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An ANNOUNCEMENT about IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION!!! I've been tagged as a replacement for someone (over) in Iraq... I'll be leaving (sometime) in late December or early January!!!  For that reason - please SUSPEND ALL SUBMISSIONS to us... but, DO NOT "write us off"!!!  I'll be back sometime early summer 2006, & will notify all of you when we're able to take your submissions again!  Please SPREAD THE WORD to folks you know who send us review material, too... I will NOT BE REVIEWING material until after I get back in summer, 2006!!!!


Improvijazzation Nation - Issue # 75

INTERVIEW with Chris Phinney


ZZAJ: Are you (still) primarily into "self-production"? Are you more digital now, or less than you were just before 2000?

Chris Phinney: Yes 95% of the releases available on the Harsh Reality Music label are self produced. The collaboration projects are either produced by me or the collaborative partner & a lot of times we both produce parts of the music. The releases that I put out on occasion from other artists are produced by them though I usually do the cover art. The re-releases of old cassettes from the label by other artists to cdr of course the music was produced by the artist, but I do the transfer/master to cdr.

Yes, more digital now in regards to the software I use on some recordings,the mastering, the VSTI's I use & of course the releases are on compact disc these days versus the vinyl & cassettes of the old days.

ZZAJ: Your music has great high energy; after all these years, how do you maintain such levels of energy?

Chris Phinney: Having 4 kids I have no time to be lazy, it helps keep the momentum going. I feel that one must put their all into their music if they are creating.I feel like I have to use all types of media, gear, software etc when its offered otherwise the music becomes stale & complacent. Besides trying new things is the spice of life.

ZZAJ: Has the explosion of digital artists increased the “competition” for your music on the Internet; has it changed your “influences” at all, or did your influences stay pretty much the same?

Chris Phinney: Yes & no,  the explosion has increased the competition to get your mp3s heard on the internet to some extent. But the musics being heard current stats from reflect this (266,568 mp3s streamed & or downloaded from January 04 to Sept 4th 05 & 41,811 mp3s streamed or downloaded from  since we switched to php & had to rebuild the database about 8 months ago or so).To me though mp3s are more of a demo,a tool anyways though some will argue this point.The quality is just not the same as a wav file or a cd that contains mastered audio files.I try not to be influenced by what I listen to of the digital artist explosion.I will say though that my fellow artists at Tapegerm do provide influences for me,as well as collaborative partners do in those recordings influence me.Other than that my influences have stayed pretty much the same.

ZZAJ: I (personally) have a preference for “original” tunes. How do you feel about that... is "original" better, or does it really matter?

Chris Phinney: Well I prefer original tunes as well (personally) I really don't want to hear covers of other peoples tunes unless maybe its a tribute album or something like that & then I prefer an original (twist) on a cover tune over a straight ahead sound alike cover tune.I do think it matters but to what extent I am not sure.

ZZAJ: We talked (quite a bit) in the old days about promotion & distribution; have OMD”s (Online Music Distributors) like MIXPOSURE, helped you in your distro efforts, or is it about the same as it was way back when? How much time do you have to devote to OMD sites, as opposed to your earlier days?

Chris Phinney: I think all the OMD's helped with exposure & in reaching a wider audience yes,outside the old days of the hometaper networking.From 98 until a liitle past mid 2003 I had music on just about every OMD site out there.those still out there & those that have dissapeared,networked like mad as well.A little past mid 2003 though I realized I had no time for that anymore & deleted everything I had out there,continued putting up some tunes at tapegerm & in January 04 bought Harsh Reality ( & decided that my online music efforts would be only at Harsh Reality & ( & the occasional networking friends sites or labels.

ZZAJ: Do you get any "direct" feedback from listeners via your website?

Chris Phinney: Yes I get some direct feedback from both Harsh Reality Music & Tapegerm.

ZZAJ: Is there such a thing as "too much music"? Does this explosion of “home artists” interfere (at all) with your own efforts to make a living from music? Or, DO you "do it for a living"?

Chris Phinney: No I don't think so, sometimes though you have to wade through a lot of stuff you are not really into in order to find what you really like.

No as I don't create music for a living, but for my enjoyment & if someone happens to like it thats great,& if someone happens to not like it that's fine as well.

ZZAJ: Does the MUSIC take up more of your time now, or do you wind up spending (much) more time now on Internet sites, chatting with users & such?

Chris Phinney: Yes the creation of music takes up more of my time now, when I am not doing the family things & work things that I enjoy doing. There is just not enough time to create music the way I want to & talk with users on a lot of sites & messageboards.

ZZAJ: I’ve little doubt that with the heavy emphasis on “war” as a “business” today, the healing power(s) of music are viewed (by many) as a “loss leader”; how can we get back to a situation where the politicians are on the “back burner”, where they belong, instead of “in the news” all the time? In other words, what can we (as musicians) do to help improve the world?

Chris Phinney: We could stop creating music altogether, that would surely put the politicians on the back burner where they belong & bring the healing powers of music back up to the forefront. Then once accomplished we could start creating the music again & that would keep the music & its healing powers & messages back on the forefront for quite some time I think.

ZZAJ: Please pass on any “words of wisdom” you have for aspiring artists in today's world? What can they do to make their music better, both “technically” & aesthetically?

Chris Phinney: Artists should use all forms of promotion, internet, OMD's, etc should be used by all artists with access in order to reach a larger audience, but artists should not just rely on the internet, they should send their music out to college & community radio stations, take a chance on sending their music to commercial radio stations as well. Send it to as many magazines as they can underground & commercial,& to newspapers etc. maybe even advertise in these magazines if they can afford to & be sure & make the CDs a release, a nice product both musically & artistically, a good package not just a demo. Print up flyers & pass them around, put them out there & stickers as well. Hit up distributors of music with product.. Don't be afraid of bad reviews & of not getting a review, or answers of no your music is not what we are looking for. Try all mediums & methods that are available. Release the music in as many formats as possible, that consumers use today. Some European countries still want cassettes & vinyl. There are also some radio shows out there that have their shows broadcast on shortwave radio as well, this touches people who don't have all the radio stations, TV, internet, etc. Always try to release a good product all way around & promote to as many places as as ones budget allows.. Most of all though keep on making the muse...




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