Thursday, November 13

Enter Your Song In Our Holiday Contest! 

We are now accepting Holiday Song submissions.

Visit the Holiday Contest Info page here: 

Airplay Top 10 (Week 44 2014)

Top Band on Jango This Week
Land of la Bora
Top Band on Jango This Week
Top Band on Jango This Week
Hot Dose
Top Band on Jango This Week
JW Pollock
Top Band on Jango This Week
Top Band on Jango This Week
SK Slapwagon
Top Band on Jango This Week
F. Aaron Florence
Top Band on Jango This Week
Lagom Rad
Top Band on Jango This Week
Mark Northfield
Top Band on Jango This Week
Tesla Boy

Getting the most out of the artist/manager relationship

Music Think Tank recently posted a great piece which explains what it takes to truly maximize the partnership between an artist and their manager.

Getting the most out of the artist/manager relationship takes an understanding of crucial differences between these roles. 

Want to learn more? Click here to read the full post:

Start Building Local Buzz

"Every band has to start somewhere. Many groups playing the world’s largest stages today started in small clubs in and around their hometowns. But sometimes, it’s difficult to even get that far. When you’re at the very beginning, with no fanbase or connections whatsoever, how do you cut through the noise and get people to notice you?"

Our friends over at CD BABY recently posted a great short guide on booking gigs locally and building your buzz and fanbase, that new and even experienced artists can use to play more, bigger, and better shows.

Click Here to read more:

Check back often for more industry news, tips & tricks on how to make the most out of your promotion on Radio Airplay!

Plan your own tour

Planning out a Winter tour? Touring can be one of the most fun and rewarding experiences for a band or artist - but there are right and wrong ways to tour, and keeping a few basics in mind can save you a lot of trouble and money, and help get you the best results out of your tours and shows..

Our friends over at CD BABY recently posted a great, fun article with lots of helpful information for touring artists, whether you've been on the road for a while or you're considering your first ever tour -- by Angela Webber of The Doubleclicks.

Click Here to read more:

Check back often for more industry news, tips & tricks on how to make the most out of your promotion on Radio Airplay!

Keep your audience engaged

If you want to keep an audience engaged and entertained, it's important to have interesting content. Creating video content can be fun, but you should consider a few things before you begin making it. Our friends at Music Think Tank posted a great article to their blog with 4 tips for creating shareable, watchable video content. 

Learn more here:

Monday, November 10

Raygun Ballet...they like cheese

Please welcome our first Center Stage artist of November.  Raygun Ballet

John-Mark & Deborah Austin have been a production team for 30 years.  First, for 10 years in an East Coast recording studio creating over-produced, progressive-rockish scores for low-budget industrial videos, then on to another 20 years running a CGI black box unit at Academy Award-winning Rhythm & Hues Studios in Los Angeles.  He directs, composes, composites and scores.  She produces, manages, balances and voices.  As a husband/wife team their roles are often fluid and varied and the two have worked practically inseparably since meeting in college.

Seeking some much-needed relief from the pressures of the visual effects industry, John-Mark started composing music again during a sabbatical in 2007.  The results would ultimately become 2008's Immersion Theory – The Icarus Foray, an ambient spacer featured on Stephen Hill's Music From The Hearts Of Space and Australia's Ultima Thule, as well as ambient programs and stations worldwide.  For mastering, the couple relied on the legendary Robert Rich at Soundscape in Mountain View, CA.

With the modest success of Icarus, John-Mark set to work on a larger and more ambitious venture. Inspired by the likes of Lemon Jelly and BT's This Binary Universe, 2013 saw the release of Raygun Ballet – World That Wasn't, a Terry Gilliamesque thematic work on the failures of 50's era futurism to deliver on its promises. This time the sound was more downtempo and chillout oriented, with elements of glitch and IDM as well.  Deborah voiced several of the tracks, covering roles ranging from a creepy child's recitation of a mysterious happening to an elevator cooing out an odd assortment of available services in a futuristic shopping mall.  John Dilberto, of PRI's national show Echoes, pronounced the project the “leftfield album of the year” and included it in his list of the year's ten essential album buys.

Bringing their animation skills into play, the pair joined forces with Rhythm & Hues and Flash animator Nathan Smith (aka SWITCH) to produce an animated music video for the album's opening track Figment.

Meanwhile, Hollywood's visual effects industry was getting into serious trouble. Major effects houses were declaring bankruptcy and even the mighty Rhythm & Hues – one of the industry's oldest and most stalwart bastions – began to shudder under increasing movie studio demands and lowered budgets.  Inexorably, jobs began moving offshore, where workers could be trained for cents on the American dollar.

It was during this tumultuous period, and the increasing gaps between paying projects, that John-Mark began Big California, a new Raygun Ballet release inspired by the couple's road trips into California's beautiful and bizarre deserts and their encounters with the characters that lived there.

Ultimately, Rhythm & Hues collapsed and declared bankruptcy, ironically only two weeks before winning their second Academy Award for their groundbreaking work on Life of Pi.

It was a sea change moment.  Faced with becoming international effects migrant workers in the new VFX paradigm, or scrabbling for a dwindling number of jobs in LA, the couple opted instead for a third approach:  a simpler and more minimalistic lifestyle in a developing economy with a balanced focus on music and humanitarian causes.

The final touches were put on Big California and the album was released digitally through CDBaby under the couple's new label Mars Arcana.  Then, with little fanfare or promotion for the new release, they moved onto the process of redefining an entire lifestyle.  They purged everything – selling or donating vintage recording gear, synthesizers, mixers, house, car, clothes, furniture, everything – and began building a lifestyle on the principles of sustainability and service.  They now reside in central Mexico and are developing ties to humanitarian organizations.  They expect to use their production experience in promoting these causes to the world.  Meanwhile, work is continuing on a new Immersion Theory project scheduled for 2015 release.

Describe your sound in one ramble-on sentence
“Adolescent Popular Mechanics retro-futuristic daydreams”

What inspires you to make music?
We love mid-twentieth century Americana – with its weird contrast of affluence and optimism versus its paternalistic racism and sexism.  Pretty much any media piece from that decade can yield wonder one second and cringes the next.  So while Raygun Ballet mines that era for its lack of cynicism and hopeful outlook, there's also a ton of national delusion and denial there.  Conceptually, it's a perfect source for addressing today's social issues without stabbing people's political hot buttons.

Both Raygun Ballet albums have one foot firmly in that culture – especially its futurism and science fiction for World That Wasn't, and its love affair with the West Coast and travel for Big California.  Sonically, though, it's pretty much “anything goes”.  There's loads of texture and instrumentation from the 1930's onwards;  Novachord, Theremin, Hammond, Moog, Sequential and KORG gear all end up in the same stew without much fussing over “authenticity”, whatever that is.

What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?
I'm a reforming vintage gear fetishist.  Fortunately, virtual instruments have really come into their own in the last few years and there's some really amazing and affordable software out there.  Once the market got saturated with all the popular staples, developers started moving on to more esoteric and exotic instruments – weird and wonderful machines that lived in the collections of rock demigods and were rarely seen or heard by mere mortals.  An ever-increasing number of them have been modeled or sampled to near-perfection and live on as software, so it's a very exciting time to be a vintage synth user.

That's good, because our own vintage gear was eating us alive in maintenance costs and downtime.  Inevitably the synth you wanted was the one in the shop.  So I'd end up using a VST version anyway and found that with a bit of love they sounded pretty great in a mix.  Admittedly, I miss the immediacy of knobs and the sometimes-good imperfections of analog synths, but I don't be miss the days spent cleaning old key contacts and crackly pots instead of writing new material.

What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged?

Let me put on a flame retardant suit first...
Well, the Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away.  The same distribution miracle that helps indie musicians find an audience in the first place often keeps indie musicians from ever really thriving at it, which is kind of sad.  As a commodity, music is now almost valueless.  The only real value it has is when it connects with a listener where they live – and that and five bucks will get you a Frappuccino at Starbucks.

That's salt on the wounds of struggling musicians – and doubtless many will cite anecdotes of some guy they know that “made it”.  But hopefully no one that's picked up an honest music magazine in the last decade still expects to make a living from this...whatever it is...I'm reticent to even call it a “business”.

It's purely for love.  As a result, I have a lot more respect for those that persevere.  Music made for passion – not profit – isn't an altogether bad thing.

What's one of your all-time favorite recordings?
Wow, that's tough, picking just one...  I guess I'll go with Mike Oldfield's oft-reviled album Amarok for its sheer brazen, balls-out audacity, intricacy and humor.  It refuses to be marginalized as comfortable background music and manages to simultaneously enthrall and insult the listener at every one of its mind-boggling twists and turns.  Outstanding!

Name three people who have influenced your music, and tell us why (Living or dead.)

Well having just listed Mike Oldfield, it would be impossible not to acknowledge a major debt there, and particularly to his earliest works like Tubular Bells, Ommadawn, and Hergest Ridge.

Early promo photos showed Mike in his studio along with every instrument imaginable and I always fantasized about having walls full of guitars, gongs and exotic instruments.  In the end, my walls ended up covered more with cheap circuit-bent toys, KORG and Sequential synths, and loads of hobby-kits and failed Arduino experiments.  It certainly didn't have the majesty of Oldfield's rig but somehow it scratched the itch nonetheless.

The second influence would probably be Alan Parsons (and a whole host of prog rockers that followed suit).  Again, it's the multi-instrument thing, along with lush arrangements and orchestration.  But beyond that Parsons created thematic albums with strong storytelling components. Tales of Mystery and Imagination for Poe's work, I Robot for whatever I Robot was about.  Robots, I guess...

But as a result, each album felt like an artistic whole:  a total narrative with a beginning, middle and end that existed whether you, the listener, understood it or not.  Suffice it to say we've “borrowed” that approach for every album we've done in a vain hope of preserving the album itself as an artistic medium, as opposed to the modern and ever-so-practical online sales of mp3 singles.  Easily half the time in writing Big California was spent on the hour-long Roadtripping Mix that seamlessly links and supplements the tracks into an uninterrupted experience that's perfect for road trips to weird places.  Your mileage may vary, of course.

The third isn't a person, so much as a genre.  We're pretty heavily influenced by radio dramas from the early days of radio right up to BBC shows today.  It's the ability to create images in the listener's mind that's so captivating.  I listened to them as a kid, and now that the Internet brings all things near, we've spent hundreds of hours trawling through these old shows for clips, music ideas and just pure, visceral entertainment.

Do you have any recent or upcoming projects you'd like to share with us? Tell us about it.
Raygun Ballet is only one of our ongoing music projects.  We also release under the moniker Immersion Theory for ambient and space-music projects.  Our last album was in 2008 with The Icarus Foray and we're very overdue for a new release.  In spite of our recent focus on Raygun Ballet, Icarus still outsells them all, which is simultaneously gratifying and infuriating.  So enough neglect;  the follow-up Immersion Theory album is expected to be released next year.

What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
Indie musicians thrive in musical niches, but we're pretty quickly drowned out in the mainstream.  We know we'll never break through the zillion spins of Pop Flavor Of The Month so when a service offers open-minded listeners a chance to hear our tracks in a playlist of more-familiar material, it's a real opportunity for us to connect with listeners that might have missed us otherwise.  By bringing indie artists and listeners together, Radio Airplay serves a vital role in growing independent music.

Interesting story about you, or anything extra you'd like to add...
I like cheese.


CDBaby (also Amazon, iTunes, etc.):



Figment – The Music Video (Vimeo)

Figment from Raygun Ballet on Vimeo.