The mp3 has revolutionized the music industry. The consumers ability to purchase, steal, share, sample, etc. music grows and changes on a daily basis. The musicians ability to distribute, create, sell, and store their music grows at the same rate. The record company, the local shops, the mega store are in a way the victims of this modern technology. It was once believed that the musician would suffer, but they are beginning to adapt their strategy to match the consumers new desires. A recent example would be Radiohead's controversial move to release their new album for free next week. However, my focus today is related to the promotion and distribution of new music and new artists.
A couple of weeks ago I check my inbox and see this heading, "MP3 for your Blog....Its indie-electro-licious! (I promise!)". Curious, I click play and travel to a land of dancing keyboards and refreshing harmonies. I smile, knowing that I was just giving gift from a wonderfully creative musician. I smile because I know how long Dan Ingala (aka Plushgun) must have worked to create the gift he just gave to me. You see we are operating in a very different time, when musicians will give you the end product in hopes you will attend a show, buy a shirt (they most often printed themselves), or perhaps purchase their next album. Fan base is no long judged by records sales, but by tangible feedback on blogs and in the independent press, by appearances on webtv and podcasts, and by downloads (both free and paid for). It is increasingly possible for a young artist to build a substantial following in one week, and for the veterans to turn the industry on its ear over night.
Plushgun is the hard work and passion of Brooklyn's Dan Ingala, but expands into a full band on stage. With big plans out the horizon, Dan was able to take some time to take some time out talk with us about his career and where it might be headed.
Orange Alert (OA): What is the story behind the name Plushgun?
Dan Ingala (DI): There is not too much of a story, I was trying to think of something that summed up my music without giving into a "The [Plural Noun]" name. My brother suggested the name, since "Plush",the orchestral, strings and violin sounds I like to use, and my history with classical training, and "Gun" being the electronic beats and powerpop sounds. It also sounds like a type of weapon out of Contra, or some vintage NES game.
OA: I have seen your sound compared to Depeche Mode, The Postal Service, Hellogoodbye, and so on. I understand some of them, but you definitely have a sound all our own. Who are some of your biggest influences musically?
DI: My favorite comparison so far has been a mixture of The Postal Service and Belle and Sebastian. I think that when it comes to my own influences, its pretty difficult to actually conjure a few specific bands. I used to listen to a lot of British Invasion music, The Kinks, The Who, Beatles, etc, in appropriately moved to the early NYC scene, like the Velvet Underground and Ramones. I no doubt have a lot of fun with New Wave, but I like to think my electronica sound is actually most influenced by early techno and dance music.
OA: Currently, your music is only available digitally, and most of it has been available to download for free at one time or another over the last six months. Do you plan to stay primarily digital, or are there plans for a physical product? With the industry changing the way it is, what is the motivation for an independent artist just starting out to make a physical CD?
DI: We are actually releasing a physical EP, with CD art and all. A lot of people still like the tangible thing, when you own an album its a bit more personal. But I actually love the digitization of the music industry, nothing has allowed new acts to be heard more than the MP3 (albeit compressed beyond repair.)
OA: At 23, with a handful of songs and a decent amount of blog buzz, where do you see Plushgun in five years?
DI: Haha, I have to change that in my myspace profile. I recently turned 24, so the review is no longer completely accurate. I would hope that Plushgun lasts for five years, I started out doing everything on my own, but I have found some great musicians to surround myself with for when we play live, I hope to stick around with them. I would like to get a record deal down the line, more than anything else, it makes the business a lot easier, not to mention distribution. If anything, I just hope to continue making music people like without having to comprise.
OA: Much has been said about your "recording studio", you seem to be bringing honor to the title bedroom producer. Can you talk a little about your equipment and space restrictions?
DI: Luckily, I recently moved to a bigger room, with a window. Though in New York, big is a relative word. I use an old G4 tower with Logic for the sequencing, and a bunch of soft-synths, rack synths, and obviously live guitars. Seriously, the piece of crap crashes every other minute, I need to upgrade. I have no acoustic set up, its just a bedroom, and a pretty cheap microphone. Needless to say, there is a lot of post-editing and EQ work to make it sound anything presentable. I am more of a composer than an engineer, but I have learned a few tricks while doing this stuff on my own.
OA: What's next for Plushgun?
DI: I pretty much have enough songs for an album, most of which have yet to be heard. With these tracks, I will hopefully shop around for a label, if there is no luck with that, I'll release the album myself. I just hope people continue to enjoy the music, and spread the word. I credit a lot of my success to the fact that people talk about it, and I love that, its the best way to go.
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?DI: Hell yes. Without coffee I would feel like an extra from a George A Romero zombie flick. I like coffee, as is. Not too particular about the type, though I do love it when its iced (a lot easier to drink, and thus, faster caffeine intake.) My favorite place to is Gimme Coffee, right of the Lorimer stop in Brooklyn.
DI: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. Simply amazing, never have I felt so invasive, watching someone else's dream.
For more information Plushgun, and to purchase a digital version of his ep, please visit his website.