Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Giving Artists a New Reach: Interview with Justyn Brodsky


Artist Reach is a company that offers Professional Artist Development & Elite Music Industry  Services while cutting out the middle man, "consultants", or people in the Business you potentially may be wasting money with. We are a direct source, and best of all, we are founded and operated by Professional Musicians--guaranteeing you top results based on our decades of hands-on experience on stage, and off stage; and our online presence demonstrates that our following grows daily, and sustains absolute loyalty among those that have connected/networked with it.

Interview with Justyn Brodsky of Artist Reach 

So, are you the founder and CEO of Artist Reach?

Justyn: I am. The company originally started in Spring 2013 under the name The Pact Music Society. But after successfully being offered a grant (along with the help of Digital Music News, Electric Kiwi, Sony, and the Agency Group), some development of new ideas, more crowdfunding, and an enormous response on our social media platforms...we became Artist Reach in Spring 2014 after investors exercised the idea of a name change.

Tell us how the company started. What made you decide you wanted to help artists?

Justyn: helping Artists is something I've always been prone to ever since becoming an Artist myself. God knows since music coming into my life at age 3 (I have pictures to prove this!), it's been quite the journey. I've watched the Music Business evolve, I've watched myself evolve with it, I've watched the trends and the genres go through their changes; I've always made sure to pay close attention to what's going on so I can not just keep up with the essence of times, but find my window to possibly get ahead of it somehow. Do something or acquire something in the industry that hasn't been touched on yet. Differentiation, if you will. You can always play it safe, do something that's already been done and do it well...but with Artist Reach and the audience I've built, I'm yearning to find that key factor of differentiation. Kinda like inventing, or reinventing. But helping Artists simply is something from the heart. I wanna inspire others the same way I was inspired.

What exactly do you do and why would an artist want you to represent them? 

Justyn: I operate, facilitate, and run the Company in all aspects ranging from the business side of things, consultation, teaching up to 5 instruments, and do whatever I can to make sure Artist Reach is always active and making new friends, colleagues, connections, etc. Why us? Because like said, we are dynamically run by professional musicians only. Currently there are 7 of us, myself included. Our experience in many music fields on high levels makes all the difference from your average Music Business "Network" or Music Lesson "Program". We lived and breathed the music fields for years, and continue to do so. We also personalize this experience and don't shy away from or "screen" Artists that wanna be involved because of lack of experience, knowledge of the industry, or heavy extensive touring. We have seen so many Artists start from the bottom and rise. That's why we don't discriminate. If the Artist's drive and work ethic is there along with the will to invest themselves into their career, that's where we can play the best role. Your Artist Development.

There are so many companies that claim to get artists exposure, but in the end, they seem to only take a lot of money with little results. What separates your company from all the other Artist Development companies?

Justyn: We charge our services based on the Artist's needs, their goals, and what they are striving to gain without emptying their wallets. We work with budgets and aren't afraid to show some results first before we charge someone a full quote. Our consultation is always free, and we utilize our skills and experiences combined with your needs and goals as an Artist. And I guess even though it's already been said, the biggest thing that makes us different is the fact that we are a company of professional musicians with elite skills in almost any industry field.

What has Artist Reach done? What are some of your success stories?

Justyn: We have successfully obtained grants from industry investors, 5 star reviews from many customers and affiliates, reviews and interviews on other popular music Zines and Websites, over 150,000 followers on Twitter, over 25,000 Facebook Likes, over 10,000 LinkedIn Connections, a great word-of-mouth following, and countless valuable connections and friendships.

I read your profile and it says that you work for Saturday Night Live. Are you still working for SNL and how is that experience?

Justyn: this is my 3rd season working in audio there. It's not year round, but the best thing about that is it looks great on the resume'. And you get to work with so much talent in the production stages. Unfortunately, I don't get to hang out with celebrities, but the staff and co-workers are some of the most genuine people I've ever met. I learn something new and make great memories every season I get to work in that studio. It's an amazing environment.

Since you are on the inside, have you ever tried to get your clients on the show and have you succeeded? How hard is it to get on these kinds of late night shows?

Justyn: Unfortunately I don't pull that kind of weight. But the advice I was given on many occasions is to make sure I give the producers a reason (or several) to keep them letting me come back to work on the next season. The longer you stay, the more you're looked at as family...and you never know what opportunities may come along! But so far, no one I've recommended or suggested has gotten on the show yet. But I'm always encouraged to submit new talent, and to keep discovering.

What are some of your future goals for Artist Reach and what can we expect in the coming months and years?

Justyn: Expect a very large Network of dedicated Artists with the strive to get to that next level with our help. I hope to open a bigger office, obtain more exclusive investment, and be able to do this full time where I can make this into a living, and have the position to provide a full schedule of services to any Artist looking for the best price for the best results.

Find more of Artist Reach:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ArtistReachOfficial
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ArtistReach
Tumblr: artistreach.tumblr.com

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Interview with Grammy Nominated Producer & Author Anthony Casuccio

His name Anthony Casuccio. Anthony Casuccio is the Founder and Principal Sound Engineer and Author. Casuccio even wrote a wrote a book about his experiences. Some of his topics cover treating artists with respect in an age of excess.

Casuccio has worked on numerous albums and mastered the group, Barton's Top 20 Billboard Dance hit "To Call My Own". Casuccio's current projects include - De Apostle (featuring Sizzla, Morgan Heritage and Luciano). Casuccio's own creative project has been featured on All My Children as well as used in numerous commercials across the country (look for the national spot from Liberty Medical). Other of Casuccio's notable projects include a lost demo tape from Kurt Cobain and a Dance single by the Barton that charted at No. 9 in the UK. Casuccio's resume includes spending 1000s of hours mastering projects for several major recording labels including Columbia, BMG, Warner, and dozens of indie labels over the past 20 years.

Xtream Audio Mastering. Their work has been featured in Mix Magazine, Billboard and even been nominated for 3 Grammys. Xtream Audio Mastering produces work ranging from Hip Hop, House, to Heavy Metal.

Interview with Anthony Casuccio: 

It appears as if you have a pretty colorful and decorated life having worked with so many professional and independent artists, you published your own book, and now you have production studio called Xtream Audio Mastering, which you opened in 2010. When you look back on your life, how does it make you feel?

Anthony: It is a great feeling to be able to do something you love and have success at it. I think it goes hand and hand. I have been very luck to have worked with some great people on some great projects.

Do you feel accomplished or do you feel like your best work is yet to come?

Anthony: Great question. I feel like I am just starting (although I am not) and have so many career goals that I want to achieve. Skies the limit in the entertainment industry. I do feel seasoned and can bring a veteran’s perspective to projects.

So, tell us how it all started. How did music get introduced to you and when did you decide you wanted to become an engineer?

Anthony: I always wanted to be Eddie Van Halen (dating myself here) and when I realized in high school that it may not happen, I got interested in the recording aspect of music. I was still playing in rock bands as well as the school band so I was very involved in the music performance side of things. Being a huge Beatles fan since I can remember, I love to write and figured I could take those ideas with me into the studio. So I set a course on going to college to learn recording technology.

Who was the first artist that you could remember that really inspired you?

Anthony: I have to say the Beatles and more importantly, John Lennon. I just loved their songwriting and harmonies. Like millions of other people, it just pulled me in. I knew that I had to do something in the music industry.

What was your childhood like and how was music apart of your life?

Anthony: I bought a lot of 45 records and listened to what was playing on the radio. I had a very supportive family. I took trumpet lessons and then when I was old enough (after asking for a few years) I started guitar lessons. I never looked back.

In addition to all your accomplishments, you're also a published author. Can you tell us about the "Be nice movement"?   

Anthony: Being nice is not a sign of weakness, it shows strength and control. When in a confrontational situation, by responding in a positive constructive manner helps you control the conversation and in the end steer the outcome in your favor. And isn’t that what we want.

I am not trying to preach! I just happened to try and do the right thing in a very tough business and I found that it works. I am used to a fast paced world, where nice is not the norm. I just made a choice to try and always do the right thing and it has paid off. People need to hear this.

The message that I am trying to convey.

Being nice and doing the “right thing” will created opportunities for people that follow this mantra. People like to be around others that radiate positive energy.

Does your book apply to both men and women and does it apply to only nice people?

Anthony: This works for all ages and men and women. This book is an easy read with a great positive message. I am a hot head and if I can act nice and in a positive manner, anyone can. There are a few thought provoking question at the end of each chapter to help spark some personal growth into looking at challenging situations that one may be thrust into.

Let's talk about your business. When did it start and was it difficult to get it off the ground? How did you promote yourself to get new business?

Anthony: I moved to California from NYC to work for a Sony Music company in 2000. Unfortunately, the recession hit and Sony laid everyone off. I had met my future wife there and did not want to move back to NYC. I needed to go back to my roots of mastering (which I was doing in NYC), so fed up with always working for someone else, I started Xtream Audio Mastering in 2001. Interestingly enough, when I was in NYC, I was doing a lot of remastering for big name projects like Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Elle Fitzgerald box sets. I also worked on big band and classical albums. So I was surprised and thrilled when one of my first Xtream Audio clients was a Rap group. I treated them with respect, something that they were not used to. Word spread of my fair services and within 6 months I became the go to mastering guy for Hip Hop in the bay area. I have a great web site, and it was much easier back then to get to the top of Yahoo and Google. That helped me generate business and get a foot hold in the business. I was one of the first mastering companies to offer direct upload and free samples.

What is your specialty? Do you only work with music artists or do you offer your services to film producers as well or is that something completely different?

Anthony: Mastering in my primary business. I started to get into mixing as well since I realized I could do a better job on a lot of the music I was receiving to master. Anything audio I will master, not just music. I have cleaned up some dialog for movies to mixing and mastering commercials.

What kind of artist is your specialty? Hip Hop, Electronica, Pop, Rock, or do you do it all?

Anthony: I do it all. I work a lot with the genres you just mentioned, but I also have worked on some classical albums that have been nominated for Grammys. I had a handful of songs I mastered top the dance charts too.

Give us your 5 year forecast? What is the future of Anthony Casuccio and  Xtream Audio Mastering?

Anthony: I plan to be doing what I love to do, Mastering. I started this business as a way to level the playing field for the independent artist buy offering major label mastering at an affordable price. I plan to keep that mission intact. I have built my business on this model and it has worked. Saving musicians some hard earned money and giving them great service kind of sells itself. I have a ton of repeat clients and they love to spread the word on Xtream Audio Mastering. I am going to work hard to allow that to continue.

Find more of Anthony Casuccio:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/xtreamaudio
Official Website: http://xtreamaudio.com/audio.html
Twitter: xtreamaudio

Get a copy of Be Nice at http://anthonycasuccio.com

Monday, November 10, 2014

AIMA Season IV Submission Window is Closing and Awards Ceremony Update

The Final submission date to enter Season IV of the Artists In Music Awards is November 15, 2014 at Midnight. If you have not become a member and submitted, there is still plenty of time.

For more information and to find your category go to http://www.aimusicawards.com/#!vote/c60z

We have several categories in Music, Film, Poetry, Literature, Photography, and Theatre. If your category is not represented, please let us know. We may add it.

Behind the Scenes

If you have been apart of AIMA at all during the past 3 seasons, you may have noticed that we are doing less live shows during the year. Now that we are under the Siqueiros Foundation of the Arts, the Artists In Music Awards has scaled back on the monthly shows, but we are very much still active. We do plan on continuing the live show tradition in Season V and reintroducing the Summer Showcase and the Breakthrough Series.

As of today, we are behind the scenes hard at work and focusing on the final stages of obtaining our 501c3 charity organizational license. In the meantime, the Executive Board of Directors have been diligently attending Community events, shaking hands with State and City leaders by attending political events, and appearing at various Art & Music shows in and around Los Angeles as part of our awareness campaign.

Awards Ceremony

As of today, we are unable to reveal the official location of the Awards Ceremony, but we will very soon. The Awards Ceremony is still scheduled for Saturday, March 7, 2015 and it will be held in Los Angeles. Once we have the “go-ahead” we will send out a Press Release to make the HUGE announcement.

For the main event, we are doing something never done before - show full-length films, have live performances, and exhibit Art during a televised event. At the present moment, we are looking for Full-Length Films, Short films, and Documentary’s. As mentioned previously, we will have an exhibit area to showcase Artwork, so we are looking for Nominees from the Visual Arts arena. Of course, we are also looking for live music performers for the main stage to perform in between the trophy presentations. If you are a member and you have something unique to offer, please email us.

Once we make the location announcement, we will begin selling tickets to attend the main event.

FYI: Anyone can become a member. As a member, you can nominate yourself, a band, or any single artist, actor, etc. You are also welcome to nominate someone for Lifetime Achievement, Educator of the Year, etc. We simply ask that if you nominate someone for an award, your participant is aware they must be present during the awards ceremony as we have a strict attendance policy - We do not award absentees.

To join and submit, go to http://www.aimusicawards.com/#!submit

The final submission date is NOVEMBER 15, 2015.

Stay tuned for more information COMING SOON!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

10 of the Best Indie Songs for Weddings

Written by Cormac Reynolds

Weddings have to be perfect. The need perfect colors, the
perfect people, and the perfect food. It has to have the perfect soundtrack. We’ve all seen the father-daughter dance to Butterfly Kisses, and we’ve seen rocking reception dances to Jackson Five and Queen. All fun to be sure, but how do you set the mood in a unique way? Below are ten of the best indie songs for a wedding.

1 – Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros The chorus says it all. “Home is wherever I’m with you.” It’s upbeat and heartwarming, with pieces of a love story sprinkled between whistling and fantastically used trumpets.

2 – We Found Each Other in the Dark by City and Color

They hid the premise in the title. Nonetheless, it’s a great wedding song. It’s about choosing to live and have a great life together no matter the circumstances. Easy guitars and a smooth falsetto make it a good slow dance choice.

3 – Ho Hey by The Lumineers

This happy, energetic folk song proclaims what every wedding is about: “I belong with you, you belong with me, and you’re my sweetheart.” It doesn’t get more wedding appropriate than that. You’ll be the BEST DJ IN TOWN if you play it at a wedding.

4 – Angel by Ernie Halter

City and Colour
This song oozes with sweetness. Halter has a voice like velvet, and the instrumentals provide the
perfect background.

5 – Jackson by Johnny Cash – Original or cover version by Florence + Josh Homme

Admittedly, this doesn’t quite fall in the indie category if you have the original, but Florence Welch and Josh Homme bring a new twist to the classic. Modern voices over a classic bring some Cash class up to date.

6 – You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me cover by She and Him

Who doesn’t want a bit of Zooey Deschanel at their wedding? She and Him’s rendition of the Smokey Robinson song is an ode to holding the one you love, and very easy on the ears.

7 – Walking on a Dream by Empire of the Sun

This song is a blast. It channels just enough of a 80s electronic dance vibe to be fun, without being cheesy or annoying. A simple drum beat and tight instrumentals make this an easy choice for the reception dance floor.

8 – 5 Years’ Time by Noah and the Whale
Noah and the Whale

Easygoing and whimsical, this song will have everybody feeling good. Ukulele, pleasant harmonies, and a small taste of violin and flute add depth to this folk-flavored tune.

9 – Wonderful (The Way I Feel) – My Morning Jacket

Every wedding needs a nostalgic acoustic guitar singer-songwriter type song. A great voice and a great guitar part make this song perfect simplicity.

10 – I’ll Follow You by Jon McLaughlin

A piano based love ballad, this is sure to have all the parents and best friends getting a bit misty. The strings and McLaughlin’s raw voice will bring plenty of emotion to the ceremony.

DJ FOR HIRE
Wedding DJ Kent, Surrey, Sussex, London

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Interview with Bidisha Chowdhury: Film Maker and Story Teller


Bidisha Chowdhury lived in Kolkata, India when young. She was always mesmerized by films, but when she grew up, there weren’t kids’ films like there are now. The films were geared towards adults. Instead, she read tons of storybooks, even hiding from her parents to do so. She amused herself by imaging the books she read in film format.

From all the books she read, she had lots of ideas for stories, but no creative outlet for them. Decades later, after moving to the US, she started writing her stories into scripts. Years later, when she finally had the opportunity to get involved with the filmmaking process, working on numerous short films.

Her journey started when she wrote and directed two of her own shorts in 2010 and one in 2012. She became a part of something bigger than herself. Still, at that stage, she never thought she could ever make her own feature-length film someday.

She loves the whole process of filmmaking, starting with writing the script. During the pre-production process, she loves to spend hours creating props and designing costumes for the characters. She finds it creates a stronger connection with the characters and allows her to tell a better story.

Interview with Bidisha Chowdhury

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. You're obviously a well established director and writer. You have several writing credits, director credits, producer credits, and even a credit as a costume designer. Do you feel like you are just beginning? What is your primary goal?

Bidisha: I love the whole process of filmmaking, starting with writing the script. “Adaline” is my first feature and yes, I guess, in the grand scheme of things it’s still just the beginning for me but I still have a fair amount of experience under my belt. I have a couple of other scripts which I wrote a while ago, I want to make them into a film in the future. Also I’d like to make films on real life stories and events.

My primary goal is to make films which have a strong story because basically I’m a story teller. I want my films to appeal to audiences of all ages and demographic as my central philosophy is simply to have a great story.

You mention in your biography that your ambition to work in film stemmed from a very young age. What were some of your ideas that you held onto as a child that are still with you today?

Bidisha: I was always mesmerized by films, but when I was growing up in India, there weren’t kids’ films like there are now. The films were geared towards adults. Instead, I read tons of storybooks. I amused myself by imaging the books in film format. I had lots of ideas for stories, but no creative outlet for them. Decades later, after moving to the US, I started writing my stories into scripts. Years later, I finally had the opportunity to get involved with the filmmaking process, working on numerous short films. My journey started when I wrote and directed two of my own shorts in 2010 and one in 2012. I became a part of something bigger than myself. Still, at that stage, I never thought I could ever make my own feature-length film someday.

Tell us a little about your current project Adaline? 

Bidisha: This is the story of a struggling young artist called Daniela who inherits an old house from a distant aunt she never knew existed. Daniela moves into the San Andreas house and gets to know locals such as the mentally-challenged Marvin and the handsome John. Life seems perfect.

Daniela starts having a series of bizarre dreams. She finds a hundred-year-old diary from the young Adaline, who also left cryptic prophecies hidden in the attic when she lived there. Daniela discovers that Adaline was known for her special powers and ability to see the future. Her premonitions came true and she was called “The Village Witch of San Andreas”. Did Adaline see something really terrifying in Daniela’s future? Is that the reason she’s trying to reach Daniela through the dreams and the written prophecies?

Is Adaline one those stories you created as a child? 

Bidisha: No. I wrote Adaline in 2012 and then I rewrote it until we went to production. Story and believable characters are important to me. I’ve read many stories since I was a child. My inspiration for believable characters comes from certain interesting people I’ve met along the way. For example, when I was growing up in India there was an older lady who was our neighbor. She was nice but very curious about other people’s business. So I wanted to incorporate personality trait into Becky’s character where I made Becky into a small town nosey lady.

A while back I met a younger guy who was very nice and sweet. He was slightly mentally challenged and talked in a very unique way. Then years later I met another guy who used to work in a shop I often went to. His mannerism, his body language and his clothes caught my eye. The color combination of his clothes didn’t match and the style of clothing was not contemporary but he didn’t realize it. So when I was writing the script I combined these two people into one and that’s how my Marvin’s character got started.

Being that you were forced to hide certain books from your parents, what were those books and does any of your current work reflect those ambitions as a child?

Bidisha: I used to read all kinds of stories and novels which started from a young age and that’s how I fell in love with story-telling which became second nature to me when I grew up. It helps me a lot when I write a script. I can’t remember exactly which books I hid from my parents but they were probably most likely ghost stories.

Did your parents ever catch you writing stories and try to make you stop? How did you hide this from them or how did you explain it?

Bidisha: I used to write more poems than stories when I was much younger. However I did read a huge number of stories during my childhood. The stories I read and the new ones I thought up, I just kept them in my head for my own amusement.

Equality for women in India is slowly changing for the better, but the country is still one of the most dangerous places and oppressed country's for women. As an Indian woman, do you feel some satisfaction in becoming apart of this equality movement?

Bidisha: Yes, India is changing for the better but I don’t believe it’s one of the most dangerous places in the World for women or the most oppressed country for women. After all India, in 1980, elected a female Prime Minister in the form of Indira Gandhi which was long before most countries in the west have done and are still to do. Also, one of the first female film directors in India was an Indian lady by the name of Fatima Begun who, back in the 1920’s, used to write, direct and produce her own films. However, I do understand your sentiment that India is a male dominated society where Indian women have had to face many challenges on a daily basis. As time passes things do change. My total respect goes out to those women. I wouldn’t say I’m a conscious part of any movement. I’m just grateful I have the opportunity to do what I love to do.

So whatever challenges women in film face today the trailblazers of the past have broken down many barriers but there are still more changes that will undoubtedly happen. We will just have to wait and see.

Do you feel fulfilled or is the best yet to come for Bidisha Chowdhury?

Bidisha: I did put all of my effort into making “Adaline” the best it can be with my limited resources and funding. I have different stories I’m looking to get made into film which will be different to Adaline but very special in their own ways. I am always looking to improve so I feel the best of me is yet to come though Adaline represents the current “best of me”.

Can you tell us what you'll be working on next? 

Bidisha: Currently I have a script we’re looking at potentially producing. It’s a period drama set in Victorian times called “Weeping Lilly” and it’s about a mother’s struggles to protect her home, children, husband, and sanity from a scheming governess who has a mysterious past and shadowy agenda.

Find more of Bidisha Chowdhury:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4974852/
www.beautifulcircleproductions.com
www.adalinethemovie.com
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3218094/?ref_=nm_flmg_wr_2

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Interview with Hip Hop Artist CST: Christ Saved Terry


Hailing from Detroit, USA, CST (Christ Saved Terry) is a charismatic, spontaneous and direct hip-hop / Gospel artist who set out to create music with an honest and eclectic approach.

His fondness for hip-hop goes a long way back: his heart and soul was blessed with a talent and affinity for music since he was a kid. The hip-hop scene has always been victim of the vain and shallow pursuit of super-stardom. As a consequence, much of what makes music really important is lost: the message. The cause. CST doesn’t just aim to make typical forms of entertainment: His music is a pledge to the undying love and greatness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The music is personal, insightful and real, dealing with issues such as the experience of Christ in everyday life.

Interview with CST (Christ Saved Terry):

Thank you so much for coming onto All Indie Magazine. So, you're a Christian Rap artist. What message do you want to convey to your listeners?

CST: Exactly, I have many friends that are incredible artists and don't make gospel music and we have good friendships. I meet people all the time and we talk about what matters to them. Whether it's a relationship or a situation that needs input, my goal is to encourage people I meet about the plans God has for their life.

You've released three previous albums including Worship Musick (released under the name Da Bronze Bomber) and Hiphop iz my Hobby and #allthatmattters. Your new album is entitled, Model CST. What is special about this album in comparison to your previous releases?

CST: Good question…Charles Barkley Famously said a long time ago “I’m not a role model” I think a lot of people live that way today. Also It’s a play on words…I was born in Highland Park, MI the birthplace of the Ford Model T. Also with this project I’ve learned that there is no such thing as the lone genius. to get anywhere in life we need help and support from others. Each of my projects has had a purpose and a message I hope to communicate to my audience. In my previous work, I've done most of everything myself from the production, the concept and I've seen limits to my abilities when you go at it alone. This Project started with help of a producer (Wontel) that took time and created music that fits the theme of the album and every song is a reflection of the growth I've experienced and the depth of my convictions.

Which song do you think represents this new album above all other songs? 

CST: I have a track called Lost 2 Found which really breaks down the mood of the album. Like the old church song, Amazing Grace..."amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved..." you get it. I want to communicate that for a new generation of people who are for the most part unimpressed with Jesus and what he represents.

What motivated or who you to become a Hip Hop artist?

CST: I had neighbors from New york and they inspired me to rap. They have tapes that were from the radio stations and I was blown away by the hiphop culture there.

Do you prefer to call yourself a rap artist? What is the difference?

CST: I believe hiphop is a culture and rap is a part of that culture. I care very little for titles as I’m grateful to be called anything at this point. Those who want to argue over the differences have way too much time on their hands.

Growing up, what artists did you look up to? 


CST: The greats like Nas, Jay-Z Also growing up in Detroit I was connected to the rap scene there as well Proof(D12), EM, and Royce are all incredible artists that inspire me.

Who do you look up to now?

CST: There is a difference now that I’m a Christian, I look up to rappers that share my world view like Flame, Da Truth, B.I.G. CITY and Social Club.

What is in store for CST? What projects do you have currently in the works that fans can look forward to?

CST: I have a EP coming out call Model CST, another mixtape in the works and Hopefully a tour in 2015. People can catch up with me by going on www.cst313.com

Find more of CST: 
www.cst313.com
www.reverbnation.com/CST313
www.noisetrade.com/cst313/allthatmatters

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Identity Theft: Interview with Author Laura Lee

"A bored employee in a rock star's office begins an online relationship with a fan in the guise of his
boss and sets off a chain of events he cannot control."

Laura Lee is the author of 15 books with such publishers as Harper Collins, Reader's Digest, Lyons Press and Running Press. I am best known for humorous reference such as The Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation, which sold 85,000 copies for Black Dog and Leventhal. My first novel was Angel published by Itineris Press. The San Francisco Chronicle has said of my work: “Lee's dry, humorous tone makes her a charming companion… She has a penchant for wordplay that is irresistible.”

Synopsis of Identity Theft 
Candi Tavris is on the verge of turning 30, she works in the packaging department of a company that is downsizing and she is hounded by calls from creditors who mispronounce her name. She wakes up every morning praying that the folks at Life Lock will perform their work in reverse and give her "identity" to someone else. Her younger sister, never a serious student, married a rich executive and lives in a mansion. Candi's only solace is escaping into the music and image of the 80s pop star Blast.

Ethan Penn, a 22 year-old college dropout who smokes pot and lives in his mother's basement, works in the rock star's office. (His desk sits under a framed gold record with a dead spider caught in the glass.)

His boss, whose real name is Ollie Thomas, is as socially awkward off stage as he is charismatic on stage. He is depressed about his pending divorce. His greatest fame is behind him, his biggest hit "Partly Cloudy Thursday (Blast With Me)" was a cliched monstrosity written to please record executives. His rock n' roll lifestyle mostly consists of finding ways to keep his laundry from stinking while on the road and trying to remain anonymous while buying Preparation-H.

Blast assigns the task of keeping up with his social networking to Ethan. Ethan starts to correspond with Candi through e-mail and chats in the guise of the rock star. The conversation soon becomes steamy. The game spirals out of control when Blast performs a concert in Candi's hometown and Candi is mistaken first for a groupie and then for a delusional stalker.

Candi must try to prove (and retain) her sanity. Ethan must decide whether to risk jail by telling the truth. A terrified Ollie has to come to terms with his relationship with his Blast character and the consequences of his fame.

Interview with Laura Lee:
According to the synopsis, this sounds like a fun read full of twists and turns and it all seems to surround three people that are trying to hide from their obviously miserable lives. What else can you say about this book? Is it as funny as it seems? Is there a serious side to this book?

Laura Lee: It's sort of Donnie and Marie. A little bit country and a little bit rock n' roll. (Or is your audience way too young to get that reference?) I tend to talk about serious things using humor and sometimes humorous things in seriousness. I don't know if the three main characters are miserable, they're more isolated and are each in stagnant periods in their lives. I tend to need some philosophical question to muse on in order to get the momentum to write a novel. In this case, I mused on the nature of identity. Most of the characters, for example, have names that are different than those they were born with. A reader described it as "a somewhat dark, intellectual comedy, with some light romance and a huge dose of reality." That sounds good to me.

How did you come up with this story? Does it reflect any truth to your real life or are you just that creative?

Laura Lee: None of the characters are autobiographical. They say "write what you know" but there are a lot of ways of knowing. Lived experience is only one kind of knowing. When I write I combine things I researched, things I lived and things I imagine and I put them in a blender. I did, like the character of Ethan, work in a musician's office. (And fans did come in and suggest that he could make more money if we had him wear the t-shirts and use the soap before we sold it.) Like the rock star character (Ollie/Blast) I am on the road five moths a year. (With a ballet project.) And I have been on entertainment tours with a group in a big tour bus as well. So I am familiar with that world. Like Candi, the character who is taken in by Ethan's fraud, I have worked in an office that was restructuring-- more than one in fact. I've had to deal with financial woes. I imagined my first apartment, the only house in a trailer park, as her home. Mostly because it was sort of an odd space. People thought it was the rental office, and you'd be sitting watching TV in your pajamas and they'd just walk in without knocking.

Right now, you are in the process of trying to fund the publishing of this book and you have a crowdfunding campaign. What are some perks and benefits that people will get by contributing to your campaign?

Laura Lee: I've kept it simple. I'm not asking for anything more than the price of the book. So if you order an ebook you get an ebook. If you order a print book you get an autographed book. You buy a book for the price of a book, but you also know that without your support the book would not exist.

When you release the book, is it going to be strictly sold digitally or would people be able to buy it at a local retailer?

Laura Lee: It will available as both a print and an ebook. It will no doubt be print on demand. This means that it is available to brick and mortar stores, but most do not like to stock books that are not returnable.

You're already a published author and you've written several other books. What are some of your proudest moments?

Laura Lee: I remember when Pelican Publishing called me up and wanted to buy what became my first book. I had to call my father, who was an author, and ask, "Did I just sell a book?" Unfortunately, my father was not around to see me publish my first novel. He would have been proud of that, I think. Angel is the book I am most proud of so far. It was really a different kind of book for me. I think of it as the moment when I really found my voice as an artist. I had developed a different voice before, a dry comic voice, for my non-fiction and I don't want to diminish that. The Elvis Impersonation Kit was great fun to write. It was a how to on being an Elvis tribute artist. I got to interview loads of Elvi. They were great guys and gals. I don't think you can be an Elvis impersonator without having a great sense of humor. But Angel is something new and since it came out, I have been frightfully prolific. (I've been researching Lord Alfred Douglas and "frightfully" is one of his favorite words.) I have just not published a great deal of what I've been working on yet. That's why I am excited about indie publishing and taking control of my destiny, the way my musician friends have been doing with their music for years.

Let's talk about you and what makes you "tick". What made you decide to become a writer? Who or what was your inspiration?

Laura Lee: My father was a professional writer and author, so I grew up among writers. I had an aptitude, but it took me a long time to appreciate that. I didn't realize that writing did not come easily to everyone. I wanted to be an actress and I studied theater. My grandmother was a professional radio actress and she encouraged me. I majored in theater at Oakland University, but I never got cast in any productions. I was relegated to backstage role and I was deeply depressed about it. To this day most of my old theater friends think of me as a theater tech. They assume I preferred the technical side, and if I had known myself a bit better, I probably would have.

Now I look back and I wonder if I had even met myself. I am such an introvert and as I get older the idea of performing becomes less and less appealing. I don't miss it. I assume now that the reason I didn't get cast in anything was that I was a bad actress.

I have always admired performers though. My partner is a ballet dancer who has natural charisma on stage. I couldn't take my eyes off him when I saw him perform. I work in a supporting role, setting up classes for him. He shines, I play the music. I'm cool with that. I don't like to be the center of attention.

Anyway, beginning in college whenever I dashed off a little script or something people would praise it. It took me no effort to write and people went on about how wonderful it was. It slowly started to dawn on me that maybe my father had been right about the writing thing. Little by little, my efforts turned more in that direction.

Who are some of your favorite author's today?

Laura Lee: Lately I have been reading a lot of Oscar Wilde and related.

Do you like being an independent writer? What are some of the challenges of being an author in today's digital age?

Laura Lee: It is very challenging for someone in my position. That is, someone who was traditionally published and who is finding that world changing. It is a bit like the famous Matthew Arnold quote: "Wandering between two worlds, one dead. The other powerless to be born." I have to admit that once you have done all the work to be accepted into the traditional publishing world, it becomes hard to go back to being on your own. There is a certain ego-hurtle you have to overcome. You have to get over needing that Better Housekeeping Seal of "Real Professional Writer" Approval.

Yet, the opportunities for non-celebrity authors are fewer than they used to be. I've always valued the resistance from editors and agents, actually. I like knowing that by the time someone has bought my book it has gone through a real test and it has been proven. I know it is worth publishing. The idea that you might make a complete fool of yourself is daunting. Too many self-published writers are putting out stuff that has not been polished and tested. There is still no real system to separate the guy who put out a typo-ridden, cliched showcase of bad grammar and the artist who is serious and focused and has a professional quality product. It will come, I am sure. It's just not here yet.

The pace of traditional publishing makes it almost impossible for a writer to make a regular living. Everything takes months and months. I just got a rejection on a novel I sent out a year and a half ago! Think about how much writing is lost just to delay. Instead of publishing your creations, you're spending years at a time trying to get published or waiting to hear from publishers. I would like to get out of that cycle. There are certain kinds of projects I would never try to publish on my own, but I want to put out the ones I can.

Do you plan on doing a book release party/signing once the book funds and is published? 

Laura Lee: To be perfectly honest, when my first book was published I threw a release party. No one but my family and the people who lived in my building showed up. I haven't dared it again. Never throw a party in your own honor. That was my takeaway.

This will be my 15th book, I think. At that point it gets a bit like throwing a big shower for your fifth wedding. But I will do a happy dance when it is funded and I will send thanks and kisses to all the supporters.

Find more of Laura Lee and help her fund her book: 
Crowdfunding site: https://pubslush.com/project/3991 
Laura Lee's website: http://lauraleeauthor.wordpress.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LauraLeeAuthor

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

No Option but to Create: Interview with Pistol For Ringo


Named after a classic spaghetti western, and completely unrelated to the "Fab Four," (although if
Ringo wants to roll around town 'strapped,' we sure as hell aren't going to judge) Pistol for Ringo announces 2014 release, "Awkward Species."

The full length album will be available on iTunes, Amazon, CD and vinyl. Playing everywhere from hipster joints in the 213 area code to opening for an S&M show in Vegas (not joking), PfR's live shows are as unpredictable as their music. Just one of the many reasons they have endeared themselves to indie rock fans and the college music charts.

Featuring Los Angeles musicians, Brian Murphy, Shane Smith and Steve Arm along with Philadelphia based musicians, Ben Arnold and Matty Muir, Pistol for Ringo has grown into a real indie rock collective.

Interview with guitarist, Brian Murphy of Pistol For Ringo

Thanks for coming on All Indie Magazine. First of all, let's talk about the name of your band. The name was inspired by a 1965 spaghetti western film. How did you come up with the name Pistol For Ringo and why this movie?

PFR: Wow, nice research. You totally did your homework. Our original Aeronaut release was very cinematic sonically speaking. In 2001 we dug stuff like Air, Doves, Mogwai and Cursive in addition to indie stalwarts like Wilco and Built to Spill. An Italian classic film that also referred to a Beatle seemed to be rather fitting. In fact prior to that I was pushing for "As If We Care." We were afraid the irony might be lost on folks.

So, tell us about your sound. If you were to compare yourself to a band or bands, who would you sound like?

PFR: Like most artists, our sound is really reflective of the lives and experiences we encounter. Shane is an incredible producer / engineer so he adds a sonic complexity and depth; not to mention a passion for nuance. Ben and Matty have their roots in the Philly singer song writer world so there is an earnest quality that reflects that life and touring experience. Steve is the multi media guy so there is always whimsy and humor involved. As the guitarist and a native of Angeleno, I am constantly inspired by the beauty, the filth, the struggle and the transient nature of life here and life in general. It is all intertwined like out art. Though we sound nothing like them New Pornographers and Haunted Graffiti have similar elements.

How did the five of you meet?

PFR: Steve Arm is the conduit! He and I played in a few projects together. Same thing with Shane, those two did a recording project in Philly for about a year. Steve moved back to Los Angeles and Shane stayed longer, where he befriended Ben & Matty.

Who is the writer of the band and does everyone in the band contribute to the song lyrics?

PFR: Ben is handling the lion's share of the lyrics. He is a wordsmith who works constantly reveal new elements to the immediate connotation.

Pistol for Ringo has been around since 2003, so you've seen major changes in the music industry. How have you guys kept on going without giving up...or have you given up before?

PFR: Like the vast majority of your readers, we have no option but to create. We do it without the burden of expectation, because how can you ever really create when you are keeping one eye on some watermark or goal. We want the honor of people's ears and hopefully their hearts also. The best way we can secure that is by making music that elevates their experience on some finite level.

Do you think the industry is getting easier or harder?

PFR: As for the music business… it still seems that nepotism and clicks run the game. C'est la vie…

If you could share the stage with any major recording artist, past or present, who would you guys want to share the stage with?

PFR: Share the stage with, Hmm..anyone really kind enough to have us… I like high contrast, so maybe Black Bananas, Goat and Kool Keith?

What can fans expect to see from Pistol For Ringo within the next 6 months?

PFR: We just wrapped up a run of shows on the west coast, and are currently planning the east coast in the spring. We also shot a couple new videos soon to be released.

Find more of Pistol For Ringo 
http://www.reverbnation.com/pistolforringo
https://www.facebook.com/PistolforRingo
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRVe3gRjscSTZh3VMf0QcQg
https://twitter.com/PistolforRingo

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lana Fray And The Grand Plan: Interview with Maren Higbee

Maren Higbee (Patterson) grew up in Seattle, Washington with a love for film and writing. After her four years at Ithaca College's Film School she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of writing and directing films thinking there she'd land a great career and find the love of her life. After a few years working on a variety of projects she found herself entrenched in the brand new Reality Television business.

While Maren liked the way her career was going, she was becoming more and more unhappy because she wanted a husband and family of her own. So she took action she spent her very limited time off work hanging out with other single girlfriends and of course dating.

Finally after many failed dates she realized there was one very distinct common thread, but this wasn't easy to take. What did she discover? With the help of her other single friends she realized that that SHE was the only consistent element in all these dates, so it was about her and not the men. She was a certified one date wonder!

With this new concept in mind, she decided to slow down and start enjoying friends and focus on her career, and it continued to go well. After ten years she was still single and now held the role of a supervising producer. She discovered she was missing Seattle and her family. So, Maren decided to return to her beloved Northwest. Here she began working on local video and advertising while writing her fiction novel and continuing to seek her soul mate. Finally, one night in late July she met her now beloved husband. Today, she is happily married and lives in West Seattle where she continues to write and work on advertising campaigns.

Interview with Maren Higbee:

Thank you so much for taking the time to speaking to All Indie Magazine. You have an amazing story and your book seems to surround the idea of being single and your journey of finding "Mr. Right", am I correct?

Maren: Yes! I had quite the time working in the beginning in the land of reality tv in LA all while trying to find my Mr. Right. I never tried anything quite as crazy as offering a $5K finders fee for a husband like Lana does in Lana Fray and the Grand Plan, but my experiences did inspire her crazy yet funny journey.

You are a very successful independent woman and have a very established career as a reality TV producer and in reading into your book, it's as if you have taken your gift of reality TV scripting and created an almost comical challenge by getting people to help you find "Mr. Right". Was this the reason why you decide to write a book about it? What was the motivation behind publishing this book?

Maren: Reality TV is an interesting style of storytelling. You wait for things to happen then you weave them together to make a good clean story. As reality tv producers, we often have hundreds and hundreds of hours of footage to make one show which is usually forty minutes long once it airs with commercial breaks. Lucky for me in writing I have a lot more leeway than a network tv timeframes afford. It is very safe to say that my work in reality tv did influence my style in writing this book and will continue to as the series continues.

Does “Lana Fray And The Grand Plan“ fit for both men and women readers alike or is this specifically written as a personal message for all the women whom have had similar trials in life finding "the one"?

Maren: Yes! Lana’s journey isn’t just about finding Mr. Right but really about finding out who she is and what she truly needs in a partner. She learns that she needs to get over the fairytale and be herself. Then and only then will she find Mr. Right… which is a lesson I think applies to anyone and everyone looking for their mate. This is why the main character, Lana, is now also continuing to explore this journey through her blogging at Lanafray.com, tweeting @lanafraybooks and she has a facebook page. Check it out!

Not to give the book away, but can you pin point why it is so hard to find the right person? Conflicting interests and goals? Different values? Do you think television and social media have contributed to this demise or is it all of the above? Or do you even have an answer?

Maren: It is difficult to find a partner because you need two people who are honest about what they need and able to see the other person for who they are not who they want them to be. In the end the challenge is different for everyone, but being honest with yourself is one of the biggest keys to being happy with a partner or realizing that maybe having a partner isn’t what you truly desire.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Maren: When I was a little girl my mom and dad gave me a typewriter that they had in a closet. I would sit down and type my little stories that mostly consisted of slightly modified fairytales. I’d take my stories out and show them to my folks proudly telling them I was an author! So yes I’d say it’s been a dream for a long long time!

What writers inspired you to write?

Maren: I’m inspired by the vivid journeys of Paul Coelho, the humor and self-reflection of Marian Keyes, the deep lessons in a simple moment from Jhumpa Lahiri, the fantasy and darkness of Anne Rice and the twists and turns of Gillian Flynn to name a few of my favorites!

Do you think this is the start of something bigger and will motivate you to write more books to follow?

Maren: Lana and her friends have already started working out their journey into the craziness of the next phase of their lives. I expect the second book in the series to be out in the Fall of 2015.

Do you mind me asking about Patterbee Publications? Is this your publishing company and did you independently publish your book?

Maren: Yes, Patterbee Publications is my publishing company. After sending my book out to many publishers one was kind enough to read my book and speak with me for over an hour. She said she loved the book but told me that the days of publishers taking a risk on first time authors isn’t necessary. That now, it was important to get the book out and create a following to show publishers that this book will sell. She has kept in touch and helped guide me as I self-published Lana Fray and the Grand Plan.

Would you consider backing another author and publishing other books?

Maren: This is a possibility for the future, but at this point I’m still learning and the learning curve is heavy.

Do you have any future plans to do a national book signing tour and can people pick up a physical copy of your book at a local retailer or is it strictly only available online?

Maren: Currently, I am in discussions with many small book stores and with a few major chains. Right now the book is available in Seattle at Smooth Sugaring Studio in Madison Park as well as on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

Thank you so much for your time and best of luck! 

Find more of Maren Higbee:
www.lanafray.com
www.facebook.com/lanafraybooks
http://twitter.com/lanafraybooks

A story in every verse: Interview with NuChuckie Bonner


From Pittsburgh, Pa, street motivated rapper, NuChuckie Bonner raps about the everyday lifestyle of young black males and lower income areas around the world. He starting rapping when he was 11 years old, but just recently started taking it serious when his younger brother got sentenced to 15-45 years in prison. There's a story in every verse he spits- if he writes it, he's lived it.

Interview with NuChuckie Bonner

First off, what is behind the name, NuChuckie Bonner?

NuChuckie: NuChuckie: Chuckie Bonner is my real name so i always went by that, but i was with a squad called l.e.s so when i stopped rocking with them, me and my cousin Metro MoneyBagz started Numoney I added the Nu in front of my name.

You’re obviously a new artist in hip-hop and more recently you've released a lot of music (available on Soundcloud) through NUMONEY MUSIC. Where did you come from? What were you doing before you met up with NUMONEY MUSIC and how did you get discovered?

NuChuckie: I was always around doing street things, and I played with music for years, but once my little brother "Gnutt" got sentenced to 15 to 45 years in prison is when I started taking my music more serious. I started pumping my music so hard that I started picking up a street buzz. Now im here interveiwing with you. Lol

Just like so many b-ballerz seeking their big shot in the NBA, there are just as many rap artists  looking for their big break in music. What do you think it was that got you noticed?

NuChuckie: I think it was my fans that got me noticed. If it wasn't for them liking, sharing, and reposting my music i would've never got this far.

You recently did a few songs with up-and-coming artists, Metro Moneybags, MzCotto, Black Whoa, Miss Swirlz, and Tae Bandz. What was it like working with so much talent?

NuChuckie: MoneyBagz is in a league of his own, when it comes to his style of rap, so its always a pleasure working with him. MzCotto is also a different type of talent that the world needs to be introduced to. I feel like when they really get a glimpse of her, she'll has the potential to be as big as Iggy. Black Whoa and Gwappo are my brothers, so we been doing this together since day one. Miss Swirlz is a new and upcoming power-house singer, we added to the team, so you guys are definitely going to want to watch out for her. Tae Bandz is the youngest member of the squad, hes only 17 years old, with a notorious younger following and a style like no other.

Are you currently working on any new songs with other artists?

NuChuckie: Currently, Miss Swirlz and I are working on a song called 'Better Days'. MzCotto and me also got some tricks up our sleeves. NuMoney is always working on new projects, but other than that, I'm not working on anyone outside our team right now; we're focusing on Team NuMoney!

How many songs have you written in total? Are any of those songs you wrote on or going to be in your new album?

NuChuckie: There's way too many to even begin to count, but you'll be hearing a lot of hits in the upcoming album "NuMoneyMusic the Mixtape".

What inspires you to write so much? Is it basically everyday life and you capture in the form of poetry or song?

NuChuckie: Yeah, I would say its more of a hobby to me, I just love writing music and coming up with new things. Most of the music I write is about everyday situations.

Your songs are a blend of rap with a club party beat. Have you ever had your songs played in the club scene?

NuChuckie: Yes. Shoutout to DJ Worm, who's a Pittsburgh DJ, and DJ Broadway Joe, also a Pittsburgh DJ/Radio Personality.

Because mainstream and commercial radio places limits on what we hear on the radio, do you think it places limits on you as an artist and forces you to stay underground?Are you ok with that?

NuChuckie: Yeah, in away. But then theres also a lot of ways now a days, like Youtube, Soundcloud, Reverb, that you can be heard without being on the radio.

Does it bother you that this is the market we’re in?

NuChuckie: Business is business

Are you currently making any new music in the studio now?

NuChuckie: Of course, always.

When is your next big tour?

NuChuckie: I'm working out a few things with some people. It'll be soon enough.

How soon before the public will get their hands on a NuChuckie Bonner full EP/LP?

NuChuckie:

What else can fans expect from NuChuckie Bonner this year?

NuChuckie: I'll be dropping a mixtape, couple shows, more shirts, a few music videos and more flexin!

Find more of NuChuckie Bonner 
http://www.numoneyentertainment.com 
https://soundcloud.com/chuckie-bonner 
http://twitter.com/NuChuckieBonner