MUSIC SUBWAY

When claiming a band is "real indie", there is always a risk of being perceived as pompous, because a “real” indie artist probably wouldn't claim themselves as such.  So first of all, the members of Tangerine didn't make this claim because they are genuinely too badass for that. And to make things clear: here is the definition of “real Indie” on our street:

An artist or group who is authentic and effortlessly cool while embracing the beautiful tight rope walk of creative expression and financial sustainability.

We were lucky enough to be invited to a garage venue at SXSW this year that made the artists and attendees feel like they stumbled upon a truly independent event.  The small home was hidden in the outshoots of Austin, where only faint sounds of the huge crowds and Bud Light promotions could be heard in the distance.  This is not to take away anything from SXSW and its efforts, the festival has just grown to such enormity that there is probably enough room to hold a second even more indie festival along side of it ala Slamdance/Sundance.

At this venue, this budding Indie pop band from Seattle, WA literally rocked the house.  The burgers and dogs, the sweat drops flying from the musicians (naturally they had to keep the garage door shut since the cops had already given a warning), and the accessibility of the artists after the show all added up to a rekindled love affair with the Indie Rock show.  I felt like a kid in the candy store, so naturally I filled up my now empty 20 oz can of Uber road soda and cooled myself down with whatever was in the keg.

Indie music garage band

Getting to sit with the band after gave me re-assurance of what they were as musicians and people (which usually go hand and hand).  

 

They were impressive on stage and authentically weird and magnetic while sitting on the lawn. 

Tangerine band on the lawnTangerine girls Indie Burger

 

Here is one of their music videos, so you can judge them musically for yourself...their ripping lead guitarist is probably the featured talent amongst a group of very fun and talented musical artists.  

 

 

Below is my brief interview with the lead singer, Marika where she talks about the band and their naviagtion of the Indie distribution landscape:

 

JWebb: How did Tangerine get started? 

 Marika: well Miro and I are sisters, and having been jamming on our instruments together since we were maybe 11 and 13 years old. I met Toby in high school and found that he's probably my favorite person to write music with. A couple years ago we decided to form Tangerine. I had just started working with Ryan, we booked bands for our university, and it was sort of like fate- he was a bass player looking for  band right when we needed one. It all came together very naturally and it's honestly just been a lot of fun since day one. 

 

JWebb: Who are some bands that have inspired you, and name a few non-existing band names of the future that you would love to inspire.  

Marika: There's so many bands that have inspired what we do it's hard to know where to start..mazzy star, hole, haim, breeders, black lips, charli xcx, el perro del mar, velvet underground, sky ferreira, hinds, max martin, the strokes, lana del rey, lorde to name a few! As I said before, I'm inspired by things from both ends of the spectrum: everything from Taylor Swift to the Clash and the Strokes. Our music is kind of a melting pot. 

 As for future band names that we'd love to inspire...I've never been asked that before haha. Maybe we'll inspire more fruit-based names? There could be a whole fruit-based revolution. When I was sixteen i thought Leopard Limo was a great band name. No one else did though. 

 

JWebb: We were lucky enough to watch one of your shows at a house garage venue at SXSW which really was an amazing intimate experience.  How have you guys tried to balance "Staying indie" with the very real world need for artists to continue to generate revenue.   

Marika: That was such a fun show! I'm glad you guys were able to make it, we love Austin. Musically, we naturally end up in a place that sort of straddles the indie/pop worlds. I like to think of our music as the Breeders meets the Strokes meets Charlie XCX. We've played some really amazing venues and some super DIY dingy spots and at the end of the day if the crowd is feeling it and giving off great vibes that's what makes it a good show.

 

JWebb: From your experience to date do you feel that it is more effective to hit the pavement and concentrate locally or have you found that there are any unexpected demographics or regions that have discovered and loved your music from internet sources. 

Marika: Honestly we've wondered ourselves what's most important and I'm not sure I can give you an answer. the internet is amazing in terms of connecting you with people across large distances- we've been interviewed by people in the UK and have sold digital downloads all around the world, in places we've never been to. Nothing beats connecting with people in person on tour though. 

 

JWebb: What has been your most successful fan building technique in the digital/internet realm?  Any type of social media you guys really dislike? 

 Marika: facebook has been really instrumental in us reaching people but it's also incredibly frustrating. sometimes a huge number of people will see something you post from it, and sometimes almost no one will and it feels very arbitrary. I'm pretty sure it's all a ploy to convince you to pay for sponsored ads. 

 

JWebb: Quick Story time - what is the best story that the band or one of its members has had (could be funny, inspiring, frightening, or all of above) 

Marika: I'll keep this short because it's not really my story to tell but both Toby and Ryan have been robbed at gunpoint at different times. One of the stories is way more fucked up than the other but I think i'll leave that to your imagination. They both lived to laugh about it! 

 

And the growing Tangerine band fan base is stoked about that!  Sitting on the dirt patch outside the garage was really one of those moments where you feel you might be hanging with some people who are destined for greatness...and even if that train doesn't come fully into the station, it was still great to meet some genuinely cool people.  I think their bass player summed up the gist of what it takes to be a real indie success.  He told me his first key was to get honest about what kind of music you personally like and move your head too. Most of the stuff he listened to actually had some pop elements with a catchy beat and tempo.  Trying to go completely outside of what you honestly jive to is doing a disservice to your work, your fans and in this case your wallet even.  He explained that staying indie was more simply to stay working, because most musical artists have to pay rent and eat food to survive, which Indie filmmakers can relate to since we are also human!  So mixing up venues from bars to garages to sponsored festival stages is all a part of it, while you work your ass of to collaborate and make music that you are proud of and that your growing fan base will love.  

 

- Jay Webb, Indie Street.

 

You can follow all things Tangerine on Facebook.  (photography by Nina Christensen)

 

Animator and creator TOMEK DUCKI lives in eastern Europe and works globally remotely. Here he is quizzed about his unique visual style: Q: Please briefly describe your childhood. Hm, let me see… I was born in a Polish-Hungarian family and I was raised in Budapest. For those who are not familiar with that: Polish and Hungarian language have as much in common as Finnish and Czech, or Estonian and Croatian = Nothing. Probably the most useful information, however, is that my father is a graphic designer and specializes in posters, and for the twist, he was raised in Warsaw.Read more: http://bit.ly/1yKYPaT

With all the music and film content on the web, the real challenge is curating and presenting the content in a way that makes it simple and engaging for consumers of videos so they can get what they want (even if they didn't know that they wanted it). Well, I don't know about you, but a little "I gotta man" by Positive K, or "Everything About You" from Ugly Kid Joe, is just what I was looking to re-discover when I got turned on to the Nostalgia Machine. Great job by the creators/embedders of this site to figure out a simple way to organize youtube videos so we can all relive some great and awful tunes and music vids.

This month the music subway delivers us to Montreal to discover Secret Sun, whose Album just dropped on Tuesday (September 30th, 2014). The first track they released in April 2014, Cold Coast, gives us that happy, yet dark, feeling of an eighties soundtrack song mixed with some modern synths and lyrical composition...Yep! Check it out below. [soundcloud id='145760186' playerType='html5']

Secret Sun also released a music video for another track from their album, this one entitled Passing Cars. Safe to say we are excited for this budding Canadian group and their album to be released by BonSound.

We recommend you buy the album on ITunes or you can also follow them here on Facebook if you do that sort of thing.

This Month's Musical Artist in the Streetlight is Kosha Dillz. Kosha and I go back to the beginning of this century when he would dominate the freestyle circles in my dirty basement on Somerset St. at Rutgers University.  10 years later my dude is still freestyling, but no big deal, now he’s got Grammy award winning Macklemore beat-boxing for him.  When you have skills like Dillz, you eventually blow up.  It’s plain and simple.  Well, actually it's not that simple at all.  You actually can't blow up with just skills...you either need lightning bolt luck, or you need to work nonstop for years and never stop loving and believing in your own art.  Enter Kosha:

In Kosha Dillz (aka Rami to us New Brunswick kids back then), we all can find the true meaning of artist success on an Independent level.  I believe it was 2002 when Kosha left Rutgers and was on his way to Vegas/LA to realize his dreams of becoming a hip hop star.  He had just won a serious freestyle competition against some quality talent in NB.  Being one of two white kids in the battle, and surely the only Jewish white kid, Kosha wowed the crowd and embarrassed the competition with his wit and lyrical genius.  So talent was never the question, the man had talent.  But we all know it is not enough to have talent, it is what you do with the talent that really matters, and this is where Kosha worked his way to in his latest Vlog with Macklemore:

So before Kosha left, he basically told me he was "going to go make it happen".  Back then I wished him well, but didn't know that he would turn into a possessed touring maniac who I witnessed travel to every corner of the globe and turn over every stone in order to keep on working at the craft he loved.  He is a freestyle rapper, and that is what he was going to do no matter what anyone told him.  In the past 14 years I am sure he has had his ups and downs, but Kosha never quit.   Even with me personally, he would hit me up every once in a while to see if I had any movies that there might be some collaboration possibilities. It hasn't happened yet, but this is just one of the avenues he was constantly exploring over the last ten years to get his work out there and to keep himself rapping and living in his own freestyle manner.  I could always tell how excited he was about his work and about getting it out there, so much so that I am even in the early stages of developing an animated piece that probably will have a spot for Kosha.  Here is Kosha's newest music Video Release, which IndieStreet is digging on hard.

Passion is not only admirable, it's contagious.  If you glow when you do what you love, live and breath it, and keep pounding the street, then there WILL be others that will get behind you. In Kosha's case he has toured with Matisyahu and many other stars on his crazy journey toward Independent success, so I had to ask a few questions about how he did it:

JWEbb: As an independent rapper that has been doin it for over a decade, how have you been most successful in branding yourself and keeping true to what it is you do as an artist?

Kosha: I just think about continuously working hard and creating opportunity and staying true to my desire. I enjoy working and providing new experience for myself, so I am always trying to rap wherever I can. A blessing and curse at the same time. JWebb: After all of your globe trotting, what was your most memorable place to play and do you have any quick stories that stick out from the rest? Kosha: Well last night I slept in a car for the first time in...Paris. I recall the first time I slept in a car in Boise Idaho in 2008, and forgot to sleep with car on and heat. I woke up quite quickly..and freezing. JWebb: We noticed you have recently started you Vlog web series. What have you learned over the years about growing your audience and connecting with your fans through new forms of media. Kosha: I didn't realize that sometime sharing your passion for things no matter how small can really create a great opp for you. I was discovered on a vlog with nearly 500,000 hits now (Roman Atwood) and that drove me to do my 30 day 30 vlog challenge. I only did 20 but I have learned a lot. JWebb: What do you say to the people who think you are a more skilled freestyle artist than Eminem? Kosha: I appreciate the comment. I want to let you all know that having more skill doesn't mean anything. I guarantee some of the best filmmakers are horrible editors. Some of the best editors are so good they might not ever finish a project because it's not perfect. JWebb: Looking to open for or tour with Macklemore in the future? What is next for Kosha Dillz? Kosha: I think it'd be great to open for him in the future. I also think creating more content is key and that good content will be discovered. JWebb: Any final words of advice to other Indie artists who are hitting the streets to get their work out there? I would say you should go light on the drugs/drinking. Never stop learning and never stop listening. Give yourself a chance before you quit. Whenever I started to count myself out in the last hour, I pushed a little harder and something amazing happens which completely changes the game :) On Indie Street we are proud to present these two new videos from Kosha Dillz, his newest rap video "What's going on upstairs?" and his most recent vlog which includes the Maclemore freestyle session.  Kosha's style is a bit quirky and he may never be completely main stream, but aren't most Independent artists that are true to themselves a bit too unique or weird for mass media?  Kosha knew from day one that his style touched certain people, and he never looked back.   The idea of our new world is you can stick to your guns and create exactly what you want to.  Todays access and technology combined with an unforgiving will to succeed, an artist can find a large enough niche audience to make enough $ to keep them doing what they love.  And if that is not what you are in it for, than you are not an artist anyway.   In short if you are a filmmaker, musician, designer, or painter, with some serious pavement hitting you, like Kosha, can make it happen. Follow Kosha on Facebook or his Vlog on his youtube channel...