Month: May 2016

Daggerzine’s Internet Marketing Strategy

internet marketing strategy

Who We Used And What We Do:

Google is constantly changing and updating its algorithm to keep up with the changes of the internet. This means that small websites must constantly adapt and adjust their strategy in order to keep up with the changing trends. As the owner of a small music company, and leading contributor for this site we searched out a way to increase our internet exposure. The reality of the situation is the internet has gotten bigger and it’s much harder to get yourself found. In the old days, you could get your site on the first page of Google with just a simple blog post about a popular subject. Nowadays basically every subject under the sun has been discussed at great lengths. It’s very difficult to find an area of modern life and history that hasn’t been discussed in great detail. If there is such a subject. then that probably means nobody really cares about it. Knowing this harsh reality of the world wide web I decided to seek out a company to help us with our online marketing efforts.

Finding the right search engine marketing company online can be a real challenge. There’s literally millions of companies out there claiming they can help improve your online presence, but how do you know who to trust? I spent literarily weeks researching different companies in my local area in Portland Oregon. After much research, I made a shortlist of approximately 5 different companies that appeared to know what they were doing. One of the best ways to pick a company to help improve your Google rankings is to look who has the top rankings themselves. This technique will not always lead to great results but I feel this is an important first step in the process. The next thing I did was I began to read a little bit about each company. For me, it’s important to put a name and a face to the person I’m doing business with. This type of service could potentially harm your company so it’s important to do your homework.

The up and coming band niche are always been something I was interested in. As a young kid, I use to play punk music with a few of my friends in my parent’s garage after school. During those years, bands like Green Day and Smashing Pumpkins were all the rage. I still remember watching Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins on MTV during the early 90’s and that become my inspiration. As I grew as a musician and a human I soon realized the chances of my making a living off a band was going to be difficult. I started investigating other areas of the music industry I could profit from. I knew I wanted to be involved in playing and the industry my entire life, I just didn’t know where my income would come from. That’s when I decided to start Daggerzine and help promote up and coming bands and artists. After a lot of hard work the site had plenty of content but lacked the massive traffic I would need to help get these artists out to the public. When I first stumbled upon the website of Oregon Web Solutions Portland SEM, I was confident they were the correct company for the job. In the music space exposure is critical, and the fact that they had a lot of #1 Google rankings made me confident they could help me leverage my position as an industry expert.

As the process evolved, they helped me add unique and creative content to my website that would engage my audience, and in the end, send a unique visitors to my site. The next step was to expand my social media presence so I’m reaching as many people as possible. It’s not enough to just be on Facebook anymore and instead, you must engage your audience on all fronts. That means setting up a Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Stumble Upon, and even live streaming on Periscope, At the end of the day, the most people you reach the more chances you site has to grow. After working with a Portland SEO consultant, a large portion of my traffic comes from searches, but I have been able to increase the amount of traffic that comes from social networks ten fold. As you can tell, over the last few years our site has exploded in popularity. We are now able to help new artists reach a potential audience they would have never dreamed possible in the past. The biggest trick to online marketing is figuring out a way to leverage your position. You could compare the process to a new restaurant setting up shop on a piece of property in a busy portion of town. If your customers or audience can not find you then you have now chance to give them value and in turn make money. Our decision to hire a high-quality search engine optimization company to grow our website was the best marketing decision we have made.

Find out more at:

Oregon Web Solutions | Portland SEO
1717 NE 42nd Ave #3800
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 563-3028

What Is All This Magic In Your Mind Talk…

Magic in your mind copy 3

Magic In Your Mind

Bob Proctor is definitely the man when it comes to teaching the law of attraction. If you don’t know what the law is then you have been living under a rock for the past 15 years.

The movie “The Secret” opened all our minds to teachings that go back thousands of years to the bible. Successful businessmen have been using these skills for as far back as Babylonian times. There have been hundreds of books written on the subject, but a few stand out from the rest:

  • Think and grow rich
  • Richest man in Babylon
  • The science of getting rich
  • You were born rich
  • The Secret
  • As a man thinketh

These are just a few but typically must reads.

Bob has been teaching personal development for 54 years and still going strong! I can’t deny that after that long, someone is likely to be a master at his craft and that is Bob. Apparently he has come out with a new program called Magic in your mind. Now I personally know little about it but I have been finding many websites and reviews on it lately. I always prefer to head straight to youtube if I want to watch some Bob Proctors videos. Fantastic and free, what’s wrong with that?! I’ll add one of my favorites here:

What a great video! I still love watching it. Now if you do a little research online, you will see what a fan base Bob has and how much success he has helped create in other people’s lives. It is incredible. The man walks the walk and talks the talk. I can’t imagine being 80 something and still doing live 3-day seminars across the globe. Clearly he is living his purpose.

After a little searching online I can across this site which talks about Bob’s new program. They guy seems legit but who knows right. I’d say make your own decision, but that aside, I have not heard of Bob putting out crap. I think I will be checking it out soon.

I wonder if we could get Bob on here to do an interview?! I will use my power of intention to manifest it maybe……

The 65’s Interview


NJ/NY band the 65’s put out a terrific debut last year called STRIKE HARD (Dromedary Records). If you dig the crunchy sounds of bands like Superchunk or Husker Du then this band will be right up your alley. New bassist Cindi Merklee was nice enough to answer some questions I threw her way.

What was your introduction to music as a kid?

I have two brothers who are considerably older than I am and both played in bands. I had an old hand-me-down turntable and a budding record collection before I entered grade school. By the time I was in high school we had an 8 track studio in our attic. It was the 80s and hair metal reigned supreme in Jersey yet I was privy to some amazing local original bands who really shaped my perspective on music – Chris Moffa & The Competition, Sleeve Coat, The Ambivalent Brothers (featuring Ed Seifert who is now with Speed the Plough – Dromedary mates of ours). My siblings were also really into the Hoboken scene back then. I was exposed to a ton of great music growing up. Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians, Game Theory, The dB’s, IRS era REM, Guadalcanal Diary, Husker Du, Throwing Muses, The Replacements….all stuff I probably would have missed otherwise.

What was the first song you remember hearing that floored you?
“It’s All Too Much” by The Beatles. I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. Yellow Submarine was one of the first records my brothers gave me. As outlandish as it may sound, I have a very vivid memory of obsessing over that song at that age. Call it a transcendental experience – I have no idea – all I know is I was struck by this notion that the world is way bigger than whatever I saw in front of me at that moment. That song still floors me, and still reminds me how small we are in the grand scheme of things.

Prior to the 65’s, what were your (and the other guys) previous bands?
Back in the 90s I played bass in Balloon Squad. I spent most of the past 10 years or so doing the singer/songwriter thing out of necessity more than anything else since I didn’t have time to commit to a band. John had played with the High School Sweethearts, Electric Frankenstein and The Dark Brothers. Joe was also in The Dark Brothers, C.I. Infidels & Puggle. Dan has been doing the singer/songwriter thing too in recent years but had been in Shirk Circus in the 90s with Josh Silverman who was also in The Dark Brothers.

How did the deal with Dromedary Records come about? Al is quite an intimidating indie figure, no?
I’m not sure how their paths initially crossed but the way I heard the story is that Joe would occasionally send Al demos of stuff he was recording with Dan. This may have been around the time Joe reached out to me asking if I’d be interested in providing some backing vocals on a track or two. A couple of days after popping that question he asked if I had any interest in playing bass in “the band”. Apparently it was evolving from just a couple of friends drinking, playing guitars & recording when they felt like it. I was working full time and going to school full time when this transpired but didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to play with Joe & Dan – I had been a fan of their respective bands for years. Two months later we had our first gig at Maxwell’s. A little less than a year after that Al approached us about signing with Dromedary. We love Al.
What do you remember most about the recording of STRIKE HARD?
Unfortunately for me, the album was just about done by the time I came on board but Joe was adamant that I have some part in it. One afternoon when we were up at Kevin Lacatena’s to master it I suggested recording one of my solo acoustic songs to go on the record. Joe already had a solo acoustic track on there so it wouldn’t have been entirely out of place. Everyone was in favor of the idea so Kevin handed me a guitar & planted two mics in front of me sitting on a couch in his basement. It’s not the most polished performance, but I’ve never been big on polish.

What is the photo on the cover of other record?
The front cover is my guitar after a solo acoustic show. Being a bass player by nature, I tend to be a bit of a basher on guitar and have a tendency to rip my cuticles open. Those are my bloody guitar strings. The back cover is my blood splattered all over my brother’s SG which I borrowed when I stood in with Stuyvesant last summer for the mid-west leg of their tour in support of Fret Sounds, which was also released on Dromedary.

What does the live show deliver that the record does not (if anything)?
I think Dan & Kevin did a great job of capturing the energy of the band on the record. We take it up a notch or three when you see us live though. It’s louder. It’s more aggressive, more dynamic, and occasionally we’ll bust out a Zeppelin or Dave Brubeck cover.

What is your 5-day band dream bill (with the 65’s on it, of course)?
Tom Waits
50 Foot Wave
The Night Marchers
The Joy Formidable
The 65’s

What is one song you wish you had written?
“He’s a Whore” – Cheap Trick

What next for the band? Touring? More recording?
Shows in/around the northeast, promoting the current record, writing & recording for the next one, keeping Al happy.

Any final thoughts? Words of wisdom? Closing comments?

I can only feign wisdom at this age. Thanks for checking us out though. Lots of good things happening at Dromedary HQ – we’re happy to be a part of it.

Golden Bloom Interview


What was your introduction to music? Play any instruments while in school?
The two musical influences I remember most as a child are The Beatles and Sesame Street. I loved to put on records and had many of both The Beatles and Sesame Street. Although I didn’t really understand what it was about, I loved to sing along with John on “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill”, and with Oscar the Grouch on “I Love Trash”.

I started playing piano in the third grade and the clarinet in the fourth grade. In the seventh grade I picked up the saxophone and once I started high school all I wanted to do was learn how to play guitar, bass guitar and drums (which I did).

What was the first record that really changed your way of thinking?
You’d never hear it in my music, but the album that changed my way of thinking was Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions. When I found out that Stevie played every single instrument on songs like “Higher Ground” and “Living For The City” it blew my mind. How could one person create the same kind of sound that came from a band? Thus began my obsession with the one-man multi-tracked recording technique and I decided right then and there that I needed to do the same thing one day.

How did you enter (stumble?) into the indie rock scene?
When I was in high school I played in bands with embarrassing names like The Boojum Tree and Vitamin G. Then I went to Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and starting writing songs of my own with the hopes of playing out as a solo artist. I recorded a solo EP called Help Is On The Way, on which I played almost everything (with the exception of bass guitar on half the tracks), and then another EP called Big Happy Fun EP (on which I finally achieved playing every instrument). During my last year at Hampshire I recorded my full-length solo album Millions Of Miles Away (again playing every instrument on the recordings). I was fortunate enough to get a few opening slots for nationally touring artists like Ben Lee and Clem Snide at the Iron Horse in Northampton. That really helped give me some confidence playing in front of larger audiences and also helped me establish myself in the local scene.

I also formed a band called The Billy Ripken F*ck Face Card while at Hampshire, in which I was the drummer. We mostly played on campus but made an effort to gig out a bit. The year after I graduated from Hampshire we recorded our one and only full length album Hold Me Like You Did Before The Accident. There are maybe 100 lucky people out there who own a copy.

Prior to Golden Bloom what were you doing, musically speaking?
I continued to play solo under my own name for the first few years I lived in Northampton after college. In 2005 I was invited to be the bassist in The LeeVees, a band that was formed by Adam Gardner (Guster) and Dave Schneider (The Zambonis). We toured for 3 weeks in December ’05 opening for Barenaked Ladies. A year later Dave asked me to join his band The Zambonis as a 5th member to round things out on guitar, keys, vocals, etc. My friend Jeff Patlingrao from Hampshire also asked me to play drums in his project JP05 (now Orca Age).

That same year I began working on a new solo EP with Ryan Ball (whom I had recorded my first EP, Help Is On The Way, with). By the time it was finished and ready to be released in 2007 I was pretty burnt out on playing solo. It had been so fulfilling to play in bands like The LeeVees, The Zambonis and JP05 that I wanted to do the same with the music I had written. I put together a band simply for the purpose of playing the CD release show for the One Day in the Desert EP. The bands consisted of Michael and Dan from The LeeVees, Jeff from JP05 and Ryan (who had produced the EP). After that first show I knew I needed to take a break from playing solo shows and this band had to keep playing! We played semi-regularly in NYC in ’07 and ’08, and the more I played with a full band the less comfortable I felt being billed as Shawn Fogel. Over the summer of 2008 I decided to ditch my own name and begin playing under the name Golden Bloom.

How did FAN THE FLAMES come about? Do you see it as a song cycle or a collection of songs?
I spent about a year working on Fan the Flames. It started out with a song I wrote in my manager’s living room in Ferndale, MI (based on lyrics I pulled off the highway just a few days earlier). It was the first new song I’d written in a long while and it really helped to open the creative floodgates. Several more songs followed, written completely from scratch. Then I started taking some old song ideas that were floating around but never developed and fleshed them out into full songs. Finally, to round out the collection, I picked two older songs that’d I had already recorded and decided to rework them. The majority of the songs share a common thread, optimistic frustration and frustrated optimism. There are one or two songs on the record that are more about personal relationships but as a whole it’s much more of a big picture album than collections of songs I’d written previously.

Have you been surprised at the positive press that the record has gotten?
Absolutely! I’ve gotten little reviews and write-ups in the past, but nothing like the press that rolled in over the summer leading up to the release of Fan the Flames. It really means a lot to have trusted and respected media like SPIN, MAGNET, Under The Radar, The Big Takeover (and Dagger of course) pay attention and cover Golden Bloom. I put so much of myself into making the album, so much time, focus, money, and emotional energy. When it comes down to it, I’m making art, not a product so it’s much more validating for me to have people get excited and write nice things than it is for people to buy it. Maybe that’s why I’m not making money yet. It’s a good thing I have a manager!

How did the most recent tour go? Any pleasant or unusual surprises along the way?
I think the most exciting thing for me has been to go over well in a place that isn’t “home”, in that Golden Bloom has played to far more people in places like Boston and Northampton than in the NY/NJ area. Both towns have really accepted Golden Bloom as if we were a local band, and that’s a great feeling. In fact, there’s been a fair amount of press that says we’re a MA band, and far be it from me to correct them. I think people are way too focused on where bands are from. Does it really matter if they’re from Brooklyn, or Portland, or wherever? More often than not it leads people to make assumptions before they hear a single note. That’s silly.

Has the writing (or recording?) for the next record begun? Any added pressure to write these days?
I’m just getting around to working on new songs right now. I tend to write really slowly, coming up with little hooks and chord progressions here and there that I eventually try to build into something bigger. Lyrics usually take the longest. The easiest environment for me to write lyrics in is either on a train, bus or airplane, so I guess I need to do a little more traveling and a little less driving in the near future!

The pressure to write really only comes from within. Usually, it begins to bubble up when the songs I’ve been playing live start to feel “old”. I spent about a year working on Fan the Flames, so by the time the release date fell the songs had already lost their “newness”. At this point I’m motivated to write and record new demos just so that I can move away from playing the same old setlist in a different order.

Your 5 band dream bill (of current or deceased bands)?
Oh mercy! I’m terrible with lists. I’m sure I’ll want to change this by the time it gets published, but what the hell, let’s give it a shot. Normally I’d say a 5 band bill is just too many bands to experience in a row, so with your permission I’d ask that there is a decent intermission between each set in this imaginary show. In no particular order:

The Ramones (circa 1975)
Stevie Wonder (circa 1972)
Queen (circa 1974)
Elvis Costello & The Attractions (circa 1978)
Jimmy Cliff (circa 1972 / The Harder They Come)

Top 10 desert island discs?
Argh, that’s even harder than the 5 band dream bill! Again, I’ll probably want to change this when I wake up tomorrow, but here goes nothing. In no particular order:

Neutral Milk Hotel / In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
Elvis Costello / This Year’s Model
Stevie Wonder / Innervisions
The Cars / The Cars
The Harder They Come (Original Movie Soundtrack)
The Beatles / Revolver
Pavement / Slanted & Enchanted
Frank Black / Teenager of the Year
Lemonheads / It’s a Shame About Ray
Talking Heads / More Songs About Buildings and Food

Death Valley Rally Interview


After hearing the Virginia/ Wash., DC band Death Valley Rally’s debut ep, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHTER AFTER MIDNIGHT, I was curious and wanted to ask them a few questions (plus it’ s on the Planting Seeds Record label, one always known for quality). They were more than generous with their answers. And away we go…..

When did the band form? What brought you guys together?
RALPH BAUTISTA: We started playing together back in April 2010. A year prior to forming Death Valley Rally, Tiffany and I played in a local alt-country band. That’s how we both met. Thankfully for us, the guy who started the band (and who recruited the both of us to play in it) decided to go a different direction, which essentially left Tiffany and I to make a decision to either stop playing music (and go our separate ways) or start a new project and create the style of music that we both would really enjoy playing. We obviously chose the latter. Soon afterwards, Robin joined in on bass, and a year later, Josh came on board to play drums (after our original drummer left).
TIFFANY RILEY: Ralph and I really enjoyed playing together, so when our project ended, we decided to continue on. Robin and I had previously been in a band called No Flowers for Him, I already knew she would fit well with the direction Ralph and I were trying to take the band. Josh later joined the band after our original drummer left.

Was anyone in any other bands?
RB: I played in a band called Her Sparkle Dims. One of the band’s highlights was going into the recording studio with Archie Moore (he played in Velocity Girl/Black Tambourines/Heartworms). Unfortunately, the band broke up before we could formally release any of those songs. Tiffany and Robin played in a band called No Flowers For Him for almost three years. They self-released a four song EP before calling it quits. Both of our former bands still have MySpace pages. That tells you how long ago those two bands existed.
TR: As previously mentioned, Ralph and I had played on a friend’s Alt Country project. Ralph played guitar and sang back up, and I played bass. Robin and I were indeed in an all girl band called No Flowers for him. I played guitar and sang, while Robin handled the drums. Most people described our sound as “Sleater Kinneyish”.
Is there much of a scene in Virginia Beach?
TR: There is a scene in Virginia Beach, but definitely the heart of the music scene in Hampton Roads has to be the Ghent section of Norfolk. All the hot spots are within walking distance.
RB: I would have to say there is more of a scene in the neighboring city of Norfolk. I’ve always got a good vibe, whenever we play out there. And the people who go out to the shows in Norfolk are supportive of bands that play all the local venues. They are really receptive to checking out new bands that play.
Tell me about the recording process on THE STARS SHINE BRIGHTER AFTER MIDNIGHT?
RB: When we were finally ready to go into the studio to record our EP, Neil from Planting Seeds Records suggested engineer Chris Kendrick who runs Whiskey Bear Studios in Virginia Beach. Then Jon Chaikin of NonStop Sounds in San Francisco mastered our EP. He’s worked with bands, such as, Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Black Tambourines, so we were pretty excited to work with him. Depending on everyone’s schedule, I would drive down from DC on the weekends. The whole recording process took about four months. We would definitely work with Chris and Jon again.

How did the release on Planting Seeds come about?
TR: Planting Seeds have provided support and encouragement since the No Flowers For Him days. When Death Valley Rally formed I would keep sending Neil some stuff we recorded to get some feedback. Luckily, he liked it.
RB: Tiffany and Neil were friends for years. She would send Neil some very rough recordings of our rehearsals. Luckily, for us, he liked what he heard! We’re so grateful for all his help.
On your site I see a lot of fx pedals? What pedals do you guys use?
RB: My favorite pedals are the Rat Distortion pedal and the Boss RV-3 Digital Delay/Reverb pedal. Tiffany uses a Dan Electro Echo pedal and
Fulltone GT-500 Distortion/Overdrive pedal. And Robin uses a Big Muff Distortion pedal with her bass. We are all about the fuzz and reverb!

What would be your 5-band dream bill?
RB: Ride, Swervedriver, The Wedding Present, The Cure, The Jesus And Mary Chain.

What’s next for the band? More recording? Touring?
TR: Definitely both… We are working on new material currently, along with January dates we are also planning to tour in March.
RB: We already have some shows lined up in early January. As far as recording, definitely sometime next year. Oh, and we are planning on shooting a video for our song “Farewell” sometime in November.

Tell me a band or two from Virginia Beach that I should know about?
RB: You should check out this band called Suburban Living. Their sound reminds me of a band that you would find on the label Captured Tracks (Wild Nothing, Beach Fossils, DIIV, etc.).

Final thoughts? Words of wisdom? ANYTHING YOU WANTED TO MENTION THAT I DIDN’T ASK?
RB: Thanks for showing interest in our band! That’s about it!

BONUS QUESTION: Who in the band surfs? I saw a tri-fin in one of the photos?
PS- Wes Laine….former 80’a pro surfer from VA Beach!
TR: Ha ha, those are my dad’s boards. I know Ralph surfed more when he was younger and mostly paddleboards now. I used to dabble in surfing when I was younger, but not so much anymore.
RB: Wow! Either you did your research to find the most obscure trivial fact about Virginia Beach or you’re an old school surfer!
I’ve been an avid surfer since I was a young “grom” growing up in Virginia Beach. Those surfboards actually belong to Tiffany and her father. We practice in her parent’s garage. Ever since I moved to DC years ago, I haven’t been able to surf as much as I used to (living more than three hours away from the beach). Whenever I’m in town for band practice, and the waves are halfway decent, I’ll take my longboard out.

Growing up, I would see Wes Laine out in the line up at several of our local surf spots. It was alway so surreal to see him in person out in the water, after just reading about him in some surfing magazine.

Mascott Interview


Kendall Jane Meade, also known as MASCOTT, has been making music for a few decades now. First with the band Juicy and she then, in the 90’s, began making music herself under the name MASCOTT. The debut ep, ELECTRIC POEMS was released in 1998 on the Le Grand Magistery label. Since then she has released several records under that moniker, all worthy of your time (and don’t forget the Anders & Kendall record released earlier this year, WILD CHORUS, which she did with Anders Parker). I wanted to find out some history so here you go…..

Did you grow up in the Detroit area? What was that like?
Until I was seven we lived in Port Huron, MI. My parents bought a ranch house on the lake. I remember snowmobile rides in the winter and sailing in the summer. In my mind, all the guys looked like Burt Reynolds from Smokey and the Bandit and the ladies dressed like Carol King on the cover of Tapestry. We later moved to Grosse Pointe, which was a culture straight out of the Preppy Handbook. Lots of Van Morrison, gin and tonics and navy blue blazers. My sister Shelby was a rebel and had multicolored hair. She and her friends would go dancing or see bands in downtown Detroit. When I was old enough, I did it too. It was interesting to experience both worlds.

When did you first start playing/writing music?
When I was about 21, my friend Jen & I started a band as a summer fun project. I had some musician pals show me some chords and then we wrote some silly songs. That was Juicy. Even though it was a joke, I started to really love writing and expressing myself. Making melodies. After Juicy broke up, I started Mascott.

Why the name Mascott?
My mom always called me the “mascot” of the family. Jeff Baron suggested I add another “t” at the end, so I did.

First record you ever bought with your own money?
I think it was a Madness ’45. “Our House” with a B-side of “One Step Beyond” maybe?

When/why did you move to NYC?
I moved to NYC in 1994 because my Juicy bandmates, Jen and Meggean, both got jobs in the city. We wanted to keep playing, so I moved down from Boston. It’s kind of crazy to me that I’m still here. I always saw myself living in Seattle or somewhere smaller.

What would be your 5-band dream bill?
Laura Viers
Bob Dylan
Joni Mitchell
Francoise Hardy

Tell us about your new record, COST/AMOUNT on Kiam Records. Did you change your approach to writing and/or recording for this one?
Well, it kind of happened naturally. I had written “Cost/Amount” for a songwriters’ night Jennifer hosted awhile ago. She wanted to release it as a single with a B-side of one of my favorite cover songs, so I got the band back together to record “Cost/Amount” and “They Don’t Know” by Kirsty MacColl. It was blissful to play with everyone again. We decided to record two more and make it an ep. It was really fun finishing the song “Our Life” with Jennifer. I had the melody and some lyrics kicking around, but she really helped it take shape in a way I wasn’t able to do.

In addition to Mascott and Anders and Kendall , what other musical projects are you involved in?
Those are my main projects! I’m hoping to write and record an acoustic record soon. I’ve always wanted to do that.

What’s next for the Mascott? Any touring?
I would love to tour if someone asked! Consider this an APB.

If push comes to shove, what is your favorite record of all time?
It would have to be Court and Spark or Blue by Joni Mitchell or Blood on the Tracks. Sorry, that’s three.

When not playing music, what are some other hobbies of yours?
I like walking around the city, watching music documentaries, hanging out with loved ones. I don’t really collect things. I’m most interested in feeling good and inspired whenever and wherever I can—increasing my positive vibrations by living an authentic life. Just keeping that in check is like a hobby!

Is Red Panda still an active label?
Well, it exists at this point as a place for my self-released Mascott records to live forever. I’m so proud of the records I released on it and my instinct in wanting to sign Jennifer O’Connor and The Naysayer. Both of those gals are powerhouses, still active in music and two of my dearest friends. It’s really cool that Jennifer has kind of returned the favor by releasing Mascott. It warms my heart.

Tell us one thing about you that might surprise us?
I went to finishing school in Atlanta, GA for one week when I was 16. I learned how to say “breakfast is served” in French, how to properly sip soup, how to descend into a chair like a lady, how to make small talk. If anyone needs to brush up, just ask me.

Final thoughts? Words of wisdom?
Let your freak flag fly. Be honest. Run far away from drama. Make art. Encourage goodness. Return favors. Surround yourself with positivity and love.
Let the bad-feeling stuff go so better stuff can come your way. I know I sound like a wanna-be Yoko Ono, but if we all focused on these simple things the world would be such a better place to exist.

Tinder Interview

Tinder is the band name for a musician from Toronto named Shawn. As you’ll read below, he was in other bands but this is his first solo record under the name Tinder. With help from producer Eric Matthews, Tinder released a terrific ep earlier this year that needs to be heard by all ears. Read below and find out what makes this guy tick an head on over to his bandcamp page while you’re at it.

Are you originally from Toronto? If not where did you grow up?
I’m from a smaller town SW of the T-dot (as we refer to ourselves). I lived in London England for a few years, and then settled in Toronto. It’s a great town.

What was the first record you bought with your own money?
I’m not certain, but I think it was a shared purchase between myself and my Mom, for the Musical Youth record. Pass the Dutchy was huge that year and I loved the cover shot of the band.

What was the first band/record that you became obsessed with?
One day, I, became interested in my Mother’s record collection. Loads of Elvis, Rolling Stones and of course the Beatles. My Mother was from England, and moved to Canada during the British invasion. So, not only was a complete Beatles record collection available to me, but in many cases UK and Canadian pressings…there were different track listings on the two versions. Needless to say, the Beatles became an obsession.

I used to drum along to the records too. I didn’t have a drum kit, but a practice pad and a pair of sticks. Oh, I did have a snare drum from my Grandfather. He played.

Is it your first record you have released under this band name or any other?
I am a drummer by trade. Played in a number of projects over the years. Had great experiences in the UK, and was in a band that released records/CD with indie record label – Fierce Panda.

This is the first record that I have put out – solo. Other than Eric, and he plays lots of stuff and sings some amazing harmonies, I wrote, played on and sang.

How did you come up with the band name, Tinder?
I liked the way it looked, thought it was easy to remember. I guess I like the meaning too.

I love the EP. How many other songs do you have ready for release?
Thank you very much. I don’t know any musician who doesn’t like to be liked.

I finished and recorded these songs a couple years ago and think I had enough for an album. I took some time off to focus on my daughter (she’s 2 now). Now that I’m focusing a little more on the music again, I feel like there is much more to come.

How did you meet Eric Matthews? Did he offer to produce?
I first reached out to Eric on Myspace. For me , that site really broke down boundaries. Pages were very similar, whether or not you were a indie act, or a pop star. Everyone had the same glitchy music player, etc.

Naturally you check out those who were inspirational to you. Eric’s records – solo and otherwise were really important to me when they came out. I was a bit of a music nerd in school, band, played percussion in a youth orchestra, liked and played jazz. Eric Matthews brought the elements of music that I loved; great recording, playing, arrangements, strong pop/rock songs, plus not only limited to the guitar…AND he was on Sub Pop!

I started my myspace page, and reached out to him and he kindly offered some feedback on my demos. Some of which ended up on the EP. Needless to say, I was chuffed. Following this Eric proposed we record some of these tunes. We did it completely via file sharing on ProTools. No pre-production. It was a lot of emailing.

How has the response been to the cd so far?
My friends and family like it. You and Dagger have been the first to review, which I thank you for. I continue to spread the word.

What has been the most interesting things someone has said about your music?
I like that most who listen have their own favorite song. Not one seems more popular than the other. I like that. I also like that people pick up on some elements that would be closely associated with my foundational influences (Beatles, Bowie, etc) but say it doesn’t sound like them. I think you said in your review Beatles to Badfinger, which was cool.

Will there be any shows/touring?
Currently, I am doing smaller shows, but plans are to have a larger band so to play the record more authentically…

If push comes to shove what is your all-time favorite record?
Gosh. Revolver is so important, London Calling, Television, Velvet Underground, Low/Heroes/Lodger? I think, I’ll do better on the top 10 discs.

Top 10 desert island discs?
London Calling – Clash
Elliot Smith – XO
Beatles – Revolver
Low – Bowie
Iggy Pop -The Idiot
Television – Marquee Moon
Big Star – #1 Record
Luna – Penthouse
The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground and Nico
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

Special Mention:
Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left
John Grant – Queen of Denmark
Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
100% Dynamite – Soul Jazz Comp – I need some Dub/Reggae on an island, no?

There are so many more…

Name 5 bands from Toronto that I need to know about now.
Austra – does a cool This Mortal Coil meet electro-pop thing.
Diamond Rings – glammy with good tunes
Hooded Fang –
Timber Timbre
Great Lake Swimmers

You got a day job?
Yes. I work in HR.

Final words? Closing comments? Words of wisdom? Anything you want to talk about that I didn’t ask?
Thanks for the opportunity to speak to your readers and helping a guy out.

A Little Q and A With Pat Dipuccio Of The Condors


When did The Condors first get together? How did you all meet?
Jay Nowac and I met while playing in a group with Mike Czekaj (ex-Fuzztones) years ago. We went through a series of band members until finally hooking up with Mark Hodson (who I had known from Saccharine Trust and The Fontanelles), and Dirk Dierking (someone I’d played with in another band). All three members have since left, and the new ones are helping to forge another chapter in The Condors saga.
Did you have a basic blueprint for what you wanted The Condors to be when you first formed the band?
I wanted the band to fuse the drive of classic punk with power pop harmonies and melodies. The early Condors material, as heard on TALES OF DRUNKENNESS AND CRUELTY, had a more straight ahead Rock ‘n’ Roll approach; given the members involved and the fact that we operated as a trio. WAIT FOR IT is a far more realized endeavor, and exactly what we had been aiming for conceptually and musically.
I hear balls to the wall rock and roll with great melodies n’ harmonies. Who are some of your biggest influences?
Wow, there are a ton. I listen to a lot of styles, so they all get filtered through my experiences somehow. On WAIT FOR IT, I immersed myself in The Beatles, Clash, Fountains of Wayne, Rancid, Weezer, and Green Day. I love many of the old Brill Building/Motown stable of songwriters, and I frequently return to the classics like Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, John Fogerty, Ray Davies, Ian Hunter, and Bob Dylan to show me how much I need to learn. I have a fondness for The Stones, The Who, Steely Dan, ABBA, the 70’s Glitter bands, and, naturally, a lot of the Punk/New Wave artists throughout the years. I see too many writers and players limiting their musical tastes and abilities out of insecurity, or fear of being labeled uncool. Why shortchange yourself? Learn as much as you can, from anyone and everyone.
How did the deal with Rankoutsider Records come about? Had you known Pat for a while?
Yes, I’ve known Pat Todd for several years, going back to his Lazy Cowgirl days. He called me saying he was starting a label (Rankoutsider), and would we want to be on it. I’ve always admired his no-nonsense, stick-to-it, DIY approach, so I knew I’d be in good company with him, and whomever else he brought aboard.

What did producer Steve Refling add to the proceedings? What else has he done…I have never heard of him before?
Steve has an excellent reputation in the Los Angeles pop community. He co-produced our first CD, and worked on discs by The Excessories, Davie Allan & The Arrows, Sean O’Brien, and Kevin K. I wanted someone who knew how to layer vocals and instruments without making the production draw attention to itself, and could handle the challenges of a pure analog production. We have a good rapport, and I trusted his judgment when it came to overseeing our performances in the studio. His studio is a tiny store front, but he knows how to get the most sound out of what he’s got. He’s getting real busy, so you’re going to see his name on a lot of projects in the coming years.
What are the best and worst things about existing in LA as a band?
The best things are the opportunities for networking between bands and finding groups you want to play with. The worst things are the amount of driving you do to get to rehearsals and shows and, with so many options for entertainment, sometimes it’s tough getting people to your gigs.
Most memorable gig so far? Why?
That was probably playing in Vegas for the Roller Derby Girls convention (Rollercon) a few years ago. The place was packed with girls who really knew how to dance and party. It was high energy from the get-go, and we had some very cool friends drop by to lend support. As a rule, we always seem to have a good time when we play out of town shows, but this one raised the level up several notches.
How did you get Cousin Oliver himself, Robbie Rist, to contribute?
I’ve known Robbie for years from hanging around the pop scene. He dropped by the studio while we were recording and Refling and I asked if he wouldn’t mind laying down an organ overdub on “Jack.” He drove home, brought back his keyboard, and easily nailed the part. That was very cool of him to do.
Name 5 songs you wish you’d written.
Here are five, out of many, songs:
“Proud Mary” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Pure imaginative genius, and a great story. Truly a song that changed my life.
“Knowing Me, Knowing You” – ABBA
Resignation of an impending divorce, as only Bjorn and Benny could write.
“Overnight Sensation” – Raspberries
What songwriter couldn’t relate to this pop masterpiece?
“Tangled Up in Blue” – Bob Dylan
One out of several of his I wish I’d written.
“Fake Plastic Trees” – Radiohead
Sad, cynical, complex, and majestic. “But, gravity always wins.” How true.
Top 10 desert island discs?
Taking into account my dire, isolated situation, here are ten songs (on discs), in sequence:
“ Help” – The Beatles
“ I’m Stranded” – The Saints
“ I’m On An Island” – The Kinks
“ Rescue Me” – Fontella Bass
“ We Gotta Get Out of This Place” – The Animals
“ Semaphore Signals” – Wreckless Eric
“ Message in a Bottle” – The Police
“ Escape” – Alice Cooper
“ Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down” – XTC
And finally, in a moment of fatalistic cruelty…
10) “Sink to The Bottom” – Fountains of Wayne
Final thoughts? Words of wisdom?
Amor Vincit Omnia. (Love conquers all.)
Esto Dignus. (Be worthy.)

God’s Gift Interview


How did you and Steve Edwards meet?
Steve and I went to the same school. We first met when we were about twelve years old. We knew each other from then in a vague way I suppose. When we were about 15 we tried to make a group with a few school friends calling ourselves Exhibit B. We really were very poor and couldn’t play and it wasn’t much fun as we all wanted to play different songs *L*. The musical tastes varied very widely in what was a particularly dire musical era (about 1972-3). Steve and I then met up again at an Insurance Company where we worked in adjacent offices and lived near each other and started to share musical interests. Then at 18 we both went into Nursing in different locations meeting up later at Prestwich again. We have remained firm friends since then.

Were you fans of the same music? What kind of stuff were you listening to?
No we had hugely different musical tastes at that point. Steve liked Bowie and Roxy Music (Stevie Wonder too if I recollect properly) and I liked heavy rock – Led Zep, Hendrix, Cream etc. The point at which our musical paths crossed was my playing Patti Smith’s first album to him and we were both hooked on a similar style. Then I bought a Velvets album and we listened to it at Steve’s parents’ house and we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. We didn’t quite know whether they were THAT good or THAT bad! But we decided we liked it and it gave us the confidence to follow a sort of path I guess. We found the Stooges which appealed to my Rock likings and that was it I guess. My hero was and will always be Jimi Hendrix.

What was Manchester like on those days? Has it always been a real tough, industrial city? Even still?
I love Manchester and it is home but it is, and has always been, a tough place. Industrial, dark and gloomy. Joy Division portrayed it well as bleak and grey. We are actually from the City of Salford which borders Manchester. It seems such a childish point but Salfordians are a different breed *L*. Salford is a lot tougher as a city. There is a famous clip of Anthony H Wilson introducing Joy Division on ‘So it goes’ and referring to them as “a Manchester band but a couple of them are from Salford which is not important to you the viewer but is to them!” As is known Barney and Hooky were from Salford as indeed Wilson was. Manchester now is a lovely City and much money has been spent on the centre, particularly since the IRA bombed it a few years ago. It has its own culture and humour and is a very tribal City.

Those late 70’s in Manchester must have been great. Did you catch early gigs by The Fall? Buzzcocks? Joy Division? and later, The Smiths?
We saw loads of the early Fall. Steve loved them. There is a big link with Prestwich Hospital there too. We watched them play in the Hospital Social Club to a load of drunken nurses who, by and large, didn’t ‘get it’. They expected a cabaret band and got the Fall *LOL*. I used to like the Buzzcocks too, they seemed to be on everywhere I went. Vastly underrated as a group and Pete Shelley wrote great songs. Joy Division were an okay group and then almost overnight they became special. I wasn’t too impressed initially even though we knew them because they went to our school. Steve saw them one night and insisted I went to see them again at the Band on the Wall in Manchester and they were devastating! I felt like giving up.

There were other watchable groups who had less success than they may have had if they were from London. The Drones were good. Thinking about it, I liked the Fall more than I ever admitted really. Their early stuff was great and I like the original band the best of all their millions of assorted mixtures. I never went to see the Smiths because I was irritated that they got so many breaks that we didn’t – I know how childish that sounds now too but it was a problem. Morrissey is a genius having said all that and I don’t think that Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke got enough credit because it all went to Morrissey and Marr. Suffice to say I have all the Smiths albums *L*.

How did God’s Gift come together? Who thought up the name?
Steve and I decided to make a group (didn’t everyone? *L*). We enlisted our friend Paul Leadbeater on Drums – we coerced him into it. Paul would tell you now that he didn’t know one end of a drum stick from the other but very quickly he held down a cracking rhythm. Because he couldn’t play, it was always dead simple like Mo Tucker. He used the snare and floor toms. He never used the bass drum or hi hat. We then got another friend, Laura Plant, to play Bass. I had an old Framus Bass and she played that. I was showing her how to play when I was still learning how to play guitar *L*. We kept it simple and the early songs worked because they were so sparce.

I came up with the name – it has NO religious connotations at all. Not sure if it’s the same in the States but being called Gods Gift is an insult to someone who isn’t up to it or fancies themselves to be something special. It was a piss take on us. Interestingly, the only other name we ever considered was Steve’s suggestion of John Smith and the Insignificants. I think the joke being on us was a central theme *L*.

Were the gigs tense? Violent?
We had a lot of violent outbreaks at gigs especially early on but in honesty we often provoked it. We were considered “Confrontalionists”. Because of where we worked and as the group evolved we used our lack of fear to our benefit and we often used to get idiots trying to cause trouble but they never won. I guess tense would be a fair description. We often played in the dark and the noise was horrendous on occasions. Sort of like sensory deprivation. I know everyone seems to do stuff like that now and there have been bands who have become rich and famous but we were doing that 25 years ago *L*. I would have loved to have seen us if that makes any sense. The thing is we were doing what we wanted to see!

Tell us about that Dead Kennedy’s show (tour?)?
By all accounts the DK’s wanted us to play support on their tour. Because of work commitments we were only able to agree to 3 or four dates. The first was in Manchester. It had been booked for the Apollo but they had heard about the likely DK’s following and cancelled the venue so it was moved at the last minute to a dump called the Mayflower in Manchester. They had sold 1600 tickets for a place that would struggle to hold a 1000 IMHO. The first band played and they were one of an increasing number of identikit punk bands, every song started with an innocuous introduction explaining what the song was about and then a moronic 1-2-3-4 and a thrash with inaudible, inane rantings screamed. They came out with some of the most ridiculous racist crap I have ever heard and because they were ‘punk rockers’ playing to ‘punk rockers’ it was felt acceptable? What was deeply disturbing was they went down a storm *PMSL*. I knew we were in trouble because we didn’t fit in at all with the whole thing. I didn’t want to play and neither did Paul but Steve and Iain Grey (our eventual and longest standing Bass player) wanted to. We tossed a coin and ended up playing. There was no way we would ever play half heartedly and that is really why I didn’t want to play – it could only ever lead to trouble. We started and someone introduced us to this baying mob of green and pink haired spitting morons and said “give these lads a chance” *LMAO* That was the kiss of death wasn’t it? Jello Biafra appealed for calm *L*. We played 20 minutes of feedback and the crowd reacted like a cabaret audience to a punk band – the irony being completely lost on them. Steve told the audience about the money we were getting and how much the DKs were getting and they were staying in the Midland (Manchester swankiest hotel) and were in the back room with a million women and a million gallons of free booze. It made a mockery of it all – this supposed camaraderie. Steve started crawling around the stage and disconnecting mikes and leads so the Bouncers threw him off the stage where he was beaten up by about 1300 people *LMAO*. It was shit – it really was. We cleared off sharpish and Jello was white with fear!

Tony Wilson said that those “fucking lunatics Gods Gift have started a riot”. When Steve and I went to get paid the next day a nameless man who I hate to this day (*L*) refused. So true to the GG doctrine I threw him across the room until he paid us. Not something I’m proud of but in a dog eat dog world etc etc. We declined the opportunity to play in Liverpool and Birmingham.

Did you guys really work in a mental institution? Did that add to the mystique surrounding the band?
Yes is the short answer. I was a Senior Charge Nurse, Steve Edwards was a Staff Nurse before he went back to University. Iain Grey worked on the Secure Unit, Andy Glentworth also and now works at a Special Hospital. Paul Adams worked there. Roy Bebbington also worked at Prestwich. Martine Hilton eventually worked in the Personnel block. In fact, throughout the life of the group; only Paul Leadbeater, Rob Hall and Laura Plant didn’t work there.

Did it add to the mystique? Absolutely. People were quite wary of us as a unit. The final grouping of Steve, Iain, Andy and I was positively intimidating and we knew it. We played on it a fair bit but it was how we were. When most people were writing their deep and meaningful songs about the trite adventures of a bored art student we were fighting with murderers and child killers for a living. It poisons the mind a fair bit and it used to give us a great laugh when we heard the amount of songs about mental illness being sung by those thinking each set must contain one ‘loony’ song. We used the volume and the dark to add to the effect. Dress and photos and any of the gloss that people join groups for were completely ignored. We liked GG and hoped others would too. We had no interest in those who didn’t like us. It was an outlet for the levels of tension a 12 hour shift in a Psychiatric ward could create.

How did it all end?
I think there was a little acrimony between Iain and I that was the only ill feeling we had ever had in the group. Because of that we stopped. Steve and I agreed that was never what is was meant to be about so we decided at that moment to pack it in. Arguments between friends was a no-no and that had happened. It was a fantastic principle to have and an even greater one to uphold.

What have you guys been doing since? Anything musically?
When GG finished. Steve and Iain did a Jazz improv thing a few times but stopped. Andy and I made another group with friends called Brutal Grey Killers. Did a fair few gigs and a couple of decent demos but it was never GG so that just fizzled out. Now? Steve doesn’t play nor Andy. Iain plays in a band still and I record a lot at home for my own pleasure.

Tell us about some Manchester bands we might have never heard of but should have.
The two that spring to my mind are The Enigma and If Only. The Enigma were young kids about 10 years younger than us and we shared gigs with them a lot. They were 16 or so when we were mid 20s. They had some terrific songs and a brilliantly talented frontman called Martin Tivnan. God only knows how he didn’t become really famous.

If Only were another band we shared gigs with. Much more subtle, with some really strong songs. Good guitars and a singer with a very strange voice. Sadly, the vocalist (Jeff Bridges) committed suicide many years ago but they were a very good band.

Glass Animals were very interesting; Liz Naylor and Cath Carroll based. Odd and interesting to see,
What was your most memorable gig?
My favourite two were;
The Band on the Wall on the day the Pope visited Manchester. His first words to the masses was ‘Gods Gift is Love’. We played with the Fall and I had broken my hand at work but because of the importance of the gig I still played. I took too many analgesics and drank Cider to a very odd effect. We were simply breath taking on the night. That was one of my favourites. I remember watching Mark Smith dancing and singing along – cool!

The other I particularly remember was a gig in Tilburg in Holland. The minute we started the crowd were with us and it was brilliant. We had never had such a reaction. They knew the songs and sang and danced along. As a group we never did encores feeling that it was largely a false thing to do but the crowd started smashing the club up when we had finished so we did an encore. We had nothing planned so asked what they wanted *L*. I played the opening chords to Discipline and the place went absolutely mad. Never felt anything that good in my life. Because I played with my back to the audience I had no idea what had happened and Iain told me to turn around and look it was like Bedlam or Dante’s Inferno – absolutely mad!

How did the cd with Hyped 2 Death come about?
Justin Toland did an excellent history of New Hormones website and I read it and was astonished to find the positive comments about the group. Even more stunned to find there were record labels trying to find us. I contacted three but Chuck Warner was the best and most interested and interesting. He seemed an absolute gent so we did it with H2D. It took a long time because we only had cassettes and original vinyls of all our stuff so Chuck worked like a Trojan to make the CD what it became.

Any future God’s Gift plans?
A possible release of the Discipline 7” vinyl in a presentation box with a live DVD of us playing in Rotterdam is mooted for late Summer on the German Playloud label. There is enough stuff for another CD but it would be far less accessible than Pathology so I am unsure what may happen there.

These Days/925/People on Newmarket 101 7” vinyl

Soldiers/Hunger of Millions/Antony Perkins/Good and Evil 12” vinyl on New Hormones

Discipline/Then Calm Again 7” vinyl on New Hormones

Creeps in track on Manchester Musicians Collective 12” vinyl Unzipping the Abstract

These Days/Discipline on Messthetic Manchester Bands H2D

Folie a Quatre cassette on Pleasantly Surprised

The Greatest Story Ever Told cassette on Newmarket 103

Pathology Manchester 1979-84 CD on H2D

Bonus questions: Got any good Mark E. Smith stories? Is he really just a chipper, friendly guy?
He is a normal quiet bloke who likes his own company not unlike most Northern people. He will chat to people but dismiss bullshitters very quickly. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly. He is just a normal bloke with an abnormal level of talent.

(And he liked Gods Gift so I can forgive him anything *LOL*)

Hope that helps and isn’t too boring?

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