Ben Katzman and His Baby, Bufu Records

 

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I remember meeting Ben Katzman in my dormitory building at Berklee College of Music. He was always an eccentric character with a good sense of humor. After seeing his Power Ranger tattoo I knew this was a cool dude that gave no f***s about what people thought. So it was no surprise to me to see the successful evolution of BUFU records. As soon as I started my interview with Ben, he immediately told me some incredible news about the newest addition to the BUFU family: Japanther. My jaw hit the floor and I immediately freaked out. Unfortunatly, at the time, I was sworn to secrecy and wasn’t allowed to say anything. As badly as I wanted to put it as my Facebook status, I knew it was for the best because BUFU probably had a better way of announcing its eyebrow-raising-cry-laughing-lets-go-insane surprise. Now that BUFU has announced it, I can brag about it all day long and I don’t have to censor 1/3 of this interview. Sorry about this interview being slightly outdated, but my goal was for YOU guys to get a taste of who Ben Katzman is and what BUFU records is all about. Enjoy!

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I want to know how you got into music and what inspired you to be the way you are which is really energetic and unbelievably nice.

 

I was young and I had this like super ridiculous music teacher called Mr. Marinelli in 2nd or 3rd grade and he was just really weird and one time he let play his piano, so I started playing it and figuring the notes out and I just went home and we had a piano and I started playing it. I also remember I was really into TV show soundtracks and then Mission Impossible 2 came out and Limp Bizkit did the theme song. So I bought the CD and I got really into Limp Bizkit and like Kiss when I was around 10 years old or whatever. Then, I got into punk rock when I was 12 or 13 and I remember getting Minor Threat and Black Flag’s early records well, I guess Minor Threat’s only record, but those were like my textbooks for moral groundings because it was all about like staying true and being positive and making the change you want to see in your life. I was like really into watching documentaries on bands and reading books about bands and I was like man if these bands do it and they were all 16 when they started, there’s no reason I can’t start and so I started my own band when I was 13 and we would play house parties and stuff.

 

What were you guys called?

 

We were called High Oktane, with a k instead of a c. We were named after the guitar played from KISS ‘cause that was his like nickname who use to get drunk and party and he was called High Octane. Just in high school when I was really into metal I was always playing shows and booking shows. When I was 12 there was like nothing for my friends to do musically, so we booked a bunch of parties and played a bunch of shows in high school. I started going to shows ‘cause I was old enough to go to local venues and stuff, so I started throwing shows myself. It was sick, you were able to book your friends at legitimate rock shows you were also playing and my band at the time did a lot better than I thought we would. We would play big shows and even toured around a little in Florida and um, so, that’s kind of how it got started. I owe it all to Kiss and Minor Threat and Limp Bizkit.

When did your obsession with Van Halen start or why did that happen?

 

I think it started with like KISS when I was 13 or 12. It was the first rock band I got obsessed with. I was like looking through my brother’s closet for his porno magazines and I saw KISS on a VHS and it’s this movie about these kids trying to sneak into a KISS show and they finally see KISS and I didn’t know what they looked like and all of a sudden they had like these crazy guitars and shit was on fire and I they were spitting blood and so I got supper obsessed with KISS to the point where I only listened to KISS. I was like, ‘Man, this is like power rangers if power rangers were a rock band.’ You know? And so that happened and then I got into metal music ‘cause it was all about being flashy and shredding and Van Halen is like the premier shred metal band so I got into Van Halen. Van Halen was all about having fun and not taking yourself seriously. So, between Van Halen and Minor Threat I met like the middle ground of having fun while being serious. You know?

 

How did BUFU start? When did you come up with the idea

 

I was like a freshman at Berklee and I really hated all the music coming out of Berklee. So, I decided to start a zine. I was gonna write about all my favorite local bands and just give them to my friends so they can just check it out. I just wanted to unify my thoughts.

 

I went home to Miami for the summer and my old band reunited and we played this show and something like over 100 kids came out and the venue was 18+ and all these kids were like 16 and 17 and they got kicked out and there was over $1000 they made at the door so I got into an argument with the bar tender and to get their money back and he was like ‘You either get their money back or you don’t play,‘or something, so I said, ‘If they get their money back, I won’t play,’ and that was the deal. So I got banned from this venue and I was so pissed that a lot of my friends didn’t know how to manage their bands or like do shit like that and I guess I just learned how to do it. It just happened. And that day, I was like fuck it if I had a record label, I’d look more legit booking shows and doing things and instead of just telling my friends about bands, I can put out records and have my friends listen to them. Then that night, I think it was like June 15th 2012, I only know this because I looked it up yesterday, I started BUFU Records and since then it’s kind of ridiculous how like only in a year and a half we’ve put out bands that are getting on like Pitchfork and Stereogun and my favorite bands are being booked through us. It’s kind of cool.

 

What innovative things have you done to differentiate yourselves from other independent labels in the Boston area?

 

We’re young and I think the thing about BUFU is that we’re not trying to differentiate ourselves, were just trying to contribute to part of the community. It’s like when we do things we do them ‘cause we want to do them so when there are other labels and other things I’m just like ‘Ok, well, that’s cool. Let me do this and maybe one day we can throw a show together.’ It’s not really like a competition. We just do what we want and luckily were all just really ridiculous people so it always looks like a cartoon show. I think we just try to keep it extremely local and mix our bands with bigger bands and it just took off. We just started a record label not to just do anything different and uh it just works.

 

Do you think that the BUFU festival or BUFU records could expand more outside of Boston?

 

Yeah, I think it is. We’re putting out this record for this Miami band and our first release was a Miami band. Every time we throw a show in Miami, they’re always packed. We just signed a bunch of bands from Providence, Rhode Island that are big in the scene and have been on MTV and stuff. It’s kind of weird, every show we’ve been throwing in Boston, even the show we threw in New York had at least like 100 something people and Japather is a big deal. You know, I think it will get bigger. I don’t know if right now in this day and age but one of the reasons we will get bigger is because we’re really adamant about promoting our bands with shows and booking them sick shows and maybe BUFU records will also get noticed as a company that throws sick shows as well as putting out albums. We’re like a collective- everybody helps out, its not just like a I’m-your-boss-I’m-giving-you-this much-money-to-make-a-record label, were like yo-I-love-this-music-lets-get-together-and-fucking-kill-this-shit-cuz-it’s-amazing label.

 

How do you promote your shows?

 

There are obvious things like other local entertainment companies or like newspapers like The Boston Hassel that we’re close with that write our stuff up for us. I do send out press releases and hit up blogs and spend all my time sending out emails and getting in touch with other people, so that any time the next release comes out I’m like ‘Hey, check this out too,’ you know? So, I do what I can, but hopefully one day I get to spend $3000 for a publicist because any band that’s big is because they have a good publicist. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. For now I guess I act like a freelance publicist.

 

How do you raise money for the label?

 

There are moments when everything pays for itself, but because I like putting out so much music were always at like this steady line where like nothing is being lost but nothing is being made. We’re about to put in another couple grand into the label, probably the biggest for this Japanther record, but usually the label pays for itself.

 

What has been the biggest event you guys have put on?

 

We helped book Boston Hassel fest, which is something we didn’t get credit for, which isn’t cool. But that was probably the biggest. We booked like Lighting Bolt as well as all the BUFU bands.

 

What are the benefits, in an artist’s point of view, of being signed onto BUFU records?

We pay for everything and we do out best to promote our artists. You have these people that really care about your music and really want to help you succeed and even though we’re not the biggest label, we’re gonna help you get your push out there. I think that a lot of kids talk a lot of smack at Berklee saying like, ‘Yeah, were gonna be the band that starts a label,’ but you never see anything. You can just type in any band from BUFU onto Google and the work will show for itself. We’re like your number one fans that help you get things.

 

How do you feel about BUFU bands play at 939?

 

I think it’s hilarious. I hate to say it but its great that that place exists. It kind of blows my mind at first. We students look forward to playing 939 but if BUFU bands want to play there that’s cool, it’s another audience. I just wish kids in Boston realize there are more venues than just 939. There are house shows and legitimate venues that throw sick shows. It’s like, a lot of kids and its not just Berklee kids, think that Led Zeppelin was the last good band ever and nothing is ever going to compare, but right now is the best time for music because you have all the sh** from the past and all the new stuff coming out which is sick.

 

Japanther recently said, “BUFU is the best new record label going.” How does that make you feel and do you have any expectations for the future?

 

It’s kind of like funny. A lot of people think I act like a 12 year old and I totally feel like a 12 year old when I read that- I can’t take my smile off. I just get stoked. It means that somebody knows we’re not just clowning around and that we’re passionate about what we do. And for the bands that are on BUFU they get excited ‘cause when we get represented, they get represented.

 

I want people to get sense of what the community is like in BUFU. How would you describe the scene in a sentence?

 

Chillin’ mad hard and playing no games.

 

 

 

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Review – Aussie BBQ @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

I recently helped Sounds Australia put on this event. It was a massive success. The bands were on point, the sausages were sizzling and the beer was warm. A perfect Sunday in London.

Friday on my Mind

After appearances at Liverpool’s Sound City and at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival, Sounds Australia brought their Aussie BBQ showcase to London on Sunday.

Held across two stages at the reputable Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen venue, the Aussie BBQ 2014 played host to an incredible 21 acts over an amazing – albeit somewhat exhausting – 11 hours.

The day was kicked off in fine style by double drum-kitted Melbourne rockers Money For Rope, before the captivating Kate Miller-Heidke took to the stage. On the back of a strong and distinguished career back home, Miller-Heidke has come to the UK to promote her first locally released single, ‘Yours Was the Body,’ and it shouldn’t take her long to conquer the British public of she continues to produce spellbinding performances like Sunday’s.

Kate Miller Heidke. Photo by Carl Pires Kate Miller Heidke. Photo by Carl Pires

Another highlight from the afternoon shift came in the form of Brisbane five-piece The John Steel Singers, whose half…

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Beats to be taken over by Apple.

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Congratulations to Dr. Dre who might be on his way to becoming the first rapper/ billionaire ever. I bet he didn’t think of that when he was rapping about bitches not being shit.

Commiserations go out to Apple on potentially having just acquired an absolutely shit house product.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect what Beats do – manufacture a bass heavy, ugly, flimsy piece of equipment that is endorsed by one of the most popular rappers of all time. Oh and of course they recently launched a streaming service to rival Spotify.

I do wonder however, whether Steve Jobs would be rolling around in his grave at this new acquisition. In my opinion Beats stands for everything that Apple is not.

What scares me is the power Apple now has with the streaming service. If we think of the industry in waves, the mp3 wave that took out CD’s was completely dominated when Jobs launched I tunes. I wonder if the guys in silicon valley have something up their sleeve and are getting ready to release some sort of new streaming hardware that will blow Spotify away and deem I tunes useless.

While we wait for that, I’m going to put on my AIAIAI TMA1’s and listen to The Chronic.

Apple buying Beats Electronics! Good Move?

Apple’s biggest acquisition till date is the Beats electronics, which started off with headphones and now have diversified to car systems and home electronics, is all set to be acquired by Apple for 3.2 billion $. A good move? I don’t think so!

Beats now also are expanding into the music streaming platform and that is the main reason for the Apple for the acquisition. What changes will apple bring into the hardware of the Beats electronics product is still a mystery.

“They are buying into the future and the future is going to be streaming and subscription,” said Jon Irwin, former president, Rhapsody Inc.

What i do not understand is why cannot Apple invest the same of into iTunes and diversify into streaming? Even the hardware of Beats is not well respected and reputed!

Steve Jobs, never believed in such take-overs and acquisitions,  i think Apple needs him back from the other side!!

What future holds for Beats Electronics after the acquisition, is still not told about!

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-08/apple-said-to-be-near-buying-beats-electronics-for-3-2b.html

Does Coldplay still have their “Magic”?  

Coldplay released their new single, ‘Magic’ in March, 2014.  Although the track, ‘Magic’ leads with an almost electronic groove, it sounds like vintage Coldplay. Being a Coldplay fan, I was hoping for an album, which sounded more like his previous albums, ‘Parachutes’, ‘A rush of Blood to the head’ or ‘Viva La Vida’ than songs, which are inclined towards the electronic side.

With their new album releasing on 19th May, 2014, Coldplay decided to do a 6-date trek around different countries during the summer. They came up with an interesting marketing strategy to engage their fans in this era of networking and social media with game using #hashtags. They decided to collaborate with libraries worldwide and in between the pages of books about ghost stories were kept copies of lyrics from their new album ‘ghost stories’. There were handwritten lyrics by Chris Martin of nine different songs from the album.

They encouraged their fans by giving hints to look for the lyrics and post the pictures on social media by using #lyricshunt and tweeting @coldplay. In fact, one set included a “Golden Ticket” for a free trip to see Coldplay at Royal Albert Hall on July 1. Very unique and interesting strategies to not only market themselves but keep the fans engaged by offering add-ons.

Nevertheless, looking forward to their new album. Check out the trailer here for Ghost Stories.

 

Leading Music Distribution Platforms

Due to the rise of the various digital services in the world, several distribution platforms have made it tremendously easy for the artists to place their music on these digital services.

The music distribution services act as an aggregator between the artist and the digital services by giving the artists the opportunity to grow their fan base by making their music available digitally in the easiest way possible. Some of the leading music distribution platforms are The Orchard, Tune Core and CD Baby.

CD baby is a digital aggregator of independent music recordings and also acts as an online music store mainly focusing on sale of CD’s and music downloads from independent artists to customers. It distributes content to several online music retailers. On the other hand, Tune Core is an online music distribution service that offers the musicians or their right holders the opportunity to get their music into online music channels like Spotify, itunes, AmazonMP3 and many more.

Rates for CD Baby Tune Core
Album fee (music distribution) $49 $29.99 (1st year’s fee)

$49.99 (each following year after the 1st)

Single $12.95 $9.99/year
Commission 9% 0%

Tune Core pays out full amount to the artist. In the first quarter of 2014, Tune Core paid out 34.1 million to its artists.

The orchard is the leading music and film distribution company. The orchards pricing varies. They don’t have a fixed annual single/album pricing. These platforms give the artists the royalties and provide them with the weekly reports.

The Aussie BBQ 2014 – STREWTH.

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strewth

An Australian, or “Aussie”, exclaimation, similar to the somewhat more popular “Crikey!”
Strewth, that was a hard day, toss me a Fosters mate!

Every year a number of ‘activations’ occur for the company Sounds Australia.

Sounds Australia is Australia’s music market development initiative, established to provide a cohesive and strategic platform to assist the Australian music industry access domestic and international business opportunities.

This Sunday 11th May is the Aussie BBQ London 2014. Some of my favourite Australian bands are playing including (but definitely not limited to…) DUNE RATS, Money for Rope, Jeremy Neale and The John Steel Singers.

The first thing that comes to mind when people think of Australia is how ridiculously far away it is. I speak from first hand experience when I say that bands in Australia also feel the same way. It is a dream to play at festivals like Primavera Sound and  Glastonbury (Stonefield – one of the bands at this years BBQ has done just that) or even smaller festivals like The Great Escape.  That dream often seems impossible, as building a fan base and getting to Europe seems geographically unrealistic.

It is thanks to companies like Sounds Australia that help that dream become reality. The whole process seems extremely natural. The bands are some of the best the country has to offer and the venue has a great reputation in London.

Make sure you get to The Hoxton Bar and Kitchen this weekend for one hell of a Sunday Session. Get there early for a free Sausage Sizzle (a sausage in a piece of bread…) also known as the perfect hangover cure.

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is Australia’s music market development initiative, established to provide a cohesive and strategic platform to assist the Australian music industry access domestic and international business opportunities. – See more at: http://www.soundsaustralia.com.au/#sthash.dBMM1DPV.dpuf
is Australia’s music market development initiative, established to provide a cohesive and strategic platform to assist the Australian music industry access domestic and international business opportunities. – See more at: http://www.soundsaustralia.com.au/#sthash.dBMM1DPV.dpuf

is Australia’s music market development initiative, established to provide a cohesive and strategic platform to assist the Australian music industry access domestic and international business opportunities. – See more at: http://www.soundsaustralia.com.au/#sthash.dBMM1DPV.dpuf
is Australia’s music market development initiative, established to provide a cohesive and strategic platform to assist the Australian music industry access domestic and international business opportunities. – See more at: http://www.soundsaustralia.com.au/#sthash.dBMM1DPV.dpuf

Silent Album by Vulfpek earns $20,000 on Spotify

 Just heard about this and found it really interesting. Vulfpek had released a silent album, ‘Sleepify’ on Spotify. He wanted to finance a free tour for his fans and ended up earning more than $20,000. The album consisted of 10 songs that lasted 30 seconds each and every song was named z, zz, zzz..

Is this just another money-earning gimmick?

Vulfpek was asked to remove the album of off Spotify but its available on other platforms. Vulfpek came out with another album, ‘Official Statement’ in response to this.  This album included 3 and funny enough 1 of them was a silent track. Well, as they say silence speaks louder than words.

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Disrupción Records – Started from the bottom now we’re here!

Disrupción Records is Berklee College of Music’s (Valencia Campus) first student run record label. 17 immensely talented students are a part of this label and initially, it was really hard to coordinate with everyone about all the details that were necessary for the success of this label.

We have 3 teams – the legal, the A&R and the marketing team.  It started with legal issues on how to get a label started in Spain and whether the label name is available or not. Since, there were 17 people we decided to divide the label in two sides too coordinate better. Each side got the opportunity to work with 2 artists. It was really interesting to hear great music offered by such talented people in the Berklee Valencia Hub.

On 26th March, 2014, we launched Disrupcion records at Berklee, Valencia with some tunes from our very own, DJ kTunes. Ever since, we’ve been working with the artists, marketing them. It’s been great working with them.  The artists on our roster are Tess Ruth Stabb, Avila Santo, Miranda Inzuza and Stephen McHale. You can check out all the artists on our facebook page.

It hasn’t been easy but it has been a wonderful experience and we couldn’t have done it without the help of our  music industry aficionados, Ben Costantini and Ferran Coto.

 Follow us on:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/disrupcionrecords

Twitter http://twitter.com/disrupcionrecs

Instagram http://instagram.com/disrupcionrecs

 

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The Fratellis back on the road

In 2006, amongst the indie pop bands that were launching out of the UK, Scottish band The Fratellis managed to cause more of a stir than most.

The song that aided with this is one that holds a fond memory to many, it is called ‘Chelsea Dagger.’ Memories of this song might be a drunken haze, clinging arm in arm at the local pub or from when your sporting team scored that winning goal to get them into the final.

I recently interviewed the band as they made their way back to our shores for the first time in six years. Here is what Jon Fratelli, the lead singer had to say –

Carl: The music industry is a different place to when you first released Costello Music, your debut album. The digital age is in full force and Indie bands are much fewer. It would appear we are happier to lean our craft on a computer rather than an acoustic instrument. So how did the band have to adjust after coming out of the five year hiatus?

Jon: It’s easy when you don’t pay any attention, music’s only important if it’s important to you, worrying about the industry side of it doesn’t seem that important really.

C: How does it feel to be back together touring again and what has changed since you last came down under?

J: Well my hair is shorter, Mince has tattooed his head and Baz has one foot bigger than the other, also we’re far better to see live these days I reckon.

C: I know you mentioned in an interview at the end of last year that Chelsea Dagger is not necessarily one of your favourite songs. To date, what is the song you are most proud of?

J: I haven’t written it yet…that way I have a reason to get up in the morning….

C: At the end of last year, you said – “There’s nothing wrong with choruses. Choruses are not to be underestimated.” So what’s your favourite chorus from any song and why?

J: I said that? It might be true….there’s too many to mention but right here right now “She loves you yeah yeah yeah” springs to mind

C: You’re coming back to Australia after six years, what are some of your best memories from last time you were here, and what will you make sure you do again?

J: Well the first time we came over I saw some Crocodiles which was something I had on my list for a long time. The last time we were in Australia however we were in the huff with each other and didn’t play too well so we have some making up to do.

The Fratellis released their third studio album ‘We Need Medicine’ last October.

This is still my favourite song by the band to date.