CultureSkills

This past summer, I had the great pleasure of working on my fourth music video for Dizzy Bats. The project was the second collaboration with LA-based director, Michael Chiu, who also directed and co-produced our music video for “Girls.”

For this particular project, the planning and production was done by Michael and the Director of Photography, Jeanna Kim. The two would have meetings on site at the restaurant we shot at to discuss direction, shot selection, and lighting. From there they picked out a crew to help bring this song and video to life.

On a hot Sunday afternoon in mid-July outside of LA, we all met up at Michael’s Burger around 3 PM, shortly after they had closed for the day. We utilized the entire restaurant and nearly everything at our disposal, which included burger patties and french fries to name a couple. The shoot lasted almost 14 hours and took an unfortunate turn when one of the crew members accidentally left with Michael’s car keys.  It was an absolutely exhausting but exciting day.

Over the last three years and four video shoots, I’ve learned that you really don’t need a lot of money to make a great video, and often times one simple concept can carry a project and make it great. The most important part of any collaboration is finding the right people to team up with; those who are equally driven and devoted to bringing your song to life. So to any bands out there looking to make a video for the first time, shop around for the right director and start brainstorming.

Bringing one of your songs to life through the art of film can be challenging, stressful, and intimidating. From production to shooting to editing to color correction, there is so much that needs to go right in order for a concept to be successfully carried out, and for a video to ultimately look great. In collaborating with so many film people, I continue to be blown away by the artistic drive of these talented individuals, as well as their amazing professionalism. It’s been fascinating to see the commonalities between the two art forms of film and music, while comparing our various stories. Art should never be limited to just one form, and through my work on these music videos, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the awesome marriage of music and film.

Check out Connor Frost’s Professional Spotlight here.

Image: Connor Frost

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

You’ve already met the manager and lead singer of Dizzy Bats, Connor Frost. Now it’s time to meet the drummer, Eric Segerstrom. While being Dizzy Bats’s drummer, Eric also attends Juilliard in New York City. Eric realized his passion for music at an early age and has pursued it relentlessly. Dizzy Bats has some exciting things happening in the next couple of months, including the music video release of their most recent single, Girls, which premieres today (check it out HERE)! Until then, let’s get to know some more about Eric… 

When did you join Dizzy Bats?
I joined Dizzy Bats in the fall of 2012, in September or October.

How do you contribute to the songwriting or music composition process?
Usually Connor will bring in songs that he’s written and I’ll come up with beats that I think would fit well. Then we go back and forth changing small things in both the song and the drum part until it’s somewhere where all of us like it.

What has been your favorite tour moment?
Although I’ve only been on one tour with DB, my favorite moment might’ve been when one of our shows got cancelled and we spent the whole day playing Star Wars monopoly, hah.

When did you realize you wanted to do music professionally?
Sometime in high school when I noticed that that’s really all I enjoyed doing/was good at doing.

Erik

What is your favorite Dizzy Bats song to play live?
Connor just wrote a song that’s super pop-punky and really loud and fast. I think we’re playing it on our next show, and its just a minute and a half of D-beat fun.

What is your pre-show ritual?
Hm, I don’t really think I have a “ritual.” I guess I try to stretch and tune all the drums before every show, so maybe that counts as a ritual?

How do you combat stage fright?
There’s this class I’ve had to take at college called Ear Training, and every week you have to get up infront of the class and do some form of recitation, which is anything from singing atonal melodies to performing insane rhythmic exercises. Having to do this every week for every year at school has kind of numbed me to performing in front of people. If I can mess up singing an interval in front of a class and get past it, I think I can mess up anything in front of a crowd and get past it.

 How many hours a day do you practice?
No where near enough.

Any tips for learning how to play an instrument?
Lessons can be great, but if you don’t click with your teacher, they can actually be detrimental. You do you and if you really want to, find someone who will help you do exactly what you want to do.

How has your experience at Juilliard influenced your work with Dizzy Bats?
Not very much. I’m at school for music composition, so all of my drumming stuff is just on the side.

Erik 2

Girls

Culture

When the lights went down on stage and the guitars started to hum behind the darkness, Carpe Juvenis could tell something special was about to happen. The jittery, high-strung excitement in the back room of Brooklyn’s Trash Bar was magnified by the cheers from fans and bright, random flashes of light from cell phone cameras.

As the lights went up, lead singer Connor Frost belted out the opening line of “Where Are the Children” from the debut 2012 album Sundial, and the crowd went wild. They seemed to be absorbing every note and beat of the drum, bopping and swaying to the jam. Tonight would be all about the music.

Dizzy Bats are unique because their punk-rock vocals and high-energy tempos are still relatable, enjoyable, and accessible to a listener who is unfamiliar with the intricacies and style of the genre. Take the track “These Kids I Teach,” for example, with its raw lyrics and straightforward attitude; the song has a vibe of its own that invites new listeners in and keeps the old fans wanting more.

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Following closely on the heels of his solo-West-coast tour, Frost shares with Carpe that he feels “more excitement around Dizzy Bats’ music in general” and that his latest tour “was unbelievably rewarding.” His gratitude and enthusiasm were both felt at the Girls 7” Release Party as the band opened up for the wildly popular Chicago-based funk/soul/rhythm group whysowhite.

Carpe dug around for some behind-the-show information and found out that each set list is fine tuned to take the audience on a ride. There is a certain “ebb and flow” Frost creates to hype the listeners up, mellow them out a bit, and then “amp the crowd back up” as he finished with a popular tune that everyone has been waiting for. That last song at this show was “Appendectomy” from the 2013 album release with the same name.

Something special is happening with Dizzy Bats – with a brand new album coming out this year and a quality sound making its way across the country, this band is not one to miss out on. Check them out at Bandcamp and iTunes.

Make sure to “Like” Dizzy Bats on Facebook to keep up-to-date on everything Dizzy Bats related!

SkillsSpotlightTravel

Welcome to the second installment of Dizzy Bats: Road to LP. By now, you all know Connor Frost, manager and lead singer and guitarist of Dizzy Bats. Dizzy Bats plays their first show tonight in Los Angeles to kick off their West Coast tour! In honor of their West Coast tour, Connor gives an in-depth look at what it takes to put a tour together, how to book venues, and shares photos from their Fall 2013 tour. 

tour poster

 

What goes into planning a tour?

There is a ton of planning and coordinating that goes into booking a tour. When booking the first couple of tours, you email a ton of venues in hopes that just a few get back to you. Depending on the venue you may have to get in touch with local artists in that particular town to fill out a night of music, or if you’re lucky, the venue/talent buyer will be able to fit you in on an appropriate night. Once you have a couple of shows locked in, then you can start to work from those dates and route your tour. You obviously want to limit the amount of miles you put on your vehicle, so you do your best to come up with a route that makes sense. Promotion is also crucial, namely getting on local radio to promote your music and show. Finally, lodging is the last piece. Most of the time you try to pick cities that have a friend or two, and thus, you have a place to crash.  That said, couch surfing and sleeping in the car are always options.

How do you determine where to tour?

It depends on what you are looking to do. If you’re a band starting out like we are, generally it makes the most sense to stay as close to home as possible and expand out your fan base in a concentric circular fashion. However, I myself have used touring as an excuse to travel to cities that I simply want to see, or to places that have warmer climates. It’s easier to do that when it’s just a solo tour because expenses are not as high. We also tend to pick cities where we know people so that we can A) have friends come out to a show and B) have a place to stay afterwards.

How do you book venues for each city?

I almost exclusively use this one website, indieonthemove.org, which is an absolute savior. They have a large and detailed database filtered by cities, ratings, etc. Once you’ve been on the road a few times, you start to make connections with venues you’ve played at and bands that you’ve billed with, so you can start booking shows through those contacts. It becomes much easier to book tours after you’ve been on three or four of them.

How much do you practice before touring?

It’s hard to quantify. It’s become a part of my everyday life, something I’m constantly doing and am completely immersed in, so I don’t think about it all that much. Before I hit the road I might run my set a few times I guess. For full band tours, we stick to practice once or twice a week which has seemed to work.

When on tour, do you still practice?

I consider writing to be practice, so yes!  I also see each show as an opportunity to better myself as a player and performer, so I also see that as a very important form of practice. If you’re talking about a set routine where I run my set, then no. I like to keep it fresh for the performance.  I do warm up vocally, however. For full band tours, we will literally sing our parts on our way to the show; usually not the whole set, but songs that we think need more attention. We’ll also go over game tape and talk specifics.

Why is touring important?

It’s not necessarily important for everyone, it really depends on what your goals are musically. For us, I believe touring is crucial for the expansion and growth of our fan base.  The internet is a wonderful tool for band development, but there is something magical about the live experience and personal connection that it provides for performer and listener that can’t be replicated on a computer. It’s the one true way to connect to a potential fan, and I don’t think that’ll ever change, which is a beautiful thing. Additionally, crafting and developing your skills as a performer is extremely important and can only be improved through playing and touring. I used to get really nervous before shows, but now that we’ve played almost one hundred shows in our tenure, it’s become second nature.

What is your favorite part about touring?

Meeting new people. When a stranger comes up to you after you’ve played to introduce themselves and compliment you on your set—there’s nothing more amazing that. That, for me, is why I do this.

How do you determine your set list?

It depends on whether or not it’s a full band or solo tour. For a full band tour, we like to mix it up with a different order for each show, and for solo gigs, I generally just play our newest songs. It keeps it fresh for me and I can see how the audience responds to these young tunes.

How do you budget for a tour?

Eat cheap, come up with a feasible route, and crash with friends.

 

Spotlight

When Carpe Juvenis turned a snow-covered corner of Brooklyn, New York, this past week, we had no idea what kind of surprise we were in for. We had been invited to a Dizzy Bats studio session for a special inside look at how their music is made. We entered Cowboy Technical Services Recording Studio and rode up to the sixth floor to see the space where songs are tracked and produced.

Lead singer and guitarist Connor Frost walked us through the events of the day – he and Kyle Joseph, guitarist, engineer, and producer – were finalizing one of the songs on their upcoming second full-length album (LP). Connor describes their newest music as an inclusive “cohesive unit” of sound that binds together many of his own personal narratives.

The studio itself felt cozy and intimate, exuding excited anticipation and bubbling with high expectations for the experience that their newest LP will take its audience on. In conjunction with ongoing 7” digital releases, Connor will be embarking on an upcoming West Coast tour that will provide audiences with a way to experience the music up-close and first-hand.

Carpe is thrilled to announce that we will be providing you with the exclusive scoop into the process, build-up, and release of the next Dizzy Bats record. Stay tuned for regular posts documenting Dizzy Bats’ road to LP!

The first stop is New York City, where Dizzy Bats will be hosting their 7”release party show at Trash Bar on March 28th w/ whysowhite, Fin-Folsom, and MORI.

For upcoming tour dates, check out the Dizzy Bats Facebook page.

Band photo by Michael Aquino