Interview With Bluekarma
Ohioan Band With Their Sights Set Far Beyond The Wild Blue Yonder
Jeremy Watson [22y] Lead Vocals/Guitar
Jason Watson [27y] Drums/Vocals
Jacob Esterline [22y] Guitar/Vocals
Nathan Corder [25y] - Bass
Seeing their dream beginning to present itself as reality, this young upstart band from Middleton, Ohio, captured the hearts and imaginations of the local music scene, noted the Dayton Daily News, when seemingly out of nowhere the band was crowned the 1999 Dayton Band Playoff Champions.
Inundated with a tidal wave of press recognition, in addition to their music being showcased by many of the local radio stations, the much-needed doorways began to open for the band in the greater Dayton and Cincinnati areas. It was their quick footwork that finally provided them their long awaited chance to demonstrate their explosive energy and charisma that accompanies their now established musical talents to a larger audience. They played venue after venue, gaining notoriety, as well as building a growing, strong and devoted fan following.
Their philosophy is to keep emotion a top priority in their music. Hence the raw, emotional and passionate context that personally touches their audience members, who feel somehow that it is uniquely related just to them, regardless of their age.
Their musical persona: a solid, hard rock foundation, multi-layered with variations in pop, alternative and metal. Their tight musicianship is empowered by the solid, sultry and beautifully executed vocal stylings of front man Jeremy, whose passionate delivery is drawn forth from a deeply rooted inner sense of conviction. The proverbial icing on this delectable cake is the vocal accompaniment that Jacob [guitarist] and Jason [drummer] provide with their melodic harmonizing. To find a band that embraces harmonizing is a rarity in itself, let alone a band that can successfully execute this within their musical expression. Their musical sound is radio friendly, having the potential to cross more than one market. It has the capability of appealing to a rather unique, as well as a large listening audience [early teens, mid twenties-early thirties, also capturing a select few in the upper thirties-early forties bracket].
Since mid 2000, the band has worked closely under the expert guidance of Rosemary Carroll from the very reputable law firm of Codikow, Carroll, Guido, and Groffman. This firm is well known for representing prominent artists such as Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, NIN, Ben Harper, plus many more, with offices in New York and Los Angeles.
In 2000 they took their music on the road for the first time and focused on the very reputable venue within the New York City music scene, CBGB, where they had multiple performances. They returned in April of 2001, giving an explosive performance once more at CBGB, the very night that Fred Schneider of the B-52s, and David Sestak of Media Five Management [most noted for the band Fuel] happened to be in attendance. Schneider is quoted as saying "fantastic band!," with comments from Sestak in reference to Jacob's ability and the band in general, "incredible guitar work especially for his age. Keep them in front of A&R, [and] they'll get signed." During November and December of 2001, Bluekarma once more hit the road, this time on the South/Southwest Tour opening for '80s guru, Warrant, in Dallas, and performing live on "Good Morning America" TVTK, Channel-3 in Arizona, and performances that included both Los Angeles and Hollywood at the 'Gig'.
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The band has risen in just a few short years from that 'garage band' savvy to a matured focused group of very capable musicians, developing their own unique brand of heavy on guitar work, modern rock, and garnering a die hard fan following because of that hard work. Their self-promotion, and expert guidance has provided the band with excellent opportunities, performing with many prominent artists since January of this year, including Zwan, NonPoint, Trapt, Manmade God, and Evanessence. On September 7, the band had the honor of opening the sold-out benefit concert known as Farm Aid. Artists that were on this year's lineup include Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Brooks & Dunn, Sheryl Crow, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Trick Pony. This event was broadcast live on C.M.T. [County Music Television], showcasing their music to millions of viewers.
Bluekarma has taken steps forward to work with producer Freddie Wall, recording their first major project late December '03 in Nashville, Tennessee, at the infamous Dark Horse Recording Studios. This project should be the finaî signature in ink for the band in obtaining that 'not-so' elusive major label deal. Just another new chapter for the band on what looks to be a very promising career; not too bad for this young Ohioan upstart band. Get ready music world, Bluekarma has vowed to bring a fresh new sound [rock music that grooves] to this tired music scene of present aka the same old stuff!
[Paula Wilson] What inspired you to pursue a career in the music industry?
Jason Watson As a kid, the sounds and emotions that came from some of my favorite bands made me want to give the same thing back. So growing up that's what really motivated me to want to be in a band. Now it's just taken off and there's no turning back. Music is magical.
Nathan Corder Being in band in middle and high school helped me realize early on what I wanted to do and that music itself is something other than just sound.
Jacob Esterline I'm sure that I have thought of many philosophical answers to such a broad and vague question over the 8 years of the band, so I will just say this: As a kid, I was always told I was going to college, get a degree, and settle down with a family. At the age of 13, I decided to play the guitar. I'm not in college.
Jeremy Watson Growing up with music in my life, is the only thing that has ever made my life make sense. So I have always wanted to make other people feel the power in music that I have felt. The music industry seemed to me the best way to bring our music to the people and spread it world wide for everyone to feel.
[Paula Wilson] Who do you attribute your musical influences to stem from, groups such as:
Bluekarma We all have our own influences, but that is too hard of an answer. Our list: Beatles, the Who, the Doors, the Toadies, Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, the Police, U2, R.E.M., Tori Amos, Candlebox, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Radiohead, Coldplay, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana, STP, NIN, The Verve, Bad Company, Counting Crows, Smashing Pumpkins, Janes Addiction, Tool, and many more.
[Paula Wilson] Individual artists such as:
Bluekarma Neil Young, James Taylor, the Boss, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Prince, Micheal Jackson, Otis Redding, etc.
[Paula Wilson] If you could as a group share the stage with one of your musical inspirations, whom would you most like to do this with, and why?
Bluekarma U2; to look out and have thousands of people singing together
[Paula Wilson] What musical instruments can you play and at what age did you start?
Nathan Corder Electric and acoustic guitars at age 9, alto tenor & baritone saxes starting at 11, bass clarinet at 12, French horn at 13 and electric bass guitar at 13.
Jacob Esterline I started piano lessons at 5, and stopped at age 12. I took guitar lessons for almost a year.
Jason Watson Trumpet age 10-12, Drums age 15.
Jeremy Watson I can only play guitar and only took two to three months of lessons. Jacob helped out a great deal on the guitar when I started out because he started out before me and was a big reason why I play. I started when I was 14.
[Paula Wilson] Tell me about the history of the group: together how long, and you know each other how?
Bluekarma Okay, this one's simple: 5 3/4 years. Jeremy and Jason have known each other a long time, maybe their whole live, because they are brothers. Jacob, Jeremy and Nathan went to high school together.
[Paula Wilson] How did you come up with band name, any significance in the name choice?
Bluekarma There are many different answers, none of which deals with the extreme obsession with the color blue. In the end, the consensus was that it was the best one of the long list we made when we were young. Bluekarma is much better than the Swedish Death Monkey Machine.
[Paula Wilson] Does each member have a specific function they carry out for the band, besides the obvious musical and vocal positions?
Bluekarma Jason starts the bar tab, Jeremy and Jacob usually make the set lists, and Nathan ... wait we don't know what Nathan does. Oh, he drives and parks the van and trailer. In his last life Nathan was a bus driver.
[Paula Wilson] What one immediate goal as a band do you have NOW?
Bluekarma To get record deal that would allow us to live on ham sandwiches so we can spread our music like a disease.
[Paula Wilson] Where do you see the band in one year's time from NOW?
Bluekarma On a supportive label, out on tour with a new album. Still trying get another date at CBCG's.
[Paula Wilson] What is the overall goal for the band?
Bluekarma Eventually become the biggest band in the universe; then shoe the shoeless.
[Paula Wilson] How many CDs do you have under your belts, list them by name/year for me?
Bluekarma Demo '98
"Untouched Theory" [single] '99
Into the Dawn [live album] '00
The Communication '01
[Paula Wilson] Where can CDs be purchased?
Bluekarma The Communication is distributed through Orchard [so most on-line stores]. The new demo will be released in the next few months. The others are unavailable.
[Paula Wilson] The band has had some major opportunities, i.e. playing with Trapt, NonPoint, Zwan, and most recently Farm Aid. How was that hooked up?
Bluekarma We've had some connections with booking people at their respective venues.
[Paula Wilson] Any positive or negative feedback from either the bands, publicists, A/R types on these shows?
Bluekarma Purely positive. Especially from the band members of the national acts we've opened for, and their fans.
[Paula Wilson] So how did it feel to play with bands of that caliber?
Bluekarma It's a dream come true, but somehow feels so 'natural'.
[Paula Wilson] Tell me also about this Alice Cooper connection to Arizona I first read about in your press kit?
Bluekarma It kinda started at a gig we had at the Cleveland Hard Rock Cafe. Alice Cooper had a concert at a large venue earlier their that evening, and his band came to the Hard Rock after their show. They asked if it was OK if they play some songs before us. We turned them down. Three weeks later, while on tour, en route to L.A., we stopped in Phoenix for a morning TV show, "Good Morning Arizona," to do a live remote. Mr. Cooper was the guest Chef, making his famous Christmas pudding and/or cookies. We had the opportunity to meet him that fine morning.
[Paula Wilson] I can't believe you actually told Alice Cooper's band no. That takes some big, well you know. I'm curious how the band responded to you what were your reasons?
Bluekarma Well, it's deeper than just telling them a straight up the Hard Rock Cafe was our first big
gig and we were proud of ourselves for playing it. When Alice Cooper's band asked us if they could
play a few songs before we go on, they would have totally stole the lime light off of us. The crowd
would have never wanted them to leave the stage and would have been pissed if/when we went on.
There were no hard feelings. After all they did just play a sold out show at Gund Arena.
[Paula Wilson] Since we are speaking about shows and being on tour, tell me more about the tour?
Bluekarma The tour was an amazing experience, to travel the countryside and live on the road in our van and trailer.
[Paula Wilson] What cities?
Bluekarma New York, Nashville, Dallas, Little Rock, El Paso, Phoenix, Tucson, LA, Bloomington and Ft.
Wayne Indiana, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. There are probably more, but we can't remember.
[Paula Wilson] Any financially backing?
Bluekarma We lived on what we made on the shows. We ended up breaking even when it was all said and done.
[Paula Wilson] Who booked the shows; some were in fairly large venues, how was this accomplished?
Bluekarma We had a string of Hard Rock Cafe dates we our tour was built around, and our manager at that time set it up.
[Paula Wilson] How was the response from the clubs, bands, and their local fans?
Bluekarma All positive. Bar managers seem to like us for some reason.
[Paula Wilson] Any new tours in the works?
Bluekarma We're tentatively working on a regional tour.
[Paula Wilson] Speaking of your former manager, the band also has legal representation, and a publicist. How did this come about?
Bluekarma We built Primordial Management. Rosemary Carrol saw us at CBGB's. Annie O'Hayan (publicist) was recommended to us by Rosemary.
[Paula Wilson] How does this affect the band financially?
Bluekarma It doesn't. Not yet anyways.
[Paula Wilson] What is the focus presently with your group on the whole?
Bluekarma Writing new material, new out of state markets, and our upcoming recording in December.
[Paula Wilson] I noticed when I first met you that the band did not have a street or online team, which is so unusual today. I was curious why?
Bluekarma We did at one time, but they were more trouble [brought drama] than they were a blessing.
[Paula Wilson] So, do you get help locally from any source?
Bluekarma Dedicated fans.
[Paula Wilson] We need to let the readers/fans know that we are now again actively recruiting for both a local street team, as well as an on line team.
Bluekarma Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested, have any ideas and/or questions.
[Paula Wilson] Any personal message from the band to the readers in closing?
Bluekarma Some advice: "Don't let a guitarist back up the trailer; its only rock n roll but we like it. Well that's about it, we need to keep some small amount of mystery about us.
Conclusion: This band has all the necessary ingredients: lyrical and musical writing genius, excellent musicianship, beautiful vocals, an abundance of charisma, stage presence, a well developed and focused business agenda, maturity, plenty of ambition and drive, plus their very supportive network of family and friends, to not only make it, but stay on top of today's music industry. For show schedules, merchandise, downloads, or to join the band's mailing list, please go to their website: www.bluekarma.com