High Octane on The Music Business

High Octane on The Music Business

High Octane

“The music business can make an aspiring musician hoping to make a career out of Rock n Roll quite bitter” – @highoctanerock

Episode #285 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2015/12/24/episode-285-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax

Jacqueline Jax logo photoGETTING TO KNOW HIGH OCTANE
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Interviewing: JJ and Jacob

Music business…
Honestly, the music business can make an aspiring musician hoping to make a career out of Rock n Roll quite bitter.. There’s lots of people who try to make a quick buck off of you, but give nothing in return, which kind of turns you into a cutthroat yourself, but if that’s what it takes to make it in this business, so be it. It’s just more fuel for songwriting! We’ve caught on to the fact that it’s becoming harder and harder to be noticed simply by the quality of your music when it comes to live shows, so in order to overcome that obstacle, we’ve started to increase the production value of our live shows in order to get more people in the door. Fans like being visually stimulated as well as audibly, so we hope that by upping the ante with our live show production, people will leave thinking “Man, that was a KILLER show! I’ve got to tell my friends about these guys and bring them to the next show!”

Pros and cons have you experienced…
We’ve met a lot of very influential people and made a lot of really awesome friendships. The downside is like we said before, people want to make a quick buck off of you, but don’t want to help you in return. Venues want to book you, but flip out when you as for anything but the door, or anything at all.

Hurdles and pitfalls…
We just keep on keepin’ on! We love writing and playing our music and seeing how it resonates with people. When people come up to us after the show and tell us how much they loved us or how they love the album, it just makes dealing with the bull crap that much easier.

Social media…
really lets us connect with and talk to our fans on a daily basis, no matter where they are in the world. It really brings us closer to them, and that’s something we really love.

Challenges that you’ve had to overcome…
Other than scams that promise you exposure, but end up really doing nothing more than using you to better themselves, no.

Singles vs an album…
From a marketing standpoint, releasing a few singles over a long period of time keeps peoples attention and builds anticipation for the next release. From a pure musicianship standpoint, we really enjoyed finally being able to give our fans an entire album to sit back and digest.

Jacob and I both got our musical start in high school in different bands…
Jacob was in a heavier metal band while Ben (drummer) and I were in an 80s inspired “hair metal(ish)” band. I (JJ) got in touch with Jacob after high school when we started looking for a guitarist /vocalist. We jammed for a couple months until the three of us ended up reuniting Jacobs metal band. Once that project fell through, we created what is now, High Octane.

A friend of ours invited us to go hang out for the day at the park near the university here in Lafayette, which led to an adventure throughout the college campus that lasted well into that evening. It turned into a super memorable experience that we almost overlooked because we were just gonna sit at home that afternoon playing video games. This experience really made me sit back and think “Wow, I really shouldn’t get caught up in the petty day to day struggles, I really need to make time for the people most important to me, because, in the end, that’s what’s most memorable.”

JJ was, at the time, playing bass in a Country group. The day before they shot a video, he broke his hand pretty badly and had to have surgery to put a metal plate, 4 screws, and 2 pins in. We were also in the middle of recording our album, and next up for him was the bass track for Breathe. For a while, we thought we would have to push back the recording session, until one day he said “F*ck it, i’m doing it.” So he went into the studio with pins sticking out of his hand, and just nailed his bass line.

What we try to do with High Octane is…

bring our fans a mix of old school thrash with modern Black Sabbath style riffs, along with lyrics that tell a story or have meaning so that our finished product stands the test of time. This self titled album was meant to be something other than the typical “cookie cutter” mold you hear with most rock bands on the radio today. We didn’t want to be confined to one genre that we couldn’t deviate from, which is why you’ll hear a little thrash, a little metal, some ballads, and some acoustic thrown in there. We put this album together to really let people know “Hey, we’re here and we’re bringing back old school rock and roll with our own little twist, so get f*cking ready!” As far as promotion goes, we’re trying to push a tour across the southern states, but we’re utilizing every outlet we can to push our music to the next level. We’ve got our music on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, NumberOneMusic, our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/highoctane.official), and Reverbnation (www.reverbnation.com/highoctaneofficial)

We live in Lafayette, LA…
The music scene around here is pretty diverse. You’ve got everything from Cajun/Zydeco to Southern Sludge Metal.

There’s a bunch of music venues down here that we frequently play at, Sam’s Place in Crowley being what we’ve deemed as our home base venue because they’ve been the BIGGEST supporter of our music and career as musicians.

We usually get together at our newly added guitarist house on the weekends to watch the UFC fights or to bbq. That usually turns into a night of jam sessions and writing.

I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
Phil Lynott, especially since we’ve recently taken a LOT of inspiration from his music and writing with Thin Lizzy. He was an amazing musician that was cut down in his prime. His music really hits me deep while sitting in my apartment sipping on whiskey.. He just has a way about his writing that had so much emotion to it. It would just be amazing to sit down and have a conversation with him and listen to the stories he could tell.

Current and trendy…
I absolutely do believe that there is WAY too much emphasis on being trendy with current music. Look at what you’re hearing on the radio and the image the music industry is trying to sell off as the “rock image.” It’s literally all the same styles of dress and all the same catchy riffs that get recycled over and over.

Effectively what has happened is that musicians have just become a product to be sold, and therefore their worth is being solely determined by how much profit they can pull in for their label rather than artistic output. This is why so many bands are writing generic, trash lyrics that don’t mean a damn thing and riffs that are as bland as a box of cornflakes, because it’s quick and easy to mass produce. I’ve taken note of this and started introducing similar structures into our songs to fit the “radio rock” style that will keep peoples attention but still have meaningful lyrics and great riffs that you can’t just grab a guitar and instruction book for the first time and learn how to play them in five minutes

I am most afraid of…
Most people answer with “Failure.” That’s not us. We’re not afraid to fail. We embrace it, and I feel like that makes us stronger as a band. When you’re not afraid to fail, you leave all the baggage and worry behind and just genuinely enjoy what you’re doing.

My personal definition of success is..
“making in the world with your music.” We’ve made our first album, we’ve played a festival out in Oklahoma which was amazing, our music is being played on our local radio station, and we’ve hung out with and eat gumbo backstage with Rex Brown (Panter) and Vinnie Appice (Dio) when we opened for Kill Devil Hill. These are all success stories as a musician in my book, and I feel like with more hard work and getting ourselves out there more and more, we’ll have many more to come.

My over all goal for my life & career is…
I think any aspiring Rock N Roll band that’s trying to reach for the stars would have the same end goal as us, which is to be able to quit our day jobs and get filthy rich and famous on tour. A more realistic goal is to be able to continue writing great music that inspires people and to bring our music not only all over the US, but to make an impact in Europe or Japan.

3 Ways that I challenge myself to move forward are…

1) Always thinking of different ways to improve our performance and live show that we become more and more memorable to our fans

2) Constantly try to push our name to venues, events, and press, because that’s how you get noticed

3) Keep writing and stay on the alert for inspiration. You never know when one small thing in your life that you overlooked could have lead to the creation of a song that could effect the world. Imagine if Robert Plant and Jimmie Page hadn’t taken the time to appreciate the epiphany that brought them to Stairway To Heaven. I think the world would be a different place..

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