musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Silver Lake

Introducing: Darren Rose Radio: Inside Radio & Records (it’s a podcast)

For those of you who enjoy a behind-the-curtains look at today’s music business, there’s a new podcast you should know about. Darren Rose, best known for his previous on-air gig on Alt 98.7 KYSR in Los Angeles, has just inaugurated Darren Rose Radio – Inside Radio & Records. It’s an unedited and uncensored series of conversations with people from every corner of the music business — artists, managers, DJs, producers, label executives and others.


In these hour-whatever conversations, it’s no-holds-barred discourse about people’s careers, world views and insights into this sketchy sophisticated industry. Darren has a great resume for doing a show like this, as he’s interviewed many people in the biz at 98.7 and enjoys a casual rapport with them, which always makes for great conversation. Judging from his first four podcasts, this is going to be a real eye-opener, a rare look at how the music business operates today.

Thus far, he has featured Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event, Pete Galli of The MGMT Company (who manages Airborne, Andrew W.K., The Bravery and others), his friend Josh Venable, Radio Programmer and DJ at Z104.5 in Tulsa (and formerly with Alt 98.7 and 102.1 The Edge in Dallas) and producer Andy Rosen (a.k.a. Dr. Rosen Rosen). Here are my initial thoughts.

His friendly chat with Mikel – This 75 minutes is like a rushing river of information after a particularly long dry spell for Airborne news. Mikel has a tendency toward major snarkiness if an interviewer 1) doesn’t know anything about the band and clearly hasn’t done their research or 2) asks the stock questions (“So tell us about the name”). This was a casual chat between friends, unguarded to the point where Mikel spoke about what he’s been doing the past six months, his home studio, what his plans are for the next Airborne album, how he and the band work together, his writing process, his thoughts on radio singles, his favorite artists, his health and workout regimen, his lifestyle, marital status, personal introspection, the music industry, you name it. For the Airborne fan, it’s an exhausting, exhilarating, gluttonous feast.

Music Business 101 with Pete – It’s a 30 minute crash course on today’s music industry and what a band has to do to get noticed, from one of the most savvy people currently in the business. Pete shares his four steps for breaking an artist (great songs and recordings, a good story, band identity, live show). He talks about the importance of blogs, radio, major labels and gives an extremely valuable insider’s perspective. It’s also heartwarming to hear him get totally geeked about Airborne and their huge hit, “Sometime Around Midnight.” After many years in the business, he still has that youthful passion and enthusiasm and isn’t completely jaded. Great stuff.

His two-hour gabfest with Josh Venable – This one’s an extremely interesting and thoroughly depressing look inside today’s commercial ‘alternative’ radio station travesty industry. It takes some effort to get beyond their gushing over Coldplay and their defense of Clear Channel (I suppose it’s understandable for a pair of working DJs, as CC has absconded with the bulk of U.S. radio stations). But there’s some really funny shit here. Their conversation veers recklessly from an extremely precise look at DJing as a career, ratings mechanisms and the inner workings of a rock station to behind-the-scenes gossip and endless stories from two chummy radio DJs who are survivors of the industry’s implosion and almost complete annihilation of independent stations by corporate giants. As the “interview” winds on, things eventually disintegrate into a gloriously unedited drunken frat party.

His tête-à-tête with Dr. Rosen Rosen – The conversation veers from home renovations and parenting to his remixes, recent production work with Meg Myers, what it takes for a band to be successful, the role of radio, the importance of artist interviews, live shows and stage production, his process of becoming a producer and his favorite artists. Timbaland? Uh, no thanks. Hearing about his experience as a songwriter and producer in the music biz? Yes, please.

Damn, this is going to be good. Best of all? The podcasts are free to stream or download from his site. Here’s to many happy podcasts, Mr. Rose.

As he says himself, “Over the last 15 years, the music industry has seen more changes than any other time in history. One of those changes in recent years has been the near extinction of the long form interview. Enter Darren Rose Radio, a chance to connect and understand the business from artists and industry insiders far beyond their social networks.”

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The Happy Hollows ~ “Endless” (from upcoming new album!)

photo by Fisher Phillips

photo by Fisher Phillips

How I love this Eastside L.A. band, and this new song foretells wonderful things about The Happy Hollows’ upcoming album, Amethyst, which is due out July 30 on Pesky Fruit Music. According to Pinpoint Music, the album was recorded with producer Lewis Pesacov (Best Coast, Fools Gold) at Black Iris studios in Echo Park and Infrasonic Sound in Los Angeles, and apparently they’ll be introducing some synth and drum machine sounds into the mix with Sarah’s delicious guitar shredding. Sounds interesting! For now, here’s “Endless” — and stay tuned! Here’s hoping for some East Coast tour dates when Amethyst comes out…

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Silverlake Band Update! (part 1) – September 15, 2009

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a little while are no doubt aware that I have “a thing” for The Airborne Toxic Event. Through them, I’ve discovered a whole bunch of wonderful bands, who – if not actually based there – are often found playing in clubs in this cool and interesting area of East Los Angeles that includes Silverlake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park. A wide variety of influences, styles and personalities, they share a joy of performing, an absolute lack of pretension, a kind of camaraderie — and oh yeah, they’re all really fucking good as well.

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