steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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This is an interview with the AmalgaMusic label.

1) How did the idea of AmalgaMusic come about?

Well I started making music (though at the beginning, the use of that term was rather loose), all I used was a cheap bass guitar, my voice, some junk around my room, and a program called "Pocket Recorder" I had no idea how to play bass at the time, so I just made some noisescapes. I took the name of a character I had made up a while back, Shovelbearer. Slowly I started to find my sound, however. Meanwhile, my friends Marshall Foster, David Temple, Bennett Adkinson, and Luke Mahler were starting a band called the Surfing Chickens. They asked me to join and I was only too happy to oblige. I set up web pages for both Shovelbearer and Surfing Chickens, and soon thought I should start an e-mail newsletter... but what to call it? "Surfing Chickens and Shovelbearer Newsletter" wasn't too catchy, so I wanted to come up with an all-encompassing name for my various musical projects. I came up with AmalgaMusic since I tried to combine a lot of different styles into my sound (hence, an amalgamation of music).

2) How much did it cost to start it up?

Absolutely nothing at first. All I did was set up a web page and upload mp3s to was a great service at first. I mean, risk-free CD production. You're never left with CDs that aren't sold. However, I eventually grew apart from the site, and basically grew out of it. Currently all our CDs are, but that will change this summer. The next Lemon Drop Kid album is going to be a professionally produced CD. I have a lot of expectations for this one. As a musician, I've matured a lot in the last year, plus I have spent a lot of money lately on new gear. Enhancers, compressors, effects, a mixing board, a new computer for recording music, monitors, etc. About 3 thousand bucks worth of stuff. I'm also going to be calling on the vocal prowess of my friend Karen Tankersley, as well as the cello skills of Jamie Groover and guitar skills of Greg Latham. I plan on playing a few shows (a first for me, other than the Surfing Chickens) and just pushing this album harder than anything I ever had. Similarly, Dr Synthetic and Seth Kaplan will have professionally pressed discs.

3) How did you find out about the label's artists and how did you get them to join your collective?

I didn't have to look far because I was surrounded with talent. I'm personally involved in a majority of the projects on the label. Gary Sefton (Dr Synthetic) has been my best friend for nearly a decade. I went to high school with the rest of the Surfing Chickens, and with Seth Kaplan. Shameless Amos and The Lobby are both Surfing Chickens spinoff groups. The label is still in its growing pains. This may be a difficult year to finance, but will pay dividends eventually. Once we get decent flow of funds, I may start looking outside my immediate scope of friends to find new talent.

4) Do you have any idea about the origin of the song name "Kitty Kitty Bang Bang"?

Hehehe. Marshall wanted the Lobby album (if it ever gets finished) to be called Kitten-Punchin' Symphony, so I came up with that title. I personally think that simply "Symphony" would fit better with the feel of the music.

5) Any neat stories to share with us?

Well, the Surfing Chickens only ever did two concerts. Oddly enough, they were on consecutive May 15ths. The second show, May 15th, 1999, was a night that will live in infamy. Guido's Pizzeria had just come under new management, who basically changed the philosophy from "A venue that sells pizza" to "A pizza place... with a bit of music" As such, throughout the night we got complaints that we were being too loud. We eventually got pissed off. Ironically, the last song we played that night was a tune called "47-Dollar Blues" It was written after the first show, when the guy tried to screw us over and stiff us on the money. Club owners can be punks, huh? So anyway, we cranked EVERYTHING as high as it would go, I took the mic, and stood outside on the street screaming my lungs out (There was a back door right next to the playing area). We knew that we had succeeded in brutal rock and roll glory when we were suddenly engulfed in darkness. YES! The guy actually turned off the electricity on the place. We were the first band ever kicked out of Guido's. And we still made the jack pay us.

6) What would you say (ie. what expletives would you use) if a big record label such as Sony approached you and offered you a chance to become one their subsidiaries?

Well, get out your sell-out alarms, because the first word out of my mouth would be "OKAY." Seriously, street cred is cool and all, but as long as I got creative control, I see nothing but advantages to such a situation. For one, you get all the funding you need. Two, it's a load of exposure. And personally, I'd rather not have to get a job other than music. My goal is to be doing music for a living, for music to be my job. I guess you could say I don't want to get a "real job" so such a situation would be ideal for me.

7) Have you ever produced any music videos or multimedia works?

No, not yet, but I'm teaching myself Shockwave, because I think that's a great medium for putting together music videos that are a lot more interactive than your traditional straight-video format.

8) What is your favourite colour?

Blue, definitely.

9) Thanks for taking the time to help out!

Thanks for having me!

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