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The What is the Why

      So, maybe you saw us online. Or maybe you heard about us by word of mouth. But seriously, what is Neworleansmusicians.com, or NOM as it’s sometimes called? And what are they doing that can’t already be done on Facebook, or Reverbnation, or any other website with bands on it? I’m glad you asked. First let’s look into the good stuff… what can they do for my band? Here’s the breakdown:

NOM’s podcast home page

Podcast feature – NOM publishes regularly on all podcast platforms (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, etc.). The content is music based and covers bands and the music business in Louisiana. When you register on the site, you automatically get dibs on a slot on the show. It starts with a mention, filling listeners in about your band. And being a site member, you are part of a pool of members that is used to select actual future guests.

NOM’s streaming platform presence
  • Playlist feature – NOM has set up its own public playlists on all the major streaming platforms. They are organized by genre, 16 in total, and correspond to the genres you select from when uploading music to their website. If you have any music on streaming platforms when you register with NOM, they find you, pick one of your tracks and add it to their playlists. Pretty cool huh? Good luck trying to get placement on some of these “Hot Summer Mix” type playlists elsewhere! It’s not magic. It’s NOM’s indie artist promo strategies at work for you.
NOM’s blog home page
  • Article feature – NOM has its own blog. The blog is centered around the music scene in Louisiana. It has its own domain but is also accessible through the website’s main menu. The blog uses an effective approach at SEO optimizations and the articles go in depth about everything from “this one time the band almost died” to “acoustics were drafted forty years ago by the same guy that engineered Electric Lady Studios for Hendrix…”. When you register with NOM, you are also placed in a pool the site picks from for band write-ups and interviews. Given the way internet articles are reposted these days, this is an important opportunity that you don’t want to miss out on. You never know who could pick up your piece.
NOM’s videos home page
  • Video placement – On the sites Video Page, if you upload media like your latest music video or footage of your band on stage, it posts on the website as well as on NOM’s Youtube Channel. There’s no limit to how many videos you can post. And the value here, like in the previous examples, is that Youtube communities aren’t always the same crowd as social media followers, or podcast listeners for that matter. Exposure, exposure, exposure.
NOM’s artist of the month section
  • Artist of the Month – On the main page of the website, at the very top, is a collection of three different band profiles. This is the Artist of the Month section. It’s another way NOM encourages traffic to find your music. It features your profile image and leads browsers to your page on the site where people can hear your music and see your band’s vital information like label and management stats, etc for the business minded. Oh, and the site also features a Music page where casual listeners can stream music from Louisiana by genre. So, when you register with NOM, any music you upload is automatically inserted here as well.
NOM’s store
  • 10% off everything in the store – As a little “thank you”, NOM gives all new members a one-time 10% off code. It can be used for everything in the store which includes backpacks and gig bags, as well as men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. New items are added to the store often. So be sure to have a look around a few times before pulling the trigger.
NOM’s innovative promotional strategies
  • Promotion – When you register with NOM, you instantly begin benefitting from this site’s aggressive promotional efforts. It’s got its hands in many different places all at once. And each one of the perks discussed places its members on multiple platforms in audio, video and written formats. It employs many promotional tactics specific to each of these, driving traffic to the site and to all the other places it can be found; which is where you could be found if you register.  

     So basically, WHAT they do is WHY you should join. But there IS a catch. And please understand that this is probably the most important part of the whole article. NOM only accepts registrations from bands in Louisiana. This is huge! This is why it isn’t like Facebook or Reverbnation. By design, NOM has eliminated the distractive trolling you see on Facebook. It has eliminated hundreds of thousands of other bands that you contend with on sites like Reverbnation. Part of the core concept of Neworleansmusicians.com is that when musicians across our state come together under one umbrella, they become THE source for music in our state. Coupled with NOM’s growing network, this assembly of bands becomes leverage for each band on the site. You become part of a reputable brand and a trusted resource for music industry professionals. So, take a look for yourself. See how the site is structured to serve your band’s needs, because there are more features than what we’ve covered here. At absolutely zero cost to you, I think you’ll find this site a powerful networking tool for the band serious about its music business.

Author: David Trahan

Neworleansmusicians.com

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Rabadash Studios

North of Lake Pontchartrain off of Hwy 59 in Mandeville, Louisiana sits a fine example of acoustic perfection. And nestled within its walls lies both a rich history and a promising future for the world of music. I am talking about Rabadash Studios, home to Rabadash Records, owned by John Autin. But in order to properly acquaint you with these elements I must first take you back some fifty-three years to a building located at 52 W 8th Street in New York’s Greenwich Village that would come to be known as Electric Lady Studios.

Working for an architect firm by day and playing in a band by night, a man by the name of John Storyk decided to take a volunteer position as a carpenter converting a loft in SoHo to a bohemian theater of a club known as Cerebrum back in 1969. His work caught the eye of the one and only Jimi Hendrix who hired John to build a club just like it. But Hendrix would quickly pivot from building a club similar to Cerebrum, to building a recording studio. It would be the only artist-owned recording studio in existence at the time. And this became the famous Electric Lady Studios, cementing Storyk’s place in history as one of the greatest acousticians of our time.

Fast forward to the year 2005. Hurricane Katrina had hit the Gulf Coast and a guy by the name of Dave Fortman, former guitarist for Ugly Kid Joe, was in search of a new home for his own Balance Studios. Years before, and for years to come, Balance Studios produced and engineered for such groups as Down, Superjoint Ritual, Evanescence, Slipknot and Eyehategod to name a few. Fortman found his new headquarters in an empty 4,000 sq. ft. building in Mandeville, Louisiana. He enlisted the services of John Storyk to design his new studio whom by now with his firm, Walters-Storyk Design Group, had designed and built studios for such artists as Alecia Keys, Bob Marley, Jay-Z, and Whitney Houston. Construction began and as fate would have it, even the contractor hired to build this studio was himself a musician. Doesn’t this all feel so good already? 

As warm and fuzzy as this all may feel, Balance Studios would only reside there for a year or so. But this building would still play host to a different recording studio for nearly two decades. And THAT, if you’re still with me boys and girls, is the chronological spaghetti that leads us to the spicy meatball on our plate known as Rabadash Studios. The legacy continues to this day within that building, and the Chef du Jour is John Autin.

From the street one would never guess the precise architecture contained within its outer shell. For all intents and purposes, it looks like a plain warehouse. And prior to John being able to secure the building, it was actually slated to be gutted and used as storage space for a lighting company. But luckily, before this travesty could ensue, the building owner’s son Nick LaRocca, who was also a musician, walked through and recognized its original purpose and future potential. You might say the vibe from this building has resonated with musicians since day one. Because even the LaRoccas are a musical family that are very important historically in New Orleans. Nick was named for his father’s uncle, who recorded the very first jazz record with the original Dixie Land Jazz Band back in 1917.

Even just past its skin, this unassuming warehouse is made with nine insulative layers. Torrential downpours do not faze the acoustic integrity within. Every single piece of wood, every single piece of fabric, every piece of glass was placed just so by Storyk himself. The spacious live room is optimized sonically, providing an intimate setting ideal for tracking and overdubbing drums, horn sections, strings ensembles or vocalists. The wood floors and trim throughout are absolutely gorgeous. Large fabric panels and track lighting accentuate the area.

Through triple glass, the control room looks directly into this space and is flanked on either side by isolation booths. The monitoring system is custom designed by Dynaudio. Near fields, midfields, and large built-in natural wood faced monitors give arguably the best mixing environment in Louisiana. The back wall of this space ship is an architectural masterpiece where Storyk intended sound to be deposited, never to be heard from again. Twenty years ago, this concoction totaled over four million dollars. But as I stood there that day setting up for our interview, I couldn’t help but feel it was priceless.

Before the interview with John began, he was kind enough to give me a tour of the facility. Beyond the front door and past the foyer, there is a long open-area workspace. An antique organ caught my eye as John turned my attention to the full kitchen. The building sleeps six for out-of-town bands on a budget, and even has a full bath and shower upstairs. The second level housed a sound board, monitors, and screens dedicated to his newly launched Rabadash Radio. It is currently streaming online and you can find that link below along with a link to our interview footage.

In our interview, John outlined what he expected of artists interested in recording at his studio, as well as what they can expect from him. He stressed the importance of artistic freedom “almost to a fault” as he put it and touched on his methods for focusing on the artist’s strengths, allowing those elements to shine through in his mix. His decades of experience in the music business are further fortified by Platinum Record award winning engineer/ producer Marc Hewitt. Marc has been involved in the music business since 1981 and in his capacity as a sound engineer, producer, and musician has worked with such artists as Aaron Neville, Art Neville, Allen Toussaint, Fats Domino among many others.

John’s presence was a comfort. And combined with the spacious, relaxed atmosphere, I could see how an artist would feel free to create in this realm. From a business standpoint, recording here would be an intelligent move as well, both for the many years of experience John and his staff have, and the fact that Rabadash Records has been in business as a label for over forty years. I enjoyed my time at Rabadash Studios with John Autin. And I hope that the musicians out there reading this will consider recording their next project there.

John Autin Interview on our Youtube

John Autin Interview on our Podcast

Rabadash Studios website

Rabadash Records website

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New Here? Welcome!

“N.O.M. was built for Louisiana musicians only, distinguishing your band from the masses. And it was built to serve you at no cost.”

David Trahan

Too many… 20,000 to 30,000 songs are uploaded to streaming platforms daily. Yeah, that’s right, daily! And while the term “music business” may seem as though it contains polar opposites, the fact is that the business end determines how well the music is received. As an independent musician, the most powerful way to combat these overwhelming odds is to become a part of something greater. In 2022, Neworleansmusicians.com will become that something. Being newly launched, our goal for this year is to onboard 300 bands from Louisiana. Once we do that we will hire a marketing firm to fill our worldwide venue, label, producer, etc. directories further empowering you. The end game is a platform where you can contact these companies directly, booking your own shows, scheduling interviews, lodging, or recording sessions anywhere in the world. If you become part of this network you bypass conventional means, getting to the source for success. N.O.M. was built for Louisiana musicians only, distinguishing your band from the masses. And it was built to serve you at no cost.

And hey, if your business serves the music industry, don’t worry. You’re in the right place! On NOM, you are classified as a vendor and can choose your specific service(s) from the drop down menu. Registering with us will put you in front of the musicians that need services like yours.

Curious, but don’t have the time? Leave your info and we’ll shoot you a link later. Ready to jump right in? Click REGISTER, and become part of something greater!

Be sure to check your spam folder, as this form does not retain your email until you confirm in your inbox.

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This Guy Levi

“I got inside of it (the tomb)… I dug down a little further, and it was about the size of a cigarette pack. It looked like the little bible you get from Sunday school. And I knew immediately what it was… I could barely read any of the words. It was weathered and in bad shape. But I read those words, that poem, and it hit me what this guy was going through.” What Levi held in his hands was actually a diary containing the last words of a man headed off to battle in the Civil War. He would go on to include this in his upcoming EP, Gettysburg.

Levi Clark grew up in Metairie, Louisiana in typical American hard-working household. They built cars, they played football, they worked on dead people, and they played music. Okay, maybe not entirely typical. But they were close knit and full of life. The youngest of five children, he began to gravitate toward music at a very early age. And there was certainly a wide variety where he was raised. Levi remembers, “My brothers were listening to Sly and the Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin; there was Woodstock basically in that room. And my sisters listened to LTD, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Peabo Bryson. Mom had Coltrane and Billy Holiday. Dad had Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson, ZZ Hill, Muddy Waters.” His first experience making music was on his brother Avery’s drum set. At the age of six, he snuck into his brother’s room with the intention of figuring out what drums were all about. But with no drum sticks in site, he proceeded to break a drum head using a brush and a comb. Being a percussionist, part of the discipline his father handed down was playing Led Zeppelin IV over and over, and making Levi learn how to play the proper way, this time with actual drum sticks. “Every time I made a mistake, I got popped with a drumstick. And when this (interview) comes out, my brother Avery will find out how I learned that because he has no idea that I got my ass tore up for breaking his drum”, Levi recalled.

            At family gatherings, the Clarks didn’t break out the radio. The family would bring their instruments and a live session would serve as entertainment for the occasion. With his brother Avery on drums, his other brother Ronald on bass, his step-brother Donald on keys, and his cousin Wade on guitar, the gatherings became real events. “They were kids, barely in their 20’s! And they’re back there playing Hendrix. And they’re back there playing Muddy Waters, and Sly and the Family Stone” Levi exclaimed. Music would always be a huge influence in Levi’s world as a child and even to this day. At the young age of five, he got a chance to see his father DJ at a dinner reception for his brother. And one could argue that this experience forever changed his life. The place was packed, everyone was on the dance floor. And to close out the night, his father played Who’s Loving You by the Jackson 5. Levi explained, “I had already known that Michael was my age when he sang that. And I’m watching these grown, drunk ass men belt out the words being sung by a 5-year-old. At that point it became my disease. I thought, I wish I could create something that made people move the way I saw those people move.”

            With an ear for the drums, Levi would spend the rest of his life in pursuit of his new found passion. Though his first band was known by the name of Never Fall, his first gig was a sold-out show at the municipal auditorium with a band by the name of House of Dread. He was just sixteen years old. Accompanied by his two cousins, he showed up with all his gear only to find out that, unbeknownst to him, the band had hired a guy named Kufaru to replace him. Yet he didn’t cower, nor did he break. Wounded, betrayed, and dressed to the nines, Levi got on stage anyway. “It’s a live gig man”, said Levi. “Shit’s gonna happen that’s out of your control. Not everything is going to go the way you want it to happen. You just have to duck and cover and move forward.” With a hard lesson learned, he went back to playing with Never Fall which, according to Levi was a three-piece progressive rock band influenced by bands like Rush and Saga. And oddly enough, he would be using his brother Avery’s drum kit. On the bill with Big Sum, Exhibit A, and Dead Eye Dick, Levi recalls one night playing at Muddy Waters, in Uptown New Orleans. “So I’m on stage during our last song doing my Neil Peart thing, my big rock thing (insert mouth drum sounds here), you know. I hit the last note and found out that someone had put a door behind the drum riser. When I hit this last note, the centrifugal force threw me back and through the door to the outside. I had to run back inside and up on stage to close out the set.”

As Levi was well aware, paying dues came with the territory. But the common goal was always to make it to the big leagues. One time at practice, he found himself face to face with an A&R for Sony Music Group. The only thing more they wanted was a bassist and a rhythm guitar player to make the outfit complete. At the time, Levi was occasionally jamming with another band by the name of Sobriquet. From that experience, he was able to call on some friends. As Levi explained, “I contacted Michael Prado and a guy by the name of Brad Richoux. They were ready but Adam and John decided that school was more important. And they were right. John went on to be a banker or some shit but Adam went on to do work for Steve Vai.” Always moving forward, Levi would form his new band Cain immediately following.

            Cain would start out playing at The Abstract on Magazine Street, and even got an opportunity to Play with Green Day before they made it big. To hear him paint the picture, Levi described The Abstract as the CBGB’s of New Orleans. “They had Dang Bruh WhY, Cain, Apostacy, Abuse played there. One of Philip Anselmo’s projects called The Satanic had played there. It was a shithole. But it was the best shithole. It was the atmosphere, the ambiance. To get any further underground you’d have to go to Haiti. But it grew. It grew like an oak.”

            I wanted to shift focus a bit so I inquired about a bar in Fat City that so many people of that era used to frequent. Arguably, it was one of the most important bars for the metal scene in the greater New Orleans area. This gem was known as Zeppelin’s. With bands like Crowbar, Sevendust, Morbid Angel, Sepultura, Obituary, Anal Cunt and countess others, and often for as cheap as five bucks, you couldn’t find a better place to go see live rock music. Alongside this hotbed of talent came networking and opportunity. And Levi with his band Cain was eager to come up. He thought back to one such fortunate night playing at Zeppelin’s where his band scored a chance to perform on tour with Sevendust. “We showed up that night, played our asses off, and hit it off pretty well with Lajon. We threw all our shit in a minivan and followed them.”

            Remembering a time after a particularly rough day on the job at the funeral home, Levi told me how he came to meet his now guitarist and closest friend, Trey Heflin, at the Ski Lodge in Fat City. “I drive up with my entire 10-piece drum kit packed into my Nissan Pulsar, don’t ask me how. But I get in there and standing on the bar, smoking, drinking, doing shots is Trey Heflin. We had played with his band called Genocide at the time. And about a month after that gig we got a call from The Abstract to go do a gig at the New Orleans Music Hall. (We played with) MeJack, Gwar, and Rawg. That was insane. Genocide would end up being Cain’s brother band. We would play around town with them. I haven’t left that dude’s side since.”

            Albeit small, the metal scene was very interconnected at the time. Sometimes, the same guys you heard on the local radio station that day were the same guys you saw in the bar that night. And Levi’s experiences were no exception. “I was at Last Stop one night when I actually got a chance to hear the Down’s album NOLA record demo there. Philip (Anselmo) had gone in there some time after midnight when the crowd had thinned. I heard Temptations Wing, Underneath Everything, and Eyes of the South. I said to Philip, ‘man I don’t know if you know it man but that’s some bad ass shit.’ That was the first time I actually saw Last Stop…. Stop.”

            As a current member of not one but two bands, Misled and Southern Brutality, he’s somehow found time to cultivate a new sonic venture. Levi’s latest project, 1016, is named for the address of the house he grew up in, where his love and obsession for music began. Resonating an influence of blues from his mother and his father, he maintains that 1016’s style is raw, uncontrived and unpretentious. His vision is to see it fester into a disease that will infect as many people as possible. (That ought to trip a few Covid algorithms) Following 1016’s eminent EP, Gettysburg, their first album will come. And they hope to spawn a tour shortly thereafter. When asked about his vision for the band, he cited no one particular direction, literally. “I’ll put it to you like this. The same vision that Robert Johnson had, the same vision Leadbelly had; they had no vision. They just did it.”

            Whether it be visions or messages, both can be found hidden in the sounds coming through your speakers. Levi pointed out one such message conveyed through the power in 1016’s melodies. “The reason why we’re tuned to C and still playing the blues shit is to show people you don’t have to be blast heavy. The technique I’m using is a blues technique; the call and response technique. And the reason I do it tuned like this is to get rid of that whole death core, metal core, blues core… whatever you want to call that shit. It’s called Rock and Roll man.”

You can find footage of an interview with Levi on our videos page here or on our YouTube Channel.

BAND RUNDOWN

Jennifer Leach on vocals

Levi Clark on guitar

Trey Heflin on guitar

Jamie Clouatre on bass

Drummer TBA

The upcoming EP Gettysburg features Tiger Agnelly on vocals and Brian Ordoyne playing drums.

Author: David Trahan, President of Neworleansmusicians.com

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The Best Unknown Gallery in New Orleans

Day breaks, and the landscape has changed. Anonymous, sub-cultural ambassadors left calling cards ten feet wide in the middle of the night. Seldom seen in the act, their swagger reads on walls like the proclamation of a boss. And any place can get it. Mops, rattle cans, even backloaded extinguishers; the top dog figures out a way. You can miss them slipping through fences and scaling walls in the strangest of places. One such place, the Market Street Power Plant, is a stunning example. Built in 1905, and abandoned in 1973, this steel mammoth has become the best unknown gallery in New Orleans. A multitude of graffiti styles cover nearly every surface within it. COUCH, ESCAPE, EKSA, YESAH, BEANO, GEYETTO, HYPHE, KELTR, REZNOR, ENOK, DUKY, KONQR, HOER…. These kids get up. And regardless of your overall stance on graffiti, you can’t help but respect the craft.

Within earshot of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the building was purchased for $10 million back in 2007. From there it was tied up in litigation and sold again in 2015. Between the two properties, a 47-acre development has heavy machinery scraping the earth clean by day to prepare for a 1,200-room hotel, 1,400 residential units, and various tourist attractions. You wouldn’t know it by its appearance, but the area known as the Trade District is apparently worth something.

Definitive monetary value is not hard to arrive at when dealing with commodities that are accepted in society. “Experts” in the field establish a bar, and everyone else presumes it to be fact. Words and phrases are repeated, becoming trends, and the sheep will follow. I once saw a program where ten art experts were called in to interpret and rate various works of art by artists whose names would not be revealed to them. The experts spent some time discussing their interpretation of each piece and placing a value on them one by one. The majority were impressed by these works. In the end, it was revealed that every work before them was created by a kindergartener. I could not have been more pleased.

Art is such a personal experience. The artist reveals his or her thoughts and feelings visually. Emotions are conveyed on another plane, through a different language. At the Market Street Power Plant, graffiti artists have graced forgotten halls with secluded synapse. Ten dollars or ten million, the structure itself is a display of how what is accepted and established in society can, and will inevitably be, absolute. In all its magnificence it is still finite. But the culture of graffiti art will never die. And challenging the system is this culture’s life blood. How apropos it is that you find fresh thoughts and feelings plastered across the face of such degraded majesty.

I feel fortunate to have been able to capture these images and share my experience with you. And to those graffiti artists who were kind enough to bomb this shack, THANK YOU!! Neworleansmusicians.net supports you. If any bands out there want a bad ass backdrop for their next music video, contact us and we may be able to put you in touch.  And if any of you graffiti artists ever want to do an interview, anonymously of course, e-mail us at neworleansmusicians@yahoo.com.

David Trahan

President

Neworleansmusicians.com

Local Podcast Reloaded504’s coverage of the powerplant.