May 2014

Answers to your Burning Questions…

What goes into a YouRockRed Consultation:

A ton of thought and research goes into each YouRockRed 1 hour consultation.  We’ll tailor our services and prep to serve you best. E.g. publicity for upcoming album release, funding for new album, music video production, how to hire a team.

These are just some questions that we address in our meeting and all of which can be answered and/or referred to by people we work with and trust.

What are you looking for?  Is this band a hobby or a full-time career waiting to happen?

Do you have management?  (If so, what’s their background?  See past blog posts about my thoughts on management from friends vs. a dodgy clueless person that has no idea what they’re doing).  Are you happy with them?  Are you doing everything yourself?  What do you need help with in managing your band?

Are you on a label? Who owns your music?

Do you want to stay independent?

How long have you been a band?  What other bands were you in? Who’s in the band and what’s your relationship with them like?

Where have you played?  (Not just venues, but what cities and with who?)

Do you have a booking agent?  Do you want one?

How regularly are you playing?  How often are you touring? Do you want to be touring?

Do you have a publicist?  Do you want one?

How is your music distributed?

Where have you received press?

Have you played any festivals or showcases?  Have you applied for them?

Is your Sonic Bids up to date?

Are your band photos up to date? (Being a 4 piece with a photo of only 3 band members is all sorts of confusing.)

Do you have a strong band bio? (As in under 3 paragraphs.)

Do you have a website, as in a .com? (Go to Bandzoogle ASAP!)

Are you using all basic social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube?  There’s ways (see here) that make it easy to update all of them in one click and when you ARE on festivals/showcases all of those need to be linked in your profile.

Who owns your music? Has your music been placed in any films/tv/commercials?

Has your music been on the radio? Where? When?

Where do you see your music going? (Japanese tours, TV-movies, Youtube sitcoms?)

In an ideal world, who do you want to record/play with? What steps need to be made to get there? (Chances are you already know the beginning of them.)

Are you trying to turn this into a career?  How willing are you to go on tour/record outside of your home town and give up family commitments/financial stability. 

It’s cool if you just want to jam on the weekends with your friends, but if that’s the case, YouRockRed may not be for you. We’re in the business of supporting professional musicians and artists.

Have you applied for grants before?  Why not?

If you’re seeking funding, what do you want the money for specifically?  Come prepared, e.g. dream producer X, or I want to go song write in Paris. These are all things we can help with.  Don’t just say, I heard there’s money for bands to record. If you were really interested, you would do a bit of research yourself (Factor website here) to determine if you’re ready.  I’ve got tons of answers but email is a time gatekeeper and questions like this often go unanswered because they show you’re not dedicated professionally.  When my clients come to me, chances are they’ve got marketing ideas and a solid few songs demo’ed (even if just on their phone) to show me.

What is your biggest challenge and how can I help you reach your goals?


I’ll listen to the music you sent me on soundcloud. I’ll download a demo zip file and listen for the potential. I’ll watch all your Vimeo and Youtube videos (or at least go over each to have an idea of where you’re at).  I’ll look up interviews with your band. I’ll look up your label if I’m not already familiar with it. I’ll read your band bio. I’ll make notes on it. I’ll write down bands to consider being compared to.

I’ll put on your album as I’m making lunch or dinner to see how it plays out as background music (or if it’s a dance party).  I’ll look up where you’ve played recently. I’ll look up your Instagram. I’ll look up your Twitter. I’ll note if you’ve been active recently on these forums. I’ll recommend how to reach out better.  (Basically I do a full social media audit regardless of if you’re only interested in publicity or meeting a new producer/tour agent.)

I’ll note record labels that may be interested. I’ll write down producers’ names to master. I’ll write down festivals that you are playing and check them out. I’ll note how many Youtube hits you’ve gotten on one video. I’ll also note if there’s any controversial/NSFW type content.

Any sort of research on the band that I can find linked on your website/social media will be looked into so that when we do meet, I may know a little too much about the group in order to best serve you.

Basically when I meet you, I’m fully prepared to talk about how to advance YOUR career.  We love being able to inspire artists to be able to reach their full potential. 

This may seem a little harsh, but we know you take your music seriously and want to help YOU ROCK.


Rock Star Lessons: 15 Ways to Not Suck at Doing Interviews

I did a lot of press recently for a big event I run called the Ottawa Rock Lottery.  We make national press attention every year and as someone who has been a journalist on the other side for the last 11 years we’ve seen our fair share of artists shoot themselves in the foot in the interview process by being too candid, unprepared or just drunk.  With YouRockRed we offer training on how to do interviews and handle yourself in public but this week’s blog post is going to deal with how to present yourself and promote whatever you are selling without sounding like an idiot.

  1. Select a band member who does the strongest press and has the best handle on how to represent you. It’s rare that media wants to interview more than 1 person.  This person is then responsible for representing all members so make sure you’re all on the same page on what is and is NOT on the docket for sharing.
  2. Have a working cell phone and email. If you’re late, call, text, send a pigeon. Better yet, arrive 15 minutes early or be by your phone 10 minutes early just in case there’s difficulty with reaching you because of international calls, busy signals or another interview going late. Don’t be afraid of messaging your manager if the interview goes late. Test your Skype signal to make sure it works in advance.
  3. Don’t assume they are calling you. Always re-confirm the day of (or have your manager do so) as a friendly reminder.  It can be as simple as, “We’re excited to talk to you about our new album at 3:30 EST today! You’re calling us, right?”
  4. Make a note of time zones and if you’re traveling across Canada or Europe, always write EST, PST, etc.
  5. Know that most interviewers have 15-20 minutes for the average profile. Morning television 5 minutes and evening you’ll be lucky to get a full minute.  You have to work within THEIR limits.  Even if you’re bored to tears on the bus and want to chat, they need to write up or audio edit as soon as they get off the phone with you. Your answers need to be concise and to the point.  Don’t be a broken record but repeat the main important points of what you’re trying to promote in a personable way.
  6. Know who’s interviewing you and be polite.  If you’re at a college radio station they’re probably going to be a lot greener to doing interviews but that much more enthusiastic about having an artist actually in studio. Be grateful.
  7. Bring free stuff or at least offer to put the interviewer on the guest list (with permission of the promoter of course).
  8. Before you get a publicist know your band identity.  Know what your band biography says and be ready to repeat it word for word.
  9. Be confident about your answers. Don’t fumble and say uh, er, ah, like or “you know.” No, we don’t know. You need to tell us what you mean specifically. Chances are being in a band is what occupies most of your thoughts and dreams.  Be declarative but not cocky.
  10. Study your press release. If you have a publicist they’ve worked really closely with your management team or yourself to come up with how you are to be represented. Sometimes all journalists can read is that short 400 bio with a clip of your music.
  11. Don’t be offended if the interviewer isn’t familiar with your entire back catalog. If you’re an emerging artist, you should be stoked that they have haunted your Youtube page long enough to be familiar with your two strongest songs.
  12. Don’t talk in clichés. Simple idea but you don’t want to know how many times I’ve had to fast-forward over artists saying “how difficult it is to make it, make music, survive,”; we’re interviewing you. We’re interested. Tell us why you’re different from all the shitty bands doing all that.
  13. Arrive sober and ready to share your story be it about your new album or current tour. Don’t focus on downers like your van breaking down, talk about how stoked you are to play the local club. Try to arrange your interviews BEFORE you play to avoid any substance/adrenaline mishaps.
  14. Know where you’re playing, what city you’re in, and walk around a bit before you arrive at the interview.  Local people love it when you name drop a great burger joint. Stuart McLean of Vinyl Café does this every week on CBC and it thrills audiences to no ends.
  15. At the end of the interview say thank you and mean it. Rock star attitude only goes so far in mainsteam media.

Don’t do this.

Canadian Music Week 2014 Photos- Stars, July Talk, ATCR, Operators…

There are so many thank-you notes and emails that must be sent after the whirlwind that was the last week in Toronto at Canadian Music Week.

However, because Ottawa Rock Lottery is upon me essentially meaning this is my busiest week of the year photos will have to suffice for now.

Big shout-out to Audio Blood and the amazing support team that put on Canadian Music Week. I learned so so much and met some incredible industry and artists that I’m truly looking forward to working with in the future.  Also Amanda Palmer is my new personal hero.


A Tribe Called Red at Google Play launch

casie stewart

The inimitable blogger/socialite Casie Stewart

kevin drew and I

Kevin Drew and I had a moment

kevin drew

Kevin Drew and Stars talking about “Good Sex.”



rob moir

Ran into old friends and new (Rob Moir and Underground Operations)

ladies of the canyon

Diana at the Drake Underground (not pictured, members of Stars, Halfmoon Run and Metric who were also in attendance.)
the socials

Barrie’s The Socials at Johnny Jacksons. Really Gaslight Anthem feel.

bathroom grafitti

Wisdom from Almost Famous @ Hardluck Bar


Jian Ghomeshi interviewing DeadMau5 (minus the helmet)

hat shop show

Secret show in a Haberdashery on Queen St. West

pkew pkew pkew

Pkew Pkew Pkew at Silver Dollar


My job over the 3 day conference. Social media screens!

old james

Old James at Cadillac Lounge

team ab


Operators (ex-Handsome furs Wolf Parade- and yes, they played Shine a Light with Japandroids!)

cmw wall

I became a rock and roll machine.


Yellerkin at Dakota

july talk

July Talk covering Nirvana at the Come as You Are fundraiser at The Great Hall

stars cmw

My favourite band ever Stars in an intimate industry-only showcase for the launch of Google Play. They were joined by Kevin Drew of BSS.

bruce cockburn

CMW, here I come!

So it’s been a bit of a crazy 2 weeks preparing for Canadian Music week on top of Ottawa Rock Lottery and regular band stuff. I’m tempted to take a photo of the banana chocolate-chip muffins I’ve just made that will be tucked into my purse between trying to break a personal record of how many shows I can go to in one night in a non-outdoor festival. (it could happen!)

I’ll be openly scouting new artists and clients the whole time and plan on being able to make some amazing connections with industry heavy weights as I will be talking to EVERYONE. Let that be a warning, friendly music-addicted redhead is on the loose.

This morning I woke up to images of M.I.A. singing on top of a bar at the launch party that had me blasting Bad Girls in the office, even though Sundays are normally my day off. So I immediately hit up the CMW Bandcamp to listen to as many artists as possible.

It’s not that I’ve put off the artists but because of grant deadlines this week, I’ve been more focused on the industry side of things like setting up meetings and researching who I’m going to be seeing at the 3-day music conference that I KNOW will blow my mind. I’ll be doing social media for Audio Blood (holla) while I watch Amanda Palmer divulge the secrets to her success and how to book frosh week if you’re an unsigned band.

So I’m in Toronto for the next 7 days where I don’t plan on sleeping since some bands go on at 3 a.m. (starting at 7 p.m.) Canadian Music Week is where industry meets unsigned, signed and all experts come together. I was in talks to be on the CMW 1 on 1 panel sessions but schedules didn’t sync up- next year!?

I’m super stoked to see the following groups- let me know the ones you think I can’t miss!

Yellerkin –

Dear Rouge

Dirty Nil –

Cam Smith –

Step Rockets –

Bestie –

No Age-

Television –

Brody Dalle (my 17 year old self still worships that woman)-