Friday, 18 July 2014

I Know You Got Red Soul

This article originally appeared on the blog at Songeist.com.

Here at Songeist we've all been huge fans of the Brighton-based Red Soul since hearing their spine-tingling debut track 'Dreams Are High'. The duo combine Mike's production, which leans heavily on soul samples and classic hip-hop beats, with Stephanie's gorgeous, honey-dipped jazz-pop vocals and it's a potent mix. This week, Red Soul have dropped their full five-track EP, which you can grab on Songeist now, so it's a great time for Barney to catch up with Mike and Stephanie to get us up to speed with the story so far and learn a little more about the alchemy of their winning formula.


Red Red Soul. Mike and Stephanie.

B. Hello Mike! Sorry to start with the obvious question but you guys are fresh as they come so we'd love to get a bit of background. Can you give us a brief history of Red Soul? How did you guys meet?

M. Hey man, yeah sure, Steph and I met in the Summer of 2012 when we both worked at a restaurant in Brighton. I came down from London to spend my summer holiday there and my brother gave me a job at the restaurant he was managing at the time. Steph worked there already and my brother told me she was a sick singer. We became friends but it wasn’t until I was back at uni working on a jazz project that we thought to work together. Steph vocal’d the track for me and it was then that we started to think about putting together a project of our own as we liked each other's styles. Over the next few months we started sending each other demos and ideas for the EP started coming together.

B. Hi Steph. Your debut, the Red Soul EP, has just dropped. People who want to grab it can head to your Songeist profile right now. Is it part of your plan to produce an EP to get the word about Red Soul out and build popularity before dropping an album or is it simply a case of getting what you've recorded up to now out there and lets-see-what-happens?

S. We actually didn't really know when we set out where we would end up in terms of an EP or album but we've just started writing some new stuff we're really excited about! We are working on writing and recording an album because we may as well now we've had so much fun getting here already! Plus the feedback we've had has been really encouraging.

B. I described 'Untrue' as "a sound that bridges the gap between Dilla’s Philly hip-hop and contemporary post-Winehouse pop". Was it your intention to mix underground hip-hop with a radio-ready vocal or is this a happy accident? Do you see yourselves as a hip-hop act or a pop act?

S. I think it was sort of a happy accident! Traditionally I am quite a commercial singer and I take massive influence in my writing and vocal style from artists like Amy Winehouse, where as Mike has always been far more underground in terms of what he creates musically, probably a reflection on what he listens to as well! I think its cool we've both stayed quite true to what we love but mixed it into something a bit different. I think our style will keep evolving too.

B. The EP's production is heavily sample-based, and even makes reference to this in the introduction 'Is It Art?'. The sped-up soul samples on 'You're My Hope' recall classic Kanye and Just Blaze, while there's a heavy J Dilla and DJ Premier vibe to the whole EP. Are the production techniques of golden age hip-hop something you prefer over the synths and sampled beats of contemporary trap and chart hip-hop and can you express why?

M. I think there is certainly a place for more synth-heavy production in hip-hop as well as other genres, but I love everything about sampling. The idea of finding a piece of music that most people have forgotten about and paying respect to it by breathing new life into it is really appealing to me. I love capturing the real emotion in the instruments of the original tracks and trying to bring that to my beats; most of the samples I used for the EP are from some of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard.

A classic Akai MPC sampler and Brighton beach; both Red Soul essentials.

B. As well as your guise as Red Soul, a hip-hop duo consisting of you and Stephanie, there's also the Soul Purpose crew. Can you outline the differences and specifics of these different identities? Do you have to wear a different 'hat' in your participation in either party?

M. Soul Purpose is what we call our collective of musicians and visual artists. It’s a pretty tight-knit crew of people who just respect each other’s music and want to push ourselves to make better and better material. We all help each other out with videos, music and mixes as much as possible and different combinations of us make up different artist guises. We’re putting together a Soul Purpose mixtape at the moment and have been working on a few nice videos for that so expect to see those dropping in the coming weeks. In terms of working with the other guys, for me, it’s not a hard adjustment to make as I love making more traditional rap-based hip-hop too. I started out making beats for rappers, so its always fun to get back to that. I think Steph enjoys working on some different styles too.

B. Both the videos for 'Untrue' and 'Dreams Are High' feature a great deal of footage of the beach, streets and haunts of your native Brighton. Do you feel that your Brighton location is a strong part of your identity as an act?

S. I think because it's where we met it will always be relevant to us, and the writing of most of the tracks was over summer when Mike was spending lots of time in Brighton. I feel like the people and the place really influenced what I wrote about lyrically. We are both living in London now so maybe that will evoke a change in stuff but I spent three years studying music in Brighton and meeting amazing people and that's really shaped me as an artist.

B. How do you guys write? Is it literally a case of Mike producing the beats and Stephanie writing over that? Or do you work on the beats and vocals together?

S. Mostly Mike will send me a beat he's been working on and I'll play it a couple of times and record demos of anything hooky I come up with vocally and send it over to him. If he likes it I work on lyrics, decide what I feel inspired to write about, figure out where the track should go and listen to the sounds I want to take influence from a lot for a week or two while I write. We almost always scrap stuff and rewrite in the studio and wrote 'Is This Art?' in Mike's house in London over a bottle of wine, suddenly panicking that we had to record it the next day so it definitely varies a little bit.

B. Just to return to the blend of pop and hip-hop that Red Soul purvey, I'm wondering about how this affects your plot in building your act? Most hip-hop acts will grow their following through underground club nights and culture. Many pop acts will create demos and look for management before doing live shows. Are you approaching the act as part of an underground scene or simply pushing the music to anyone and everyone who will listen?

M. As we started out just doing the music cos we loved it, we hadn’t really thought too much about releasing and promotion strategies whilst we were working on the EP. At the moment we’re working on getting a live show together and are talking to a few people about the next steps in terms of getting our name out there. Most of our views and likes have just been down to word of mouth and people showing us love by spreading our music which we really appreciate!

B. You're giving the EP away for free. What is the reasoning behind this? Do you think the way that the internet has affected our consumption of, and economic relationship with, music over the last 15 years is a good thing for an emerging act like Red Soul? And can we expect any Red Soul on vinyl? Because it would sure sound good!

S. I definitely think that the way we have to approach the industry now is entirely different to what it would have been 15 years ago! The thing is, rightly or wrongly, a lot of people simply aren't prepared to pay for downloads any more by artists they love, so we certainly didn't expect them to spend money on our music cause people don't really know it yet. We do make reference in our music to samples and the idea of art vs stealing. It's an interesting debate. We just want our music to be enjoyed and listened to by as many people as possible! We have also discussed pressing to vinyl and its something we'd absolutely love to do in the future!

B. Finally, let us know what you guys have got coming up and how we can follow you guys!

M. Cool man, we are working on a couple of tracks at the moment which we are really excited about finishing. We’re planning on dropping them as soon as they're ready, hopefully this summer, whilst starting to gig and working on our album. Follow and like us on all the usual social media sites as well as our new website.

Visit Red Soul Music HERE.
Follow Red Soul on Facebook HERE.
Follow Red Soul on Twitter HERE.

You can listen and download the Red Soul EP by Red Soul on Songeist HERE.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Five Things You Need In Your EPK

This article originally appeared on the blog at Songeist.com.

This week, I’m going to get into answering a question I’ve received from Songeist member Jim Bridgeman from punk n' rollers Fish Hook.

JB. "Hi Barney. Have really enjoyed reading the blog! I have a question about press / promo packs. Would you say there are any rules to using these? What should / shouldn’t be in there, who should / shouldn’t they be sent to. I’ve often tinkered with the idea but never really done this properly. Thanks."

THE FIVE THINGS YOU NEED IN YOUR EPK
Be they Zipped-up as part of an EPK, or simply presented on a band's sites and social media, there are several key elements that make up any band’s complete electronic press / promo pack. EPK, or electronic press kit, is a term coined by the inventor of online music sales certifications Andre Gray, and popularised by sites like Sonicbids and Reverbnation, to denote a complete, one-stop resource for a band to present its assets to a promoter or press. Although there is a lot of crossover between the two, for the sake of clarity and the limitations of this blog, I’m going to concentrate on a general EPK rather than a press release to go with a record release. For an emerging artist, an EPK is a great way to ‘introduce’ yourself to a promoter or press in an easily digestible, but comprehensive, package.

THE EPK IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE EPK

Think of your press pack, or EPK, as the digital equivalent of what sending a CD in the post with your biography and contact details folded around it used to be. However, with the help of the internet, we can painlessly use this package to include a few more things to help in our promotion, such as high-quality photographs and logos, videos and MP3s, and other assets. It's very important to remember that we’re entering an age when downloading content itself is going the way of the floppy disk. Now that people are switching to simply using streaming content and their Skydrives and iClouds for storage, even downloading the EPK content alone might be undesirable to the other party.

That’s not to say that just because downloading ZIP files is dying out, EPKs are. Everything in the EPK is vital to have at your disposal. Completing your EPK then uploading it to your various sites, as both a ZIP and the separate audio and visual assets is going to mean that you have everything accessible and up-to-date. Even if the way that the content is disseminated isn't always going to be via the ZIP download, your EPK is still essentially presented piecemeal across your sites. So devising and collating it as one 'project' makes complete sense to ensure your content and copy is synchronised.

The Circle of Life The circle of life

1) YOUR MUSIC
When it comes to EPKs, which include large music files as well as other assets, keeping the file size to a minimum is key. You might get that one promoter that enjoys the efficiency of an EPK and refuses to jump around your sites for your assets, but also doesn’t want to wait an hour for your five-song WAV opus to download either.

A maximum of three MP3s at 256kps bit rate is sensible. Make sure that the MP3s are correctly ID3 tagged. Correctly tagged MP3s mean less hassle for the user, it ensures the tracks are named and ordered correctly and they look professional and organised. Fill in the track name, artist, album ("Your band name EPK" is fine for an album name in lieu of anything else), genre and, importantly, track number. This will ensure that when the files are dragged or copied into an MP3 player, they will appear in the order that you want them in. As a fail safe to make sure that the tracks are in the right order (often MP3 players are set to use alphabetical order to denote track order) it’s fine to put the track number at the start of the song name on a promo release. Also recommended is attaching the MP3 artwork directly to the MP3 file.

For creating and editing MP3s and their tags, I recommend MusicBrainz for editing and LAME Front End for encoding but of course, Windows Media Player and iTunes are both more than capable of doing all these tasks. Any music that’s going in your EPK you should have uploaded, tagged and ordered in an online streaming playlist on a site such as Songeist as an alternative to these MP3 files and include the live link to this playlist in the covering email.

2) YOUR BIOGRAPHY
A biography is a must in your EPK and is an incredibly valuable asset to your band. It’s standard to format the biog (as well as additional text like gigs, links and contacts) as a Microsoft Word DOC file, which can be read by practically any system. A PDF is acceptable and has more scope for fancy imagery, but PDFs can be very large and are a pain for a journalist or promoter to cut and paste text from. A TXT or RTF file is fine to read, but is less functional in terms of images, customisation and links than a DOC. A DOC represents the best mix of functionality and size; the file is small and easy for a writer to work from but you are free to include hyperlinks from the document as well as a small logo and photo at the top of page one.

I’d keep your biog to the point, between 200 and 500 words. Three paragraphs of three long sentences will do the trick. The way I structure biogs is to have the opening paragraph an overview of the bands location, style and influences. The second paragraph will deal the band’s most recent record and activity and the third paragraph will be an overview of history in terms of live shows and records released. That way you can periodically go back and tweak paragraphs two and three to reflect recent developments or things you want to highlight, but the first paragraph stays largely the same, and is the paragraph most likely to be quoted on blogs and gig promo.

If you want greater detail on my views of how to write biogs, my Top 5 Mistakes That Bands Make In Their Biogs blog was recently featured on the Unsigned Guide. As Marcus Reeves kindly commented in response, it’s also very important to get someone to proofread your biog. Like a folder of badly tagged MP3s, there’s nothing that screams 'amateur' more than a biog riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes.

Spelling Mistakes. Setting You Apart From The Compitition Since Day One. Spelling mistakes. Setting you apart from the compitition since day one.

3) PHOTOS AND LOGOS
Do not underestimate how important visuals are to press and promoters. Ultimately, while the success of your band is probably not going to hinge on one photo, it has far more influence than you might imagine. Don't get your mate to photograph you in the garden and do a logo on MS Paint. If money's an issues, just like we've all done gigs for exposure at the start, there are hundreds of band photographers in college that will do you a shoot for peanuts, as well as decent logo designers who will do the same. For the sake of an afternoon's research, you can massively enhance your band's appeal with good images. Two large, print-quality JPEGs at least 1500 x 1500 pixels in size is enough. One live shot and one studio shot, or one portrait and one landscape, will provide versatility. Resist the urge to submit every single one of your studio shots 'just in case' as it will just increase the file size.

Providing a graphic file of your logo is also very useful. I'd go with a PDF of the vector art over a JPEG. There is a school of thought that says a large JPEG is preferable, and maybe it was in the past, but in my mind, anyone currently designing a poster or putting together an article for a magazine is going to have the capabilities to deal with a vector PDF. This means that you can attach the file as a smaller size and the image will not degrade when it's manipulated. The designer will have the ability to change the colours and style of the logo to suit their art if they have a vector. There's nothing more cool to see than a nice festival poster where your logo is stylised along with the rest of the artwork and a PDF or EPS will make the designer's job that much easier to make that happen. The format it comes in might be the difference between him or her bothering or not.

If the EPK is accompanying a specific release, by all means include a large JPEG of the album or single cover at least 1000 x 1000 pixels in size.

4) PRESS QUOTES, LIVE DATES, CONTACTS AND LINKS
Rather than having these details as a separate document, it’s absolutely fine to include the press quotes, live dates, contacts and links in the same DOC file as the biog, making a neat, two-page document. It’s also acceptable to have these as separate documents if you need to split things up a little (having a separate file for a full UK tour might be necessary for example) but always aim to keep the document as compact and clutter-free as possible. Again, be sure to format and proofread correctly and bear in mind that we don’t want a breakdown of everything you’ve ever done, just a digestible, well-presented summation of it.

It’s tempting to include every great press quote you’ve ever had but, as with all these things, efficiency is key. Three short quotes that you present in a way that grabs attention is better than three paragraphs that describe the minutia of how great you are but don't fit on a flyer.

Your list of contacts needs to include at least one email for the band or management, and that goes for your social media and websites too. I can’t imagine how many promoters or blogs have just given up on bands because they don’t have emails displayed on their Facebook or rely on Contact Forms on their site. I know I have. Sorry to burst your bubble, emerging artists, but you don't need to avoid stalkers just yet. Soundcloud messaging might be easy for you, but it isn’t easy for someone who works in the industry and needs to save, organise and cc their correspondence in the way that email allows.

Don't go overboard with the links. You should definitely include your official site, Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud and could include preferred music vendors such as Bandcamp or Songeist but every last social site isn't necessary. One link that’s becoming an increasingly vital is your band’s YouTube page. Make sure your YouTube Page has its best foot forward. If you're busy on YouTube and your homepage is constantly rotating through content for hardcore fans, create a playlist of a few of your select promo or live videos and link to this playlist through the hyperlink in the text.

Fish Hook's Rachael. Expect her EPK on its way!

5) OPTIONAL EXTRAS
If you're sending out promotion for your latest single, or the whole appeal the band hinges on your visuals, you might want to consider including a promo video as a small MPEG in the EPK. Everyone has access and familiarity with YouTube now, so I would generally advise against sending videos in EPKs, specifically because of the increase in the file size. That being said, it’s certainly been something that I’ve done, and been encouraged to, do in the past.

Another thing that’s a standard in an EPK is a stage plan. If the main purpose for your EPK is to send out to live venues, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with including this. However, I would certainly confirm that it’s been read and acknowledged before turning up to a gig and expecting a full rider and saxophone stand based on the fact it demands one on your stage plan in your EPK. There’s a handy stage plan creator HERE.

Finally, it's important to note that this blog is my breakdown of a small, efficient, multipurpose EPK that's easy to download, touches all the bases and is my personal preference. Bands can make a wonderful impression by presenting all of the above in a huge, multimedia PDF file with interactive menus and videos if they so desire, especially if they're targeting to specific press and promoters who have a vested interest, patience, and ultra-fast broadband. Whether having an esoteric, resource-heavy EPK is something you want to utilise over the small, humble, 'does what it says on the tin' EPK I've described is something you need to decide for yourself.

SENDING IT OUT THERE
With the separate assets complete, remember to take this opportunity go back over all your sites and refresh your tracks, photos and copy to correspond with the material in your EPK. Then select the place where you're going to store the EPK, such as Dropbox or OneDrive. It's a good idea to upload the assets separately in two separate folders so you can give people who, say, just want the tracks, the option to grab them. That means first Zipping up your MP3s into one folder, then Zipping up the photos, logos and DOC file(s) in another folder and uploading them separately. Then take both the original folders and plonk them in another folder called 'Your Bandname EPK'. Zip that up, upload it, and you’re done.

Last but not least is your covering email. It’s important to take the same care and attention to detail in writing this email as you did in making your EPK. I'd use your email’s HTML editor to link using words like HERE rather than having long, ugly URLs all over the place like this… http://www.songeist.com/tw/4V5a9em

Laying your links out like this would be perfect.

Listen to 'Your Band Name' EP HERE (link to your streaming site).
Download Full 'Your Band Name' EPK HERE (link to the EPK file).

Good luck!

Barney

I’d really love to hear any more questions you guys have about music and promotion as it pertains to emerging artists. Please email me your thoughts, suggestions and queries to barney@songeist.com
Vinyl photo courtesy Acid Pix's Flickr used under Creative Commons License.
Sign Spelling photo courtesy John Lillis's Flickr used under Creative Commons License.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Closing in For The KillBillies

This article originally appeared on the blog at Songeist.com.

Killbillies are Ben Childs, Micah Scott and Zak Mahoney. This brutally hardworking three piece can be found playing their jammed-out mix of impassioned originals with classic bluegrass, country and folk, somewhere in a bar in Miami, Florida on every night of every weekend. As the band drop their second album, Transplant Life - which you can hear and buy on Songeist now - Barney catches up with his ex-bandmate and British ex-pat Ben Childs to fill us in on everything we could ever want to know about mashing together British folk and Americana but were afraid to ask.

Killbillies The Killbillies (from left) Micah, Ben, Zak.

B. Hello Ben! How the devil are you? For those of us that don’t know, can you give us a brief introduction to Killbillies? How did you guys get together and how would you describe your style?

BC. Hi Barney! Well thank you. Long time, no see, Old Bean! In answer to your question, the style of music we play is very influenced by the instruments we play. We have feet drums, a standup bass, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar and accordion. This gives us a palette through most kinds of European folk music to bluegrass, country and Americana. It's a rough and ready folky sound that draws from a lot of influences. Although we take stylistic conventions seriously we also enjoy a lot of different types of music and this is evident in the noises we make. We go where the songs and instruments take us and the last thing you could accuse us of is purism!

B. The album Transplant Life has dropped recently and the tracks are available on Songeist now. It’s the strongest and most coherent statement that Killbillies have made to date. Transplant Life presumably refers to your moving from the UK to Florida. Do you actually see the album as a concept album around that theme or is it just a cool title?

BC. I agree it is our best one so far although our d├ębut self-titled record can hold its own! We have been writing for a while and quite a few songs didn't make it. The creativity that we have found however bodes well for the imminence of the next album. The name of the album speaks of the unifying factor between the members of the band. None of us are original Floridians. All of us have moved here in our early adulthood. The songs speak of where we have come from, where we are and where we are going. We all have songs on the album and they describe our loves and losses, mistakes we have made, successes achieved, the oddities of our new surroundings and some social commentary on both Florida and where we hail from. It isn't a concept album as it has no unifying narrative but as a collection of songs it describes our lives as transplants. It's also a cool title.


B. One thing that interested me is the ties, and differences, between British folk traditions and Americana stylings that you manage to combine on the record. Across the album, I think you do a wonderful job of mixing the sounds and it feels like, from song to song, the styles often lean one way or the other. I hear the British pastoral echoes of Nick Drake on 'Invocation' and straight-up US bluegrass on 'Bring The Light' and 'Alligator Smile'. Are these slight shifts in style the result of having different song-writers in the group? Do you discuss and plan out the balance between British folk and US Country and Western or is it something you just go with as it comes?

BC. This is a good question! It's not planned out but rather the end result of having both European and American songwriters. Micah and I have been developing a sound since the conception of the band and we have always had different ideas of where songs should go, how they should move and what we are trying to say through the music. We have found that with this record, songwriting took precedence over stylistic concerns. Micah wrote 'Bring the Light' and Zak and I wrote 'Alligator Smile'. Both songs were written very much in the American tradition. Zak wrote 'Long Way Down', the most Irish sounding song and he is American.

With 'Alligator Smile', Zak brought a riff and I wrote the words and chords very quickly upon hearing it as I had been ruminating over something like this for a while. Then we jammed it as a band and played it live a few times to get the structure right.

Micah's favorite music is blues and old time Americana and this has had a huge effect on our writing and playing. His song, 'Bring the Light', that you mentioned displays this prominently. In direct contrast to this is his waltz 'Quarries of Pawlet' which sounds very European and almost Beatles-ish at times.

B. The album has a live sound, with all the instruments arranged and played in one take as they would be at a concert, with very little post-production, which sounds like a very conscious choice on your part. Was this something you considered? Is it making a statement about current production values or did you simply feel that this production style would showcase your talents in a more natural, and therefore more exciting, way? Or was it simply a financial decision to cut down on hours in the studio?

BC. Yes we did think about it. We recorded many of the songs prior to our recording at Blackwood Studios in Lake Worth with Chad Palmer. Previously I had recorded them and we were all unhappy with how regimented the sound became. I have, through living in Manchester for many years and playing in Sonic Boom Six, a dance and rock/punk background where you want the music to hit as hard as possible and be right. Not always with punk but certainly with dance music.

What we found is that the way we were recording was drying up the spontaneity of the music and we were left with a collection of songs that sounded nothing like each other. I, and I'm sure Micah would agree, wanted the music to sound like it does when we play it. Many of the takes are first takes. It isn't necessarily about making a statement about modern production values, it is about making music that you like the sound of. Music is a subjective medium!

In answer to the last part of your question, we could have pored over the album in post production and weeded out imperfections and we spoke at length about this but my personal feeling is "on to the next one!"

Killbillies love it live.

B. When the band started out, there were just three members, and you were using quite novel approaches to the rhythm section between the members. How has the band developed in terms of members and instrumentation and why have you made the choice to expand? Do you feel you’ve lost any of the novel nature of the act by expanding it or is it freeing not to have to consider playing drums with your feet any more?

BC. Killbillies was started by Micah and I in 2011. The current nuts and bolts version of the band is still just a three piece- Zak, Micah and I. We still use the feet drums. It has proven an excellent guerrilla approach to the Palm Beaches! However, we have had many other people play with us over the 3 or so years. The most recent and integral to to the band is Virgil Price. He supplies the accordion parts that drive much of this album, co-wrote the last track 'Paper Aeroplane' and was playing with us for a good long time. Another great musician, Neel Shukla, provided the drums for the album and played with us for the release party. Neel is a beast of a drummer and a very nice man!

B. 'Cradle To The Grave' is the song you chose to go with a video with. Can you speak on the style and lyrics of the song? What prompted you to choose this song as the song to represent the band in video? And is that your motorbike?!

BC. It wasn't really a video choice but more of a promotional thing. We had a bunch of footage from the album launch show that Patty Shukla (Neel's wife) recorded and I was trying to keep busy and get it out there. When I was piecing it together on my computer I thought "well hell, I'll have a stab at a video!" As it so happened, my brother-in-law, PJ, was wheeling his bike in while I was editing and I thought "It's now or never!" This is my effort at pushing the songs a little. We are going to release some official videos in the near future so keep your peepers open.



B. My personal favourite on the album is 'Long Way Down'. Across the song it relays different situations in your life and relates them to a central concept. It’s definitely a song I think could be interpreted in different ways by the listener. Can you give some background on the ideas being explored in the song? I don’t want to look behind the wizard’s curtain too much but I’d love to know a little more about where you’re coming from.

BC. Zak came to me with this song and said "Oh my god this a banger!" I quickly agreed. Zak and I worked on the lyrics together and then we jammed it into the song that it is on the album by further working on it at shows and practices. Zak says that his eight-year-old idealistic and eager self would be pissed off with the man he is today. He is a man who has felt the heavy tides of lost love, tasted addiction and grappled with the vacuum of irretrievable innocence. But when you part with your childhood frivolity you do gain the ability to see a little more beauty.

B. How did your time spent in the UK and worldwide punk scene over the years influence your approach to being in The Killbillies? Which part of the DIY philosophy have you applied to your band?

BC. My time spent in the UK punk scene made me feel like a rockstar and I enjoyed it!

I was scared when I moved to Florida because I didn't know how to make money. I spoke to Micah. He was a few years ahead of me in terms of migration. He knew how and we started a band. That is the root of all of this music.

Everything I did with Sonic Boom Six enriched me. You remain my deepest, firmest go-to's for knowledge and insight and love. DIY means do it yourself. We are. For a long time we have paid our way playing our music in different towns every weekend. Being a working musician is a dying breed and not to be sniffed at. We work hard at keeping that concept alive.

Speak to Micah Scott about DIY. He is without doubt the leader of that side of the band and achieves it with style and grace.

To quote Jimmy Cliff.... "You can get it if you really want".


B. On a more general note, how does the US live music scene differ from the UK live scene? Pros and Cons? From here it looks like you’re playing live lots, in venues that look like American bars, very different from the live venues of British cities. Can you speak on that?

BC. I find that in this area it is easy to get a gig... but a certain type of gig. We own our PA. We play 3-4 hours at most gigs and play 3-5 times a weekend. The main places we play currently are bars but also, concert halls and festivals.

It is hard to say how it compares because West Palm Beach is not a good cross section of America. We have been out on the road, up the east coast and found ourselves in similar venues to that of the UK. There is more similarity among cities in different countries than there is between city and suburbia in the same country.

My answer is that to become a festival level band is just as hard to attain here as it is in Europe.

B. Final questions, let us know what you guys have got coming up? Any plans to tour the UK?

BC. We are coming over soon. We have been figuring out the touring unit. Finally I'll persuade Zak to put oars through his double bass and you won't be able to get rid of us!

The future holds many possibilities and our UK trip is LONG overdue.

You can listen and purchase Transplant Life by Killbillies on Songeist HERE.