Hey there! Grab a cup of your favorite tea and check out this fun hang with Markus Muller-Stach (M Stack). I met him at a music festival last year. We got talking about the label he was launching, G4L Records. Schedules aligned and we got to meet over tea at the legendary Sunset Marquis to talk about his label and how he came to the wild world of music. Enjoy! - Cassandra (TD)
A Non-Traditional Route to Music
TD: You were born in Germany
M Stack: Yes I was.
TD: ...and quite a story to come out here.
M Stack: It’s crazy. I told my parents when I was three months old that I wanted to move to America. So that’s how we got to America.
TD: You were so precocious.
M Stack: (laughs)Yes
TD: Do you like it out here?
M Stack: I love it out here. I love California. I love LA.
TD: So you started in the business world before coming to music.
M Stack: Yes, I have a non-traditional route that I have taken to come to the music industry. I started as a stockbroker with Smith Barney and ended up in software sales for many years.
Then along this journey found my way to starting a marketing agency with no marketing experience in the early 2000s, closed a big account and staffed up with a number of employees and ran that for nearly ten years. About four years ago just one thing led to another and the call of music pulled me up to LA to start a record label.
I’m that guy that everyone told not to do this. Everybody I talked to in the industry is like, “What the fuck are you doing? Do not start a label.” And I’m like, “No. Follow your heart. Live a meaningful life. Go for it.” And here we are.
I spent the last four years up here in Hollywood getting plugged into the Sunset strip. Seen over 600 live shows. It’s allowed me to kind of understand how the industry works, develop relationships, build out my team, get a clear vision for my label and we launched two months ago with our first artist.
The Beginning of G4L Records
TD: And you started the label with the lead singer of Candlebox, Kevin Martin.
M Stack: That’s right. I started the label, I’m the Founder and CEO and Kevin Martin, a multi-platinum selling artist still out there successfully touring, he heads up my A&R. We just really click well.
He’s a very talented individual just so passionate about giving back to artists. He’s had some terrible label experiences. He’s got so much talent and so much history and understanding coming up as one of Seattle’s greatest rock bands, I mean it’s legendary. He’s got a lot of character and ethics as well.
TD: Do you think that by having Kevin on board with the label you have some of the elements of an artist imprint label?
M Stack: Yeah, it’s truly great. My vision and Kevin’s vision really align in trying to build a truly artist-centric record label. You know, find the right artists that fit up with what we are trying to do beyond musically: personality types, work ethic, character, things of that nature, and empower them.
Develop them. Develop their music. Leverage that with my business/marketing/advertising background put [in] some capital, put them on the road, properly market them, promote them through radio, pr, digital, social media.
It’s all about best practices and empowering the artists and starting from that standpoint. We wouldn’t have an industry if it wasn’t for the artists. It’s all about the artists. It’s about generating synergies versus adversarial relationships.
TD: I want to hear about your first artist that you signed, a metal artist, how you found them and where they were in their personal development of their own doing prior to you finding them.
M Stack: That’s a great question. So our first artist is called To Whom It May. They’re a three piece out of Galveston, TX and Kevin Martin found them. He got referred to this artist and they just blew him away. He’s like, “Markus I think I got our first artist for us.” He played it for me and I’m like “This is great. This is good.”
The funny story there is that Kevin’s like, “Hey, let’s go fly out there.” And I’m like, “I’ve got to be lean startup Kevin. I’ve got to be careful how I manage the books here at the label.”
So what did Kevin do? He ended up setting up a tour with these artists in Texas.
So I’m like “Ok, Kevin you’re smart. I’m going to go. You got me out there.” I saw them and they blew me away.
They play to multiple genres, which we like. They play metal but they’re not necessarily purely metal they’re hard rock and progressive as well, so they play to both audiences. The vocals just have an amazing quality. They play heavy, the can play to the commercial side. The lyrics are very deep and intense too.
TD: They had done some self-releases?
M Stack: Actually they had not. That’s a great question. They had a lot of songs that we just loved and decided to roll out with 'as is' for our first album. It’s called “The Great Filter” by To Whom It May. A true testament to the band’s talent, and the producer Dean Dichoso did an amazing job with them, and Jonathan [Jourdan] who’s the primary songwriter just nailed it.
TD: This is also a tea blog and we did share a little bit of tea earlier.
M Stack: We had some amazing tea. Where was that from, by the way?
TD: That was an English Breakfast from Harrods in London.
M Stack: That is awesome. That was my first time having tea from Harrods.
TD: Cool. I did make it a bit strong. I was thinking “He can handle a strong tea.” I got that impression from you.
M Stack: It was ballsy.
TD: It was ballsy! (laughing) You used my favorite word when I’m talking about a strong black tea - ballsy!
Did you grow up drinking tea? Is the German culture in your opinion a heavy tea culture?
M Stack: I started drinking Jack Daniels at the age of five. (laughs) I’m just kidding. I did grow up drinking a lot of tea in the household.
TD: Was it predominantly black tea?
M Stack: Yes it was. And then I believe Earl Grey, Mr. Grey. And then of course some green tea came along.
TD: Did you have to reach a certain age before they would allow you to have tea?
M Stack: I don’t think I had to reach an age limit though. Coffee was different though. They drew the line on that.
TD: Really? They didn’t want little Markus climbing the walls too young.
M Stack: Yes. To be addicted on caffeine at that age, which I am now, yeah.
TD: You’re a coffee drinker.
M Stack: Mm hm. Too much so.
TD: Too much?
M Stack: Well, I don’t know can you?
TD: I think it’s personal. Whether it’s tea or if it’s coffee I think it’s a question of what can you handle, what feels good to you.
M Stack: Oh, I can handle it, let me tell you. (Laughs) It’s a lot of hours right now, as it should be. It’s a startup.
TD: Being that it is a startup, what is your vision for your label, G4L Records?
M Stack: My vision is to create an artist-centric label to bring music to the population that transcends the status quo. Things that are outside the box, multi-genre. Our first artist as I mentioned, To Whom It May is Metal/Hard Rock. Our second artist, that’s alt rock/indie-pop. Our projected third artist is singer-songwriter/country. We believe if that deal goes through, moves forward, we believe she could be like a female Johnny Cash.
So we’re looking for the best artists we can find, that fit our criteria. All sorts of genres, we’re open to everything. We have through Kevin Martin and other team members, access to Grammy winning/nominated songwriters and producers.
I’m looking to sign a handful of artists that really blow us away, that meet our requirements, that we feel we’re going to work with and be great partners together. I view this as a partnership between the managers, the artist and the label.
TD: Realizing that business is human. Music is human and long-term relationships that benefit everybody start with that kind of basis of mutual respect.
M Stack: Yeah, call me crazy I think people matter. I think relationships matter. I think you should treat artists like people. I think you should empower them, treat them like business owners, and talk to them appropriately. Treat them respectfully, be respectful of boundaries. I know it’s a crazy concept for some people to get their arms around, but not for me.
TD: What were some of your early influences musically?
M Stack: Elton John, Billy Joel, The Beatles of course. I’ve grown up listening to all sorts of genres. My parents coming from Germany they were heavily into classical music, so that was played prevalently in the household. I still like to listen to that when I’m working depending on what mood I’m in.
Then I really found my groove with the Led Zeppelin’s of the world, The Who, Bad Company all those sorts of artists. Then the heavy metal bands of the world Black Sabbath, Dio, Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, the hair bands. Then the Seattle [bands].
Honestly, it’s very surreal in a sense that, hey, Kevin Martin and Candlebox was a big album in my life in the early 90s. I spun that CD a shit ton. About two years ago I ended up meeting him at the Viper Room. So here’s one of my idols, and we got connected to each other and a year later we’re working together. So how rad is that!
My favorite type of music is rock n roll driven, blues, hard rock, metal, pop. I like the Duran Duran’s of the world, bands like that and Depeche Mode, Muse. It all starts with the Beatles as far as my generation.
TD: So what are we going to see next for G4L Records?
M Stack: We are going to see an artist that is kind of a Radiohead meets Lana Del Rey with kind of Interpol vibe. Alt Rock/Indie Pop. We are very excited. Again every artist that I’m going to sign is going to blow us away and hopefully it blows the market away.
We’re getting very good success with To Whom It May. We moved them up the charts. As a little boutique label we got them up to iTunes Metal chart right between two Metallica albums. I mean come on, who fucking does that? Very proud of that. We got them up to Billboard’s Heatseeker #10. They charted high on the college network stations. Then it’s just a function of keep getting them out there, keep marketing, touring them properly. And we’re going to move them upstream.
TD: We can find To Whom It May through your website and their website.
M Stack: Yeah. They have some shows locally. They have some touring dates with Drowning Pool, with Ten Years. They’ve toured a number of dates previously with Nothing More. So for that genre those are big hitters.
We are finalizing the tour for 2019 and I can’t really say who our touring partners would be. I’d love to share it right now but I can’t. We’ll throw in of course a handful of Candlebox shows. That’s a given. That’s kind of a built in advantage for G4L is every artist we sign most likely is going to get a handful of Candlebox tour dates.
TD: Not bad at all.
M Stack: Not bad at all.
TD: Pretty fantastic I’d say. Well congratulations on the launch of G4L. I wish you great success and thanks so much for taking some time to talk about it.
M Stack: Cassandra than you so much for having me on. You do an amazing job. You’re an amazing person and a very talented artist. I really had a great time here. Thank you so much.
TD: Thank you! (blushing and loving it!)
This is not a sponsored post
If you missed part one of this interview, you can check it here.
Phil Harrington 2 – Youbloom Begins and Youbloom Now
Phil Harrington: The original idea behind Youbloom which was launched in 2009 didn’t take off.
Tea Deviant: Why do you think that was?
PH: It was because it wasn’t focused enough yet. Secondly I didn’t really know enough about the music business at that stage. Also, I didn’t know enough about software. However, I managed to keep it going because of the fact people had ownership in it. People kept it going. They worked for sweat equity. Somebody said, “Could we have a song contest?” I was like, “Well I’m not into song contests myself, but sure let’s put one on the homepage.” It took off.
I was at the time talking to an investment bank in London. They were into it and they loved the fact that Bob Geldof was involved. The CEO, who I’m very good friends with now, an amazing man, he came to the Youbloom team get together in London and in Dublin. After that I was like, “Well, if there was any chance of us getting money off these guys it’s over now” (laughs) The guy called me the next day and he was like, “I don’t know what’s going on here, but there’s something going on and we’re going to give you the money.”
TD: You didn’t think you were going to get it?
PH: Yeah. After he said, “That was a very unusual meeting.”
TD: Clearly he didn’t think unusual was a bad thing.
PH: An amazing visionary man. So we turned on a dime and we turned the weekly song contest into an annual song contest. I went to Bob and I said, “Will you be the lead judge?” Then he brought in Rupert Hine, a big UK producer and Nigel Grainge who was the guy who signed Sinead O’Conner, The [Boomtown] Rats, Thin Lizzy and loads of other bands. He sadly passed away last summer. He was our first keynote speaker of Youbloom LA. He was very into alternative medicines and so on. We were very good friends. So we got lucky with the banker in London. Who would have believed?
TD: When was that?
PH: That was in 2010.
TD: So 2009 the initial seed idea and by 2010 you actually started to get some momentum.
PH: Yeah. Straight away when the annual song contest launched it took off.
TD: And the banker gave you the seed money to grow.
PH: Exactly, yes. Then a guy in London came on board, working for sweat equity, and he started to do gigs.
TD: Was he a promoter?
PH: Yeah, a promoter. Then as well, Nigel Grainge started to listen to all of the music being submitted not just the winning songs. Those years we got several thousand artists who submitted their songs and over 100,000 people voted.
TD: So it’s supportive of people who write their own music. It’s giving the songwriter a chance to be heard. It’s giving the performer a chance to be heard. If they are one and the same, boom they have an opportunity to be heard by people who are actually in the industry?
PH: That’s right. Connections happened out of that. Then a man in Dublin, who was an investor, came to the gigs in London. He loved the gigs so much. He said, “What about bringing these bits together in the form of a mini South by Southwest (SXSW) type of event?” I was like, “Yeah that sounds like that would be great to do.” He said, “I think maybe we could get some money from the city of Dublin to sponsor this, to get it started.” So I put a powerpoint together and I presented it and they said “Yeah, we’ll support it.” So in May 2012, after they had said yes, I went to Dublin. I based myself in Ireland, a year in Dublin a year in Belfast, working on the first two Youbloom Dublins which is a combination of the gigs, showcase and the conference or summit as we came to call it later. I was like, well I could do one in LA and then I could go home and see my kids. I had been living here [LA] since 1996. I had lots of connections and there were people involved here as well who were shareholders as well as in Ireland.
After the first Youbloom Dublin we did focus groups to talk to the artists and I told the story like I just told to you. A man whose band played at Youbloom Dublin who was a software developer as well, he sent me an email and we got talking. As a result of that the original concept was redeveloped as what is now called Youbloom Connect. Youbloom Connect is Airbnb comes to LiveNation. Inside there is fan crowd sourcing for artists to come and play for them; there’s artists partnering and co-marketing with eachother
TD: So it will be an artist in one town partnering with an artist in another area so that they can take their two areas and harness them for each other’s benefit?
PH: Yes. Bands do that all the time. The software is doing that the same way people have always done that in the context of dating, but a dating site turns it into something more expansive. You can meet more people. So it’s the same idea.
TD: Dating for bands! (laughs)
PH: It is. It’s dating for bands. Then they’re the hosts who see what’s going on and they can jump in and say “I want to host these bands with these fans.”
TD: It can be any kind of venue as long as the host is up for it, right?
TD: So the host is basically opening up their space to bring in these two bands…
PH: …or five or whatever it is
TD: ...and the fans of those bands who are also being connected with the software…
PH: …they’ve committed to buy the tickets in advance and the host sees that.
TD: So the fans request first.
PH: Yes. The fans request, the partnering with the artists takes place and then the host sees the mix of that to where they say “I’ll do it.”
TD: And the funds get split
PH: According to the settings they picked.
TD: So they can create the split amongst themselves, the host and the bands. There is freedom for them to decide based on what they think the draw will be?
PH: Yes, but even more important than that is the fan experience. If you take Airbnb for example, people have always done Bed & Breakfasts, but what is it about Airbnb? It’s the experience, how easy it is to see the places and when you do book a place it’s talking to you all the way to where you get to the place. It’s managing your experience. There are millions of people who come to LA every year. If they want to go and check out below the top level music in price and notoriety it’s actually very difficult to figure it out and get to those gigs. If you’re just an ordinary person coming say from London and you’re into live music you don’t have that controlled experience. You don’t even know where you’re going.
TD: It’s a crap shoot.
PH: It’s kind of a crap shoot. Whereas if it was very easy our belief is that many more people would do that. At the level below the top level it’s very hit and miss.
TD: Discovering new music?
PH: Yes. It’s very hit and miss.
TD: How is it different from something like Bands In Town?
PH: Bands in Town is more oriented to the bigger artists, secondly it’s more telling you who the bands are. It doesn’t get you from your seat to the gig. So this man Neil Buckley in Dublin, the software developer, has been working with me and with other members of the Youbloom team for the past few years. We started accepting sign ups. The original promoter we worked with in London, his name is Mickey P., he started his own festival. It’s in Notting Hill. He calls it Portobello Live.
TD: Are you interconnected with that?
PH: We made a partnership with him where the bands that apply to his event go into Youbloom Connect and he gets to give those bands an opportunity of more gigs as well as playing in his festival. Our goal is to make partnerships with many more festivals. Youbloom Dublin and Youbloom LA we hope will end up being the annual regional community events: Dublin for Europe and LA for North America.
TD: For the bands who are going for example from America to Dublin, Ireland/British Isles to America or from any other country do they have any visa issues doing this kind of festival?
PH: Not going to Europe it’s not a problem. Certainly showcasing it’s not a problem. In the US if you’re coming to showcase and you’re not getting paid we don’t give advice on it because it’s not 100% clear. We know that bands do it and they even tell the immigration guys “I’m just coming in to do a showcase gig,” and they’re like, “No problem.”
If you’re going to go on a tour that comes out of Youbloom Connect it’s a different thing. Now you definitely have to have a visa. It’s the same way as if you’re a business and you come to America to do a trade show you don’t have to get a visa to do a trade show. You’re not setting up in business you’re coming to promote your business. So from what we can tell that’s ok.
So all things going well and Connect growing around the world then Youbloom Dublin will be the annual European get together of artists, fans, promoters, music industry where they get together to network, do business and learn once a year. Our hope is that Youbloom Connect will grow to being gigs all over the world every night and then we would potentially have annual regional events in another three, four or five cities like Sydney or Singapore or Moscow or whatever it is that could cover regions.
TD: So that’s the goal for where [Youbloom] is headed?
PH: Yeah. So it’s come back around to the original idea. We have relationships with thousands of artists and we know all these other festivals like ourselves. You get to know them being in the business. It’s like a community.
TD: Like Reading?
PH: No Reading is like Glastonbury, more a consumer one. Then you have ones like SXSW, The Great Escape, Eurosonic, Reeeperbahn, Canadian Music Week – they’re more for new emerging independent bands coming up and people who love new music. Like people who go to Austin for SXSW they love to discover new music that’s not yet been discovered.
TD: So that’s an opportunity for industry and the artists and the fans to come together so that these artists can move to becoming a part of the bigger festivals like Glanstonbury, Reading, Download.
PH: Exactly. We’ve had artists that have come through the song contest, through Dublin and LA who have now played Glastonbury and so on. They’ve gone up through the system. So the network is opening up now. We just agreed to showcase Irish bands in a huge show called Musikmesse Frankfurt in April. So the network is opening up now and Connect is the infrastructure underneath it.
TD: So how do bands become a part of Youbloom Connect to submit for the yearly festivals in Dublin and LA or to connect with hosts and fans to make their own tours and shows?
PH: So when they apply to play at Youbloom Dublin or Youbloom LA then they go into Connect automatically.
TD: So it’s www.youbloom.com for all of it?
PH: Yes. You can also just sign up to be in Youbloom Connect by itself. On top of that through the partnerships like the one just starting with Portobello Live you have artists coming in through other festivals. Our goal is to form partnerships with as many of those other festivals in Europe, the US and all over the world that will attract artists into Youbloom Connect.
TD: Those artists then because of Youbloom Connect become interconnected with those festivals?
TD: Is there any information for artists who are trying to navigate this whole new world of trying to promote themselves and staying financially viable while doing free shows to get seen by A&R/Industry? Does Youbloom offer anything like that?
PH: Where we have information like that is on the blog. The workshops in the [yearly] summits are primarily all about how to make a living. The music business has its own language so we try to have the artists learn that language. For example we have workshops on all the different rights of a song - there are potentially hundreds of different rights within one song; how to make money playing live; how to make money from placing your music in film & TV, and so on.
TD: Are any of the seminars you have already had through the summits that have already occurred available in video or audio format form online?
PH: No. For a number of years we did interview the speakers and we had a 60 seconds of wisdom. Of course we would love to be doing all these things. We did research doing learning courses but we focused in on the live side. As that grows we can do more and more things.
The vision is more and more music for more and more fans more and more artists more and more venues. The number of people that fly is colossal in Europe. We’re hoping that Youbloom will be part of that movement for music below the top level.
TD: It’s a little different now from what I understand. When I had interviewed Andy Gould (a speaker for Youbloom LA 2017) he had talked about sometimes back in the day a band could be signed before they had even played a gig. Then they’d have the seed money to begin giving them some kind of boost to get over the first few hurdles. Whereas now it seems more often expected that the new band is doing all that on their own before they would get signed.
Youbloom Dublin and Youbloom LA type of events are inherently charitable events not viable events. We’ve doing those on total bootstraps, totally passionate, committed people, lots of volunteers because there’s hardly any revenues in it. It’s a labor of love. Youbloom Connect has the model potentially to be a successful business and now you have the opportunity to do more creative things because you have the money.
Youbloom Dublin is the 30th May – 4th June (2018) where for 5 days we do gigs and showcase artists at an event, funnily enough called Bloom, Irelands’s biggest lifestyle festival that started as an arts and crafts horticultural festival. We program the main stage. On the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights we have the gigs in the city center in a bunch of venues. Then we have the summit on two days in the city center.
TD: So for bands, fans and potential hosts they can go to youbloom.com to explore the Connect model.
PH: The homepage explains the whole concept and there are three videos: how it works for fans, how it works for artists, and how it works for hosts.
TD: Very cool. Some information for new bands and new artist to launch their careers. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
Youbloom Dublin is currently accepting band submissions until February 19th, 2018 http://www.youbloom.com/youbloomdublin-2018/
More Tea & Music posts are to come. For previous interviews and music entries click here
-by Cassandra Vincent
Phil Harrington part 1 – Tea Memories and From Medicine to Music on TeaDeviant.com
Tea Deviant: So we are here with Phil Harrington who is the creator of the Youbloom festival that started in Dublin and then also has a LA component. You do two festivals a year?
Phil Harrington: Yes
TD: ...and that’s been going since?
TD: Bob Geldof was originally involved when it was starting in Dublin to support it as well. You’ve had numerous speakers of note from the music industry and probably hundreds upon hundreds of bands by this point.
TD: Very cool. We’re having some tea of course. I brought an Assam for you. You like your tea without milk?
PH: That’s right. Since I was about 10 I decided to give up milk for some reason.
TD: Do you remember the first time you had tea, or has it just sort of always been a part of your family?
PH: I think probably when I was like 7 or 8 or something like that, you know. It is kind of like a big boy moment when you got to drink tea, yeah.
TD: Do you have any remembrances of tea, like how your mom served it or anything like that?
PH: Oh yes I do indeed. I remember that my grandmother who was in Cork and would come and visit. She would, you know, have a cup of tea brought to her in bed and she would send the child back down with the tea with the explanation that it was like piss and she wanted a real cup of tea. (laughs)
TD: (laughs) It was too weak?
PH: Yeah, it was too weak. And in Ireland everything is punctuated with when you have a cuppa. I would come home in the afternoons and my mom would be there with one or more of her neighbor friends, you know, sitting around the table. They’re all drinking tea and chatting and so on, before like coffee became a thing.
From Medicine to Music:
TD: If I am not mistaken you started in medicine
PH: That’s right.
TD: From medicine to music and music as medicine?
PH: That’s right. I sang and I came from a musical family. My parent’s were great singers. My dad was a great piano player. So there was a lot of music around when I was a kid. When I was in medical school I was the guy in the pub who on a Friday or Saturday night would love to get everybody singing. It wasn’t so much that I was performing as much as I got it going singing you know, folk songs. I loved as well the drama of having a few pints under the stools, closing time coming and the guards at the door banging at the door because it was closing time, and the Publican going crazy about losing his license, and where we would continue to sing. It was this whole kind of drama of youth that would go on. The Publican would get quite upset, but once we were out I mean we were all friends again.
After I qualified as a doctor I found that working in the regular medical system really didn’t suit me. I was just a more creative kind of person.
TD: The rigidity?
PH: Rigidity, yeah. I jumped up out of bed at five o’clock in the morning with maybe two months to go to where I got my papers and it was just really clear. You have to go off out your own road. So I got my papers and I stayed practicing for year as a regular doctor. I had worked through the summers to put myself through medical school as a kid. My dad had died when I was 18. I carried on being in business. At the same time I stumbled into alternative medicines. So I immersed myself into the medicines and I got the idea to do a TV series on alternative medicines. I came to London, and to LA and to San Francisco to interview the leading people whose books I’d read. That was like doing a thesis. Out of that really came a philosophy. Up till then it was difficult to go from western medicine to the other medicines, but after I’d gone through that process I came into a whole new paradigm in myself and with people.
A workshop that I was on in the middle of all that with Paul Rebillot called Transformation Ritual, he did work based on the work of Joseph Campbell. That workshop helped you to look at who you were and your past, what you wanted to let go of and what you wanted to bring into your life. Then you created your own ritual to symbolize that. In that ritual I went into hyperventilating then I went into screaming.
TD: As a release?
PH: It was completely spontaneous. There was nothing planned about it. I had been at these workshops before where I heard people screaming and I was like “Oh my god, let’s get out of here now.” Now here was I the guy screaming. The stuff I saw… I saw my parents and so on in front of me saying “Do this. Do that.” The scream was basically “Let me speak! Listen to me!” But in that moment as well I saw myself that I was somebody who needed to be singing to be well. So I went on a journey into sound healing and I developed a music therapy called Voce, which is the Italian and Portuguese word for voice, because it was like I was getting the voice out of people. I still do that to this day. At the same time on the medical work I was coming to a philosophy. I had this insight that it’s a wonderful thing and I want to be involved in helping people to get better but I was also aware of all the people who want to try to live the creative life.
TD: To be whole. Like you had found that you needed to sing to be whole you recognized in others that need?
PH: Yeah. I saw how many people who wanted to do that. Those people in the context of the US then I don’t think it was referred to as a term, but maybe 15 years ago or something like that they came up with the term Cultural Creatives…who are people who are some kind of artist in the way in which they approach their lives. I was really attracted to the idea of more and more people being able to have that life …more singing and dancing and less fighting. That’s where the spark of Youbloom came from.
The original idea behind Youbloom was if you were to bring the same sophistication to all these independent artists and Cultural Creatives as micro businesses that there is in larger business, big corporations and so on, what potential could you bring out in terms of that becoming viable? If you take say the music business: 75% of all the revenues go to the superstars which is like in the hundreds, then 20% goes to like three quarters of a million bands that gig all the time and the last 5% goes to like 10 million [bands]. The inequity is huge. The original idea behind Youbloom was to try to figure out ways in which the cohesion between the little guys would become much better.
TD: Supporting the indie model.
PH: Supporting the indie model, the independent, yeah.
TD: Which has become huge. The industry has changed so much over time with the advent of things like Youtube, streaming sites…
PH: That’s right.
TD: So finding a way to help emerging artists to have their own business, if necessary you mean, outside of the old-fashioned record industry model?
PH: Yeah. The vision was more and more people being able to be creative and viable. Then the original mission idea was what if everyone was in a data cooperative where they shared all the data they had about themselves and their fans? What are all the opportunities you could find out of that?
When I started Youbloom this was before the crowd funding thing happened. I wrote out the names of all the people I knew who shared that vision. It was over a hundred people and I gave them all shares in the company. One of those people was Bob Geldof. In the business I had in Ireland I got introduced to Bob through a shred accountant. He was an investor in that business and we became friends through that. When I was on that journey of my own discovery he was supportive of that. He was very into the whole philosophy of Youbloom.
In Part 2 we talk about the start of Youbloom, where it is now and plans for the future. For more on Youbloom annual festivals and Youbloom Connect visit www.youbloom.com . Youbloom Dublin is currently accepting band submissions until February 19th, 2018 http://www.youbloom.com/youbloomdublin-2018/
-by Cassandra Vincent
This is a concert reflection and fan piece. If you love Fall Out Boy or just love the love of music grab a cuppa and share the experience with me - Cassandra
Ok, so this week alternative (or as some still say pop punk ) music artist Fall Out Boy releases the long awaited MAN I A (or is it MANIA with no spaces?) album and I thought back on their concert at The Forum this past November. It was a shiny moment of happy that stands out in the year. The Forum was buzzing with a positive and youthful energy from kids to adult music fans with kids in anticipation of the FOB’s LA stop on the North American stretch of the MANIA (or, pre-MANIA) tour.
Firstly, I love and respect this band for many reasons:
It is very cool to see a frontman like Patrick Stump with a stadium sized voice capable of everything from a croon to a float to a roar while playing guitar and piano and rocking it in a cardigan and sneakers. And the more colorful Pete Wentz who so naturally takes over the usual frontman duties of talking to and going out into the audience connecting them to the spirit of the music. Andy covered in tats, pounding the drums with a fierceness that is in beautiful contrast to his soft-spoken nature. Joe is a clear focused, fun guitarist and presence that roots us in rock without any pretention or cliché. A damn fine band I think.
Now the show.
Note: Black Bear and Jaden Smith supported them on this tour. I am sorry to have missed these guys due to time constraints tho.
They opened with the powerful "Phoenix" and sounded tight with Patrick in good form to take on his marathon of singing Fall Out Boy songs all night. He certainly doesn’t take it easy on himself. As a singer I respect that. I do wonder if an oxygen tank is standing by though. The man barely has time to breathe.
Pete addressed the audience asking us to get in the car with them for the next 90 minutes. We did. Singing along to great tunes from their wild and fun career to embracing the newest tunes off the MANIA album – to be released January 19, 2018. One of these new songs, “Young and Menace”, has a tricky chorus in the recorded version that posed a challenge to do live. I had heard the band do a full version on the Tonight Show with Fallon with both Patrick and a digital voice doing the chorus, which because of the overlapping lines is a rough job for a singer. He did a great job, but if FOB shows are a marathon for Patrick this song is like a sprint relay with no one for him to pass the baton to. Exhausting. At the Forum the band took a different approach – a brilliant piano only version allowing Patrick to stretch tempo and show off his soul voice. Sorted!
They also played my favorite of the new releases, “The Last of the Real Ones”, which Pete described as being about finding someone whose glitches match your own. For me the song was a sigh of relief in finding someone that makes you feel home, or at least less alone. I am so glad that they followed their guts and delayed the album release (which was originally set for this past September) because according to a tweet by Pete this song was created a week after the album was delayed. Perhaps if it weren’t delayed we would have been denied this exciting song.
Other songs from MANIA they performed include “Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)” – which Pete just introduced as “Expensive Mistakes” – with the great line “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color”. This line is apparently a nod to the Addams Family film (and a statement maybe the goths and emos can agree on? Maybe? No? oh well…). Pete was mouthing the words while Patrick was singing. In a way they do sing together. They also did “Hold Me Tight or Don’t” with images on the screens reflecting the Day of the Dead images of the music video. "Expensive Mistakes", "Dance, Dance" and "Thnks Fr th Mmrs" were played with the band atop rising platforms at the opposite end of the arena from the stage giving those fans furthest away a shot to see the band a bit closer. They may be hugely famous and hugely successful but it feels that part of them is still that band in a basement with their audience inches (if that) from their faces. They have done many things to bridge the gap created by fame and this is one of those gestures.
Andy gave a great drum solo while the rest of the band was being wheeled under the stage to meet him. Joe joined him on his platform with Patrick and Pete on another raised even higher. With no railings around these platforms I can’t blame them for being tethered to them like rock climbers on belay. Who wants to try to give a great performance while sweating and thinking “Oh shit I hope I don’t fall off this thing!”
The visuals were bright and bold on the main stage screen and surrounding the rising platforms. I was mainly interested in just seeing the band do their thing, but if they want to fill an arena with flashy images, go for it! One place where it was particularly funny was in “I Don’t Care” when the screens flashed images from films, gaming and everyday people flipping the bird in various ways.
The Monsters (or Llamas as most are calling them) from the various MANIA videos and red carpets made an appearance. They first showed up on screen doing a kind of Statler & Waldorf (Muppets) snarky critique of the show, and then showed up on stage with T-shirt cannons. Hey, those costumes must have been expensive. They are so memorable and entertaining it makes sense to use them as often as possible. With the new URL llamania.com could it mean we will see even more from these…whatever they are?
Though my friends and I did miss “Young Volcanoes” (we just have a soft spot for that song) the Save Rock and Roll album was well represented including the opener “The Phoenix” and “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” in the encore. They also did “Save Rock and Roll” and it is fun to hear Patrick singing Elton John’s lines. He got range!
In traditional fashion the last song of the encore was “Saturday”. I could feel the collective mix of joy & sadness – joy for the following of a familiar, loved tradition and sadness for a fun night with some of our favorite musicians coming to an end. As the confetti and T-shirt parachutes rained down I felt happier for having been there for those 2 hours. That’s the magic of a great band. Thanks guys.
The awesome people at setlist.fm assembled the set list for this date and you can view it here
Remember MANIA drops this week! 1-19-2018 https://falloutboy.com/
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