Matt Rowe of MusicTap recently interviewed Anji Bee for a feature on the newly revamped music site. Entitled, Quality Time With Anji Bee of Lovespirals and Chillcast, the piece goes into some depth about Anji’s thoughts on the current state of music while looking into the origins of her Chillcuts Digital label, the creation of her new The Chillcast with Anji Bee: 5 Years of Chillin’ compilation, and how she selects music for her weekly podcast, The Chillcast with Anji Bee.
Matt has been a long time supporter of Anji’s band, Lovespirals. He featured the duo in 2006 with his MusicTap piece, Honey and Cool Jazz ‘n’ Rock: An Interview with Ryan Lum and Anji Bee of Lovespirals.
Here’s just an excerpt from the interview:
Music has gone through so many changes over the decades. Do you feel that this generation of music provides enough in styles to help those caught in a decade of preference?
First of all, what people need to realize is that there is a whole world of music that is not being played on the radio or TV. I get all the music I can handle and then some strictly from the Internet. And the variety of music available on the Internet is more vast that you can even imagine. Its truly staggering how much great music is out there when you start searching for it.
What do you look for in a band that sends music across your desk? What do you listen for?
The music needs to strike certain chords for me; I want to feel it in my gut. It could be a tear jerking lyric/vocal, or it could be a booty-shaking bassline/groove. It could be a gorgeous melody played on keyboard or guitar, or an amazing vocal harmony. It could simply be a really sweet string pad or a sitar hook — who knows? But I think there’s generally an element of authenticity in expression that I’m seeking. That’s what is wholly missing in the pop music industry. I want to feel what the artist was feeling when they were creating the song. I need to be drawn into that little world and feel immersed in it. Hearing a really sincere song is a bit like falling in love for me. Obviously not every song on the show can have that strong of an impact on me, but the more of them I can find and string together for a set, the better the show is.
What needs to change as we move forward into an uncharted world of music?
From my perspective, I’d say what needs to change is the perception of music listeners. The major labels have been attempting to convince people that the only music of importance is the stuff that they push down our throats via their multi-media corporate conglomerates. They’d like everyone to believe that all independent music on the Internet is just crap created by half-assed noobs playing around with free software. But that is simply not the case at all. If you put some time into music discovery online, you’ll find a whole new world of incredible music just waiting for you!
<a href=”http://anjibee.bandcamp.com/album/5-years-of-chillin-compilation” _mce_href=”http://anjibee.bandcamp.com/album/5-years-of-chillin-compilation”>5 Years of Chillin’ by Anji Bee</a>
Come enter Sony’s ACID Planet remix contest for Lovespirals! Remix the duo’s song, “Feel So Good,” from the 2010 album, Future Past. Download a zip file with a folder of official song stems including Anji Bee‘s main and backing vocals (both dry and with Leslie Rotary Speaker effect) and Ryan Lum‘s phased electric guitar, Fender P bassline, and Hammond organ line, plus a folder of 20 Sony bonus loops consisting of “Organ Donor” organ lines and “What Is It” basslines. Sony is also offering a free download of ACID Express which contestants can use to create a remix if they like. One grand prize winner will receive a copy of ACID Pro, 5 ACID loop libraries and all 4 Lovespirals albums on CD, plus the opportunity to be included on a new remix single for “Feel So Good.” Get started now, you’ve got until December 28th to enter!
Buy “Feel So Good” from Future Past on iTunes
Check out Lovespirals on MixCloud for a great collection of streaming audio interviews, radio features, and DJ mixes from the band’s vault. Included in the set thus far is the first-ever interview with Ryan and Anji by Sean Flinn for the short-lived RadioSpy site from 2000, Lovespirals first in-studio radio interview with DJ Carolee of A Strange Choice of Favorites on KPSU in Portland, OR in 2002, Anji’s first international phone-in interview with Iohann Rashi of Frequencias Alternas on Radio Universidad de Puerto Rico from 2002, as well as parts 1 and 2 of an Anji Bee DJ set for the show Glissando – also on Radio Universidad – from 2002, and another radio interview with Anji Bee from 2002 by Tom Schulte for the Outsight Radio Hours. More audio programs will be added as we locate them, so please check back again later. If you enjoy the shows, be sure to post them to your Twitter, Facebook, Digg, or StumbleUpon accounts via the site’s handy “share” function or embed the audio directly onto your own sites with their cool widgets, like these:
Austin Beeman graciously invited band vocalist, Anji Bee, to guest host a special episode of his new chillout music podcast. Music For Midnight Episode #13 is a spotlight on Lovespirals, and in particular, the many remixes of Lovespirals found on the Podsafe Music Network. Anji comments between tracks about how the various remixes came into being and how the band feel about remixes of their music. Austin closes out the show with his personal favorite remix, the awesome Karmacoda Remix of “Motherless Child.” Download show mp3 from iTunes
Stream Music for Midnight #13: Lovespirals Remixes
April 2, 2008: 100% PodSafe Edition, iProng Magazine Artist Feature
For someone who isn’t familiar with Lovespirals, how would you describe it to them?
We write and record all of our music together in our own home studio. As such, our music has a very intimate feel. Our sound doesn’t follow any particular genre model, instead, we play what we feel at the moment. We tend towards very melodic, bittersweet, and dreamy music that focuses on beautiful vocal harmonies and soulful guitar work, with liberal sprinklings of electric piano.
There’s always been a sort of tug of war in Lovespirals between jazzy electronica and folky rock. Each of our releases have come upon a different solution to this tension between the modern and vintage sides of our musical personalities. One the one hand, we both love the old vinyl albums we grew up with as kids, but on the other, we’re drawn to contemporary music and production techniques. The interesting thing about this is that while the casual listener assumes a song like “Caught in the Groove” from Long Way From Home was recorded with a full band, in actuality Ryan programmed the drums using a keyboard controller and samples, the piano is recorded with midi, and the guitars and bass were performed one track at a time in ProTools. The thing is, just because we’re using computer based recording techniques doesn’t mean our music has to sound like it was made with a computer, you know?
How did you end up being both a podsafe musician and a podcaster?
I started the Chillin’ with Lovespirals podcast back in June of 2005 to share information and music from our then-upcoming 2nd album, Free & Easy. I’d been itching to start a podcast for several months and it just seemed like a band podcast was the perfect project to start out with. I used to be a college DJ, and then I was an Internet DJ, so it was pretty no-brainer to become a podcaster! And we already had our own recording studio, so it just made a whole lot of sense.
How has podsafe music affected your career as a musician?
The podsafe music movement was really just a natural evolution of all the Internet promotions I’d been doing for the band since our inception in ’99. I just try a little of everything online to see what works and where the best music scene is, and go there. Podcasting is one more of those things.
How else do you promote your music?
One of the more exciting ways our music is promoted is via licensing to TV and cable. The first placement the band ever got was for a song called “Psyche” with guest vocalist, Kristen Perry, on Dawson’s Creek. “Psyche” is listed on iTunes as their most popular track, and I suspect we can contribute that to Dawson’s Creek in no small part. The second most popular LSD song on iTunes is the 1998 remix of “Sunset Bell,” which I’ve seen listed online as having been included on the show La Femme Nikita – even on Wikipedia – though we were never contacted about that. Lovespirals’ music has been included on multiple shows for MTV and VH1 as well as E!, WE, A&E, HGTV, Travel Channel, and lots of others. I think Oprah was probably the most fun inclusion on TV. We’ve also been on some DVDs. No films or commercials yet, but hopefully soon.
Do Lovespirals have any tour plans?
The past year or two we haven’t gotten out to play many live shows. We’ve found that the amount of time and effort it takes to organize and prepare for shows and tours is too draining. Honestly, we would rather be writing and recording new music than revisiting our past works. I guess you could say we are more like recording artists than performing artists. But as someone who enjoys live music, I understand the fans interest in seeing us perform. So for this album we decided to try something new. The weekend of our album release, we performed in Second Life on PodShow Island. It turned out to be a really cool event that was simulcast via multiple audio streams to 760 listeners in the US, UK, and Europe in addition to the maxed out sim in Second Life. So that was really exciting. And then we took the recorded audio and released it as an episode of our podcast which has had about 12,000 requests. Would we get that many folks at a gig in LA? Probably not.
Read the full feature iProng Magazine 4/2008
When & why did you begin podcasting?
I used to be a college DJ, hosting several music shows and working in station management for 3 years. After I left, I discovered online radio. I started a Live365 station back in January 2000. Eventually I produced some half hour interview features, such as one with Hungry Lucy in May 2005. Garageband had just begun their free podcast service, so I uploaded it there, too. I followed up with a feature on Lovespirals, and then decided it was high time I did a podcast proper.
My first podcast was Chillin’ with Lovespirals, which launched in early June 2005. The idea was that a podcast would be the perfect way to share information and music from our upcoming new album, Free & Easy. I had already been sharing audio interviews online on sites like Mp3.com and SoundClick for years, so I knew our fans enjoyed hearing us discuss our music. I had a hard time, though, convincing my partner, Ryan Lum, that it was a good idea because there weren’t any band podcasts out there yet and he was worried about our bandwidth. Our first episodes were fairly short because of the bandwidth issue.
I still really wanted to do a music podcast, too, and I briefly toyed with the idea of combining concepts into one show, but I’m glad I didn’t, because it would have been too confusing. Chillin’ with Lovespirals is a talk show, whereas The Chillcast is a music show. Sure, sometimes we play a little music on Chillin’ with Lovespirals, and sometimes I have conversations on The Chillcast, but they are totally different. Ryan and I do a much more informal show than when I’m alone in the studio, and you really get to see more of who I am as a person, rather than as a DJ.
Anyway, The Chillcast with Anji Bee, began its life as The Chillcuts Chillcast as more of a tie-in to Lovespirals, since our label name is Chillcuts. I hosted the first 3 episodes on OurMedia.org in January 2006, then I was picked up by PodShow, and the rest – as they say – is history…
What is the most significant thing to happen to you personally as a direct result of producing your podcast?
Podcasting has changed my whole life, honestly! The biggest and best result is that I was able to “quit my dayjob” just like Adam Curry talked about on the DSC when he signed me as part of the first big group of producers to the PodShow network. It has been incredibly liberating to be able to focus solely on audio production, whether it be podcasts or music. And since I have more time to devote to my craft, I’ve been able to improve my skills – both with my singing and my voiceover work. Likewise, I’m able to spend more time developing my marketing, which increases my listener base, so all the way around, it has been fantastic. I’ve met so many wonderful people through podcasting, too, and many of them have inspired me to try new things and reach new vistas. I really can’t say enough about what a great growing experience podcasting has been for me.
What podcasts, if any, do you regularly listen to or watch?
I have to admit I’m a bit spotty with my podcast listening/watching. The one show that I remain totally loyal to is the first podcast I ever subscribed to, and that’s Diggnation. I’ve been a fan of Kevin Rose since he used to be a supporting cast member of The Screen Savers on Tech TV, and I’ve followed everything he’s done since that time. I’ve been listening to the Daily Source Code since Adam started the Podsafe Music Network in 2005. Once he played Lovespirals on the show, I was pretty hooked! Many people actually discovered me through the conversations that Adam and I have had on his show via audio clips. Sometimes it’s hard to keep with him, he’s so prolific, but I check in to see what’s new. I’m also a big fan of In Over Your Head and was devastated when Julien took an extended hiatus recently, but he just made a new episode so I’m hoping he’ll get back into it. Of course I also like to keep up with my friends and ShowGirls co-hosts, the Rumor Girls! I’m into several more music-based shows as well, like Radio BSOTS and Dave’s Lounge, as well as mixed music and talk shows like Mysterious Universe and Friday Favecast. I also dig Tea with Hungry Lucy – and if I’m not mistaken, I was the one to inspire them to begin their show! There’s so many other podcasts that I check out from time to time that I couldn’t possibly list them all, but just to throw out a few; Accident Hash, Cranky Geeks, TWIT, and tons of others.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Honestly, I had a hard time deciding between an artist, a musician, an actor, or a writer and I think that now I’ve pretty much combined all of those things in what I do. I record and release music, I create my website and album art, I perform in my vidcasts and podcasts, and I write – well, not only lyrics, but blog posts, bios, blurbs, heck even this interview. Seems like there’s lots of writing involved in my line of work, surprisingly.
Read the rest of this Mini-Interview with The Chillcast’s Anji Bee on the Podfinder UK site!
In honor of Valentine’s Day, the excellent Solipsistic NATION podcast is featuring Lovespirals! Bazooka Joe interviews Ryan and Anji via Skype about the band’s evolving sound, their musical history, the effect of technology on the band, the duo’s songwriting process, and much more. Interspersed with the interview are 7 full length songs — including several special permissions (non-podsafe) tracks — and a few of Anji’s side projects.
“The Sexiest Voice in Podcasting” Anji Bee of the Chillcast talks about the show and her double life as both podcaster and musician.
TREVOR: How did the Chillcast get its start?
ANJI: I guess you could say The Chillcast got its start with college radio DJ’ing. After 3 years of doing various shows and working in management at a college radio station, I was pretty well hooked. Then I discovered Internet radio, and started creating both live and prerecorded Internet radio content – including interviews with indie bands like Hungry Lucy and Sunburn in Cyprus. Eventually podcasts were invented, and I put 2 and 2 together. Podcasting was better than radio because listeners could tune in whenever was most convenient for them – which seemed really revolutionary! My first podcast was actually Chillin’ with Lovespirals, which Ryan and I launched to help promote our 2nd album, Free & Easy. Shortly after, I started getting permissions from indie band friends to create a weekly music show podcast – because you have to understand that at this time the podsafe music movement was barely getting started! Adam Curry had just begun his Podsafe Music Network — which is actually how he and I met and became friends, when Lovespirals joined the site. Adam played us on the Daily Source Code, and then we started talking back and forth on his podcast about Creative Commons vs BMI and all those kinds of things. To make a long story a bit shorter, I put together a few fledgling episodes of The Chillcast, hosting them on the Internet Archive site and C.C. Chapman, who was really active with PodShow at the time, pitched the show to Adam and PodShow management, and I was signed as one of the first group of podcasters to the new PodShow Podcast Network.
TREVOR: What have you learned from operating on both sides of the broadcasting world, as a podcaster and as a musician?
ANJI: Good question. Podcasting is a great way to communicate with your fans, to give them a sense of who you are as a person, as well as to inform them of your latest projects. You can really build a sense of brethrenship, not only with your fans, but fellow indie musicians and fellow podcasters. Podcasts are more intimate than a newsletter, less time consuming than a forum, and both more immediate and long lasting than a personal appearance. I’m surprised more bands aren’t doing podcasts, actually.
TREVOR: Chillin’ with the Lovespirals was one of the earliest band podcasts, what was the impetus behind such inspiration and foresight?
ANJI: Well I mentioned this briefly in your earlier question, but the idea was to share information about the new album we were releasing, and what better way to promote an album than with the music itself? We had shared audio interviews we’d done with radio stations in mp3 format on music sites for years, so I knew people liked to listen to us talk about our music and band experiences. We have all the recording gear here at our disposal, so it just seemed logical to produce our own audio content and make it available via our site. We had fun doing it, too. At that time, iTunes was just launching their podcast directory, so getting listed on that was a real thrill.
TREVOR: Why should a band be PodSafe?
ANJI: Podcasts are a very low cost promotional tool. Unlike radio, it’s very easy to break into the podcasting world. There are still relatively few bands vying for attention on podcasts. If your music is good, you’re bound to get noticed. And podcast subscribers are truly interested in music. These are the cutting edge people who have sought out an alternative form of entertainment; they’re serious. If they like something they hear on a show, they actually go out and buy it. I get email and comments all the time about buying music from my shows — in fact, I got one this week from a guy who was sad that Sun Dula Amen wasn’t on iTunes yet, because he wanted to buy it! And of course, I know for a fact that I sell my own CDs from podcasts, I see the proof from orders on the Lovespirals Webstore.
Read the rest of this interview with Anji Bee on the CyberPR Blog
This week’s The Pod 5 show includes Ryan and Anji of Lovespirals as special guests, along with Matthew Ebel and Anji’s fellow ShowGirl, Share Ross, for a discussion of the future of the recording industry. Topics include CDs vs Mp3s, major vs indie labels vs self-released, Radiohead scaring the music industry, and much more fun and madness!
In this special extended episode, Anji and Ryan play each song from their new album Long Way From Home as they discuss how the album was created. In this behind-the-scenes podcast, the duo talk about the album’s influences, song writing, production secrets, and personal anecdotes. This features gives you great peek into the album!
Lovespirals Long Way From Home (2007)
- Buy Long Way From Home direct from Lovespirals: lovespirals.com/longway
(Personally autographed, includes free download of Motherless Child EP)
- Download Lovespirals’ podsafe singles for your podcast
- Download the Motherless Child remixes for your podcast
- Download the Lovespirals: Long Way From Home Feature promo
- Download the Long Way From Home CD promo