Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lazer/Wulf, Full of Hell and Weedeater - Live Show Review of Double Door, November 16, 2014

This article will be posted when our new site www.onaxismusic.com goes live. Please stay tuned!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Nino Arobelidze Creates New Crossroads Between Pop, Jazz, Soul and Damn Good Beat Boxing with NOMAD

Nino’s new album excels at the art of being classy, subtle and cutting edge. The U.S. musician and vocalist, who grew up overseas in the country of Georgia, represents rhythmic and lyrical exploration. Perhaps traveling the globe contributed to the adventure and beauty of bridging pop, jazz, soul and beautiful beat boxing.
It is a triumph of the merging of genres from many countries, as well as the U.S. Listeners of smooth jazz, R&B, hip hop, EDM, genuine rock and roll and spoken word can all light candles together. Layers of sounds become clouds that float over traditional boundaries, and merge together joyously. Colors are bright. Thoughts are free and relaxing, with flavorful bends and turns.
With her springy, curly hair and smiling eyes, she remains uplifting, artistic and wise. A fan explains the magnetic lure as “enchanting as the sirens of lore, revealing her soft, beguiling smile…[Nino’s music] teaches and we are eager students.”
How did she achieve sounding unique but remarkably universal? NOMAD, recorded with her partner and Producer Pablo Gordy, is a testament to the power of individual artists. Carrying notable musical prowess, the partnership is comparable to if Madonna and Prince teamed up, respectively. Their energy and artistry is intense and generous, whether performing solo, duo or band. 
The duo, which is constantly inventing and creating, also performs as “Forbidden Knowledge”. With these two artists collaborating on Arobelidze’s NOMAD, the results are unlike anything else that you’ve heard. Plus, it’s just as good as any of the albums sold at Starbucks lately. 
“People pay more for a cup of coffee than they do for music,” says Pablo Gordy in a video interview about NOMAD’s record label, Ni Fu Ni Fa Records. 
Here’s why you should skip the latte and drop some shiny dimes on the album: NOMAD is more than just groove, it redefines the complete partnership of lyrics and rhythm. The two become inseparable. The style will make your troubles melt away into peace of mind, like chocolate on the tongue.

The modern urban setting comes to life visually with colorful street murals and Nino’s lyrics on the video for “Coltrane Skies.” Filmed in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, the song lyrics connect people in distant places as being “under the same sky”. The song is about forgiveness, resolution and travelling light, says Nino.

“I’ve lived in so many neighborhoods in my life, in a colorful way. Every single place has contributed and enriched my curiosity for diversity in sounds, textures and colors of people and places. I continue to be fascinated by urbanity,” says Nino. She shares that with fans via the Coltrane Skies video.

As Nino sings in the video, there’s a bump—literally. When asked how being pregnant affected the music video she replies, “Pregnancy is such an incredible time in any woman’s life and it was such a tremendous time in my life that I wanted to integrate the emotional component into the visual context of my work.” Since then, Nino has given birth to her son. Being fearless in incorporating real life into art is only one facet of her work. It is a testament to her ability to create and thrive under any circumstances, and in any place or time.

The song’s title is a nod to the influence of jazz greats on Nino’s music. She spent days listening to LOVE SUPREME on repeat, entranced in its spirituality and emotional depth. Plus, Billie Holiday was one of Nino’s first musical influences when she moved to the U.S. as a teenager. “Raw emotion. Truth unencumbered. That’s Billie,” says Arobelidze.

With so much goodness from the past, and a sound that is heading toward the future, you may wonder where you can find the album? Just search Nino Arobelidze NOMAD on CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon.
Nino’s ability to keep moving is also taken literally. With a background in dance and choreography, the singer keeps our minds and bodies moving. “Music is an extremely physical form of expression for me, as it is cinematic…It moves and it is moving. Even in stillness there is motion and I’ve always experienced music that way,” says Nino.
It was important to let each song “grow into its own shoes, despite the odds,” says Nino who also incorporates a loop pedal into live shows. 
With plenty of ingredients to draw from, listeners can enjoy where she succeeded.
As a shorty growing up at the tail end of the Cold War, her influences ranged from Bollywood staples to Brazilian, Venezuelan and Colombian soaps. By 5th grade she was more interested in listening to George Michael and the Doors than world music. As her environment had no NPR or free cultural events, it wasn’t until she lived abroad and in the States that she’s been able to explore styles and types of music, and find her own voice. Being able to understand various music forms makes her see similarities that others may not be able to see; such as similar music elements shared between blues, Flamenco and Russian Gypsy music.

Her rhythmic ideas come from “everywhere-- patterns of speech, locomotives, nature..” she notes. 
The emphasis on rhythm as an art form in itself is reminiscent of contemporaries like Xenia Rubinos. Lyrically, Nino shares “artists like Joni Mitchell, Mos Def, Ani Difranco, Public Enemy or P-Funk have a way of keeping your ears and mind busy. Clever stuff..but always honest.”
When asked what about music makes it international or universal Nino answers, “Rhythm and sound. These two elements defy barriers of language, time and culture. They are the ultimate BS filters and cannot be used to mask any faulty emotion or thought. They are fantastic tools in communicating honestly and freely. In fact they are Freedom itself.”

Arobelidze relates to sound and rhythm when it’s honest and selfless. “I connect very deeply to the blues, the music of perseverance and personal strength that draws from one’s spirituality. I believe in freedom, fairness and beauty. Anything that conflicts with these concepts I will put up a fight against,” says Nino. Support the good fight and purchase this album NOMAD.
Click here to learn more about Nino: http://artistecard.com/ninoarobelidze
To purchase the NOMAD album use these links:
On iTunes

By Hannah Frank / On Axis Music

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Testing your Strategies: Bringing Fans to Venues

One Author's Approach
When his gigging band is asked by a venue to bring a certain number of people to the club, this author took a unique approach. He compares the idea of asking a band to bring in customers to the idea of asking a waitstaff or the chefs to bring in customers. Read the article at the link below:

This raises the question, is it the band's responsibility to bring fans to a venue?

The OnAxis Music Answer:

Musicians are musicians. Musicians can also be philosophers, have political views and hold opinions on how society and commerce should work. Musicians can choose to default to the archetype of the complaining musician, longing for the days of old where venues did all the promotion and the musician simply showed up, played and walked away with living expenses. However, being a musician is not a license to stand on a soapbox and talk about how your art is or isn't appreciated. Musicians, being musicians, must be able to survive and thrive in any context (social, political, commercial, etc.).

Facts and opinions can be true on a micro scale, but when they are looked at on a macro level, a bigger picture comes into view. The author of the article makes a good point about small clubs, particularly restaurants, that are attempting to build a music reputation. In this niche market, his comments are well taken. In the larger realm of the music industry, one must operate their business based on the context of the state of the industry.

The state of the industry is that musicians must bring fans to venues. There are always exceptions, such as events, festivals, private parties or other cases where there is a built-in audience.

Think of being a musician in the music industry the same way you would if you were thrown into a river and couldn't swim. One can either tread water and search extensively for life preserver rings, i.e. paying gigs that don't require the musician to bring any draw. You might find a couple, although it's uncommon. Or, you can stay in shallow water and play shows that accurately reflect your draw. Of course, the best solution is to learn how to swim:

1) Find out what the minimum draw is at the venue. In order to reach a certain number, you need to know what number you are attempting to reach. Even if it's five people, that is a goal. Even if it is 500 people, that is a goal.

2) Develop a strategy to reach that goal.

3) Use Tools at your Disposal: Mailing Lists, Facebook, Twitter
Mailing List: We recommend Mailchimp.com. Even if you don't have a professional mailing list, review your email contacts and choose the ones that would be interested in your music and send them a personal message inviting them to the event. Use copy and paste to repeat the main information. Send one email blast and at least one follow-up email reminder.
Facebook: Facebook invites as well as sending personal messages to friends and fans. Personal messages trump simply making a Facebook event and expecting the masses to click "Join".
Twitter: Use tumblr.com or hootsuite.com to post numerous posts about your show. It can't hurt.

4) Text messages: Some prefer text messages with info about local shows. Don't send it on the day of, please. How about a week notice?

5) Incentives anyone?

6) Look at it like the opportunity it is.
- It is a chance to connect with your friends, fans and family to see your music live and in person. Most of the people that want to see your band already know you. Tell them about it.
- It is a chance to develop the skills that will help you connect with and keep fans. When you're selling albums or merch, your customers are your customers. You might not have as many unless you were required to pull them out of the woodwork for your next live show.

7) If you are afraid of hard work, just go back to the shallow waters!

8) In deep waters, there are piranhas. Don't pay someone to make you a star, or fall for the hype of people that have something to gain from you. Build your fanbase yourself.

There's nothing like a live show that makes you connect with fans! Think of promotion as connecting with fans before the show, and performing as connecting with fans during the show.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Technology Brings Tools and Challenges to Music in 20th and 21st Centuries

In the 1970's the challenge in music was to be LOUD. Technology was just allowing bands to fill stadiums with sound and amps were finally going up to 10...and the race was on to see who could get to 11 first. Bands like THE WHO headlined this effort. 

Now, the challenge in music seems to be getting bodies to shows. With technology again in a featured role, the Internet with video, websites, and social media, as well as smartphones, with apps and access to the web, people in the tech-oriented affluent first world are accessing more audio and video media than ever. The Internet allows musicians to share work, from demos to full albums, in ways that was never before possible. Technology allows musicians to record music in their home, instead of clamoring to get a major label record deal, one of the ONLY ways to get professional quality recordings in most of the 20th century. 

Now that technology allows musicians the means to create and share their music digitally and in the cloud, the challenge that faces us in the 21st century is physical. Physical bodies in bars, clubs, concert halls, etc. that come in person to see music. Perhaps recording technology allows music to get too "heady" and be so introspective that people would rather listen to it at home on speakers than experience it in person. 

The means by which something is created, is the means by which something is experienced. Music that is CREATED LIVE is more apt to be successfully performed and enjoyed live. Music that is CREATED IN THE BOX (i.e. recorded in a studio, edited widely, etc.) is more apt to be successfully enjoyed IN THE BOX-- i.e. in someone's headphones, or speakers. There's nothing better or worse with either approach but take note if the way you're creating music ends up being the way you experience it, and how you expect others to experience it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

OnAxis Music Internship Available

Internship (school accreditation possible) offered to a person interested in:
Music Marketing as it relates to...
- Photoshop
- Web Research
- Emailing
- Press Contacts
- Press Releases
- Blogs
- Social Media Marketing on Twitter and Facebook
- Music Profile sites: Soundcloud, Reverbnation, Bandcamp, Youtube
- Booking
- Advancing Shows
- Developing the web presence of a band or organization
- Developing credibility
- Developing fans
- Developing revenue

Skills/Tools Needed:
Computer with Internet Access
Laptop if possible
Willingness to meet in person to review learning and tasks
Willingness to serve as Typist/Administrative Assistant

***This is not an on-site position. Work is at-home or at meet-up public location, such as coffeeshop, meeting rooms, etc.***

A work day may consist of:
Meeting for 2-4 hours, reviewing tasks and how to use Internet/Computer to complete tasks

This is a chance to learn a lot about music marketing. You are the direct assistant to Publicist/Blogger in the Chicago music scene with clients including Podcasts, Recording Studios, Independent Record label, and Audio Engineering/Repair/Tech Businesses. Clients also include independent solo artists and bands.

***About me:

***How to Apply
Only the brave may apply!
Be willing to type and you will learn music marketing from an active, participatory perspective and know more about booking and promoting your own band, and working as a Marketing Professional.

Email your phone number and a paragraph of intent about yourself and what skills and interests make you want to work.

Email: Axis.Contact@Gmail.com

Internship is 2-3 months, or longer depending on needs. Schedule is flexible.

Transportation/Stipend may be available.

Meetings are in Pilsen neighborhood, or in/near downtown.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

New Press Release for Liz Chidester's New Album, People Pumping Pedals, on CAUDog Records (Pop/Folk)


Liz Chidester’s New Album (Pop/Folk)

People Pumping Pedals
Announced by CAUDog Records
March 18, 2014 – Chicago, IL – Liz Chidester, a Chicago-based vocalist and guitarist, has written and performed all the songs on her debut original Folk/Pop album People Pumping Pedals, released by CAUDog Records. Chidester performed at Mayne Stage, one of Chicago’s premier listening rooms, just last month to promote the album, and is performing local and regional shows throughout 2014, gaining acclaim:

"Songwriter Liz Chidester has become a local favorite at our venue. Her new record, People Pumping Pedals [draws] inspiration from Stevie Nicks. It is almost perfect that this record came out in the dead of winter. It is a good one throw on when staying in and watching a snow storm outside your window."       - Ryan Sweeney, Talent Buyer, Chicago, IL

Chidester, originally from the mountains of Virginia, has hiked to the top of the songwriter scene in Chicago, bolstered by experience in theater and cruise ships, as well as a steeping in jazz standards. “Folk and jazz go hand in hand in that they carry on a sound, culture, and story-telling tradition,” says Chidester. After connecting with members of the staff of CAUDog Records, Chidester worked closely with Producer/Engineer Ellis Clark to complete People Pumping Pedals, all within a year of moving to Chicago.

“Liz Chidester’s delicate but profound delivery, unquestionable musicianship and her sense of humor, draws comparisons with greats like Joni Mitchell. The sound on her new album is smooth and professional, reminiscent of Sarah McLaughlin. Definitely a young artist to watch.”   – OnAxis Music, Chicago, IL

With a large repertoire, she has pinpointed patterns, mirroring classic hits from many eras. She sees a variety of influences like pop, funk, and Motown as [art forms]. Writing songs since she was three, her upbringing in the folk and bluegrass tradition evolved naturally as she mastered stage presence and delivery. Her debut album is “about movement, and love, and taking risks, and remembering where you come from,” says Chidester. With positive reviews, fans are excited to see where it is taking her.


Title track “People Pumping Pedals”

Hear it on Liz Chidester’s Official Website:

Soundcloud link:


“Go to Chicago” Live at Mayne Stage, 2/12/14

Liz Chidester, originally from the mountains of Virginia, moved to Chicago on the coldest day of the year in the winter of 2013. Since then, she has become involved with the Chicago songwriter crowd: Chicago Acoustic Underground and the Chicago Songwriter Alliance, and has performed at various bars and restaurants in the city, including Mayne Stage, the Uncommon Grounds on Clark and Damen, Elbo Room, Tonic Room, Abbey Pub, Bird's Nest, Parlour on Clark, The Greenhouse Theatre in the Beast Women Cabaret Spring Series, and The Den Theatre in her Chicago theatre debut as Glinda in the New American Folk Theatre's "Marvelous Land of Oz." Liz performs standards with jazz guitarist Jarvis Raymond at Nite Cap Cafe, and is a singer/guitarist in the roots music band The Cherry Trio. She also plays guitar for the premier iO improv team Virgin Daquari.
Before moving to Chicago, Liz was entertaining audiences at sea all over the Western Hemisphere on Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Line as a variety band singer and host. Liz is happy to announce that she recently released a record under the Chicago Acoustic Underground's label CAU Dog Records in January of 2014, available on iTunes, CD Baby, Bandcamp, and Amazon. Liz Chidester is classically trained Soprano/Belt singer, and a graduate of the School of Music at James Madison University,Harrisonburg, VA.


Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/lizchidester                                                                      ###

Friday, March 7, 2014

How to Make a Billion $: Money in Urban vs. Indie Rock Lyrics

In Pitbull's song Back in Time, there's this lyric: "Trying to make a billion out of 15 cents". It's a similar attitude to 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' album title. There's struggle in those words. It's a bit of machismo in there, but it speaks to reality rather than idealism. At least urban musicians know the odds they're up against.

Let's compare that to a random selection of indie rock/alternative rock/folk lyrics. These lyrics also use the word "money": 
"Our love is all we have...Our love is all of God's money" - Wilco
"Mobiles chirping...Take the money and run" - Radiohead 
"Youth is beauty, money is beauty, hell, beauty is beauty sometimes." - Ani DiFranco

When searching for indie-rock or alternative lyrics that use the word "money", we are hard pressed to find an indie rock song about making money. Instead, money is a philosophical concept to play with, or a part of a story in third person. The lyricist in the non-urban realm (folk, alternative, indie) is often talking about money as if it's just another character in a play.

The exception is blues-based music. There is I Need a Dollar by Aloe Blacc. Any coincidence that the artist is African American, and more connected to the urban world of rap? Not only is this a tip that America still has work to do before everyone is equal economic footing, it shows that every artist and genre speaks about money differently; some excessively and some not at all. It's referred to in a variety of ways.

This brings up the questions:

When and how do artists/lyricists talk about money in their songs? - Look at the lyrics of bands you like. How do they discuss money. Look at your own lyrics (if you write lyrics) do you ever write about money? If so, how?

When and how do artists/lyricists talk about money with their band, manager, engineer, producer, etc. - How do you discuss payment with your band, subcontractors, clients, etc.?

As an artist, are you looking at money as a need, or as a philosophical concept? - If it's a need, make a plan. If it's a philosophical concept, bring it down to earth.