In a monotonous world of fraudulent people, it's refreshing to see an individual like Janak Tull. Over the years, he has stayed true to himself and has no plans of changing anytime soon. See what he has to see about life, fashion, inspirations and the future. Check out his website - www.janaktull.comRead More
Zachary Franck (ZF) interviewing John Ferrara (JF)
Where are you from and how long have you been playing music?
I was born in Queens NY and have been playing music since I was about 5.
What made you pick up the bass guitar?
My father is a musician and really wanted his kids to play music. He brought up the idea of me playing bass several times before I decided to give it a try. He finally roped me in by offering to teach me how to play “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix. I was really excited to find that I could do it. After that I kept learning new things and was into it but fell head over heals in love when I was introduced to slap bass players like Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, Jonas Hellborg and Les Claypool. The idea of taking an instrument and learning it in a completely new and innovative way resonated with me in a huge way, so I was drawn to and further inspired by players like that.
Growing up, what were your favorite music genres and who were some of your biggest inspirations?
When I was a kid I was into a lot of stuff, metal, hip hop, rock, classic rock, jazz, grunge and lots of other things.... My taste matured as a got into my mid to late teens and got more into jazz and classical music, but still stayed listening to a lot of the other stuff that I was into too.
Where did you learn to play the way that you do?
I didn’t really go anywhere, I never studied music academically. I’m mostly self taught. I just follow my inspiration. My whole outlook was and to a large extend still is “instead of learning a new instrument, learn how to play your bass like other instruments”. So I think having that mentality has yielded some unorthodox ways of approaching the bass.
Also, For the past 10 years I have almost exclusively done this band as my musical outlet so pretty much my entire practice routine is based around developing the techniques and sensibilities that work within this context. When you have that level of autonomy I think it’s a lot easier to develop your own sound. I think a lot of people get frustrated cause they might have a lot of cool techniques at their disposal that they have developed on their own or have learned, but they don’t have an outlet to develop it. When you have a band that will write entire songs based on techniques you’ve developed you’re really able to allow your voice to grow into something truly unique to you.
What kind of bass guitar do you play?
I play a custom 5 string Fodera Monarch with a high C string and a Khaler Bridge (a whammy bar). I also have a 4 string Fodera Monarch which I use a lot too. I also have a Kala ubass (ukelele bass) and a goldtone Banjo bass, both of which I use in our acoustic sets.
What made you guys name the band Consider The Source?
Gabriels father came up with it. We were struggling to settle on a name and then he just came out and said it. It was the first name that all of us were stoked about immediately, we liked the ring it had and how open to interpretation it is, so we kept it.
I know that Consider The Source also has acoustic shows, what other instruments do you play during these shows?
I play a Kala U-bass, which is short for “Ukelele” bass. It gives me a African sort of sound, but also works really well with the different Middle Eastern Instruments that Gabriel uses. I also play a Goldtone Banjo bass which sounds to me like what a Turkish bass guitar would sound like if they had them! Playing slap bass on that thing is just one of the coolest sounds! Lastly I play a Slapstick which is a 5 foot, thin, rectangular piece of metal which has a paper thin slab of metal running down it which functions the same way a string would. It’s kind of a hybrid bass and drum instrument and I love the hell out of it.
How long have you been in Consider The Source?
CTS formed in 2004 with myself, Gabriel and our original drummer Justin.
How did Consider The Source come to fruition?
Our original drummer and I were friends since childhood and played music together all through out our teens. Justin was a at party that Gabe was at and they met and jammed. Justin immediately called me and said “dude you have to jam with this guy”. So the three of us got together in a studio in NYC and jammed. We had an instant connection and after the very first session we all felt that there was something powerful there.
How much improvisation is included in the average show?
I would say it’s about 50/50. We have improvisational sections in our songs, just like most bands do, though we really like to blur the lines when it comes to these sections. We will improvise over compositional parts, re-interpret rhythmic feels, scales, dynamics and so forth to the point where the listener can’t identify what our musical cue’s are to go in and out of solo sections. The improvised sections are very important to us as players, but just as much are the compositions, so we try to keep a good portion of the song structure in tact and let the improvised sections be more open for interpretation. We strive to write our songs from as deep and authentic a place as possible so when we play them live, we want to convey the place the three of us were in when we wrote it. Not to say that we don’t improvise in the “compositional” sections of the song too, but we try to do so in a way that still serves the general mood of the song.
Do you write any music for Consider The Source alone or is it mostly done as a band?
Yes I write stuff alone but then will show it to my band mates, who then add their amazingness to it. Typically myself or Gabe will develop ideas wether they be riffs, whole sections or entire songs on our own first, and then have a show and tell session. At the end of the day, even when I write something and bring it in , it becomes our song. One of the foundational aspects of us as a band is that we want things to be egalitarian, to have all three of our voices heard equally so we try to relinquish control over the writing and let each of us do what we do best and say what we have to say.
What do you hope to accomplish with Consider The Source?
I really like that we’ve become a band who has had some success doing something so weird. We feel extremely fortunate that this project of ours that started just as three people having fun and experimenting became something that people enjoy as well. I’ve found that our fans appreciate that we’ve stuck to our guns and haven’t been strategic with our sound. One of the main messages that i’d like to send with CTS is to encourage people to make sure that whatever they do, wether it be music or arts or something completely different, that it is done from a place of purity, that it makes sense to them as people and not from a place of trying to do something from a place of trying to fit in. It might be harder to pave your own way, but it’s only way worth doing it.
Many people consider you guys to be the definition of a power trio, is there something special about being in a trio?
I think my favorite thing about doing the power trio things is the level of autonomy each person has. The three of us think big a lot of the time when we write our individual parts and coordinating parts with only two other people gives us each a lot of room to be ourselves and go for some outlandish stuff. I can write a bass riff that’s meant to fill the role of a piano or a percussion instrument and not have to worry about it stepping on anyones toes, cause there aren’t many toes to step on.
As a band, who are some of your biggest influences?
The Bad Plus, Opeth, King Crimson, Paradox Trio, Screaming Headless Torsos, Tool, Radiohead, U. Srinivas, Chick Corea, Mahavishnu Orchestra, tons more!!!
What are some of your dreams and hopes for the future? Are there any specific venues or festivals that you’d love to perform at that you haven’t already?
We would like to expand into different scenes. Right now we have a strong fanbase in the Jam scene which we love and are developing a following in the progressive rock and metal scenes, which style wise I personally always thought we’d fit well in. We’d also like to be recognized in the jazz and general rock scenes.
As for venues The Beacon Theater and Red Rocks!
I know that you guys have fans in countries all over the world; do you think that you’ll ever do an international tour?
We actually have done a number of over seas tours in Israel, Germany and Turkey. We actually find that our music is extremely well received over in these places and in Europe in general. We would love to do a lot more touring overseas and intend on making our way over there in the next year or two.
What festivals will you guys be playing at this summer?
SummerCamp, Werk Out, The Mad Tea Party, Disc Jam, Family Roots Festival, Strangecreek, Some Kind of Jam, Rock N Roll Resort, WildWoods, Hidden in the Hollow, The Gathering at Chaffee’s, Farm on Fire, Cosmic Alignment Festival, Peace of Mind Fest and more to come.
I understand that you guys have been working on a triple album, when will it fully be released? Can you tell us a little about that?
Part one was already released this past Halloween. Part 2+3 will be released together in the form of a double album this summer. The first part was a 23 minute progressive rock piece broken up into 6 sections. The 5th section was written by musical mastermind Jan Zehrfeld from the german jazz/metal band Panzerballet, who we toured with in Germany and here in the U.S. This piece was our first try at a composition of this length. We kept coming up with these awesome song ideas that were different, yet flowed together really nicely. We pulled inspiration from classical music, math metal, and minimalism and tweaked each section until they flowed as one coherent piece.
Parts 2+3, will be more familiar to what our fan base is used to. It will have our Eastern and aggressive improvisational sides, plus acoustic songs, ballads and yes of course, more prog rock epics...
We are really excited to release this, as Part 1 was very well received, even though it was a departure from our normal sound. I think that our fan base is going to really enjoy the rest.
Where do you see Consider The Source in five years?
I see us expanding into new terrain both musically and geographically. We have a lot of ideas for albums in the works that I can’t divulge here but all I can say is that it will take years and years to put out but we are motivated and excited to tackle all of them. I also see us doing more acoustic sets in the future as they have been a ton of fun and our fans really enjoy them. Lastly, I see us doing more master classes worldwide, as that is another thing that we’ve done in the past but haven’t had the time to really do lately. Just keeping up the momentum and playing more and more music!
Zachary Franck interviewing Tanzanite Productions CEO/Founder Sean 'Beef' Gruchik
Give us a summarized background to you and your company?
Okay, well let's start by talking about myself because let's face it; we all like to talk about ourselves.
My name is Beef, I am 29 years old and I am born and raised in New York. My whole life I worked pretty shitty jobs, mostly working in the restaurant industry, cleaning jobs and for a bit in retail. I actually even ran my own juice bar for a little while at a small gym in downtown Brooklyn. For years, I was an employee at so many dead-end jobs that I eventually decided to create my own job. I think it was 2009 when I first came up with the idea for Tanzanite Productions. When I started it, I did not plan to sell merchandise. Initially I came up with the idea to start my own production and promotion company, since then it has evolved into something even bigger and better then I could have ever imagined.
Around this time I had been seeing The Disco Biscuits for about 7 years, I became good friends with the band as well as many other bands in the scene. I really wanted to start throwing my own shows with all these talented musicians. I made a business plan and even business cards, which I think I may have a few still floating around somewhere. After months of planning I started speaking with one of my buddies Zack Katz, he was an artist trying to get some of his work out there. Zack had some cool ideas and we decided to work on an official piece of merchandise for The Disco Biscuits together. We came out with one of the first pins in the scene and to my knowledge we were the first to ever put a pin at a bands official merchandise booth. The piece of merchandise we made ended up being the first ‘Spaga’ pin, it's a simple green dragon with a biscuits symbol on it. This little green dragon ended up being the catalyst (no pun intended for biscuit fans) that would make me dive head first into the clothing and merchandise industry.
After the success of the ‘Spaga’ pin I ended up meeting my soon to be business partner Cody Andrews at Camp Bisco 9. Cody designed and made these awesome custom Camp Bisco 9 basketball jerseys for him and his friends. As soon as I saw them I knew that this was the direction Tanzanite Productions needed to go. I told Cody "I love your idea... Let me turn your idea into a business". I literally abandoned all my ideas for production, promotion and even other pin ideas to work on creating the first Tanzanite Productions basketball jersey with Cody. Since that day he has been the best business partner I could have ever asked for.
After a year of success and failure Cody and I came up with some really good ideas and finally at Camp Bisco 11 the jerseys started to take off. From there we started making some new items and evolving the brand. We did really cool hockey jerseys and ski/snowboard facemasks for the Biscuits run out in Colorado. Since then we have grown out of the Biscuits scene and worked with some really great festivals. Besides doing Camp Bisco 11 and 12 we also sold out of our jerseys at Buku music festival two years in a row. The biggest thing that has happen to us in the past few years is definitely having the opportunity to make merchandise for Lollapalooza. We sold out of our jerseys there and are now looking toward the future.
What inspired you to start Tanzanite Productions?
The same thing that inspires anyone to do anything... I saw a need in the community and wanted to take advantage of that. I saw potential for growth and an opportunity to make money doing the thing I love most...seeing live music. Initially I saw a need for new music and concerts. Around this time The Disco Biscuits were playing some of their best shows but all the other concerts I had been seeing were the same thing over and over. For a while the same bands would play with each other and the same supporting acts at every venue, it was starting to become too similar. My first thought was to get some of these individual musicians and take them out of their bands so they can jam with other people in the scene and even create new side projects. Once I realized how difficult it would be to do all of this I stepped back and started working on some of these merchandise ideas.
Once I started the merchandise, I had the same perspective on it. Basically I saw a need in the community... How many times have you gone to a concert and saw the same shitty t-shirts on sale for $20-30 bucks? It's terrible.... The merchandise scene needed someone to step in and make it about the artwork. I wanted to give life to the design instead of just slapping the bands logo on a t-shirt that is only going to be worn when you go to bed. I saw that opportunity the second I looked at Cody's basketball jersey at Camp 9 and I knew that we needed to seize it.
How many members on part of your team?
Our team is made up of 3 crucial members, Cody, my graphic designer Bruce and myself. Bruce is my rock... I honestly don't know what I would do without him. The funny thing is I have never met Bruce; he lives upstate and I have only conversed with him over text or phone calls. Cody knew Bruce from his hometown and he has been the most valuable member of our team since we started doing the basketball jerseys together. Bruce knows how to take my ideas and put them together into a finished product. He is extremely talented and can take the thoughts right out of my brain and turn them into reality.
Right now we are starting to work with a few new artists and graphic designers, in the past we have done some collaboration with other artists such as the ‘Spaga’ pin design with Zack, we did the Story of the World lockets with my buddy Jack and my friend Sarah made the chains for those. I'm working on a bunch of new items with new artists now but I can't say just yet what we are designing so you guys will just have to wait and see.
What are your most popular products?
Our most popular product is easily our basketball jerseys, they are what we have become known for and are extremely popular during festival season. I have gone to a few festivals wearing a jersey and within a few hundred feet have seen three or four people wearing other jerseys we designed.
How has the company evolved over the years?
Tanzanite Productions is rapidly evolving. We started with the basketball jerseys and slowly started to create new products that haven't really been around the concert merchandise scene. The hockey jersey and facemask combo was a huge hit in Colorado and I still have friends sending me pictures of them riding down the mountain wearing one. We did the Story of the World Lockets and right now we just launched our website which has a bunch of new laser cut wooden jewelry. We just started producing tube tops for the ladies and we are working on a whole line of clothing for guys and girls.
As I said before we are working on a ton of new items right now, I can't reveal them all yet but by the summertime we are going to have a bunch of new clothing items as well as jewelry
You can check out the new jewelry at www.NYTZP.com
Where do you see Tanzanite Productions in five years?
Five years... Man, I find it hard to plan dinner most days...
In five years my hope is to have an entire clothing line as well as jewelry line. Right now we are working on some non-band or festival related clothing. By this summer we are going to release a couple original Tanzanite Productions designs and within five years we should be well established as a full clothing company.
In five years I also hope to be making basketball jerseys and other merchandise for all the major festivals in the United States as well as to go over to Europe and South America and bring my clothing to other countries. I know Lollapalooza has events in South America so that's a good place to start.
What are some festivals or artists that you’d like to create merchandise for?
My heart wants to make merchandise for artists that I love which includes many hip-hop artists. I would love to make some merchandise for Wu-Tang, Action Bronson, Eminem, and some other touring artists; I feel I could help make their merchandise game stronger. Other artists I would like to make merchandise for are ones that have passed away, I would like to contact their families or whomever owns the rights to their name or image and make some tribute clothing. I would love to make clothing for Biggie Smalls, Big L, J Dilla and many more just to spread their name and show respect for amazing artistry.
But we don't always follow our heart so... My wallet wants me to make merchandise for some of these bigger events and EDM festivals... I think the basketball jerseys and our creative designs would be huge sellers at Bonnaroo, SXSW, Ultra Music Festival, Coachella, EDC, Electric Zoo, TomorrowWorld etc., the list goes on and on.
What would you be doing if it weren’t this?
I would not be smiling as much...
Hmm that's a tough one... Before I started doing this full time I had two jobs, I worked at a Pier one imports selling furniture for minimum wage and health benefits and I worked at a pizza place/restaurant doing pretty much everything you can imagine there. At the restaurant I ran the counter, answered phones, did deliveries, waited tables, prepped food, boxes orders and cleaned the place...Sometimes I did all of that at the same time because I was the only one in the whole restaurant working besides the chef...
But a few years ago hurricane Sandy destroyed my hometown of Long Beach, New York. My family was very lucky we didn't lose our house but the whole town was shut down for at least a month or two and I was out of work... I decided I would put all my efforts into Tanzanite Productions full time and I took a month off to rethink my life. I ended up flying out to California for a week and drove back across the country with my best friend, he was moving from California to New York so it was a free trip for me to get away from the destruction in my hometown. After about a month my job asked if I wanted to come back to work... I told them I was across the country and was not going to come back to work. Since then I've been working on Tanzanite Productions full time and building my brand.
I've been in kitchens and cooked pretty much my whole working life so if I wasn't doing this I would probably still be working in the restaurant business. I was very unhappy working for other people and I always knew that I wasn't utilizing any of my potential so I said, "Fuck it" and decided to bet on myself for once.
Who are your favorite bands in the live music scene?
Clearly The Disco Biscuits are my favorite, I would not be who I am today or where I am today without them. They have shaped my life, given me the best friends I could ever ask for and without them Tanzanite Productions wouldn’t even be a thought. I have been seeing them for 12 years and I think 257 shows... But who's counting?
In the live music scene (besides the biscuits) I would say my favorite bands are Electron, Lettuce, Kung Fu, Turkuaz, Lotus, and Disclosure live band...
A lot of funk on there... I really like the organic sounds of Kung Fu and Turkuaz they are some of my favorite to watch during festival season and they are some of the nicest and genuine musicians out there, I highly recommend them to anyone.
Have you always been an entrepreneur?
No but I was always a free thinker... I think for myself and I always question the norm... I hate conformity and I don't like following the crowd. I was never made to fit into the confines of a cubicle and crunch numbers, I'm a thinker and I'm a doer and when I put my mind to it I get shit done. I have always said I was a hustler and a salesman... My dad was a used car dealer growing up; maybe I get it from him. It's also possible that I've always had insomnia and I would stay up until all hours of the night watching infomercials growing up, so now it's engrained in me.
I became en entrepreneur when I started Tanzanite Productions but around the same time I also started another brand called -Hustle Logic ™
I trademarked -Hustle Logic ™ immediately because I knew it would be a brand I needed to expand and since its creation I have thousands of followers and dedicated fans on Instagram and other social media. If you want to look up -Hustle Logic ™ just search the #HustleLogic and you will find me. I won't go into that now we can save that for another interview but eventually I will be selling -Hustle Logic ™ clothing through Tanzanite Productions so stay tuned.
Digital Creations Jewelry
Zach Franck interviewing Rob Scully
Q: When and who established Digital Creations Jewelry?
A: Artist Robert Scully out of Clifton, NJ during August 2012
Q:So the company has only been around a little over a year?
A: Correct, we mostly do custom work
Q: How do you do most of your sales, online or vending?
A: I have vended on numerous occasions throughout the past year but most people do contact me online about custom work.
Q:What are the most common materials that you use for wire-wrapping?
A: For wire I usually use sterling silver, platinum, gold fill, brass and copper & obviously some of the finest crystals that this earth has blessed us with.
Q:Where do you usually obtain your crystals from?
A:I have tons of parcel dealers that I've dealt with, Noah Wells and Rebel Wraps Memphis to name a few, I've also used various gem shops near my location and throughout my travels.
Q: Where can people see some of your stones along with your work?
Q: What is the process of making a custom wire-wrap?
A: I usually ask the customer what they have in mind - stone wise & color wise, I send them pictures of what I have and then we go from there.
Q: Do you make any other type of jewelry?
A: I've made hat pins, pendants, rings, spoons, brooches, hair clips - I've done a lot.
Q: What is the average price-range of your wire-wraps?
A: Well it obviously depends on the type of wire and stones but in the past year I haven't made a piece that is over five-hundred dollars
Q:What is the biggest piece that you have made?
A: I made a wrap for one of my friends that weighed 365 grams.
Q: What truly inspires you to create every day?
A: It honestly relaxes me, it brings me away from everyday life. Once I realized I was capable of wire-wrapping I couldn't stop for a while.
Q:Does music have a big influence on you?
A: Without a doubt, I always have something blasting while I create.
Q: Who are some of your favorite artists?
A:Producer wise I'd have to say Tipper, Chris Jylkke, Orchard Lounge and Disclosure. My favorite bands are The Disco Biscuits, FiKus, Twiddle and Dopapod.
Q:Do you plan on continuing to operate out of New Jersey or do you see yourself moving in the future?
A: "As long as I have a roof over my head and a bench to create on I'm golden brotha"
Q: So what do you see for yourself and your company with-in the next year?
A: The only thing that I can ask for is that I keep receiving tons of love and support which I've been getting so much of, the money means nothing because I love what I do and I love seeing people wear jewelry that's created by me, it's an amazing feeling.
Zach Franck interviewing Walker Rice
Q:What was the original goal for Lifted Creations?
A: My original goal for Lifted Creations was to produce art for bands that I love to allow me to travel throughout the county on my off time from school. I wanted to have a way to legally fund all of my traveling and musical endeavors without being stuck at a 9-5 job.
Q: Why did you create this type of company?
A: In Novemeber 2011 when the idea of Lifted Creations became a reality, I decided that the market for the products I wanted to sell was still not overcrowded and I knew I could become very successful at what I wanted to achieve.
Q:How did all the pieces fall into place?
A: I produced my first pin for a 2 night Lotus run in Baltimore, Maryland back in November 2011. After the success of my first design, I instantly realized that what I had going had lots of potential to be great. I dedicated every minute that I was not in the classroom to working to make Lifted Creations bigger and better. I began heavily trying to establish my brand throughout the country via both word of mouth and social media. I proceeded to make designs for events for the next several months and saved money for my move to Denver, CO. In May 2012, my girlfriend (Presley Mullinax) and I moved to Denver to pursue our dreams. We have been living out here ever since and things have only continued to get better.
Q:What products does Lifted Creations currently carry?
A: We currently offer a little something for everyone. We are in the process of clearing out our summer inventory to bring in an all new fall/winter selection. Our catalog currently contains patches, lapel pins, hoodies, t-shirts, hats, gem and minerals, jewelry, zipper pulls, etc.
Q:How do you do most of your sales? Online or vending?
A:We do a fair share of both. I love the convenience of internet shopping but going out and meeting people face to face is one of the best parts about my job. I love interacting with people who share the same love of music and art that I do.
Q:Where do you usually obtain your wire-wrapped jewelry from?
A: We try to mix it up and support as many artists in the community as we can. We feel that is very important to keep our cash within the community. Some of our favorite wire-wrappers are: Zac Cobb, Ben Claus, Buddy Austin, etc.
Q:Where can people see your work and products?
A: We post on our Facebook ALOT. This is where we predominately do most of our new releases, free giveaways, product launch information, etc. We also have a blog on our website that we are still in the process of updating.
Q:What truly inspires you to do this?
A: I think there are two things that truly drive me to do this: the music and the people. I love making people happy especially through art. Its a way to entertain myself and also express my love for these bands and artists.
Q:Does music have a big influence on you?
A: Music is my MAIN influence when doing this. I love exploring new genres of music and discovering new artists to inspire me while creating art for my customers.
Q:Who are some of your favorite artists?
A: The String Cheese Incident, Lotus, The Disco Biscuits, Furthur, The New Deal, Twiddle
Q:Do you plan on continuing to operate out of CO for a while?
A: There has been some talks about moving out further west but we just got a new home in CO so I do not see myself going anywhere anytime soon.
Q:Where do you see Lifted Creations in a year?
A: I hope to have expanded to even bigger and better merchandise. I am currently working on a few new artists series with some of the best artists in the world. Keep an eye peeled over the next few weeks for some AMAZING new drops!!
Q:What have been some of your biggest achievements so far? Lets say 'Top 5'
A:I would have to say my top 5 achievements would be the ones listed below (they are not in any particular order)
1.) Working with some of my favorite bands on official merchandise (i.e. The Disco Biscuits, Lotus, etc.)
2.) Working with some artists like Alex and Allyson Grey, Luke Brown, Kurt Redeker, Android Jones, and other artists who's work has been a huge inspiration for me since day one.
3.) Having an opportunity to team up with some of the biggest music festivals in our scene like Wakarusa and Camp Bisco and being able to create designs and merch for them.
4.) Establishing such a loyal customer fan base because without our customers we would not be able to do this day in and day out. If we did not get the support that we get from all of you on a regular basis, there would be no Lifted Creations. So a special thank you goes out to each and everyone of you for helping keep my dream alive!
5.) Being able to make a name for myself within the community and to be recognized for some of the handwork and dedication I put into Lifted Creations. That means the most to me to see someone's face when they get a new piece of my art.
Since our move to CO we have had the pleasure of meeting some off the most inspirational people in our scene. We have done production and design with/for multiple big names including:
Wakarusa Music Festival
Camp Bisco Music Festival
The Disco Biscuits
The Magic Beans
Spring Pickin Music Festival
Alex and Allyson Grey