Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
As posted by the Buenos Aires Herald last week, this piece led up to a Lisandro Aristimuño show that included Austria on the bill. The preview closes by saying, "The doors open tonight at Konex at 8pm, with Austria, a band from Rosario, warming up at 8:15pm."
Well, I guess "warming up" could be used as a description.
More like "fired up."
Buenos Aires is for all intents and purposes, Argentina, much like London is England. It's the epicenter of the country and that includes the music industry.
Austria is no stranger to Buenos Aires; it knows of it's success from the country's third largest city, Rosario, where the group is from, and as popular as the band is in their hometown, from time to time there can be somewhat of a disconnect between Rosario and Buenos Aires, for the band.
Due to a series of events, Austria was invited to play one show with Lisandro Aristimuño (a popular Argentinean artist in his own right), and it apparently awakened a sleeping giant. Austria played in front of up to 700 people, largely to a set of ears that had not heard the group before. Like Austria always does, it grabbed the audience's attention, coupling their exceptionally high-level songwriting with a splendid performance. By all reports, there was a spike in the band's social networking sites ("listens," likes," talking about this", especially "talking about this") the next morning, and fans wrote on the band's Facebook page about how delighted they were to hear Austria's set having no expectations of the quality of music they would be faced with while waiting for Aristimuño's set. Some fans didn't wait until the next day; they told the band how great Austria was right after the show and even told Lisandro, himself.
The scenario (and reaction) is all too familiar, especially if you caught the band's set in Southern California a few months ago: From "I have no idea who this band is that I'm about to hear" to "Wow, these guys are great!," Austria consistently prove themselves to music fans.
So, Austria grabbed a few headlines, so to speak, in the capital city last week, and was invited back before moving on to play a few nights later to an immensely enthusiastic hometown crowd that welcomed them back for the band's first show in Rosario since returning from the U.S.
The beginning of a very important trend? We'll see.
Monday, November 14, 2011
While it might be a bit fuzzy, I'm starting to see a picture developing of the Latin music industry dancing around the issue of firmly launching the Alternative format at commercial radio. I think radio is looking around the room to see who is going to step up first. Whoever does, though, will possess a license to print money.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Great artists like Ximena Sariñana, Zoé, Carla Morrison and Hello Seahorse! are making big strides and all without the aid of a commercial radio format in the U.S.! As Christian Mejia, an Orange County, CA club promoter and head of Intoroq said recently, can you imagine what would happen to the Latin Alternative genre if Latin Alternative artists were played on commercial radio (a la Los Angeles Modern Rock station KROQ) next to Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Florence + The Machine, Rage Against The Machine and Tori Amos? Well, it would blow up. Why? Because there are thousands of young Latinos and Latinas in the United States who are bi-lingual and listen to cutting edge music both in Spanish and English. Ever go to a rock concert featuring current American or British acts and see Latinos? Of course you have! Do you think it's possible that some of them might be fluent in Spanish and have roots in Latin music? Of course it is! Lastly, I've seen the thirst for Latin Alternative music with my own eyes. When Rosario, Argentina's Austria played in Southern California a few months ago, Latinos came up to the band's merch booth with a look in their eyes that said, "Wow, these guys are great! Where are they from?" (By the way, some of those people actually said those words.) One lady at the Long Beach show confessed, "I don't even speak Spanish and I love this band," which gives some credence to the fact that Latin Alternative not only draws in a Spanish-speaking crowd, but can woo the non-Spanish speakers, as well.
So, Desmond...love your music, totally respect you and I'm sure you will have continued success for years to come, but please don't be afraid of predicting the future; I have, and the future is Latin Alternative. It is going to explode.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
American Capitalist, the new album from Five Finger Death Punch, entered the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart at number three. The album, which has enjoyed strong radio support with its lead single, "Under and Over It," sold almost 91,000 units in its first week. Capitalist was an even stronger debut than FFDP's last album, War Is The Answer, when that album opened at number seven on the charts and sold about 40,000, in October 2009. Kevin Churko co-wrote and produced the new album at his Hideout studio in Las Vegas.
The band's upcoming tour in support of American Capitalist is said to be very entertaining and worth the price of admission, even to the most discriminating of metal fans.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
What became Austria's final performance of their Southern California tour, took place at a private party in the exclusive section of Malibu Colony, in Malibu, CA (down the block from Paris Hilton's and a few doors up from Sting's). True, people who saw the band at House of Blues the prior Wednesday were more than happy to see the band again, which added to the color and enthusiasm of the show, but those who knew little of Austria leading up to their sea-side performance, absolutely loved them. The band's set was broken up into two parts and wowed the mostly non-Spanish speaking audience so fiercely that the band was practically forced to play a short third set later in the afternoon, which consisted mostly of songs in English and covers. The real jewel of the event, however, came well into the night and after most of the audience had gone home, when Lautaro Gonzalez de Cap and Martin Rougier performed as an impromptu duo with Martin at the resident's piano. The 'set' consisted of Austria originals and some popular covers in Spanish. Maybe a dozen people were in the room. While the group's tour was heavily documented (the footage is currently being edited), Martin and Lautaro's piano/vocal performance was not. Truly special and truly a treat.
So when are Austria coming back? They hope to return early next year...and sooner, if the opportunity arises.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Austria's first show was at The Stardust, Sept. 2, in Downey. The band was scheduled to go on at midnight that night, but didn't go on until 1am. Many people had left the club by then, but the those that hung in there, were treated to a great set.
The second show was different. First, the band went on before midnight which helped retain a larger audience. Second, some of those that saw the band at the 9/2 show, came back to see them again.
The band played a short, but condensed set and with a bit of swagger, including Martin Rougier (keyboards) performing part of his repertoire on the stand-up mic, before returning to his usual position behind the 'boards. To help fuel the fire, some fans even shouted out requests - and those requests were honored.
Next show: Malibu, Sept. 17
Thursday, October 13, 2011
While it was a somber day for most of the United States, Austria soldiered on by driving down to San Diego to play a popular club called The Office Bar, in the section of North Park. After a pre-show meal, the guys left their mark by banging out an explosive set that turned many heads in the room (including the bartenders'). While the The Office has been known as a place to gather to watch their beloved San Diego Chargers, the club should now be re-named "Austria's Office Bar."
Next up: Austria's show 9/16, in Downey.
Monday, October 10, 2011
This was a great show, not only because of the performance, but the attendance. People had this look in their eyes that said, "Wow, so this is what good music in Spanish sounds like!" The expression on their faces was similar to many who approached the merch. table at various shows and inquired about the band. One woman quipped, "I don't even speak Spanish and I like this band!" It was a good thing the band had several pens on hand, because they signed a lot of autographs that day.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
I was probably too ambitious when I set out to blog about the Austria dates, day by day. Now that the guys have returned to Argentina and things have settled down a little, I plan to report on each of the rest of the shows.
The show following Irvine was September 7 at The Juke Joint, in Anaheim, . Booked by Christian Mejia of Intoroq, the band performed a very tight set that, by now, included their signature opener, España, written and sung by Martin Rougier. Some industry came to the gig and a handful of fellow Argentineans also attended the performance.
Next show - Long Beach.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Austria's performance at Great Park in Irvine went very well. Sound issues delayed the set time, but once the guys got started (opening their set with Neil Young's "Buffalo Springfield"), the show went smoothly. This was not a typical Austria audience, but the crowd clearly picked up on the songs and the sound, and people inquired as to when the band would be returning.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Austria's first two shows were good, though Saturday's show in Paramount was much better, due to the fact that there was a sizable crowd to check out the band. While Friday's show at The Stardust in Downey was a really strong set, the band didn't go on until 1am. Saturday's show was an afternoon set and many people hung around to check out the group over a two-hour period. The guys play today at Great Park in Irvine.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Lautaro Gonzalez de Cap and Austria have been actively promoting their upcoming shows, most notably the gigs September 2nd and 7th. Lautaro will be hitting the streets of Anaheim tonight promoting the 9/7 show at The Juke Joint and tomorrow (Saturday) making the rounds in Downey for the show 9/2.
Lautaro plays solo/acoustic (and unplugged) at the intimate Great Park, Sunday, from about 11am - 1pm.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
5FDP's first single, "Under and Over It," is out now. Read about it and have a listen through Revolver. The new album, American Capitalist, is due in October. Kevin Churko co-wrote and produced.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
All involved in the 5FDP album are very excited about how it turned out. More details to come...
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Austria has added another webpage to their arsenal with the launch of their blog, AustriaLaBanda.com. The blog will include fresh content updated often and include updates via their Twitter feed, plus an opportunity for fans to get in touch with the guys directly.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Five Finger Death Punch's "War Is The Answer" has just crossed the half-million mark in sales and has been certified Gold in the U.S. The album has two co-writes by Kevin Churko: "Bulletproof" and "Far From Home," which both charted at Rock Radio. Kevin also produced the album. Kevin is currently in the studio in Las Vegas with 5FDP finishing their follow-up. Congratulations Kevin and 5FDP!!!
Thursday, May 5, 2011
The new Emerson Drive album, a greatest hits package titled "Decade of Drive," is out now. The lead track is "Let Your Love Speak," which was co-written and produced by Kevin Churko.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Fortunately, I began running a filtered search on Google covering anything and everything having to do with Latin pop music, and in one of those filters I found my Holy Grail: Marketing Latin Alternative Music Through Social Networking Sites. Finally, someone was asking the same questions I was – and then providing some of the answers. These answers, in the form of a thesis, came from San Jose State University graduate student, Vanessa Garcia.
Through various surveys and interviews, this information-packed paper directly addresses not only how independent artists market to music consumers, but how some of the Latin music industry markets to them, as well. It even reveals what goes through the minds of Latin music fans when looking for new music.
Not surprisingly, many of the tactics are similar to marketing to American rock and pop, such as keeping an artist’s website content fresh, updating fans on upcoming shows, etc., however, in her report, Garcia reveals where an artist should service its music, such as Al Borde, Remezcla, Pandora and others that are dialed into the Latin Alternative scene. Someone who does not know the Social Networking players in the industry could very easily find themselves crawling around in the dark, haphazardly sending links or discs to companies that are not necessarily where consumers are going to go to learn about new Latin Alternative music.
I could go on and on praising Garcia’s paper and the important information she brings to the surface, but it might be more effective simply to spend some time reading her paper and noting the passages that are key to you (artist, publisher, label, booking agent, publicist, marketing guru), as there is definitely something for everyone who is connected to the Latin Alternative arena to learn from this report.
As important as this paper is, Social Networking is evolving and new strategies and key companies will surface in the future, so it is my hope that Ms. Garcia will from time to time keep us informed on marketing Latin Alternative music through the Internet and its ever-changing world.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Kevin Churko won his third Juno for Engineer Of The Year for his work on Ozzy Osbourne's Scream. Kevin's other two Junos were for his work on Simon Collins' U-Catastrophe and Ozzy's Black Rain. Currently, Kevin is in the studio working on the follow-up to Five Finger Death Punch's War Is The Answer.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Kevin Churko is back with the Five Finger Death Punch guys recording the follow up to "War Is The Answer." The inside word is that "War" is approaching 500,000 in sales (Gold) in the U.S. More details on the sessions as they develop.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Austria has been invited to play at this year's Trova Rosarina Festival. The Trova Rosarina is one of the biggest festivals in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina. The event, which takes place Monday, March 7 at Julio Parc, will feature some of Rosario's greatest artists including Silvina Garré, Rubén Goldín, Fabián Gallardo and Adrián Abonizio. Austria was invited by Pichi de Benedictis to share the stage with him - a coveted spot for the band amongst so many luminaries. In addition, the guys will be performing their own material, much of it from their new release, "Nada." This festival has become more and more popular as years go by and festival officials expect a crowd of 2,500 at this year's event.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Just because someone dubs your music a certain genre doesn’t mean that you’re a part of the pack. When I first started hanging out with people in the Latin music scene such as Christian Mejia of Intoroq, I was referring to Austria as a “Rock en Español” group, but I soon found that the guys are really Latin Alternative. Once that was established, I set out to find artists that were similar to the guys so I didn’t have to constantly describe them as “Latin Coldplay” (which is still a legitimate description). The thing is, I have yet to find a group that really reminds me of Austria. There are some great artists out there that probably could share the same fans as Austria (and I believe some of them do), but I am finding that the artists that share the most common threads with Austria are female singer/songwriters – which is great! I find myself mentioning Ximena Sariñana and Carla Morrison as references, but so far I haven’t found a male rock band that carries strong similarities to the guys. I’m sure I’ll find one sooner or later, but in the meantime, if anyone out there has a good comparison, make me look bad and give me the answer.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Someone pointed out to me that Austria’s lyrics aren’t very sophisticated when translated into English. I told her that is why the songs were written in Spanish; it sounds and reads a whole lot better in the native tongue. This individual, who was trying to poke holes in Austria’s artistic reputation, then came back with, “but if you don’t speak Spanish, you won’t like the song because you don’t know what they’re saying!”
I took my time formulating my answer, trying really hard not to make this person sound like a fool. “What about La Bamba?” I asked slowly.
“Isn’t that song in English?” The individual asked.
I told her it was in Spanish, but not to take my word for it and check out the recordings herself. (I don’t know if she ever did, but she never brought up the subject again.)
The exchange does bring up a good question: Do non-Spanish speaking music fans listen to music in Spanish? The answer is yes. I believe The Latin Alternative is geared for people who like music in Spanish, but don’t necessarily speak it. NPR's Alt.Latino might reach out to non-Spanish speakers, as well.
So how does this affect Austria? It doesn’t, really. Many people focus on the melody and the beat when listening to a song (La Bamba), and the lyrics can almost be secondary; but here’s a secret: I spoke to two people whose native language is Spanish and are both in the music business and they both say the same thing – the lyrics are really, really good.
Should you be a non-Spanish speaker and then learn the language and then read Austria’s lyrics, rest assured, you will be impressed by not only what they say, but how they say it.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
A common response I get from people who listen to Austria’s “Nada” album is that the lyrics are such a bummer. Song titles such as “Descender” (Down), “Adormecida” (Numb), “Solo” (Alone), “Nada" (Nothing). How much can one listener take? Well guess what, some of the greatest songs every written have some of the most depressing lyrics ever written. Songs with lyrics that include, “…my baby left me…” or “I used to lover her, but I had to kill her…” or try “Girl in a comma…” These lyrics are in hit songs! So apply that to Austria. You know why people keep coming back to see them? Because of the stories they tell and the wonderful melodies that surround them. Take this lyric: “No los puedo esperar, nada de esto me alcanza y ya no puedo guardar, lo que tengo no es nada.” Roughly translated, “I just can´t wait for you, none of this works, I can´t keep saving because I have nothing.” This is from the Lautaro Gonzalez de Cap-penned, “Nada.” On the face of it, whether it is in English or Spanish, it’s enough to take someone out of their Happy Spell in a snap, but coupled with the verse and chorus of the song, you have a wonderful five minutes-plus of music.
Take a few lines from “Solo,” also written by Gonzalez: "Cuando me despierto y ya no queda nada, busco entre los restos y vos no estás. Y pienso en las cosas que aprendí de niño, cuando aún no quería huir de acá." / "When I wake up and there is nothing left, I look for you among the remains and you are not there.” Once again, not exactly words that inspires happiness…but wow, what a song!
So what’s the point? The point is songs that are sad and dark can also be the songs you sing and listen to many times over in your life. Austria’s “Nada” album is filled with sad and dark – and they can keep you humming all day long.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Every band has a reason for why they chose their name. Some for very interesting and complex reasons and some out of sheer stupidity (I can name a few from the latter, but that would offend). As mentioned in my blog 2/24, several people have asked, why “Austria”? One person even asked, wouldn’t it be more appropriate if they were called “Argentina”? Noooo. The artist is trying to accomplish something. The group’s moniker is an extension of their music, no matter how ridiculous you might think it is; it’s part of who they are. So why “Austria”? I will admit, when I first got to know the guys, I asked Lautaro Gonzalez de Cap, one of the writers and vocalists of the group, the same question. He replied, and I’m paraphrasing, “Our music is pristine, like the country Austria.” A more detailed explanation is this: If you have seen images of the country Austria, or have visited it, most likely you saw beautiful steeples and lovely architecture with snow-capped mountains in the background, backed by a gorgeous sky of blue. You could describe some of the images of the country as clean, crisp and pristine. Gonzalez also added that great musicians, such as Wolfgang Mozart were native Austrians. Possibly a deeper look at the reason for the band’s affinity toward this European country might be that they are in some way paying homage not only to its physical beauty, but to the people it has produced…and the lads from Rosario, Argentina aspire to be as great as them.
So, there you have it. You may still think the reasoning stinks, but that’s what the band decided and you shall know them by that one name.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
So now that Austria's NADA album has finally been released, it will be interesting to see how the public perceives this Latin Alternative band. Industry has warmed to the group nicely, from Argentine Elder Statesman, Nito Mestre, to Specialty Radio, to bloggers. Even industry veterans such as Mike Busch of Emanon Records, who is very particular about the quality of recordings, commented on how good the album sounded. As far as the sound of the disc, credit goes to the band, obviously, but also to producer (and band member) Franco Mascotti and multiple Grammy winner and mastering guru, Gavin Lurssen. With all that aside, it's time to hear from music fans.
In Argentina, where the album was released in October, fans embraced the album immediately. The guys play to full houses in their hometown of Rosario, Santa Fe, so their core audience is in place...and growing. In Buenos Aires (about a 2-1/2 drive south of Rosario), it's been a steady climb, as there seems to be some sort of stigma that comes with being from Rosario (possibly more on that another time). In the United States, where the band really wants to make its mark, the path to stardom is very attainable.
The marketing and promotion around the U.S. release (it's virtually a worldwide release once it's on iTunes), consists of the obligatory servicing to radio, press, etc., as well as being listed on popular websites, such as Last.fm and SoundCloud. Last.fm, through ways that nobody understands (including the band), has had Austria's (older) songs on its site for a few years now - possibly a testament to the quality of their songwriting. More interviews are being scheduled, mostly at radio, and sales are just getting started.
One drawback in regard to promoting the band has been its name. Not that people can't get their head around a band named after a country, but that there are so many records (mostly compilations) that have the artist listed as "Austria" or "Austria (fill in the blank)". This has confused people; and while Last.fm's services are greatly appreciated, the site merges multiple artists with the name "Austria" - on one page! When people contact me asking why it's so difficult to look them up online from a Google search, I tell them that their name isn't unique enough (more on why the band chose its name, some other time) and to simply type in "Austria Nada" and most assuredly, you will find them.
Hopefully more music fans will find Austria, as the story of (hopefully) the rise of Austria (the band from Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina formed in 2006, not another "Austria") continues...
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Nito Mestre, of Sui Generis fame, as well as having a highly successful solo career, is a big fan of the "Nada" album. Mestre has been a major supporter of Austria's music for quite some time now.