Category Archives: BandTalk

Straight from the horse’s – er, band’s mouth

BandPage Live! Recap

This week we went over some of the best practices we’ve been posting on the blog. Check it out!

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BandTalk with Kosha Dillz

We recently sat down with Kosha Dillz, an East Coast rapper with neon sounds and great vibes. We thought we’d talk to him about his journey as a musician – check out the interview then listen to his tunes for some good dancing!

RootMusic: Tell us about yourself and your band – what kind of music do you make? Who are your fans?

Kosha Dillz: My nam is Rami Even-Esh, Kosha Dillz, and I am a one man rapping and rocking machine. I make Rap music that includes melody, harmonization, multiple languages and israeli/jewish culture mixed with improvisation and 90’s boom bap flavor and future funk sprinkles. What a candy bar that is. You can dance , bob your head, tell a friend takea picture and stare and point your finger…all at the same time

RM: How did you get started making music? What were your main influences?

KD: In late 1999 1998 i was doing the usual with friends. Partying and smoking weed and listening to hip hop. I grew into Mobb Deep, NAS,and WU Tang and Boot Camp Click and Nas. I was heavily influenced by NYC hip hop and continued to attend events eveywhere. Thie first thing I got down was Braggin Rties, known for being the most influential rap battle circuit of all your favorite indie rappers. Nuyorican Poets Cafe is where it all started for me. East 3rd ave between avenues B and C!

RM: What kind of message are you trying to tell with your music? How would you describe your rhyming style?

KD: My rhyming style combines mutiple syllables and loses track a lot, but hops in weird forms. For instance i might focus on a song to be one way, but being a sucker to a rhyme pattern, I fall off course of topic and then focus on the rhyme content. The way I make it more mainstream is by staying more generic with specifics and making lines ambiguous in relation to the hook. The message I send in my music is a lot to do with triumph, overcoming tribulatons and standing up for yourself, hustling and positivity out of street life. I draw much connection with that and Judaism because Jews have been persecuted through out the entire existence. Hence Kosha Dillz brings some hardcore flavor to that and have a lot of ambiguity.

RM: Where do you get your beats? Do you have one DJ or do you have multiple producers? Or do you make them yourself? How do you judge if a beat is worth rapping over?

KD: Nowadays Im so hungry to rap i’ll rap over any beat. The beat has to be banging but I’ll enjoy it and it has to be performable. Shuko and Fonty produced my latest EP, Gina and The Garage Sale. Belief did Beverly Dillz. Kentron da Mastodon did Freestyle vs Written with me and C Rayz Walz. I just gotta love it…

RM: Tell us an amazing show/tour story. 1st show ever, best show ever, worst show ever?

KD: First time I hit the stage was at Braggin Rites and I was a surprise entry in a 32 man battle. I recall there being 4 emcees on stage and I was very stoned at the time. I went on, gave it my all, started busting and going at some dude, and the crowd went crazy. Back then I was simply “kosher dill.” I got a lot of props that night. It felt great.

My best show ever was in Bowdoin College in Maine and I stage dived for the first time. It was my own show. I headlined and I stage dived all by myself. I did once before with Matisyahu but they were all there for him. I was proud because they were all there for me. Shout to Dub Proof on that backing. Awesomeness.

My worst show was in 2005 opening for 112…getting booed off stage (but got paid still). A worse experience was in Pittsburgh in 2008 on the Spare Change Tour. I had lost 8 pounds the night before and drove 6 hrs. But I’m not sure if that beats other 2 people shows…or shows where I was supposed to be on stage, my parents came, and I didn’t go on. There is no such thing as “a worst show.” I think there can be ones that will always be worse. Just be grateful that you have the opportunity to keep going.

RM: How do you use the Internet to get the word out about your music, shows and new releases?

KD: Facebook and my website work. My Twitter fanbase doesn’t hit my shows like that. I have a publicist who works the blogs and magazines, and I also contact everyone personally myself. I think personal contact helps. We need to be intouch. Not only are my…they are also my friends, who have formed opinions about me while I communicate to them.

RM: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to a new band trying to make it big?

You have to be in it to win it. You have to be willing to lose everything. You have to go beyond limits on a regular basis, beyond that, and then further, and then…maybe someone will know who you are. And after all that you have to want to do it again. Know what your desire is. if you truly love what you do and are crushing it, you are succeeeding. Once you quit make excuses, and complain, things will stop happening. I never want to have a job. I want to rap all day. I rap in my sleep. I write in my sleep. I book tours when I wake up. I eat after. What do you do?

RM: What’s on the horizon for Kosha Dillz?

KD: My EP ‘Gina and the Garage Sale’ is out and ready to be grabbed. I just moved to LA. We (my team and I) are working on getting the national tour going once again, and after that we will most likely record again, and tour again, and continue to go on tour and record and release more music till everyone knows who we are. Think this will all prep up for my documentary which has a trailer that is already out, which will have a slew of stars and drama in it. The main thing is that I continue to stay diligent in this process, help people, and let myself be helped by the true believers in what I’m doing. Everyday i wake up and plan to take the career on full steam. One thing I always do though besides that is call someone in my family, because that is the most important thing to me.

Quick Hits:
Sounds like: Mobb Deep, Matisyahu
Genre: Mainstream indie Jew Rap for the masses
Hometown: Edison, NJ
Playing since: 2000
Albums released: Spare Change Tour 2008 Freestyle vs Written (2008), Beverly Dillz (2009), Gina and The Garage Sale (2011)
Band members: Rami Even-Esh
Favorite musicians: Herp Albert, Madonna, Rza, Homeboy Sandman, Matisyahu, Tennis, Asher Roth, Idan Raichel, Louis Armstrong and random ones I find on the street and venues across America. I once saw this band Birthquake in Salt Lake City. They were all brothers. I thought that was so cool. I also like Eyes Lips Eyes. I really like my friends. Now that I think of it, I got into music to make friends. I learned how to appreciate ways we (musicians) couldn’t communicate in real life.
Other inspirations: Addiction (from experiences with drugs, jails, institutions…etc), travelling, my brothers Zach and Eilon, my family’s home in Israel, New jersey, Airplanes, my dog, coffee shops link:

BandTalk with the Glitch Mob

Is it time to dance? We hope so! Check out Glitch Mob to get your groove on. And peep some words of wisdom from these rad LA DJ’s.

RootMusic: How did you get started as musicians?

The Glitch Mob: It all started from a love of sound. None of us intentionally set out to be musicians, we were just doing what we love and pouring everything we have into it.

RM: What did it take to become successful musicians? What were the ups and downs?

GM: I’m not sure we’re totally successful, but we are definitely honored to be doing what we do. More than anything we got to where we are now just by keeping focused on doing our own thing and telling our own story.

RM: Tell us an amazing show/tour story.

GM: Actually, this weekend at Sasquatch Festival we were sharing a green room with the Trailer Park Boys. Some crazy fan somehow got backstage and started yelling at them “PUNCH ME IN THE RIBS! I LOVE YOU GUYS!” Then he told me he takes acid every day.

RM: What venues do you prefer to perform at and why?

GM: We love to play in outdoor locations a lot. Places like The Gorge, Red Rocks or outdoor festivals are the best. Also, there’s nothing like a good intimate show at a theater with good sound.

RM: Do you plan to release any new music soon?

GM: Yes, we are releasing some music very soon….

RM: We noticed that you started using more instruments rather than digital mashups on your recent album – how come?

GM: We like to explore all aspects of sound. It’s all part of the process for us. Be it mashups, guitars, popcorn, whatever… we like to make music with it.

RM: How have you seen the underground movement grow here in the US? In your opinion, what is the future of dubstep?

GM: It’s awesome to see electronic music being accepted more in the states. As time goes on, the lines are getting a lot more blurry. There’s less compartmentalization of music — it’s hard to even say what is “electronic” and what is not these days. Computer production is becoming ubiquitous and it’s fun to be involved in all of it.

RM: How do you use technology to bolster your music career?

GM: We love to use the internet to communicate with our fans. It definitely helps our career, but for us that’s not the point. The point really is to connect with people by whatever means available.

RM: What advice would you give to musicians who are just starting off?

GM: Figure out how to tell your own story, because you are the only one that has it and the world needs to hear it.

Sounds like: Organized chaos
Genre: Adventure dance music
Hometown: LA
Playing since: 2006
Albums released: 1
Band members: 3
Favorite musicians: Life link:

And now, a word from our CEO

J Sider, our CEO, recently wrote this article for Music Ally about how RootMusic was started, his inspiration behind RootMusic, and how musicians can make the most out of the Internet. We wanted to share it with you guys – take a peek!

I got into the music business as a musician. Music truly makes me move my feet, my soul, my mind. I started out booking bands for a coffee shop in my hometown of Harrisburg, Virginia. From there, I started bookingbigger venues and managing bigger bands. Eventually, I wound up booking shows for a venue that held 4,000 folks, as well as managing bands who were playing at the Sundance Film Festival.

It was this experience that made me realize that there had to be a better way to do music online. There are so many amazing bands around, but they’re not being heard because they don’t know what the next step is. Too many musicians were wasting time on dated social networks and ineffectively communicating to fans. Those fans were eager to hear new music and go to shows but didn’t know where to find that information. A lot of the available tools required at least a basic knowledge of HTML, while others required hiring an engineer to build the desired product. But how many musicians do you know that could build a custom music player on Facebook? Or can afford to hire one?….eh? Not many.

So I moved to San Francisco, where RootMusic was born. When we were first building the company, we wanted to build a tool that would not only simplify musicians’ experience online but also be a great experience for fans. When we looked at Facebook, we saw the opportunity. Having a presence on Facebook is important to any artist’s success. As the face of the music community changes rapidly, it’s becoming more and more important for musicians to effectively reach their fans, and Facebook is the perfect platform for doing just that. With that in mind, we released BandPage in March of 2010.

Fast forward to today, a year after we launched: BandPage is the #1 music app on Facebook with over 21 million fans using it every month to check out musicians. With BandPage, musicians can upload music, videos, Twitter feed, blog feed, photos, bio and more – all in one place on Facebook. BandPage lets fans and musicians share songs, shows and pages to their wall or directly to their friend’s wall. We’re always innovating, listening to what customers want and building tools that help demystify the music industry for everyday musicians.It’s critical for bands to have an online presence – the Internet has revolutionized the way that bands and fans interact. Musicians are using new tools like BandPage to reach out to their fans and build a global audience. Not only is it easier to communicate with fans but, with the right tools, it’s more personal, more meaningful and more productive. The fans are the soul of the music industry. They always have been, and they always will be – they’re the ones who trek across town in the pouring rain to go to shows, scrape up money to buy the latest album, and, most importantly, they’re the ones who tell their friends to check out the newest awesome band. That’s why it’s so important to listen to what fans want, to engage them and talk to them.

The Internet has only empowered fans, and it’s clear what they want: an experience driven by the music. They’re here for the music, to listen to it, to share it, to dance to it, to live it. There’s no reason not to give them what they want. It’s important to take every opportunity to build a relationship, to cultivate it – treat your fans right, and they will be loyal. This means giving them a good place to listen to the music, somewhere they can go to to find the tour dates, making it easy for fans to find updates and share with friends. It’s time to put some real effort and creativity into your fans. Put yourself in their shoes.

At the end of the day, after all the mp3’s and wav files have been uploaded, and everything has been tweeted and blogged and updated on Facebook, it’s about the effort you put behind it, how you use the tools, the fans and, above all else, the music.

BandTalk with OONA

Everyone at RootMusic is a huge OONA fan – she’s got an amazing live show, kick ass vocals and some totally dance-y tunes to top it off. You’ve probably heard her music in some of our videos, and you probably saw her play at our launch party in November and at our SXSW showcase. So we thought, ‘Who better to kick off our new blog series, BandTalk?’ We’ll be talking to some of our favorite musicians about what it’s like to be a musician, touring, recording and more. So check it out!

RootMusic: Tell us about your band. Who are your fans?

OONA: My band is called OONA, like me. It’s music I make with Dave Tweedie, who plays drums with us in our 5-piece live band. We write the music we want to hear, put on the show we want to see, and maybe it’s something you want too. Our fans are creative, passionate, inspiring, and very good-looking.

RM: Tell us an amazing show/tour story.

OONA: It was a RootMusic show we played at SXSW last month. We’d come off a beast of a show on some rickety stage the night before, crammed into the corner of a patio, half a blown out community PA system, backlined gear wasn’t in place, no lights, just messy. We did our best, then got trashed and woke up the next day hating life. Didn’t think we had a show, but lo and behold at 7PM we get word we’ve been invited to play a RootMusic showcase in half an hour. No time to promote it, so we start playing with 3 people in the audience. And that includes the bartender. It’s the kind of situation you feel sorry for the band. I decided to use the extra space as an opportunity to practice my more spacious dance moves, which lightened the mood for all of us. By the time we were halfway through, the room was respectably full, and we’d been having an infectious good time. Alex had the worst hangover, and played some of his finest solos. We gave it up to the pleasure of this music we’ve worked so hard to make.

And it worked. Everyone in the audience had the same smile on their face that we did, it was a special show, one I will never forget. We finished playing, someone calls out “Are you signed?” and we say “No” and they say “Why not?” like we must have a good reason or something. So, from a pitfall patio gig to a few Brits’ favorite SXSW show, in 24 hours. The pendulum swings.

RM: Tell us about your 1st show ever, best show ever, worst show ever?

OONA: Awww, I love them all. Gimme a crowd, a mic, make sure we can all hear ourselves, and we will play our sultry hearts out for you. A kind club staff and a bathroom backstage also help.

RM: What’s the best way to book a show?

OONA: Be good, be great! Make friends! Always put on your very best show, no matter how dinky the sound system or rude the audience, building your reputation as a musician, a performer, and a person is happening all the time.

RM: What’s your creative process like? How do you write music? What inspires you?

OONA: I’ve found that my best work comes from working all the time. Since I write the words, I try to always be working on song ideas, short phrases I like, take the time to write down those ideas that come in the middle of the night. I study phrasing – I’ll listen to Adele, MGMT and Ludacris’ phrasing, they all have something for me. As far as writing the music goes, I can’t take credit for that. Dave’s playing almost all the instruments on almost all the songs. Some of it comes out of us just jamming, other times he or i will have a pretty good idea of what kind of song we want to make, and sometimes he’s made a whole song he invites me to sing on and write words for. He sets quite a high bar! I’ve found that playing multiple instruments helps me listen to music in different ways, not to mention, more appreciation for what my boys are doing onstage.

RM: What do you love about being in the recording studio? What do you hate about it?

OONA: Recording is more honest than anyone you’ve ever met. Any time you’re in front of a microphone, you’re facing the possibility of sucking, of finding out you need to go spend some time with a metronome, honest. That brings up roadblocks – voices in my head that stop my hands, the doubter. The doubter sucks, the doubter has had too much sway in my life. So, I LOVE the studio for challenging me to tell that voice to piss off, and make something that makes people sing, and dance, something very human, and much greater than me or my fears.

RM: How do you use the Internet to get the word out about your music, shows and new releases?

OONA: I would rather do a few things well than a lot of things poorly, I think it’s more important to be consistent than ubiquitous, it invites communication.

RM: What are your tips for musicians trying to navigate all the new music tools on the Internet?

OONA: Someone told me this, I think it’s so on point: the same person who can get your music onto a site or into a store, is the same person who has the power over how visible your product is, once it’s in the store. Is it featured or buried? So still important to cultivate personal relationships, even if it’s just on the phone or via email exchanges. Find a real person behind the curtain.
Also – there are a boatload of companies who exist only to make money off your dream. If someone wants to make money off your work, that’s one thing – you can benefit, too. But off your dream? You can’t make money off your dream! Know the difference, and don’t fall for it. It’s not a new business model, but it’s an ugly one.

RM: What’s on the horizon for your band?

OONA: Presently: A Big Show April 16 at Bottom of the Hill! With Dogcatcher and Super Adventure Club. We’re headlining, so we get to play a long set. Lately we’ve been doing a lot of 30 minute wonders. So i’m looking forward to it, please come!

Beyond that, we are looking to tour. We are working on a Pacific coast tour! Also, our music seems to be doing quite well in Brazil and Australia. So fellas, make sure your passports are up to date. If you are a band who wants to put our madness and magic together, please get in touch via our BandPage.
In the meantime, I will edit your music video for cheap.

About OONA:

Sounds like: Music with TEETH!!

Genre: pop / indie rock / soul rock

Hometown: Oakland, CA

Playing since: forever. This band since 2007.

Albums released: 1 – Shhhhout! and various online free-p EPs along the way. New EP this Summer :)

Band members: Music by Dave Tweedie & Oona Garthwaite, additional production by Stephen Bradley. Live band members include Alex Doty (guitar), Andrew Lion (bass), Matt Berkeley (keys). Dave plays drums live.

Favorite musicians: Paul McCartney, Meshell Ndegeocello, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Pharrell Williams,

Other inspirations: art / books / sex / fights / seasons / concrete / hands / not being homeless / dreams / trees / subways / more

Photos by Tamarind Free Jones

And check out OONA in our commercial, too: