Scotty Mills: MidiOrleans

March 9th, 2009

[I love the MIDI orchestral arrangements Scott Hill shares with as at Macjams. They show elegance and a growing command of how to get the most out of software orchestral instruments. I also enjoy his choice of music. In fact, I have begun a long term collaboration with him that might result in an original piano concerto. I was very pleased to see that mark Holbrook interview Scott during my absence last autumn.

This is a reprint of an interview by Mark Holbrook for the Macjammers Blog. For comments attached to the original blog, please go here.]

One of the things I am enjoying about doing the MacJammer inteviews is getting to know more about the various artists present on MacJams. It is easy to hit refresh and see the list of music and artists on MacJams but what do you really know about their backgrounds, their motivations?

The names (tags) we pick for our artist names on MacJams often obscure what is really happening with a particular artist. In the case of Scotty, also known as MidiOrleans, at first glance one would guess that he is a guy that tinkers with MIDI and lives in New Orleans. Even that last part can be tricky these days. For all you know he could be somewhere overseas.

It wasn’t until I received his answers to my standard set of questions that I learned what an amazingly rich background Scotty has. I think I’d give a few of my fingers and toes to experience even a little of what Scotty has done in his musical background. Read the rest of this entry »

NEW BEAUTIFUL by Satellite Tragedy

February 27th, 2009

New Beautiful cover art

2008/ Popup Records
11 tracks / 39:17 minutes

I have had the pleasure of interviewing Ridd Sorensen of Satellite Tragedy for the MacJams Blog. Please see Ridd Sorensen: Drawing On The Moment. We discuss the album during the interview, along with a bunch of other personal and career stuff. Please check it out.

Satellite Tragedy is comprised of two members, Ridd Sorensen (vocals, guitars, synths) and Scott Davies (percussion, guitars, synths) of Vancouver, Canada. Davies produced the album himself. It is top notch, from the thought-through writing to the excellent performances to the detailed, immaculate production. Read the rest of this entry »

Ridd Sorensen: Drawing On The Moment

February 16th, 2009

One of the best voices and most consistently successful GarageBand self-recording artists on the site is Ridd Sorensen (member name rsorensen), also known as satellitetragedy and blinddogsky. (Satellite Tragedy and Blind Dog Sky are his bands’ names). He’s been everything from ‘Head of New Media’ for Weezer to the Senior Director of Atomic Betty (Cartoon Network), and even worked on some Scooby Doo commercials, among dozens of other cool cartoon projects.

I was going to interview Ridd last fall, but he wanted to wait until his SATELLITE TRAGEDY album came out. Not only was it taking up all his time (writing/recording the CD), it made sense to interview him right before I reviewed the CD. I’m not sure which has been more enjoyable, listening to his professionally polished CD or the homemade GarageBand tracks on his MacJams Playlist.

Ridd is an animation artist/illustrator who recently decided it was time to take writing and performing music to the next level. He lives in Vancouver, Canada, is 35 years old, and seems to be in the thick of many fruitful projects at the moment.

Ridd at work

Ridd’s music is excellent, full of meaning, well crafted, flawlessly engineered, with lyrics and an audio hipness that is replete with the zeitgeist of the moment. Whether its edgy folk, alternative, power chord punk or hard rock, it is JUST SO DAMN GOOD. Every song is thought through, has a concept, a visual element, a back story, and a personal reason for being. Like an animation character coming to life through music, except is songs are mainly about very real people, very human. Read the rest of this entry »

Rebsie Fairholm: Mind The Gap

February 15th, 2009

Mind The Gap album art

2008/ Sonic Spongecake
11 tracks / 45:47 minutes

Rebsie Fairholm, known simply as Rebsie to most Macjammers, is one of the sweet voices of the MJ community. I say this because of her gentle demeanor and supportive honesty as well as her airy vocals. I had the privilege of interviewing her for the Macjams Blog Artist Spotlight. You can read it here: Rebsie Fairholm: Psychedelic Renaissance Woman. I have included further conversations with Rebsie at the end of this review (see below).

Central to every track on her contemplative contemporary Celtic album, Mind The Gap, is her voice. A voice that conveys innocence, authenticity, simplicity, and an eternal sense of youthful agelessness. Like an ancient wind instrument trained within a modern sensibilities, her vocals are cleansing, a respite from the day’s concerns. Although my ears wanted more precision in pitch, more depth and variation in underlying chord progressions, I found this CD a personal delight, stories retold down through the ages with a personal and true imprint placed on them, compelling and understated. Read the rest of this entry »

Drakonis (aka Eduard): MacJams Ambassador

February 12th, 2009

[There are a handful of people who, if Macjams ever became a corporation, should be on the board of directors. Drakonis is one. I am very glad Mark added him to the list of active participants in his interview series. I personally thank Drak for all his help and wise directional inspiration. He has been a marvelous MJ role model over the years.

This is a reprint of an interview by Mark Holbrook for the Macjammers Blog. For comments attached to the original blog, please go here.]

I am extremely pleased to offer you an interview with that mysterious, infamous Dragon that frequents the chat rooms and tramps about MacJams leaving enticing comments and suggestions on the amazing music published there!

Drakonis, (aka Eduard) was on one of the first people I came in contact with after joining MacJams and he should be given the title “MacJams Ambassador”, because he is wonderful at making a new comer feel at home in a strange place… well that is until you realize he’s a dragon and his favorite meal is MacJams newcomer stew… (just kidding… I don’t think he’s ever made MacJams newcomer stew… yet!).

Allow me to present the incredibly talented, witty, friendly, and generally an all around great guy, Drakonis! Please see his artist page for an incredible catalogue of music. Drakonis!

Let’s start with a little bit about yourself. Give as much information as you feel comfortable giving:

I should first issue a caveat – “It is dangerous to ask dragons to start talking, they do not know when to stop.” Read the rest of this entry »

Eddie Fliess: A Music Factory

February 2nd, 2009

[This is a reprint of an interview by Mark Holbrook for the Macjammers Blog. For comments attached to the original blog, please go here.]

Eddie Fliess… I like to call him a music factory! Every time I log into MacJams it seems there is another wonderful piece posted by EEFliess. Eddie is always on the chat window and always has a friendly hello ready.So lets learn a little about the man behind the music. His artist page can be found at: EEFliess


Tell us as much about yourself as you would like everyone to know. Where you were born, when, how you grew up etc.

I was born in 1968 in Clifton Forge, Virginia. When I was 11 months old, my father was transferred to Ashland, Kentucky with Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, so we lived in a little crossroads town on the Ohio River called South Point. In 1975, my father was transferred to Southfield, Michigan, so off to Michigan we went for 4 years until moving back to South Point in 1979 which was the old homestead of sorts until 2 years after my father died (1997). At that point I had been living in Columbus for about 2 years. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but never really wanted for anything when I was a kid. Started playing guitar when I was 12 (doing the math….tap tap tap calculator keys…1980 right after we moved to South Point the second time). Read the rest of this entry »

Mark Holbrook: High Flying Man

January 29th, 2009

This is a self-interview created by Mark Holbrook for the Macjammers Blog (an alternative MJ blog he started while I was on Rain Bather hiatus). Upon his request, I am going to transfer his interviews into the main blog’s Artist Spotlight over the next few weeks. Thank you, Mark, for filling the void so well. For comments attached to the original blog, please go here.

As Tobin once did… This will be an interview with myself.

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Mark Holbrook. I post on MacJams under the user name MarkHolbrook. I chose to use my real name rather than an alias on MacJams because I find aliases confusing. I want to call people by their first name (once I get to know them) but with an alias hiding the information it is tough sometimes to remember who is who. I have nothing to hide so I use my name directly. Read the rest of this entry »

Lucky Ghost: “Network Stars”

January 23rd, 2009

Luck Ghost cover

LUCKY GHOST: Network Stars (by Seth Berkowitz, a.k.a. Aaron Hill)
2008/ CDBaby
11 tracks / 58:44 minutes

Lucky Ghost is the brainchild of singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Seth Berkowitz, formerly of Aaron Hill & The Crimson Guard, Conquistador, and Skabba the Hut. Synthesizing influences from ’80’s pop, ’70’s prog and modern indie rock, Lucky Ghost emerges with a crisp sound, laden with hooks, melody, and strong arrangements. Read the rest of this entry »