Sunday, April 22, 2007
glisten: walkie talkie
Those (few?) of you who follow the Hut on a regular basis may well be wondering what I may have been up to as of late. The answer is "quite a lot"; much of which I hope to be able to share with you shortly, but let's start out with a heaping dose of my always-interesting, always-busy day job.
As you may remember back in issue 236 (it was a sponsored- by- Hostess one-shot special), I spend my 9 to 5's (or, more accurately, 11 to 8's) working at Joe's Pub. The Pub is a New York music and theater venue that brings in a pretty impressive array of artists from all over the world and all over the spectrum. It's open seven days a week and averages about three shows a night, so there's been plenty of opportunity for exposure to all kinds of tunage; I thought I was pretty knowledgeable when I started the gig, but I'm reminded every day now that it's all but impossible to have a comprehensive grasp on the entirety of popular music... and that's great! Or at least as good a reason to go on as I can think of...
Anyways, one of the reasons they hired my punk ass in the first place was presumably because I'm "down" with this blog stuff that's got the kids all riled up and they wanted to stay "on that new media flippity flop". To that end, I spend a good chunk of my work day/evening punching up the Pub's handy-dandy website. My own inclinations are always to show more so than tell, so we've started posting what I consider to be de rigeur media with every booking: decent-sized, smilin' pictures of the band; embedded YouTube video (live shows when available, videos when not); full-length fully-downloadable MP3s and links to the artist's personal web page. It seemed to me that the best way to get folks interested in a live band they might not otherwise know was to allow them to listen to the music and see video of them perform in advance so that they'd have a basis to form an opinion. This may sound pretty elementary, but it's also largely unheard of; there's no performance venue websites with anywhere near as much downloadable media as we're maintaining at th' Pub that I know of... but, incidentally, if any of you weisenheimers know of any other clubs that are doing similar promotion, please leave a link in my comments, cause I'd love to talk with other people who are walking the walk of the try-before-you-buy mantra.
So as I say, this all struck me as pretty elementary and once I set up some systems to help properly channel this media online as quickly as possible, I was left with an interesting question: what now? My experience has been that the web is all about content and that the best way to attract folks, keep 'em happy and keep 'em coming back to your website is to offer as much worthwhile content as possible. The gold ring, of course, is exclusive content; something special that only your site/blog/sewing circle/smithy/bakery can provide. That's when I hit upon the idea of recording informal one-on-one interviews with our artists.
Currently, there's just under a hundred of these interviews up on the Joe's Pub site; they're anywhere from five to twenty minutes long. I get a great deal out of doing them and have decided to start sharing them with you on the Hut as well. I record new conversations every Friday, so I'll start posting new interviews (as long as I keep doing this project) every Monday. In the future, I'll give a bit more information about who the people I'm talking to are and how I thought the talk went, but seeing as we have so very many in reserve, I figure I'll just toss the whole kit-and-kaboodle up in the air and we'll see how it lands.
Some caveats before I turn over the complete list of links to already-recorded interviews:
- While I will cop to having some public speaking background, I'm not a trained interviewer by any stretch of the imagination. I am happy to say that I think I'm getting a little better with practice and that you can expect all upcoming future posts in this series to improve somewhat.
- These talks are recorded over the phone, so sound quality will vary.
- All this stuff is meant as promotional material for the artists in question as well as for the venue; there's necessarily some shilling going on. Take it with a grain; hopefully you'll find something interesting in any case.
Current complete list follows; more (with better annotation) to come next week: