A couple of weeks ago, New York City was under occupation. No, it’s not what you’re thinking, but good job keeping up with the news! I am talking about a completely different group of people. On Tuesday, October 25th, NYC was overrun by college radio staff, DJs, bands, various artists, and many more people from the music industry. So began the CMJ Music Marathon 2011, and Dayton was not without representation.
The CMJ Music Marathon is a chance for those breaking into music, whether from the business side or the performance side, to learn about the current state of the scene. It is also a chance for smaller
unsigned or indie-label bands to be exposed to a vast audience from all over the United States (and, in some cases, the world). I have been in attendance for the past two years, and the Dayton music scene has been represented in both. In 2010, local act Vanity Theft played one of the showcases. This year brought a greater number of southern Ohio acts: major label band Skeletonwitch, bands from other major cities like Walk the Moon (representing Cincinnati!) and, of course, Dayton representation in the form of The Motel Beds.
Back from CMJ and just coming off a recent performance with Bonneville over at WO Wrights, I had a quick chance to catch up with Ian from The Motel Beds and ask them about themselves and their experience at CMJ…
Josh McGrath: How long have you guys been playing together?
Ian Kaplan [The Motel Beds]: Tommy, PJ and I have been playing as Motel Beds since 2003 or so… Derl joined in 2006, I believe and Tod joined last year around this time.
JM: What kind of successes have you seen thus far band-wise?
IK: We’ve had quite a few successes, hopefully which will combine into some kind of success Voltron[…]A few years ago, we were asked to be on a compilation for “The Artist’s Den,” The Huffington Post has mentioned us a few times in a column edited by Phil Ramone (who produced Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, etc. etc.). That was really amazing… we grew up listening to the records he produced and it was pretty insane to think he heard us at all, let alone liked us enough to talk about our music. Of course, playing CMJ this year was a huge success for us and the fact that we were hand- picked by the powers that be at CMJ to be included on the 2011 CMJ downloadable “mix tape” was incredible. Our label was invited to showcase at SXSW 2012 and so it looks like we’re going to that as well… We had an interview in “Ghettoblaster” magazine; we were selected by “Turntable Kitchen,” this really great blog that pairs music with food, to be the first band included in their new “Pairings Box,” which also yielded us our first 7” record. Ultimately though, it’s so fun to make music with these guys… it sounds really corny but I consider that a huge success. Very seldom do you have situations where all the members of a band are like gears in a machine, each one interdependent and each one equally as important as the others.
JM: How did you get involved in this year’s CMJ?
IK: Earlier this year, after we released “Sunfried Dreams” our good friend Shelly hooked us up with
Misty at No More Fake Labels[…]She loved our record and wanted to work with us… the next thing you
know we were playing CMJ. She’s really great and works really hard for everyone on her label.
JM: What showcase/show did you play, when and where?
IK: We played at the No More Fake Labels showcase on 10/20/2011 at The Bowery Poetry Club.
JM: Did this show differ at all compared to other shows you have played?
IK: Yes, definitely… we’ve had a couple of good shows in New York, but I think this was definitely the best of all of them. Attendance was great, Doug Gillard came out and told us he loved our music, we had a really good pizza, Kelley Deal was on stage with us… it was really, really cool.
JM: Any other experiences at CMJ you’d like to mention?
IK: The whole trip was such a blur that I don’t really recall anything but being in the van for 12 hours…being in the van for 12 hours was an experience. We also went to Cracker Barrel twice.
Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to catch the band during their showcase. Being in the biggest city in the US during the one of the biggest music festivals in the country makes you lose track of time…and mind. The Motel Beds, along with the hundreds of other bands that played during the festival, went out to accomplish one thing: to get their music heard by the masses. Judging from the sheer crowd at the festival this year, I would have to say they accomplished their goal.
I asked Ian one last question: Is there anything the band would like to say to those that attended the marathon this year? He took the chance to plug the bands newest album, “Tango Boys,” coming out later this month, give thanks to those who saw the show and have supported the band and left some words of assurance:
“No matter what the CDC says, you cannot catch syphilis from handling our CDs anymore.”
The Motel Beds will celebrate the release of Tango Boys on December 9th with a show at Canal Street Tavern. They’ll perform with the Buffalo Killers and Chocolate Horse.