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Lance Blake (Dowagiac MI)

Solo performers Interview

Artist Name: Lance Blake
Age: 22
Date: 2/19/13
Are you an instrumentalist only? Guitarist and vocalist
What instrument do you play? Guitar
Where do you reside? Dowagiac, MI

1. What inspired you to start singing and Playing?

I wanted to play music since I was 9 and my dad bought me an old drum set. I got a guitar when I was 13, but didn’t really take it seriously until I was about 18.
2. How long have you been performing publicly?

I played my first set in the spring of 2010
3. How long did you play before you stated gigging?

I started practicing a setlist probably two months before I played.
4. How long have you been playing guitar?

It’s been almost 10 years now.
5. Have you taken lessons if so do you take lessons now?

I was self-taught until this semester and I’m taking guitar, piano and vocal lessons.
6. Where was your first gig?

It was at a café in Petoskey, MI called Coffee & Connect. It’s closed now, but it was opening for a hardcore band called Texas Chainsaw Makeover.
7. How did you get it?

I got it from doing an open mic at the café, the band that was playing the next weekend had no opener and asked me to fill the spot.
8. How scared were you?

I was more nervous than when I did my first open mic, where I was one of the only performers, so I got to play for almost an hour. I played maybe 20 minutes my first actual show.
9. How do you get gigs?

I haven’t been performing a lot lately, but I did a set with a band called The Tides last weekend and I got that through knowing the guitarist. I try to help out other musicians with getting shows and making connections as much as I can, so basically networking. When I move to a new city, I always play the open mic circuit as a starting point. Also, privately owned cafés are usually friendly to the idea of people performing, and those are my favorite places to play. They usually have a nice, warm atmosphere and it seems like cafes and acoustic music go hand in hand.
10. Do you use an agent, if so how did you get that rolling?

No, I have never had an agent. I have had offers, but the first thing I learned about the music industry is that businessy types will talk themselves up to no end, but that’s all it is: talk. I also just feel that right now, I have to focus on writing and developing my sound

11. What do you use for equipment?

I have an Oscar Schmidt acoustic OG2CE, it’s a little $150 guitar that turned out to have a great sound, a Dean Markley acoustic pickup and a Kustom Challenger acoustic amp. It’s a pretty simple set up.
12. How long was you longest gig?

My longest was probably at the Arts and Apples festival in Rochester, MI. I played two sets, an hour and a half each.
13. How long was your shortest gig?

Open mic slots are usually 15 minutes. A few summers ago, I would book bands and help with sound check for this café in Detroit, and I took that opportunity to play a short opening set for most of them, usually without their knowing.
14. How do you choose what songs to learn?

I have to love them, otherwise I don’t find the motivation to learn to execute them well. Covers really only serve one purpose: to draw a crowd. I choose popular songs and try to cater to the audience. When I played this bar up north every weekend, I’d play American Pie and some CCR, stuff like that. When I was stuck in Chicago, I would play in the subways so I could buy a train ticket home. I think people that are going about their day and just trying to get home or to work or wherever, they want to hear something light and pleasant. I played Free Falling and Good Riddance, stuff in the easy listening vein. I probably played Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show 50 times in those stations. Just find songs you love if you’re doing it just for the love, but if you need to make some money, learn some ear catchers.
15. How do you learn new songs, by ear, YouTube, books?

I usually learn by ear, but occasionally I’ll look up youtube videos if it’s in a weird tuning or just difficult.
16. Who are a few of your favorite artist?

Elliott Smith, Bad Astronaut, Queens of the Stone Age, Modest Mouse, MGMT, Tech N9ne, Eminem, the list goes on. I love dubstep and jazz and classical. There is good music and there is bad music.
17. Do you have any CD’s out?

Yes, I do have a two song demo that I haven’t been actively handing out for a while now. I don’t like the songs anymore, and my singing isn’t up to par.
18. Do you have any aspirations to take you music further than your current success?

Absolutely. I write every day and put all my energy into music. I have plans to move to Chicago just for this reason. I will be doing this forever.
19. How far will you travel?

I’d circle the globe all the way back to where I’m sitting right now.
20. Can you recall you best show?

My best show was at the Art’s and Apples festival. My first set was great; I was playing and singing smoothly and joking with the crowd. I’d say there were around 100 people watching at any given time. That might not seem like a lot, but it was the first time I’d played for that many people, plus everyone walking by that would stop and listen for a minute. That one was the best because that was the best crowd.
21. How about your worst show?

My worst show was definitely my second. My first one went so smoothly that I didn’t really even think about opening for a hardcore band until about half an hour before. I only had two originals back then and the rest were covers, I remember playing Sink, Florida, Sink by Against Me! And Jessica’s Suicide by Bad Astronaut that I played soft versions of for all these metal heads. Not that they were mean or boo’d me, I was just nervous all around. It was more of an awkward performance than a bad one, my voice was shaky and I just wasn’t playing well. I cut my set short because I just wanted off the stage.
22. Do you have any advice for a person just getting in to gigging that you would like to share?

I’d say that nothing good comes from putting an artist down, and anyone who does, their opinion isn’t worth respecting by taking it seriously. When you are up on stage that is your time. Everyone there is there to listen to you. If there is ever a time to cut loose, it’s up on stage. Also, don’t put up with any ‘free birds’ from the audience. If someone starts heckling, shut them down immediately. And whatever you do, don’t ever, ever play free bird.
Contact information/Press Kit
Cell: 231 350 6370
Email: Blake1990@live.com