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INDIE MUSICIAN SPOTLIGHT by Mark E. Waterbury
INDIE ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
| ARTIST NAME: Jack Foster III
MUSICAL GENRE: Progressive/art/pop rock
BIRTH PLACE: Honolulu, HI
CURRENT RESIDENCE: San Francisco area
YEARS INMUSIC BIZ: 2 years
WEB SITE: http://www.muse-wrapped.com
CDS SOLD: 1000
FAN BASE SIZE: 1000
MM: You became professionally involved in the music biz about two years ago. What inspired you to do so at that time?
JF: I was a music major in college and played in a lot of rock bands in high school and college. I did the usual for awhile, played the club scene and made some money, but not enough to make a real living, so I went into real estate. Then two years ago a friend of mine died. And I was still writing songs. I never stopped writing songs. I just realized, why am I not more seriously pursuing something I really love to do? Because life is getting too short.
MM: Is that how your first CD Evolution Of the Jazzraptor came about?
JF: That's how it happened. Almost everything on that album I had written previously. It was just a matter of actualizing the songs. Some of them changed a bit and some had lyrics only, such as Lucifer's Rat. That was the one song that Trent (Gardner) did the music to.
MM: Was Trent Gardner one of the driving forces behind getting ...Jazzraptor going?
JF: Definitely. I tried on my own before to work on production for different songs, and I took a look at them and thought, this sucks! What Trent really did was bring a level of professionalism into the project. I met him through music and we played a couple of casual gigs together with an R&B band. I started talking to him and told him I had written a lot of music, and he took some interest in hearing some songs. I sent him rough demos of about thirty songs, and he thought it was really cool and something he wanted to take part in.
MM: Once you had ...Jazzraptor finished, what did you do to market it?
JF: I started a web site called jazzraptor.com and put the CD up for sale there and did very little else to market it. I sold about fifty of them and then realized that I had to do something more to get this out there. So I sent the album to different progressive rock labels, and Musea Records from France liked what they heard, picked up the album and started releasing it in Europe. That is where most of the sales came from with that album.
MM: When you decided to record the follow-up album, was that also comprised of songs you had previously written or did you write more songs specifically for it?
JF: It was a combination. I used some of the songs left off the first album that I felt were worthy of being published. I have a songwriting partner I met on line in 1998 named Melanie Myers. She is a lyricist who helped with four songs on the first album, and likewise with about four on the second album, Raptorgnosis. So some were previously written, but for some of the other songs, I started reading about Gnostic Christianity on line. I grew up Presbyterian and had kind of abandoned the church because it didn't make much sense to me. When I started reading about Gnostic Christianity, I liked what I read - the thought not being about any particular belief but about something bigger than that. So some of the songs reflect that interest. I worry that some people may take it too seriously because it was something I was fascinated with, but I don't really want to preach to people about any particular religion or belief.
MM: Beyond the lyrical subjects, do you feel the style of the music itself makes it very accessible to the listener?
JF: Sure. The first album was mainly sending demos to Trent who sort of put sketches of the songs together, and then we would go into the studio and actualize the sketch. With Raptorgnosis, I would take an idea or theme or the whole song, and we would get in together as a whole band. Robert (Berry), Trent and I would put the whole song together, and that created a more coherent, unified sound. It's more of a band working together on a project, and as a result a band sound develops from it.
MM: What are you doing differently with your marketing plan for Raptorgnosis compared to what you did with the first album?
JF: The biggest difference is that I formed a record label called Muse-Wrapped Records, with other artists on it and distribution. We hired professional promotion people for PR and radio, and I have treated it more seriously in regard to how the music business works. I would also love to get out and tour. I have my PR person talking to some people about possibly touring with me that I could open up for. I would like to get out and do maybe ten stops regionally, and if that goes well and the album starts taking off, I would like to do more than that.
MM: With starting your own label, do you think that is a better strategy these days considering the current music business climate?
JF: The music business is definitely changing, and a lot of people are speculating about how it is changing. One of the things we are trying to figure out is how we can help other indie labels and content owners as to how they can sell their music themselves. We also started a company called Hipsolve Media which is about to release an on-line template that allows people to set up their own digital download store quickly, easily and cheaply. It would be linked to their web sites and when sales happen the money goes straight to their bank accounts.
MM: You talked about really getting back into this about two years ago because you wanted to do something you really loved to do. Do you already at this point feel you made the right decision?
JF: It hasn't been lucrative yet. (Laughs) I have really enjoyed doing this. It has been a fun project, and I think the result musically has been great. It's been above and beyond everyone's musical expectations, including my own, and when people hear it they tend to be blown away by it. So I think there are some good things that have happened with it and I have been happy with the results so far.
MM: Do you think this is going to be successful as far as your definition of success goes, and what do you think it will take to achieve that success?
JF: In some ways, it is already successful because I have been real happy with the music. As far as financial success is concerned, that is going to be a little tougher because I am not really sure how that is all going to come together if it comes together. But it iskind of fun trying to figure all of that out.
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Copyright 2005 by Music Morsels,
a Serge Entertainment Publication.
Editor: Sandy Serge
Mark E. Waterbury, Scott Turner
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