1/11/15

How to: Email a Music Blogger

I am a music blogger. I receive emails seven days a week for submission to my music blog. It's taken me a few months to prepare my system and dish out reviews independently, and it's with the time it takes to deal with all the bullshit that I've decided to write this. This is for the indie band looking to send their own PR emails and for the PR agencies themselves. Before you email a music blogger, there's some things you should consider.


First, some context. I receive upwards of 20 emails a day on weekdays, and usually no more than seven on weekends (many other music blogs get much, much more than this.) Independent music blogs on the rise will have some delay when getting back to these emails because it's always sudden. I was completely out of it when I started getting regular emails, and it's still a pain. This is why:

If you don't make it blatantly clear you've personalized the email for me, I will have no problem whatsoever deleting it without ever getting back to you.
Yeah, at first I felt kinda bad. I'd always replied to emails and done my best to support artists on the rise, but eventually we start to realize you're just sending mass emails hoping anyone does anything. Occasionally people will leave the marks where changes were supposed to be made. Kinda like: "Hello, <<enter name and title here>>, I've got a great one for you today!" Just, no. Go fuck yourself. And if you're gonna send a mass email, do it right. That includes:

Learning the name of the motherfucking blog you're sending your shit to.
I understand my email was most likely sold to you with hundreds of other music blog emails. Before you send me your music files, check the blog out. You're losing points referring to me/the site as D 4 AM. It'll take you five seconds to read the name of the blog on your web browser's tab, and no more than a couple of minutes to proof read your email to make sure you're not fucking up your own image. If it takes any longer than that to proof read, know that:

I will not even bother reading the email if you've taken the time to make the font unreasonably small and bold.
You fucking assholes.

I will delete the shit out of your email if you don't provide a link or download to the music you so desperately want me to hear.
Occasionally exceptions are made, but hearsay isn't the best way to persuade a blogger.

You need to stop glorifying your biased self-made reviews.
If I enjoyed reading what you wrote about the sound I wouldn't need to write a damn thing, now would I?
And while we're at it:

Don't even bother with vague out-of-context review quotes
It makes you look bad when the music sucks. You know what I mean, it goes something like "If only they put more effort into the production, this song could be

A SPECTACULAR POP TRACK." - Any Indie Review Site.

Comparing what I'm about to hear to The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Metallica, or any founding genre band/artist out there is not smart.
I literally cup my hands together with a smile on my face and get ready to laugh every time. In order to properly define something, you need to understand words, so:

Learn your words.
A song and video about first responders is not "sassy," an album based on another artist's work is not "innovative," and Miley Cyrus is never "outrageous." Your ignorance can delay or prolong the amount of time and effort put into reading your email.

Take a few moments to learn where you're sending your music to.
I will judge the hell out of the presented album cover. Don't expect me to listen to the overweight cowboy on a sunset, or a teenage girl's face shot with flowers and butterflies. But then, I'm nice and I try never to write a negative review. Others relish the opportunity. It's your own funeral.

This all should be enough for most people, but a lot of the people who write music bloggers out there are a real special kind of stupid. For those of you, here's some extra guidelines:

Sending one email every other day will only piss me off.
Fuck off with your deadlines, you're not paying me jack shit. I'll get to you when I do, and if I ignore you it's probably in your best interest to stay out of my radar anyway. You get most of the rewards, if you want this done you work for me so:

Don't ignore my email.
Ignoring my email after I reply with questions won't win you any points. I'll even consider scratching the review entirely. There's plenty of music coming my way for me to be putting up with your bullshit. You aren't that special. And while we're talking about how special you think you are, do us all a favor and:

Don't restrict the music to anybody.
I don't live in any of the 50 states. If you restrict your music to the United States, I can't write jack shit for any audience. This isn't always the artist or the PR company's fault, but a lot of the time it is. I'll probably just delete the email and consider you a douche.

Don't be vague.
Vague email subjects piss me the fuck off. "If X had a baby with Y you'd probably get something like..." My motherfucking fist up your ass, you slimy fuck. Keep it simple, we're gonna hear it anyway. And speaking of email subjects:

Quit putting "RE:" at the beginning of your email.
It's not a reply, it's your first ever email. You're wasting someone else's time and it won't make me like you any better, either.

Do not take your time.
There's a common misconception going around that I'm gonna write about your contents immediately if I like the material, and that you won't have to wait longer than 24 hours to see results. There's a lot of people willing to do this, but a good review takes time. There are smarter agencies and artists out there that send me their material sometimes months in advance. If you think it'll take me anything less than a week to get to you, you're in for some serious disappointment.

This last one is specifically for some PR agencies:

Keep it at one artist per email.
If I like one of your musicians but not the other, I have to look at the other guy's generic shit every time I check the email. On a similar note, a new video from a new album can be coupled into the same email. It's a minor pain in the ass to have to switch back and forth through two emails for something that actually is related.

On a final note:
If you're an artist or band member and some of these slip by you, don't worry. The whole point of any kind of music journalist is to serve you if they see fit. As long as you've got the right attitude, you're bound to get the results you need. Do not be afraid to send an email, it's key to your own digital exposure.

If you work for a PR agency; be very afraid. Be nice, be on your toes, pay attention to as much as you can because one little fuck up and it's not you that pays for it, it's whoever you represent. A lot of you were once music bloggers, and maybe you forgot how annoying it is to talk to a middle man, but that's your problem. Try a little sympathy, try the occasional thank you, and remember to do it for the artist first and the money later.

1/3/15

It used to be Brad Pitt but it kinda changed to Bradley Cooper after the beard thing

So I've been talking to this guy recently and we've been having the most interesting conversations about everything we have to share. It's been great. One of the many things I've learned with this guy has stuck out recently. So there's this cactus that I already knew made a delicious fruit. It's basically a pink (or white), mild kiwi, with a kind of sticky sap that makes your mouth feel like it's been dosed with sugar syrup. It's delicious. I was there asking this guy about its harvest and he interrupted me to let me know that the fruit is actually a flower. I was kinda taken aback because this was an interruption and we usually let each other speak, but this was absolutely necessary at the time. See, he explained that its original flower form mostly changes because of bats. A bat will stop by this cactus and pollinate it, basically. It feeds the cactus for what seems like no reason at all. At least initially. After the bat shows its love the cactus repays the bat by creating a fruit out of its flower, for the bat's consumption. Then humans caught on and fucked the cycle to harvest the delicious fruit, but that's not what's important right now. This was, and continues to be, fascinating to me. It's amazing because it's an act both unselfish and rewarding to both parties. It's not a leech-like system, like I've seen and noticed many other relationships to be.

It's called Pitaya or Dragon Fruit if you're curious
No photo-manipulation necessary
Well, anyway, I don't know which I was. I know that one of us was one of those in our story. One of us was the cactus, and the other the bat. This isn't really a romantic thing, and it's not supposed to be. I couldn't imagine a bat making love to a cactus, I'd really rather keep that image far away from my very active imagination. The point is they were incredibly different and still good for each other. The much more fitting part of that point is that neither the bat nor the cactus ever need each other. The cactus, without the bat (or a human's) help will still be a cactus, and the bat without the cactus can still eat other fruits, nuts, and bugs. It's just that while they work together, there is a very beautiful mutual gain. Other animals find this really difficult, sometimes especially humans; but you and I pulled it off, even if just for a little while a long time ago.

High five.

10/20/14

The Pain of a Do-Over

It's not really a secret that I like to dabble with photo manipulation and digital art. I love making something come to life on the computer screen, or to give it a new life. This proves particularly handy when it comes to branding what's mine. I designed the D4AM logo (which I'm going to remake soon) and I've recently been designing the mascot/logo for my new local project-blog. The mascot was Capuchino, the White-Headed Capuchin Monkey.

Cute little fucker, isn't he?
And this is him
Research, brainstorming, and general idea pull through, took me about a week. I knew I wanted the face of the monkey, something cute that would instantly catch your eye when you see the sticker on the hipster-hangout bathroom stall. I wanted to give him earphones because of the musical influence running the project, and because drawing a Capuchin's ears proves to be a bitch. I wanted them red to stand out, make them noticeable. I wanted him to smile, which wasn't the easiest task because my model monkey was the serious type. The execution took about 24 hours. I'm not saying I took a day to make him, I mean I literally spent 24 hours before I was comfortable with the result. Capuchino. My baby.

I like to do the fun things first, so Capuchino was made before any other part of the project. Before material, before layouts, and before officially selecting a color scheme. I figured pink red and yellow would be nice enough. I was wrong. I later settled for sunset gradients. A nice pastel salmon would transition into a bright  dehydrated-piss-yellow. When I put it up against the title in that perfect font, I knew I found the look. Give it that well-done old-school look. Add some flair here, play with some greens there, funkify the layout, realize your mascot doesn't look like the rest of the site, tweak the font sizes for— the mascot doesn't look like the rest of the site. I fucked up.

For a few hours I tried to make it work. I tried to incorporate the new color scheme into Capuchino. I tried to make certain areas gradient, I tried making him more simple. Eventually I realized that I was ruining my baby for the sake of the rest of the site. There was no fixing him, he was made to perfection when I finished him. It was when I realized that I couldn't even use my base drawings anymore, that the logo wouldn't even be a monkey, that my mood became bitter sweet. The project will be better. The next idea won't rely on colors at all. It's classy, and it's pleasing to the eye. I'm just not looking forward to the do-over, to the hours of work I'm going to be putting into something that most people won't even fully understand as anything more than a brand of some sort. All this, and my general audience might never even see the first ideas.

Sucks. But now we're on to better things.

9/21/14

Stuck

http://ilikenoses.blogspot.com/2014/09/stuck.html

Driving the opposite direction on a one way street in his clunky '89 Toyota Tercel, he managed to slam the breaks just before his tires ran into the curb. His neck's reaction to the forced stop slid his golden aviators down the bridge of his nose, his thick mustache barely scraping the lens as his sky blue eyes widened. He undid his stretched out seat belt and tossed his aviators to the empty passenger's seat, pressed his black Hawaiian shirt down his chest, and opened the door. A beer can fell off his lap and onto the street, he might have had a sip or two because the beer was just gushing out onto the pavement. He stared at it with his bright blue eyes and a sigh of disgust before walking up the sidewalk and knocking on the mint green half of a half mint half beige duplex. He waited a few seconds before knocking more angrily on the door. It took him a few more knocks before he noticed the buzzer, and he was just about to press it before he heard a woman's reply.
"Just a minute!" She yelled. Her voice instantly calming his breath. He placed his hand on the frame, leaning in and breathing heavily. The door opened, he sprung backwards. She was wearing a bathrobe, her skin was damp and she'd worn a turbaned towel over her hair, brunette locks peeking out from under it.
"Dane?"
"Melissa!" He managed to speak her name and catch her eyes before belching out everything he had to say.
"I just saw your husband, and I heard you fighting earlier, and I just had to tell you that I don't think he's being very faithful right now. I saw him with a woman and his pants were undone and I don't think it's right for you or for me or for him either and I feel bad for the girl he was with and you're actually very special. I hear you put up with him sometimes and I don't know you but you have an amazing body, I mean look at you, and—"
"Stop, Dane." She mumbled with a depressed sigh. Her eyes had watered and she stepped aside, inviting him in.
"This is kind of you, thank you."
"I didn't mean for you to to be sad, Melissa, I just thought you should know, and he should know." Dane, now stumbled onto a black leather couch opposite Melissa.
"I already know." She mentioned with more strength in her voice. "It's just nice that you thought of telling me, it's very kind."
"What do you mean you already know?"
She replied hesitantly. "I smell it on him when he comes back, it's why we argue so much."
Dane just sat there for a moment, slumping into the couch and staring off into the room. There was a large red stain on the carpet. There was a bat next to a baseball mitt on a pedestal, both of them shined. They had a spotlight on them. He could look down the hall from his seat, too. He noticed their bedroom door was open, he saw the bed's wooden frame.
Melissa got up and head for the kitchen. "Can I get you anything? Some water? I was just making myself some leftover pasta if you'd like. Grilled chicken and penne in tequila-tomato sauce sound good?"
"Oh I couldn't. I'm sorry, I'll just leave you alone."
"Nonsense, have a plate with me. I won't have it all."
With a nod; he agreed.
"Let me just change real quick, I'll only be a minute." Her answer was faint, she'd already gone into her bedroom and closed the door. Dane was too nervous to stay put, though. He passed his hand through his mustache and got up on his feet. He paced back and forth, walking right up to the kitchen to see if any of the food was out already. He served himself a glass of water from the sink.
"That's dirty water, you should have just let me grab you a glass" she spoke from behind him.
"It's no big deal." He said as he turned around. She'd made her way around him, opening the fridge door and rummaging around. He found himself spellbound by her simplicity. Her pink tank top draping over her jeans. Her long skinny arms reflecting in the bright light of the refrigerator, the tiniest mole shadows pressing back against her skin, her damp brunette curls falling at either side of her. It all captivated him, and by the time she turned back with Tupperware in hand, she'd noticed.
"What?" She pulled some plates out and had a nervous chuckle. "Don't make me make you leave, now!"
Dane sprung up behind her and felt his arms go down the silk of her shirt. He felt her ribs poke through the cloth, and he felt the softness of her skin as his fingertips traveled lower onto her hips.
With a quiver in her voice, she sighed. "Please leave, Dane."
"No." He whispered back as he pressed his lips onto her neck. She sighed again, closing her eyes and turning around. She pressed her delicate fingers against the rough shadow forming on his cheeks, she pressed her forehead on his lips as hers quivered, and then he lifted her chin and grazed the bottom of his lip with the top of hers.
Thirty minutes later he'd made it to the wooden frame of her bed, her cushioned mattress rocked more than the frame did. Her curls swayed back and forth as she bit what he felt were the juices from her plump lips. Their shared exhausted moans echoed lightly together. His calloused fingers gripped at the bones of her hips as he stared up at her, waiting for the moments where the almond shaped eyes would open behind the curtains of curls, and then she stopped.
"Melissa, honey, where are you?" A deep voice belched from the other side of the house. "I brought you flowers; I was wrong earlier. I think we need to talk."
Dane looked up at Melissa to find her stunned in place. Her jaw gaping, and her eyes wide. He tried mouthing her to get off, he slid his finger across his neck violently and motioned her away.
"Honey, are you sleeping?" The deep voice grew nearer, though ever so slightly.
"Say something!" Dane whispered angrily as he tugged away at her hips. He tightened his eyes in pain and bit onto his knuckle.
"Oh... Yes Steve, I was just taking a nap. Give me a moment!" She finally caught herself, but her eyes were still full of fear.
"Do you want me to heat up yesterday's pasta? It's on the plate but it's all cold. Honey, did you just leave this here?"
Dane mouthed at Melissa again, this time she held onto his shoulders like a motorcycle. Her eyes had closed and a tear ran down her cheek.
"What the fuck is going on here?!"
Steve's broad shoulders covered the frame of the door. Melissa's sobbing sigh was muffled by Dane's agility. He held on to her hips and spun himself out of the mattress and onto the floor, where he hoisted himself up and looked straight into Steve's eyes.
"Get off him, Em!" Steve yelled, but it only made her tears stream down quicker.
"I can't, Steve. I'm stuck."
"What the fuck do you mean you're stuck? Am I gonna have to fucking pull you off him?"
While she sobbed and he argued, Dane managed to pick up his shirt and stick his arms through it. His bare legs still hooked to her entire naked body, and her body curled up around his.
"Look just leave her alone, man. You slept with Teresa, your wife slept with me." Dane spurted nervously. His eyes shifting from Melissa's neck, to Steve, to the rest of the frame of the door. "Will you get out of the way? I should get home and try to get her off of me. You're not helping."
"Nah, you're gonna get her off right here where I can see the both of you, and you won't be leaving the house soon after that, either."
Steve had mastered this passive aggressive tone so well that Melissa was nodding so much it was infectious. Dane started nodding too, and he walked right up to Steve with a finger pointing at his face and his other hand holding Melissa up by the butt cheek.
"You're gonna let me through right now, man. Right fucking now."
"Or what?!" Steve yelled angrily.
Dane looked Steve dead in the eye, and kicked his shin in with the heel of his foot.
"Fuck you!" Dane yelled halfheartedly as Steve exclaimed in pain and picked himself up from the ground. Dane stumbled towards the front of the house with a sobbing Melissa clinging tightly onto him. Mucus was running down her chin and onto his shirt. He made it back to the leather couch, he looked around, and made his way towards the baseball bat on the pedestal. He pulled at it with his right arm, his entire left side dedicated to holding up Melissa and her clinging body, and the bat just flung in his direction with the metal base still attached.
"What are you doing with my Derek Jeter signed baseball bat?" Steve panted with an air of sorrow.
"I'm gonna kick your ass with it, Steve."
"No!" Melissa squealed as she broke into heavy tears.
Dane stared ahead at Steve with rage in his eyes, and spoke to Melissa with pain in his heart.
"I'm sorry, baby, but I have to"
Melissa moped into his shoulder. Dane's Hawaiian shirt was drenched in salt and mucus by now.
"Please don't. Just put it down, or take it with you!" Steve exclaimed. "Just give it back to me later, send it over with Em. Don't use it. Please, leave the bat alone."
Dane exercised the swing on his right hand. He made an hourglass shape with a twist of his wrist, and walked very slowly to a humbled Steve.
"Look I'm sorry, I did you both wrong. I get it. I know."
Dane sneered at the petty apology. His blue eyes darkened with the shadow of his furrowed brow. The bat swishing away ahead of his sight. A low breath emerging from Dane's mouth, almost like gasps of air. Steve was horrified, backed into a corner. His eyes did all the begging for him. His broad shoulders were humiliating him now, coaxing themselves into his body as he lay in a corner on the ground. Dane's sneer and wrist were in complete control, the bat was just inches away from Steve's chin when Dane turned around and walked away. The bat was so close that Steve lunged for it, Melissa let out a scream. Steve's grip on the head of the bat was strong, but Dane kept his strength. He pulled back, swung himself around and kicked Steve across the jaw.
"No!" Melissa yelled, "No! No no, please no! He's a good man!" her whimpers fell back onto Dane's shoulder.
"Him!?" Dane yelled. "He's nothing." He whispered the insult towards Steve, who was just now slowly picking himself up from the floor. "He's worth nothing!" He yelled as he swung the bat into Steve's ribs.
Steve grunted, and the crack he heard was either discouraging or preventing him from movement.
"He'll be fine." Dane said, before tossing the bat aside and making his way through the door.
Melissa's irregular breath was hiccuping against Dane's chest. He walked down the street to his clunky old car, opened the door, and sat himself uncomfortably with Melissa still stuck on him. He closed the door, peered through her frizzy dried hair, and drove the car back up the street to the duplex building. He parked the car, they both took a few seconds to slide out as painlessly as possible, and he carried Melissa through the door on the beige side of the building
"I'm not going to the hospital. Unless you have a better idea, I've got some Vaseline in the bathroom."