LINKS TO INTERVIEWS (CLICK ON NAME):


BANDS
AUGUST INFINITY (aka SHE SAID FIRE)
BLACK SHAPE OF NEXUS
KALLING
MILITANTS
THERAPHOSA

SINGER-GUITARISTS
RAYMOND BALLY ..... (The Renegades)
REV. DR. BILL GRAM ..... (Killing For Christ)
PHIL JONES ..... (Phil Jones Band)
THEO CEDAR JONES ..... (Swaybone)
SCOTT KELLY ..... (Neurosis)
SETH MAJKA Interview 1 of 2
SETH MAJKA Interview 2 of 2
SAM PARSONS
UNCLE BOB NYC ..... (3tles, Volunteers Grateful Dead tribute band)

GUITARISTS
J.D. BRADSHAW ..... (Debbie Caldwell Band)
MATT CHABE ..... (Bangtown Timebomb, Chapter Two Marketing)
PAUL CROOK ..... (Anthrax, Meat Loaf, Sebastian Bach)
MATTHEW MEADOWS ..... (Rango The Dog)
JAMES NICKERSON & SARAH NICKERSON ..... (Bangtown Timebomb)
DAX PAGE ..... (Kirra)
MARTY PARIS ..... (Paris Keeling, Permanent Reverse, Barbarian Way)
RUINED MACHINES & MICHAL BRODKA ..... (Celestial Bodies: A 12 Month Galactic Collaboration) Interview 1 of 2
RUINED MACHINES (aka KENYON IV) ..... (World Of Rock Records, Celestial Bodies: A 12 Month Galactic Collaboration) Interview 2 of 2
CHRIS SANDERS ..... (Knight Fury, Lizzy Borden, Nadir D'Priest)
TOM SPITTLE & TROY MONTGOMERY & DAMOND JINIYA ..... (Rebel Pride Band, Under The Gun Project)
ERIC STROTHERS ..... (Enjoy Church's Tribute To Trans-Siberian Orchestra) Interview 1 of 2
ERIC STROTHERS & ZACH LORTON ..... (Enjoy Church's Tribute To Trans-Siberian Orchestra) Interview 2 of 2
CHRIS MICHAEL TAYLOR ..... (Carmine & Vinny Appice's Drum Wars, Sunset Strip, Hair Nation)

VOCALISTS
A.L.X. ..... (Love Crushed Velvet)
GRAHAM BONNET ..... (Rainbow, Alcatrazz, Graham Bonnet Band)
BRANDYN BURNETTE
JOE DENIZON ..... (Stratospheerius, Mark Work Rock Orchestra Camp, Sweet Plantain)
LESLIE DINICOLA
TOMMY FARESE ..... (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Kings Of Christmas)
ANGIE GOODNIGHT ..... (Fill The Void)
CORNELIUS GOODWIN ..... (12/24 Trans-Siberian Orchestra Tribute)
DAMOND JINIYA & TOM SPITTLE & TROY MONTGOMERY ..... (Savatage, Diet Of Worms, Retribution, Rebel Pride Band, Under The Gun Project)
STEFAN KLEIN ..... (Dethcentrik, Dod Beverte, Dod Incarnate Records)
GUY LEMONNIER ..... (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Kings Of Christmas)
ZACH LORTON & ERIC STROTHERS ..... (Enjoy Church's Tribute To Trans-Siberian Orchestra) Interview 2 of 2
SARAH NICKERSON & JAMES NICKERSON ..... (Bangtown Timebomb)
PARK SIPES ..... (Sunset Strip, Barbarian Way, Standout, Tune In To Mind Radio Kelly Keeling Tribute album)
ZAK STEVENS ..... (Savatage, Circle II Circle) Interview 1 of 2
ZAK STEVENS ..... (Savatage, Circle II Circle) Interview 2 of 2

KEYBOARDISTS
SHAYFER JAMES
SCOTT KELLY ..... (Wizards Of Winter)
ERIK NORLANDER ..... (Asia Featuring John Payne, Rocket Scientists, Lana Lane)
DOUG RAUSCH
MICHAEL T. ROSS ..... (Lita Ford, Missing Persons, Raiding The Rock Vault)

BASSISTS
CHRIS NUNES ..... (Ornament Trans-Siberian Orchestra Tribute Orchestra)
JOHN WETTON ..... (Asia, King Crimson, Roxy Music)

DRUMMER
RAFA MARTINEZ ..... (Black Cobra)

SONGWRITER
TROY MONTGOMERY & DAMOND JINIYA & TOM SPITTLE ..... (Under The Gun Project)

MUSIC AUTHOR
ALISON TAYLOR & RODNEY MILES ..... (365 Surprising & Inspirational Rock Star Quotes Book)

MUSIC MARKETING
MATT CHABE ..... (Bangtown Timebomb, Chapter Two Marketing)
JAMES MOORE ..... (Independent Music Promotion, Your Band Is A Virus Book)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"It May Just Be My Imagination" An Interview With MATTHEW MEADOWS (aka RANGO THE DOG)

Click here to visit official website.

June 2011 (live broadcast via phone, the Roman Midnight Music Podcast Episode #20)

Seattle guitarist/composer Matthew Meadows started his career as a professional ballet dancer before venturing out on his own to make music & release an album of solo instrumental guitar rock, but of a more ethereal Satriani or Vai-esque bend than straight metal. He released the EP Etherati & continues to work on its follow-up, The Temple Of Zither, with the mastering touch of famed producer Stuart Epps (Led Zeppelin, Elton John). He's since developed his music into a full online experience including recording as one of the villains in an opera called Liberteria, an ongoing video story of the real life misadventures of his alter-ego Rango the Dog, work as an actor, & as a computer programmer is developing his own image of an online music platform that will reflect the music & not how much money artists pour into an account to get attention. His story is one of success after much floundering, which he details in this interview.

I first met Matthew when he sent me an e-mail asking if I wanted to review his new album & some additional thoughts about his music. For some strange reason, maybe I felt a like soul as I never do this, I responded not just with a yes but also to some of his thoughts with my own experience & advice. Of course, nobody likes unsolicited advice, but he was receptive. We got to know each other & I found out a long history he had of hitting musical brick walls. I felt sad for him & that there was light at the end of the tunnel he shouldn't give up on, a glimmer but light just the same. I unintentionally ended up being the first person to respond in kind, on a personal level & the result was that, as he tells in this inteview, on my recommendation he changed the genre descriptor of his music from alt rock to metal which increased his audience & become a ReverbNation Seattle Top 10 artist. I found his trials so educational that I wanted him to share them with others, that they might not make the same mistakes, so I invited him on my podcast. This is the only time we've talked over the phone, but thanks to the online world we've remained bonded musically & personally & mutually supportive now a couple years on. & he knows I'm here for him if he ever needs anything when he knocks ReverbNation out of the number one slot.

* * * *

MATTHEW: Thank so much for having me, it's a privilege. I would like to say at the forefront that you were the first person that actually contacted me back when I went out & started submitting my music to sites. You were the first one! So,this interview has been a very long time in coming. I've been looking forward to it for a very long time.

AJ: Thanks, I guess. I personally consider it ... well, you've taken the effort to send something to me. You've taken 30 seconds to write me an e-mail because somehow you found my name. I owe you at least a response. That's the way I see it, whether I do anything with your music or not. But, I appreciate that.

MATTHEW: That's a pretty generous attitude & not everybody in the industry shares it. For the vast majority of opportunities that I submit for, you'll get nothing in response or a simple canned yes or no response. It's very rare that you'll actually get personal feedback from somebody. I found that those people that do take the time to do it have in fact proven to be the most influential that I've met in the business so far. It's been, you know, I attribute some of the early changes in my strategy that I went through with the production of the album to the advice that you gave me.

AJ: Oh no!

MATTHEW: No, it's true. When we first started talking back in December you were a fountain of advice for me & I was a sponge. I was absolutely ready to listen, because I don't know anything about this business. I don't know anybody in it. I've been working in other industries for 20 years. So, for me, it was like 'oh my God, somebody answered my e-mail!' That's so encouraging to see that.

AJ: Well, you know what it is, Matthew. Some of us do this stuff for the music, because I'm not making any money off this, or what I am making just barely pays the expenses. Other people are doing it because they got a Christmas bonus & their boss says they have to do it. That's the truth that I will confess & it's the unspoken truth that everyone knows.

MATTHEW: That's an interesting point. I was asked recently in another forum why I'm doing what I'm doing. I really said 'I think that's probably a question for my therapist, because I can't answer that to anybody's satisfaction.' However I know this much, at this point I'd rather fail spectacularly then quit.

AJ: Well, at least you've tried.

MATTHEW: Yeah, I'm gonna keep going. But, it is a really taxing & relentless rejection. You have to just brace yourself for it & realize it's just a matter of time. Really it's a simple statistics problem if you believe your music is capable enough or good enough. You just need to get it in front of the right people.

AJ: That's it.

MATTHEW: It's very difficult to do that, but that's what I've managed.

AJ: Well, before we talk about that trial & error & the discovery, let's talk about the music.

MATTHEW: Sure.

AJ: Let's talk about where you came from & what spurred you to basically try your hand at doing the impossible & recording an album. Will you give me a brief background of what led up to your new album Etherati.

MATTHEW: I sure will. It really all stems from the emotional turmoil that I went through after getting divorced & after failed relationships. My life felt very much in turmoil & I was resolved to improve the situation. So, one day, I literally, it was the day I turned 40, I got on eharmony, & I got on facebook & I got on ReverbNation & I did all these things simultaneously. I decided I was going to get out of my bedroom & start kinda sharing what I'd been working on by myself. But, the real cruncher for me, happened when I met Kim, who will soon be my wife. Over the 2 year course, since I made that decision to put it all out there, she has proven to be just an unbelievable asset to the creative process. & she's my muse ... she is absolutely & wholly responsible for much of the kinda concept that you see there. Having said that, it's kinda been our ... some themes that are present in the album, it's one man's journey from a very kinda sensual & dark side of life on through some very difficult & trying times, & then ultimately through to fall in love & experience some redemption. So, there is a kinda underlying theme & underlying story to it. I've never really provided many details on the whole thing. It's pretty much just been people who have heard songs they are like 'what's the motive behind that particular song?' But, it is really just an arc of my life for about an 18 month period.

AJ: Well, you had a different career, I know you were a dancer for many years & you've done other stuff. What was the inspiration to go 'hey, I'm gonna do more than just play music, I'm actually going to try to record & get it out there.' Because those are 2 different things - taking your guitar to a local coffeehouse versus actually trying to record something that will be heard at great distances. That is, obviously from what you just said, was a brand new territory for you.

MATTHEW: Yeah, it was a brand new territory. I think it was really the only avenue that was appropriate for me, given that I had a very limited social circle. My life as a programmer at Microsoft is very time-consuming. The little amount of time that I have to spend on music it's very precious. So, when I finally get the time to really double down & try to commit something to recording, it's a time-consuming & very deeply involving process & in the end of it I just really want to share it. I can't even wait until I'm done. I just went through this exercise. I'm working on a new piece of music right now. But, it's the same thing that I did with the previous album, which is that as soon as I get a couple guitar lines & some vocal lines I'm sending it to people, because I'm just pretty much tripping on that song until its done.

AJ: Well, you know what. I'd like to actually, before we go any farther & talk about the experience you've had since creating this music, I want to play something for our listeners now. Is there a song on your EP that really stands out for you in some unique way?

MATTHEW: There is. In my mind it's probably not the first song that people would expect. Its not the lead song on the album. The song would actually be "Gravity." "Gravity" is not something that has seen a lot of accolades or track to the kind of extent that, say, "The Turk" or "The Mistress" has. But, it was just so fun to record that & the lead take on "Gravity" was my very first take. It was a 100% improvisation. & so, when I hear it today it really brings me back to that moment when I was just jamming & trying to pull these 2 separate lead lines together. You know there's a lot more to the song, but essentially its kind of a, you could think of it as a car chase or as a high intensity kind of action sequence type of song. When you listen to it you'll hear 2 distinct channels. One of which is very cool & composed & a clean sound, its kinda warm. That would be something more akin to Kim's personality. Then you have another channel that is absolutely over the top, really needs to settle down, but can't seem to put it away. So, at the end, we'll leave it to the listener's discretion to see which one of these 2 crosses the finish line first. The tortoise or the hair.

AJ: I think that's a good introduction, Matthew.

********************************

AJ: Matthew, you've already given your age & you're a few years older than me, but we're both children of the 80's & the 90's. Am I right in saying you draw your musical education from the 80's power metal days?

MATTHEW: You would be 100% correct. You know there are a couple artists that have just been ingrained in me & I think they're pretty obvious. I've got a little bit of influence from Satriani & some Van Halen.

AJ: That's the first on the list, man.

MATTHEW: You know the funny thing is that I didn't really discover rock music until I was a teenager & when I did it went hand in hand with the process of discovering the guitar. So, for me, translating my ... at that time I really had a strong affinity to classical music & I was training as a classical ballet dancer. It was 90% of what I listened to. But, I'll never forget the summer I went to Houston & someone opened my eyes to, basically, metal. At that point, everything changed. There was a reflection point for me, that I didn't realize at the time, that would literally change the course of my life. I still kind of approach it with a little bit of a classical inflection, just because I spent so much time sitting in the seats in the theater kinda tracking along with the orchestra, noodling around in my headphones or whatever. & I still love that kind of music, but ... that particular song its kinda surf rock, its really slippin' along.

AJ: How do you define your music?

MATTHEW: How do I define it?

AJ: I began this interview saying sort of prog-metal, for a lack of a better term, but how do you, if one said ...

MATTHEW: Oh, yeah, yeah ...

AJ: What's your music? Do you play surf? Do you play jazz? What do you play?

MATTHEW: You know what, I had to invent a word. So, the word I invented was 'metalish.'

AJ: Metalish. Okay.

MATTHEW: Metalish. I'm not really a metal guitarist. If a diehard metal fan listens to say "The Mistress" he's gonna be seriously disappointed, because it has these long intersticials with kinda psychedelic slow guitar. & some of it is deliberately sparse. It's got like strange drums & stuff in it. So, it really was a tough question for me when I first uploaded my stuff. I originally went out as alternative on ReverbNation & the other sights that I'd selected. However, I recently switched my genre over to metal.

AJ: That's a wise choice. You're not alternative.

MATTHEW: Right. My position always was that there's 2 kinds of alternative. There's like acoustic alternative & metalish alternative. I'm the metalish kind. Part of it was the fact that you put out this link for this interview & it said 'Seattle metal guitarist' & I was like 'See, okay, I'll change my genre.'

AJ: Thanks. Again, you claim that I did something...

MATTHEW: I totally did it! If you look back you'll see I did it on that day.

AJ: Well, it's not ... I listen to a lot of metal & its not ... for me, when people think alternative they think like COLDPLAY or something.

MATTHEW: Right.

AJ: They think moody. It's pop rock & you're not pop rock.

MATTHEW: I think that was the limiting factor. It was limiting my ability to go up on the charts.

AJ: Exactly. Alternative could also mean more of an avant-garde sort of thing, an instrumental, you're doing something not verse/chorus/verse/chorus. But, I don't think most people use alternative in that context. Your playing, as you said already, its the Joe Satriani school of thought. So, its definitely got the metal influence there. To me, it was just a natural. I didn't know what you called yourself. It was like 'this guy is a metal guitar player at heart' whatever background he has.

MATTHEW: It gets really confusing when you get to "Falling." Because "Falling" is a love song & its done with 2 acoustic guitars, a 12 string & a 6 string, & some little hand percussion like maracas & tabla. It's a song for a very small ensemble. But, in my mind, it's still metal-ish & here's why. If you listen to it it's got a very strong jazz inflection & it draws heavily from my worship at the feet of Al Di Meola, who my brother introduced to me when I was about 14/15 years old & to me is just the consummate guitarist to this day. So, I've always kinda endeavored toward that in my acoustic playing, but its a lot to bite off. But, the point I was making was that the metal guys would get to that song & they'd be like 'no', you know?

AJ: Yeah, yeah, it's not pure. It's more of an avant-garde type of metal. Maybe someone like Alex Skolnick of TESTAMENT, his solo work, is a lot like what you're doing, you know. It's trying to break boundaries more so than fit expectations.

MATTHEW: There you go. That's very generous of you, thank you. But, I am kinda going for that.

AJ: That's a good thing. It's a good thing. I wanna know, can't you tell me because I really don't have a clue ... I'll plead my ignorance here ... the name of your album Etherati [/eth er ati/], if I'm even pronouncing it correctly, what does it mean?

MATTHEW: Sure. It's another word that I made up. I've been pronouncing it /ee ther ati/.

AJ: Okay.

MATTHEW: But, I've heard a lot of people say /eth er ati/.

AJ: Well, I'm a bit dyslexic, so, excuse me.

MATTHEW: I'm just happy to hear people say it! It's surreal to me. But, here is the meaning of the word. The etherati are those figments of memory that you have. The people that are represented by those memories after they've died, those are your etherati. So, in my life, I've had a handful of people that were very close to me, that I loved deeply, that I've lost & I find myself having these haunting conversations with them when I'm all by myself that I can remember in absolute vivid detail. So I came up with this term to kind of describe these kind of ephemeral spirited memories that are ... they're something more than ordinary memories, but there's not a word in our language that would describe them. Because, when your mind is left to wander you can almost have conversations with these people. So, they are my etherati. & the album was finished, when it was, the last song was chosen, in fact because someone very close to me, one of the people listed in the dedication, died. So, at that point, when I learned that, I was devastated & that was the end of the recording. I had planned to keep going. I was going to do one more acoustic song & make it perfectly balanced so it was a symmetrical album, but the circumstances of my life did not afford me the opportunity to do that. So, I pretty much went on a hiatus after that for a couple months, all the way through the fall until December & at that point, I decided I was going to do one mix of everything that I had up to that point & upload it to ReverbNation & that was as far as I had thought the whole plan through.

AJ: Well, sometimes you know, it's best ... if that's the right word ... when a project ends in a non-natural way or the way that you didn't expect. Sometimes that's like the best outcome because it just happens naturally.

MATTHEW: Maybe so, & it was consistent kind of with the arc of the storyline & it finishes on a positive note. It's definitely not how I would have finished it, but it has kind of an organic unfolding to it that does feel fairly natural when the album plays from end to end.

AJ: Well, let's talk a little bit, Matthew, about your ... how should we say ... story of the post-release of this album. I know you've had ups & the downs. You've struggled to try & get it heard. I want to share some of that with our audience, some of your experiences & your impressions of that struggle. Can you can give us some little starting off point here on the experience of getting it out there & spending money & enjoying the luxury of rejection slips?

MATTHEW: Well, this is one of the first things you & I discussed.

AJ: Yes, it was.

MATTHEW: It was, from my position, with very little resources. How are you going to get your music in front of the most number of listeners. & just uploading it to an internet site doesn't get you that. It only puts your files on the site. It's an issue I think every single musician faces when they first endeavor to get their music out there. What I discovered was that there were mechanisms in the net systems that I could kind of manipulate, but they were simple functions. If I put a certain amount of money into facebook ads to direct people to my ReverbNation account then I could directly control, I could directly influence my band equity score on ReverbNation. Basically I was like ... it made me a little bit cynical at first. I realized that the exposure that I had initially ... which was fantastic for getting the music exposed to other musicians, wasn't quite getting the music exposed to listeners, to ordinary music lovers. & it certainly wasn't going to get the music in front of anybody that mattered & by that I mean, no label or no producer is going to just go ...

AJ: Put money in your hand.

MATTHEW: Right. They're not just going to go on ReverbNation & go "Oh, look, he's number 5, hey, get him on the phone & right that check!' That's not going to happen.

AJ: That doesn't happen anymore.

MATTHEW: Believe me, I wish it would. So, one of the things that I did was kind of a survey of the business & I identified the 3 or 4 major players in the A&R market. I went ahead & I spent some money. Given that I'd spent almost 2 years of my life & thousands of dollars on equipment, it seemed like spending hundreds of dollars on fees was a reasonable thing to do. Unfortunately, I got nothing for that, except brutal rejections. It was very disheartening. & when I say brutal, I mean like people telling me, for instance I was submitting for movies, & I would hear things like 'if you want to learn how to compose music for movies go listen to this website.' You know? Basically, not even giving me the time of day to tell me what they didn't like. Just telling me that I'm not even in the ballpark. Well, that all changed for me around the time that I discovered a website called musicxray.com.

AJ: I actually work with them.

MATTHEW: They are a new technology player in the A&R market. As a programmer I was intrinsically drawn to this solution, because what they do is they analyze your waveforms & then they try to find a statistical pairing with other music that's been selected by these producers, or by these studios. & I liked that empirical deterministic approach to the problem. Because, like I said before, I saw it as a probability equation. It's essentially an optimization problem in that, if 99 out of a 100 people are going to reject me, right, with the status quo ... if I can get only 50 out of a 100, if I can get rejected 1 out of 5 times, I'm doing twice as good. So, it really was ... it gave me some encouragement. What I did was I did a little bit of a kind of analysis of how their system worked & I decided to re-allocate the money that I was trying on these other sites towards musicxray. Not to the exclusion of everybody else, but that's where the majority of my allocation was. Presto. It was amazing. I rolled out of bed one morning & I actually got an e-mail from Universal Studios, Upper 11 Group, saying that they had licensed my song "Falling" for use in a movie. Or, it had been selected. I hadn't actually signed a contract.

AJ: Yeah, yeah.

MATTHEW: Didn't see any money from that.

AJ: But, it's something though.

MATTHEW: It may just be my imagination. The whole thing could be a cruel joke. I don't really know. You know that was a sea change for me. At that point all of a sudden it was like 'how many submissions have I had that failed?' I started thinking about it. The number was in the hundreds. At that point I was like 'okay, so you need to do a couple hundred more' & I dug deep & I increased the volume of submissions that I did on everything. Sure enough, once I had some degree of success with one submission, you know, I was able to put that in the lead or the intro for my other submissions. Before I knew it, "The Mistress" had been selected for use by the Umbrella Group in a movie where they wanted 80's style metal, a la MOTORHEAD. So, it need to find just the right opportunity, with just the right director, with just the right scene, to capture that essence that they were looking for. The odds are so small that any one song is going to fit those needs. But, if you get the song in circulation, in front of enough opportunities, hopefully, eventually, if you're a capable artist, one hopes that it will eventually lock in & be in alignment with what they're looking for. So, that was a sea change & its still in play, its still unfolding. The vast majority of submissions that I have through musicxray are still rejected. But, there is an accountability that's present in that system that I think allows some feedback for the artist, so that's a very unique approach.

AJ: I hate to do a plug for musicxray, but I'm actually one of their music critics. People submit stuff to me to just listen to & go 'how can we improve this to then take it to the next level & get people to hear it?' So, you know they'll send me their song & I'll spend an hour or 2 just listening to that one song going 'that's good, that's not good, this is interesting.' So, I know, from my own point of view, that I'm working with that group & I'm trying to actually give you something of value. & if I like it then I'll put it on my blog. So, there are some legitimate groups out there. Have you though, Matthew, had any submissions where you basically sent to something that was like a crock or it was like 'this is just a total scam'?

MATTHEW: Oh god, they are a significant percentage of all of the submissions. At first you think you're having some success, but in fact, it's very demoralizing, because you realize that all they are is just an opportunity to write people more checks to do essentially the same thing: submit your music to more places. So, you submit it through some A&R company, whether its musicxray or sonicbids or whatever, & before you know it, you get basically solicited to write bigger & bigger checks to submit your music to more people. It's a recursive problem. That's not a solution to this whole thing. But, getting those things in the movies wasn't a solution to my problem either. I still have no material success that I can attribute to that. There were 2 changes that did happen. The first was getting put in contact with Stuart Epps, who is a very well known producer. He pretty much has the golden credentials. He produced LED ZEPPELIN. He produced Elton John. Stuart Epps was identified through musicxray as having alignment with my song "The Mistress". Even though he didn't do anything with that, what happened was it gave me a legitimate reason to start a dialogue with this man, who is, you know, a top shelf world class producer with impeccable credentials. This never would have happened. To me it was completely surreal. I'm sitting in Seattle, I've got a guitar in my lap, I'm facebook chatting with Stuart Epps in London. Like, how could that even be for real? Anyway, that relationship has continued to involve & I'm in the process of producing some new music & I've submitted it to Stuart & he has in fact, demonstrated that he's very interested in helping me develop it. So, to me, that was the first material success that I could point to & say 'now things are rolling.'

AJ: Excellent.

MATTHEW: The second thing that happened & then I'm done, because I don't have anything more, is actually what's happened over at the Reputation Media Group. The reputationmedia.net is just a scrappy little start-up. It's a group of musicians that put together a website to, just like every online music site, to promote the artist, right, & give them a place to upload their files. Well, where Reputation Media is different is that they were all musicians. & they're very capable musicians, very talented. So, they put together this radio show that I had heard just kinda in passing, 'oh cool', you know. I'd never listened to the whole show. I was contacted by one of their DJ's, a guy named Pete The Ringmaster, who would later be influential in the development of this new music. He let me know, through a cryptic set of slam poetry that went up on his facebook wall, that they where going to play a song of mine called "The Turk." & they did. I couldn't believe it. I was in the chatroom that day & it was yet another surreal moment, because "The Turk" went out to 20 million people. & that number was astounding to me, because all of the other online music sites that I've had to date, you put them all together, I haven't had 50,000 plays on all of the others put together. But, Reputation Media has repeatedly taken my music & pumped it out through their syndication system. I don't know how they've got it all going. They use Stickam [live video streaming]. But, somehow, they've got these syndicated online radio programs. Anyway, its a hoot. & I've discovered I really like going into the chatroom there. Well, they produced an album called As Heard & that album just went out. I was kinda helping promote that album, just like I do, & all of a sudden it was pointed out to me by Pete The Ringmaster that Matthew Meadows has a song on that album. I was like holy shit. I had no idea. I must have submitted & I just didn't remember it & I'm sure I got the e-mail, but I've had so much going on that it didn't even register. Subsequently, since that thing went out on the album I've been in the chat room a couple times a week & they've been playing it repeatedly. In fact, they played it today. Today was Matthew Meadows day & they played "Falling" at the opening of their show at the request of some of their listeners. To me, those 2 things - getting in touch with Stuart Epps & getting played on a really substantial syndicated online radio program - those 2 wins. I still only have made like a buck fifty.

AJ: Yeah, I know what you mean.

MATTHEW: But, hopefully, that's going to turn around.

AJ: We had a brief talk on facebook recently about trying to figure out royalty statements. So, yes, I know! I want to ask you 2 questions. One is, over the past few years, now you see what worked & what didn't - what would you do differently if you could do it over again? The second question is, what would you tell another musician to do who was in your shoes?

MATTHEW: Those are 2 great questions. In regards to the first question, what I would do differently is pretty much everything. The way that I recorded my music is different. I've had some time to kinda work out my own personal process. The approach that I have to composition now has been influenced by all of the rejections. There's a kernel of truth in all of that. It's not always easy to swallow. But, what people are telling you is things that they would find to make music more appealing or they would find would help broaden the appeal of music in general. Now, I'm not after trying to enlarge my market. I'm trying to make something cool. At the end of the day that's all I want to do. But, I wanna make it really cool & I wanna take the time so the people that do appreciate it, who I now have their attention, I wanna do it really good just for them. The thing that I told Stuart Epps was, if I had some resources, let say through a third party venture funding or something like that, & I had the decision to either promote the album that I had or create new music ... I would create new music. Not just because its my favorite thing to do. But, because I feel like now I can do so much better.

AJ: How about the process of submitting & sharing the music? How would you change that?

MATTHEW: Yes, well, what I would change ... I think that the type of music I've been putting together where its kinda just guitars, its guitar-oriented rock, I think that if my goal was to increase my submission footprint & the rate of success with that I would probably choose slightly different instrumentation. I would definitely not pay to join any of the top A&R companies that I did. I'm not going to name them because I think that would be disrespectful ...

AJ: That's alright.

MATTHEW: But, it was the top shelf industry leaders & they got hundreds & hundreds of my dollars, every one of them, & I just got nothing for it. When I got the e-mail saying 'its time to renew' I posted a funny on my facebook. I was like 'no thanks & I prefer a divorce but I'll settle for a refund.' Because, I just got nothing out of the relationship. But, to contrast that, to say something free like Reputation Media or something utilitarian like ReverbNation or something with a technology edge like musicxray. Those 3 are kinda like my pillars that I rely on, but the vast majority of online sites that I'm on right now I would not join. I uploaded my music to dozens of sites. I actually have a list up in front of me. Last I knew there were 24 different online channels that I have my music. I only care about a few of them. Because, unless you're actually perpetuating awareness of that music it just sits out there. So, I wasted an incredible amount of time building up profiles & uploading images & uploading music & getting in their network to be friended by these various sites & then getting on their e-mail list. Ultimately to just have it be a drain on my productivity & my focus. So, I would limit the focus of my online channel distribution significantly to maybe, I can't count much higher than 3, so that would be a good number right there.

AJ: I'm having the feeling that's probably the same thing you would tell to another musician. Am I right?

MATTHEW: No, the thing I would tell to another musician is to be kind. Pay it forward. Because musicians are the coolest people! They have been the best thing about this whole experience. It has been the fantastic personalities that have just fallen out of the sky into my lap. These people have become my dear friends now. When I think about what happened back in December when the album first rolled out, because it went out on ReverbNation it went out to other musicians. & all of the advocacy that I had was from other musicians & I found their willingness to promote me extremely encouraging & very very kind. So, I have made a conscious effort to try to do the same thing. & not just because I'm trying to pay it forward but because there's a lot of good music out there & there's some really cool people trying to make some really cool stuff. I love being a part of that anyway.

AJ: Excellent.

MATTHEW: So far, its just been fantastic. Guys like Richie Ariyaman & Rick Frost & Cat McClean. These folks are fantastic musicians & I feel privileged to just chat it up with them & send them my mixes & stuff. You know its crazy.

AJ: Well, listen, Matthew, I'm at that point where I have to do something that I always hate doing & that is, I have to say we're getting near the end of our time together.

MATTHEW: Wow.

AJ: The time goes by so quickly & I feel like I've made a new best friend & all of a sudden we have to say goodbye to each other.

MATTHEW: Yeah, yeah.

AJ: You've been incredibly informative tonight & you've shared so much & I knew you would when I asked you to talk with me. Is there anything more that you haven't said that you'd like to share? Any other thoughts that we haven't gotten to?

MATTHEW: I just want to thank you again for taking the time to actually listen to my album. You're hoping that someone is going to at least listen to it. What I always tell people is that "The Mistress" its not for sissies. You gotta wait 6 minutes to get to the guitar solo. It is heavy lifting in terms of your investment & time. Plus, if you can make it, I feel like I've tried to provide something that is sonically rich & has a sense of drama & color & is kind of a character study.

AJ: "The Mistress" is a great song. I highly recommend people looking for it. It's a highlight for me personally for the album.

MATTHEW: Cool. Thank you. I gotta say, this conversation right here is definitely one of the highlights of the entire run-up so far. I've been anticipating it for a long time. You & I have spent a lot of time on facebook & e-mail talking this stuff.

AJ: & we will more.

MATTHEW: It's a trip to hear your voice man. Yeah, its cool. I think the one thing that I would say is look for some very fun stuff coming in the very near future.

AJ: Where would you recommend people to go to look for that update? Where online?

MATTHEW: Probably the best place is to just join my facebook feed, which is at matthewmeadowsmusic. For anybody who takes the time to just like that page you'll quickly learn that its a ticker tape of information. There's so much going on a day to day basis. I'm sure its annoying to some people. Facebook is really my primary mouthpiece. I do use the ReverbNation console to kinda shotgun to multiple channels, so I'll do a twitter & a facebook & myspace status update from one place, from a central location. But, facebook is, in my experience, has been the most widely used of those social mechanisms, so that's where I tend to focus my efforts. But, the new stuff is no secret. I've been talking about it for a better part of a month. I've been working on it steadily.

AJ: You sent me the new track "The Ringmaster". Can you give a quick heads up of what this is the making of?

MATTHEW: This is the lead song on a concept album called The Middle Ring. It's based on some experiences that I had at the circus & an imagining of an entire cast of characters around a little boy who witnesses his father tragically injured in a circus show. It was partly inspired by Pete The Ringmaster over at Reputation Media because he gives me nightmares.

AJ: But this is also like a demo or an unmixed version, right?

MATTHEW: Right. It's very early. It's not done. But, I'm submitting this to producers right now, this is one of the things I'm doing differently, before I finish. Because last time I finished the whole damn album & then I submitted it to these producers. Now I'm getting out there, trying to get peoples input early on & trying to get people excited about it. So, guys like Ron Nevison & Stuart Epps they've got this in their inbox & hopefully for them its decent ear candy & enough to warrant further investigation.

AJ: Well, it's a great beginning. I want to say, Matthew, I'm glad we could talk. We're going to talk in the future, but feel free to talk anytime about anything. Because, for me, I do this work & I have this information in my head, but what good is it if I'm not sharing it & helping you with your work. It's all about, as you said, paying it forward. That's pretty much my job. It's not about getting it rich, its just about paying it forward.

MATTHEW: We'll you're doing a damn fine job.

AJ: Thanks for the compliments, but I'm doing my job, man, I now expect you to do yours.

MATTHEW: I'm trying.


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