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The Next Generation Roadie Tunes Your Guitar and Leaves the Smartphone Behind


Band Industries launches Roadie 2, their redesigned automatic tuner, on Kickstarter today. Just place it on the pegs and it will automatically tune your guitar in seconds!

March 28, 2017 (New York, NY) — Beginner guitarists are almost always frustrated with not knowing how to tune their guitar. Meanwhile, touring musicians spend vital minutes during sets to manually switch their instrument from one complicated tuning to the next. No matter your experience level, tuning can be a chore and take time away from playing.

Today Band Industries announces the release of Roadie 2 on Kickstarter, an upgraded version of their original automatic guitar tuner. Proven to be 3x more accurate than the human ear, it takes the guesswork out of tuning by doing it for you. It is as easy as a place, pluck and twist.

When put on any of the pegs, it analyzes the vibrations from a plucked guitar string to know its current pitch. Then, its motor rotates the peg until it’s perfectly tuned. It takes just 30 seconds to tune an entire guitar into any alternate tuning you choose. This process can be easily duplicated to offer musicians of all experience levels the best sound their instrument can produce.

View the promo video for the brand new Roadie 2:


“I think the concept is fantastic,” says Spike Edney, who played guitar live with Queen. “You don’t know how bloody difficult it is to keep a twelve string in tune. As far as I’m concerned, this is a major leap forward.” Edney is just one of many well-known musicians who have testified to Roadie’s powerful capabilities. Others include guitarists from Drowning Pool, Grand Funk Railroad and The Cars.

With a brand new OLED screen and knob interface, Roadie 2 is now simpler and easier to use. The compact design and powerful hardware can tune electric, acoustic, classical, and steel guitars, 7 and 12-string guitars, ukuleles, mandolins and banjos. For bass guitarists, Band Industries is also announcing a bigger, more powerful version known as Roadie Bass.

Musicians with Roadie 2 can explore new tunings through the 20 presets or by creating custom tunings through the Roadie companion app. The app can also store profiles for all your instruments and help refine your tuning options between each one.

It also keeps track of tuning stats and each string’s quality to notify you when it’s time to change them out. When that time comes, Roadie 2’s motor can even help you restring your instrument with an automatic winding feature boasting a 60-RPM rotation speed.

Built with a 300:1 gear ratio motor, the lightweight, pocket-sized device is strong enough to turn even rusty pegs while the motor’s micro movements ensure excellent precision. A lithium battery powers Roadie and can be recharged via USB-C.

Roadie 2 has a detection range of A1 (55Hz) – A5 (880Hz) along with a detection accuracy of less than ±1 cent. Roadie Bass detects from A0 (27.5Hz) to A4 (440Hz). The tuning accuracy of both is estimated to be ±2 cents. With Roadie’s new vibration detection, users can achieve the same quality of tuning even in noisy environments such as a concert hall.

The original Roadie Tuner saw major success when it tripled its funding goal on Kickstarter in 2013. It has since won numerous awards and helped tune over 2 million strings. Now, Roadie 2 expands on everything the first Roadie started by adding vibrational tuning detection and haptic feedback among other new features. It gives users more freedom, offering the perfect tune without the need of a smartphone.

Available today on Kickstarter, the campaign will go on for 60 days with a fundraising goal of $50,000. Early backers can pledge $79 for a Roadie 2 or $99 for a Roadie Bass. Band Industries will deliver worldwide and is expected to ship in October of 2017. Backers get a 30-day money back guarantee and a 1-year warranty for all Roadies. For more information, visit their website.

About Band Industries

Band Industries is dedicated to building the next generation musician’s toolkit. The company was founded by Hassane Slaibi and Bassam Jalgha and has offices in both Seattle and Beirut. Slaibi and Jalgha decided to combine their passions for music and tech by developing the company’s first product, the Roadie Tuner, in 2013. It garnered worldwide attention and accolades, including the TechCrunch Disrupt 2014 Audience Choice Award. The company is now reaching their next milestone with Roadie Tuner 2 and continues to enrich the lives of musicians through tech.

Source:  Press Release

Product Review: iRig Acoustic Stage by IK Multimedia


As a musician that is constantly on the go, I know that inspiration can strike at any moment. I have found that the wonderful products made by IK Multimedia are incredibly useful and easy to use when inspiration strikes. I was very excited to get the opportunity to try out this new device. And it’s no surprise that once again, they have created a very useful tool for acoustic guitarists with the introduction of the iRig Acoustic Stage.

The iRig Acoustic Stage is a revolutionary digital microphone system made for any type of acoustic guitar, including steel string guitars, nylon string guitars, and even ukuleles. The device produces studio quality acoustic guitar sounds that can be used for live shows or high level home recordings. It contains 6 selectable tone presets and a select switch for nylon guitars.

The microphone can be easily clipped to the instrument’s sound hole and can also be connected to an audio interface or the USB audio output for a 32 bit AD/DA conversion signal that is compatible with MAC, PC or iOS devices.

While using the iRig Acoustic Stage, you can blend the pick up of your own instrument with the output of the device. Simply use the Phase and Blend controls to dial in your favorite tone. The preamp can be used with an external amp or mixing board to offer more options during studio or live performances. The unit also comes with a belt buckle/guitar strap clip for convenience during recordings and live performances.

The iRig Acoustic Stage features:

– High precision clip on microphone.
– Advanced DSP with EQ and personal calibration mode.
– Instant feedback suppression
– Powered by 2 AA batteries providing 15hrs of use.
– 24 bit USB audio interface for recording.

The tones I was able to dial in using the iRig Acoustic Stage were very warm and inspiring. It’s portable and priced at around $99/USD and it is a great device for any musician of any skill level to have in their arsenal.

IK multimedia creates products that aid and inspire musicians – I am always looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

For more on IK Multimedia and their products, visit their site HERE.


GHS Strings Introduce Pure Nickel Mandolin Strings


Battle Creek, MI, 24th March 2017 – GHS Strings are pleased to introduce their new Pure Nickel Mandolin strings.

GHS Strings has created their new Pure Nickel Mandolin strings in conjunction with mandolin players, for both the traditional and modern musician. They deliver a warm, rich, vintage sound with a superior, long lasting tone. The strings custom gauges were chosen to provide a more balanced sound and give a comfortable feel across fingers and fretboard. They are perfect for players looking for authentic tone on vintage mandolins, or wanting more richness and depth of tone from new mandolins. The new Pure Nickel Mandolin strings are available in two gauge sets, from 010 1/2-039 to 011-041.

Pure Nickel strings were commonly available in the 1950’s and 60’s. Their popularity waned when the increasing cost of nickel and number of rock players investigating the effects of ‘cranking up’ encouraged string manufacturer to explore different metal mixes.

GHS Pure Nickel Mandolin strings offer mandolin players the perfect mix of tone, output, and ease of playing. Vintage tone champions can check them out at http://www.ghsstrings.com/products?categories=pure-nickel-mandolin
Source:  Press Release

The Women’s International Music Network Announces Performers for 2017 She Rocks ASCAP Expo Showcase


CROWN, High Love, Kate Mills, Trackless, and Candace Wakefield to perform at Tinhorn Flats in Hollywood, CA, on Friday, April 14 at 9 p.m.

Cover Photo:
Clockwise from top left:
Candace Wakefield, Kate Mills, High Love, Tackless, CROWN

March 23, 2017, Hollywood, Calif. – The Women’s International Music Network (WiMN) announces the artists selected to perform at the official 2017 She Rocks Showcase during the ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO. Taking place on Fri., April 14, 2017, at the Tinhorn Flats Saloon & Grill in Hollywood, Calif., from 9 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Performers include artists CROWN, Canadian band High Love, vocalist Candace Wakefield, duo Trackless, and New York singer/songwriter Kate Mills.

“This year’s submissions were exceptional, and it was great fun to choose from such a large talent pool. We have a diverse lineup that will create a truly special evening. I’m honored to be hosting a show that celebrates women in the music industry,” says WiMN Founder, Laura B. Whitmore.

Called “ethereal, enticing, engaging and beautiful,” by Flavour Mag, CROWN is the artistic vision of Steph Thom, as she explores questions and anecdotes sung to ambient soundscapes. CROWN centralizes her lyrics to instill a message of resistance, openness and honesty: deconstructing taboos, challenging identity constructs and facing the psycho-emotional head on. “CROWN’s ambient, sultry sound marries soul-folk and RnB,” says Hunger TV. Thom is also is creative partner to three-time GRAMMY Award winner Lalah Hathaway. Find out more at sheiscrown.com

High Love is a four piece, Canadian alternative rock band. Their single “No Longer Yours,” produced by Howard Redekopp (Tegan and Sara), will be released on April 21, 2017. Picture a dash of Muse, a layer of Phantogram, topped off with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Fronted by singer/songwriter Carol-Lynne Quinn, the band peroformed at the Alianait Arts Festival in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Edmonton Rock Festival, and JUNO FEST 2016. Their full-length debut is due in Fall 2017. Find out more at www.wearehighlove.com

Singer/songwriter Candace Wakefield was born and raised in Inglewood, CA. She is featured on the five times GRAMMY Award-winning hit single “Alright’” and “i” by Kendrick Lamar. She has toured the globe with Nicki Minaj on the “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” European tour and “The Pinkprint Tour.” Candace is currently working with TLC, Faith Evans, Chante Moore, Nickelodeon and a host of others on upcoming projects for 2017. She made the decision in 2016 to step from the background to the forefront and is set to release her debut LP, The Journey 2017, a project full of inspiring, uplifting songs that tell the story of her life. Find her at www.instagram.com/supastarc/

Trackless is a soul/indie duo based in Los Angeles. Their sound is rooted in the voices of Jordan West and Jeremy Jones, who sing every song as a duet. They are made unique by the fact that West is also the group’s drummer, and Jones is regularly featured on the viola. Their music is influenced heavily by pop, soul, jazz, and rock.In 2015, they moved from Fort Wayne, IN to Los Angeles and have been playing industry events, showcases and local venues while writing their upcoming EP. They are currently recording a single with Bob Clearmountain (Rolling Stones), scheduled for release spring 2017. Find out more at http://www.tracklessmusic.com/

Kate Mills is making her presence felt in the NYC music scene with the release of her debut EP, Little Bird. The record showcases the versatility of her soulful, yet buttery-smooth vocals, and well-crafted songs. Following her EP release, this social worker-turned-songwriter has gained a solid fan-base by performing at some of New York’s most famous music venues including The Bitter End, Rockwood Music Hall and Pianos. Two of Kate’s songs can be heard in the indie feature film “Hits,” written and directed by David Cross of Arrested Development. Kate’s new single, “What Did You Think,” is now available as a free download exclusively at www.katemillsmusic.com 

The 2017 She Rocks Showcase is a unique opportunity for female artists of all styles and ages to perform in front of industry experts, media representatives, artists, publishers and more during the premier conference for songwriters, composers and producers. It is part of the WiMN’s ongoing efforts to provide women in music with a platform to showcase their music.

The She Rocks Showcase will take place on Fri., April 14, 2017, from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in Hollywood at the Tinhorn Flats Saloon & Grill, located at 1724 N. Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028, across the street from the ASCAP Expo headquarters at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. Drink specials will be provided courtesy of Tinhorn Flats. Giveaways and prizes will be provided by She Rocks Showcase sponsors Casio, 108 Rock Star Guitars, and M•A•C Cosmetics.

There is no cover charge to attend the She Rocks Showcase, and an EXPO badge is not required to attend or participate in the Showcase. To learn more, visit www.thewimn.com/ascapshowcase.

Source:  Press Release





New York, NY – March 22, 2017 – Singer/songwriter Jesse Jo Stark has released the video for her latest single, “Driftwood.” Directed by Dream Team Directors, the video was filmed as a one-shot at The Peppermint Club in Los Angeles. Premiering exclusively on Noisey, the video highlights Jesse Jo’s gorgeous stripped down vocal and focuses on her beautiful melody and haunting lyrics. The cinematographer for the video is Damian Horan, an Academy Award and two-time Emmy Award winner.


“Driftwood” Video

“Driftwood,” an aching tune about love and loss, is the first single from Jesse Jo’s label, Sugar Jones Music, in anticipation of an upcoming EP in summer 2017. Garnering 150k streams on Spotify since its release in late January, the song has also entered the Canadian Spotify viral charts. “Driftwood” is produced by Jason Lytle (Grandaddy, Band Of Horses producer) and written by Jesse Jo and Johnathan Rice (a frequent Jenny Lewis collaborator and film composer). “I loved working with Johnathan on this song because he has such a lovely way of writing. My lyrics are a bit darker so I felt like the combination turned out beautifully,” said Jesse Jo.

“Driftwood” coverage:
American Songwriter
Teen Vogue

An exciting new artist on the rise, Jesse Jo has begun to carve out her own niche amongst the musical landscape with her beautiful chords and original verse. Very few young artists have inherited bonds to the music world as much as she has. Growing up in an environment that fostered creative expression, music came naturally to her and became a great way for her to express herself. Under the guidance and collaboration of notable musicians such as Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, Jesse Jo began writing and recording in her teens.

Her musical influences reflect her own eclectic tastes, ranging from country, punk, folk to rock and roll. Each genre shares the qualities that are most evident in her own music –

honesty and authenticity. Often drawing on her deep love of horror for inspiration, Jesse Jo has crafted a look and sound all of her own. “I’m in love with the Cramps and I also grew up listening to Merle Haggard, Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, Brian Eno and David Bowie—they all influence me,” says Stark.

While working on her music, Jesse Jo was also quietly defining her position in fashion. She’s made a name for herself as an influencer with her distinct style and has been featured as one to watch in W and Nylon, to name a few.

Next up for Jesse Jo is a much anticipated second single, “April Flowers.”

“Driftwood” video credits:
Directed by Dream Team Directors
Cinematography by Damian Horan
Produced by Luke Allen, Jason Rosenbaum, and Dream Team Directo
Shot on location at The Peppermint Club in Los Angeles, CA
Color by Daniel Lir
Additional Post-Production by Skulley FX
Hair styling by Rob Talty
Makeup by Kelly Hunt
Guitar performances by Johnathan Rice and Thomas Hunter
To purchase or stream “Driftwood”, visit here.

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | Instagram


IK Multimedia introduces Fulltone® guitar & bass effects collection for AmpliTube


A collaboration with the legendary Californian boutique sound manufacturer unveiled 

March 16, 2017 – IK Multimedia is proud to present the new Fulltone® Collection for AmpliTube for Mac/PC, which offers guitarists and all musicians an essential palette of sounds that span from classic to contemporary tones.

Boutique sound for the discerning musician
Guitarist and composer Michael Fuller founded Fulltone back in 1991, with the aim of building stompboxes that sounded as good as vintage pedals, but that were more rugged and reliable than the old, often fragile classics. Today, Fulltone is recognized as being one of the most committed and scrupulous manufacturers worldwide.

IK Multimedia’s Fulltone® Collection includes 3 powerful processors that are equally at home in music production as well as in creative sound design. Guitarists, keyboard players, composers, producers, sound designers and mixing engineers can now take advantage of all the mojo and feel of the original Fulltone hardware but with all the practicality of AmpliTube’s well-known ease of use.

TERC – That 80’s Rack Chorus!®
Recreated by Fulltone and based on the original, nearly impossible-to-find Dyno My Piano unit (sold during the 80’s as Songbird or Dytronics), the TERC gives you that lush, expansive, huge and elegant chorus sound that made it so famous during the 80’s and was regularly used by some of the world’s top session guitarists such as Michael Landau, Steve Lukather, Dann Huff and many others. Despite its typically retro character not only is the TERC still very modern, but its timeless sonic signature works wonders on all kinds of material.

SSTE® – Solid State Tape Echo
The Solid State Tape Echo captures the full essence, warmth and vibe of the original Echoplex EP-3, but without its unavoidable drawbacks – the original unit was very noisy, featuring low-quality tape heads and would produce lots of hum. Fulltone’s SSTE fixes these issues, greatly enhancing the machine’s response and capabilities. IK Multimedia have recreated the SSTE in virtual rack format with added bpm sync function, offering ultimate DAW integration and sonic versatility.

OCD® – Overdrive Pedal
The OCD overdrive pedal is already a classic. It gives the sound more grit, punch and the same kind of touch sensitivity, warmth and complex harmonics that characterize a quality tube amp. The OCD is the “icing on the cake” that makes the Fulltone Collection perfect for all genres and styles of music.

Pricing and availability
The Fulltone Collection is available from the IK Online store and from within AmpliTube Custom Shop at $/€59.99*.

The TERC and SSTE  can be purchased as single processors for just $/€34.99 each.

The OCD is available as a single pedal at $/€24.99.

* All prices excluding taxes

For more information, please visit:

For audio and video demos of the Fulltone Collection, please visit:

Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Woodstock and We Are The World – Premiere Props Memorabilia Auction



Premiere Props announced they will be auctioning off over 500 pieces of memorabilia from film, television, music and sports at their Hollywood Extravaganza Auction on Saturday, March 25, 2017 at their headquarters in El Segundo, CA.  There will be a preview from 9-11am PT with the live auction beginning at 11am PT.

The auction includes costumes and props from the Back To The Future franchise, the Star Trek franchise, Star Wars, Deadpool, Nine, Patriots Day, Café Society, The Natural, Battlestar Galactia, and Bozo The Clown among others.  Rare music memorabilia including items from The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Woodstock and We Are the World will also be auctioned off, as well as sports memorabilia from Muhammad Ali, The Knicks, The New York Jets and more.

Music highlights include:

  • Grateful Dead – Electric Guitar signed by all original band members – Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Bill Kreutzmann. Includes certification.
  • The Rolling Stones – Electric guitar signed by Brian jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ian Stewart, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts. Includes certification.
  • Woodstock Concert Festival (1969) – Framed original entry ticket and poster promoting the festiva.
  • We Are The World – signed poster and lyrics featuring signatures from Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Henry Belafonte, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, Tina Turner, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Ruth Pointer, Al Jarreau, Stevie Wonder, Kim Carnes and many others. Limited poster artwork crated by Elsie Simerman.

All Items include:

  • Back To The Future (1985) – Rare “Enchantment Under The Sea” hand painted poster from the high school which hung in the school hallway.
  • Back To The Future (1985) and Back To the Future Part II (1989) – Dr. Emmet Brown’s (Christopher Lloyd) rare hero screen used Mr. Fusion home energy reactor.
  • Back To The Future Part II (1989) – Biff Tannen’s (Thomas F. Wilson) rare hero screen used black and red Pitt Bull Hover board.  This is distressed from actual filming.
  • Back to the Future Part II (1989) – Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) signature rare screen used pink, yellow green and white Hover board.
  • Star Wars (1977) – Original screen used section of the Death Star used to explode the ships in the original Star Wars.  Comes mounted with screen sequence photos in a display case.
  • Rare screen used Star Trek hero working light up TR-590 Starfleet Tricorder from the television series.
  • Star Trek Next Generation (1987-1994) – Wesley Crusher’s (Wil Wheaton) hero screen used Communication Badge with magnetic closure.  This was taken off by Wesley when he resigned.
  • Café Society (2016) – main wardrobe from Vonnie (Kristen Stewart) and Veronica (Blake Lively)
  • The Natural (1984) – Roy Hobbs’ (Robert Redford) hero screen used Knights letterman jacket.
  • Bozo The Clown (1966) – Original complete Bozo The Clown custom-made costume from the early years of television and the only costume known to exist worn by a woman Bozo The Clown.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2004) – Screen used gold metal cubit framed in display case.
  • Grateful Dead – Electric guitar signed by all original band members – Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Bill Kreutzmann).  Includes certification.
  • The Rolling Stones – Electric guitar signed by Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ian Stewart, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts.  Includes certification.
  • Woodstock Concert Festival (1969) – Framed original entry ticket and poster promoting the festival.
  • We Are The World (2004) – signed poster and lyrics featuring signatures from Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Henry Belafonte, Diana Ross, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, Tina Turner, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Ruth Pointer, Al Jarreau, Stevie Wonder, Kim Carnes and many others.  Limited poster artwork created by Elsie Simerman.
  • New York Knicks – 1970 Championship Basketball autographed by Dick Barnett, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier, Red Holzman, Phil Jackson, Willis Reed and Danny Whelan.
  • Muhammad Ali – Autographed Everlast Boxing Gloves
  • New York Jets – 1969 autographed football helmet signed by the team includes Joe Namath, Pete Lammons, Randy Rasmussen, Don Maynard, Dave Herman, Bill Mathis, Al Atkinson and John Elliot.
  • Green Bay Packers – Autographed football includes 52 players who all played under legendary coach Vince Lombardi, including Willie Davis, Boyd Dowler, Jerry Kramer, Jim Taylor, Bart Starr, Willie Wood and Brett Favre.

“Hollywood Extravaganza allows for collectors to own a piece of Hollywood history and our upcoming auction has something for everyone,” said Dan Levin, Executive Vice President of Premiere Props.

Fans can starting bidding now placing bids online at http://www.icollector.com/http://www.liveauctioneers.com, and http://www.invaluable.com or calling to set up phone bidding with a Premiere Props representative. Collectors can place proxy bids until the Hollywood Extravaganza Auction goes LIVE at 11am PT on Saturday, March 25, 2017.

For more information, please visit http://www.premiereprops.com or http://www.hollywoodliveauctions.com or call (310) 322-PROP / (888) 761-PROP.

Collectors can place proxy bids until the Hollywood Extravaganza Auction goes LIVE at 11am PT on Saturday, March 25, 2017 where fans can also watch, bid and win on http://www.hollywoodliveauctions.com/.

For more information, please visit Premiere Props or Holywood Live Auctions or call (310) 322-PROP / (888) 761-PROP.

About Premiere Props

Premiere Props is the leading marketing memorabilia company to market, authenticate, package, and distribute exclusive movie memorabilia. Since 2001, Premiere Props has represented over 600 movies to date and continues to grow strong. Premiere Props works with some of the largest motion picture studios and independent distributors in the world, such as Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Miramax, MGM, The Weinstein Company, Sony Screen Gems, Lionsgate, TriStar, Spyglass, Alcon and many more.

Alien Knife Fight – Making vibrations from a Deeply Personal and Emotional Place


With every pluck of the string, you feel the methodical intentions run up your spine and into your mind.  The sound is primal, something that we all have inside us, something that is hauntingly familiar.   It takes our hand and pulls us close with a hard jerk, breathing heavy on our neck like a forceful lover.  What do we do?  Do we submit or do we cling to our preconceived notions?  Maybe we should close our eyes and just enjoy the vibrations for what they might be.

The band Alien Knife Fight caught me by surprise.  This two-piece “by circumstance” has gotten under my skin or rather I should say, JUMPED under my skin.   That doesn’t happen too often honestly, now that I consider myself middle aged.  When they say if you aren’t looking for love is exactly when you’ll find it, yah well it was kinda like that.  Had I heard of this group before?!  It seems like déjà vu.  Have I met you before?  I seriously had that blank stare look on my face when the name came across my messenger awhile back.  I didn’t know the name but that sound… it has caressed my ears before.  Let me tell you, I’m now obsessed like you were about your first real adult love affair.  This is music that will leave a mark, one that stung when you first got it and most likely will not fade.

Landing in the Austin, TX area by way of Boston, Monique Ortiz is letting that sultry voice fly once again.  With her partner and drummer Michael Howard, she is showing what chemistry is in music.  Pulling flavors from her previous endeavors in A.K.A.C.O.D., Bourbon Princess and blending in common interests of prog, blues, desert rock, and jazz; something simplistically rich was born.  The music is raw but with intention.  There is no lofty artistic fringe upturned nose.  It is honest, and well… that is what will get you.  There is a sense of realism in this pair that has been intended by many, but lost by a shallow and aggressive idealism.  And thank goodness Monique and Michael aren’t in the ranks with that segment!  Hiding out on their ‘Big Bottom Farm’ and rarely venturing out unless it’s to play or see an occasional band of interest, they are creating an oasis of feeling, spirit, a place where they can be themselves, all within 3.5 acres.  Sounds all too good to be true, well it just might be.  Other than regionally and a few places out of the U.S., Alien Knife Fight has been relatively unheard of … that is until now!

Monique and Mike currently have a 5 song EP with a BandCamp campaign that they are working on.  They have recently also been getting some love from the established artists Scott H Biram and Jesse Dayton.  They have invited Alien Knife Fight out on a West Coast tour so they can put their face in front of a ton of new faces.  AKF are also garnering the attention of producers and publicists in many rock circles.  Maybe the world is seeking out these two whether they are getting out there or not…

I recently had the opportunity to pose a few questions to AKF singer/bassist Monique Ortiz to see what was up.  Take a look at our Q & A about Boston, Morphine, Glass Blowing, new music, tour, and being a female in the music world.  Remember, great music is not easy to find and is usually hidden right under your nose.  Don’t worry though, if you don’t find it at first… It will most likely find you!

Check it,


SixX- Have you given up yet looking for that 3rd instrument or is it still elusive?  Ha-ha.

Monique- No, I’m always looking for players, always looking ahead. I don’t even really like identifying AKF as a duo because people make a lot of assumptions about duos. You say “duo” and a lot of times people will say things like “Oh like The Black Keys or White Stripes?” or they immediately assume we play the blues or some kind of lo-fi garage rock. No, not like any of that. I’ve been performing in the duo format long before it became “a thing.” I started in 1995, playing solo gigs on fretless bass, with a drummer sitting-in occasionally. When I moved to Boston in 1996 I started Bourbon Princess with drummer Dave Millar. Eventually we became a trio, adding Jonah Sacks on cello. Alien Knife Fight are only a duo by circumstance. Here in Austin, especially when you’re a musician in your 40’s and 50’s, you’ve got to keep working, you have to make money which means musicians here play in half a dozen bands so they can pay the bills. The downside to that is that no one can commit to any one project. We pride ourselves in sounding bigger than the sum of the parts, and it requires some extra gear and pedal dancing that I really would rather not do. It was hard enough just learning how to sing and play bass at the same time. Now I feel like I’m flying a spaceship with all the amps and pedals I use. I look forward to the day when that perfect 3rd multi-instrumentalist comes knocking and I can go back to just focusing on writing, singing, and bass playing.

SixX- Your current project Alien Knife Fight, tell me about it and why it’s so Damn infectious.

Monique- It resonates with people for a variety of reasons. I think a big part of the sound comes from a deeply personal and emotional place, since Mike and I are a couple. We have all heard that you should never get romantically involved with a coworker or creative partner, but in reality, that’s ridiculous because those are the very people who “get” you. Chemistry is so important. Mike and I got together to jam a couple times, and I really fell in love with him through the birth of the project. Neither of us are virtuosos at what we do. Actually, he’s a much better bassist than I am. Stylistically we offset each other nicely because he comes from more of a metal background, and I come from more of a new wave and post punk background. We found common ground in prog rock, blues, jazz, experimental music, and desert rock. We both have very eclectic tastes and we’ve introduced each other to music we’ve never heard before. It’s difficult for me to articulate what exactly it is about what we do that is getting peoples’ attention now, but for me our sound is primal, yet dreamy. It’s dark, but hooky. It’s the soundtrack for the film I haven’t yet written the screenplay for. I’m just doing what I do, and I’m grateful for anyone who wants to listen to it.

SixX- Residing in Boston myself, I know you started in the area with some musical collaborations.  How did the area shape your musical journey as you know it now?

Monique- For me Boston is home. There’s an energy, a vibe, to that area that just resonates so deeply with me. Maybe I’m projecting, but even before I moved to Boston I was into a lot of music coming out of there: Morphine of course. I have always been a big Mission Of Burma fan, as well as Modern Lovers, Willie Loco Alexander, Treat Her Right, Scissorfight, and Andrea Gillis, who is a freakin’ force of nature. Even though all those artists are quite different from one another, they all have this vein of grit, take-no-prisoners, take no bullshit, do what we want, be who we are. I suppose one could say that about any place that has shaped them in a big way, but there really is something to the Boston/Cambridge scene that I miss so much. Austin is a pleasant place to live, but it really lacks this sort of fighting spirit that I felt when I lived in Boston. A healthy aggression if you know what I mean. Austin is very slack, almost too laid-back for me.  If the day ever comes where I can afford to live in Boston or Cambridge again, I most definitely will. I loved being able to jump on my bike, ride a few blocks down to Toad and catch Jim Fitting stomping on the pew while wailing on the harmonica, or slinking down to the Lizard Lounge where I could catch one of Mark Sandman’s “secret” Hypnosonics shows, where I knew I’d be schooled by any number of killer players sitting in with him. Might be Mike Rivard on bass, might be John Medeski on the Hammond, could be Russ Gershon on tenor, side by side with Dana on the bari. You just never know who would be playing with who on any given night, but you always knew it would be damn good. Morphine inspired me to move to Boston in 1996. Upon Mark Sandman’s personal advice, I got a job at the Middle East and did everything I could to put myself in the middle of the action, and take advantage of every opportunity to experience this incredible community of musicians at work. I’d have to say I got more of a musical education by hanging out in the “Morphine circle” than I ever would’ve in college. My classrooms were the Middle East, The Plough & Stars, Toad, the Lizard Lounge, and Hi-N-Dry. I will always be grateful to the Boston / Cambridge scene for making me who I am.

SixX- You can’t ignore the sound that the Boston band Morphine (and maybe more specifically Mark Sandman and Dana Colley) has flavored your past and current sound.  Is it still shaping your music?

Monique- Not nearly as much. I mean life is too short to just do one thing or play one sound. I love Morphine but I also really love desert rock; bands such as Queens Of The Stone Age, Masters Of Reality, Desert Sessions, Eleven, etc. I really love a lot of synthy new wave from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s (Japan’s Mick Karn is my single biggest influence for bass). I got so embedded in the whole Morphine / “Low Rock” thing that it actually became a detriment after a while. I got tired of being pigeon-holed and I had written so much music that that sound just wasn’t the right vehicle for. When Mark died, I had pretty much made up my mind that I would take the 2-string slide bass into a whole new direction. There are dozens of Morphine tribute bands out there now, thousands of people going after that “low rock” slide bass sound. I’m no longer interested in that. I mean no disrespect to the Morphine crew by that. I just realized I had so much more to offer, so many new ideas, and things I wanted to try. I knew that the slide bass has so much untapped potential, and I had no interest in doing what’s already been done. I avoid doing Morphine songs altogether, with the exception of playing “Wishing Well” during a memorial concert, and doing a version of “The Way We Met,” which I play on the fretless bass instead of slide bass. I recall sitting on my sofa one afternoon with my first 2-string slide bass, playing along to the QOTSA record “Songs For The Deaf”, and thought “YES! How would Josh Homme play a slide bass? What would that sound like?” I also started playing slide bass to Stooges records and was blown away by how easily I could adapt the instrument to that sound. That was when I realized I had come to a fork in the road: keep doing this low rock thing, or take a leap and see how I can push this instrument in other ways. I eagerly took the path less traveled. I went out of my way to set up my slide bass very differently from Mark Sandman or Chris Ballew. I don’t use the same kinds of strings, or string gauges. I don’t use the same pickups or pedals. I have alienated some fans by following my heart and moving away from the low rock sound, but I wouldn’t be happy and was never going to grow as an artist if I kept doing the same things.

SixX- I used to work at WBCN and The Middle East in Cambridge, and know how rich the music culture is here.  Why leave Boston for Austin? 

Monique- A damn good question. In short, I had reached a point in my life where I just needed a change of scenery and needed to shake things up for myself. I was in a very dark place personally. I made a lot of really poor life choices in my last few years there and had gotten involved in an affair that damaged several relationships of my own and others, I was burning out on having to hold two, sometimes three jobs just to survive there. I had collaborated with Dana and Larry in A.K.A.C.O.D., on the record “Happiness,” which in hindsight was a totally ironic title for that period in our lives. I am really proud of that record. Unfortunately, the timing on it couldn’t have been worse: we put it out in 2008, when the market was crashing and record labels were folding. The record went pretty much unnoticed and despite all our efforts to promote it, we were only able to land mostly gigs in shitty little rooms, playing to a handful of people or less. I can’t speak for Dana and Larry, but for me it was completely demoralizing. I had lost direction and vision after that. I felt broken in a lot of ways. The only reason I ended up in Austin was because I already had a small network of personal friends there and could easily get a job and an apartment. It wasn’t for the music scene at all. I feel very much like a fish out of water here. The music scene here is nothing like what’s happening in Boston. When I arrived in Austin I felt like it was about five to ten years behind Boston in some genres. I realize that will likely piss some people off. I mean no disrespect to my Austin friends who have lived here for 20+ years. At one point, I had gotten into a conversation with a long-time Austin resident, also a musician, who seemed sympathetic to my feelings. He chuckled and said “well, this is my home, but it IS a town that celebrates itself to the point of satire.”

SixX- You live in a really small town in TX with lots of space.  Do you think that has given your music the air and openness needed after coming from the tight cluster in Boston and New England?

Monique- Absolutely. How could it not? I rarely even go out anymore unless I’m performing or there’s that rare local band that I want see. We are on 3.5 acres, surrounded mostly by ranchers and rolling pastures. At night, there is very little light pollution. Mike and I have a ritual of cooking meals together, usually quite late at night, then hunkering down with our instruments and recording. Always jamming, writing, recording at all hours. No one calls the cops on us. To be able to play at full volume, doing whatever we want, whenever we want, then be able to just step out onto the porch, into silence, maybe crickets and coyote, under a blanket of stars is incredible. Sure, I do miss Boston, but living here on Big Bottom Farm with Mike has given me things I would NEVER be able to experience in Boston. We have very little furniture. Pretty much the entire first floor of our house is filled with instruments, amps, and recording gear. It’s heaven to me. When I lived in Cambridge and went up to Hi-N-Dry (Mark Sandman’s loft home/studio) my jaw dropped. I thought “THIS is what I want my home to be like”: instruments everywhere, piano, keyboards, artwork, wood, brick, dust, incense, spirit. Our home has evolved to the point that it really does feel like our very own Hi-N-Dry. Our place is in a terrible state of disrepair because we live pretty much paycheck to paycheck, unable to renovate anytime soon, but I know some day we’ll make it nice. The most important thing is that we have this space where we can truly be ourselves; you can’t put a dollar amount on that. Occasionally, when the Morphine guys come through Austin, they come out here to hang. We also hosted the goth band March Violets. That was a truly wonderful visit. I love them. I really like the idea of our place being a sort of southern outpost for my musician friends. Our dream is to make this place a sort of Rancho De La Luna-meets-Hi-N-Dry. A place where we can record, and host our musician friends. They can stay here while on tour, or do a recording retreat here.

SixX- You also blow glass.  How does that art form connect to your music?  Is it the slow and molten nature of it all? 

Monique- For me it’s just a job. I really have no imagination for the medium at all. I do production work. I make thousands of pipes. Chillums, one-hitters, bowls, etc. It was really hard “coming out” about this to my folks who have been pretty anti-drug all their lives. I really have very little interest in any of it or the whole marijuana culture. The only reason I blow glass is because it’s something I’m fairly competent at, that Mike taught me, that allows me to be self-employed, and work from home; which is essential if you want to tour a lot and be an artist on a professional level. The moment I am able to walk away from glassblowing I will gleefully do so, but it’s alright for now. It’s better than dealing with Joe Public or waiting tables. For me it has no connection to music at all, other than the fact that Mike makes all my guitar slides.

SixX- Now tell me about the 2 STRING slide bass.  All the gear heads want to know about it.  Why use that set up?

Monique- Because I can. Because each string has the same notes. Because if you can’t play a song on one string, you’ve got no business playing it on 4, 5, 6 or 12….

SixX- You are currently recording a new record, tell me about it and what we can expect.

Monique- Well, “recording a new record” implies that we have a batch of songs that we are going to put out on vinyl or cd. That’s not really the case at the moment, but we do have hundreds of hours of material we are working on. Currently we have next to no support of any kind, no money, so actually making vinyl is not in the cards at the moment. We have considered crowd sourcing but the reality is that we don’t even have enough numbers behind us to raise the money we’d need, and there’s the catch 22 of putting yourself under a lot of stress to fulfill everyone’s premiums after they donate. We’d rather just work hard and save up the money on our own, but it isn’t easy. For now, we’ve taken to recording a few songs, mixing them, putting them out. Record a few more, mix them, put ‘em out. Repeat. Maybe, if we have enough time, make some lo-fi, DIY videos. We do everything ourselves but it’s mainly because we have to. Once we return from touring with Scott Biram, we’ll be working on about a dozen new songs that we cherry picked from years of recording up to now. It is my hope that we will build support and build enough of a fan base from that tour to make crowd sourcing a more realistic option, or (gasp!) maybe a label will take a liking to us, but I’m not holding my breath on that.

SixX- When should we expect it and where can we get it when it’s done?

Monique- No idea. It’s done when we feel it’s done. As far as where you can get it, the best source for everything we do is directly from us, either at shows or through our bandcamp page. http://alienknifefight.bandcamp.com  All my other projects and back catalog is at http://moniqueortiz.bandcamp.com. Interest in AKF seems to be growing rapidly and we are being approached by some notable producers and people who we really admire in the industry, so you never know!

SixX- You are going out on tour?  Tell me about it.

Monique- We were invited by Scott H Biram to come out with him and Jesse Dayton on a West Coast tour. We were absolutely honored and thrilled. It seems like a bit of a mismatch, but we’re up to the challenge of winning people over. I mean he and Jesse are really coming from more of a dirty blues, and outlaw country angle. I find it really validating and flattering that they’d include us. After all, I don’t know anyone who just listens to one style of music. I think there is some crossover. There is this whole “punk rock blues” thing going on in the UK. Not seeing as much of it here, but we have been described as such. I think just the common ground of Scott and I being slide players and having some blues influence may be enough to bring audiences together. I don’t know, but I dig what he does and he digs what we do, so it should be a good time, and mutually beneficial. It’s an opportunity that Mike and I are really grateful for.

SixX- I don’t see any Boston dates in there?  Ha-ha. How come?

Monique- Because we are pretty much unknown, with very little support, and because we’re in our 40’s and 50’s we don’t have a ton of time, and energy, or (disposable income) to spend all day online trying to bust down the doors of venues who have never heard of us, only to basically pay-to-play. Touring is extremely expensive, and there’s a major catch 22 to it: You have to have a substantial following to get into the good, reputable venues, but you can’t build that following unless you get out there, and play a bunch of crappy venues over and over to those handfuls of people. I have booked tours myself but have never been able to get into the rooms where our music would be a good fit. I can’t get most venues to give me the time of day. What’s more, I suck at self-promoting. I either come off as an arrogant asshole, or an insecure little mouse. I’m terrible at representing myself. We’d love to have a booking agent, but again, most booking agents aren’t interested until you’ve already done all the leg work and made all the connections. This year is proving to be different, thankfully. Scott inviting us to tour with him is big. People are coming out of the woodwork to help us, and I am confident that we will be touring the Midwest and East Coast before the year is out. The majority of my fan base is in Europe and South America, but I haven’t been successful in making the proper contacts to get us over there either. I keep trying.

SixX- Since a majority of our readership is female, can you tell me what some of your biggest hurdles have been in the world of music?

Monique- I’m going to level with you. I have very few female friends, and I’m used to being hated by other women. I haven’t experienced much gender-related resistance in any of my work throughout my life. I honestly cannot relate to women who have experienced issues of inequality. I don’t know if it’s because I was raised a tomboy by a mother who was a total hard ass and tomboy herself.  I have always hung around guys from an early age. I just don’t really relate to many women at all. I have a very masculine personality. I don’t take women’s rights for granted, but I have very little interest in gender issues overall. I also have a lot of problems with “feminism.” I believe a true feminist doesn’t need to go around labeling herself as such, wearing it on a t-shirt or a tattoo, like some of my vegan friends. The way I see it, if you are true to yourself and actually living by your beliefs and philosophies, there’s no need to brand or label yourself. I actually had a female audience member approach me after a show and criticize me for shaving my armpits. I laughed at her and said “Really?! So, let me get this right. You are judging ME for shaving my pits? Isn’t that as bad as me judging YOU for not shaving yours? Why does it matter?” I was thinking “what bullshit.” These women crack me up, these women who think that whether or not they shave is some kind of testament to who they are. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Monique- I have a daughter, what advice would you give her if she wanted to get involved into music?

Monique- Take as many business and communication courses as arts courses. Even a good legal education would be extremely beneficial. These days, talent and artistic ability simply aren’t enough. You have to have business know how. I have a lot of regrets about not educating myself better, but then again that’s not entirely my fault: when I was in college and art school there was very little emphasis on how to market yourself, or run your band or project as a small business. It was basically “Here’s how to paint! Here’s how to play! Good luck!” and out the door you go. Now there is so much more technology and resources available to young people. It’s incredible. There are people half my age that know WAY more about how to run a business or market themselves than I do, and schools have finally realized that forcing kids to spend a lot of time learning things they’re never going to use or aren’t at all interested in is a waste. I wish I could’ve gone to one of those performing arts high schools. Nothing like that existed where I grew up, but there now seems to be a lot more of that sort of thing. Of course, with our new administration of fascist idiocracy it’s hard to know if things will keep progressing. RESIST!

SixX- What’s next for Monique?

Monique- A cup of strong black coffee, a long run, some yoga, and some quality time with my fretless bass and Sruthi Box.

For more information on Alien Knife Fight and Monique Ortiz:


AKF 2017 West Coast tour with Scott H Biram & Jesse Dayton:

03/23 @ Hoots Pub, Amarillo, TX
03/24 @ Triple Nickle Tavern – Colorado Springs, CO
03/25 @ 3 Kings – Denver, CO
03/26 @ Hodis Half Note – Fort Collins, CO
03/28 @ Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
03/29 @ Neurolux – Boise, ID
03/31 @ Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA
04/01 @ Dante’s – Portland, OR
04/04 @ Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA
04/05 @ Bottom Of The Hill – San Francisco, CA
04/06 @ Alex’s Bar – Long Beach, CA
04/07 @ Pappy & Harriet’s – Pioneertown, CA
04/08 @ Rhythm Room – Phoenix, AR
04/13 @ Three Links – Dallas, TX
04/14 @ Antone’s – Austin, TX
04/15 @ Continental Club – Houston, TX (with Sam Pace, and Hilary York)



Preview of special AMBEO 3D mix of Comfortably Numb live at LIVE 8, ahead of The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains at London’s V&A

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason makes a return to Abbey Road as part of Sennheiser’s immersive audio production

London, March 14, 2017 – Audio specialist Sennheiser has partnered with Pink Floyd to demonstrate its AMBEO 3D audio technology in action as part of the sound expert’s work for The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains, which opens to the public at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on May 13. 

One of the most anticipated elements of the exhibition is a new immersive mix of Comfortably Numb from the Live 8 concert – the last time David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright played onstage with former member Roger Waters – created using Sennheiser’s AMBEO 3D technology in a brand-new format using 25 speakers. AMBEO 3D places sound both around and above the listener, delivering an immersive audio sensation unlike anything visitors have experienced before.


From left to right: Recording engineer Andy Jackson, Dr Andreas Sennheiser, producer Simon Franglen, co-curator Aubrey Powell, producer Simon Rhodes, Daniel Sennheiser


The 360 degree surround mix was presented earlier this month at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios in London, where Pink Floyd recorded a number of their albums including The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. Pink Floyd associate, recording engineer Andy Jackson, who worked with Pink Floyd on several albums including The Division Bell, is collaborating closely on the project with Simon Rhodes and Simon Franglen, the mastermind producers behind the brand new AMBEO version of Pink Floyd’s music, creating new mixes which utilise many more discrete channels than were previously possible. Rhodes is a senior engineer at Abbey Road with over 18 years’ experience of working on productions for projects including the Avatar and Spectre movies, whilst Franglen is a Grammy Award-winning and Golden Globe-nominated composer and producer with credits on many of the biggest films of all time, including Titanic and Avatar.

As official audio partner for the Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition, a retrospective of the band’s history, connecting music, sound technology, live performance and more, Sennheiser will enable captivating audio experiences for the visitor using its innovative AMBEO 3D technology. Sennheiser systems will be used for audio elements throughout the exhibition, including the delivery of highest-quality arrangements from historic Pink Floyd documents.

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, who made a return to Abbey Road during the production of the AMBEO 3D mix, commented on the collaboration: “We have been using Sennheiser equipment ever since Pink Floyd started out as a live band and used the MD 409 microphones for our performances, so it is only fitting that they provide the audio experience at our exhibition. Sennheiser has been at the cutting edge of audio technology for a very long time, so we have no doubt that they will help make Their Mortal Remains something special.”

“Pink Floyd has worked with Sennheiser and Neumann microphones throughout their career. To come back to the Abbey Road studios to jointly work with the AMBEO 3D audio technology is a very special part within this collaboration”, said co-CEO Daniel Sennheiser. “3D audio is the new frontier of sound excellence, set to transform the listening experience for users. We are very happy to bring that special audio experience to The Pink Floyd Exhibition”, adds Dr Andreas Sennheiser.

On the production of the AMBEO 3D version of Comfortably Numb from Live 8, Simon Franglen added: “I can’t think of a band that is better suited to Sennheiser’s AMBEO 3D technology than Pink Floyd. They pioneered surround sound in their live shows, now Sennheiser’s 3D immersive audio pioneers a completely new experience. It allows the audience to hear every detail inside the performance. I can’t wait to see what Pink Floyd fans make of the 3D audio version when they see the exhibition.”

The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains will open to the public at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on May 13, 2017. Tickets to the exhibition are available now from: www.pinkfloydexhibition.com

Watch the video about the AMBEO 3D audio session at the Abbey Road studios here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMlFN8V4qW4

About Sennheiser

Audio specialist Sennheiser is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of headphones, microphones and wireless transmission systems. Based in Wedemark near Hanover, Germany, Sennheiser operates its own production facilities in Germany, Ireland and the USA and is active in more than 50 countries. With 19 sales subsidiaries and long-established trading partners, the company supplies innovative products and cutting-edge audio solutions that are optimally tailored to its customers’ needs. Sennheiser is a family owned company that was founded in 1945 and which today has 2,750 employees around the world that share a passion for audio technology. Since 2013, Sennheiser has been managed by Daniel Sennheiser and Dr. Andreas Sennheiser, the third generation of the family to run the company. In 2015, the Sennheiser Group had sales totalling €682 million. www.sennheiser.com




On March 11, Gibson Brands, in collaboration with Neiman Marcus, took over the rooftop of downtown Austin’s The Vaughn to celebrate the start of SXSW Style with the “SXSW Style Kickoff Party Presented by Gibson Brands.” The high-energy runway event paired innovative products from Gibson Brands, including Gibson guitars and headphones from Onkyo and the Philips Audio Lifestyle, with the latest styles from Neiman Marcus.  In addition, the evening featured performances from buzzworthy bands The Shelters, Midland, Emily Wolfe, Band of Heathens and Erika Wennerstrom.  

WHAT:            SXSW Style Kickoff Presented by Gibson Brands in Collaboration with Neiman Marcus

WHEN:           Saturday, March 11

WHERE:         The Vaughn, Austin, TX