Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bite Me

With a defiant nip to the tip of the Mayor's gloved finger, the people, channeled through a rambunctious little land beaver, stood up to that nagging ice queen known as Winter and boldly declared that the weather would start getting better soon. What with Obama's victory and the aforementioned pimp-slapping of Winter, change is in the air everywhere. Galaxy Smith inhaled deeply. Here's what came out:

- Turkuaz shirts will be here soon! Look for them at upcoming shows.
- Turkuaz will also be opening next month for Maceo Parker, James Brown's sax player.

- The new version of GalaxySmith.com is well on its way to being completed. Our development dudes Jeff and Eli along with your truly have some tricks up our sleeves.

- We have an intern on-board! A warm welcome to Ben, who will be assisting us online. I know you'll all get along famously.


-Josh 'I own a jumpsuit but have only used it for non-hazardous recreation' Schwartz

Here's a video of Turkuaz playing 'Getting Closer' at Bill's Bar in Boston. 



Turkuaz - 'Getting Closer' Live from Galaxy Smith on Vimeo.





Saturday, November 8, 2008

Keeping Up With the Smiths... and the Obamas!

Okay so I sort of didn't keep my promise... I'm still not posting as much as I would like... but for good reason!

I'm back on track as far as producing and finishing these projects... Everything is sounding great and my priorities are in order ( I think). The Sex album is gonna be awesome! (If you don't know, they are a rock band from Boston who are definitely turning some heads with their authentically raucous live show, and will turn even more with this loud and ferocious new record coming out.) 

I'm also working on an album for an upcoming singer-songwriter named Emily Greene. This too is coming along very nicely. It's not a Galaxy Smith project, but if anything, it has been really nice to be producing outside of that realm. It's definitely a little more straight ahead than a lot of the Galaxy stuff, but I really like that about it. And the arrangements have been a lot of fun to work on. 

The only problem with both of these projects is that they have taken me far longer than I ever thought they would, and it has taken me away from other projects that are near and dear to me. However, that is nobody's fault but my own. I way underestimated the time it would take to make something truly great, which is all that I am willing to settle for at this point. In the meantime, the new Turkuaz album, new Remote Control, and a number of other projects that Galaxy was meant to produce and release this year have taken a back seat.

I think part of it is that in addition to producing, I am also engineering, mixing and mastering which slows things down a bit. But for the near future, while we are still sufficiently understaffed, I'm not trusting these tasks to anyone else. 

Music aside... YES!!!! Obama!!!!!!

I've put a lot of energy into that lately as well.... and it did indeed pay off. Since Bush was elected for a second term I had basically decided that everyone can go fuck themselves and I don't really care what happens anymore. I had pretty much lost faith in the country and in our entire system. 

This faith is not fully restored by any means, but it did take a candidacy like Obama's to even re-instill a glimpse of it, or to see a real possibility for change. So I and many others that I know made calls, talked to friends and family and even travelled going door to door. So anyway.... Fuck yea!

Overall things are moving in a good direction, which is all I can really ask for....

Gotta go... Josh wants to get some breakfast (if I can call it breakfast).

More coming soon.... 

Till next time!

- Dave "Hussein" Brandwein

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I love New York! I get home at 5 am and my roommate is still out. 

I just had a long conversation with Taylor... It was very important... at least I think it was. If you don't know who he is, you will soon. 

I promise all of you, as well as myself, that I will be blogging much more consistently from this point on, if for no other reason than to accurately document this insanity that I deal with everyday. We all deal with it... but seriously... lately I start to wonder why I even began to do this....


I really just want to make music... good music... and I know that I have an unusual ability to bring good music to the world which is so constantly demanding this service... but it's time that I finally learn how I can best harness this ability. 

There are many potential paths that have been presented to me at this point in time, and it has been made abundantly clear to me that I am in no way equipped to decide which is best or most fruitful...

So the obvious choice is to do what is natural... let it flow and just see what happens...

But no.... this doesn't work

Currently I am producing 4 different albums, only two of which consist of my own music (meaning that I actually wrote it). Overall, I like to think that I do a good job... and I hope those that I work with feel the same way... but in a greater sense... I don't really care.

All I ever really cared about was my own music. And to be honest, I don't even remember how I got caught up in all this shit.

I mean... I guess I was just in a situation where we had so many good songwriters... so many good musicians... that it just made sense to put it all together. But that was so long ago now. Well... you know... two years ago. Now things are so different. It's just Josh and I living together and of course the rest of the guys nearby... and though on a conceptual level we're now more excited about Galaxy Smith as a website than ever... on a creative and musical level, there's really nothing I wanna work on besides my own music. And I must admit that I feel a little ridiculous working for myself, and within that, finding that I'm constantly working for everybody but myself.

Is this is a smart thing to make public????     NO!!!!

Does it really matter????    NO!!!!

Because I need to make things better from the inside out right now... and that's not gonna happen by piling projects on, one after another...

If anything, this confidence and faith in what we do as musicians is gonna return from re-instilling faith in the morality, concept and passion behind Galaxy Smith as a whole, and the belief that aligning all of our many interests as artists will one day pay off for our group in the form of collective recognition and understanding of our common goals and beliefs, hopes and aspirations for the general direction we move in as a creative society and a productive and positive culture. 


Does any of this make any sense?           NO!!!!

But anway... I won't continue to sort this all out in too much detail.. because that leaves no fun for later....

I clearly have much more to elaborate on...

I have much more inner conflict to reveal...

I have much more outer conflict to reveal...

I have a whole world of ridiculous to elaborate on....

I have nothing left...

I have everything to lose!!!


- Dave 

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dave Gets Skoped Out

Last month Dave was interviewed by Skope Magazine, a leading online publication covering all things digital music. Here's the transcript of the interview. You can check out the original article here.

I do not have to tell Skope readers, but the music industry and it’s brick and mortar business model is a thing of the past. People are not buying CD’s but rather downloading music right onto their ZUNE or I-Pods.

We are now seeing a rise in strictly digital indie record labels. I really wanted to get a nice insight into this trend so I called on Dave Brandwein of Boston, MA to tell me all about his digital label, Galaxy Smith records. Read on because you might just learn something.

Stoli: What made you want to start the record label initially & how did you create a buzz behind it?

Dave: Two years ago I moved into a house in Allston with three of my fellow Berklee friends and musical collaborators. We also had a crew of about 5 or 6 other musicians who came around quite regularly. We would stand out on our porch playing songs on our guitars, banjos or mandolins… singing, beatboxing, etc… or we would be inside playing the piano or listening to each other’s latest recordings or compositions (we quickly erected a home recording studio upon moving in). We were just having fun and celebrating our recent arrival to Allston. I started noticing that though this was just fun and games to us, people were really interested in what we were doing and slowly but surely people would come up to our porch or knock on our door to see what we were up to. They just wanted to hear some music and be entertained, and in those days especially, they would never leave disappointed. There was always something going on.

I began to think… If only there were a way that we could just broadcast this over the Internet, so people all over the world could tune in and just see what we’re doing whenever they want. That would be perfect. The idea of Galaxy Smith began in this way. Of course, after some time it seemed that emotions run high naturally in a community of musicians, and turning ourselves into a 24 hour reality show might shake things up a little too much. So the idea was forced to change into something else. Basically the new model was to form a website where all these musicians could display their material to anyone in the world that wants to hear it. If someone makes a demo in their room, or if we film an impromptu musical performance, we can throw it up on the site for people to see the very next day, or even that same day. Eventually this evolved into the idea of a collective comprised of many artists who all interact with each other, as opposed to a typical record label with a roster of isolated artists. This idea is more community based, and meant to represent what really goes on in our lives and in our studio. We’re still working to make the site more interactive and updatable, customizable, etc… but we’ve made a lot of progress thus far and it’s coming together nicely. That’s really where the idea came from. Since then, it’s just been a matter of figuring out logistics and working out all the kinks.

As far as creating a buzz, a lot of the musicians on the site as well as people we were associated with had a certain amount of recognition around Berklee, and access to a lot of musical communities in Boston on both the performer side and the listener side. More and more as time went on, I began to notice that when I’d talk to people about who we are and what we do, they had heard of us, and they’d either heard the music or heard good things about it. This is always a nice feeling. I think not being afraid to tell people what you’re up to and promote it is really important in getting a buzz going. It really starts from word of mouth. Of course we sticker and flyer and advertise, but essentially it comes down to what people are saying about you.

Stoli: You are an alumni of Berklee College in Boston, MA. How did your education prepare you to start your own label?

Dave: Well I suppose the reason that Berklee really did have a hand in my ability to start Galaxy Smith is that it’s really more of a school for the trade of music and the industry, rather than just focusing on the art of it or the performance aspect, as many schools do. When people hear songs that I engineer and produce, they assume that I majored in Music Production and Engineering. When I tell them about the label I’ve started, they assume that I’m a Music Business major.

When I play an original song they assume Songwriting major, or if I sit in with a band and play guitar, they assume Performance Major. The reality is that I didn’t major in any of these things. I chose a major called Professional Music, which really allows the student to get a taste of all different aspects of music and the industry. In the same semester I would be learning about contract negotiations, recording techniques, stage and guitar performance, and music theory. The diversity in my music education has really helped me to play the many roles I do in the company (artist, engineer, producer, and president/director to name a few).

Stoli: You are strictly a digital record label. Please explain a few advantages to going that route?

Dave: Well this is an ongoing debate. I really would rather not comment on whether or not CD’s are gonna be phased out in the next 5 years (they are!), but I will say that it seems like a natural progression. I’m surprised that there aren’t a lot more digital labels out there… or if there are, I’m surprised I haven’t heard about more of them.

Considering that we have our own recording studio and the ability to make good recordings, we’re already way ahead of the game. This is what people sign away their lives to major labels for - recording and distribution. So that’s the next step: Make the music available so that anyone in the world can hear it or buy it. It seems the Internet has taken care of that problem pretty effectively.

Being exclusively digital at the end of the day cuts a lot of the cost and a lot of the legwork, and it’s the way that most people are getting and promoting their music these days. It just makes sense. Essentially we can handle every step of our process from writing, recording, mixing and mastering to distribution and advertising, right from our own computers.

Stoli: The music scene is incredibly saturated now with new bands and artists coming up everyday. How do you help your artists to stand out & generate revenue?

Dave: Well I think the live show is very important. This is something that I’m really starting to realize fully for the first time and put more energy into. You can friend request all day on Myspace, and you can tell people to buy your album, but at the end of the day people need to have a real experience with the artist. They need to get excited.

One of our bands, Turkuaz, has been gaining momentum live and it’s really done wonders for us. Turkuaz is a big funk band, and the shows are inevitably always a party atmosphere. We noticed that each time we played a show, the number of people was practically doubling. It’s because they were having a genuine experience with the music and most importantly a really good time. This is what makes us stand out and what brings people back and keeps them talking about it.

The other way we manage to often stand out is the fact that each of our artists exist within this collective. It’s one of those whole is greater than the sum of its parts kind of things. The fact that we all stand together under this umbrella does not cheapen or take away from any of the music, but if anything seems to enrich it and add value and weight to it. I think this is something that more like-minded bands and artists should start considering and doing more often. When they come together and support each other, it makes all of them stronger and it benefits everyone.

Also, I try not to think of other bands or labels as competition, but rather as allies. iPods are only getting bigger and people don’t have to choose one or another. I’d rather trade links and shows with a band than try to outdo them. This helps to keep me sane as well as open to new partners and opportunities in the fast-paced and ever-growing music world.

As far as revenue goes, we have a fairly simple relationship with our artists. We don’t charge them a cent for anything we do. That’s the first step in aiding in their eventual ability to generate a profit and make a good living through music. Whatever digital sales they have we split with them 50/50 right down the middle. Our 50% obviously goes towards keeping the label running and providing those free services to the artist. Other than that we really let them do their own thing.

We’re not trying to be the gatekeeper that major labels once were. If artists wanna do other things, we’re not asking for a cut. So it’s really up to them to figure out where the rest of their profits are coming from. Along with the freedom that artists get with Galaxy Smith, they also get responsibility. They book their own shows, they print up their own CD’s and flyers for shows, and they have the right to do anything they want really to make money as long as it doesn’t violate our agreement with them. We’re not trying to make a quick buck or mooch off of success that they generate on their own. We just want to help. And realistically, we often end up providing any of those other services whenever it’s requested by the artist, if it’s in our power to do so.

Stoli: Do you feel that people will ever pay for music like they used to or will illegal downloading be here for good?

Dave: I don’t think people will ever pay like they used to… or at least they won’t pay as much, and rightfully so. I mean, out of the 20 dollars you used to spend on a CD the artist was getting almost none of that. Right off the bat the store you buy it from is making 6 of those dollars. The rest is going to all those middlemen. Distribution houses, promoters, executives (of course), etc. And for the 5% of all major label artists that were ever lucky enough to see a single royalty check for their music (labels don’t pay the artist until they recoup ALL expenses for making, distributing and promoting their album), they’re still splitting their tiny percentage with their producer who doesn’t get paid by the label.

So I think since we have found an alternate way to cut out these middlemen, we ought to also have the responsibility of finding an alternate way to price it. I happen to think that iTunes has a good model. Sure, 99 cents a song plays a role in devaluing the idea of an album, and making it too easy for people to pick and choose, but the reality is that things change and we are entering a new paradigm.

People can choose what they wanna hear. And the fact is, if they like something I think they will pay for it and support the band. The number of people downloading legally is rapidly increasing every year. And people are definitely starting to be scared of illegal file sharing programs for all the potential fines or viruses. iTunes has presented a good, safe, and quality controlled legal alternative, and we’re trying to do the same.

I do believe however that illegal file sharing will never stop in the way of people burning discs for one another, swapping files on hard drives, and of course those dedicated bit torrent users. So it is possible that something else will need to be figured out, and we’re always trying to think outside the box. I was chatting with my teacher, friend and fellow musician Livingston Taylor the other day, and we were discussing possibilities of breaking the Internet off into pieces, so musicians could be paid out based on what people were downloading for free, by the entities that provide the Internet services to them (who are actually making the money). Sort of like the way BMI and ASCAP collect money from bars, clubs and restaurants and pay out to the musicians whose material is being played or performed in those establishments. It’s an interesting idea, but certainly unrealistic for the near future. It would take an enormous amount of cooperation from a lot of different entities with different agendas and priorities. We did end our conversation however on a positive and optimistic note, believing that this problem will be solved.

Stoli: Are you for or against illegal downloading & why?

Dave: Well I suppose I’m neither. I don’t do it myself. I used to, but I feel like iTunes is safer, more reliable, cheap, and I feel much better about supporting the artist. In terms of hoping to make a career out of creating original music, illegal downloading is certainly a scary thing. However I think for the time being there really isn’t anything we can do to stop it entirely, and I’d rather people listen to the music than not listen because they don’t wanna spend the money. Instead I think the new idea is that the song is really an advertisement for the band, as funny as that may sound. Now this begs the question: What is the product?

The product is anything the band has the creativity to think up that will cause the fans to want more. On the more conventional side - live shows, T-shirts, posters and visual art, books, DVD’s, etc. I think outside of those other ways of making money, the music industry is in dire need of some innovation as far as where to direct people once they’ve got all the music for free. This is a big part of what I think about and brainstorm over everyday. What is that greater product or service? How do we keep people interested and put food on the table? I have a few ideas which I won’t disclose at this point. I think they need to be better developed and formulated before they’re attempted. But don’t get me wrong, we provide a cheap and legal option for people to purchase our music through our own website as well as iTunes, and we certainly encourage listeners to do that.

Stoli: When you are going to sign an artist what do you look for in them begore signing the contract?

Dave: Usually the relationship comes from interaction with the band or artist. It’s somebody I’ll meet through a friend, or someone I already know half the time. I just think about if they have something unique and valuable to offer to the collective. I try to keep it very quality controlled, as opposed to just signing up tons of bands. This keeps the music on the site more interesting and potent. I really don’t go out and scout bands or anything. It makes me feel a little sleazy to be honest. And it just feels sort of disingenuous. Of course, if I see something I like, I certainly don’t have a rule against it. There are no requirements though in terms of genre or style. If it’s good we’ll take it, as our current catalogue reflects.

Stoli: If a band is interested in signing with Galaxy Smith, what should they do?

Dave: I suppose the best thing to do would be to get in touch either through GalaxySmith.com, myspace or in whatever way possible. Give us a chance to hear what you do, and tell us why you think you would be right for it. Or why you appreciate our approach and our ideals in terms of the way we do things, and the way we are musically and aesthetically. Like I said before, we don’t usually go out of our way to seek out bands and artists because we like doing in things in-house and having solid relationships between everyone involved. But the door certainly is not closed to anybody. We are always excited to hear new stuff.

Stoli: Many people say that the major label will not be necessary in 10-15 years. Do you agree and why?

Dave: I don’t think it’s so much a matter of if they will be necessary or not, as much as if they’ll be able to survive. I believe that they already are not necessary, and more and more artists are realizing this every day. They can flood the media with promotions for new artists. They can hit people over the head with it repeatedly but the reality is that people are really starting to not care anymore. No one listens to the radio anymore. People can listen to what they want, and the amount of fans seeking out independent artists they like far surpasses those still buying in to the major label hype. And as discussed before, the downsides to signing with a major really outweigh any of the potential advantages. Even this new Live Nation trend seems like a feeble attempt to buy someone for their name. It makes the company look good. It’s not about the music. People are looking for quality again. They want sincerity. This is something that major labels do not specialize in. They will surely be extinct very soon. I think their only hope is to save up that money of which I’m sure they still have plenty, and buy up all the little guys emerging. I certainly hope to never sell out to them, but inevitably in a few years time they will start looking for who the money makers are, and what the price tag says. I’m just glad at this point to be the entity with unlimited potential for growth, instead of being a dinosaur searching for that final act of desperation.

Stoli: I have not bought an album in years but I buy singles everyday on ZUNE. Do you encourage your bands to produce 10-15 tracks or will singles take over?

Dave: As a producer I usually try to encourage artists to keep the song count a little lower. I have a deep appreciation for the art of making an album, and I really want that tradition to live on. However I feel that the best hope for this to happen, is to create albums that people can listen to. Anything more than 10 or 11 these days just really doesn’t get played all the way through. I’d rather someone be able to really take in the project on their morning commute. Otherwise they’re just gonna be looking for that one out of 15 tracks that they wanna throw on a playlist. It’s just another one of those realities of the new paradigm, and I’d like to say that my attention span hasn’t been dwindled down in this digital age, but i can’t. I think generating a good roster of songs at the end of the day is what is most important and will build the fanbase, regardless of the increments the songs come in.

Stoli: What can we look for from Galaxy Smith for 2008 & beyond?

Dave: Well we have a lot of things planned. We have four new artists currently in production all of whom are great. We also are in the process of doing a lot of renovation and redesigning to the site. As I said earlier we’re really trying to make it more a living, breathing entity, better equipped to handle real-time communication between the artist and the listener. We also are constantly trying to make it more intuitive and user friendly, considering that it is the point of interaction between us and our fans.

Galaxy Smith is also hoping to add three new elements and general aspects to our business and functionality as a digital entity. One of these is to feature more art and media. We coined the term “Digital Media Collective” with the idea of incorporating more video and visual art into the site. We are searching for filmmakers and visual artists to not only complement the music on Galaxy Smith, but to also be featured in their own right. I strongly encourage artists of all kinds out there to get in touch if they feel they have work that will match the aesthetic of any of our artists or the site in general. This really will enhance the creative, and community aspects of the site.

This leads to the next thing, which is building our community and message board/forum. We hope to make Galaxy Smith a place where people can talk about more than just Galaxy Smith artists. We want musicians and fans alike to use our site in the future to discuss various topics pertaining to music, the music industry, and really anything at all having to do with the arts. We also feel like it may become a good place for musicians to interact and discover each other, whether they are on our label or not. If someone needs a guitar player in their band they can post it up there. Or if they’re selling their old drum kit they can let people know. Anything at all really. I think this would be a valuable way to expand our base of listeners and supporters, while providing a useful service to the general music community.

The final thing is launching our licensing department. We are looking to have a lot more songs by Galaxy Smith artists featured in movies, television and video games, as this really seems to be the new radio. A lot of production companies and music supervisors also seem to be looking to break new bands these days, as opposed to paying big bucks for hits of the past. I think this is the modern approach to placing songs and it looks cooler for the companies to show people something new. We are very optimistic about this new division in our company though we do have a lot to learn and I think there will be some trial and error before this is a steady thing for us.

Overall we really try to keep ideas flowing all the time, and we always keep an open mind so that we can innovate and move with the changes of the industry which is undergoing a major crisis right now, while also being introduced to new opportunities. Most entities that sell music I feel have not fully realized these opportunities and that is what we as a company are trying to do more and more everyday through close interaction with our artists and with our listeners. I think 2008 will continue to be a good year for us and things will get better and better in years to come. As long as we keep our priorities straight, don’t get too full of ourselves, and most importantly continue to have fun and love what we do while making good music, we will be consistently improving our operation and contributing something good to music and to the world.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How Do You Do It?

QUESTION AND RESPONSE FROM REMOTE CONTROL ON OUR GALAXY SMITH MESSAGE BOARD:

PigeonMania: How do all the artists record their music? I've heard most of the music on the site was recorded in-house. If this is true, I must ask what kind of recording set up you guys have going on? Who produces it? How do you get the music to not sound like it was homemade?


RemoteControl: The real key is spending the time and really listening. You can make an amazing recording with just a laptop if you perform well, get good sounds, try to have fun with it and remain patient. It also helps to be playing good songs.

We do record most of the music here at home on a fairly simple Protools setup. We have an upgraded Digi002 and a rather powerful mac desktop to handle everything. We've also got an assortment of pretty nice microphones and preamps, not to mention all the instruments and musical gear. But as I said, that stuff doesn't really matter. It helps, but that's not what makes it "not sound like it was homemade."

In my opinion, our music actually does sound homemade, but in the best way possible. One of my biggest fears about us having an actual studio next year in New York is that we will lose that unique aesthetic we achieve here in our home studio. I often feel that what recording studios have in pristine quality and astronomically priced gear, they can lack in personality and vibe. Now of course, almost all of the best recordings ever made were done in studios, many of which had amazing vibes and were very cool. Home recording after all is a relatively new phenomenon. I am referring though more to the type of studio that an unsigned band would go into and pay by the hour to crank our their demo. This never seemed worth it to me. I'd rather invest the money in our own gear and have all the time in the world to perfect the recordings instead of staring at a clock and arguing with eachother.

I suppose the big thing that makes our recordings come out the way they do is confidence that this is it. This is not the demo. This is the recording. And we can make it from start to finish just as good as anyone else can. Without that confidence going into it, it will never be more than just a home demo. From that point on it's just a matter of knowing what you want to hear.

Thank you for your question. If you would like to know more specifics about gear and technique in the future please let me know and I will be happy to share.

- Dave (and Gary)

Back on the Tracks

Another summer has arrived. We've got a few new artists to record for Galaxy Smith as well as some new projects by artists already in the family. Summer seems to be the most productive time around the studio. I can't pinpoint exactly why that is. Part of it I'm sure is that many of the musicians involved are still finishing up their college careers and there is a much lighter workload, if any at all from June until August. That's the obvious answer, however I don't think that's the sole reason by any means.

I recently returned from a 3 week European excursion with some other members of the Galaxy Smith community. I went along with Mike and Taylor (from Turkuaz) and Jordan (from Scandinavian Halfbreeds) to Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany and Holland in celebration of my long awaited graduation from college and freedom from a world based on credits and grades. Before being left with only my own system of merit for the rest of my life (which I welcome with open arms), I saw it fit to go on a bit of an adventure to see if I could learn some more about myself and the world before finally embarking on my lifelong journey. I certainly did see a lot of things, meet a lot of people and have many new experiences. Overall it was just the thing I needed to move on to this next chapter.

I did certainly expect to come back feeling refreshed and ready to work, however I did not foresee the feeling that I am now experiencing. It reminds me exactly of that of last summer. In June, July and August of 2007 we completed 4 albums here at the studio and 5 if you include the mastering of Twain's "Sleeping Tree". The productivity was not forced, but actually felt unavoidable. I suppose it would have to in order to complete that body of work in such a short time. Turkuaz - "Dollar Store", Remote Control - "Act Up" and Elijah Aaron - "Good Morning, Good Night", were all recorded, mixed and mastered here for Galaxy Smith in that time, as well as an album by our good friend Henry Quester called "Conversations With Myself" (named after a Bill Evans record). I am delighted to report that having been back from vacation only a few days I can very much feel this sensation of flowing productivity beginning to set on once again.

I suppose it's meant to happen in this way. As much as we have toyed around all year with residual ideas from last summer, and of course a plethora of new ones, somehow things have been a little bit scattered creatively. Much of the time has been spent working on the website, planning financially for next year, writing a business plan, etc. This does not provide for a wildly creative atmosphere. In all fairness we were also playing a good amount of Turkuaz shows which yielded very good results. However I feel that now is the perfect time to really begin these new projects in the studio.

We are eager to get started on the first album by our new artist "SEX". They are a hard hitting rock and roll band (I don't see many of those anymore), who has actually gotten me excited about rock music again for the first time in years. Be on the lookout for this new addition to the site. It will be loud, offensive and of course a lot of fun to listen to. We also will be completing new releases for both Turkuaz and Remote Control, both of which around the studio are anticipated to be better than the last.

Our new roommate showed me some very promising material yesterday as well that I would like to record this summer at the very least for the Dropbox, if not as its own full project. The Galaxy Smith Dropbox if you don't know, is a place where ideas, single songs, works in progress, or pretty much anything at all by our friends and associates can make an appearance on the site and is available for free listening. It's pretty empty right now but will certainly not be before the summer is over.

So overall I am glad to report that the Galaxy Smith team is back in the states, and ready for a long summer of recording music for your listening pleasure. I will certainly now be posting regularly, informing you of the experiences (hopefully all good) along the way to completing these albums. Until then... catch up on our existing stuff if you haven't checked it out -

galaxysmith.com
youtube.com/galaxysmith

Enjoy! Expect more soon...

- Dave "Ready to Roll" Brandwein

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Sweetest Fruit

I heard an interesting piece on NPR the other day about the rise in entrepreneurialism among young college grads (yes, I'm a musician who listens to talk radio and yes, listening to NPR makes me feel superior to others). It seems that the music industry isn't the only one that's being turned on its head.

Our parents' generation still clings to their outdated American Dream. You go to college, get a boring, soul-sucking, reliable job for a major corporation, and spend the rest of your youthful days churning numbers as you climb up the corporate ladder. One day, if you work hard enough, kiss enough ass, and ignore your family enough, you'll find yourself with your feet perched on your $10,000 desk in your corner office with a view of the neatly trimmed corporate park your office is located in. Then you can afford to take your kids, who view you with mild contempt, and your trophy wife to the Bahamas on vacation.

This dream, in our generation's view, is dead. We all know that big companies don't actually care about their employees, who work too long and hard for not enough pay. Nowadays you're considered a rare anthropological artifact if you've been at the same company for more than eight or so years. Big companies aren't your family, they're the source of your paycheck and valuable experience that will allow you to jump to a bigger paycheck at another company in the near future.

Increasingly, people my age are graduating from school determined to not fall victim to the corporate rat race. Instead, they're choosing to shape their own destiny by starting a business of their own, or planning to work for a few years to gain experience and money before becoming an entrepreneur. The NPR show gave a fascinating stat to back this up: the number of entrepreneurs under 25 is increasing faster than the number of entrepreneurs in their mid thirties (I don't remember the exact figures but it was something like that). Young people are seeing the world around them changing at a rate never before seen, and the smart ones are figuring out how to thrive in this new world.

Now, there are certainly pitfalls to starting your own business. For one, you don't get the same perks as you would working for a major corporation, namely health insurance... and actual monetary compensation for your work. It also requires a sizable sum of money up front, which means either pandering to friends and family, pitching to investors, or getting a loan from the bank; each of these can be quite trying. Another less obvious downside is that you'll have to find your future spouse some other way, as a significant percentage of adults find their better half at work. But our generation seems intent on putting off marriage until after we've gotten the chance to travel the world, be a starving artist, start an Internet company, and experiment with beards and hairstyles. I still can't grow facial hair, so I'm not quite there yet.

So with the great freedom of starting your own company comes great responsibilities. Rather than having an overbearing boss plopping a load of TPS reports into your cubicle and telling you exactly what you need to do, you need to give yourself assignments and deadlines, goals and rewards. It's quite scary sometimes, what with the future so uncertain and not a roadmap in sight to guide you along. But as uncertain as our path may be, it's wholly ours, untainted by middle management, incompetent HR imbeciles, or a corporate machine. And as West Shell, a highly successful web entrepreneur, once told me, the only way to get the sweetest fruit is to climb out onto the limb. So even when my miniscule salary doesn't allow me to afford food, the image of that sweet, sweet fruit fills my stomach.

Is it a coincidence New York is called the Big Apple?

I think not.

-Josh "Fruit Man" Schwartz