Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
I grew up in a rural area outside of the Twin Cities and was glued to the radio from the age of six. The sounds of FM radio were the soundtrack to my life and the blueprint for the world I was discovering. For better or worse, the music and attitude of classic rock imprinted upon me a notion of how the world could and should be. I loved all the swagger and attitude – still do. Discovering punk and indie music was a huge turn on because they combined the attitude of classic rock with the freedom and defiance of the DIY wave. I joined my first garage band in high school and the freedom, fun, and camaraderie of that experience got me hooked for life. Since then I've pursued songwriting and performing in varying degrees of intensity, but have always returned to it out of necessity -- I feel like it's absolutely necessary for my existence. Recently, I came across a great quote on loudup.com: "Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time". I've come to realize that I'm in love with decorating time.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
When I was gigging a lot it was because our band was going to the clubs we wanted to play at and getting to know the bands that were playing. Socializing, "networking" I guess, in the scenes that we wanted to be a part of, worked well for us. There are a lot of different avenues for airplay. With so many online options you really need to do a lot of research to determine which shows and playlists your music fits the best with, and only reach out to those. There's a lot of good info and links to radio stations and venues by state on the website indieonthemove.com as well.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Oh, god yes! The thing I've come to realize is that the audience is on your side. They want you to be fabulous; they really want to love what you're doing and be wowed by you. And they're probably not even going to notice if you flub something. But approaching your flubs with humor is always best, because it just endears you to your audience even more.
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
I have toured at various times with different bands. One time a band I was in was booked for a weekend group event in northern Minnesota, at the former home of the Paul Bunyan amusement park. They gave us really nice accommodations including two expensive resort suites on a lake. On the night before our gig we were hanging out in one of the suites when our guitarists, Todd and Scott, went on a liquor run. They were gone for over an hour as Bob our bass player and I waited, watching Nightmare on Elm Street. Finally my phone rings and it’s Todd saying they ended up checking out the place we were going to play the next night and they got distracted because it turns out the people that hired us for the gig were all partying there at the bar, and the group event that we were hired for was a “Lifestyle” event, meaning everyone there were swingers. He said it was a crazy scene and we should come check it out. Bob and I were quick to get down there. Our stage was set up in the parking lot of a bowling alley. As we walked to the front door we passed by a giant Paul Bunyan statue holding a bowling ball, with Babe the Blue Ox standing next to him. Through the front door we see families bowling - pretty normal scene. But then we come to the entrance of “The Eleventh Frame” bar and grill inside the bowling alley, and there’s a sign that says “closed for a private party”. Upon entry to the bar the first thing we see is a woman laying on a pool table with another woman going down on her. Right there on the pool table, under less than flattering fluorescent lighting. Bob looked a little scared. Next I hear the voice of Scott our guitarist blaring through the speakers, singing karaoke in a sloppy drunk voice and standing between two topless women on the karaoke stage. I found Todd sitting at a table talking with a couple, and sat down with him to take in the scene. Bob reemerged at one point with a stunned look on his face, reporting that there was a couple having sex on a pool table with a group standing around watching. So the next night was the gig, and to get things started some boring MC was trying to do some raffle thing but it was clear the swinger group just wanted to rock out. The poor MC was trying to do some sort of “Let’s Make a Deal” type theme, like “The first person who has a fifty dollar bill will win the free dinner at Ron’s Steak House.” but it wasn't going over well. Finally our drummer Step got fed up, went up on stage, grabbed the mic from the host and said, “The first person to show me their black panties wins the next prize.” The host could be heard saying, “Oh, you can’t do that.” A group of women rushed the stage, undoing their pants or pulling up their skirts. Step gave the prize to one of them, and then announced that our band was starting NOW. We got up on stage and powered into our set. The dance floor filled up immediately and shirts began being flung through the air. Half of the women there were topless for the rest of the night --
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
I credit to my Logic Pro set up for my new productivity and momentum, since it allows me to do pretty much everything by myself. It consists of a desktop Mac running Logic Pro, a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 digital interface, an Akai MPK25 keyboard, an Electro Voice RE 20 mic for vocals and live drums, and KRK Rokit 8 studio monitors. Instruments used include a Gibson Les Paul custom electric guitar and a Silvertone electric guitar, an acoustic Ibanez guitar, and a Slingerland drum kit.
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
I'm always on the lookout for different avenues to get my music heard. I search for online contests and other opportunities, I submit to licensing opportunities through Song Hunters, and I'm slowly but surely understanding how to use Music XRay more effectively. I also decided to try something different for my latest EP so I hired a company called Cyber PR to focus my efforts better. I've benefitted enormously from their suggestions about effective online marketing, creating your brand, and "finding your tribe" as they call it. They're also promoting me for opportunities that I didn't know about and that I probably would not have discovered on my own.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
Oh, wow. So I'm just going to name a few places off the top of my head: Red Rocks Amphitheater in CO because of the beautiful setting and acoustics, the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco because it's a beautiful, historic space (and they say it's haunted), the Bowery Ballroom in NYC because it's legendary, and a local shout-out -- the Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater because it's a great outdoor space in a great setting. A few who come to mind when thinking about who it'd be amazing to perform with: great singers/performers like Mavis Staples, Beck, and Rufus Wainwright -plus I'd love to do vocal work with great electronic producers like Kruder & Dorfmeister, Pretty Lights, Thievery Corporation, Count Basic, and so many others!
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
My six song EP "Back to Right" is now available everywhere for streaming and downloading, out February 3rd!
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
I'd be a political strategist or a political communications director.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
More new tracks, more prominent song placements, and (fingers-crossed) a live show.
Exposed Vocals: Any Shout-outs?
I want to thank my loyal fans who have stayed with me over the many winding roads my music career has travelled -- you're awesome!