Sure, when podcasting was kind of new, listening to a bunch of tipsy guys sampling beers or that couple from Wisconsin chatting about their day was cool. But wouldn't you rather hear Jonathan Davis talking about the new Korn record, or the members of Weezer geeking out about touring with the Foo Fighters?
The two music-industry veterans behind Pulse Recording think so. A&R guy Jason Bernard and longtime friend producer Josh Abraham (Korn, Velvet Revolver) recently launched a label/ recording studio/ podcasting company under the Pulse banner that aims to bring star power to the world of podcasting and serve as a creative playground for emerging producers, songwriters and musicians.
"Josh bought this studio last year in [L.A. hipster neighborhood] Silver Lake that has this kind of artist-compound feel to it, and when we got together we had this idea to create an entertainment company that is not just focused on getting bands in to do demos," Bernard said. "We want an environment that's creative ... where people want to hang out, where bands are making records, writers are working in the demo studio and collaborating and getting together with people they've never worked with before to make music."
First up for the company is a series of podcasts called "On the Pulse," available online at Pulse-Recording.com, through Apple's iTunes and on some of the involved bands' official Web sites. When the pair first got together, Bernard said podcasting was something they were interested in, but as they began speaking to bands and friends, they realized they had an opportunity to tap into a whole new area of the music business.
"We just got more obsessed with it as time went on and realized there was a potential for where it could go," Bernard said. "We wanted to be a part of it, so we reached out to Jonathan from Korn, Weezer, Mötley Crüe, Rooney, Yellowcard, Taproot, 30 Seconds to Mars, Ray Manzarek from the Doors and some other friends who are going to participate soon."
The shows — a mix of original interviews, road reports and repackaged syndicated material featuring the bands, as well as a daily meditation provided by a California yoga instructor named Astrid — are being updated weekly, but Bernard said they hope to soon deliver a new 'cast every few days.
"It's not every day you can sit down with Jonathan and [producer] Atticus [Ross] to get an exclusive interview about their new album or have the guys from Weezer come over and talk about their favorite albums," Bernard said. Plus, he added, "it's a cool opportunity for bands to talk about other things besides music."
The first batch of shows features the Crüe talking about their tour and upcoming live DVD; Taproot on the set of their new video; and an "unsigned band" series, with groups like the Plebz and Classic Case, which the pair hope will serve as a test case for their vision of a 21st century music business. Abraham said he's constantly getting demos from bands, but with the Pulse label, the two hope to create a new paradigm where they could "see a band on a Monday night, have them in to record on Tuesday and distribute their music digitally" soon after that.
"Kids don't want stuff from a major outlet, so to them this feels more like an indie place that they're a part of," Abraham explained. "It's like an online audio magazine we're creating. But since there's no money in podcasting now, there's other stuff we have in development too, like an EP that the Icarus Line recorded in our studio that we're going to distribute digitally later this year through our site, their site and iTunes."
Abraham, like Bernard, hasn't quit his day job. He's working on the upcoming debut from former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro's new band, Panic Channel, and the new album from metalcore band Atreyu. But he's hoping that the Pulse studio, which he funded, will organically grow into a place where young bands can take their time recording an album with equally hungry young studio engineers and producers. He sees it as a type of sweat equity farm team for what he hopes will be the next wave of stars.
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