’t many people there.

Despite the small crowd, The Oats rocked it and made the perfect self-deprecating joke, without making it awkward. They also enlisted the help of a rubber chicken to ask for emails from the audience. I was really starting to like this band.

After the show, my friends and I invited them to hang out back at our place, have a beer, and play some music (as we’re wont to do..). Even with their Mexican accents (meaning language barrier), they fit in with us Berklee kids. Musicians gotta stick together, you know?

The Rest Is History

But I’ll tell you about it anyway. We started hanging out more regularly, talking about their time in Toronto and how the radio stations in Mexico don’t like bands that sing in English, and I just became determined to help them build a fan base here in NYC. I checked out their online presence, gave them a few tips, and promoted shows through my social media profiles. Then, I got them a gig in Boston (THIS FRIDAY AT MACHINE). Occasionally, they’d mention they were looking for a manager, but, seeing as I don’t have any experience, I was resistant to offering my services (I was scared shitless that I’d mess it up).

But, after talking about my experiences with my internships and previous concert planning and promotion, along with all the help I’d offered them and my enthusiasm for their music, they asked me to be their manager. And, as you know, I said yes.

Sign Your First Band (Advice For Aspiring Managers)

  • Go to ALL THE SHOWS
  • Find a small band or two that you really believe in, based on their music and their dedication
  • Introduce yourself as a person interested in music business – and their band (don’t mention management yet!)
  • Prove Yourself – Because you lack the experience, you have to help them before bringing up management…give advice, help with promotion, book them a gig, whatever is in your capabilities to do
  • Mention that you’re interested in managing bands, if they seem interested, talk about how you would help them and let them know that if they need a manager, you would be glad to help
  • Wait – there isn’t much you can do after this without the risk of seeming desperate, so let them think it over and if they bring it up again, you’re golden

So now we’re in the development stages of this collaboration. We made a contract (always do this – ALWAYS), set some goals and guidelines, and are working non-stop to make it all happen.

Sometimes it all feels like a dream. Two years ago, I never would have believed I would be where I am now, or would have gained so much knowledge and so many connections. It’s a surreal feeling living your dream (forgive the expression). I wish everyone had the chance to be in my position, and that’s why I write this blog. I want to share my experiences from my pursuit of success in the music business, and I want those experiences to help as many people as possible, although even just one would make me happy.

If you want to see The Oats play live today at 4pm, check them out via uStream on Rew & Who!

Have a wonderful 4th of July everyone!

I know pretty much everyone says this, but good lord this summer is going by too quickly. I’m almost halfway through and I feel like there’s still way too much I want to do. Looks like I’ll have to cut back to NO sleep. That’s feasible right?

Here are some snapshots of my 4th week:

Went to see a band who are here all the way from Mexico called The Oats in Williamsburg and noticed this brilliant number marking system. Dominoes. Who would have thought?

Saw my boy Evan play at Googie’s Lounge! 4 weeks in NYC and he’s already had two gigs. This kid’s going places.

Saw this and got very confused…Kind of dark for subway art, don’t you think??

Found a FREE SHOW (two best words ever) for White Rabbits (<3) in Williamsburg with openers We Barbarians. It was awesome to go to a bigger show like that, I’ve been going to too many open mics.

But the best part of my week had to be enjoying the sweet chewiness of a Now and Later. Like a cool kid from the 90s.

Does anyone remember these things?? I used to eat them by the handful.


I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT

So pay attention (please).

The band I mentioned at the beginning of the post (The Oats) will now be managed by yours truly! Get ready to hear a lot more about them, because it’s about to take over my life and I really believe in them as a band. I promise they won’t be the band of the week ALL the time (I guess). If you like The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, or The Pixies, you should probably check them out and come to a show or two. If you like them, email spreadtheoats@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list!


I’m also adding a new feature to my Sunday updates. I’ve been going to so many shows every week, I decided to start keeping track. So here’s to introducing the show counter! (try to contain your excitement)

SHOW COUNT: 7

 

So, in conclusion, stay away from alligators and please, feed a Mexican.

Three weeks in and I’m pretty confident about what to expect from day to day at my internships. Time for a sneak peek into the lowest level in the music industry:

Internship #1

The best part about this industry? Waking up early is avoided at all costs. My first internship doesn’t start until 2, so I can either catch up on the sleep I didn’t get over the weekend or wake up and get some shit done before the chaos of the world takes up all my time.

Because it’s a venue, there’s a lot of manual work that has to be done. Here’s my morning checklist:

  • Check messages
  • Rotate posters (get rid of old ones, put up new ones, etc)
  • Write the lineup for the night on the chalkboards (I have horrible handwriting so this rarely goes well)
  • Water and hang the plants

Pretty basic stuff that would be a bit of a hassle for the higher ups. After the checklist is finished, I go to my supervisor for tasks. A lot of the time it’s administrative work, like updating the website, writing tweets, or making new sheets for the sound guys.

The best times are when they ask me to look for musicians that could possibly play a show. That involves looking at a list of blogs that feature local or small bands and listening to the top 10 musicians on each blog. Great for discovery, and I’m ALWAYS down to listen to some music.

Skills Acquired

I’d like to think my handwriting has improved from doing the listings, but sadly that’s not true…I have been learning a lot about what works for bands and what doesn’t though.

  • Bright, professional posters are a must. Make sure to have the date ON the poster. Also it’s better if you don’t send the posters folded, who wants to read a wrinkled poster?
  • For the love of God, PLEASE have more than a MySpace. Put down the whip, that horse is dead. Perfect combination? Website, Facebook, Twitter. And of course you can throw in a sprinkling of other websites if it tickles your fancy.
  • The name of your band can make you impossible to find, or it can make you stick out. Choose wisely.
  • Venues want you to bring a certain amount of people, but most bands don’t live up to their promises. You can use that knowledge to get yourself some more gigs, or pleasantly surprise the venue management.

Internship #2

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably figured out that I intern at Ariel Publicity. I don’t think I’ll have any issues putting that up here because, well, they’re awesome.

Ariel Publicity is a digital PR company that works with artists to increase their online presence and guide them in the world of social media. We work exclusively online, so I spend a lot of time on my laptop.

There is a lot less every day work to do, so I spend my time on various ongoing projects like

  • Pitching bands to various websites
  • Researching ways to increase the reach of Facebook pages (since they decided to make it extremely difficult recently)
  • Database cleaning (tedious, but seriously necessary)
  • Planning the 2012 Digital Press Conference

If you couldn’t tell, there’s a lot more responsibility working for Ariel. I really feel like I’m personally helping each band I work with (we get to choose) and I’m getting invaluable experience that I can apply to any future endeavor. This is the kind of internship that can lead to a job; not only does it look good on a resume, but it helps add skills and experience that students otherwise don’t get.

Skills Acquired

Too many to list, but here are the main ones.

  • Professional writing skills. I’ve always thought of myself as a decent writer, but the level of thought required to write a compelling pitch has made me up my game like nothing else.
  • New marketing techniques and ways to transfer those skills from one platform to another. The internet is always changing, which means a site that’s popular today could change or disappear at any time. Learning the basics and how to adapt to these changes quickly is what keeps Ariel from becoming obsolete.
  • Website design and HTML. I’ve learned basic HTML before, but having to create and edit pages of the Ariel Publicity website has cemented what I learned and forced me to teach myself skills I didn’t have before.
  • Networking. A lot of social media involves being able to communicate clearly and connect with people online and in person (yes, we do still meet in person on occasion). Personally, this is a difficult area for me, so it’s great to be pushed and surrounded by people who are literally social for a living.

By far the best part of being an intern is the fact that I am constantly surrounded by music. I’ve found some phenomenal music in the past few weeks and the best part is that I can actually have a significant impact on their success.