Jordan Buford has a Simple Plan to Save the Music Industry: Show Up and Buy Merch
Jordan Buford has been checking out local bands in DFW for about 8 straight years now, for a group called Rya Entertainment, and for a podcast he hosts called "The Real Music Enthusiast" which airs as part of the Whiskeyboy Radio Network.
The great thing about Buford, apart from his genuine music enthusiasm, is how he has no social scene walls, no clique-based boundaries in his music tastes. He's just as likely to be seen absorbing an experimental or indie act, as he is to be amongst the headbangers checking out some metal. He likes a little bit of everything, and doesn't subscribe to any one particular club. It's a great way to live, and to participate. It's an example more of us should follow, honestly.
With all of the talent-scouting you get out to do, I though you'd be a good person to ask: Is the DFW music/arts community close-knit enough?
I think we're more of a community than some think, but I also feel it could be a much more close-knit community. It seems to me that Dallas, Denton and Fort Worth are their own separate entities, which to some extent they are, but I also think all three cities should be one big melting pot.
By that, I mean a lot of Fort Worth based bands tend to stick to that city, and even a lot of Denton acts don't often make it to the other two too often, or at least that seems true for the acts I keep up with. I think one reason for that is because I know a lot of venues are hesitant to book bands who might have little to no draw, which is understandable. But I think it would go a long way for unifying the scene if they would take the occasional gamble like that every now and then, and host what is essentially an out of town band to (hopefully) expose them to a new audience.
Another aspect is the camaraderie between bands, which I think could use some work. When I first got into the local music scene, you had bands like The FEDS and Upside, whose bond was that of a brotherhood. They often played on the same bills, toured together, and even when they weren't sharing the stage together, you could often see at least one member of one band out supporting the one that was performing. Now, you just don't see as much of that. That's not to say it doesn't exist, because I know it does. Bravo, Max! and Goodnight Ned are a more current example of that relationship, but I'd love to see more bands supporting one another like that.
In the old days of the entertainment industry, it would be said that a person like you is poised to work as an A&R rep for a label someday, by way of your direction. Tell me what you think the modern version is of that talent scout, and why you may think the A&R label person might not be such a sought after figure for songwriting talent wanting to get heard, as opposed to a more modern-day version of a "scout" such as yourself.
You hit the nail on the head. As recently as a few years ago I figured I'd somehow find my way into an A&R position for one of the major labels. I'm not entirely sure what the modern version of a talent scout would be, or even if they are a true necessity in this day and age.
I guess nowadays that job could go to YouTube or TV shows like The Voice or American Idol, which is a shame. The way I see it, most labels would be less apt to sign an act that might be found by the traditional method and could end up costing them money when some singer featured on one of those shows or has a million-plus views on YouTube has more of a built-in fan base.
I guess in some ways that also answers why they may not be as sought after now, because I don't think a talent scout has as much pull now as say, twenty years ago. There are pros and cons to both the older A&R rep and a "scout" doing something along the lines of what I do. I obviously can't come anywhere close to offering a major record deal to a band, but I (and all fellow bloggers) can give bands press and hopefully expose them to potential new fans. Even if it's just one or two, that's one or two extra people that could buy the bands album(s) and start attending some shows. So in that sense, maybe people such as myself can make a more direct, albeit small, impact on the bands.
Who are some of the newest discoveries you've featured on your podcast from the area?
Let's see... you have Burning Slow, who is a newer act out of Dallas, and somehow I'm just now hearing of them. They have some killer rock tunes with some sweet riffs and are something you could really head bang to. In turn, some of their other material also has some Reggae influences, which might sound like an odd pairing but sounds amazing and is unlike anything I've heard before.
I'm also really digging the new vocalist Hazeland, who solidifies the fact that this rock/metal outfit has some serious potential. Getting out of the DFW area, I also recently played a song from a LA based band called of Verona. Their music is more like a futuristic take on rock, with a dynamic pop flare to it, and even a few electronic touches. In a just world, it will be the next big thing.