Seattle Acoustic Festival Spotlight #6

Tekla Waterfield

Tekla was born for music. Her father was an opera singer in college, her mom a master of the strings (cell, guitar, violin) and sang. Growing up, she and her sister were always out at parties and shows to see their mother’s various bands – which quickly taught them how to harmonize. As an avid writer and lover of music, songwriting was a natural transition as she became more involved with music.

Influenced by the likes of Gillian Welch, Wilco, Phosphorescent, Courtney Barnett, The Velvet Underground, and the live music scene, she delivers an uncanny blend of indie, Americana, folk, and soul. As her songwriting has evolved, her lyrical content has expanded beyond relationships and emotions, encompassing the greater human experience.

After she wows you at today’s Seattle Acoustic Festival performance – 8:30pm on the Sanctuary stage – be sure to mark your calendar for October 11th where she’ll be playing the Tractor Tavern to celebrate the vinyl release of her new album “The Curtain Falls”.

Where you can enjoy her music:

Website | BandcampSpotify | YouTube

Stay up-to-date with Tekla Waterfield:

Facebook | Twitter |  Instagram

Seattle Acoustic Festival Spotlight #5

Warren Dunes feat. Julia Massey

Ever since college, Julia Massey has been honing her songwriting craft. Inspired by the records of Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones (Thriller), and Joni Mitchell (Blue), her songwriting explores the current political/environmental landscape to the mysteries of nature and the cosmos.

Formed in May 2017, Warren Dunes featuring Julia Massey combines the songwriting prowess of Julia and her partner / songwriting collaborator Jared to deliver heartfelt, Calypso-inspired songs about how to be human. What excites them about the Seattle Acoustic Festival is the rarity of a festival setting that features acoustic music and “the intimacy that these kinds of sets offer on a larger scale”.

Their new single “What Did You Find Out” is coming soon, so keep your ears to the ground. You just may be able to catch a sneak peak during their set Friday, August 24th at 8:30pm on the Sanctuary Stage. We’ll see you there.

Where you can enjoy their music:

Website | SoundCloud | YouTube

Stay up-to-date with the band:

Twitter |  Instagram

Episode 8: Emily McVicker

Today’s guest is a  singer-songwriter, artist, multi-instrumentalist and dance-party starter can do it all! Some of her MANY accomplishments include doing a cappella at Hershey Park, singing in the #1 ranked top 40s band for Carnival Cruise Lines, and voice-over and background vocal work in New York City. During this episode we chat about her upcoming album, The Duet Series, her desire to play more tambourine, and mermaids. Check it out

Be sure to listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here!

If you want to hear the different artists we talk about, check out our Spotify playlist here.

About

Made for Music is a podcast that explores how to navigate the Northwest music scene, the resources available, and most importantly, the stories behind the people making things happen.

The podcast is hosted by Duncan Byargeon, the lead singer / guitarist of Deify – a hard rock group hailing from Seattle, WA.

Contact Information

Duncan Byargeon, Host of Made for Music Email: mfm.podcast@outlook.com

Artists Must Become a Media Company

The world of music has changed drastically over the past two decades. With the evolution of music software and technology, the average Joe now has access to all of the tools necessary to create professional-grade music. For Deify’s upcoming record, we utilized ProTools software and an Akai 4-track interface, Shure Beta 52A kick drum mic, CAD D80 dynamic mic for the snare, a used Blue Spark (drum overhead and vocals), and a Shure SM7B microphone (vocals) that my friend Rob lent me while he travels Europe. The entire album was recorded in our basement over the course of the past 14 months. Certainly, the recording process would have been much shorter had we rented out a studio, but we would have had less flexibility around re-recording or adding tracks in an ad-hoc fashion. Delving into the DIY recording process is for another blog. The point I am trying to make here is that artists can take full ownership of the product lifecycle.

Never Stop Learning

Turning your music into a business requires a great deal of knowledge. It will take time before you are able to create a refined product. Technology makes a great deal of tools and knowledge accessible. Industry standard recording suites, such as ProTools, are much more affordable than renting out a studio for weeks at a time but are tough beasts to tackle. I’ve owned ProTools 10 for five years now and am still learning how to navigate it. 

In my opinion, the best way to learn is to reach out to your fellow musicians and their engineers. This past album cycle I had the privilege of sitting down with a sound engineer to watch him prepare our tracks to be mixed. Witnessing how he set up the session alone taught me more about ProTools and sound engineering than I had learned on my own in the prior 5 years. Now, there are a plethora of videos on YouTube about how to properly go about mixing and mastering, but one-on-one time with an expert will always provide more value.

The Seattle Music Scene is very lucky to have avid supporters of the local music scene, from its radio stations to billionaires like Paul Allen. Leading up to the Upstream Music Festival – the festival founded by Paul Allen – has partnered with KEXP to put on free workshops leading up to the festival for musicians to learn about different facets of the music business. Attending events like this should be at the top of your priorities list. These are opportunities for you to hear from leaders in the local music scene and your peers.

How do they go about recording? Where do they perform? Who designs their merchandise? How do they distribute their music? Do they know anyone who could do photography of your band?

Take on projects with your friends. Getting outside perspectives into your work will help you hone your craft. Moreover, engaging in others’ approach to writing and musical performance will push your personal boundaries and introduce you to influences outside of your own. Guns n Roses has one of the most distinctive sounds in music. This is a result of a blues-rock fanatic (Slash), a jazz/punk/metal songwriter (Izzy Stradlin), a Seattle punk rocker on bass (Duff McKagan), a heavy metal drummer (Steve Adler) and an avid Queen/Elton John fan (Axl Rose) coming to the table with very different perspectives on music.

Craft Your Brand

As I touched on in my first blog, artists must operate as a media company to navigate the current musical landscape. Content is key for artists in this age. The most challenging aspect of content is figuring out differentiation. Before moving to creation, it is important to identify what your mission is. All companies have mission statements. Your band should be no different. For many creative type, branding is the last thing they want to do and view such exercises as a distraction. I would argue that knowing what you (and your bandmates) stand for will make the rest of your branding easy. Aligning with a mission statement will make it easier to develop a pointed image from which all marketing and branding can stem from.

If your mission is to be the most uplifting music group in town, your image should follow. It wouldn’t make much sense for you to be posing in a rainy Seattle alleyway with your black leather jacket and torn jeans. The copy on your website and social media posts should be positive and engaging. Your merchandise, logo, and photos should have a similar, bright color scheme to ensure consistency with your audience.

Speaking of consistency, this is imperative for your social media tags and website address. For Deify, everything revolves around “deifymusic”. Our social media tags are @deifymusic (Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat), our Soundcloud and Facebook sites have /deifymusic.com, and our band website is deifymusic.com. you want it to be easy for your audience to find you. If your current fans can’t find you, it’s going to be nearly impossible to turn new listeners into fans if they can’t find their way back to you.

Be Engaged

For your band (brand) to truly come to life, you need to create a community. The age of digital and social media makes it easy to connect with fans and peers in the music community. That said, there’s nothing like personal interaction. Get involved with causes that are in line with your image (this is where your authenticity comes into play – if they are causes that are truly important to you, this won’t feel like branding at all). Support bands in your scene. Better yet, collaborate with them. Jam together. Play shows together. Hang out together. It’ll make it all more fun, and you’ll learn a lot along the way.

A great way to bring all of these things together is a benefit show. Align with a cause or charity that you feel passionate about and put on a show with like-minded artists. You’ll be giving back to the community that is fostering your musical career growth, gaining exposure, and building a community of artists and fans alike.

Throw Events

Don’t wait for venues to come to you. If you want to play, make it happen. Host your own show at your house (or a friend’s house). There are plenty of ways to perform outside of traditional venues. Such shows will also give you exposure to an audience and enable you to draw a crowd when you finally do get booked at a venue.

More importantly, you can make it about more than just you. Invite friends that are photographers and videographers. Give them the opportunity to experiment with their art and generate content. Their careers are even more dependent on consistent content generation.

See what I’m getting at here? You can provide a lot of value for those around you. Cherish your inner circle. It’s what will bring you to the next level.

Network 

Whether you like it or not, you are in sales. The most obvious scenarios are album and merchandise sales. When it comes time to book shows, you are selling your image, your musicianship, and your community. The music industry is all about who you know. Knowing bands who play in the local circuit, and the people that book them, are key. This takes us back to my point earlier – GO TO SHOWS! If you show other people (genuine) support, they will reciprocate it.

Reach out to journalists. Having them on your side will help you saturate your market, and expand into others. When doing so, put some thought into your message. An album release and simply wanting coverage doesn’t differentiate you at all. Have a point-of-view. Why are you relevant? What makes you different? What’s your story? What went into the production of your album? What are your aspirations?

Lastly, it’s difficult to do everything yourself. There’s no shame in outsourcing. You’d be surprised how many people in your personal network can help. I work at a marketing agency that has entire Creative department. You better bet that I’ll be strolling through their section of the office when it comes to any graphic design and photography work.

Ugh…You’re Going to Need a Lawyer

There are a lot of hoops to navigate through when you are trying to “be legit”. Trademarks are one of the most important beasts to tackle. From talking with fellow independent musicians, to books, to the Upstream Music Festival Summit, the advice was the same. Get a lawyer. Trademarks aren’t nearly as straight forward as something such as a copyright. There are nuances surrounding font type, logos, public presentation, etc. The last thing you want is to gain some momentum just to find that you’re illegitimate, don’t have legal ownership of your band name, and have to start over again.

If you’re in a band, for the purpose of filing taxes (bleah) on your earnings, you’ll want to explore various options – such as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC); if you’re a solo artist, Sole Proprietorship may be a better route[1]. For all the complexities behind the filings, you want to ensure that it’s done properly. Online legal services, such as LegalZoom, are relatively affordable and easy-to-use.

The music industry has been around longer than all of us, and corporate law is embedded in every corner. Even for those of you “against the man,” there are some rules we must follow so we can continue making our music.

 

Hit me up on Twitter at @duncanbyargeon to let me know what you thought of this post!

 

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[1] This is an opinion piece based on my experience. In no way should this work be taken as legal advice. For such, deal directly with a legal expert.

 

What I’ve Learned Since Between the Lines

Welcome to the new Deify website and thank you for checking out my first blog post. For some time now I’ve been considering how to blog about the evolution of this band, our music, and the music industries as a whole. Deify has a lot in store and the landscape of the music industries are ever changing; all of which will be fascinating to explore. Jared and I are working diligently to prepare our second album for release. Truth be told, we expected this album to be done April of last year (2016).

It’s been nearly 3 years since my brothers and I released our first album, Between the Lines, with our band Deify. The two years leading up to the release of the record provided a steep learning curve as I explored the abyss of recording software that is ProTools (an expedition that continues today). Much of my time was spent trying to bootstrap the project using a set of PA microphones and a four track interface, with mixing and mastering both concepts that were completely foreign at the time. It wasn’t until after the record was “finished” that we discovered how necessary these things were and we shipped off an unbalanced and nearly unedited collection of music.

I wish I could say that the past 3 years taught me everything I needed to know about recorded music process, but I’m far from it. The beauty and the frustration of it all is that there will always be new and more difficult things to tackle in the recorded music life-cycle. Whether you are signed to a label or going the full DIY route, the writing and recording process is a mere fraction of the task at hand. My hope is that as this blog continues I will be able to explore more of the things I’ve learned in-depth. For the sake of not turning this into a novel, I will address what I’ve learned from a bird’s eye view:

Know Your Brand – Independent Artists Must Operate as a Media Company

At the end of the day, music is a product and artists are a brand. Successful brands (bands) give consumers what they want/need. In order for you to attain success, what artists offer can’t just be about them. The question that every artist needs to ask themselves is “what makes me/us different”?

Over the weekend, I attended KEXPs “Mastering the Hustle” (part of Upstream Music Festival’s summits) where multiple artists helped break down how to approach this question. Each of the speakers, while highlighting the message from different angles, all noted that it comes down to the mission of your band. How do you want people to feel? Engage with your audience in a way that appeals to the roots of your mission and the desires of your fans. For example, if you want to be the party-hard band, your messaging to fans (marketing) should reflect it. Your posts on social media should be fun and light-hearted. There’s no space for “business professional”.

Thinking about the marketing behind your band (brand) isn’t exciting for most, and is often something that we want to push aside. The more authentic your branding is the less effort it will take to establish and maintain your identity.

Technology is Key

Technology enables DIY musicians, now more than ever. The number of media sites and applications to help push your music and create communities for fans are seemingly endless. Most importantly, in my opinion, is the abundance of affordable recording software. Programs such as Logic, Ableton, and ProTools (to name a few) provide artists with the means to record at low cost and on their own schedule. While recording studios are by no means obsolete, they’re no longer a necessity. The next Deify record, like Between the Lines, was recorded in our basement and in my bedroom. Sure, it took much longer to piece together and required a lot of bootstrapping to get the sounds we were looking for, but we didn’t have to spend any money on renting out a studio.

As mentioned before, branding is a necessity. No matter how “old school” you want to be, technology is going to be imperative to finding success. In the age of digital media, you have to have an online presence and an understanding of how the technology plays into the music world. Technological innovation is a driving factor in how music is evolving: production, distribution, marketing, etc. Cell phones are the platform of the future. Mobile applications not only serve as a platform for music consumption, but the generation of data utilized by radio stations, talent agencies, record labels, and booking agents in order to make business decisions.

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

It’s certainly most cost effective to do everything yourself, but chances are that you won’t be able to right away. One thing I wish that I’d done with Between the Lines was ask for help. I didn’t know what I was doing with music production and still took it upon myself to create our record. This album cycle, I’ve been attending workshops, meeting producers, and talking to other musicians about their techniques. As a result, I’ve learned more in the past 3 months than I had in the past 8 years. Moreover, these experiences will allow us to bring more of the work in-house for future projects. Thanks to the help of local musicians and sound engineers, the sound production quality of this album is beyond what I had dreamed of when doing it on my own.

The best part about all of this is the relationships you build along the way. Before writing this off as cheesy, there’s a business side to this as well; which leads into my next point.

Network

Creating a community around what you do will help you grow as an artist, and fuel your success. In order to do this, GO TO SHOWS! I mean it! Get out there and meet people! Support your local artists. If you want people to come out for you, you’ve got to do the same for your peers. Moreover, this is where you’re going to meet the people who can take you to the next level. As fantastic as it is to have your ever-loving family’s support (Hi Mom and Dad!), that’s not going to cut it. On a personal note, networking is what has enabled our sound to develop. During the recording, I met the drummer of the Stacy Jones band through a mutual friend. Upon our first meeting he pushed me to network within the Greater Seattle area, specifically with sound engineers. Over and over again he told me how “an outside ear goes a long way”. He couldn’t be more right.

Bringing ‘outsiders’ in to provide feedback often identifies things you never would have picked up on. Sometimes you’ll get opinions that you don’t want to hear. Listen to them. I’ve been working with an engineer at Lovestudios, whom I was introduced to by a fellow musician, who gave some tough love on some of my compositions. The man has over 18 years of experience in recording and audio production. Naturally, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he wanted me to cut 8 bars from my SICK guitar riff. Looking back, cutting those 8 bars from the song may be the best decision we made on the production of the song. Such changes wouldn’t have been made if we refused to let other people into the fold.

The more you get to know the musical community, the smaller it becomes. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help. A lot of people were once in your shoes, and they want to help. Your fellow artists are the ones booking shows, working at your local record store (yes, they still exist), DJing for local radio stations, and writing for the weekly publications and blogs. These people are your family – treat them that way.

Follow Up and Follow Through

You are a brand and a business. Even if you’re the next big party act to hit the scene, if you say you’re going to do something, do it. Have professional press kits. Get back to promoters. If you offer to help another artist/station/venue employee, don’t bail. Be ready when it’s time for your set and get on/off stage in a timely fashion. And for the love of all that is good, be nice to the sound person (they can ruin your night if they want to).

In order to immerse yourself in the community, your best bet is for people to actually like you. Do the right thing. Be gracious, kind, and thankful. When you show appreciation to others they’re much more inclined to help you. If someone is taking time to invest in you, that’s a pretty wonderful thing, especially in this industry.

You’ll Probably Need a Lawyer

Ugh…

At the end of the day, this is still about doing what you love and creating art. I hope to keep exploring the world of music, including some of the topics I’ve touched on here – but in greater detail. I can’t wait to get these new tunes out to you all, and hope that you’ll engage with us as we embark on our new chapter, and explore different corners of the music industries. Signing off for the night:

-Duncan Byargeon

P.S. If you would like a free copy of Between the Lines, contact us through the website or leave us a message on our Facebook page.