Jordan Buford has a Simple Plan to Save the Music Industry: Show Up and Buy Merch
How did you come about connecting with Whiskeyboy Radio?
Connecting with the WhiskeyBoy Radio Network was very unexpected. Matt, who runs the station, messaged me on Facebook in the summer of 2011. He had come across my blog a few times when various bands posted about a review I had done of their show, so he was kind of familiar with what I did. My role started out small at first. I updated the concert calendar on their website and was called up a few times on the show to chat and answer some "Down and Dirty Surprise Trivia" as they called it, which was all good fun.
In November of that year, Matt then informed me he was in the process of starting up a network. The flagship show is primarily a talk/comedy/variety podcast, and the WBR East Coast Podcast he was soon going to add to the fold was going to mine the same vein. He thought I'd be good doing a music based podcast to add some diversity to the network and wanted to know if I was interested.
And this was your first venture into podcasting? Scary to walk into?
Honestly, I was reluctant at first, because I didn't even really know what a podcast was until I had listened to a few of his shows after meeting him. Still, I jumped at the chance and figured it would be just another outlet to try to spread the word about excellent music. And now here I am, over a year later, and I think it's going pretty well!
As for the station, Matt started doing his show five years ago now. Then you have the host of WBREC, Chrys Starr, who has been doing some form of radio show since the late 90's. Most of the other cast members on the shows have been involved with some other online networks over the years, too. So they definitely know the ropes.
They're a crazy bunch... In the best possible way! Since it's all online, there's no holds barred and anything can be said (and usually is). Sure, sometimes their shows can be rude, crude and lewd, but they're just wanting to entertain people. And in my opinion, they do a successful job of it.
Are you getting hit with a lot of submissions? What are you looking for from musicians?
I don't know if I'd call it "a lot", but I do seem to get at least a few a month, in either the form of an email, Facebook/Reverbnation message, or even Tweeting back and forth. Usually a member of a band seeing if I might come check out their show or do a review of their record. I've always been a lyrics person, so if a band or solo singer can write some clever, great lyrics that tell a neat story, then I'll probably be a fan. It doesn't even have to be something I can connect with and relate to, it just has to speak to me.
That's not to exclude well-crafted and catchy music, though, which is of course an equally as crucial component. I try not to pigeonhole myself to one or two genres, either. I'm a rock & roll lover first and foremost, but I'll give anything a chance, even country or electronic stuff. I may not like it, but it's at least worth a few minutes of my time to give it a listen and form an opinion.
You're a big advocate of showing your support for a local band through purchasing their merch. Sort of your way of throwing a little something in the tip jar? What inspired this?
The biggest thing was at another Buzz-Oven concert at the end of that year, when I went solely to see The FEDS. After it was over I went over to the merch table to buy a shirt and CD and I vividly remember how friendly their frontman, Matt Slider, was. As I walked off, he, for whatever reason, called me back over and in short, told me that for me to buy any bands merch would mean more to the band than I would ever now.
He drove that point home, and let me know how appreciative he was that I'd spend money on their stuff, because that helped them in touring, or any other expenses a band might incur.
I took that to heart, and even to this day, I buy bands merch not just because I want it, but to help them out in some small way. I know I'm not making them rich, but at least I am helping them recoup a small amount of what they've put into it.
Actually, I guess in some ways that was also when my blog was first conceived, because I wanted to find something I could do to further help out these bands I came to love.
Are The Feds an all-time local fave of yours? Who are some others?
The FEDS will always top out on my list of local faves. I caught them live on 26 occasions, including their farewell show in Tulsa, and their two reunion gigs last year, and all of those will forever be some the greatest shows I witnessed. Man, there's so many... Space Cadet, SouthFM, Edgewater, The Mermaid Purse and Seven Story Drop were all killer acts. Getting more current, Trebuchet and Descender are my two favorites at the moment. I love Meridian, Always the Alibi, Daylight Industries, Fantasma, Grey the New Black, The Circle, Night Gallery, Opium Symphony, The Phuss, Quiet Company, Moving Atlas, Faded Grace, The Virgin Wolves and Serosia to name a few. Oh, and some incredible talented singer/songwriters are Paco Estrada, Arielle O'Keefe, Katie Carroll and Clint Niosi. There's so many more, but I couldn't possibly list them all!
In getting to know you, I've also learned that you're a big advocate for showing up early, and staying late at shows...for the purpose of catching the surrounding bands on the bill.
I understand that people have a life, and sometimes they can't get to a venue until they get off work at night, or maybe have to leave early so they can be rested for their job the following the day, and in those cases it's completely understandable.
However, what irks me the most is how people will show up right before the main band, then leave. I've seen some shows where they might put one more band on after the headliner, and it's a killer act who does an amazing show, but they're playing to less than ten people.
The same can be said for some opening acts, who can be quite impressive, but practically no one's there to see it. I guess that drives me crazy because it makes people a lot less apt to know just how amazing the local music scene really is. Then I think if I had done that, only gone and seen the band that got me to the show in the first place, how many astounding bands would I have missed out on? That would mean I probably never would have heard of The FEDS, Darby, Air Review, Here Holy Spain and a plethora of others. I can't imagine not having those (and many others) bands music in my life, so how many other music fans are missing out what could be their next favorite act and not even know it?