An Announcement From Coz

When I started on the musical adventure that is Cozmic Debris, I was ill prepared for what the journey would entail.  The time commitment is, at times, daunting and the very high expectations I’ve set for myself have frequently seemed unattainable.  However, the blessings have far outweighed the nuisances.  I’ve come to not only love the indie music scene, but I’ve made many connections that are blossoming into true friendships.  I’ve become obsessed with sharing every last bit of great music I can find, whether it be through social media or here on the blog.  In short, I’ve become a huge indie music addict!

For the last month or so, I hit one of those plateaus that are to be expected in an endeavor like this.  Growth occurs in spurts, and in between are flat periods of little or no growth.  Those times can be discouraging, and during a few of those periods in the past, I quite honestly found myself questioning my own effectiveness in doing the best possible job of bringing indie music to the forefront.  Obviously, I never threw in the towel, as I’m probably doing more at this point in time than any other point in this project.  I survived them all and grew stronger because of them.

This current time of flatness has taken on a much different form.  I’ve spent the time looking at what I’m currently doing and trying to figure out what I can add to the mix to take Cozmic Debris to the next level.  What could I do to bring even more visibility to the great and amazing talent that surrounds us?  All I had to do was reach out to one of those previously mentioned connections/friendships and ask a single question to find the answer, which leads to the announcement I have to make.

Earlier today, I officially joined the staff of Music Mafia Radio.  There’s still a lot of work to figure out exactly what that is going to look like, but we have it on a fast track to make it happen quickly.  I’ve committed to do some programming, and it only makes sense for me to help with their social media exposure (after all, that’s what I do).  I am excited beyond words at the opportunity, which is balanced by the anxiety and nerves associated with getting behind the microphone and doing live programming.  In my head, I know exactly what I want it to be, but the next week or so will be dedicated to shaking off more than a few years of rust.

For those not familiar with Music Mafia Radio, it is one of the most entertaining internet radio stations/podcasts out there that are exclusively indie, hosted on spreaker.com.  On top of that, the format includes all styles and genres of music, much like Cozmic Debris.  But most important to me is that the station has personality.  It is not one of those mindless automated playlist ‘stations’ that litter the internet, and it is not just someone simply announcing songs and then playing them (lather, rinse, repeat).  Instead, the approach of owner/personality Rick Landstrom is to recreate what I call the Golden Age of FM radio(1970-86), where the content between songs was as entertaining as the music itself.  However, the focus of every show is the music itself, and the support given to the artists in their catalog is a delight to watch.  They heavily promote artists, both on social media and their webpage musicmafiaradio.net.   The mainstays of their programming are their weekly Top 30 fan poll countdown and a series of artist interviews that allow musicians a great forum to discuss their music and give fans an insight into the world of the independent musician.  Both shows are wildly popular with fans and artists alike.

Broadcasting on Spreaker also gives them the unique ability to have an active group chat going on during their shows.  This chat provides yet another avenue for fans to interact with musicians, as it is common for both to be present on any given night.  I’ve personally witnessed artists planning collaborative works in the chat.  It adds an entirely new aspect to the ‘radio’ experience, one that is creating a true community of fans and artists.  And it is this sense of community, along with the pure entertainment value of the shows themselves, that made my decision to join the team a no-brainer.

Helping to grow the station is my number one priority.  Providing additional airtime throughout the week devoted to playing more indie artists is also right at the top of the list.  This is a pretty big jump for me, but it’s one leap of faith that I believe is an important next step in the evolution of Cozmic Debris.  Prayers that I don’t fall flat on my face are greatly appreciated.

I’ll share more details here as they become available.  Now it’s time to hit the studio and brush up just a little.  At least I don’t have to deal with splicing tape this time around!

For more information about Music Mafia Radio, visit musicmafiaradio.net.  The weekly Top 30 Countdown airs live Monday nights at 8:00pm Eastern Time on spreaker.com. 

What’s Coz Listening To This Week, Volume 2

Okay, I promised a new Soundcloud playlist, and here it is. As I look at it, I was definitely in an 80’s alt rock/ 90’s pop frame of mind for most of it, but you also find a few other gems in amongst the rest. Hope you enjoy!  30 incredible artists, including:

BATTS
Jeaux London
Nigel Brown
Essential End
Color Theory
Sariah
Riff Reign
Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors
Biotin Babies
Dandelion Charm
Future Generations
Matt Mercer
Tamanie Dove
TeamMate
Plevyak
Catholic Action
Traffic In My Head
Sub-Radio
Red Light Effect
The Japanese House
HYPERDOSE
Wide Eyed Boy
The March Divide
Josh Taerk
Kill For Eden
Meadowlark
Ballerina Black
The Aces
Fizzy Blood
Kylie Hughes

 

What’s Coz Listening To This Week?

Something a little fun to start the week.  I may do a Soundcloud and Reverbnation playlist later in the week as well.  Don’t fret if you didn’t make this week’s playlist- I’ll be changing it up every week.

Want to know what Coz is listening to this week on Spotify? It’s just two hours of some of the greatest indie music on the planet! You’re crazy if you don’t check it out.  Search for “CozList” on Spotify or click the player below.

Included are songs by:

Adam Strelow
The Band of Heathens
Matt Maloof
Charlie Millikin
460 South
Adam Stern
Blue Helix
Dave Jordan & The NIA
Che Orton
Doctor Paul Constantine
Zack Walther Band
Black Cadillac Kings
Ships Have Sailed
The Pussywillows
Swampbox
Kylie Nicole
Raftree
Saint Luke’s Drifters
Chase Walker Band
Jefferson Coker
Cliff Wheeler
The Puss Puss Band
Camryn
Almost July
Fickle Friends
Massive
Royal Canoe
Flowers in Syrup
Near Deaf Experience
The Grizzled Mighty

The Rock Star Lifestyle

Ladies and gentlemen, church is now in session.

Imagine being a talented drafting engineer, possessing the highest level of skill possible, responsible for some of the most talked about work in your field.  How would you survive if all of your works were readily available on the internet for free, while the company you worked for (who is not paying you a dime) was raking in millions from the sale of your work?  Would you take a day job to support your passion, or would you simply stop doing it because it was not financially viable?

I’ll take a lot of flack for that last paragraph, with many saying that my example is ridiculous and not credible.  A drafting engineer would never have to work for free, that’s preposterous! To those that think it silly, replace the words “drafting engineer” with “indie musician” and let me know how ridiculous it looks now.  What it becomes by making that replacement is the real world, at least for the indie musician.

The current economy of music is built on an archaic and outdated model.  The perception of the arts in general in modern culture presupposes a false sense of entitlement by the patron (a term I use very loosely here) to have unfettered and free access to whatever art form they seek.  The societal view is that because it is art, it should be produced for the public consumption, purely as a labor of love.

Newsflash, folks- love doesn’t pay the rent.  Go to the local grocery store and let me know how many pounds of ground beef you can get for love.  Go to your bank and ask what the currency exchange rate is for love to dollars.  For the very large majority of musicians out there, the bills are paid by some other endeavor that takes valuable time away from the creative process.  For some, the decision to live on that razor’s edge between subsistence and poverty is consciously made to be able to devote as much time as possible to the art.  The public’s image of a musician is often a Mick Jagger or Michael Jackson, living a rock star, jet setting, opulent life.  For today’s musician, nothing could be further from the truth.

Now, I’ll get even more pushback for that last little bit, mostly from the musicians themselves.  That pushback is justified, because to the great majority of them, it is the love for the art form itself that drives them.  Honestly , that is the only reason they should be doing it.  But, the love of the art should not be construed as something that should be done for the greater good out of some sense of social welfare.  It comes at a price, and that price should not be the sole responsibility of the musician to bear.

In 2015, Spotify reported $2.1B in revenue.  In 2015, Spotify reported paying out $1.8B of that revenue to the record companies.  Not the artists, but the record companies.  From there, the artists were at the mercy of the record company to receive whatever small percentage of the total pot that is called for.  For an independent artist to earn $10 for an album on Spotify, a single user would need to stream the album around 1200 times.  That’s listening to the album once a day, every day for almost four years! Keep in mind that the independent musician has spent many thousands of their own dollars to produce said album, meaning that millions of song streams are required just to break even.  The system is clearly broken.

I regularly hear of musicians, whose quarterly or semi-annually check from the performance rights folks comes in under $5.00 for everything available to the public. Interesting to note that the great bulk of the revenue is not sitting in the pockets of those who provide the service (Spotify), or those that created the art (the artist).  God forbid if someone were to recommend advertising between songs to help either end of the spectrum get their fair share.  The public demands immediate, continuous, uninterrupted, unlimited streaming of every song known to mankind, and will very loudly protest the $9.99 per month subscription fee required to get such a service.  In their minds, it should be free.  The public forgets a time not all that long ago where that $9.99 wouldn’t have even purchased a new release album.

There are many evils in the music business, some more horrible than others.  But, I contend it is public perception and the accompanying lack of education that is the most dangerous pitfall out there for any independent artist.  We must change the way society views our artists.  They should be held as a priceless treasure, valued for their positive contributions to society, and not as some throwaway commodity that isn’t worthy of our real patronage (in the true sense of the word this time).  Think about that the next time you pass by an artist’s merchandise table.  That CD you buy could literally be the difference between eating and not eating that night for your favorite musician.  That may sound rather dramatic, and doesn’t apply in many cases. But it is a sad reality for more incredibly talented musicians than it should be.

Okay, I’m done ranting for now.  No promises on how long it will last.  I leave you with two simple questions.

What would life be like totally devoid of music?

Are you willing to truly support the artists who bring a smile to your face?

 

Album Review: Fred Chandler Music, “Tekno Teq”

As musicians, there are those people we cross paths with that leave a lasting impression, and mold us as a person and a musician.  For me, Fred Chandler was one of those people.  Fred and I go back more than 40 years, pretty much starting in the business together.  Easily the most talented guitarist I ever played with, Fred Chandler has the amazing ability to take anything with strings and a fretboard and create beautiful music with it.  Technical proficiency combined with emotion that reaches the root of any song he performs, Fred draws his audience in with a God-given ability that very few possess on this planet.

With all of that being said, I was eager to hear Fred’s new album, “Tekno Teq.”   I sat down, waiting to be taken on a musical rock journey, with screaming guitars, riffing bass and a rock drum beat worthy of moving your body to.  I was expecting him to show the world his technical proficiency as a player.    I couldn’t have been more wrong and further from the truth.  Don’t get me wrong, he absolutely kills it with every instrument he picks up.  Instead, I got a look into the mind of a composer and orchestrator, hearing and feeling my way through the album song by song, seeing the world through his eyes.  To make that kind of complete connection with recorded music is rare, and this album is the perfect vehicle for anybody willing to take a wild musical ride.

“Tekno Teq” defies categorization, as it literally covers the gamut of musical styles, often falling into an area of alternative orchestrated music normally reserved for artist like Frank Zappa.  From “Satin Dreams’, a jazzy song with some great old school disco hooks and fun solo trade offs between Fred on violin and guitar and saxophonist Ric Santiago, to “Punkass Funkass”, which has a sound and feel reminiscent of classic Parliament, Fred and his crew take us all over the place musically.  As I listen to him vocally, I am always drawn to the image of a young, defiant Neil Diamond, with that richness of sound and emotional presentation that connects the listener to the message.

The thing that keeps drawing me back to this album is Fred’s command of orchestrating the arrangements of each song.  Instead of going with the tried and true instrumentations for the style he is trying to emulate, he takes things to an entirely different level harmonically, building in new layers of sound that perfectly complement the melody.  Each song moves in so many directions underneath, yet it is all perfectly balanced and creates a very cool sound seldom heard in today’s commercial world.

Fred has a long and illustrious career as a performer, and a reputation for being one of the best string players on the planet.  “Tekno Teq” now establishes Fred as a composer, and does so with power and conviction.  For the lover of original and creative music, it gets no better than this.  Don’t pass it up.

 

For more information about Fred Chandler Music, and to purchase his latest album, “Tekno Teq”, visit his website at www.fredchandlermusic.com.