Gigmor’s New Live Music Marketplace

I’m thrilled to announce the launch of Gigmor’s new live music marketplace. Our mission has always been to develop innovative technology that addresses inefficiencies in the music business. We started by matching musicians with compatible players in their area. Today we added a crucial element: connecting them to paying gigs. The Gigmor network now has 50,000 artists who have played at over 1,500 venues in the US and Canada.

Our team has been working hard since last summer building our new site: a next generation booking platform focused on helping talent seekers find and book qualified talent for their venue or event. (A talent seeker is anyone looking to hire musicians, e.g., talent buyers, venue managers, promoters, event planners, festivals, colleges and individuals.)

Talent seekers can now publish gig posts and when artists apply to those posts, talent seekers can see their music, ratings/reviews and gigging history before making a hiring decision. Artists can post avails, which will become a valuable directory of independent artists for consumers and industry pros alike. Members can follow each other, allowing them to track the posting and booking activity of other members. We’ll soon be adding robust analytics tools that will help quantify emerging artists’ fan bases by city or region.

We’re super stoked about the new site. But we’re really just getting started—we have a ton of enhancements in the works.

We want more people to experience the joy of live music because Gigmor has made it easy to find and book the right talent!

Be Your Own Sex Symbol: Gigmor’s Interview with Sister Hyde’s glittery frontman, Hyde

A Toronto-based, Canadian born but internationally bred Hyde of the glitter rock group, Sister Hyde, took some time to talk to Gigmor this week to tell us a little bit more his history in the music industry, the past and present trajectory of his artistry, and the stories, tips, and tricks he picked up along the way.

 

Hyde grew up as a diplomat’s son — more specifically, as the son of a Canadian diplomat to Mexico, Guatemala and Venezuela/ . In an arena of privilege and social importance, Hyde broke through with his ‘devil may care’ attitude to try and become his own sort of diplomat, one exclusively interested in sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. From a childhood that had him bouncing from Canada to Mexico to other bits of the United States, Hyde had the magic potion: the mind and freedom to figure out just what it was that could and would turn him on. He built himself around and then into the thrills to be found in acts like Bowie, the New York Dolls, Alice Cooper, and T. Rex. Gigmor sat down with Hyde of Sister Hyde to hear a little more about his history in the music industry, his influences today, and how it has all changed, or hasn’t, over time.

 

Tell me a little bit more about your background. Where did you grow up, and where did you collect these influences?

 

“I grew up in a backwater capital of Canada called Ottawa. My dad was a diplomat so I born in England but we moved to Ottawa right away. And Ottawa is just a place that is filled with civil servants and hockey players. And it was there that I got my roots, had all my first experiences and exposures. When I was 16 actually I played hooky from high school so I could go and see Alice Cooper for the first time. Hitchhiking along the road, I ended up getting picked up by the roadies for the band. With an iceberg of Peruvian cocaine in front of my face and a trunk filled with gimmicks, props  and rock theatrics in the back, this was my first exposure to a lot of things.”

 

Amazing. Found yourself in the middle of history there, eh? Were there any other scenes that you dug into?

 

“I found myself in England in 1976 at the very start of punk. I had a huge perm, like I got mistaken for Peter Frampton once. He was big back then, ya know. I saw that movement at it’s very beginning which, you know, is the best time to see a movement come to life. So when I headed back to Canada I was able to carry that with me and integrated into the band that I was in. We then became Ottawa’s first punk band. Now, presently, here, back in Toronto, Sister Hyde is doing well. But it’s difficult, sometimes it’s a matter of getting one fan at a time. It’s really a people business, there is no denying that.”

 

How is Canada treating you and your glam punk band?

 

“I’m going to stay in Toronto for a little while longer, Sister Hyde is having a lot of fun here — but it’s tough, you know, because a lot of places are closing down. Live music and rock music isn’t as profitable as having a club or dance music. There is one place in Ottawa, for example, that has just closed down.  Toronto doesn’t really have a scene flowing; I think that scenes can only ever really happen where there is low rent and where the artists can find it affordable to live there.”

 

So when your environment is failing you, you have to find something else to work with. Is that why you use something like Gigmor?

 

“Gigmor, yes, that helps because it has never really mattered where you lived now in the digital age. It’s more about being online and creating your opportunities there. But I do find GIgmor really informative too, especially with their newsletter and blog stuff. Because I’m doing all of the band outreach myself, I find all of that super helpful.”  

 

What are you and the band working on now?

 

“Right now I am working on an all analog album. It’s just pure, not a computer or another something digital in site. In my opinion, when you go too digital, you take all of the guts and goods out of a song. It can start to really sound like the best rock n’ roll you’ve ever heard.”

 

There is a darker edge that my new music will have is going to surprise some of the critics I think, and this album being all analog will reflect that, but I don’t mind. In my mind I find that has the world gets darker, so does my music. And these are some dark times. Maybe it could be even passing for something different — but it’s all still glam rock. This time, it just has more of a punk edge.”

 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you can from some sort of strict, posh background. Something a little bit more proper, am I wrong?

 

“No, that’s not wrong. I mean like I said my dad was an ambassador to Mexico, Guatemala and Venezuela. And, funny story here, I actually went down to Mexico for school and got into a couple of scenes down there. I joined some Mexican bands, immediately got into the rock n’ roll, sex n’ drugs sort of scene. It wasn’t until my dad’s co-workers (the police) got ahold of me that I had to leave the country. My dad never wanted to see me again after that. It ended with me in a limo to the Mexican airport with two cops on either side. And all I could think was how fucking rock n’ roll this all was.

 

So then you moved to Los Angeles to continue pursuing your musical and artistic career, right? How did that go? What was it like to be surrounding by a lot of other someones pursuing a similar dream?

 

“I think of  performing as an art, and that’s the difference between a lot of people and me. What I find to be the most lacking in musicians and artists today is a little thing called attitude. And you can’t really buy that thing. Some people try and buy it, but you can’t.”

 

No I think you’re right, it’s not something you can acquire — it’s organic. You either have it or you don’t. And everything that you’re saying, I can see how Bowie became such a huge influence for you. Everything that Bowie did and said put artistry hand-in-hand with his music.

 

Oh yeah, Bowie is a huge influence. I met him and Jagger at the same time. And, you know, I remember, Bowie did this thing where whenever or whomever he was talking to he would never take his eyes off of you. He never broke eye contact. You were the most interesting person in the room. This was when I was living in L.A., and I met Madonna around those parts at that time, too.”

 

Amazing, absolutely amazing that you met Bowie. And Jagger. Madonna, too. You really were in the right place at the right time.

 

Yeah but you know you never really get anywhere without being a little bit of prick. You know, all of these people had a truly inflated sense of ego. And here is how I can think about that. And I think I always knew I had a final destination of being a rock star, I’ve always sort of thought that that was what I always wanted to work towards. But lately, especially, I’m realizing that that isn’t what is going to make me happy.”

 

Are you referring to the false god of fame?

 

Sort of, yes. A lot of people don’t realize that fame isn’t going to be the ticket to happiness. They are always trying to say you know ‘I’m going to be finally happy when I make it. And so I asked the question then, ‘Well, what if you don’t.’

 

Oh really? You were asking that question.

 

Yes, I’ve definitely started too. But when I was living in Los Angeles I used to ask the same question to everyone, ‘what advice do you give to a young person starting out in show business?’ And over time I got quite a few really good responses. One of my favorites was, ‘Do it. But make sure you’re having fun while you’re doing it in case you don’t make it. At least you had fun.

 

That’s great! And you could look at anything with that sort of perspective. If you give up and give in to whatever may or may not happen, but you’re still working towards that final goal AND finding happiness or having fun, then you won’t regret a thing. It won’t matter what happens in the end.

 

Yes, and that’s the reality that we’re finding more and more. Who is to say who is really happy? Was Prince really happy? It’s easy to imagine but that’s not always the truth.

 

You’re right, you’re so right. Only they could know. You have to still find happiness in it.

 

Yeah, yeah exactly.

 

Tell me more about the theatrics you use in your performances. Glitter punk calls for a lot, and I want to know what kind of tools you’re using to turn people on while on-stage.

 

Well you’ve got to do a lot — you’re really trying to keep people’s attention for a pretty long amount of time — but I have never found it too difficult. I try to do anything that I think will scare the someones in the audience. Anything that is counter-intuitive, counter-culture. If  you look down and get on your phone I will call you out, I’ll come trailing after you for that and put my guitar between your legs. Literally.

 

And do you ever find that when people are more conservative, or when people are almost tangibly putting up walls to something, that you’re even more motivated to turn it around and mess with them? I’ve only ever felt that in a sort of personal context, but I think that it reigns true for a lot of people.
Oh yeah, I find that to be really true with me. I do a lot for an eyebrow raise. I’ve performed on-stage in sequined black mini-skirts with fishnets and then a top hat and a navy pirate jacket on top. So the top is kind of male still, even though I have makeup on, but the bottom is kind of female. So anyone walking into to that is going to think ‘what the fuck?!” It’s all about that Bowie button, that kind of thing. I understand what you’re saying. I have to restrain that instinct sometimes, but I find that that is never what I want to be doing. I’d always prefer to be controversial, something sour. I always say, be your own sex symbol. You’ve got to turn yourself on before turning anybody else on, ya know? 

A Gigmor Interview with a D.C. soul band, The Levee Music Group

Gigmor was lucky enough to chat with Michael K. Potts (who goes by Mike) and Ainsley Delissaint (who goes by Saint) of the Levee Music Group to sit down and discuss what it’s like to be an up-and- coming soul artist, how they (successfully, I might add) survive the gig economy that consumes the life of a musician, and how they see their music in the national landscape of today’s divided political schema.

Where and when did you and the rest of the band get started in the music? Where did it begin? 

Saint: Mike and I were both musicians before we met. A year after my former band’s break-up, I (Saint) placed an ad online – the band broke up when it got hard when we started to make waves on the scene, getting national airplay and opening for established acts.  Michael’s response to my ad was, if I’m remembering correctly, the first I received.  At that time, I was either in relationship, or somewhere in the middle of a break-up, contemplating the possibility of moving to California or New York.  Once the two of us met, however, we knew we were on the exact same page when it came to music.  We were looking to be original and at the same time make a statement.  We wanted to be dynamic, better than good: for the both of us, this was our legacy.  We started in December 2012 and added a guitar player in our previous band but we felt his longevity was not best suited to our passion.  Mike and I then went into creative frenzy- keeping our heads low so to speak and building up a repertoire of new music- which took about two years.  We then started to build to actually build a band in 2016.  This was however, a different process.  We knew anyone we would have audition with us would be fans of the music- but we needed the right people.  We painstakingly culled through our knowledge of artists and professionals to reach the right people- in other words people who would be on our level of talent.  You’ll be surprised to find the number of “musicians” out there that need a little work.  So when I say it took- almost 11 months of auditions and meeting people it definitely was a task but we got it together!

Mike: I responded to an ad on Craigslist for vocalist looking to form a band. At the time, I was playing with a contemporary jazz group who had an excellent sound but no room to express my compositions. Along with jazz, I’ve always has a fondness for progressive rock, the blues and funk. I have played every type of music, except opera. I’m a self-taught bassist and in the beginning, I started listening to Motown (the great bassist, James Jamerson), The Beatles, particularly Paul McCartney’s singing and playing, Sly & The Family Stone (Larry Graham) and Jimi Hendrix. I kind of put them all in a stew to develop my finger style playing.

What was the music that inspired you? I can tell, in listening to what you have sent me, that you hit a range of type of artistry in your music. What kind of music has guided that? 

Saint: Excellent question.  The true beauty of it all is that Mike and I have the same exact feeling about music.  We are not genre specific- we love blues, soul, rock, funk, R&B, theater, ballads, classical….. Performance-wise my favorites are Otis Redding and Jackie Wilson.  As a matter of fact, many don’t realize that Elvis gave a lot of credit to Jackie Wilson for helping him create his style performance (both his dancing and singing.) Some of my truest influences are Prince, Hans Zimmer, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan are a few- but I literally believe every genre has great music.  I’m a big Adele and Amy Winehouse fan too.  Oh and Lauryn Hill – oh my god, yes.

What is your gig schedule like? How many gigs do you play and what cities are they centered around? 

Saint: At present we are slowly working on a gig schedule.  We did a gig in November 2016 and had an immediate call back to perform every week but we are prudent.  As a matter of fact, news already spread about our one show and had another club actually offer us standing weekly gig as well. Our goal is to reach as many different people as possible. When it comes to gigs, it’s not really about financial gain.  We agreed to do another show in January- on the night of the inauguration.  It would be fun to see how our music translates with people that night.   We will most likely start to get really busy right before spring.  They are currently centered in DC at the moment but we are destined to tour.

Mike: We are currently booking shows in the district, Maryland and Virginia, but we are looking to tour regionally as the band gains traction. We love playing out as the interaction with our fans is truly priceless.

Your music is great — soulful and moving. The lyrics and music is classically soulful yet interesting. Who is the lyricist in the band, and how do you typically collaborate when making your songs?

Saint: Mike and I are whores of collaboration.  So I love making music, composing, melodies, thought patterns and lyrics.  Typically, I will come in with a song idea to present to him (record it) and he would go mull it over and comeback with some sick bass line that then makes me think differently about the song.  I typically will have lyrics assigned but that edge he puts into makes us become even more creative so that we end up not sounding like anyone else.  Mike will also come to be with songs and I would do the same in return.  As a matter of fact, Mike came up with Loneliness Code- I restructured the song and worked on a separate bass line at the end.  Then Mike ran with it and the new bass line and added a kick butt ending.  Mike is a very, very unique bass player- following the norm be damned.  His bass lines are so melodic and different. As a matter of fact you heard the almost final version of Loneliness Code, the new version has slightly different chorus lyrics edge.  I do write the majority of lyrics. Poetry was my go to as a kid.  My second grade English teacher (Mrs. Singer) would let little me recite a poem in front of the class every week- I’ll never forgot her.  But most importantly, our friend Curt is probably one of the sickest engineer musicians.  He is as good a drummer as he is guitar player.  When it came to riffs and such he would add so much to our music. We try and incorporate him into our compositions as much as we can.

Mike: Ainsley writes the majority of our lyrics. I often times, on songs that I bring to the table, will have a few lines or idea of what I want the lyrics to say. Sometimes each of us will have a complete song but most often we will present musical ideas to each other and we go back and forth, adding or subtracting things musically until we get what we want. The majority of lyrics are by Ainsley, he’s an excellent lyricist. Then we present the finished song to the band.

Where do you see your music taking you? Do you have any planned next steps for the year 2017?

Saint: Festivals, festivals, festivals.  Building an audience in DC as it’s ideal to be in a place that technically has lots of entertainment but not many bands get build a rep and get into the mainstream.  So as difficult as it will be, it will be just a fun.  Eventually, opening for large acts then center stage in 3-5 years.

Mike:  We are looking to release music for downloads, finish our first CD, “Epitome,” and push for airplay and hopefully get some mini tours in our area and the rest of the east coast.

Do you the seemingly dire state of the world having any effect on your music?

Saint: Absolutely.  We are essentially ego-driven tribal creatures with a minimal lifespan compared to the rest of nature.  We lost so many people in 2016 and we forget that it’s not really about the accumulation of things but instead love.  I’m not Left nor am I Right.  I am also not in the middle- I’m a person who empathizes with each person’s unique experience.  Everything we are is learned.  We need to unlearn a lot of idiocracy.  If you’re racist- there’s a reason- you’re not born that way.  A homophobe?  There’s a reason.  We must not believe our own lies.  Afraid of commitment?  Think you’re unintelligent?  There is a reason for everything so I rarely get heated- I get deeper.

Mike: Absolutely. Even before the current US election cycle, the world was becoming a dark and sometimes distressing place, to the point I sometimes have to shake my head and say silly human race. My message through music is that there is still light and hope, but you have to be ready to give serious push back to the people, institutions and forces that may not have everyone’s best interest at heart. I think in r reality, ALL of us are not really that far apart in our hopes, dreams and aspirations. If we can make you think and feel something with our music, what more could we as artist, possibly ask for.

 

 

Bass Uh Hi hat Uh 808: The History and Importance of the Roland TR-808

Apple Music is set to release an exclusive subscribers-only documentary and album to pay homage to one of the most connecting, ubiquitous and quietly mystifying machines in all of the music industry: the Roland TR-88. From Phil Collins to Pharrell to Kanye to Damon Albern, musicians and producers have been lining up behind the ever-holy Roland machine. They will all agree: there is some intangible inherently buried within a Roland 808 that cannot be reproduced, replicated or imposed by any other machine.

The drum-kit keyboard started to make its way into music production in the early 1980s. Back then, it  was engineered to help studio musicians create demos. Between 1980 and 1983, 12,000 units of the Roland TR-808 were made. By 1984, however, the Linn LM-1 hit the shelves with notably superior sound and sampling abilities than the Roland. So, for those that could afford it, the Linn LM-1 became the market leader in programmable drum machines.

But the Roland TR-808 was cheaper, $1,195 compared to the $5,000 Linn LM-1. And the Roland TR-808, though lesser in quality, could produce more distinctive same low-frequency sounds: the deep bass kick drum, the small handclap sounds, the ticking snare, hi-hats, and spacey cowbells. These crucial differences kept the popularity of the Roland TR-808 among hip hop artists for several years after it ceased production.

The TR-808 and its 1983 successor, the TR-909, had a 28-year journey to fame, one that wandered through the subterranean of nearly every music genre: electro, techno, pop, and regional hip-hop. It is the versatility and uniqueness of the machine’s sound that has allowed for this chameleon-like activity. The machine can play single songs of up to 768 measures in length, or, rather, it can play up to 12 songs of 64 measures in length. The TR-808 can also divide each quarter note into 3,4,6, or 8 steps. What does this mean in layman’s terms? That the TR-808 can perform extremely complex rhythms that even the best drummers cannot accurately replicate. And its the machine’s kick-drum, and it’s gloriously artificial handclaps, and the echo-laden claves that create allow for intricate grooviness. On an almost immeasurable amount of pop songs, you can find the friendly TR-808.

Take Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” and give it another listen.

Or there is Afrika Bambaataa’s Planet Rock. The song samples a Kraftwerk’s “Trans-Europe Express” over the TR-808 kicks and hi-hats.

Unsurprisingly, new waves bands are 808-users too. Like here, where David Byrne is lying to you. That’s not a tape playing the background mix to “Psycho Killer.” It’s Chris Frantz, somewhere buried in the back, fiddling with an 808.

Any of the remaining 808s on the market today sell for upwards of $2,000. It’s a low-stock, high demand economy for something no other musical machine can produce. It’s got the industry and soul longevity in tandem with the versatility to travel from genre to genre that keep producers constantly coming back to the 808. Egyptian Lover, the L.A. producer behind the L.A. dance and rap scene uprise in the 1980s, swears by the perpetual grandeur that the machine brings. Lil Wayne on ‘Nymphos’ describes similar feelings about the 808 bass, spitting “Make the control room boom like an 808.” Outkast’s Big Boi does the same, with ” But I know ya’ll wanted that 808/Can you feel that B-A-S-S bass?” on 2003’s ‘Way You Move.’ Kanye mentioned his use of the TR-808 in the very title of his 2008 “808s and Heartbreaks” — though it was later revealed that he was actually using both the TR-808 and TR-909 for most of the album’s production.

Apple Music’s upcoming release of the documentary, “808” is something to subscribe for. It will draw you into the deep, most buried parts of the machine’s history from a surprising range of greats. The trailer can be found below.

In Memoriam: Mr. Leonard Cohen

When Leonard Cohen was 32 years old, he told his good friend, Adrienne Clarkson (the 26th Governor General of Canada) that poetry was, in many ways, analogous to polishing shoes. When she questioned his remark, he explained: “If you want people to have shiny shoes, you want to write those very good kinds of instructions.”

That phrasing —  “very good kinds of instructions” — feels  like an inadequate description of Cohen’s lifework. The Canadian-born, first-poet and second-musician was one of the greatest songwriters of our time, his only competition being with other greats like Dylan, Cash, and Williams. His songs were marvelously specific and contextual, yet always close enough to the imagination to be understandable. Cohen sang of long nights spent over red wine and cigarettes. He sang of his women lost and won, found in the misty halls of the Chelsea Hotel #2 or his moments spent next to the naked, the beautiful Suzanne. For all of the intertextuality that Cohen’s songs held, he never waned far from the truth that he understood. He was a famous lover of women who had a certain obsession with sexual love and the concurrent bodily pain of loneliness.

“Woman is the context of a man’s life. A man is the context of a woman’s life. That’s all we’re doing,” he told Clarkson in a 1989 interview. What love is, he continued, is the act of writing a song, endearment by endearment, touch by touch.

 

"Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen

 

No one can try to discuss Cohen’s songwriting prowess without mentioning his most well-known and respected masterpiece, the song that almost killed him: Hallelujah. Cohen wrote about 80 drafts verse for the song. One writing session at the Royalton Hotel in New York is remembered, when the writing of the song reduced Cohen to his underwear, banging his head into the ground. The original version of the song, as recorded on his Various Positions album, mentions several more biblical references than the most famous versions of the song.

Malcolm Gladwell recently discussed the song’s rise to fame. On his podcast, Revisionist History, Gladwell walked listeners through the agonizingly long time it took for Hallelujah to reach even mild fame. After taking Cohen a total of five years to write the song, the record companies didn’t like it. In 1984, CBS Records passed on Cohen’s album with the original “Hallelujah.” “It barely makes a ripple,” says Gladwell. And it’s true: Cohen went back and made edits to the song. He cleaned up the first verses, made it longer and darker, and shipped it back to the record company. It was eventually recorded, but not until musician John Cale reproduced the song did it start to seep into popular culture.

Cale reexamined Hallelujah, as most musicians must when approaching the delicate creation of another artist. He brought a level of vocal somberness and deep sincerity that Cohen couldn’t. Following Cale, with an electric guitar this time, Jeff Buckley brought up the song to even greater, inexplicably famous heights. With Buckley’s weepy, heart-wrenching musing of the song, “Hallelujah” reached equilibrium in both of its expression: as a poem and as a song.

With age, Cohen’s voice became more and more of a gravelly baritone. With age, his musicality did not change. He played simple chords on an acoustic guitar or chords on some cheap piano. At some points, or at most points, Cohen was anything but prolific. He spent years struggling to write something with strength, though it was those songs who were quickly transformed into the most celebrated, most beloved songs he would create. Among his 14 studio albums, there aren’t meant gold-plated hits. But there are miles and miles of poetry, of misunderstanding and understanding, of sex and love and everything in between, with wine and cigarettes and the moments shared in between.