Zach is Back with a new video! | Fresh Tracks

After a successful tour the band and Zach Alwin came back with more inspiration than ever! Here is a new music video directed by Matthew Young, who he met while getting a Lyft through Hollywood. His fantastic idea brought together the whole band and the team to make it a reality and it stars, a 13 year old roller skating prodigy.

Zach Alwin and the band have a few upcoming shows, catch them on these dates:

September 15 At the Top –  Long Beach Ca.

September 16 Grizzly Rock Cafe – Turlock

September 21  1st Street Bar – Encinitas

 

Check out more Zach Alwin music and photos by clicking here

An alternative to what? The use of the word Alternative in music. | Articles

Bands, I have to get something off my chest. It’s about a word. Yeah, I know you’re probably shocked that a writer has a beef with a word. Predictable maybe, but what can you do? Writers get hung up on words. You might be wondering what word could have me so wound up that I need to blog about it. Well I’ll tell you. I have a beef with the term alternative – particularly as it applies to music.

I know that alternative is mostly a radio designation. Once upon a time, it might have had a little (and I stress little) more meaning. My question whenever I see a band that is categorized as “alternative” is “An alternative to what exactly?” I know. It means an alternative to pop.

Trust me, I am all for alternatives to pop music that is made with machines and sung by computers. But think about this. Norteno music (you know, the music that sounds like a Mexican polka) is also an alternative to pop. Black metal is an alternative to pop. But you know something? People have at least a vague idea of what norteno music and black metal sound like. Alternative is a generic term that doesn’t really give any description of the music. It doesn’t do anything to make a band stand out.

Think of it this way. If you send me your press kit, and you categorize yourself as an alternative-rock band, what are you really telling me? That you sound like every rock band that had one hit in the 90s (and a lot of others that weren’t even one-hit wonders)? Now ask yourself this. Why would you choose to give yourself a label that provides nothing distinctive about your band? I get it. Radio would identify you as alternative, and it helps you target the radio shows that might give you airplay. Airplay is always a good thing for a band – even if it’s on a station that can only be heard in a small town in Wyoming. But you should be able to distinguish yourself from other bands that are also looking for airplay at those same stations.

The term alternative is etched deeply enough into the music business that it’s likely not getting phased out anytime soon. In that regard, it makes sense to leave the term alternative in your press kit. Here’s my challenge to you though. Keep alternative in your press kit, but also try to come up with a term that is more unique to your band. (I can tell you from all the press kits that I see that many bands list themselves in multiple categories.) I’ll give you an example.

The Zambonis is a band that lists itself as hockey rock because all the band members like hockey, and they do a lot of songs about hockey. How many bands do you think fall into the hockey-rock category? Exactly. The Zambonis stand alone in that category. Plus, I didn’t have to look up The Zambonis. I was once contacted about the band, and I remember it because I’ve never heard of another band that plays hockey rock. If you do come up with a category which is unique to your band, then guess what. You’ve automatically given prospective interviewers something to ask you about when you do an interview. You’re not making music to lump yourself in with a million other artists. You’re doing it to stand out. So stand out already and at least try to come up with some enhancement to the overused and generic term alternative.

Here’s a link to a Los Tigres del Norte video if you want to link it to the term Norteno music. 

And a link to a Goatwhore video if you want to link it to black metal. 

Personalities lead singer Trevor, talks about their new album “Loose Ends” | Fresh Tracks

What inspired this Album?
Loose Ends was written during the darkest time of my life and the album is really a series of events that I experienced or witnessed. The lyrical content covers addiction, domestic abuse, battling suicide, and the loss of loved ones.
Where did the name of the Album come from?
We came up with the name “Loose Ends” as representation of us cutting ties (or failing to) with the events that present themselves in the record.
 
How long did this project take to complete from start to finish?
Roughly two years between writing, recording, post production, filming videos and having it ready to release.

 What kind of “sound” production wise, did you have in your mind prior to entering the studio?
The sound was molded from the emotions we were feeling at the time so it came out incredibly dark. We blended that with moments of having “the light at the end of the tunnel”  to be later brought back down to the bleak atmosphere that surrounds the album. Production wise, we needed the instruments to hit as heavy as the lyrics and the vocals to express the emotions we were trying to reflect.  
What is one of your favorite tracks on the new album? and why?
“A Letter of Departure” is probably my favorite, hard to pick though. This song holds some of my most vulnerable moments. I have never been so honest about struggling with addiction, paranoia, and the thoughts of suicide. It is a painful song to listen back to but, it helped me face my own demons and be honest with myself.
What encouraged the band to choose the current single for this new album?
“Tiny Tim” and “A Letter of Departure” were the two songs the band immediately gravitated to when we were discussing presenting our new music. Those songs are unmistakably Personalities and they were the next step in the sound we originally established.
Any overall theme of mood that you’re trying to capture while writing songs?
We write about real life and things we all experience. I was never one to write happy songs because to be honest I wasn’t happy. Every time I would make something even the slightest bit cheerful, it came of as cheesy to me. That’s not to say I don’t occasionally listen to music that fits the happy go lucky description but, the aggressive side of music has always been a home for me.
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
Yes! 110%. We aren’t in the same state of mind as we were when we were 18. As time moves on shit happens. If we capture a moment in time where emotions are creating any kind of inspiration then we write about it. Sometimes we don’t feel the same years down the line but, we took a snapshot of what we felt when those events took place.
How would you describe the sound of your new album to any potential new fan?
While there are some songs sounding completely different than others on the record, the general sound is aggressive and melancholy. The songs are heavy, dark, and blatantly honest. I hope that people can understand we write dark music with no resolution. We don’t claim to have all of the answers. But, there seems to be something therapeutic about listening to music that isn’t telling you what to do or how to feel or how to move on. These are songs about emotions we have felt, we hope by sharing them that others can relate and at least feel that there is someone out there feeling the same things they are.

Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
 Honestly, I wouldn’t have picked up a guitar if it wasn’t for Jimi Hendrix. So I definitely went through a Purple Haze phase. Corey Taylor from Slipknot is probably my hero. He turned metal mainstream and he did it wearing a mask. The Devil Wears Prada was actually a huge influence to me when I started writing and performing heavy music. I remember being 16 and destroying my vocal chords, screaming in my car to their music. I eventually figured out the rights and wrongs obviously. Losing your voice is a nightmare! The band as whole has so many different influences which allows us to create different sounding music each record!

ANSWERED BY TREVOR RANKIN- VOCALS

Why is Mental Health so Important?

People often times tend to get stuck in their own head. So, why is no one talking about it? Easy answer, they’re all afraid to talk about their insecurities. Well, it’s time to start breaking down the stigma that you’re weak to talk about what’s going on inside of your head. It’s actually the opposite. It makes you strong. 

I’ve struggled with more than my fair share of depression, anxiety & overall self doubt over the years, and I know the hell that so many of us create in our own heads. I’m sure you know this next line already; You are not alone. 
Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched way too much negative come from these insecurities in others. I’ve seen people leave too early, people dying in the streets & kids laughing at someone who drown. If these aren’t enough to start this conversation, what will it take? Will we ever start taking mental health seriously?
Social media amplifies the negatives and suffocates the positive. Part of writing this article, for me, is to make positivity louder. Even when everything seems to be falling around you, taking a second to really let yourself feel what you usually avoid can really enhance your perspective. Every person on this planet has had self doubt. Everyone has insecurities. When you hide from these, you’re only prolonging how long you’re going to keep letting those insecurities whisper in your ears. 
To thine own self be true. 
You and I are both fucked up. Let’s talk about it and not doing anything rash, okay? Okay. 

BREAKING NEWS | Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington Commits Suicide

Police sources have notified that the singer has hanged himself at a private residence in Palos Verdes Estates in L.A County. His body was discovered just before 9am. Chester was married with 6 children from 2 wives.
The singer struggled with drugs and alcohol for years and has considered suicide due to being abused as a child.
May he Rest In Peace, his music and art will live forever in our minds and hearts.

Here is some of his music to remember him by:

 

If you have suicide thoughts reach out please call the national suicide prevention line 1800 273-8255 
24/7 someone will listen to you. Your Life is too precious!

Check out this website for more information on suicide or if you need help AFSP | Find Support Page
You can also get info via twitter by checking out the LifeLine Website

How to Identify & Help Those at Risk of Suicide | OCML AFSP Benefit Show

5 ways to identify those in risk. 

1. Clinical depression — deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating

2. Having a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights

3. Losing interest in things one used to care about

4. Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless

5. Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm and or appearing happy.

3 Things You Can Do To Help Those At Risk

1. Be attentive to the signals listed above and be aware of the mental and emotional states of those around you.

2. If someone you know appears depressed and contemplating suicide, take that person seriously. Listen to what they have to say.

3. Listen to them attentively and do not try to argue with them. Recommend that they seek a mental health professional.

 

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US and it costs 51 billion Dollars annually. Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women. OCML and AFSP are joining together this week to bring into light some of the facts and statistics about suicide and also lead into the weekend with a benefit show for this cause. We hope you learn a little bit more about this topic and see you at the benefit show this weekend with a friend or a loved one.

Learn more about this topic by clicking here AFSP.com 
Learn more about the Benefit Show by clicking here OCML/ASPC Benefit Show

4 Misconceptions About Suicide | OCML AFSP Benefit Show

1. Myth: Only crazy people commit suicide.

FACT: Although most suicidal people are very unhappy, most suicidal acts are committed by people that aren’t characterized as psychotic. Thus, they are generally rational and in tough with reality. 75% of those who commit suicide are, however, clinically depressed.

2. Myth: People who talk about or threaten suicide don’t do it.

FACT: A large percentage of people who threaten suicide carry out their threats. Take all threats seriously.

3. Myth: People who really want to die will find a way; it won’t help to try and stop them.

FACT: Most suicidal people are highly ambivalent (unsure) about suicide. They are torn between a desire to live and a desire to die.

4. Myth: One should not try to discuss suicide with depressed people. It might give them the idea or upset them enough to “push them over the edge.” The best thing to do is ignore it.

FACT: Suicidal people are commonly greatly relieved to be able to talk about it.


Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US and it costs 51 billion Dollars annually. Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women. OCML and AFSP are joining together this week to bring into light some of the facts and statistics about suicide and also lead into the weekend with a benefit show for this cause. We hope you learn a little bit more about this topic and see you at the benefit show this weekend with a friend or a loved one.

Learn more about this topic by clicking here AFSP.com 
Learn more about the Benefit Show by clicking here OCML/ASPC Benefit Show

3 tips on how to write and submit your press kit to writers and media sources.

One of the keys to writing – in any discipline – is to know your audience. When you’re submitting your press kit to writers, obviously you’re not going to know everything there is to know about every writer that you contact. I don’t pretend to speak for all writers, but I will tell you some things that are a real turnoff for me. And maybe these tips will help you know your audience just a little better when you start sending out your press kit.

Get to the point. Let’s face it. This is a good idea no matter what you’re writing. This is a particularly good idea when it comes to music journalists because we receive a lot of music pitches. With that in mind, what do you think happens with the band that writes a 12- or 13-paragraph pitch (trust me, I’ve seen them) about why the journalist should listen to and cover the band’s music? If you guessed that those long pitches get relegated to second (or later) thoughts, you’re correct. Let’s just say that I receive 12-15 music pitches a day, which is not out of the realm of possibility. I don’t want to have to read a novella about every band. Your pitch should be limited in length. Four or five paragraphs should be enough. If you have a hard time making your point in that limited amount of space, I know a writer you can hire to help you out.

 

You don’t get extra points for using big words. Before you jump to any conclusions, I’m not saying that music journalists aren’t smart. Nor am I saying that there is no time or place for those $100 words. What I am saying with this one is that you are not writing this for a college composition professor. In other words, you don’t have to write it like you would a college essay. I have seen the words amorphous and ephemeral (among others) in music pitches. You know how I said that I receive lots of music? Well, I don’t want to run for my dictionary with every music pitch that I read. Give me a real description of your music without using words that would make your college professor beam with pride.

Make it easy for the writer.
I’m not saying you have to pander to music journalists and make things simple for them. However, when you send a pitch about your music, you’re basically sending your resume. So just like when you send a resume for a job, you don’t want to waste the time of the recipient. Making it simple means that we are more likely to listen to your music. Here’s what I mean specifically by making it simple: make your pitch a one-stop shop. Give a brief intro to your band. Then do one of the following. Either include a full-length song or video in your message or provide a link where the writer can hear more than a 30-second sample of your music. Yes, music journalists are busy people, but a 30-second sample of a song is like giving someone two bites of an entree. Any musician can make music that sounds good for 30 seconds (although many don’t). For me to judge whether I want to write about your music, I need at least one full song. If I like that one, I’ll seek out another one. Or an entire album. The point is that I don’t want to go scouring the web looking for your tunes, nor do I want to go to iTunes and hear just a sample of your music. So make it easy and include one in your pitch.

So there you have it: a brief guide to knowing your audience when you start to reach out to music journalists. When all else fails, just remember that acronym KISS: Keep it simple, Slick.