‘Resources’ Archive

Buzz: Better Than The Van and Hello A Show

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Indie Ambassador Resources Better Than The Van Todd Hansen

Let a band stay at your place and maybe they'll make you breakfast / turn into Keith Richards the next morning!

Touring as a burgeoning musician is financially challenging, especially in today’s economy. Imagine if you could tour while sleeping under a roof for free, and build your industry network while you’re at it. Thanks to Todd Hansen’s Better Than The Van, it’s actually quite easy. Think Couchsurfing for musicians. Thanks to the straight-forward user interface and a growing network, completing a nationwide tour and not spending your entire budget on lodging is now more possible than ever.

But creating just one tool to benefit independent musicians wasn’t enough for Todd, so he recently launched what he’s coined a “Craigslist for musicians,” Hello A Show.  This site allows a transparent connection between gig-hungry bands and venues looking for bands to fill their open slots. We caught up with Todd to get the details on these services — check out what he had to say below, and let us know if you have any experience with either in the comments!

indieambassador.com: Are there enough sign ups in major music markets for bands to be able to tour and find shelter using BTTV alone?

TH: We have a strong/robust community so it is possible. Most bands use BTTV to supplement the connections they already have in those cities or if they are venturing to new places it’s a great place to find new people who are involved in music or just great music fans.

indieambassador.com: How do bands know whom they’re staying with can be trusted? Does BTTV provide a space for bands to leave references for hosts on the site?

Indie Ambassador Resources Todd Hansen Better Than The Van Hello A Show

TH: We have a comment system in place that allows for some self governing of the site. Plus a way to report bad hosts. We do kind of leave it in the hands of the bands to figure out if it’s a good situation for them. BTTV is pretty particular so if you sign up and host bands you usually know what’s going on. Likewise, if you’re a touring band you usually have a pretty good “radar” in terms of…”whoa, shit this house is full of cats…we’re not staying here at all!”.

indieambassador.com: What should bands take into consideration when choosing a host?

TH: Do your research. Everyone has a pretty good “social profile” out there across sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flicker, Instagram…if the band takes a little time to check it out, they’ll be good. Plus we allow everyone to put links in their profiles out to other sites/services they have a presences on.

Profile: Rubblebucket

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Rubblebucket Indie Ambassador TVThe Band:


The People:
Alex Toth, Kalmia Traver, Adam Dotson, Darby Wolf, David Cole, Ian Hersey, Craig Myers, Jordan Brooks

Current Project: 
Tour in support of Omega La La

Brooklyn, NY via Burlington, VT

It isn’t often that you come across a touring, eight-piece afrobeat orchestra of sorts, let alone one that is winning praise from legions of young fans and the mainstream press alike. But that’s exactly what Rubblebucket is doing. Thanks to their uncanny ability to write musically complex, layered songs while still infusing them with catchy riffs and a blissful, pop-esque aura, the band is currently enjoying immense buzz and growth.

For this episode of IAtv, Ben sits down with band creators Alex Toth and Kalmia Traver to discuss how the band was formed, the roots of their sound, marketing & tour strategy, relocating to Brooklyn and much more. See it all in the video below, and be sure to catch one of band’s shows in a city near you on their current fall tour!


Tech: The Importance of a Recording Timeline

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
Written by Mike Harmon

Susan Rogers Berklee Indie Ambassador Tech ResourcesWe’ve all been there. The drummer overslept, the guitarist is late, and the bass player has to leave early to hang out with his girlfriend. None of us enjoy being in this kind of a situation, and that is why having a planned out recording schedule can help improve session flow and save you time (and money). Assuming your band is well rehearsed and prepared for their recording session, there are several steps you will want to take to prevent the session from coming to a screeching halt. The key factor to preparing for a productive recording session is a Session Schedule.

In an interview with Dr. Susan Rogers (Producer/Engineer; Barenaked Ladies, Prince), we learn about the importance of having a plan when entering the studio.

indieambassador.com: When starting a new recording project, what steps can an artist take prior to the first session to familiarize the engineer with their music, instrumentation, and sound?

Susan Rogers: Artists should discuss the upcoming work with their past and future works in mind because in the fullness of time, every recording contributes to your body of work. Discuss some of your past recordings with your producer and engineer to point out what you like and dislike about them.  Distinguish between how you regard the material, the performances, the sounds, and the mixes.  In this way you begin describing the parameters of your new work — what it will and won’t include. Play other artists’ recordings for your producer and engineer to show them what musical and sonic elements you value.  It is very important that everyone understands what is meant by “massive” or “sick” or “tight” or “compressed” or “distorted” so that you have as singular a goal as possible before starting.  Describe the vision for the project, even including an aesthetic idea for the artwork.  This can help the producer understand the project’s overall tone (i.e., powerful, confident, antagonistic, rebellious, brooding genius, sensitive soul, fun guys, angry young men, etc.).  The band should do this collectively and not each corral the engineer and producer to describe an individual vision.

Session: Abadabad

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Indie Ambassador TV Session Abadabad The Band:

The People:
Jeremy Lee Given

Current Project:
Finishing touches on debut EP

Brooklyn, NY




When you first heard the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a city named Abbottabad, how did you think that city’s name was spelled? If you’re one for sounding things out, chances are you would have gone with “Abadabad.” That’s the spelling Jeremy Lee Given assumed, and named his band after it. Shortly thereafter, he was receiving tons of hits online when everyone in the world was searching for news stories on the city in Pakistan. Brilliant? We think so. It’s this kind of creativity that’s helped Abadabad generate some loud buzz, especially in the blogosphere that has been very kind to him.

Check out Taylor’s interview with Jeremy below to learn about the tools he uses as an independent musician, his philosophy on management, how he records to VHS, and more. Additionally, watch performances of “Ashley” and “California Birds” after the jump! If his sound strikes a chord with you, try and make it out to his CMJ performance on 10/20 at Pete’s Candy Store in NYC and/or his show in Boston at Brighton Music hall with Keep Shelly in Athens on November 17th!


Tech: An Introduction To Field Recording

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Indie Ambassador Resources Field Recording
Written by Matt Hines

Earlier this summer, I was doing sound design for a video game company, work which involved going out into the city to capture source material to use as the basis for my projects.


This presented a conundrum of the ‘how should I go about this?’ type. Recording in the field can be applied to live gigs (where legal), band rehearsals — uploading impromptu recordings/videos of your band is a great way to connect with fans – interviews, on-location podcasts, capturing great sound effects and everything else in between.

Though ideal, transporting one’s entire studio setup would be simply impossible for the majority of field recording that takes place. Even in situations where we might have the luxury of a power supply or even a table to set it all up, such as a venue, it just wouldn’t be practical. The answer of course, is to use a portable recorder. Not only this, but with a plethora of audio software aimed at cleaning up the undesirable elements encountered whilst recording in the field, you are well on your way to some great audio experiences. It sounds expensive, but is it?


Thankfully for all indies out there, this solution proves extremely cost effective and affordable, with even the low end solutions creating fantastic results. I’m not even talking about small project-studio style portables with onboard effects and mixing capabilities, but rather handheld devices meant simply for use in sound capture, since you can do all the editing once you get back to your computer. If you do a quick search of any major music retailer, like Guitar Center and Sweetwater for instance, you’ll find these devices for anywhere between $100-300. Worth noting is the fact that some of the larger companies only stock certain brands, and as such carry a smaller selection leading to less of a choice. In this case, the Internet is your friend!