Posts Tagged 'Pepper'

Deep Artist/Fan Connections Critical to Success in Music 2.0

More than nine million musicians are trying to connect with more than 200 million music fans, according to some estimates. The huge numbers alone would suggest the odds are in their favor. Yet the channels musicians have traditionally relied upon to get their music discovered, promoted and sold are increasingly irrelevant and as a result, musicians are increasingly on their own, without labels, record stores or radio to help them.

“The artist’s challenge is to convert casual fans into loyal fans, and loyal fans into paying customers,” said Charles Feinn, CEO and co-founder of music technology innovator MixMatchMusic. “Getting your music discovered just isn’t enough. Musicians have to engage and involve casual listeners in order to build deep and lasting connections with them, and to convert them to loyal fans. These connections are what drive sales of the concert tickets, band merchandise and CDs artists need to pay the rent and put gas in the van.”

According to Feinn and many other music industry observers, record labels play a smaller and smaller role in breaking new bands or even promoting signed bands. Record stores are disappearing and radio is less and less of a factor in promoting new music. And it’s hard for a new band to breakthrough amongst the millions of songs in the iTunes Store. It’s also true that music fans have changed, acclimated to the read/write web and the social interaction that comes with it, and looking for the same experience with music and the artists who create it.

“While the business part of the traditional music business is breaking down, music is alive and well and there is more music than ever,” said Feinn. “We’re on a mission to help keep music alive, and we’re doing so by helping artists forge deeper and more meaningful connections with fans.”

Feinn said a growing number of artists are turning to new Internet-based initiatives, such as the remix promotions pioneered by Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, to help them engage with and connect with music fans.

“Involving fans in the creative process by encouraging them to remix and mash up a new song from the musical building blocks provided by the artist, is catching on as one of the best ways to make the artist – fan connection stronger,” he said.

Feinn said that more than 60 artists have launched remix promotions based on MixMatchMusic’s Remix Wizard, a simple-to-use widget that any fan with a broadband connection can use. Artists including Pepper and Zion I have loaded the building blocks of songs – the guitar, bass, keys, drums and other elements called stems, into customized versions of MixMatchMusic’s widget, and invited fans to remix the stems to create new sounds and songs with them. He said the company’s site has received more than half a million impressions since the beginning of the year, and more than 80 thousand plays of fan-created remixes.

Feinn said the Remix Wizard is a fan-friendly approach to the more complex remix technologies employed by Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead. Bands such as Pepper feature remixes submitted by fans on their sites and MySpace pages, and some artists even promise to incorporate especially imaginative fan-created interpretations of their music in future albums.

Feinn said the Remix Wizard is the first in a series of artist and fan friendly technologies from MixMatchMusic designed to forge even stronger and deeper connections.

“Music has the power to bring people together,” said Feinn. “It’s exciting and also humbling to know we’re playing a small part in making those connections happen, through our technology-based products and services that help musicians convert casual music fans into loyal fans, and loyal fans into paying customers.”


New Trend Connecting Artists & Fans: 50+ Bands Engaging Fans with the Remix Wizard


Today, we’re happy to announce that MixMatchMusic has achieved an important milestone in the adoption of its Remix Wizard with more than 50 bands hosting fan engagement promotions since October! Artists including Pepper, Zion I, Camp Lo, and Julien-K are among the bands using the MixMatchMusic Remix Wizard to power remix contests for their fans. Each of the bands have loaded guitar, bass, keys, drums and/or other music stems into personalized versions of the Remix Wizard, and invited their fans to remix, mash up and create new sounds with them.

Pepper and Zion I recently wrapped up contests for fans to remix popular tracks from their respective newly released albums. The response was tremendous, with Pepper receiving 50 remixes, 2,000 votes and 22,000 plays of Freeze. Zion I’s contest around its track “DJ DJ” received 35 remixes, 1,900 votes and close to 11,000 plays.

“The response way exceeded our expectations and it was super gratifying seeing all these fans putting their own flavor on our song… one guy even paid to ‘liven’ a sample from another band and use it in his version,” said drummist/ vocalist Yesod Williams of the band, Pepper. “Getting the fans as involved as possible was the goal and we accomplished that tenfold with MixMatchMusic!”

MixMatchMusic’s Remix Wizard is a solution for the masses. By comparison the remix promotions pioneered by seminal bands, Radiohead and NIN, were limited to the relative handful of fans with Digital Audio Workstation software. The Remix Wizard is available to every band with a song and every fan with a browser and broadband connection.

“The chance to remix Zion I’s track ‘DJ DJ’ was an opportunity for me to show off my producing chops to the Zion I crew, Amplive and Zumbi, and to my own fans,” said artist/producer Stinj-e. “Remixing tracks from bands I admire gives me a different level of interaction with their music than if I’m catching Zion I at one of their live shows. It lets me tap into my creativity.”

To get your remix on, or to listen to all the remixes that have been made, check out the Remix Wizard gallery.

Pepper Announces Remix Contest Winners


Pepper has been a very busy band lately. In between being on tour with Pennywise and releasing their new live album, Kona Gold (on Law Records), they’ve been reviewing the 50 remixes that were made for their “Freeze” Remix Contest. Well, the results are in and Pepper has picked the winners. Big ups to IceHouseIndustries, Brendan Dane, and Santiago for their superb remixing skills!

IceHouseIndustries is the grand-prize winner, and will get to hang out with Pepper at their next show in sunny socal. He will also receive a copy of AmpliTube Fender and the T-RackS 3 Deluxe Mastering Suite from IK Multimedia. If you haven’t heard his remix, it’s a sophisticated blend of soulful and laid back sounds tied together with a driving electronic groove. His remix was definitely our favorite, and you can listen to it here. IceHouseIndustries is a very prolific remixer, and has a vast catalogue of remixes for you to enjoy on his website.


The 1st runner up prize goes to Santiago, who threw a fat hip-hop beat over Freeze and turned it into a warm hip-hop jam that he rapped and sang over. Check out his remix here. The 2nd runner up prize goes to Brendan Dane, who cranked up the dub effect in his layered and trippy Freeze n’Dub remix. While the contest is over, you can to listen to all of the remixes, whenever the mood strikes, in the MixMatchMusic gallery.


Yesod Williams Interview (Pepper)


In case you hadn’t noticed, Evolving Music has been a little smitten with the band Pepper lately. We brought you their remix contest (if you haven’t made a remix yet, do yourself a favor and have a go at it) and a previously unreleased live recording of their song “Too Much” during the Artist Spotlight. Still can’t get enough of these guys? Good. How about a little insider information straight from the horse’s mouth? I had a chance to catch up with Yesod Williams, the drummer. Here’s what he had to say:

Sandra Possing: Tell us about Pepper. Who is in the band? Where did you guys meet?

Yesod Williams: I play drums. Kaleo [Wassman] sings and plays guitar and then Brett [Bollinger] also sings and plays guitar. They kind of switch off the lead vocal role. We are from Kona, Hawaii originally, the big island of Hawaii. We all went to school together. It’s a super small town, so everyone knows everyone. We’ve pretty much known each other our whole lives and they’d been playing music all through high school. I started playing drums when I was really young and got burned out and pretty much quit altogether through high school and then right after me and Brett graduated, which was in ’97, we were at a party hanging out and me and Kaleo started talking and just thought it’d be cool to see if we could get something going and see if we vibed off of each other and that’s when we started the band in like June of 1997 and then moved to Southern California in May of ’99.

SP: Did you have any idea it was gonna become a serious thing or were you just messing around?

YW: We were just messing around at first, but I came to California on vacation after I graduated high school and I kind of got an inkling – I saw some bands over here – and I was like “Man, it might be something serious, if we actually take it seriously and make the jump over the Pacific and try and do something with it.” At first we were just playing parties and just playing around, but we always had faith and had the vision that we could do something with it. It’s so funny, cause I mean I listen to our first CD we ever recorded and in retrospect I’m like “Wow, we thought we were actually gonna go somewhere with that CD? We were crazy.”

SP: What do you do when you’re not playing music?

YW: Um, pretty much just golf and surf for me personally and try to live a “normal life” cause it’s such a different life being on the road all the time and not being at home, so we just kinda do the every day normal life thing. We do a lot of business too because we own our own record label, LAW Records. So we’re pretty much always working. We’ve always got our mind on music and what not.

SP: Do you hang out with a lot of musicians? Hawaiian or Californian in particular?

YW: There’s a band called Iration that lives up in Santa Barbara. They’re always coming down here to play and what not so we hang out with them. We also have a bunch of friends that moved over here from Hawaii so we still have a close knit group of friends that we grew up with.

SP: Have you ever surfed with Jack Johnson?

YW: No, I haven’t. We’ve actually never even played with him. Funny story… We had a chance to play with him a long time ago, back when we still had our 1976 Dodge Sportsman van [probably looked something like this] that we bought when we first moved over here and we were on our way up – this is in 2001 – we were on our way up to play with him and the transmission fully gave out and the van would only go in reverse. That was our one time that we were gonna play with him and needless to say it didn’t work out.

SP: So you didn’t drive backwards all the way up?

YW: No. No, we thought about it, but driving backwards just to get home was hard enough.

SP: Tell us about your music. What’s it about? Who are your influences? How do you describe your style?

YW: We grew up listening to so many different kinds of music and Hawaii is such a melting pot of pretty much everything. Music, culture and everything. I think that’s kind of what shines through. We dabble in many different genres, so really you can say it’s a bunch of different stuff put together, but in a nutshell I always just say we’re just a rock band with a reggae influence, pretty much.

SP: What kind of connection do you have with your fans? It’s very different when you’re playing live and when you’re not, but how do you keep that vibe and relationship going when you’re not performing?

YW: The main way to keep connected with your fans is touring, like you’re saying, but that’s why we’re doing this remix contest and everything. When you’re not touring you still gotta show your appreciation and keep them interested. You gotta give back. It’s the only reason any of this is possible, is cause of the fans. So, any way that we can get them involved – this being one of them – we’re super excited about… Kind of get them involved in the creative process and have them put their own flavor on our music and what not.

SP: So, the internet plays a pretty big role in that process for you guys?

YS: Ya, it’s so cool because it just gives you that much more connection with your fans, whereas back in the day it was like “Ok, buy the CD and then once a year you’ll get to see the band.”

SP: What first got you interested in having fans remix your music?

YS: I’d heard about someone doing it before and it just seemed like such a cool idea, you know? It seemed like something I wanted to do to my favorite band. Like, Red Hot Chili Peppers, for instance, is one of our favorite bands for the whole band as a whole. Given that opportunity and opening that door for music fans like ourselves – it’s just the most amazing thing ever. And why not? Art is the ultimate communicator. Anyway you can connect, bands should take complete advantage of it.

SP: Not everyone is open to the idea of people messing with their music – some of them are like “I wrote it, it’s my stuff, don’t touch it”, but that’s becoming so much less common and people are really embracing this whole remix movement. Do you think this movement is going to keep growing?

YW: I think it absolutely will. Like you said, it’s just a win-win situation for everyone. I mean, I do understand when people feel like their songs are their babies. You don’t want someone intruding on them and what not. But, at the end of the day, you’ve already released your songs on an album how you want them and this is icing on the cake and I don’t think it’s going to hurt anyone. I don’t think it’s going to ruin anyone’s band or ruin anyone’s music. It’s just gonna get people more excited and more passionate about the band.

SP: It allows fans to have a more emotional connection with each song if they can actually get involved.

YW: Absolutely.

SP: What’s the story with the song you’re using in the remix contest? What’s it about? When was it recorded? Why did you pick this one?

YW: It’s a song called “Freeze” and it’s the first song on our last album, which was Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations. It’s basically all about being at a show and, in a sense, claiming your sound. Not in a cocky way, just in a confident way… Just that you know what you are doing and you can blow people away. It’s not in an arrogant way at all. The song was recorded in Redondo Beach at a studio called Total Access and it was produced by Paul Leary from the Butthole Surfers – the original guitar player.

SP: What do you expect to happen with this experiment?

YW: I don’t know. There’s no telling, you know! We could get a version that’s even better than the one that’s on our CD, you know what I mean?

SP: Does that scare you?

YW: No, not even. I think the possibilities are endless and I’m really excited to see what the fans come up with. It’s super cool too cause we’re gonna… whoever wins the contest we’re gonna release their version on our label in some format, whether it be a single or on a compilation or something like that. On the other end of it, you know, some 16 year old kid could do this, could learn how to do mixing through the contest and then, you never know, he goes to school for music, ends up working in the industry… It could plant seeds for people. That would be super gratifying in my eyes.

SP: That’s quite a prize – certainly good motivation to participate. What do you see happening in the music industry in the next 5 to 10 years? What with the industry crumbling, the internet etc?

YW: I see the independent world becoming really the main epicenter for music and people releasing their own records. Getting the fans more involved too. One of the things we want to do with our next record is we want to record maybe 16-40 songs, and put rough versions of them up on the internet and basically have the fans pick which songs they want on the CD and then release the CD the way they want it. I think the DIY and the independent world is really gonna boom and take the front seat to the industry and the major record labels are going to take the back seat.

SP: When you guys make a song, how does it work? Does one person write the lyrics and everyone else figures out there part, or what?

YW: The majority of the ideas come from Brett and Kaleo and then we get together. I’ll have a couple ideas here and there, whether it be a chorus, a verse, or a whole song or just the guitar part or something. That’s how it kind of works between the three of us and then we get together. Then that’s when it becomes a Pepper song is when we all get together and we put our twist on it and we come to a common ground and then we go from there.

SP: Does that take a long time usually?

YW: Not really, especially Brett and Kaleo. Those guys are like vaults of music. They’re constantly writing and they have so many great ideas. It’s usually a pretty quick process. The thing we don’t want to do is kinda over think it. Some things get lost in translation and you lose some of the essence if you sit there and over think and rethink and rethink it. You’ve kinda gotta go with your first instinct.

SP: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

YW: We’d all be waiters at a restaurant, cause that’s what we were doing before we started the band. It’s not that bad of a gig in Hawaii. You work in a nice restaurant, make $100-200/night in tips and you just gotta work at night and you can surf in the daytime. It’s pretty gravy.

SP: But, you’re pretty happy with what you’re doing now?

YW: Ya, I still pinch myself sometimes. We’re actually getting paid to do something we’d do anyway and that’s the way we’re living the dream. I want to enjoy it to the fullest for as long as I can.

SP: Have you had any crazy fan interactions, people throwing underwear on the stage, psycho stalkers etc?

YW: There have been a lot of underwear and bras thrown up on stage and people jumping on stage. That kind of stuff happens all the time… it comes with the territory. No real crazy stalker stories or anything… It’s more just, you know, when a show is sold out there is always a ton of people waiting outside the bus and trying to get tickets to the show. We try to help them out as much as we can and hook everyone up but, you know, there’s only so much you can do.

SP: Any last words of wisdom for our Evolving Music readers?

YW: Ya, definitely. I think the biggest advice for anyone that wants to be in a band or start a band is you gotta realize how much hard work it is and touring is the key to everything. You gotta get out there and you gotta go see the people that are supporting you and shake their hand and really show that appreciation and never take those people for granted.

Remix Pepper’s “Freeze” and Win!

Ladies and gentlemen, get your remixing chops ready. Starting Saturday (Feb. 28), Pepper is inviting you to make your own musical masheries of their song “Freeze”!

While Pepper originally hails from Hawaii, they now bring you their fresh mix of reggae, rock, and punk straight from sunny southern California. No, I’m not talking about Sublime here, but rather, the evolution of the brah brah music that they gave birth to. Pepper’s sound takes you from rum-fueled reggae party jams to warm coastal pop that makes you feel like you’re summertime chillin’ no matter the season. Freeze is a song from the latest Law Records release, Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations“, which was produced by Sublime producer and former Butthole Surfer Paul Leary.

Pepper has loaded the stems to Freeze into their Remix Wizard and now wants to hear what you can do! You have two options for making a remix: you can download the stems for free and use any software you want; or you can click on the widget’s MixMaker link to make a remix in MixMatchMusic‘s simple online music editor. If you’ve never experienced remixing before, or just want to see how Freeze was made, check out the MixMaker! Either way, make sure to you upload your remix to the widget so that others can listen to, vote on, and share it.

The Freeze remix contest runs from February 28 to March 28 (2009), and Pepper will hand pick three winners. If you win the grand prize, you get two VIP passes to the next Pepper show in your hometown for your friends, and the chance to shadow Pepper’s sound engineer for the day (from load in to load out at a show in your hometown). How cool is that!

The grand prize winner will also receive the T-RackS 3 Deluxe Mastering Suite and AmpliTube Fender® (courtesy of IK Multimedia); a Law Records backpack full of Pepper swag; one pair of SkullCandy headphones; an autographed photo of Pepper; their remix featured on Pepper’s myspace; and their remix released on an upcoming album from Law Records. The first runner up will receive a copy of AmpliTube Fender from IK Multimedia, and the second runner up will get a copy of the T-RackS 3 Standard Mastering Suite from IK Multimieda. Both runner up winners will also receive two VIP passes to the next Pepper show in their hometown; a Law Records backpack full of Pepper swag; their remix featured on Pepper’s myspace; and an autographed photo of band.

So what are you waiting for, brah? Enter the Freeze remix contest here! And, look out for Evolving Music‘s interview with Pepper early next week.

Controlled Substance Sound Labs Round-Up

controlled_substance_charcoal_biggerIt’s been a great day of new music releases on Twitter and everybody at MixMatchMusic would like to give a big shout out to the folks at Controlled Substance Sound Labs (label umbrella for Stoopid Records and Law Records) for making the launch a promotion to remember!

BUT… the music isn’t over yet, as you’ve still got a chance to grab the Controlled Substance tracks and share them with your friends. Check out the complete list of songs that were released today, and download them to your heart’s content.

To download a track, right click on its ‘Download’ link below and click “Save Link As…”

“Behind Closed Doors” by Fishbone
Stream it here:
“Too Much (straight board mix)” by Pepper
Stream it here:
“Set Me Off” by The Expendables
Stream it here:
“Closer to the Sun” by Slightly Stoopid
Stream it here:
“Under the Landslide” by Mat McHugh and The Blackbird
Stream it here:
“Feelin’ Alright” by Rebelution
Stream it here:
“Love 2 the DJ” by Sabotage Soundsystem
Stream it here:
“Season’s Change” by Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
Stream it here:

To download a track, right click on its ‘Download’ link above and click “Save Link As…” Artist Spotlight: Sabotage Soundsystem (“Love 2 the DJ”)

sabotage-soundsystemValentines Day, 2009… it’s winey time. Grab your girl, a green bottle, and prepare to groove as Volcom Entertainment’s newest act, Sabotage Soundsystem unleashes its debut release, The Boto Machine Gun: a sex-soaked slow-motion spring to summer soundtrack of an island-infused life daftly designed to blow your mind.

Don’t want to wait until valentines day? You can get a taste by listening to their new track “Love 2 the DJ” here. It’s the perfect pairing for that green tea you’re enjoying.

Sabotage Soundsystem is a two-man machine made up of Big Island surfers and musicians Remy “Dub” DeRochemont and Kaleo Wassman (of Pepper). “What I love about Dub is that he encourages frequent surf breaks during recording sessions,” says Wassman. “If something wasn’t clicking or didn’t feel right we would just bail and go surf. Clear the mind, then come back and hit it again fresh,” adds DeRochemont.

The new venture for the duo culminates in music that has a decidedly laid-back rural island feel, while at the same time it is clear the two come into their own with influences and experiences that come from worldly travels, international exposure, and a long life on the road. As the title, The Boto Machine Gun implies, the new album is all at once dirty, sexy, and lethal. A guerrilla style recording, this weapon was built in people’s houses and garages on both sides of the sea, from Hawaii to SoCal. Be on the lookout for Sabotage Soundystem in 2009!

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