Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Case Closed

Sup Philly! The other day I had an awesome interview with Case Closed, a group of guys out of Jersey who know how to put on a great show and a sweet after party. They told me about their new moves for 2012, the next single, and the Case Closed house parties. Check out the band's new single, "A Tribute to a Man and his Orange Juice" and connect with them on their sites!

So what’s an average day like in the life of the members of Case Closed?
Phil: Well, we all have day jobs so we're always trying to find that happy medium to balance work/music. Our guitarist, Dave, and bassist, Dan, share a house together so that kind of become our headquarters haha. We do mostly all of our writing there and that usually always goes down sometime after 8 or 9pm, so occasionally we'll invite some friends over and play some songs for them. I think I speak for all of us on that one...if we didn’t have to work to pay for the things in our lives, we'd do absolutely nothing but music 24/7.
Curt: I should mention that I work at a mulch company in the summers, Dave works at WaWa, Dan works at Sear’s hardware, and Phil works at a retirement home.

That leads me to my next question, I heard about the Case Closed house and the parties you guys throw down, can you tell me a little about how the house is and how the parties are?
Phil: Hahaha that's so funny to hear that the rumors of the house are spreading. Well the guys that live in the house are Dave and Dan, but our good friends Kevin and Kris also live there too. So needless to say, 4 guys living in a house together, in a college town can lead to a lot of drinking and a lot of partying! Once we moved our equipment into the basement we realized we could definitely start playing during parties because we had enough space and we never had noise complaints before. We've only done it a handful of times but they've been fun’s usually a group of 30 or so of our closest friends. I know the lease is up in the summer and if the guys decide not to keep it, I'd like to know we made the best of it while we had it. So hopefully we can get a few more basement shows going and start inviting CC fans to come enjoy the atmosphere we've created.

You recently moved over to Black Ink MMG, how did that come about and what do you expect to come from it?
Dan: The idea of moving to Black Ink came from Isaac, our manager, after we had been with his management and promotions company, Monster Entertainment for a year. We're hoping that by teaming up with BIMMG, we will create a bigger team to help get our music out to the rest of the US and then take it international. They believe in our music and they think we have potential, we like that and we want to show them that we're dedicated to what we love. Our ultimate goal is to be able to tour all over the world and have fans at all of those shows. Yeah, of course we want to one day have the money to record big production albums and hear our music on every station across the country but we've always been about live performances.

You guys are planning a pretty cool video for the new single “A Tribute to a Man and his Orange Juice”. Can you guys tell me a little more about that?
Phil: Yeah actually we decided that we wanted to try a more DIY approach to our first official video and so we'll be doing it ourselves. There's been talk of bringing on a friend of ours who's offered to help free of charge and has experience. But for the most part the video will be a montage of all the fun times at the CC house, as well as some shots of us at 1 of the 2 shows we have coming up at the end of the month. We've all kind of always been camera shy and so we've stayed away from videos up until this point. Maybe it’s because we don't want to be portrayed as something we're not, ever, so by doing it this way our fans will always know the true Case Closed.

So where can a CC fan catch you guys live in the next few weeks?
Dave: March 30th we're playing at The Gibson House in Marlton, NJ and 31st we're playing at the Berlin VFW in Berlin, NJ with our good friends in Ridgemont, Youth, and bunch of other awesome south Jersey bands.

What’s the best spot Case Closed has ever played at?
Dan: I was a big fan of the RAW Artist Showcase we played in Philly over the summer. We were chosen to play at an event featuring 4 music acts and a handful of some of the best artists in the city, then to top it off was a fashion show. The showcase mixed everything together so well and we got to play for a packed house of 300 people.
Phil: I think another great show we had was at the 93.7 WSTW Flower Market we played last May where we opened for The Ready Set and 2AM Club. It was our first time playing outside on a really large stage (kind of had the Warped Tour vibe) it was a really great time.

What can a fan expect to get out of a Case Closed show?
Curt: We're pretty passionate about the songs we write so we always want to play every song we release. Unfortunately sometimes venues give us short time slots so we have to pick and choose. We love to change stuff up too so you can't guarantee the same set every time you see us. Besides mostly all of the songs off of CLOUDS, we're planning on unveiling some new songs at the next shows. These are songs that will be coming out in June on our new EP.

That was one of my other questions about anything new coming out. So you're releasing an EP, are you finished the recording or how is that going?
Phil: We haven't actually hit the studio yet. Between me and Curt, we have a lot of our own studio gear. So we've been doing the pre-production all by ourselves. We're still in the middle of demoing but generally we record drums in Curt's basement and then he'll send them to me and I do all the mixing, as well as bass. He does all the engineering for guitars and vocals. Our new EP is going to be 5 songs and right now we have about 5 or 6 songs written, 3 of which have already been demoed out but we're trying to write/record double what we want on the EP, that way we can pick and choose which songs fit best.
Curt: We plan on going back to record with Jesse Cannon at Cannon Found Soundation, who engineered and produced CLOUDS and we really loved the way it sounded. He's an amazing producer to work with.

Are there any awesome summer plans for Case Closed?
Phil: I think after the release of the EP we're going to try and do at least 3 self-booked tours with some friends in the New England area, maybe start making our way out west towards Chicago....we've never toured anywhere but the East coast so we'd really love to start seeing some new states and new faces.

Anything else you guys want to say to your fans before we wrap up?
Curt: Yeah. We hope to see you guys out our shows this month, we should have new shirts in for the shows and if you're planning on coming to both shows then you will get a chance to hear a couple new songs we think you might like.
Phil: Open invitation to come to a party at the CC house to anybody who loves our music!

Download the single at:

Check them out:

Lauren Resnick
Monster Entertainment LLC

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Born Green

Hey when I was a little monster growing up in the 80s all I could think about was how strange this world was. Why was I the only green kid in the class? When would I be able to partake in the sweet grasses of Indie music? Who the hell is this Madonna woman and why are her breasts pointy? It wasn't until I was older that everything started to make sense.
Now I get it... it's all about the music, the fun, writing, green beer... I love this day, especially when I wake up with a full, unopened bottle of Jameson. Happy Saint Patrick's day to all. Green monsters everywhere rejoice!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I.O.D. Vol 1

Take a sneak peak inside Black Ink MMG's new Indie Compilation "Indies On Deck Vol. 1" set to hit streets 3/27/2012 via Bungalo Records/Universal UMGD.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Booking in NEO (Brandon Hathaway)

Hey Philly! I recently said down and learned a few tips and tricks from Brandon Hathaway for how to be successful in the music business. Brandon makes up half of Tha 317, an Irish Hip-Hop band that seriously knows how to throw down. He not only performs, but is also the main promoter for the band and was kind enough to share with me a lot of great advice on the business side of things from concert booking to networking, and even filled me in on the growing music scene out in Ohio. The scene is getting big so if you're a band looking to tour, make sure you hit up the area, and then party with Tha 317! But seriously, listen to this guy if you want to learn how to land a gig, multi-task to the extreme, and make everything a party.

When did you form Tha 317 and how/why did you come up the Irish/Hip-Hop fusion?
Brandon: Well we actually started in February of 2009 and the funny thing was that it was started by coincidence. There was actually another member and they were in a group called Guinness and Shamus. It happened that the three of us wanted to start a group and we were all Irish. We were actually originally called Pogue Mahone then we added 317 for St. Patrick’s Day. But it turned out there was a bar in Canada called Pogue Mahone so we stuck with Tha 317Guinness and Shamus are cousins, but Guinness is no longer with us. Tha 317 is now myself, and my stage name is "Lucky Fargas," and the other member of the group goes by "Shamus O'Grady".

So you’re the main promoter for Tha 317 and have found a lot of success in finding shows…how did you go about starting the booking process? Did you learn from someone else or did you kind of just jump in?
Brandon: No I pretty much just jumped into it because music has always been my passion. I knew I wanted to work in it, either performing or writing or whatever, so I wanted to learn more about the business side of things. I’ve worked in retail so I’ve always been good at talking to people. I started at a small venue down in Akron as the first spot and with all the networking I’ve done since, I’ve sort of kept my eyes out. It’s all about who you know here, especially in NE Ohio. It’s all about how you get to know people and about networking.

How do you juggle creating music, writing and booking? You are also in school correct?
Brandon: It really is tough on me honestly. I do take online classes though so they can fit into my schedule. I just got my Associates and now I’m working on my Bachelors. I kind of like to kill two birds with one stone so I work a lot with the band online focusing on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reverbnation. It’s really about the internet. That’s where I can talk up the band and talk to venue owners. Every moment I’m not doing school work I’m constantly online networking. It’s hard to breathe sometimes but it’s my passion so I got to do it.

You guys play a lot in NE Ohio, so where are the best cities/venues for hip-hop artists to go to where they might receive a lot of positive reaction?
Brandon: There’s a lot in the Cleveland area. Akron itself isn’t really good for venues, but there is a great venue in Akron called Chuck’s Steakhouse that we play and it welcomes all different kinds of genres which is awesome. Then there’s Peabody’s in Cleveland which is a great venue and right outside of Cleveland in Mentor is a venue called Livewire Lounge that’s great and also welcomes all kinds of genres. There’s another great place in Akron called Musica. It’s great for in or out of town bands, but they don’t like it when you play another show close to the venue on a nearby date, so we’ll probably be back out there in June. And then also, an amazing venue is the Cleveland Agora. It’s really a great venue but it’s not easy to book. But when you get a chance to play there the place is very legendary.

Hip Hop tends to scare off venue owners. They seem to be afraid of the possible violence that comes with booking a Hip Hop show. How does this differ in Northeast Ohio and why?
Brandon: Well, it can be an issue but the problem with hip-hop is that it’s been given a bad name. Take metal fans, they tear up shows and mosh too and get a crazy rep as well. But it’s all about the way you conduct yourselves and interact with venue owners. It’s really about building relationships with the owners of the venues. I always sit down and get to know them very well. We also have a really good crowd. Our crowd is people who are chill and just want to have fun. We like to party and so do they. We also mix up our shows with different genres so it’s like one big fun show.

Everyone knows that the music business is all about networking. If you could choose the best three tips for networking that every person trying to book a show should always know, what would they be?
Brandon: Well, you’ve got to utilize your social networking and constantly promote, promote, promote. That’s what I use Facebook and Twitter for, it’s not even personal use. Promoting, promoting, promoting is number 1. Number 2, I’m constantly going out to find out what’s hot and talking to the venue owners. I don’t even know if there are three things I could pick. It’s really all about promoting and getting on the social media sites. That’s how I’ve been doing what I’ve doing and getting us shows. And stay positive. You’re gonna hear a lot of bad feedback for a while you just got to stay positive. Sometimes you’ll here two no’s from a venue before you get a yes so you just got to stay on top of things.

Tha 317 has played with some rising OH acts including iPhonic, EST and MGK. How was it sharing the stage with them and how did those relationships come about?
Brandon: I mean, it’s been an amazing experience. We actually just did a show with EST and MGK and got to hang out with them backstage. I’m still interested in learning things from them. I actually discovered iPhonic before they even got big and they have opened up for us a couple times back in 09-10, and now they’re getting big. That’s been a great experience getting to know them and getting to play shows with them now. It’s been a really cool experience. And now MGK is going national with his crew, it’s really an amazing experience sharing the stage with them.

What do you think all these fast growing OH hip-hop artists’ fan bases are saying about the state of OH’s music scene?
Brandon: Ohio has made a very sharp turn over the last couple of years and has become very good as far as the scene goes. There are lot of artists coming out of here such as iPhonic, MGK, Aaron L, and Chip tha Ripper. I think its saying a lot. Cleveland has always been the underdog and then Labron came out of here and people started realizing there’s talent here. And you’re gonna see a lot of big names coming out of here in the future. I think it’s taking a turn for the best. It’s cool that we’re coming up out of the wave and here when all this is happening right now.

Do you have any future plans for a career as a booking agent since you’ve had so much success with your own band?
Brandon: Right now I’m obviously focusing on Tha 317, but at the same time it’s good for me to learn the business side of 317 and having my degree. Yeah, if things don’t pan out for me I will definitely do this for a living, the behind the scenes. But it’s been a great experience for me to be able to do this for my current group.

Are there any crazy plans for St. Patrick’s Day for Tha 317? I’m assuming it’s your most sacred day of the year.
Brandon: Yeah, absolutely! We’ve got a great show set up this year which is actually gonna be at Chucks Steakhouse and we’ve got a lot of live bands playing and different genres its gonna be a really big event its one of those must come see events.

Got any last minute advice for the young booker out there trying to land their band their very first gig?
Brandon: Stay positive, stay energetic, and keep yourself together because it is a rough industry it’s a very rough business to get in and it can be very discouraging. Stay focused, stay positive, and keep driving. You gotta have some thick skin to be in this business.

As always, go check him and Tha 317 out!!/tha_317

Lauren Resnick
Monster Entertainment LLC