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EP17: Drumeo - Making Music Education Online as Easy as Netflix

July 13th, 2018

Taking online lessons for anything requires a lot of self-discipline, especially since your online instructor can’t necessarily hold you accountable like an in-person instructor can.  But what if the platform allowed you to interact with your celebrity-level teachers and your fellow students in order to help keep you on track and provide encouragement?
 
Musora is the parent company of online education platforms Drumeo, Guitareo, Pianote, and Recordeo, but its story begins with the birth of Drumeo. In 2002, Jared Falk was a (patient) drum instructor, yet found it frustrating to try and teach the same thing over and over again to each new student he brought on.  One of his students at the time was a bit of a tech guy, so they decided to try shooting a video at home to help educate drum students online.
 
The incredible success of their first video (roughly 12,000 downloads in a time before easy video platforms existed and dial-up internet was still more popular than high-speed) proved to them that there was potentially a large market for online music instruction.
 
Over the years, Drumeo became a powerhouse platform for new and veteran drummers alike, allowing students to either learn new chops or brush up on their skills.  As time went on, instructional videos started to feature more and more top players in the industry, allowing students to learn first hand from their favorite drummers.
 
This success was later repeated with the launch of Guitareo for guitar players, Pianote for piano players, and now Recordeo, a newly launched platform for the home recording engineer that made its debut in late spring 2018.
 
Jared Falk, President of Musora, joins us in this episode to share the story behind how his Netflix of online music education started as a simple video shoot in a barn, their mission to bring affordable musical instrument and technical education to the world, and what it’s like to work with some of the industry’s top names and biggest A-players to bring quality material to their students.
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EP16: Flattley Guitar Pedals - Creating Highly Personalized, Handmade Custom Guitar Pedals in the UK

July 6th, 2018

What do aviation avionics and guitar pedals have in common? Paul Flattley, of course!
 
Achieving perfection in sound, quality, and personalization can be quite the daunting task when it comes to making custom guitar pedals, but when perfection is basically a requirement when you’re working in the aviation avionics industry, the idea becomes second nature and way easier if it’s something you’ve already been doing for 30 years.
 
Flattley Guitar Pedals is a small family run company in the Southwest of England.  Each pedal they make is individually created by hand, given a personalized touch, and rigorously tested until it meets their very high standards.  On top of that, most models can be fitted with a halo light plate with your choice of LED color. Can you imagine a guitar pedal being any more uniquely tailored to each player than that?
 
Their range of guitar effects pedals are used all over the world by many artists who were looking for that perfect high-quality sound. Paul prides himself on building individually hand wired effect pedals that were inspired by a lifetime of playing guitar and a background in electronics.  
 
Paul Flattley, owner and builder of Flattley Guitar Pedals, joins us in this episode to share how he made the jump from his long-time career in avionics to custom built guitar pedals, what it’s like working with his wife and daughter on this small family business, and his goals for expanding his distribution into other parts of the world, including the United States (heads up US-based retailers!).
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EP15: Beier Drums - Custom Snare Drums from the Land of Beer and Cheese

June 29th, 2018

Getting a compliment on the way you look can always make your day. But getting a compliment on the way your drum sounds when that person has never even seen the actual product but knows it right away in a crowded, noisy venue? That might be the best kind of compliment of all.
 
Making a snare drum that over delivers on sound quality is far from easy, but it’s also not that difficult when you have the passion and know in your mind exactly the sound you want to achieve. This passion and attention to sound quality is apparent in every snare drum that Beier Drums makes.
 
What else did we learn during this episode? The once-popular 15” snare drum had somehow all but disappeared from the music scene during the mid-20th century (before my time), being replaced by the now mostly standard 14” model.  However, just because something is standard doesn’t always mean it’s a good thing!
 
Jim Beier, owner of Beier Drums in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin (we dare you to try and pronounce that!), joins us in this episode to share his story of how he started Beier Drums in 2010, why he currently focuses on only snare drums and sound quality, why he's on a mission to revive the 15" snare drum, and what it’s like to operate a one-man snare drum operation.
 
On a final note, if you can’t remember how to spell “Beier”, just put an “i” in the middle of the word “beer”.  Voila! :)
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EP14: SJC Drums - Custom Drums as Unique as the Drummers that Play Them

June 22nd, 2018

Every business on the planet has a story that starts with humble beginnings.  Some companies are created with well-intentioned goals, while some are formed by accident out of a passion or hobby. Some start in fancy business incubators while some start in garages or grandma’s basement.
 
This is definitely one of those “hobbies in grandma’s basement” kind of stories. 
 
SJC Drums initially began as a hobby by Scott and Mike Ciprari out of their grandmother’s basement in 2000.  What began as a basic operation of refurbishing and painting old drum sets has turned into a company that still prides itself on crafting high-quality drums that are custom to each drummer’s unique needs. Their tagline “Built with Passion, Played with Pride” is reflected in every product they make and every drummer that has the privilege of playing them.
 
They have built their brand around the quality of their products, the passion they have for building and playing them, the community of drummers and builders they have cultured and nurtured, and the pride they take in going the extra mile for all their drummers, from local players to major headliners.
 
Co-founding brother and CEO Mike Ciprari joins us in this episode to talk about what it was like growing up and working with his brother Scott, watching him refurbish and build drums, what the journey has been like to create what is now a 5-time winner of the Best Custom Drum Company, and how it feels to now call SJC home to major players like Tre Cool of Green Day, Jay Weinberg of Slipknot, and Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots.
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EP13: Audiofusion - Using Wi-Fi to Turn Your Mobile Device into a Wireless Monitoring System

June 15th, 2018

Musicians love their wireless in-ear monitoring systems. It gives them the freedom to move around the stage without worrying about tripping over extra cables or getting tangled while playing. 
 
But did you ever stop to think why you need to have a separate wireless monitor system when you already have an extremely powerful computer in your other pocket?
 
The guys at Audiofusion did, and after four years of development and testing, they are on the verge of bringing their technology and first products to market.
 
Audiofusion is pro-audio software for your laptop that turns your smartphone and tablet into wireless receivers for your in-ear monitors, thus getting rid of one extra bulky pack hanging on your belt. 
 
And since it’s software-based, it gives each musician individual control over their own mix and takes away the requirement of being at the mercy of your monitor mix and always asking the sound guy to adjust what you hear.
 
The Audiofusion family is made up of three software products:
 
  • SoundCaster: The centerpiece of the Audiofusion Wireless Personal Monitoring System, which recognizes each audio channel from any connected digital mixer, audio interface or other audio device. It is meant to run on a Macbook at the main sound board.
  • Performer: This is the in-ear monitoring app for your iOS device. It receives the real-time audio over Wi-Fi and plays it through your ear phones. It also acts as a complete monitor mixer, giving you complete control over the sound in your ears.
  • Director: The Director app works best on an iPad and allows you to assign labels, icons and positions to your band, creating a visual stage plot that works alongside SoundCaster and Performer.
 
Brandon Leafblad, co-founder of Audiofusion, joins us in this episode to talk about how he and a friend were inspired to pursue the concept of real-time audio over Wi-Fi and share his vision of how he hopes to license Audiofusion technology to other companies to expand the use of real-time audio over Wi-Fi and help transform the live audio industry.
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EP12: Wampler Pedals - Achieving World Class Guitar Tones Through Experimentation

June 8th, 2018

If you’re a guitar player, you already know there is an endless array of available guitar pedals on the market today that seems to provide any sound or tone you are looking for. 
 
But what if there isn’t?  What if you still can’t find that perfect tone that you resonate with? Do you settle for the closest thing? Or do you take matters into your own hands?
 
Brian Wampler, CEO of Wampler Pedals, decided to take matters into his own hands.  Over a decade ago, he realized he just could not find the tones he was longing for.  So instead of being unhappy with stock tones, he started educating himself on electronics and tweaking and modifying existing pedals in an attempt to achieve the tones he kept hearing in his head.
 
Eventually, all of the modifying in the world wasn’t able to produce the tones he knew to be true to himself, so he started making brand new pedal designs from scratch that didn’t sound like anything on the market.  As a result, Wampler Pedals was born.
 
Brian joins us in this episode of Behind the Backline to share his story, from humble beginnings to full fledge production of his original designed boutique pedals, and his thoughts on where his industry is going and how his education background shines a light on what’s wrong with today’s education system for students who need to be properly nurtured and allowed to innovate and explore their creativity from a young age.
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EP11: Blipblox - Encouraging the Future of Music Through Creativity and Audio Exploration

June 1st, 2018

These days it seems like there is an early learning process or product for everything, and it keeps targeting children at a younger and younger age. Except for the keyboard and “touch and learn” type educational toys for kids, there never seemed to be anything that truly developed a child’s imagination or nurtured their love of music and audio creation. Until now.
 
Introducing the Blipblox, a synthesizer and beatbox designed to promote creativity and audio exploration for children as young as 3 years old.  With its professional features and nearly endless ability to create new sounds, it’s a product that grows with you and works for adults as well!
 
Troy Sheets, founder and inventor, joins us in this episode to talk about what the Blipblox is, who it’s for, why he felt inspired to pursue and create it, and how it might be considered a good “gateway drug” for future musicians and producers.
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EP10: SMASHmouse - Giving You the Power to Kick It to Click It!

May 25th, 2018

As technology and music continue to mesh and evolve, musicians sometimes find themselves in new and awkwardly frustrating situations. For example, when attempting to learn to play the guitar, while watching video lessons, and trying to play or record on the computer, it can feel like we’re expected to grow another limb just to be able to manage all of the fancy new ways we need to multi-task.
 
With SMASHmouse, there’s no need for a third arm. Just add your feet! Robb Dillon, inventor of SMASHmouse, saw the need for a better solution to these simple yet familiar challenges. Now you can use your foot to control software and other applications on digital devices, allowing you to keep on playing without the headaches!
 
Robb joins us in this episode to share his story behind SMASHmouse, how it can help musicians now, and how the technology and ideas behind SMASHmouse can easily be adapted in the future for other applications, including gaming and assistive technology for those with special needs when controlling digital devices.
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EP9: Frettable - Combining Artificial Intelligence with Songwriting

May 18th, 2018

Writing a song entirely by ear on your guitar and having a robot turn it into sheet music for you: sounds a bit like science fiction right?
 
Now with Frettable, the future is here! Frettable is a new app for your smart phone or tablet that allows you to record your music and get it automatically analyzed and transformed into sheet music.  Behind the app is a powerful, advanced AI engine that will immediately write the sheet music for you to save and print. It’s truly polyphonic, handling both notes and chords. Tabs are also generated for guitar and other stringed instruments.
 
Founder, guitarist, and music AI expert Greg Burlet joins us in this episode to share his story about how he created Frettable, why he was inspired to develop it, and how it is making an impact on the songwriting industry.
 
Currently, Frettable supports electric guitar, vocals, trumpet, trombone, tuba, french horn, saxophone, clarinet, flute, oboe, recorder, english horn and bassoon.  However, more instruments will be supported soon.
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EP8: The Drum Wallet - Expanding Your Drum Sounds with the Flick of a Stick

May 11th, 2018

Every drummer in the world has their own unique way of setting up their drums, tuning their heads, and voicing their opinions on what sounds best and why. From those who love to over-muffle their kits to the purists who prefer getting a drum to sound the best it can without adding rings, gels or other unnecessary sound-altering products, the variations and range of sounds is almost endless.
 
Luckily, any drummer out there doesn’t have to settle for just one sound during a whole set or a whole song any longer. Enter the Drum Wallet and the Pocket Watch!
 
For generations drummers have attempted to alter their drum’s sound before muffling product were even available, using items like their wallet, pocket watch, and now even cellphones to give their sound a quick fix.  The Drum Wallet and the Pocket Watch are simple, yet powerful products that hang from your drum and give you the option to flick it onto to the drum or flip if off to change the sound whenever it feels right.
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