The Way of The Artist/Producer

What's the difference between a music producer and God? God doesn't think He's a music producer! 

Often described as the big picture guy, the person who writes the checks, the one who shows up after weeks of work and tells the bands whether they have a record or not, or, as a high-schooler recently told me, someone who makes beats - a producer is a wide-ranging concept. But seriously folks, what does a producer do?
In the age of independent music, many traditional elements of creating a record have to be scratched in order to meet the budget of an independent artist. After money is set aside for studio time, or home recording equipment, musical accompanists, a mixing engineer, CD duplication, promotional materials... you may not have funds left to throw at a producer. You may also be unsure as to why you would even need a producer, or think that the very concept runs counter to the spirit of independent music. I don’t want to squelch anyone's spirit, but I do  believe that a producer is in fact necessary to make a great album. And, with enough practice and know-how, the independent artist can exit the role of the songwriter to wear the hat of the producer. 
Let me set the stage with a short anecdote and a question. The first time Metallica heard their legendary “Black Album”, they were apparently surprised, and dismayed, to find all of the classical orchestration that producer Bob Rock had added. Nevertheless, Bob Rock was the producer and his vision hit the record stores. The album, simply titled Metallica, has since gone platinum in 12 countries (15x platinum in the US), and helped Metallica crossover into popular music. The question I ask is, would the “Black Album” have done this without Bob Rock; without the vision of an outsider? 
Ok, so what does a producer do? The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, in Tempe Arizona, lists the roles and duties of a producer as:
1. “RULE” over everything. 
2. Manage the Budget. 
3. Select the songs. 
4. Perfect the music. 
5. Referee, counsel, guide, pick up hoagies, do whatever it takes to succeed. 
6. Depending on the Producer, co-write songs, perform on a recording, write the 
orchestral backgrounds, etc. 
A truly independent artist fulfills the majority of these roles already; they already “rule” over everything, manage their own budgets, select their songs, feed themselves, write and perform their own music, and do whatever they can to succeed. Perhaps this list slightly differs from that of the independent artist-cum-producer on the importance of creating hits. But whatever the goal may be, number four on the list (“Perfect the music”), perhaps the vaguest of all duties, is essential to creating a great song!
Perfecting the music, as I see it, is a three-step process. It usually begins with creating the music (although not always; another high-schooler played me something he produced that was someone else’s techno song with goat-noises added on top of it). This step (one) of producing music deals with notes, musical phrases, lyrics, instrumentation; the stuff that you hear when you write a song and try it out with the band (or computer). Next is the recording and mixing phase. This step (two) of producing music deals with capturing the right sounds and performances, editing, balancing frequencies, levels, noise, effects, spacial positioning, etc. It’s possible that a great song and a good mix could be sent off to mastering, cranked way up and be ready to conquer the airwaves. But more often than not it is helpful for an outsider, with fresh ears, to step (three) in and let you know if there is an awkward or lackluster musical phrase or lyric, when a wailing guitar is clearly missing or is too loud, where the rhythm should fall on the beat, how well the vocals match up with the emotionality of the lyrics, if there is a frequency whole that needs to be filled, whether the track should be clean, dynamic and emulate a different time-period, or distorted, smashed with compression and contemporary, etc. In other words, the producer makes sure that the artist and the engineer succeeded in steps one and two so that it all syncs up with the vibe and the idea of the song. Step three is a combination of correcting mistakes and keeping the vision on track. The strength of having an outsider produce your song, is that they have a better chance of noticing mistakes that you've already missed, and helping you find pockets of potential that you were unaware of. In visual terms, the producer might see a different hue to the aura of what’s being produced. 
So, how can one person possibly fulfill both (or all three) roles without losing any of that elusive potential? Well, firstly, they have to be good at producing. It is not a role that every artist can play, which doesn’t take anything away from the artist. An artist must be aware of their own limitations, because as often as not, artist/producing doesn’t work out very well. But if the potential is there for the artist/producer role, the challenge then becomes creating sufficient space between the roles of artist and producer. In the same way that the mixing engineer battles with ear fatigue, and must break to refresh his ears, the artist battles with a mind fatigue of sorts, due to their intensely personal and mental connection to the song and tireless laboring over it, which may hinder the artist from a fresh perspective. 
To quote the Rolling Stones, “Time is on my side”. Time is a key ingredient in creating the space between artist and producer. After you record, mix and master a song, I strongly suggest hanging onto it for a while before committing it to its final resting state. You can still put it up online and listen to it (labeling it with ‘demo’ or ‘premaster’ will give you leeway to fix things later on). In fact, the more feedback you receive and the more times you hear it the more clearly you can see those pockets that you may have missed as your artist-self was finishing up its job. I usually know that I need more time when I am still listening for all of the microscopic changes I want to make (i.e. I’m very much stuck in one way of looking at it). 
Next, listen to music that you wish to emulate! Try and decipher the insights and tricks from other producer’s work, by listening to albums with the sound/feel you are going for. Listen for the EQ emphasis or de-emphasis across the frequency spectrum. Listen for the dynamic range and how the song breathes. Listen for the balance, or lack there of, of organic to synthetic instrumentation. Listen for where the vocals or lead instruments sit in the mix. And listen to lots of it before coming back to your track! 

George Martin with the Beatles.
Lastly, practice makes perfect. In the early years of The Beatles, the band spent four years in Hamburg developing their talents and performing over 1,200 live shows! By the time they returned to England they were polished performers, innovative song-writers and ready to conquer the globe. It took talent, the capacity and hunger to learn from mistakes and from others, and incessant practicing to turn four Liverpudlian boys into the Fab 4. But lets not forget that the Beatles still had George Martin (and later Phil Spector) to keep them on track, to make sense of the genius whirling around the studio, and to keep an uncompromising lookout towards the end goal. With that in mind let me re-ask the Bob Rock question; would the Beatles have succeeded without the help of George Martin? It’s not a question of talent, because the Beatles had no shortcomings there. But they certainly would’ve needed to rely on a skill-set that I’m not sure that they had developed at that time. And why would they? They had George Martin around. (As an aside, all of the Beatles went on to produce later in their careers.) The point is, talent and potential must fuse, in one instance, for music to be perfected. It is possible for an individual to do this, as independent artists are proving every month, but it takes lots of experience, knowledge and talent. The challenges are great and the rewards are greater. So, get inspired by the greats, stay hungry, stick at it and best of luck with juggling hats.


The Imaginary Cities of Manitoba

No, this post's title is not a stab at the size of Brandon or Winnipeg, the two largest (but perhaps too small to be accurately called) cities in Canada's lake-ridden prairie province, Manitoba. But what the "Heart of the Continent" lacks in population it more than makes up for in flora, fauna, tall-grass and a "suspiciously good" musical act, Imaginary Cities. 

The group formed after a fortuitous encounter between founding members Rusty Matyas and Marti Sarbit. The relationship quickly blossomed into local gigging, a critically praised debut album and an international tour opening for The Pixies, all within a fantastically short period of time. In under two years, Imaginary Cities has risen to Canada's national stage and put out an album that caused a CBC host to declare "I F#%*ing love this band." This is a band that I fully expect to see great things and big moves from in the next year or two. But enough prophecy and praise from me, you simply need to hear their album Temporary Resident and see for yourself. 

For more on Imaginary Cities check out 


Check out this movie, Before The Music Dies.

How can we reconcile that we live in a time when high quality recordings can be produced from home and the largest distributors in history (iTunes and Amazon) are open to all artists, yet popular music is increasingly formulaic and radio playlists are shrinking? How is it that major labels no longer control the modes of production or the channels of distribution of music, while remaining in control of nearly all the music that moves through those channels with force and ends up on the charts? Before The Music Dies is a fascinating documentary that addresses many of the questions that leave today's artists and music lovers perplexed and disheartened.
From the consolidation of power in the music industry, to the takeover of executive posts at major record labels by MBAs with no appreciation for music, to the rise of MTV and a visual orientation to music, to technology that makes it easy to cover up and correct lousy performances, to our culture's growing emphasis on physical beauty and youth, to our youth's tranquil acceptance of musical formulas and craving of more of the same... Before The Music Dies rounds up majors, indies, fans and executives, and pieces together an in depth understanding of how the music industry evolved into something that pumps out what Bob Dylan has labeled "pollution". It is a fascinating and well-told story, filled with interviews, archival footage, live performances and humor.
So next time you have a movie night, fire up indieAndie, turn on Before The Music Dies, hit the full screen button, and then let us know what you thought, and what you think the future holds! Desperate times call for imaginative solutions.

Having trouble viewing the video above? Check it out directly @ For our readers in countries that block hulu, we hope you can find this movie somewhere else online. In the meantime check out the trailer on Youtube.


The Bad Lamps and the Music of Summer!

While it may seem a bit cliché, as the days heat up I always find myself searching for the perfect summertime tunes to listen to while driving with the windows down, sunglasses on, and the wind in my hair. And this summer I’m definitely adding The Bad Lamps to my playlist. 

The Bad Lamps are a Los Angeles based duo consisting of Patrick Martinez on guitars and vocals and George Russell on the drum machine and synth. They have self-tagged their music as dance, electronic, folk, hippie pop, and Los Angeles — all very appropriate descriptions of their style. 
The Bad Lamps throw a healthy mix of organic instrumentation, electronic beats, and catchy lyrics into their music to create a sound as warm and sunny as the city they take their inspiration from. The Bad Lamps latest release, Soultronic EP, is now available on Bandcamp, and has a maturity and consistency to it usually reserved for albums. Their patent sound of dry electric guitar signal (coming in hot enough for a little digital distortion) juxtaposed with ambient synths and a crisp beat, are the perfect foundation for their raw, present and unaffected vocals. 
Listening to The Bad Lamps my body can’t help but move to the beat, while my mind is stirred by the lyrics, which capture the tenor of a generation struggling to find its way in a time and place of obscured definition. This combination inspires a carefree attitude in myself that makes me want to blow off work and enjoy the summer heat to the fullest. And on that note, I’m getting out of here, and I encourage you to download Soultronic EP and do the same! 


indieAndie turns 3000!

indieAndie has reached it's 3000th view count! 
A turning point for indieAndie.
We are very encouraged by the interest in the articles, and show of support for the artists we have featured on our budding web project so far. Like all things young, we are staying hungry and growing fast! 

Keep up to date on artist spotlight, production tips and articles on the music industry by following us on twitter! Simply click the button below. 

And stay tuned for new and exciting features, like podcasts and venue revues! Thanks for your support and keep on sending us those suggestions! 
-Shia Sommer, Editor-in-Chief


Ottawa’s got Soul!

John Carroll is a seasoned songwriter and composer with 25 years of experience at his back and an active voice in Ottawa's music scene. Carroll is a true performer and a staple at The Chateau Lafayette, where his folk-tales and blues-riffs can be heard every Wednesday night. As a songwriter and poet, Carroll fits comfortably into a variety of genres and time-periods, all the while synthesizing the eclectic elements in his music into a coherent, contemporary and colorful sound. His tune "Lost Radio", off of his like-titled 2008 album, is a magnificent piece of songwriting—his melancholic sound couples perfectly with the hopeful lyrics to create an overwhelming sense of beauty. 
While listening to his recordings an incredible desire arose within me to see him live and I can only imagine how great those Wednesday nights at The Chateau Lafayette must be. Keep telling your stories John Carroll! We here at IndieAndie will keep listening and invite our readers to do the same. 

Check out and download music by John Carroll @ cdbaby or at his website

John Carroll has released two full length solo albums "The True Confessions of an Infamous Liar," in 2003, and "Lost Radio," in 2008. Carroll has a forthcoming album with his band the Epic Proportions, due out this Fall.

"Lost Radio" by John Carroll


Worlds of sound collide at the crossroads of America.

Upon listening to Jordan Danielsen's music for the first time I was struck with a familiarity that caught me off guard. My mind went racing, throughout America, across the Atlantic and over the last six decades of music, to place all of the rich sounds and ideas that I was hearing, which to my surprise, were coming out of Iowa, circa 2011! 
Danielsen's sound is undeniably rich in Rock and Roll tradition. He bucks the sound-trend that so many of today's 'indie' bands conform to in the pursuit of contemporaneity (new and deliberately unique instrumentation and vocals, synthesized sounds, etc.) in favor of tried and true themes that have been working for Rock and Rollers since the birth of the genre. Danielsen serves up a cocktail of upbeat acoustic rhythm guitar, funky backing horns, soulful solos, smooth vocal crooning, rhythmic singing, country twang, blue notes, nostalgia, optimism... and like all good cocktails, it goes down easy and feels great! Danielsen's music is a welcome reminder that ordinary elements- a straightforward melody, standard time signature, heartfelt lyrics, etc.- can add up to something quite extraordinary. And that music that sounds good, and feels good, will always have a market. Speaking of which... you can find Danielsen's latest album Night Alone In The City @ iTunes and other online stores

Check out "Company" by Jordan Danielsen

"Summer of 99"

For more of Jordan Danielsen's music head to Reverbnation.

Jordan Danielsen may be coming to your town soon!
Check out the tour schedule below and don't miss a night good music and fun.


Cathie Appel: A Voice From Above (or at least North of the US).

Toronto based singer
Cathie Appel 

Lots of questions, thoughts and emotions rush forward when I listen to the beautiful voice of Cathie Appel; the former lead singer of the now defunct alternative band from Toronto, Seagoe. For starters, I wonder why a band with such great music and heart-wrenching lyrics fell apart, and I am dumbfounded by the recording industry's failure to gobble them up. Whatever the reasons may be, I am very thankful that they did exist for a while and that a few of their late night jam sessions turned into productive recording sessions, which bore a slew of wonderful songs that feature the extraordinary talent of Cathie Appel.
Cathie's voice is simple and almost painfully beautiful. She conveys such a deep message through her vocals that her lyrics are simply 'icing on the cake'! Upon listening to Cathie sing 'Hold You Again' a quote from Baudelaire jumped to my mind, in which the poet said, "I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no meloncholy". Cathie's longing is palpable and it leaves me powerless to remain in whatever mood I was in before listening to her sing- unless of course I was already overcome with beauty. This is powerful stuff people, but don't hold back, you can't overdose on good music!
I hope you enjoy listening to Cathie Appel as much as I do, and I encourage you to friend, fan, follow, like, and send messages of encouragement and support as Cathie (hopefully soon) embarks on her next project!
Listen to 'Hold You Again'

For more on Cathie Appel visit her Reverbnation page or friend her on myspace.

T Dawn takes us Beyond The Dawn.

T Dawn is a gifted singer/songwriter/musician out of Riverside, CA, with a massive online presence. Her music is drenched in the epic-rock-ballad tradition of the 80's, yet she keeps a foot firmly grounded in the now. T Dawn has a hauntingly soulful and dynamic voice, which gives her entire catalogue a patently distinct 'T Dawn sound'. 

But her music is only a part of T Dawn's 'indie' success story. T Dawn is an ardent advocate of independent music and musicians. She tirelessly puts herself out there for the world to discover, and works hard to help prop up the independent artists she meets along her journey. She is the host of Beyond the Dawn, a radio show that features independent musicians from around the world (including some of our own spotlighted artists!) So do yourself a favor and take a moment to enjoy T Dawn's music, check out Beyond the Dawn, and support an artist who has helped support so many others! 

Listen to T Dawn's new single Controlled By Vanity

Listen to T Dawn's Crash Down, a beautiful ambient ballad. It has about 20 seconds of silence at the beginning so just chill and get ready to chill even harder! 

Listen to T Dawn's Highest Light; a pretty acoustic ballad with a strong vocal performance.

Check out T Dawn's radio show, Beyond The Dawn.


Guns of Nevada prove that Seattle still rocks!

There has been a totally unintentional bias towards bands from the Northwest recently, especially Seattle. But don't assume that this is out of laziness. We are scouring the Earth for great independent acts as you read this, and we promise that other regions will be featured soon :) But the fact is that independent Rock and Roll is burgeoning anew out of the once great music mecca! And since 2007, the Guns of Nevada have been leaving their mark all over Seattle's vivacious soundscape. 

The Guns of Nevada are "true believers in PBR: Punk, Blues, Rock". They playfully admit to "stealing from the likes of the Ramones, AC/DC and The Man in Black", but their unique blend of punk rock, alt-country, a dash of Americana, and high-voltage energy, produces something greater than a simple combination of their influences. They have created a sound that makes you want to move and howl! Rock fans around the Northwest do yourself a favor and head out to see the Guns of Nevada live (click here for upcoming shows). The rest of ya'll, enjoy the Guns of Nevada from afar, and don't fight the stirring in your soul.

Listen to "Ain't No Story" by the Guns of Nevada. 

To top it all off, their 'record label' is listed as 
"Label?.... we don't need no steenking label". Oh yeah Andie Likey! 

This post was written by Andie's chief rock corresponded Shia. 


Tiger Love: located on the corner of indie and indie.

Tiger Love is putting the independent back into indie! They have all the markings of a contemporary "indie band"; the unkempt look, the marriage of organic instrumentation and raw playing, with precise electronic sequences and synthesizers, the humorous lyrics and hilarious videos... But unlike most bands from the "indie genre"- who look as good, sound as polished and have as large of a following- Tiger Love breaks the mold by actually being independent! Of course that may not be the case by the time you read this; they are widely marketable, and (from what we gather) are on the hunt for a label. And as much as we at indieAndie hate to hear that, we can't blame them. They have "the goods" and they have acquired a good amount of success on their own. And if they feel a label will help them reach the next rung in their career, we wish them the best of luck. After all, good musicians who work at music professionally deserve to make a decent living (we just wish it didn't take a label to do that, or that labels didn't suck the creativity and money out of their musicians). But all titles/labels/speculation aside, Tiger Love is simply a good band that makes you want to get up and dance, and for the time being we're happy they are a part of the independent music world! 

Tiger Love has less information online about themselves than any band we have ever come across. Their entire bio reads, "New band and an upcoming pop sensation 'Tiger Love', formed in 2010 by brothers Roy and Gigi, and underage drummer Loral." Instead of unnecessary commentary (which is our department) they let their music and their videos do the talking for them- so take a listen! 

Under Control by Tiger Love

indieAndie is thrilled to share an independent band with so much commercial potential! Whatever the future holds for this bunch, we wish them all the success and creative control the music industry has to offer. 

Pussy Cocaine by Tiger Love


Grunge is alive in the music of Chad Robinson

From the second I pressed play on Chad Robinson's Beatslave, a syncopated and heavy acoustic grunge ballad in drop D, I was transported back to my early days as a music lover growing up in Seattle in the 90's. His sound is somewhat reminiscent of Alice In Chains, with virtuosic and dark guitar playing, accompanied by rough but sweet melodic vocals floating above. 
In the true indie spirit, Chad records, produces, promotes and markets his own music from his home in WA. This independence allows Robinson the freedom to give away Beatslave for free right here on indieAndie through his Reverbnation music player (see below)!
indieAndie is so thrilled to be sharing this music with our readers for free, that we would like to make up an award for Chad. So... Chad Robinson is the first recipient of the coveted indieAndie "Keeping Grunge Alive" award, for creating music that transports us to a better place!

Check out Beatslave by Chad Robinson on iTunes.


The Redbucks- From Beijing with Bluegrass

Bluegrass music is a quintessential piece of the American music canon. For many listeners, when the banjo, fiddle, and mandolin strike up a tune their psyche is drawn into a bygone American era; a simpler time when the music reflected the artist’s existence as a muleskinner, coal miner, moon shiner, or farmer, to name a few of the classic tropes. Bluegrass is a form of storytelling that reminds the listener of a strong and deeply authentic American culture. So at first glance it might seem odd to find Bluegrass in Beijing, China. Yet, The Redbucks, China’s first bluegrass band, have taken Beijing by storm.

The Redbuck’s story reflects the remarkable times we live in. A group of ex-pats in China, banded together by a shared love of American music, created a wildly authentic and polished Bluegrass album in Beijing! The Redbucks grew a substantial following from their live shows, livened up by baiju (rice whiskey) and beer, regularly drawing audiences of ex-pats and Beijingers into their celebration of Americana. The Redbucks have recently gone on hiatus, as half the band has returned to the U.S. (surely to the lament of their fans in Beijing) but luckily not before releasing their masterful 2010 album, All That Glitters.

Despite the uniqueness of The Redbucks, their story is as much connected to tradition as the songs that they sing. You hear a celebration of place and experience that reflect the bands understanding of the Bluegrass tradition while simultaneously adding their own distinctive take on that tradition. Their original tunes add to the living culture that is old time string music.

A Google search of “The Redbucks” will return reviews and endless
praise from both ex-pat and Chinese media, yet they return to silence here in their homeland. For The Redbucks this silence probably does not matter. They are true musicians who make good music for the sake of making music. They are players through and through. But on behalf of their stateside audience, I’d like to suggest that it might be time to get the band back together for a tour of the country whose culture they so wonderfully shared with China. Regardless of what happens, I highly recommend giving All That Glitters a play.

Check out  All That Glitters by The Redbucks on iTunes

For more on the Redbucks visit

Special thanks to Andrew Kirkland, indieAndie's chief Ol' Timey correspondent!


Another indie-mag? In the words of Borat, "But why"?

To understand why we felt the need for another indie music blog, you must first understand what Andie means by "indie". Call us old-school, but we feel that independence is an indispensable element of indie-music. And, when we say "indie", we are not talking about a musical genre. It is true that there are already plenty of magazines and blogs about the "indie genre", and many of them are great. But by focussing on a specific genre - by treating "indie" as a style of music - they are severely limiting the amount of independent artists that they can showcase. Furthermore, most of the bands that are being featured in "indie" magazines, record stores, radio stations, etc., don't need any more promotion. (As a little editorial side note, I think you could make a solid claim that "indie", as a genre, is a concept that the music industry invented to help with marketing.) But this is no slight against bands that do get shelved under "indie" on iTunes. I get pumped when I hear 'Float On' blasting through the loud speakers at a pro football game, but let's get real; what connection do bands like Modest Mouse, Death Cab or MGMT (signed to Epic, Columbia and Atlantic/Warner respectively) have to the original meaning of the term "indie"?

Look, I like those three bands a lot and I'm not going to get too worked up over a music category; categories in art all seem kind of pointless to me, and some are down right ridiculous (e.g. Beard-Rock, Neo-Psychodelia, Screamo). But indie means something more than the way it is used "in the parlance of our times" (-The Dude). Take away any aesthetic understanding of indie-music, and you will find a simple ideology of independence; complete autonomy of the artist, in the name of creative freedom, even at the expense of record sales! 

It is the independent artists, who are not featured in 'Pitchfork' or played in H&Ms, who can always use another venue, no matter how small, to show off their talents. And that is why another "indie-mag", that uses the original meaning of "indie", is of true value in the world of art. This magazine will attempt to showcase beauty and talent, from any musical genre, that you would otherwise have to scour the depths of the interwebs to find. So please subscribe, and share the articles and the bands you like on here with your friends. Word of mouth and the internet can save music from the music industry, but that's a topic for another post!


Auriemma- Artist Spotlight #1

Richie Auriemma is a dominant force in the online independent music community, with thousands of fans, a constant stream of new material and what seems like a permanent spot at #1 on Reverbnation's rock charts for Bellingham, WA. Richie's songs are carefully crafted, but also raw; allowing that human element to flow through every second of his music. But the music is only half of the story of Auriemma's success. Richie's dynamic personality, endless enthusiasm and love of new music, have helped him become a bona fide web of connectivity within the world of independent music. From personal messages to mass-emails, Richie tirelessly helps hundreds of independent artists reach thousands of hungry music fans all over the globe. Richie perfectly embodies the spirit of the "indie" movement, which he is so proud to be a part of! So we can't think of a better artist to feature in our first posting of indieAndie's artist spotlight!

Listen to "Jersey" by Auriemma

For more music by and information on Auriemma visit


Indie-electronica from down under! Highroad No. 28

Hailing from Sydney Australia, Highroad No. 28 serves up an eclectic mix of lo-fi indie rock, ethereal ambience, controlled electronic chaos, and what can only be described as 'something else'. From their probing and earnest lyrics to their unconventional use of technology and instrumentation, Highroad No. 28 delivers an intensely personal and unique product. If you are into indie-alternative-ambient-electronica-rock (it is hard to categorize these guys; it's almost like they've declared war on genres), original song-writing or thought provoking lyrics, check out Highroad No. 28's 2008 release Stumbling To Divinity. And stay tuned as a new album, The Will To Endure, is set to drop this year! 

Listen to "2.28 [2010]"

check out their latest songs @