Archive for the ‘Artist Spotlight’ Category

Scotty Mills: MidiOrleans

Monday, 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. (more…)

Ridd Sorensen: Drawing On The Moment

Monday, 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. (more…)

Drakonis (aka Eduard): MacJams Ambassador

Thursday, 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.” (more…)

Eddie Fliess: A Music Factory

Monday, 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). (more…)

Mark Holbrook: High Flying Man

Thursday, 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. (more…)

Bob Prince: guitapick gits a pick

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Bob Prince, a/k/a guitapick, has been a member of Macjams since January 18, 2007, although, to me, it seems longer, since his friendly way and neighborly manner (he lives not far from me) is timeless. As is his guitar playing and sense of grace. I also got a kick out of his monicker and asked where it came from…

That’s a good starting point and I’ll be happy to answer:

The true origin of my august namesake: “git a pick” – as in: “I’m gonna git a pick so we can jam”. With the accent on the “pick” or the “git”. I threw in the “u” because that’s what I’m picking… (more…)

Mikki Nylund: Love Revolutionary

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Mikki Nylund, know to Macjammers as mikkinylund, is among the most inventive songwriters on the site. He lyrics plow new ground, continually surprise as well as prick the conscience. He tries his hand at nearly every music genre, depending on what the concept of his latest song requires. I look forward to every post, knowing he will bend and twist some aspect of my expectation.

Like several MJers, he is also a visual artist. He studied art at two major art schools back in Scandinavia, then turned to writing and studied at a writing school. Mikki’s winding life path has gone through many places, many phases. An interesting read. But it has always involved music. As he says, “I’ve been involved in various music, arts and writing projects since I was about 7 years old. Music has always been a part of everything I did and do, even on such a simple level as taking shower. Today I am determine to continue working on my dreams and visions, and have many different, interesting and challenging projects. I can more than ever see how art, writing, music and life goes hand in hand.”

I’ve also noticed that much of his music has to do with love as a revolutionary force. And, incidentally, socialism. I ask him to expound on this a bit…


Tobin Mueller – Talking With Myself

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Tobin Mueller is a long-time MJ member, one of the first to sign on. He has amassed the highest onsite participation point total to date (including 4640 comments), and, as an ardent MJ advocate, was sole Moderator up until last week (when he retired from that position). Tobin has released 4 albums since he’s been a member of MJ, and was involved in 15 recordings prior in his career.

He’s had 5 musicals produced on the New York stage (plus several more produced elsewhere), has written 2 novels and 1 political philosophy text, 3 poetry collections, numerous magazine articles, 2 symphonies, 1 ballet, and has recently begun selling his photography. (Additional career highlights below.)

Deeply involved in the international environmental movement, Tobin helped plan U.N. events from 1989-1994, composed the theme song for the 1992 Global Youth Forum, and his traveling theatre troupe was inducted into the United Nations’ Global 500 Roll of Honor in 1994.

Tobin is the founder of the artists’ collaborative site,, his first foray into online collaborative projects (more on that below). He’s a Dramatist Guild member (NYC), member of ASCAP, and has been involved in dozens of stage productions as director, musical director, musical contractor, and/or performer. Although he used to play nearly every instrument, he has concentrated on piano and organ in recent decades. He’s used Macs since they were invented…

So, Tobin, you’re the guy who writes these blog interviews?

Yes. And after hearing so many cool stories from other people, I kind of wanted to tell some of my own.

I guess most people won’t mind. You are a full-time musician?

Well, more of a full-time “artistic entrepreneur.” I consider myself a composer first, musician second, because that’s what I’ve spent the most time doing. I’ve made my largest chunks of money from musical theatre (scripts, music, lyrics), often in combination as the musical director of my own shows. Actually, I never know where my income will come from 6 months down the road, but it always works out. (more…)