Indie Musician John Baxter About The Emphasis on Being Trendy

John Baxter indie artist“I believe it’s entirely your decision. If you would like to follow the trends and only release happy-go-lucky fair-weather tracks, then that’s fine. The musician should do what makes him or her happy and fulfilled. ” – @Johnbaxter_

Episode #282 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2015/12/16/episode-282-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax

Jacqueline Jax logo photoGETTING TO KNOW JOHN BAXTER
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio

Too much emphasis on being trendy…
I believe it’s entirely your decision. If you would like to follow the trends and only release happy-go-lucky fair-weather tracks, then that’s fine. You’ll probably appeal to a lot of people. If you would not like to do that, that’s fine too. The musician should do what makes him or her happy and fulfilled.

I am most afraid of…
One of the things I fear the most is dying before all of my music has been recorded. Again, if only one person feels something from just one of my songs, I’d be happy. Who knows, years from now, one little kid might stumble upon one of my songs and find solace from it.

Personal definition of success…
Getting paid to do something that you love. One of my most proud moments occurred when I performed one of my pieces at an end of the semester show. I got a standing ovation for it and it felt really good because I had absolutely no help in composing my music. Sure, my piano teacher taught me the fundamentals of piano, but I was never helped or guided in any way in my compositional path.

My overall goal for my life and career is…
to be happy and successful. *see definition of success above.

3 ways I challenge myself…

I try to write music that goes against my general mood and proclivities. It’s good to be well-rounded.

I try to always be doing something productive. Leave the world with something it didn’t already have.

I try to always be kind. People in the world can make or break you, so it’s best to treat them with respect and kindness. There’s a great quote by Conan o’Brien that goes “If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

I began taking piano lessons around the age of 8…
I learned how to play the greats like Beethoven and Chopin. However, at around the age of 13, I began experimenting with my own music. Of course, at the beginning my music was very simple and predictable. But as I became bolder with my choices, my music took on a life of its own.


Moonlight…
This piece was written a long time ago when I was just 14 and it has stuck with me since like an old friend. That’s the way I think of my music…It doesn’t feel like I created it. It feels more like I met it and have been communicating with it since. Given that my music doesn’t have any words, this piece is completely open to interpretation. Yes, the name is Moonlight suggesting a celestial nature, but this piece can be whatever you want it to be about. That’s one of the advantages of instrumental music.

This piece, like many of my pieces, started as a sort of experiment to pass the time. I looked at the piano keys and thought about what intervals would sound really bad together. The sort of “bridge” in this song at around 2:40 is a result of that. A major seventh leading to a diminished fifth shouldn’t at all sound good by itself. But with some arpeggiated passing tones, it creates a tense, pensive environment. In fact, the entire album is full of tension, dissonance. The idea of creating beauty while being in between environments and sonic modalities is what I’m interested in. The tension creates energy. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/daymares-and-nightdreams/id1018292638

There is an unfortunate glitch that occurs at around 1:22…
My recording system doesn’t do well with ritardandos, so you can hear some electronic sounds. I decided it sounded kinda interesting so I didn’t worry too much about it.

As stated earlier with Moonlight…
the music of my album Daymares and Nightdreams has a feeling of being in-between. No piece is all the way cheerful, morose, or aggressive. The result is a roller coaster of emotions surging throughout each piece leaving the listener unsure of what to expect next. Daymares and Nightdreams also draw heavily on nature. The listener is transported from a gentle brook in Water to a desert landscape in Dust to the celestial mysticism of the heavens in Moonlight.

This album is special to me…
as I myself have often felt in between worlds. Since I attend college at Yale which is so very far away from my homestate of Mississippi, I’ve become unsure of where exactly home is. Often in my personal choices and decisions, I’ve felt stuck at a metaphorical yellow light, stuck in between stop and go in the uncomfortable tense void. The album takes raw emotion and musicalizes it. Even if only one person gains some peace or happiness from just one song, that would be enough for me.

I technically live in Mississippi…
but I attend college in Connecticut so I don’t get to spend much time down south…The music scene is one of small bars and local venues. My hometown of Hattiesburg is not a very large city, but musicians can perform at local bars and restaurants. It all feels very family-like.

As a non-music activity, I enjoy playing football…
I played my entire life until attending college. It was a very important activity to me. You know how Brett Favre coaches a high school in his spare time? Well that was my high school. He’s a great guy. Unfortunately, I can’t play in college because there’s simply not enough time to do the things I want/have to do as well as football. If there were 48 hours in a day, sure.

Music business…
I must say I don’t know much about the music business. I’m pretty green to it. I haven’t experienced many pros or cons, but I do have a basic analogy that I work off of. The world/internet is like a pond that may be completely devoid of fish. But for all you know, there may be fish in the future. So why not cast some hooks in the water. Even if there’s no fish there, at least the hooks are in the water so that one day, a fish might stumble upon it and like it. I know my music might not be the most popular, but at least it’s out there rather than being stuck in my mind.

Social media…
One of the things I enjoy about social media is the fact that it doesn’t always have to be about business. I can tweet random things throughout my life or I can tweet important information about my music career. Social media is programmed to be very easy to use, so it’s a great way to let everyone know about events and releases.

Album vs single…
With an album you can more fluidly construct an image and a feeling, whereas a single does not so easily give a coherent feeling. You can have recurring themes in an album like Marianas Trench does, but can’t with a single. I think releasing a single can be a great way to sort of hold listeners over, like an appetizer before the release of a larger album. A single release can also work well when the single just doesn’t seem to fit with the story you’re trying to tell.

I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
The musician/rapper Zack Hemsey. His music is beautiful, his lyrics are extremely well thought-out, and he’s not an extremely established musician. It’s always good to try to find people who are in the process of “making it” because they’ll have the most information to tell. I would learn so much from an encounter with him such as how he creates his epic drum tracks, how he records, his writing process, and fundamentals of the business.

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