10 Questions with Ty Reynolds of Dawty Music Group

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by Ryan Meehan

Founded in 2008, Dawty Music Group (DMG) is a production company based in San Diego, CA, where it continues to create music that expands well beyond its West Coast headquarters.  It is not often that you come across business partners so different culturally and ethnically, but at the same time so much alike in terms of talent and determination. You need only experience the hard hitting sounds these young men produce to understand what love for music really is. Armed with explosive tracks and mixing acrobatics, Dawty Music Group promises to keep you attuned and on the edge of your seats.  DMG has perfected their multitude of styles to develop a unique plethora of tracks from fresh Hip-Hop and Rap to R&B off-shoots with a lot of Pop music influence. DMG is not a stranger to hard work and best be described as resilient, hungry and focused. These gentlemen are destined to become a strong music production force that will not be denied success.  DMG incorporates actual musicians and songwriters who have been influenced by many, many successful artists. The innate ability of these young men to write, arrange and produce songs has driven them beyond the “auditioned producer” stigma to a rare find of young talent who create songs that not only reach people deep within, but also reach out to people as a source of inspiration.  In a world where artists and producers so often become discouraged and frustrated because of industry bureaucracies, DMG perseveres knowing that their attitudes are the only things they can truly control in life.  Since splashing onto the pop scene, Dawty Music Group has created tracks for a number of hit singles, particularly in Europe. The emerging production team has recently earned credits with Estelle, Janelle Monae, Ne-Yo, Mya, Teddy Riley, Wale, and Boyz II Men.  We are delighted to have Co-CEO Ty Reynolds as our guest today in 10 Questions. Continue reading

Daytrotter Artist Profile: Mike Gentry

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Illustration by Johnnie Cluney

by Ryan Meehan

As the man who maintains the day-to-day recording sessions at Daytrotter’s Rock Island homebase recording facility, Mike Gentry has heard a wide variety of musical stylings as that establishment’s Chief Audio Engineer over the past seven years.  Mike honed his audio polishing skills at the word-famous Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences beginning at the turn of the century, dexterity that has proved to benefit all that have the pleasure of doing sessions at the Horseshack.  Daytrotter’s setup is very unique in the sense that all of the recordings are mixed live to two-track, meaning that Mike doesn’t use multi-track software or do any overdubs.  Everything including the vocals are cut as a live performance, and he records and masters anywhere from between thirty to fifty bands every month of the year which has amounted to over three thousand sessions.  From time to time Daytrotter does field recordings at festivals such as SXSW, Noise Pop, and Gentleman of the Road.  They’ve constructed a new recording facility across the river in Davenport, Iowa that was acoustically designed by George Augspurger and electrically by Soren Wittrup.  This state of the art facility will include a recording studio and a venue all within the same building, and that’s just one reason why Daytrotter has become so important to the Quad Cities and the artists travelling through the greater QC metropolitan area.  I am excited to have my close personal friend and Horseshack Chief Audio Engineer Mike Gentry of Daytrotter as the subject of today’s artist profile. Continue reading

10 Questions with Chris Holmes

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by Blade Mancano

Chris Holmes is a heavy metal guitarist and songwriter who started his musical career in the Pasadena, California area in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He is best known as the lead guitarist of heavy-metal band W.A.S.P.. Prior to meeting Blackie Lawless and Randy Piper, and joining W.A.S.P., Holmes played guitar with L.A. bands Buster Savage, LAX, and Slave. Holmes was a member of W.A.S.P. first from 1983 to 1990, and again from 1996 to 2001.  Chris Holmes joined W.A.S.P in 1983, and remained with the group until 1990. In 1996 Holmes rejoined W.A.S.P and remained lead guitarist until 2001. Holmes has not played with W.A.S.P since.  While a member of W.A.S.P., Holmes participated in the filming of the documentary film, “The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years“. The film included interviews with many well-known heavy metal personalities of the era discussing their lifestyle and the metal scene in late 1980s Los Angeles.  Holmes’ contribution to the 1988 documentary is perhaps the most memorable, as he was interviewed while floating in a swimming pool, fully clothed and visibly quite intoxicated while his mother sat poolside. The interview stood out in stark contrast to the more light-hearted and humorous interviews conducted by director Penelope Spheeris, which mostly portrayed rockers as good-natured, though often dimwitted or deluded, party animals. During the interview, Chris Holmes smiled drunkenly at the camera, deeming himself “a full-blown alcoholic” and “a piece of crap” despite his band’s success, and punctuated his remarks by guzzling from three bottles of vodka. At the end of the interview, Holmes upends a full bottle of Smirnoff over his head as he rolls out of his inflatable chair and into the water.  After he returned to Los Angeles in late 2003, he began working with several Southern California-based metal groups, producing and contributing guitar tracks. In 2007, Holmes was involved with the filming of a Randy Rhoads documentary directed by Peter M. Margolis, which has yet to be released. Holmes appears briefly in a 2009 episode of VH1’s Rock Docs, “Do It for the Band: The Women of Sunset Strip.” In the Summer of 2009 Holmes released Secret Society’s “Death by Misadventure.”  In 2010, he joined Where Angels Suffer with Randy Piper (W.A.S.P.) on guitar, Steve Unger (Metal Church) on bass, Rich Lewis (Animal), on vocals, and Stet Howland on drums (BlackfootLita FordKilling MachineBelladonnaImpellitteriSister and W.A.S.P.).  On November 26, 2012, Chris released his first solo album “Nothing to Lose” and decided to produce, manage and distribute it himself along with his wife. After the success of his first LP, Chris started recording his second solo album “Shitting Bricks” which was released in May of 2015.  It’s time to prime yourself for a fucking decibel shower, as Chris Holmes is our guest today in 10 Questions. Continue reading

10 Questions with Judith Shelton 

Photo by Robyn Davis

Photo by Robyn Davis

by Ryan Meehan

Judith Shelton is an actor, comedian, writer and teacher living in Los Angeles.  Her first television role was playing Kramer’s girlfriend Sally on the legendary hit show Seinfeld, and she was a series regular on the CBS sitcom The Gregory Hines Show.  As a stand-up comedian she has performed at top California comedy venues such as The Comedy Store, The Improv, The Laugh Factory, The Ice House, Flappers and UCB as well as many more.  She studied improv at The Groundlings and iOWest where she landed on a mainstage Harold team and created her show RELATIONSH!T now in its seventh year.  Not coincidentally, during this time she started working regularly in many national commercials for companies like Nike, Capitol One, Vicks, Hallmark, Priceline, Sherwin-Williams and Visa.  Five years back, Judith began teaching stand-up on a lark to improvisers as a way to help them expand their talents and become more comfortable playing themselves on stage.  She is thrilled to be teaching and performing, as each tends to inform and nurture the other.  Ninety-five class sessions and hundreds of students later, she teaches sold-out classes to many performers and non-performers alike.  From established comics, actors and improvisers to stay-at-home moms/dads, lawyers, psychotherapists, musicians, school teachers, writers, software designers, forensic pathologists, ER doctors and corporate nine-to-fivers…all are welcome!  We are pleased to have Judith Shelton to discuss that facet of her career and many others as she is our guest today in 10 questions. Continue reading

7 Questions with Paul Hooper

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by Ryan Meehan

An only child with OCD, Paul Hooper channels his dysfunction into a cathartic harangue. He has an undeniable likability that he plays to the hilt through his bullet proof rants. This native of Charlotte, North Carolina, now residing in New York City, has been featured at the HBO Comedy Festival in Vegas, the Boston Comedy Festival, Michael Moore and Jeff Garlin’s Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival, the Vancouver Comedy Fest and was a finalist in the 30th Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition. A seasoned headliner, Paul has performed in forty two states and ten countries, including two armed forces tours.  His debut solo album, “Tense and Uncomfortable” was released in October of 2013 with Stand Up! Records, and is available on iTunes.  We are excited to have comedian Paul Hooper as our guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading