Indie-Verse's Eric Landrum: "I Would Put on My Grandfather's Loafers and Moonwalk on Their Stoop"
Eric Landrum has sacrificed a lot as a music fan working in radio promotions, but what's really kept him on the clock is his passion. No matter what kind of laminate or credentials Landrum has scored over the years working live broadcasts at concerts or meet-and-greets with national touring artists, he has always shown the enthusiasm of the fan waiting outside the venue for eight hours. He takes in his favorite artists deeply, and absorbs an impressive and engaging amount of knowledge about them.
Brian Harkins Eric Landrum and a Pulp poster
So it was nice to see him get the break he deserved, moving beyond promotions and into programming music at CBS Radio affiliate Indie-Verse, which he launched in 2008. It not only streams online, but broadcasts locally on FM radio on the HD2 band.
I've known you a long time, and have enjoyed witnessing your enthusiasm for music firsthand through the years. Where did it start, though? What made you fall in love with it?
My first experience with music, that I can remember, was seeing Michael Jackson on the Thriller tour. When I was a little kid, I had to have everything Michael Jackson. I would put on my grandfather's loafers and moonwalk on their stoop. And seeing him in concert made me decide, more than likely subconsciously at that age, that I wanted to dedicate my life to music is some form or fashion.
You've paid your dues in promotions and marketing for a long time, and now you're exploring an opportunity to program music. Tell us all about Indie-Verse, leading up to the present.
Honestly, I was really honored that CBS Radio gave me a shot to program music. At the time, I was the Promotions Director for MOViN 107.5, and I was having a lot of fun doing that. We created concerts from artists like Tone Loc, C+C Music Factory, Naughty By Nature, Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock, etc. My whole world of knowledge in the industry was just in promotions. I could get you a good price on as many koozies and t-shirts as you wanted, but I had no idea what the difference was between a power song and a recurrent song. Well, when the HD radio technology launched, the Program Director for MOViN asked me if I could make any radio station, what would I do. Without hesitation, I told her that it would have to be a college/indie rock station.
We got the blessing to move forward, and the Indie-Verse was born. I really wanted to take a different approach to the station. Since we have more leeway on the Indie-Verse, I'm pretty much up for anything. I get to program just about anything I can dream up. Just last month, I played 24 hours of The Faint to promote their November show at House of Blues. The band even recorded some special imaging just for the programming. We have also turned over our airwaves to acoustic sets and guest DJ hours hosted by bands, concert promoters, bloggers and writers. Some highlights for our guest DJ hours have included A.Dd+, The Magnetic Fields, Salim Nourallah and Los Campesinos!. We've had some fun with our acoustic sets, too. We hosted Crystal Antlers in our "Live in the Loo" session (where they played live in the men's room on the 12th floor of our building) and the session with Portugal. The Man was played in our General Manager's office.
It's like a station of 24-hour specialty programming. Does the specialty programming station have its own version of specialty programming?
We have a lot of specialty programming, too. On Wednesday at 4pm we have our classic indie show, C-60 with Mark Sanford. That show is awesome. Mark really knows some great music and delves deep into the indie vault to find old classics and rarities that you forgot you knew. Thursdays at 4pm, John from Parade of Flesh takes over the airwaves. Not only does he have great taste in music, but he lets you in on all the shows he's bringing to town. And, if you haven't seen the lineup for his Spillover Fest yet, you must go over to www.paradeofflesh.com to check it out. And, every Friday night at 8pm, Deb Doing Dallas, Audra Schroeder and Jamie Laughlin from the Dallas Observer do a show called The Ladies Room. You have to tune in to know what events are going on that you simply can't miss, and I promise you, before the hour is over, they'll have you joining in on their letter-writing campaigns.
Where would you like to see Indie-Verse go?
I think it would be really cool to make The Indie-Verse like an indie music network. Like, we start an Austin Indie-Verse where, if you're listening to us in Austin, then you hear music from Austin artists and the specialty programming would be from bands, bloggers and concert promoters based out of Austin. It would be cool to expand to a bunch of different cities. Each city has their own unique music culture and scene, and it would be great to be able to showcase that.
Regionally programmed, but nationwide! I like it. Is HD radio lifting off at all?
The majority of our audience listens online. Very few people have HD radios. We do have a lot of people that listen live in other markets. It would be great to expand our reach to more people everywhere.
How many DFW-based artists can you name that are part of the Indie-Verse music database?
Wow. A lot. Easily over 200 bands, ranging from Pop Poppins and Funland to Mind Spiders and Final Club, from Little Grizzly and Chomsky to Fungi Girls and RTB2, from [DARYL] and DOOSU to Bethan and Madison King. I could go on and on, but I will not make you suffer.
I know you also still manage to make it to a lot of shows. Are there some local favorites that come to mind?
There are a ton. My top five, in no particular order, would be:
Tripping Daisy at Fry Street Fair: Tim came out in a red bathrobe and an Andy Warhol wig. It was awesome.
Funland goodbye show at Trees: I'll never forget the energy of their set.
True Widow and The Crash That Took Me at Sons of Hermann Hall:Two great sets by two great bands
All of the Blockbuster Music Nights back in the day: That's what really got me hooked on local music.
And I can't leave off The Growlers (as The Cramps) and The Venables with Josh Venable and members of Chomsky and Smile Smile (as The Smiths) and Ishi (as Depeche Mode).
What does our local arts community need to do more of? Less of?
We have a lot of great talent that's getting a lot of really good national exposure. It's great to see St. Vincent do an album with David Byrne, and to see The Polyphonic Spree on Jay Leno, and to see Sarah Jaffe on Jimmy Kimmel. The only thing I would like to see less of is great bands like Peopleodian and Panda (or Oceanographer) break up, but there's nothing we can do about that.