Vincent Foley conducted this interview with Kevin Krauter on February 19th, 2017. Kevin is a musician living in Muncie who is active as one third of the trio makes up the band Hoops, and a solo musician in his own right.
VF: How did you first get into music and when did it occur to you that you could do it for a living? And how was the transition from hobby to job and has that affected your feelings towards your craft?
KK: I first got into playing music with my older brother when I was really young, like maybe 10 or 11. Then in middle school throughout high school I started playing in bands with my friends. I started writing and recording music in college, then Hoops put out our first tapes and started touring so we started taking it more seriously. When we got signed to Fat Possum, it started looking like this was something I could do full time and eventually make a career out of. Making the transition from music as a hobby to actual job was definitely rough and took me by surprise, but it was also really exciting and has led me to take myself more seriously as an artist and work a lot harder.
VF: How has your experience been in the music industry? We often here that record companies can be shady and exploitative of their artists. You mentioned Hoops being signed to Fat Possum, but I see that your two solo albums have been released under the Indiana label Winspear.
KK: I put out my first two releases with Winspear, and working with them has been really awesome. I’m on a different label now, but Ben and Jared, who run Winspear, are still managing me. They’re two close friends of mine, and it feels good to have them with me.
VF: My professor runs a blog called Middletown Music. He's really into bringing more attention to the Midwest and the music scene in Midwestern areas. Hoops is actually on the website. How would you describe the music scene here in Indiana? If you feel like getting more specific, how does it differ from city to city?
KK: I think the current wave of Indiana music is really cool. Every day I hear about a new band that some friends started or a cool show that’s happening. It’s nice to be a part of that scene. There’s some really cool stuff happening in Bloomington and Indianapolis at the moment.
Verenzo Holmes interviewed TJ Gibson “Boswavy”, a 19 year old rapper from Augusta, Georgia, who began rapping 3 years ago. His genre of music are hip-hop and rap. His favorite artists are Gucci Mane, Future, Hoodrich Pablo Juan, and NBA Youngboy, and his favorite song by another artist is NBA Young Boy's "Red Drum". His audience is street people and fighters. He has performed many times in Atlanta, Charlotte, Augusta, and Myrtle Beach, and his favorite song to perform of his is "Piped Down". His future plans are to perform more places where the venue his bigger and get a contract.
VH: When did you began making music?
BW: I began making music my senior year of high school at age 18.
VH: What made you start making music?
BW: The reason I began making music is because a old friend of mine told the police at school I had marijuana on me and got me expelled from school. That's when i decided to make a song about friends switching up on you.
VH: What is the purpose of your music and message of your music?
BW: The purpose of my music is to get away from today’s stress and problems in society.
VH: What do you like about music the most ?
BW: My vibe and flow in the studio when I’m making music.
VH: What do you feel your best at when making music?
BW: I’m good at my punch lines, switching up flow, making a good chorus and hook, telling real stories, and rhyming.
VH: What are you future plans with making music?
BW: My future plans right now is to keep making more music, performing places, and hope for a contract.
VH: What do you talk about in your songs?
BW: I give real life stories of situation that happen to me or talk about things that I think about daily.
VH: How does your music influence young people?
BW: My music influence young people by telling them the mistakes I made growing up and trouble I got into so they won't do the same things I did.
VH: What is the next step your are trying to accomplishment with your music?
BW: I want to eventually earn a contract and keep performing locally then eventually start performing nationally.
Rebecca Rodriguez interviewed Mario Martinez from Tucson, Arizona.
R.R- Hello, Can you tell me about yourself and what roles you take in this company?
M.M - Yes, yes of course. I take the responsibility of being the event coordinator and DJ for events here in Tucson. From a young age I loved music and wanted to go into this field, but I went to college for one year and it ended very quickly and I ran back to the thing I loved most. I reached out to some friends and we were able to open up this entertainment business here in Tucson. There is not a lot of event coordinators especially when it deals with the music industry. I have been able to help expand the music scene here and I enjoy it because I often get to DJ at a lot of the events.
R.R - Wow thats awesome, what skills do you think it requires to run a business like this?
M.M- well I think it takes courage first off because you have to be willing to fail. You also need to have good communication skills and be able to talk to people in all types of situations. I also brought my skills of noticing good talent. I have been able to bring 3 upcoming artist into Tucson, and they have expanded since coming here.
R.R- What do you like most about working in this field?
M.M- It can be stressful from the jump trying to book artist, trying to help them make music, but in the end it is the best feeling to see people enjoy the shows , shout me out on the internet and see the end project for the artist.
R.R- Wow it sounds like a great career! Do you think there is a difference between Midwest music and West coast music and its process in the industry?
M.M- oh yea! West Coast music is behind! Midwest and east coast music pops off and grows a lot quicker in the music industry then West Coast music. A lot of rappers come from the Midwest or east coast and they dominate this field. But, music is growing this way and I feel that in the next couple years we will have some great young rappers come out of Arizona and West Coast.
R.R- Thats great to hear! Do you have anyone you look up to in the music industry?
M.M- I do. I look up to Dr. Dre and Boy Wonder Wonder. They inspire me and literally whenever I am having a bad day I put on some Dr. Dre and it just helps me focus and stay driven.
R.R- Lastly, what would you say to any people trying to work in this field?
M.M- Fake it till you make it! Never let anyone tell you you're not good enough. If an artist says they wont work with you, say thank you and keep moving on. Do this work because you love it and be confident all the time.
Jacob Burns conducted this interview with Christian Del Zoppo from Fort Wayne, IN.
JB: What is your job title?
CDZ: Professional drummer, maybe someday be a drum technician that makes a set for drummers to play.
JB: What is the name and genre of your band?
CDZ: The name of the band is, “Former Vandal”. They are a hip hop and rock band. They are trying to recreate and capture the 80s style of music. They have a pretty easily marketable product with good lyrics that has substance”. JB: “What is the message of your band and the feeling you want your listeners to have?
CDZ: Entertainment obviously but it is deeper than that, biggest product we offer is connectivity, to be a part of something for a night. It is more than just being entertained. We want the audience to feel as they a part of a movement and something good for the world.
JB: Do you have a social media presence?
CDZ: Yes, we have over 60,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
JB: Has being a part of a more prolific band made you learn more about yourself and who you and what you want to represent?
CDZ: Be who you have always been, and I just really meshed with band and the type of people they were. They are just about loving everyone and caring for everyone. And that really aligned with what I was about in my life as well”. JB: “How did you get involved with this band?
CDZ: My buddy knew of the band and their similarities to my interests and told me to consider them. So, I just tweeted him and said I would love to drum for him if he ever needed me. He hit me up a few months later wanting me to audition for an opened drummer spot and now I’m the drummer.
JB: What have you learned about music and the goals you have had for your musical career?
CDZ: I realized my idols aren’t far off from me. Their paths are similar as mine. I realized the lack of a gap and how good I am compared to the popular bands. My goals are attainable, sometimes I am in the same room as chance the rapper and he is just a regular person in just different circumstances and different stage and level of experience of his career.
JB: Who made you want to get interested in this life and got you interested in it?
CDZ: My drum inspiration comes from Stix, who is Chance the Rapper’s drummer, He has also given me lessons and is so good and he has really pushed me to be better. Also, Christopher my cousin taught me how to drum so I would be nowhere without him. Also, the drummer of band called 1975 is similar in the way I am trying to drum and I have been trying to emulate him in my style of drumming.
JB: We are promoting the Midwest music scene on our website, middletownmusic.org. What should we tell our followers about the music & entertainment scene in your city? What is the most exciting part of it for you?
CDZ: The music scene in Fort is on the come up. It is exciting because there is a lot of like-minded and talented individuals that in the future to be a major part of the music scene. And I really look forward to the competition coming.
JB: Thank you for your time, I enjoyed my time speaking with you.
CDZ: Likewise, thanks for having me.
Craig Weinberger interviewed Dilan Kettwig, a rap artist who grep up in Gary, Indiana, a city with a lot of historical music significance, that is mostly known about Michael Jackson and Motown. Dilan is a Soundcloud rapper who began about two years ago and has opened for names like Mike Jones and Kevin Gates.
CW: So what made you want to start rapping? Who influenced you?
DK: Well growing up in Gary I always knew about the Jacksons and other older music stars but it wasn’t until Freddie Gibbs started getting popular that I even thought it would be possible to get signed still. Even after Freddie, I really questioned the possibility of getting big until I met Yoson Tala. He really has shown me the opportunity.
CW: What made you feel that way?
DK: It’s so competitive now and with social media it’s hard to actually sift through all the music that’s put out. People get tired of soundcloud rappers who claim to be the best, just to listen a pretty mediocre track.
CW: I understand the frustration. How would you describe your style?
DK: I think it’s really a mixture. You know I’ve got a more modern and aggressive flow but I like to actually add a little substance to what I’m rapping about. You know, anyone can just rap about drugs and partying. I want people to actually remember a message or something to take away.
CW: What influence did rap have on you while growing up?
DK: Oh man what influence didn’t it have? I grew up listening to UGK, 3-6 Mafia, Tupac and Biggie. So many more too. I grew up being able to relate to what they would rap about. You know not every song but most of them I could picture myself in. I just wanted to be that role model for some kid somewhere like they were for me.
CW: Can you play any instruments or is rapping your only focus?
DK: Rapping is definitely my main focus. I am constantly trying to open my vocabulary so i’ll just sit back and read a few books in my spare time. I really believe that the more you read and the more you learn the better your lyrics and overall flow will be.
CW: Last question before we end this but where do you see yourself career wise in a year?
DK: Honestly, I can’t be sure. I’m making good moves on a lot of different platforms but I’ll need to start focusing on a couple for right now. I need a bit more help to manage all this. It’s more than just rapping and I don’t think people always get that. The rest of my crew just always wants to get in the studio, they don’t really realize all of the business behind it.
CW: I completely understand you, thank you again for taking the time for this interview. Good luck to you in 2018, Dilan.
DK: Thanks, you too.
Nicholas Page interview Trilla Trav, a new and upcoming artist originally from Bloomington who is looking to expand his fanbase and build his music career.
NP: When did you start making music and what styles of music do you like to preform the most?
TT: I started playing music when I was 7 years old. My father, who was self-taught, showed me how to play the guitar and right off the bat I was trying my own songs and chords. Shortly after that I found a passion for the drum kit. I always had a decent sense of rhythm growing up but I believe my high work ethic on the kit laid the foundation. I spent my childhood in a home where my father enjoyed 80s/90s rock, my mother listened to 80’s pop and my sister was good at finding underground music of all types. I suppose the ability to connect these different styles of music is what opened my mind up for hip-hop to come into my life. There is something truly special about an artist that just needs a microphone to translate his or her passion and feeling into art.
NP: What was your biggest influence to entering the music industry?
TT: When I started making music I never looked at it like “who’s the man? I gotta be where he’s at!” It was more about how it affected my mood and how my moods affected my habits. As I got older I learned that your habits define you. That’s how I got started; I wanted to positively impact people’s lives like other artist have done for me. Especially when life gets hard. That’s what keeps me motivated.
NP: What is the hardest part about gaining publicity and fans as a new artist?
TT: I’m not naïve, I understand that I have to earn a lot of respect as a white kid from a small town in Indiana, but that’s something that helped me understand that I have to master my craft and work hard at what I do. I’m in no position to expect a person to like me because I like me, that’s not what the true principles of Hip Hop are about. On the surface level it is easy for me to put my music out there and its great to have a convenient way for people to hear me but once you start taking advantage of that, you start to realize how many other people are doing that and how hard it is to push past the first level of music marketing. There’s a lot of saturation. That’s why I strive to make something original every time I touch the keyboard to make a beat, and when I grab the mic and hit the stage.
NP: Have you ever performed live in front of an audience?
TT: Yes, I have a quite a bit of experience preforming live.
NP: What is the biggest venue you have preformed at?
TT: The previous group I was in preformed at the Lafayette Theatre in Lafayette, Indiana. We opened for Tech N9ne in September of 2016, which had a crowd of about 600 people. Although that might have been the biggest crowd my favorite performance was when we opened for Mark Battles. We had developed a pretty strong fan base in the Lafayette area. We added a drummer to the group and not to brag or anything, but we actually had a bigger crowd than Mark Battles. Which is something I’m proud of and will always remember.
NP: What is your vision for yourself in the long term in the music industry?
TT: I don’t think about the long term very much, but I definitely want to create more concept albums, go on tour and build a recording studio by the time I’m 25.
NP: Do you think that is achievable in the near future?
TT: Absolutely, I’ve already been working on an album and we have about 6 1/2 songs done so far. It should be finished next month and set to release shortly after that. As far as the studio goes, I’m in the beginning phases. I’ve been in touch with few promoters that are interested in planning a tour. I think it is totally possible.
NP: Are you currently working on any new projects?
TT: Yes, my friend PJ and I are working on mixing and mastering my first solo album. I’ll be releasing more information soon through social media. The social media sites you can find info on are my website: www.traktrain.com/trillabeats or on trillaaudio for twitter and instagram. I’ve been working on this project for over a year now so I’m really excited about putting this out. It’s my first 100% self produced project. I also have a mixtape and a couple beat tapes to come out before the end of the year.
NP: Awesome, that is some exciting news. Best of luck to you in the future and thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
TT: Yeah no problem. Thanks for interviewing me.
Khalil Newton conducted this interview with Alec Baldwin, a new up and coming Artist from Georgia who is finally following his passion as a singer and rapper. Alex's favorite musician is the hip-hop icon Lil Wayne and he has been into his music ever since he was 8. Alex never really took it upon himself to pursue his music dream until after he graduated high school. He is now making music with another talented guy from his high school and attempting to grow his career.
KN: I heard you used to sing and rap in your free time during your days in high school but, what does it mean to you that you're finally taking action and trying to make a name for yourself in the music industry?
AB: It means a lot because in high school I always dreamed about making music but never had the tools necessary to do so, but once I got out of high school I was able to share what was on my mind.
KN: What are some things that you are doing to promote your music and your name?
AB: I've been teaming up with other singers and rappers to attract some of their fan base and also I've been putting my music on music streaming apps like Soundcloud and Youtube.
KN: who would be some people you'd like to collaborate with to make a song?
AB: Some people I'd like to collaborate with would be singers like Maxwell, Eric Benet, and of course Lil Wayne.
KN: Since Lil Wayne is such an influence on you, what would be your favorite song from him? Who else have you been inspired by in the music industry?
AB: That's definately a tough question, I can't single out one song but I do have favorite album called Free Weezy Album also known as "FWA". And growing up I've always been enthused by singer, comedian, and actor Jamie Foxx.
KN: What's the reason for why you didn't get involved with music earlier in your life?
AB: Probably just because I never had the tools and time to do so because I was always involved with baseball.
KN: What's next that you're putting out for the world to here?
AB: I have a new single called The Last Time that's being released next week.
Kanon Mosly interviewed Jake Presley about his DJ work under the stage name Medicinal.
KM: Bro, what’s up! How have you been? Thank you for taking time to sit down with me.
JP: Great man and I am more than happy to help out a close friend. I have been doing well just been DJ’ing at different venues and producing more music.
KM: So let's get into it man and I would love to hear some of the projects you are working on after this. What services do you or your company provide to clients?
JP: The service I primarily provide to my clients, as a DJ/music producer is pretty simple. My job is to make sure that good music never stops wherever I'm playing. Music is a crucial factor to having a good time and at the end of the day, I want to make sure everyone is having a good time.
KM: I couldn’t agree more music is literally my life. Whenever I go to the gym, party, or even walking to class. I am always listening to music. How did you get into the business you are in and what do you like most about it.
JP: I got into the business at the end of my senior year of high school going into my freshman year. I saw a crazy talented artist named DJ Craze and wanted to be just like him and I went out and bought some turntables with some money I saved and got the chance to DJ my fraternity the past few years. The thing I love most about DJ'ing now that I'm producing music too is getting the chance to play music that I made and watching people dance and vibe with it. You spend a lot of time working on those songs, but all that work is more than worth it when you see people really enjoying it.
KM: It’s awesome to see how people can impact so many people and inspire them to pursue their dreams. Yeah everyone, when they come to the fraternity house, are always hype to hear you play and there is always such a big turnout. I remember when I got into your area and was like a hype-man and it was an unreal experience. Next question, what are you good at and what are the types of skills you use?
JP: I think one of my best skill sets is as a DJ (and it seems really basic) is I'm pretty good with my song selection. I usually can read a crowd and pick the right song for the situation. I think a lot of DJ's get so caught up in effects, transitions, etc... but they forget the most powerful tool in their arsenal is their music. I really use this to my advantage by letting the music talk and not going overboard on anything.
KM: Honestly I feel like that’s the most important aspect especially for DJ’ing and it's mind-blowing to think that song selection has such a huge impact. We are promoting the Midwest music scene on our website, middletownmusic.org. What should we tell our followers about the music & entertainment scene in your city? What is the most exciting part of it for you?
JP: Like I said earlier the most important thing is about having fun and see other people enjoy the music as much as I do. In a way, you could say its like a connecting everyone together at that moment and they don’t focus on anything else, but having a good time with others. To all my followers and fans, I would like to say thank you for all the support and appreciation. The music scene in Indy is growing vastly and DJ’ing is becoming more and more popular.
KM: Hey man I really appreciate you sitting down to chat with me. I can’t wait to see what the future has to offer for you.
Eric Heinzman did this interview with Nik Gienger, who is currently Nashville attending The Blackbird Academy, with aspirations of eventually moving back to Indianapolis and working remotely. Nik is active on both sides of the glass in the studio, and is very passionate about local music scenes. For more info, visit https://www.nikgienger.com/.
EH: Alright, Nik, what services do you or your company provide to clients?
NG: I provide a recording, writing, producing, and mixing service for clients. Most of what I do though is in the recording, producing, and mixing field.
EH: How did you get into the business you are in? What do you like most about it?
NG: I got into it by offering these services to local people and it spread by word of mouth. I’ve never done any paid advertisements or anything, I have just offered my services and done a good enough job to get recommended by people I have worked for. My favorite part would be building relationships with clients. I think that’s the most important thing in the music industry, to build relationships with others and make good music.”
EH: What is your strong suit? How does this help you?
NG: My strong suit doesn’t really fit into the services I provide. I think I’m best at catering to those that I’m working for. When they come to my studio I make sure that all of their needs are taken care of, so I guess you could say customer service. It helps me and my business because my job is to help an artist fully develop their vision. If I can cater to their needs better than anyone else, then we get the best product and I could potentially get more business in the future.
EH: We are promoting the Midwest music scene on our website, middletownmusic.org. How is the music industry where you are, and what do people need to know about the music & entertainment scene in your city?
NG: Being in Nashville right now the music industry is popping. I don’t think it will ever die. One thing I’ve noticed is that people come from everywhere, and a lot of these people end up going home. There are a lot of opportunities outside of Nashville which is really inspiring. People should know that everyone wants to learn. The people at the top of the industry are still learning and want to help and learn with new people. Of course, there are jerks, but most people are willing to work with you and help you grow.
EH: Thank you Nik.
Mo Cummings conducted this interview with Ed Cobb, of Bedford, Indiana, on 2/11/18.
MC: Mr. Cobb…
EC: You can just call me Ed; Mr. Cobb is for my 8th graders.
MC: Alright, Ed it is. When did you first start playing music? How many, and what instruments can you play?
EC: I started playing music in 1975 in elementary school when I enrolled in band to play the trumpet. I played it through high school in our Jazz/Rock band at Bedford North Lawrence High School. After I started my teaching career, I got interested in learning to play guitar. That was probably around 1998 or so.
MC: Very cool. Can you still the play trumpet, or just guitar?
EC: Not like I used to, but after shaking off some rust I can still play trumpet. Mostly just the guitar now though.
MC: Gotcha. How did you come to start performing live shows? Where is your favorite place to play in Bedford?
EC: I had no intention of ever playing in front of any sort of audience. But my wife was singing in a group that performed music from the 60's and 70's and they convinced me to join the band when they were in need of a guitarist. I was hooked after the first show I did with them. We played in front of crowds as small as 40-50 and as large as 1,000 plus. My wife and I now mostly play together once a month at The Limestone Cafe here in Bedford, and it is by far our favorite place to play.
MC: I remember in middle school you and your wife performing “Traveling Soldier” at the Veteran’s Day program. It was great.
EC: Yes, we typically will play at one of the school events every year. That’s always something fun for us. And it shows the students we’re more than just math and science teachers.
MC: That makes sense. What is your favorite type of music to play, or maybe a favorite song to play?
EC: My wife and I really don't have a particular style that we play. We subscribe to the idea that there are two types of music: good and bad. If you come see us play, we will play acoustic covers of folk, rock, country, and pop stuff.
MC: You mentioned that you were in the Jazz/Rock band in high school. Does that carry over to the acoustic rock covers you play now?
EC: Yeah I would say it carries over some. Obviously a trumpet and guitar are different instruments, but it’s more the upbeat style that I liked back then, and still find enjoyable today.
MC: We are promoting the Midwest music scene on our website, middletownmusic.org. What should we tell our followers about the music & entertainment scene in Bedford?
EC: Bedford has a lot of talented musicians, and there are multiple ways to listen to and enjoy them. Of course, we have a small bar scene that has live music weekly, but there are also a couple of cafes that offer live music while you dine.
MC: Like the Limestone Café you and your wife play at?
EC: Exactly. Bedford and Lawrence County also have other entertainment venues like the Little Theater of Bedford, The Performing Arts Center at Bedford North Lawrence High School, Shafer Auditorium, and the Mitch Opera House that often showcase local talent as well.
MC: I’ve been to all of those except the Mitch Opera house, and they’re definitely some cool venues.
EC: I agree. We are definitely a small town, but there is plenty of musical talent here.
MC: Well I didn’t get any of it, but I know others who did. Thank you again for helping me out with the interview, I think we got some good information.
EC: No problem, thanks for asking me to do this.