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Photo from geoffreymac.com
Geoffrey Mac is an award winning fashion designer with an eye toward the future & a passion for the past. His phenomenal creations have garnered appearances in such publications as Rolling Stone, V, WWD, Billboard.com & US Magazine, Glamour, NYLON & more. You’ve seen his artistry on the likes of Lady Gaga, Kesha, Britney Spears, BLONDIE, Sharon Needles & Nicki Minaj. He is the personification of cutting edge & he’s got the 2013 Spring/Summer Collection to prove it. I was absolutely honored to steal a few moments away from his pressing schedule to ask him a few fun questions about the new collection & his very fashion forward outlook on life.
Kesha in Geoffrey Mac!
QUICK 5 Stats with Geoffrey Mac
1. Chicagoans do House Music better, while New Yorkers do Fashion better.
2. 70’s HUSTLE on the dance floor or shoulder shrug slide & point
Beiber style? Neither really. Bigger fan of some 80’s dance moves
like the Cabbage Patch or the Smurf. (Ok, I LOVE this)
3. If I wasn’t a famous fashion designer, I surely would have become
a sculptor or performance artist.
4. GREATEST song I’ve ever heard on a runway was Cajmere’s “Lets
Dance” a classic beat anyone can get into regardless of age. All
heads were bobbing!
5. The best part about my occupation is being able to obsessively
create. There is no greater feeling than developing your ideas,
thoughts and visions from paper to product.
Geoffrey Mac Elytra Dress with Cayda Pants. Tantalum Mag
Yemaja Caftan by Geoffrey Mac for Tantalum Mag
Debbie Harry in Geoffrey Mac
What words are best used to describe your Spring/ Summer 2013 collection?
Sleek, cold, linear and of the body (both insect and human). The
collection was originally based on the style lines of insects and
began to take on human form.
Any favorite “go-to” pieces you would like to elaborate on?
My favorite go-to pieces would have to be the Beetle dress and the
Tarsus pant for their throw on comfort and simplicity. There is
nothing better than a piece that can go from day to evening and at the end of the night you still don’t want to take it off!
Your collections are known for bridging ancient cultures straight into
our future! Where do you find inspiration for such phenomenal
artform…Or does the inspiration find you?
I pull inspiration from ancient symbols and architecture. I am not
big on following trends closely as this just sets the garment up for a short run. The goal is to make pieces that would have been loved in the past, and can hang in your closet being loved for many years to come.
Neon Hitch in Geoffrey Mac for INKED Magazine
Having dressed such modern fashion icons as Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga,
Britney Spears & Debbie Harry…who were your style icons growing up?
Jane Child, Cyndi Lauper, Grace Jones and Billy Idol. They all had a specific look with a touch of polished punk. I lived for what they
were wearing and couldn’t wait to see what they did next.
Geoffrey Mac with Neon Hitch in Vintage Geoffrey Mac Dress. Photo by Aaron Cobbett
THANK YOU Geoffrey Mac. You are indeed a gracious artist.
Catch Geoffrey Mac Runway Show on April 11, 2013
Denver, CO 303 Magazine DFW Event
WATCH Promo Video Here:
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Your first introduction to the smooth sounds of Justin Hopkins was more than likely during his competitive rounds on NBC’s THE VOICE, but rest assured, it will NOT be the last.
I caught up with the multi-talented performer whose baby face & velvet pipes won the hearts of America. Spoiler Alert: he has no interest in borrowing Christina Aguilera’s Disco Style Fascinator Hat…
5 Quick Stats With Justin Hopkins:
1. Oregon does _____ better. BEER!
2. Footwork on the dance floor or forget it & pass me the mic?
I only dance at weddings. Pass the mic!
3. One word answer: The VOICE is _____? SHINY
4. If I wasn’t a performer I would surely be?? Single
5. If you had to take fashion advice from ONE celebrity judge from The Voice… who would it be??
I can tell you who it wouldn’t be? Xtina.
Every time I see what she’s wearing I cringe just a little.
Most of the world met you on this season’s hit show THE VOICE, but you’ve been rockin’ away in the music industry for many years. How would you describe your original music & how did you get started in the biz?
When i first started playing out in Oregon, I originally classified my style of music as “barefoot Soul” but I think I’ve stepped away from the blue eyed soul the last several years and really made my focus less about style and more strength of song. I get a lot of folks saying I sit somewhere between David Gray and Ryan Adams- I got started on the business end on a whim, an indefinite trip to Los Angeles that ended with me being here for almost 10 years now.
You’ve stated that being on The Voice was a way for you to become “more well rounded as an artist”. What did the show teach you that you plan to carry on throughout your career?
Sure, I stated that. But let’s be honest-To become more well rounded it takes days and months of practice to become more well-rounded, not a few hours with a celebrity coach. What’s going to help me throughout my career is that constant reminder there’s so much talent around us, and usually the hardest worker wins over luck any time-The musicians (The Voice Band) and staff (Production) working on this show are so next level. Professionalism is so important. This show is a great reminder of that.
What’s the toughest part about singing to the back of chairs? And we all want to know if Cee Lo Green is really as cool as he seems?
The hardest part is not knowing if one will turn, and the fact they can’t see how you are performing. I could literally be sitting on a toilet singing the shit out of a song (no pun intended) and they could turn, but sometimes dancing around, performing for an audience you’re not always spot on. I’d heard from some folks that hadn’t got chairs to turn and I was blown away that they hadn’t made it- There’s a moment in the blind audition you can see my face just sink-I thought it was over- In regards to CeeLo Green, there is noone cooler-He’s very stoic for a little round dude, but he’s been amazing to me, and I’ve got nothing but respect for him and his music.
Justin Hopkins with his GORGEOUS Family on NBC’s THE VOICE
Tell us about the NEW SINGLE!!! Where can we catch up with Justin Hopkins this spring & summer??
Hells yes, there is a new single! “Love on the Radio” which was basically a song I wrote with my production team (Chuy Flores and Scott Fisher) right when I returned from battle rounds-Our goal was to really let the light in, provide something people could sing and dance and clap to. I didn’t want an ounce of heavy in it.
I’m in the process of setting up a lot of shows in the south, mideast, east coast area because I’ve neglected those folks for awhile-It’s an exciting time for me and my band. I’ve been off the road for over two years, so looking forward to meeting all the new fans that come with being on a show like this.
Thank you for your time Justin. I wish you all the success in the world.
You’re so Rad Birdee! Anytime, Be in touch!
Professional Fashion Illustrator Jennifer Lilya at home in her gorgeous NYC art studio.
Five Quick Stats with FABU Fashion Illustrator Jennifer Lilya:
1. Vintage Halston or Bob Mackie circa 1978?? Halston all the way!
2. The Hustle or The Tango?
The Hustle- I’m a dancing queen.
3. Sunshine on your shoulder or Rainy afternoons?
Sunshine all day, every day!
4. Best Make Out Song ever Written?
‘Do Me Baby’ by Prince. A little more than making out, but it’s Prince!
With clients including Elle, WWD, Dolce & Gabbana & Katy Perry (just to name a few)..you have reached a level of success that most illustrators only dream about!! Was this journey always your lifelong dream? Did you always imagine such mega success?
It’s totally cheeseball, but ever since I was a little girl, all I wanted to do was draw pretty pictures. I always had a fantasy of mega-success, but achieving it is another story. I’ve worked my butt off & I’ve been lucky so far, but there’s still a ton of work I want to do!
I love the femininity of your illustrations & the happiness they exude. They are all at once modern & fresh as well as vintage & classic !! I read that you are a huge Audrey Hepburn fan (a fact we both share!) Do you often find yourself seeking inspiration from days gone by & the more ladylike times of the 50’s?
Thanks! I adore Audrey- she’s such the style icon. I love the silhouettes (and illustrations) of the 50s & 60s- classic & girly. Also the great lines & fun looks of the 60s. While my work is current with each season, I definitely draw most of my inspiration from the past. I’m insanely inspired by 1980s looks, music & art.
The FUN you experience while creating is clearly evident within your beautiful creations!! After all these years, is it still a means of escape for you? And what are some of your hobbies when you’re away from the Art Studio??
It’s all about fun & fitting in my clients’ needs within that. It’s what I do almost every day, so it’s not so much escaping, but just living life pretty awesomely through art. If I wasn’t having fun doing it, my art wouldn’t look the way it does.
Hobbies? A huge hobby of mine is collage- that’s actually a means of escape because it’s so different from illustration. Taking tiny pieces of color & texture & type, then turning that into a final beautiful product that tells little funny stories- I can get lost in it for hours and days. Outside of my studio I love going to rock shows, gallery shows/museums, going to the beach all summer long, camping, having game nights with friends, spending time with my husband, as well as visiting family & friends in CT.
Speaking of art studio…your space looks FABULOUS!!! Tell us a bit about your new diggs!!! And I read that you are the proud owner of a “lovingly mean” chihuahua. What’s his name & Is he your studio buddy??
Thanks! We had to move unexpectedly in February since our landlord was awful & rain was literally leaking into my studio ceiling. This is the first place we saw & fell in love with it. My studio is filled with sunshine & plenty of space to work & store all of my supplies. It’s still a work in progress, but give it a year from now & the walls will be filled with more art & notes & random bits of inspiration.
Tweak is my 12 year old Chihuahua. He loves me, a few friends & pretty much hates anything else that gets in his way. It’s pretty hysterical since he’s so tiny & cute. He was an abused rescue, so he’s had trust issues since we adopted him at 8 months, but he’s my pal. He follows me everywhere, hangs out under my drawing table or sunbathes in the middle of my studio every afternoon. I also spoil him beyond belief.
Where can we find more Jennifer Lilya magnificence for Spring/Summer 2012? We don’t want to miss a thing…
I’m currently working with a few interesting clients on their logos & blog art. I was just asked to do more live sketching events for Stila Cosmetics across the US. I’ll be posting those dates as everything is finalized. I’m also part of a big fashion illustration exhibit this fall- details on that to follow shortly!
thank you Jennifer! YOU are so inspiring & motivating!
Check out Jennifer’s beautiful website here! Jennifer Lilya
GOGOGO!! xo Birdee
Photo by Sean Ryan Smith from http://www.yogimusic.com
Genius is a term losing merit in the music industry..it’s overuse has become as generic as the word denim when explaining a pair of blue jeans. However, every now & again it firmly nails itself into a description with dead on accuracy. Such is the case of accolades written time & time again about guitarist, performing artist, producer & songwriter Yogi Lonich. Lead guitarist & backing vocalist for Chris Cornell since 2006, Yogi is no stranger to sharing the stage with musical legends. His stage CV includes names such as Prince, Kid Rock, Melissa Etheridge, Natasha Bedingfield, Bonnie Raitt, Axl Rose & Slash. He’s also known for a little show at the Rock’N Roll Hall of Fame with Jimi Hendrix band members Mitch Mitchell & Billy Cox for the 2008 Hendrix Exhibit. Yeh, it’s just how Yogi rolls. Oh, did I mention he’s also a former member of The Wallflowers, Buckcherry & Fuel? I was honored to steal some time away from his own legendary schedule. Read on for some Q&A with the rock’n roll music man who’s also quite fond of silence..
Watch Vid of My favorite Yogi Tune Inside You
Photo by Sean Ryan Smith from http://www.yogimusic.com
Quick 5 Stats With Yogi Lonich
1. Native Californians do hippie shit better.
2. Plaid or Argyle? Argyle
3. Best way to Break The Silence?
A jam session with Toss Panos and Tim LeFebvre
4. Best Makeout Song Ever Written? Kid A (the song)
5. If I wasn’t a musician I would surely be a carny.
A very spiritual being, you’ve been known to spend days on end in silent meditation. In fact, I read that Chris Cornell had to wait to get your response to his tour offer until you had broken the silence from a meditative retreat. I would assume that kind of centering is a welcomed escape in the tumultuous world of touring. Do you feel your spirituality is imperative to your success? Does it help to deliver the musical muse when called upon?
My spiritual path is nothing more than a practice to bring equanimity to my life. The practice of yoga and silent retreats will also help me to reach the final goal of full liberation. When one is in communion with dhamma (natural law), it’s rather easy to attain mundane and material goals. Inspiration is derived from “in spirit”, so yes, my inner growth directly correlates with an abundance of musical ideas.
Long Time Coming from your latest solo album Hesitant Poet is such a beautiful & thought provoking song. What is the story behind the song & where is it that Yogi is truly at “home”? Watch the Video HERE
This song relates to a moment where I found love. It’s not a place or anything literal, just a state of mind where I feel comfortable in my own skin and where I can fully share my life with my partner.
Photo by Robert Knight from http://www.yogimusic.com
When can we expect more music from your band Run Through The Desert?
WATCH VIDEO for “BREAK THE SILENCE”
I’ve recently spoken with drummer, Jason Sutter, and we hope to be playing some shows in the near future. As far as new material goes, I have put together a couple of new projects that are dominating my musical energy, so there are no RTTD recordings on the horizon.
Having spent your summer touring with Melissa Etheridge, what does your fall look like? & Most importantly, where can we hear, see & be more Yogi??
I’m producing a new band called Mindplow which will keep me busy for the next couple months. Also have a new trio of my own which will bring new “Yogimusic”. Headed out with Melissa Etheridge at the end of the month for some shows. Looking forward to that.
He’s the producer of infectious melodies like “Boom Boom Pow” by The Black Eyed Peas & the writer of songs that hook your cerebellum so hard you can’t get’em outta your head no matter how hard you try. Ever hear “Get your hands up” by The Dutchess herself first thing in the morning & then finally stop humming it sometime around 8pm? Ok Yeh, only Ten Million Times. Worldwide multi platinum & Gold status, Jean Baptiste is the mastermind behind the artists who SELL & sell out ARENAS . From JLO, WILL I AM, FERGIE, THE ROOTS, PINK, GOOD CHARLOTTE, NICOLE SCHERZINGER, RIHANNA to CHERYL COLE & CHRIS BROWN, they all come calling on Jean Baptiste & The Baptiste delivers. Read on to learn more about the man, the mind, his MODESTY & the music.
Quick 5 stats with Jean Baptiste
1. Best piece of advice ever given to you?
Best advice was prob “stay humbled, gracious and hungry. Don’t believe your hype”
2. Best make-out song ever written?
Best make out song ever made was Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s get it one” but I prefer Old Dirty Bastard’s “Brooklyn Zoo!!” :)
3. Fashionably late or snooze you lose?
Snooze you loose until you can be fashionably late
4. Plaid or Argyle?
Of course Argyle
5. Wallflower on the dance floor or spotlight collector?
Always a wallflower. Prob because I’m watching people’s reactions to my songs. The spotlight is for the song
This week your artists received numerous nominations for the upcoming BET Awards & tell us about the success of your latest “Look At Me Now” with Chris Brown.
I stay out of that, Really honored though.. Those moments are for the artists to shine. Thx again to BET. Look at me now” was another blessing. Shouts to Chris Brown and Busta and Wayne as well as Diplo and Afrojack and my partner Dj Replay
You are the writer of What is Love? from the new Jennifer Lopez album LOVE? What was it like to work with J Lo & when writing for a particular artist does it help to know them on a personal level? Or is it strictly business in most circumstances?
J lo is awesome!!! It’s always personal and then slightly biz. I never hung out with her like I do with Black Eyed Peas, Chris Brown or others, but She’s a loving family woman.
And an icon
Tell us a bit about your beginnings with the Infectious Organisms & did you ever imagine the A LIST of artists you would one day have on your resume?
Infectious is my history. Super proud of where I came from.
What fabulosity will be filling up your summertime & what NEW producer/ writing credits can we expect to see blowing up the charts from you in the rest of 2011 into 2012?
There are a lot of amazing things we are working on. The Free School album is paramount!!! Love always Lord Pharoah JB
I am absolutely positive that all things you’re currently working on are INDEED amazing.
Thx JB & Continued Success Always
Lucy Danziger SELF Magazine Red Carpet Author, motivational speaker, SELF Magazine Editor-in-Chief; Lucy Danziger may not wear a red cape or leap across tall buildings, but she is every bit a Super Woman Hero whose SELF awareness for All magnetic mantra is as contagious as her positive energy. I was beyond honored to share some Q & A time with the beautiful upbeat blonde who might have ended up a ski bum, if it weren’t for that whole Harvard education thing …. Quick Five Stats with Lucy Danziger 1. Wallflower on the dancefloor or Drop It Like It’s Hot? LOVE The New Yorker on my iPad, The Help was my first Kindle book. I like not having to carry stacks of reading when walking through an airport. So I travel with the iPad. But at home? Paper, for sure. 3. Best workout song ever written? Kanye’s STRONGER Your new book, The Nine Rooms of Happiness, is a lesson in getting over life’s little imperfections. Tell us about the inspiration for the book & were you always a gal who knew her true purpose?
If Im in the mood, dance, for sure. Especially if I like the tunes…
2. Kindle or Pages between your fingers?
4. SELF magazine readers Challenge themselves to do Better!!
5. If I wasn’t an editor-in-chief I would surely be a ski bum, or a novelist, or a real estate broker. I love looking at houses, love being outdoors on a weekday (or any chance I get) and love writing.
Lucy Danziger of SELF Magazine
You are editor-in-chief of one of the most popular American magazines of all time with an audience of over 5 Million readers. Where did your journey begin & were you a FAN of the mag before you were the Chief?
Of course. I’ve read SELF my whole life. It was the first magazine that spoke to me as someone who was more than just the woman the world sees, but understood that I have aspirations of who I want to become, from the inside out. I do want to be fit, healthy, pretty and successful, but I want to be an individual. Self celebrates the uniqueness in each woman and helps her become her all around best self, however SHE chooses to define that. SELF is the most amazing message: be you, authentically and happily, and SELF is here to help.
Gwyneth Paltrow SELF Magazine Cover May 2011
SELF Challenge is an award winning program which allows readers to record their nutrition & track their health goal process on-line. How did you conceptualize this groundbreaking community & what is your favorite personal SELF Challenge success story?
Women literally write in and tell us how we have helped them change their lives, and one woman who we recently chose to work with on her new weight loss challenge (which we now call DROP 10) cried when she heard the news that she had been selected as one of the readers we plan to feature in an upcoming story. That is the kind of moving inspiration that makes me understand the tie women have to this magazine. SELF isn’t asking them to change, it’s HELPING them make the changes they want to make, and giving them the tools, strategies and encouragement to do so. We are here to support them, in anything they want to accomplish. And Self is here to make them understand they can do it. I love that positive upbeat messaging. That is my favorite part.
SELF magazine cover 2011 Sofia Vergara
An accomplished graduate of Phillips Academy AND Harvard, you are an empowering role model for young women around the globe. Who are the female mentors in your life who encouraged you to reach for great achievements?
I have been lucky to be surrounded by supportive strong, active, self-realized women, including my roommates in college, my Mother, step-mother, grandmother, and best friends. I always say that women are the most powerful allies you can have. And now I have a strong teenage daughter to help me remember to stay on track and be true to myself. She was born wise and has always had a sense of herself. I am inspired by her!
I used to always let myself get down about the littlest things, even when I had so much to be thankful for and happy about. So I asked SELF’s “Happiness Q and A” columnist, Dr. Catherine Birndorf, if she heard this refrain in her practice as a psychiatrist specializing in Women’s Mental Health at Payne Whitney in NYC, and she said, resoundingly YES! In other words we women handle the big issues with grace and strength but let little things rob our happiness (the size or your thighs or bank account, the fight with a friend or family member etc). So we decided to collaborate on a book that helps women rethink their inner “emotional space” and assigned rooms of a house to each area of her life. We then created these easy strategies (called Key Processes) for coping with the conflicts in every area (the bedroom for romance, the office for work and money, the bathroom for body image, etc) and let women close the door on a room they didn’t want to clean up or deal with, (for me sometimes the kids room was a lingering mess, as my daughter would have a bad grade or we’d fight about something mundane, like getting to school on time) and come back later, when you have the time and energy to “clean” it up. In the room where there’s the mess of the day (sometimes a fight with a grown sibling, in the family room, or a spouse not helping with the chores, which actually is the kitchen, not the bedroom, since the problem is the household “to do” list), the strategy helps her clean it up. The nine strategies are simple and fun and they actually work. I stopped stressing, and stress eating, and using these Key Processes I got happier and was able to lose a bunch of weight while writing the book. That’s a first, as someone pointed out to me. Check outNinerooms.com for more on how this works. It’s super simple and I have to say the strategies have helped me tremendously. I hope they help other women too. We deserve to be happy and this book helps make that a reality…. Thanks for asking.
Thank YOU Lucy! Continued Success & GOGOGO!!
Lucy Danziger SELF Magazine Red Carpet
Author, motivational speaker, SELF Magazine Editor-in-Chief; Lucy Danziger may not wear a red cape or leap across tall buildings, but she is every bit a Super Woman Hero whose SELF awareness for All magnetic mantra is as contagious as her positive energy. I was beyond honored to share some Q & A time with the beautiful upbeat blonde who might have ended up a ski bum, if it weren’t for that whole Harvard education thing ….
Quick Five Stats with Lucy Danziger
1. Wallflower on the dancefloor or Drop It Like It’s Hot?
LOVE The New Yorker on my iPad, The Help was my first Kindle book. I like not having to carry stacks of reading when walking through an airport. So I travel with the iPad. But at home? Paper, for sure.
3. Best workout song ever written? Kanye’s STRONGER
Your new book, The Nine Rooms of Happiness, is a lesson in getting over life’s little imperfections. Tell us about the inspiration for the book & were you always a gal who knew her true purpose?
photo of Elliot Scheiner from Grammy.com
2011 MusiCares Person of the Year award honoring Barbra Streisand
23 Grammy nominations, 6 wins, 4 Emmy noms & a win with the Eagles. An honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music & I’m just getting warmed up! Elliot Scheiner is a Legendary WOW factor producing & engineering some of the most talented artists of the last 4 decades: Foo Fighters, Queen, Eagles, Sting, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Beck, Flaming Lips, Phish, REM & too many more to mention here.
Check out my Q&A with the man behind the music. Read on to find out why when “Hell Freezes Over” it’s true inspiration & why there’s no faking in TRUE performance.
photo from Wikimedia.org
5 Quick Stats with Elliot Scheiner
Electric Slide or The Lombada?
Best Makeout Song ever written?
Jukebox or The DJ?
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
Plaid or Argyle??
You are one of the most respected engineer’s in the industry. Your ability to translate an artist’s objective into a true work of art is legendary. Was music always second nature to you? And when did you find your magic in the mix?
I’d like to believe that music was always in my blood. My mom’s brother was a great musician from the swing band era. He played withBenny Goodman and also the Dorsey Brothers band. My mom was a hobbyist musician. I was a drummer and beat around in a bunch of bands while I was growing up. Even did a tour with Jimmy Buffett. In looking back on my career I think I really started to understand what mixing was all about after I mixed AJA for Steely Dan.
Tell me about your beginnings at A&R Studios in the rockin’ 60’s. How do you feel about the evolution of recording since those early days & the current state of Rock N Roll?
I started working at A&R in late 1967. Back then most artists were still working in 4 track analog. The studio had just acquired it’s first8 track machine and everybody was just sort of experimenting with what to do with the 4 extra tracks. I had the good fortune to grow up with learning how to record using mostly mic technique. The rooms at A&R had consoles that were formerly used for broadcast and then later altered to use for recording. No eq or compression on the console. Each room at the studio had a pair of Fairchild’s and a pair of Pultecs.The tools have changed enormously since then and has given the ability for almost anyone to record. I believe that 90% of the people that use DAW’s have no clue of what engineering is really about. Younger artists seem to be taking the easy way out and use the electronics to do what a singer might have struggled with prior to digital recording. Obviously being able to tune a vocal performance and change thephrasing has made every singer sound like a genius. Don’t misunderstand, I like using the tools but I mostly still like working with a live band in the studio and encouraging real performances from an artist. I’m a hired gun so I’ll do what an artist wants but don’t necessarily find it very exciting. There’s something about getting a band to make it happen live. That feeling of creating a recording that happened spontaneously can’t be found with plugins. Unfortunately,due to the way the music business has changed it’s nearly impossible for young bands to achieve this. The one thing that has remained consistent is the love that musicians have for making music. Even though there’s not the money that there used to be with making albums, there is still great energy and enthusiasm for trying to get to that level of stardom.
Your discography includes some of the most talented artists of the last four decades. Hits Galore. What are some of your favorite mix memories & where do you find most inspiration?
I have mixed quite a few albums over my career that I truly love. The ones that stick out the most in my mind are the albums that took weeks and sometimes months to finish mixing. Aja & Gaucho stand out in that regard. Those records were made when money was never an issue.The studio would be locked out for a month at a time and you didn’t think about anything other than what you were doing during that period.The mix was something you weren’t sure you’d get when you came to work but the process of trying to get there was what was most enjoyable. I was always inspired by an artist and their music and that is still true today. Unfortunately the challenges that existed then for an engineer don’t really exist anymore.
You are the mixer of 3 of my favorite albums of all time. Foo Fighters In Your Honor, Foo Fighters Skin & Bones and Nirvana Unplugged in New York. How do you choose projects & have you ever been a fan BEFORE you became the mixer?
Of the 3 albums you refer to that you love, mixing the acoustic disc of “In Your Honor” was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had.
It’s always such a surprise to get called to mix something for someone you’ve always admired and thought you’d never get a call from. This was one of those albums where I was a fan before I worked with them. Another example was when I got the call to record, mix and co-produce the Eagles “Hell Freezes Over”. Those are the kind of projects that make me love what I do. To be honest, a lot of the time it’s not about me choosing a project. It’s more about an artist choosing me.
Thank you for choosing to make beautiful music Elliot.
You are a True Inspiration…
Check out latest interview with fashion designer Geoffrey Mac
Email email@example.com for interview inquiries.
Dolphus Ramseur is the record exec. you oughtta know. His steady, tried & true commitment to musical acts in the Americana/ Roots genre is gaining much deserved attention across the globe. With the colossal success of such acts as The Avett Brothers, Dolphus Ramseur is a man on a steady mission. I’m not sure WHEN or IF the following Ramseur words have ever been spoken by ANY other Record Exec in the past 25 years, “We are looking to help build 30 year careers, not just a couple of years success” WOW!!! Read on & find out why a balloon ride might actually carry you further than the rocket kind….
Quick 5 Stats with Owner of Ramseur Records: Dolphus Ramseur
1. Tennis with Novak Djokovic or Back up singing with Sha Na Na?
Djokovic on center court at Roland Garros though I did see Sam and Dave and Sha Na Na in 1979 at the Charlotte Coliseum and it was rockin’!
2. Break it down under the disco ball or painted flower on the wall?
I am going with the disco ball. Especially at Terminal 5 in New York City during the last instrumental section of Laundry Room by the Avett Brothers.
3. Sunshine on your shoulder or rainy afternoons?
Rainy afternoon listening to John Martyn’s “Bless The Weather.”
4. North Carolinans do __________ better. Entertainment
5. Describe The Avett Brothers in one word: _______ Passion
Your career in music began as a Tennis Management major in Michigan. How does one go from Tennis Pro to Successful Record Label Exec? In regards to music I went to the school of hard knocks. I read and studied everything I could get my hands on about the music business. At heart though I am just a music fan.
In a world where big record labels don’t seem to get it & flash in the pan acts come & go faster than fried chicken at an after church social…how have you managed to stay the course & achieve the kind of mega success that surrounds The Avett Brothers?
To be honest I really don’t see myself in the music business. I am just in the business of each band I work with. For the most part we operate on a different wave length than the big machine. Never underestimate the power of the small.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in this business?
I think the biggest lesson has been carried over from the tennis career. If you see a young kid with loads of potential you work with him on ways to improve and fine tune him or herself to make that potential shine. When I work with bands I do the same. I never sign them thinking that right then and there they are at their zenith. You have to cultivate it, work hard, learn from mistakes, etc….
Tell us a bit about the current Ramseur Records roster & where can we continue to surround ourselves with Ramseur Record Goodness in the upcoming months??
In 2012 Langhorne Slim will be putting out a new release in early June. It is very special and I think the best work of his career. I really believe in it. Samantha Crain goes back into the studio with John Vanderslice. They are making her next full length release. The Avett Brothers have a new one that is being produced by Rick Rubin that we are hoping to have out in late Summer or early Fall. The Carolina Chocolate Drops just released a new one that was produced by Buddy Miller. It is doing very well. So we are very busy which is a good thing. As always I look at Ramseur Records as just my little mix tape that I make for the world. Hopefully some like it.
Thanks Dolphus!! Carry on the Awesomeness
LEARN MORE ABOUT RAMSEUR RECORDS & LISTEN UP
She is instantly recognized as the woman who keeps the laughter flowin’ during the 4th hour of NBC’s The TODAY SHOW with Hoda & Kathie Lee (klgandhoda.com). Sara Haines is a contributing correspondent for NBC News Today & a small town Iowa girl who went for her dreams in a BIG way. As a HUGE fan of the 4th hour quirky, mimosa & headlines inspired show, I’ve always enjoyed the hudspah & humor of Miss Haines. I was ecstatic when she agreed to do an interview! Keep reading to learn more about this refreshingly candid Smith College Graduate who loves Taco Johns & Dairy Queens & who may just occupy the best seat in morning tv.
Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford & Sara Haines
Five Quick Stats with Sara Haines of NBC’s The Today Show:
1. QUICK Fashion Emergency! It’s 10pm..who will you call? Kathie Lee or Hoda?
I am more like Hoda in my approach to clothes; They are for function, not fashion. Hoda is a great dresser, but she doesn’t spend much time thinking about what to wear. So, if it was a question about what I should wear to something, I would probably ask Kathie because both Hoda and I would end up saying…“sure, that goes together” because we want to get the dressing part over.
2. Sunshine on your shoulder or Rainy Afternoons?
I will make the most of either, but I love the sun. I am seasonally affected, so natural light instantly puts me in a good place.
3. Plaid or Argyle?
Argyle because it is easier to wear. It will be a sweater or socks and there you go. When you venture into “plaids,” you are picking between shirt, pants, socks, head bands, etc. and the odds are that I will try to many at once ha ha.
4. The Tango or The Hustle?
The tango…because I can’t get a visual on the Hustle.
5. Iowans do _______________ better!
“boredom” - I always say that people who grow up in active and stimulating places can get bored more easily. You take someone that has been in a place where “nothing happens,” and they will find a way to make the most out of a situation that may be “boring” to someone else.
You are the most fun & talented sidekick on morning television! Tell us about your transition from behind the scenes production coordinator to On The Air beautiful starlet..
Wow, that question is so flattering! My answer is bound to disappoint after that flattery (thank you!) I joined the show in 2002 as the production coordinator. I had originally come to NYC to try my hand at comedic acting. Working behind-the-scenes in television was, not only paying the rent and for my acting classes, but I considered it doing my “homework” on the business. When our website launched and the show was pushing for more digital content, I started a celebrity vlog called “Backstage Pass” where I interviewed musical guests while they were at the show. As indicated by the name, I was trying to give someone sitting in Iowa an idea of what it is like behind the cameras.
Manhattan is a LONG way from Iowa. What are a few things you miss from home & what Manhattan fabulosities could you now NEVER see yourself living without?
I miss the sweet corn, driving past the corn fields between towns, driving a car, Dairy Queen, and Taco Johns. I miss the safety/security of a small town. Sometimes, I even miss the much slower pace. My dad says that what I miss is a “time” and not a “place.” I think he is right in that assessment. In the years that I have been in NYC, I have come to realize that it hasn’t only been NYC changing me, but some of the qualities that I already had, finding their match in the city.
Although you shine in front of the camera, you are still producing several of The TODAY Show’s morning segments. Tell us about a typical work day balancing act!
I have producers for most of what I do on camera, and thank goodness for that. I learned early on that there are so many moving parts, so without the producer checking on everything, I stand to make more mistakes or miss something. I spend my morning at the studio for the show. If I have a shoot, then I head out into the field and usually that takes the better part of the day. If I don’t have a shoot, I head back to my desk and do everything from search/pitch ideas, work out logistics for an upcoming shoot, brainstorm a script with a producer, interact with our 4th hour fans on Facebook and twitter, track audio for a story that we have already shot, general email correspondence, expenses, etc. I would say that the show is only a small part of a day. It may be the most fun, but there is always so much more to do.
What are your hobbies when you’re not bringing fun, useful & insightful news to the morning viewer world?
I play on a co-ed volleyball team. I played in college, so finding teams to play on over the years has been such an outlet for me. I also LOVE reading. Every night, I try to reserve 30 minutes to an hour to check out in a good book (usually fiction.) I have 2 chihuahuas, Peter and Trixie, so spending time with them (at dog run, taking a walk, or just snuggling) is always a treat.
What can we expect for the remainder of 2012 at The Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda? AND where can we find more Sara Haines!?
We will have more “did she just say that?” moments and “are they REALLY drinking those?” We love shaking things up and hitting the road, so get ready for more location shows. More than anything, the fun and crazy will continue. Kathie Lee and Hoda are two of the most fun-loving, smart, and energized people that I know. I have the best seat in the house.
Thank You Sara!! Carry on the Fun & The Crazy!
Beginning to believe LIVE music is dead? That real musicianship is a thing of the past? The true mastering of instruments is just a Myth? Yeh..well not so fast.. Check out THIS Killer footage of Judas Priest drummer PHENOM SCOTT TRAVIS layin’ it down & tearin’ it up like only a TRUE Legend can. Shot LIVE in Seattle, WA along the current Judas Priest EPITAPH tour by KEN HOWER. http://www.atvobsession.com/For MORE Showdates & to get your own ticket to watch Scott Travis ROCK that magic LIVE http://www.judaspriest.com
Matt Bissonette is a name synonymous with TOP SESSION PLAYER followed quickly by the term: DYNAMIC TALENT. Matt’s list of album credits include names like The Kingston Trio, Ringo Starr, Don Henley, Joe Satriani, Rick Springfield, Brian Wilson, ELO, Steve Perry, Peter Frampton, Lita Ford & David Lee Roth among many others. Recording artist, writer, producer & consummate entertainer, Matt Bissonette is a musician known as much for his stellar sense of humor as his impeccable bass style. Always in command on stage, he’s the guy with the unstoppable energy & the infectious SMILE. Currently on a crazy busy summer tour with Rick Springfield & Co., I was stoked to steal a few minutes with Matt this week ..
5 Quick Stats with MATT BISSONETTE
1. Wallflower on the dance floor or break it down to the beats down low??
Definitely a wallflower,can’t teach dancing to a guy with three feet,wish I could dance,my wife would love me more.
2. Best makeout song ever written?
“IF” by Bread an oldie but a…..
3. ___________ is better in Michigan The Coney Islands and White Castle’s
4. If I hadn’t become a musician I would surely have been _____________
Dead. Music kept me out of a lot of trouble,and still does.
5. Plaid or Argyle?
Gargoyle. A plaid one
You are widely known as one of the most gifted bass players in the biz with a phenomenal talent for fretless bass solos. When did you decide bass was your instrument of choice?
Well thanks, that’s awful nice of you to say. I know I could have been a lot better if I practiced more and dedicated myself to the bass more,somewhere along the line I decided I didn’t care about becoming the “best” bass player in the world. I just wanted to jam with my friends and have fun,somehow I stumbled into a career and have been very thankful that it worked out. I know God always had a plan for me. I actually sit in my studio and look around and say to my wife,”Do you believe how blessed we are to do what we love?” I guess in a way if you like what you do you are successful.
I decided to play bass when I was 13. Two weeks after I got my first bass I was playing weddings and parties with my dad’s band in Detroit,he was a really great drummer. So I’ve really never known anything else but playing gigs and being a working stiff.
You have toured the world many times over & recorded with some of the most talented & influential artists of ALL time. As a Freshman studying at North Texas State, did you ever envision this level of success or the fact that you might one day tour with a BEATLE?
I drove by Denton Texas last week while out on the road, where North Texas is.. We stopped the band bus at a starbucks and I looked around the school and thought, “I don’t really remember anything!” It was so fast and the learning curve so high that it just blew by. The school was great but the best thing was the people. We would have “sessions” where you would go to friends houses and play real book jazz and rock songs, just jam for 3 or 4 hours, pack up and go to the next one. Sometimes 3 or 4 times a day. You played till your fingers fell off. There were so many great players that it was always humbling, there was always somebody way better than you. I never thought I would ever play with a Beatle, but I know all the years of gigs and going to school for music helped me prepare for it,is there really a way to prepare to play with a Beatle?
I’ve caught many of your sold-out shows with Rick Springfield & band. You guys seem to have an absolute blast EVERY time. How do you keep touring FUN after all these years together?
After all these years I’ve realized the best trait you can have is just to try and be a good guy. When you’re out on the road it can be melodramatic, everything gets bigger than it really is. It’s a show, I’m glad to be part of all the bands I’ve played in, but I realized early that it’s all a facade. I love it but can’t take any of it too seriously. One day you’re cool,the next day you’re stool…it’s the way the world is. I’m just really blessed to have played with some great players and really cool people. And,after all, we’re traveling around playing music, how can it not be fun, like playing in a sandbox.
Tell us about your studio & upcoming shows, projects & releases! Where can we get MORE MATT this year?
Can you ever get enough Matt?? I mean,C’mon!? I have a studio in our house in Orange County. I think I’ve recorded over 12 albums there so far. The newest one is called “Disposable Planet”. I try and write one every year ,mostly pop music where I’m singing and playing. I’ve been writing for tv and movies etc. If I’m not writing and doing stuff I go a little crazy so I spend a lot of time in there. The best thing is recording all day at home where I can go in my son’s room and goof off with him and with my wife and be around them, then go back in and do more writing. If it wasn’t for writing and producing I don’t know what I would do.
THANK YOU for your time Matt. I know you’re one busy guy.
Well thank you Birdee. Thanks for having me, God bless ya and keep up the fine work..
If you happened to catch a glimpse of filmmaker Travis Schneider from across a packed Hollywood venue, your initial thought process would probably go something like “James Dean incarnate, actor, model, beautiful face in the sea of angels” In which case you might be more than just a little surprised to learn that Travis Schneider spends more of his time behind a camera than in front of one. Check out my Q & A with the extremely sought after film director whose cutting edge style & uncommon eye for story telling has him not only directing the latest Maroon 5 music videos but also thoroughly rooted in the coveted Hollywood’s Most Wanted listings.
Quick 5 Stats With Travis Schneider
1. Golf with Brian Setzer or Air Hockey with James Dean?
- This is actually a tough one.. While I’ve met Brian Setzer and would love to meet him again, I’m not much of a golfer and would probably make a complete fool of myself. I had an air hockey table growing up so I’m fairly convinced I could crush anyone that I play, but then do I really want to make a fool of James Dean?? My guess is that Setzer would smack me for NOT saying James Dean, so I’ll go with James Dean. I’ll let him win a couple rounds…
2. Plaid or Argyle?
- I’d say plaid. Although I do feel like a stud when I wear argyle socks, most of my shirts are plaid and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
3. Best Make Out song Ever written?
- The first thing that pops into my mind is “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by The Righteous Brothers… Or anything Diane Warren has ever written.. The couples that got to make out during prom while “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith was playing are probably married now.. She also wrote a great song for The Cult called “Painted On My Heart” that hits me hard every time I hear it… HOWEVER, with all of that said, I think my real answer is Harry Nilsson’s “Save The Last Dance For Me”.
4. Jean-Luc Godard or George Stevens?
- They are both so great on so many levels, but I’ve seen more Godard films, so I’d go with him. As a young director, I’ve always felt more inspired by his style to go out and make my own things. A lot of that “grab & go” kind of film making just made making movies seem a little more attainable and made me believe it was something I could do too.
5. When I’m not behind the camera or the microphone you can find me ____________.
- Eating… It’s probably the only thing I actually spend money on.
Maroon 5 Photo by TRAVIS SCHNEIDER
DYING to hear all about your latest video with MAROON 5 & Lady Antebellum “OUT OF GOODBYES” starring Dwight Yoakam. Tell us a bit about the shoot & why it’s our new favorite vid.
- I was equal parts excited and equal parts nervous for this video to come out. It’s such a departure from anything Maroon 5 has ever done, I knew there would be a majority of their fans that would tear it apart solely for the fact that Adam was not in it, but I also knew that the video might reach a whole new group of fans that may or may not have ever given the band a chance, and THAT is who I made the video for. Maroon 5 putting a country song on their album was a bold thing to do, so I wanted to make an equally bold decision with the video. Also, Sergio Leone is one of my biggest inspirations, so it was a chance to make some sort of attempt at creating a western and tipping my hat to his style. It really felt like it on the set too. We were on a ranch in the middle of nowhere and even though you can’t see most of it, the entire room was covered with things (furs, guns, traps, etc.) that really put us right there. Dwight Yoakam is the man, and he sang along loud to every word. Hearing his voice boom in that cabin gave me chills, and also made me wish they’d re-record the song with him. WATCH IT & fall in love with it NOW!
You are not only a phenomenally creative film maker but also a very cutting edge photographer of the famous & beyond. Who are your greatest inspirations & where did your love for all things cinematic begin?
- I’ve been surrounded by extremely talented artists my whole life, so growing up it always seemed like something I wanted to step into as well. My dad is an amazing film editor and I remember seeing him cut film on a flatbed in our house. So early on, it already seemed like an exciting and appealing thing to do. I tell him that he taught me everything I know but he hasn’t taught me everything HE knows. Every time I’m cutting I’m thinking “what would Dad do?”.My brother Chapman Baehler is an incredible photographer and got his start taking pictures of surfers, but it wasn’t til he started showing me photos he was taking of my favorite bands that I knew I wanted to do something similar. I would visit him and he would show me photos of Sonic Youth and Pearl Jam that he took after sneaking his camera into the venue and it seemed like the coolest job anyone could ever have. He would tell me stories about working with Frank Black and Porno For Pyros, and my 7th grade mind was thinking “why would anyone want to do anything else??”
Tell us about touring with Maroon 5 & documenting so many amazing shows & studio moments around the world…
- I have such an enormous amount of respect for those guys. After seeing how hard they work inside the studio and on tour, it gave me so much inspiration for my own walk into the music world. They are such incredible musicians, and you might not know it for sure until you see them live. Being in that environment day after day is continuously motivating. They’re all very creative and very smart, so I constantly feel like I’m learning when I’m around them. One of the main reasons I started shooting was to be closer to the music and to get the best seat in the house night after night. I’m still not sick of seeing those guys play.
Two of my favorite Travis Schneider films are “Uncharted” by Sara Bareilles & I absolutely LOVE Frankie B Tears & Feet LOOKBook with Taryn Manning. You are a film maker with a signature high style but the FUN in everything you do really shines through. What has been the most entertaining shoot for you thus far in your career?
I’m so happy to hear you like those. They were both really fun to put together, but I’d have to say the most fun but also the most stressful shoot I’ve ever done was for the music video “Temple Pressure” by Alvin Band. It was pretty much my first video and was also an incredibly ambitious treatment with not a lot of money to pull it off, but we wrangled a tight little crew of friends and family to work for free, pulled a lot of favors and barely pulled it all off. It was a fantastic learning experience and I still get people coming up to me talking about it. Sometimes it’s your limitations on a shoot that create the biggest creative possibilities.
THE DAMNSONS !! Where can we see you rock the stage with your band soon? And where do we get our life size Travis Schneider posters?
-The Damn Sons are trying to plan a little studio time so we can track all of the new stuff we’ve been working on! We desperately want to get out of L.A. and hit the road so we can play more in other cities, but we want to have something people can take home if they like what they hear. Check our Facebook page for dates, as we will post the announcements there. As for life size posters, those will have to wait til U2 takes us on tour…
Photo Travis Schneider with The Damnsons by David Schless
I have a feeling it won’t be long Travis.
Thank you for sharing your amazing artistic visions with the world.
VIEW Travis Schneider Portfolio
Philip Tan has mixed and/or recorded 23 singles which have reached number ONE on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts. Some of the artists upon his list of credits include: Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, Jay-Z, Jennifer Hudson, Janet Jackson, Ne-Yo, Leona Lewis, Snoop Dogg, Usher, Corinne Bailey Rae, Enrique Iglesias, Ciara, Alicia Keys, Jermaine Dupri, Outkast, Aretha Franklin, Nelly..Ok that’s just a few but surely you’re starting to get the idea here ??
Philip Tan is one of the most succesful mixing engineers in American music today.
I recently had the chance to find out more about the man who decided to skip Berklee & whose make out philosophy could never be summed up in a typical 3 minute 15 second pop song.
Five Quick Stats With Engineer Philip Tan
1. Wallflower on the dance floor or Drop it Like It’s HOT?
Wallflower, sadly. Cursed with two left feet.
2. Favorite shoes or barefoot beneath the console?
No shoes, but with comfy socks!
3. Best Make Out Song ever written??
Just one?? Make Out session’s gotta last longer than one song, no? Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah,” Miles Davis’ “Flamenco Sketches,” Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game,” Prince’s “Adore,” “Lady Cab Driver,” “International Lover,” Lenny Kravitz’s “It Ain’t Over Over ‘Til It’s Over,” all of D’angelo’s “Brown Sugar” album, except maybe “Shit, Damn, Motherfucker” (although it does feel kinda sexy) …
4. Atlanta does ________ better. SWEET TEA I wuz originally gonna say strip clubs …
If I had not grown up to be an engineer I surely would have been a _________. CO
MIC BOOK WRITER/ARTIST
Or perhaps a teacher. Hard to say, really. I’m rarely absolutely positively certain of much …
A staggering 250 million records sold in the US alone, you are one of the most successful Urban mixing Engineers of all time. Can you tell us a bit about your beginnings? Was there a defining moment when you knew that your life’s work would be making music?
Left home at 17. Supposed to get a degree, find job, marry a nice girl, have 2.3 kids etc. Didn’t quite work out that way (except for the marry a nice girl part - yay!). Got bored in college. Engaged in much unproductive extracurricular activities. My sis and her husband saw this, sat me down one day and had a Come to Jesus moment with me (THIS was probably the defining moment). I did a bit of soul searching and decided I wanted my life to be fun. Came down to art or music. Music won out because I didn’t always feel like drawing/painting/designing, but I’m always listening to music. Got accepted to Berklee (very happy) but couldn’t afford it (very sad). Decided to go to Full Sail instead. At the time their recording arts program was only 8 months. Came to Atlanta in 1990 for an internship at Soundscape Studios. Mainly because no studio owner/manager at any other studio I called would have me. There I met Jermaine Dupri, LA Reid, Rico Wade and Organized Noize, Outkast, Dallas Austin and several others I still work with to this day.
You are known as an independent trail blazer, but did you have mentors in the industry who helped you along the pathway?
My sisters. They were the ones who supported my decision to leave college and pursue an “alternative” career path - not well-received by my parents. I am also forever thankful to Jon Marrett and his wife Nancy, owners of the aforementioned Soundscape Studios for the opportunity they provided me. Jermaine Dupri, for believing I could do the job. He’s probably the biggest reason I have a career in music. Diane McDonald (who basically ran So So Def till 2010) for her grace under pressure and always being the sane, reasonable one. The engineers I learned from along the way - Darin Prindle, Rick Sheppard, Thom Kidd and Neal Pogue, in particular. And of course, my wife Lesley, who keeps my world rockin!
3 Grammy’s & countless accolades including an induction into the Full sail University Hall of Fame. Does all of the recognition help to motivate your process?
It’s nice to be appreciated but I’m not driven by it - not something I have any control over. Just never been someone who needs a pat on the back.
Mixing top selling albums by Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Ne-Yo, Ludacris, Usher, and Janelle Monae, were you always a lover of the Urban sound? What style music do you relax to when the lights have been turned down in the studio & it’s time to go home?
I do love urban music but I listen to all kinds. My most listened to albums include Tool’s “10,000 Days,” Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue,” Depeche Mode’s “Violator,” Peter Gabriel’s “Up” and “Us,” Massive Attack’s “Mezzanine,” Radiohead’s “OK Computer,” “In Rainbows” and “Amnesiac,” Any Prince album from the ‘80’s, MJ’s “Off the Wall,” soundtrack to “A Nightmare Before Christmas,” Keane’s “Under the Iron Sea,” Rage Against the Machine’s first 3 albums, Bjork’s “Debut,” “Post” and “Homogenic,” Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms,” Led Zeppelin I & II, The Police’s “Synchronicity” and Fiona Apple’s “Tidal.” I could go on and on, really …
What fabulosity are you up to currently?
Ooh, fabulosity … such a fancy word. I am currently mixing songs from Jill Scott’s upcoming album. Could be just me, but there can’t be too many better ways to spend the day than listening to Jill sing …
Absolutely Agreed Phil!!
Thanks for an amazing interview & for fabulous music.
All I can really say is Berklee’s Loss