Tag Archives: Zooglobble

What it takes to make a CD

gold record

The other day on Facebook a really good conversation thread about Kickstarter was started by Jeff Bogle of Out With The Kids fame.  He was inquiring why musicians needed to raise so much money to make a CD these days. Many great replies from Zooglobble, The Rock Father and others. It was a very valid question.  Why is it, it takes 10K to make a CD.  I know a couple things about making a CD having produced 2 in the last 5 years (and not much more).  While making music is free… Recording it can be a bit expensive. Unless your a talented engineer as well as musician (see Todd McHatton) and have your own studio (which is a sizable investment in itself) you are going to have to pay someone to record your band.  Now how much depends on who you hire and how long it takes.  Do you pay a set rate or are you paying hourly?  Is the band ready to play the songs?  Do you need to hire musicians and or singers? How much to Mix? Master? Are you traveling the recording studio  (I know a lot of folks travel to record with Dean Jones) or is it local.  Are you paying for a producer or self producing?  How much does he charge (I’ve been quoted 5k for a producer).  The whole idea of making a record is to make the best music you can and get it to your fans and make some money so you can do it again.  Phew!   Recording is a lot of fun but paying for it sucks.  Recording costs ranges from 30 – 100 dollars an hour.   You can get weekend rates, some places have a  flat fee and others discount for pre-paying for large blocks of time.  Know this.  You get what you pay for and a good engineer is priceless.  No matter how good you are live recording is a completely different animal and the guy recording you is critical.  Know your budget and expect some costs you didn’t consider. Know that mistakes will be made and re-recording is a reality.  Some bands record the bass and drums and then lay tracks over that.  Poochamungas usually record as a band with my vocals and guitar as a scratch and then fill them in later.  This works for us because it’s more energetic, efficient and cost effective.  Then we add vocals, additional guitars, etc.  Then after recording there’s the oh so important mixing part.  Some people specialize in only mixing.  This is also critical to your sound so get someone who knows what they’re doing here as well. Know that hearing in things in the studio is different than hearing things for gigs. All of the above takes time, effort and money.  This leads to success or failure. Mistakes usually means spending more time and money. Lets not call them failures but learning experiences. Which then leads to success.   Which happens when your creating art.  Which is what making music is… ART.  I know very little but I know this. If your goal is to just sell  records you get lousy art. But if you go out to make great art you may get to sell some records (Which by the way for kids artists means pressing CD’s and more money).  Making great art takes time and time costs money. For some it cost more than others.  Is 10k unreasonable.  Depends on the perspective.

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The kindie community needs to step up

KINDIEPoochamungas just had a new CD released and took  many steps to make sure the public hears about it.  I mentioned to our publicist (Elizabeth Waldman Frazier has been amazing) the other day that an article used “kiddie rockers” instead of “kindie rockers.” To which she matter of factly said “If you walked up to someone on the street and asked them what kindie was they’d have no idea what you were talking about.” She is correct in that assessment.  We as a community, especially  artists do ourselves a disservice by not promoting as much quality kindie product as possible. Poochmungas just released a CD and in terms of community support I say this.  It’s never as good as you want but not as bad as you think.   Paul Crowe of The Boogers has been awesome.  Marc Bazerman  been supportive while promoting his own upcoming release. Mr Singer always likes and shares us on FB.  Story Laurie and Lori Henriques have help been really helpful as well.  Gina McHatton, Kurt Gallagher and Tito Uquillas gave us a nice mention on Facebook.   But I think that’s about it.  Privately I have had fantastic support. Publicly not nearly as much.  My personal belief is that some feel that if they promote others that their work somehow diminishes.   Untrue.  There is also the  fact that working to book gigs, promote gigs, make CD’s, etc. is a vastly time consuming effort to do.  One tends to get tunnel vision.  Competition and jealousy aspects also come into play… Why did he get played by Kids Place Live and not me?  If they buy his CD they won’t buy mine…  Get over it.  We need to help each other. This genre won’t grow unless we collectively promote the genre and not just yourself.   Reach out and help someone who’s music you like or an artist you respect. If you share your fan base those fans aren’t going to abandon you.  If someone does promote you remember to promote them back.  What does it take to like someone else’s show while meandering through Facebook.  Share someone else’s CD release, Kickstarter funding or gig?   Write some kind words?  When talking about your music use the word kindie (though someone is trying to make 2K off domain rights to kindie.com right now) so it becomes part of peoples vernacular.   When someone writes an article not just about you but someone you like or respect. Like and share it.   Stefan Shepard has a great blog (and podcast) called ZooGlobble . The Kindie Manifesto is something everyone should read.   Do yourself a favor. Read, listen and share what he’s promoting so ZooGlobble grows and with it the platform for us kindie musicians. James Zahn and Jeff Bogle have shed some serious props on their blogs about kindie music. Link them to your website. Promote their stuff so they grow and with it our platform.  It’s important you give blogger writers their due so their blogs can grow!  Promote the radio shows and blogs that review and play kindie music even when THEY AREN’T PLAYING YOURS, BUT ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE.   That’s what I’m trying to do with this blog and on FB and Twitter.  All it takes is a few minutes a day by each of us and all kindie artists benefit.  It doesn’t mean you still aren’t going to have to work your ass off cause you are.  I’m not asking you to start a blog.  But take a few minutes a day and get out of the tunnel and see the whole picture. Don’t like my music?  That’s OK.  Find that which you do.  There’s a big bright kindie world ahead of us if only we all help it along. Cause if we don’t, who will?    I have listed some of my favorites blogs and Radio shows that support the genre below…

BlogsOut With The Kids, The Rock Father, Gooney Birds Kids, Kids Can Grove and the afore mentioned ZooGlobble.

RadioKids Place LiveImagination ParadeMusical Merry-Go-Round , Spare the Rock Spoil the Child, Kids Corner  and The Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl

These are just a few and their are plenty more.  Listen.  Share. Support.

The long (uphill bothways) road ahead

Do you only play kiddie music.  That’s what a friend of mine asked recently when inquiring about my band. “Kiddie Music”. She wasn’t trying to demean what I do.  But that is the perception we as KINDIE musicians fight against every day.  You mention kids music and everyone pictures Barney and The Wiggles.   But that’s not what we do. My band sounds nothing like either one. I think a lot of this has to do with the age of media and especially video.  Nobody turns on the radio.  Everything is now on a flat screen with surround sound.  Even in cars more and more people play videos for their kids.  Everyone is lumped into the same bowl.  But it’s a disservice to the music available.  Right now the KINDIE genre is a rich and diverse musical landscape.  To compare Brady Rymer to the Wiggles is like comparing Beyonce to U2.  It’s just not the same type of music.  Sure Beyonce and U2 both play music but you would never mistake one for the other.  Same thing in KINDIE Music.  We in the Poochamungas have adopted this slogan.  GOOD MUSIC KNOWS NO AGE.  But because we play for kids and families we get stereotyped with Barney, Wiggles and Sesame Street.  But we sound nothing like any of them.  The Poochamungas sound nothing like The Not It’s, Justin Roberts, The Boogers or Grenadilla either.  The only thing each of these bands have in common is they make really great music.  So parents, critics and anyone reading this. Do all of us KINDIE folk a favor and listen…  and then judge.  That’s all we ask. If you do that I’m sure some of this “kiddie” music is sure to surprise you.   If you want more info on this please check out my friend Stefan Sheperds Kindie Manifesto on ZooGlobble.  He goes further in depth on the subject and a read I highly recommend.

Kiddie vs. Kindie – NOT THE SAME.

Today I read two articles (thanks Zooglobble) about kids music or  referred to as “kiddie” music and let me tell you at first I got really angry!  One was by an artist who made a “kids”  CD but is not a kid artist and the other was a music reviewer on Deadspin.  

Laura Veirs is a respected artist who makes good music and I got to say I really like what I have heard.  She delves into an old folk music children’s CD (Tumble Bee) and does it well.  But in her own words she says she made a “kids album” and is not a kids artist.  She is playing kids show at Old Town School of Folk Music in support of the new CD, a detour as she calls it… But I digress.  She said the “bar is kind of low ” in children’s music and…  I would have to AGREE.   IF  you had only listened to what the mainstream offers (Wiggles, Dora, Barney, and Kidz Bop, etc). The offerings are really pretty lame. Which is what the article in Deadspin by Dadspin writer Drew Magary states quite graphically (he minces no words so be warned).  This is why the whole “kindie” movement was born!  But how many people subscribe and listen to Kids Place Live on Sirius/XM (home of the kindie movement) or follow shows like Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl,  Imagination Parade,  Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child and others which usually play once weekly.  Kindie radio is only a tiny segment of the entire broadcast world.  Most kids music people hear these days is on the TV and most of it is pretty lame.  Now they (Laura and Drew) might of meant all kids music but I find that hard to believe (I may be wrong).  Because the bar set by bands like Recess Monkey, Justin Roberts, Grenadilla, Brady Rymer, They Might be Giants, The Not-Its, The Boogers and Trout Fishing in America, etc, is pretty darn high. Because the quality of their music is really, really good.   I know cause I am trying to reach the bar right now as I make another CD.    So while I fervently disagree with a blanket statement over kids music being “lame” or “the bar is kinda low” that’s the perception we as “kindie” artists  try to change every day.  Whenever we play a show,  a DJ spins one of our tunes on the radio or someone listens on iTunes. That excellence in music is excellence in music whether your playing for kids, punks or folkies.  Or as my friend Jim Cosgrove put it… ” I love the Beatles and when my daughter plays I Saw Her Standing There over and over, it gets annoying. But, so what. If it touches her soul and keeps her dancing and singing, who cares what I think. It’s not about me. The Barney theme song may drive you or me to shove pencils into our ears, but if it brings joy to a child, that makes it worthwhile music.”  Which I agree with except for Barney.   Really Cosgrove?  You had to go with Barney? 

Bad opinions, counting my blessings and thanks!

So if you follow the kids music scene here on the internet recently a debate on the value of kids music was held on WHYY’s Radio Times regarding the value of kids music. Music Critic Tom Moon (1000 recordings to hear before you die) “hates, hates” kids music by his own definition and Jeff Bogle of Out with the Kids is a kindie music, toy and movie reviewer.  Tom feels if you aim your music toward a certain group it somehow limits the listener and that “adult” music is fine.  I could go onto great length why Tom is wrong but Jeff and also Stefan on Zooglooble have gone to great length to explain this. Just because you write for a certain genre (blues, rock, pop, country, soul, funk, punk, children) doesn’t lessen the value of said song and truly great songs will separate themselves from said genre.  I write songs with a kids slant but I write music for ALL to hear.

2011 was a really tough year for a lot of people.   A bad economy with no jobs.   Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and the destruction Mother Nature causes frightening in its reality.  The things man does in the name of god, religion, greed and power even more frightening.  I hope all of those who experienced loss and tragedy are able to find peace and love this year.  We experienced loss in our family this year close to home and  in spite of my own losses this year I am thankful for the family and friends I have who love and support me no matter what.  Thankful for wife and kids, the house we live in and the life we are able to live.  Thankful for the opportunity to play the music I write and find people who are willing to help see those songs come to life.

So thanks to my wife who supports me in these adventures.  Thanks to my parents who raised me right with love, support and the occasional kick in the rear and my other family and friends who have done the same. Thanks to my kids who show me everyday how to love and be loved selflessly.  Thanks to the band who make the Poochamungas possible and take the fledgling songs I write and make them real.  And of course thanks to you the reader for taking the time to read this.  Thank you all and god bless everyone.  May 2012 be a really good year.

Quiet for December and Grammy Schmammy.

Right now the Poochamungas are on a bit of a hiatus.  The holidays arrived and we have no gigs till next year.  We have however been busy in the studio making the new magic happen and the work has been going steadily.  Getting the right players in the same room at the same time is always the trouble.  Jobs, kids, work and assorted other stuff are the hurdles that face a lot of bands BEFORE they even play a note.  Note to self… If ever re-incarnated be sure to start a band in you late teens early 20’s.  Fewer distractions and responsibility!  But I digress…

So the Grammy award nominees came out for the children’s music category and the kindie world is a bit upset.  Seems that a lot of bands I never heard of (and I  heard a lot) were nominated.  There are a bunch of websites that dealt with the injustice.  Zooglobble and Out with the Kids, are two that really nail it.  So other than my disappointment in the nominees you should go read those and watch Jeff Bogles video Blog.  Oh and go buy Brady Rymers Love Me for who I Am(He really deserved a nod this year.  That and The Not-Its were the two most popular in this family.)  Do yourself a favor and read the Fids and Kamily top ten.   It’ll give you a really good list of great CD’s put out this year and I blogged a couple of weeks ago about the CD’s you should play to keep your sanity and the kids interested.  Of course don’t forget to get our CD first!

Kids titles you should have.

Christmas is coming and while I am not about to start playing holiday jingles in my house quite yet the subject of good kids music came up with another parent in our wiggleworms class today.  Right now there is an abundance of good kindie music out there for new parents looking. They also make great gifts.  I am happy to recommend a few CD’s that I think are truly excellent to get you started and also a few blogs who deal directly with the issue at hand.  Here are 5 titles in different genres to get you started on quality kids music.

Grenadilla – This is a fantastic vocal journey that amazes me to this day.  The whole album is full of happiness and joy.  This is the hidden gem of the bunch.

The Boogers-  Let’s Go.  This is their latest CD and if Punk Rock is your thing you and your kids will be rocking for hours with this one. The best at what they do.

Justin Roberts – Pop Fly.  There’s a reason why he was Grammy nominated for Jungle Gym this year.  Still Pop Fly is our fav and filled with great, tight pop songs.

The Verve Pipe – A Family Album.  This is the best kindie CD ever made.  Just great songs and a great band.  Great stuff!

Okee Dokee Brothers – Take it Outside.  Who knew bluegrass made for such great family music?  The Okee Dokee Brothers did and this CD is pure energy!

These are just to get you started.  These are also my 5 personal favorites and there are many more out there including our very own Poochamungas.   Now in terms of blogs who really follow this stuff you can’t go wrong with Zooglobble.  Stefan does a nice job of sorting though the huge amount of music there is out there these days and lets you know what’s good. The other is  Out with the Kids by Jeff Bogle.  He does a really nice job with music plus gives insights into parenthood from a Dads perspective.  I subscribe to both on Facebook.  So there you have my kindie music primer and a couple of resource to look into.  Talk to everyone soon and have a great day.