Keith Klingensmith Matters

As I continue my journey of clarifying who my music friends are and what they do, here I present to you my friend Keith Klingensmith-musician, label guy, promoter and more! –

Hey Keith! So- can you go through all the music projects you are currently involved in?

My main band is and always will be The Legal Matters. Our first self-titled record came out in 2014, and we followed that up late last year with “Conrad”. I love those dudes and hope to work with them until I cease to exist.

 

 

I’ve also been a part of a Facebook group called Theme Music for a handful of years, filled with loads of like-minded people. We record songs based on a bi-weekly theme. The 2 week deadline cuts a lot of the garbage most of us subject our poor brains to and forces you to just get the song done.

I’ve actually got a few active side-band projects going as a result of that group, including Sunshine on Mars (who did a song for Andrew Curry’s Lite Rock compilation) and Smile Factory, who has a song on the upcoming 12 String High compilation coming out on You Are The Cosmos records.

 

 

 

What is your role in the music scene right now? How did you get into our particular pop music scene? In fact, so I don’t have to insert a whole other blog here at this time….can you maybe define what music scene you are actually in?

Eh. That’s a tough question. We’ve become so compartmentalized. I’m a guitar pop guy and always will be, and unfortunately that means we’re almost automatically limited in our reach. Between The Legal Matters and my Futureman Records label, I sure hope my role is to help spread the Good Word that classic pop still lives and breathes and remains a viable medium!

As far as music scene, we’ve got a pretty tight group of guitar pop brothers here in Michigan, with the Hangabouts, Nick Piunti, Ryan Allen, Stereo Tiger, and Donny Brown, along with Chris Richards & The Subtractions and Andy Reed’s various projects. But it’s more of a recording scene, with us guesting on each other’s records etc.

There isn’t any real local scene in Detroit that might include old-timers like us, and most of us have settled into the pleasures of making records as opposed to playing live all the time anyway, so we’re happy with our lot right now.

What is your past musical history (record collecting, bands you’ve been in-music you’ve been involved in-go back as far as you’d like) and how did it lead you to where you are now?

I’ve been a music nerd my whole life. Found the Beatles early and never let go. First band was Hippodrome with Chris Richards, late 80’s. Which means he and I have been working together now for 30 years, which is nuts. I got burned out on playing live, but Chris and I got back together as the Phenomenal Cats in the mid-90’s. That’s the configuration that had the good fortune to cross paths and eventually add Andy Reed to become the Legal Matters.

Mychols wants to know….what musical instrument/s do you play?

I play guitar but not well. I’m a strummer. Luckily Chris and Andy are both amazing, so there’s not a lot of need for me to do anything other than sing in TLM’s, which is the one thing I can do fairly well!

Keith Klinensmith

Hey! It’s Keith!!!

Do you write music, as well? If so, what is your favorite subject you tend to write about most?

I write, but am the opposite of prolific. I get a song ready when it’s time for TLM’s to record. Subject invariably is my sad-sack life.

Do you record at home or somewhere else?

Real band records at Reed Recording Studios in Bay City, Michigan. State of the art, and run and engineered by a genius. Everything else I do at home.

What have you personally and most recently released and where can music lovers find it?

We were lucky enough to have the Legal Matters 2nd record “Conrad” released by the best label in the world, Omnivore Recordings.

I still love “Conrad”! People can find our sweet boy at Omnivorerecordings.com, or hopefully at their local record store! Our website though is thelegalmattersband.com. Lots of goodies to be found there, including a free ep we put out last x-mas with Teenage Fanclub, Big Star and Beatles covers, along with a track from “Conrad”.

Are you working on anything NEW musically? (Your own music or with your band/s)

The Legal Matters probably won’t start our next record until late this year, if not the start of 2018, but I’m always keeping busy with the Theme Music group. I’ve actually got 5 volumes of fun pop covers I’ve done over the years up for free on Futureman , should anyone want to take a gander.

 

What do you LOVE about the music industry and social media, as it is right now?

I love that labels like Omnivore are still out there digging up amazing releases and getting them out there in real record stores, in physical form. As far as social media, it’s love/hate, as I’m sure it is with a lot of people. I love being a click away from people like you, and all the other classic pop musicians and fans out there around the world. But it’s super tough to use social media, which is really all we have available to us, to get anyone outside of our bubble to take any notice of anything. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE OUR BUBBLE, but sometimes I want to be able to get a particular record to scream “I AM HERE!” outside that bubble.

Besides for the music, who else are you and what else do you do? 

Haha, I don’t know how to answer this! All I really do is the band, the label and do things with theme music in the gaps. I’m married with 2 kids and 2 cats and a job and a car and umbrellas and stuff.

FUTUREMAN RECORDS

 Your Futureman Records label….how did that all come about?

I had a good pal, Rick McBrien, who I met on the old AOL power pop message boards in the late 90’s. Rick played guitar in a great band called Paranoid Lovesick. Rick and PL were from Cleveland, but Rick actually grew up, and his family still live, a couple of miles from me in Grosse Pointe, MI. Anyway, Rick and I started tossing around the idea of doing a split-ep with both PL and the Phenomenal Cats doing songs from a record we both loved, The Who Sell Out. Rick and I both knew a ton of great bands, so that idea eventually grew into the full tribute The New Sell Out, which wound up having us along with The Jigsaw Seen, Splitsville, Brendan Benson, Zumpano, The Pearlfishers, The Vandalias, and loads more.

He and I created Futureman specifically to put that record out, but tragically, Rick passed away in 2003. Record never wound up seeing the light of day, for mostly financial reasons. Once digital became a viable thing I started the bandcamp site and put TNSO up, finally, in 2012, dedicated to Rick. I hadn’t really thought of expanding it until I realized how perfect bandcamp was to allow tiny labels to exist, so away we went.

Do you carry a specific genre of artists and bands? If so, why is that? Can you share current and/or upcoming releases from Futureman Records?

I only bring bands on that I personally love, and I love guitars and harmonies and great songs. We did a Sloan tribute record last year, which was amazing due to the huge list of talented friends in our virtual rolodex. Won a couple best-of year things along with a surprisingly high ranking on The Big Takeover’s Best Records of the Year list. Had a blast doing that one, so most of the usual suspects are involved again on our tribute to Matthew Sweet, which is our current project.

Added a load of new names to this one, bands and artists I love and have been wanting to work with forever, including the amazing Lisa Mychols (who we’ve worked with plenty before but have missed!) We’ve also got releases coming up from Mark McCrite, a re-release of his lost classic 2000 release “Getting To The Point”, which sure sounds like classic Michael Penn to me, and a great new band from Atlanta called The Lord High Admirals, which features Paul Schwartz from The Big Fish Ensemble and Rob Gal from The Coolies.

How does an artist/band benefit from being on Futureman Records/Bandcamp?

In my mind, Futureman works as a co-op. Everything goes to the bands, we don’t charge or keep anything, with the idea being that the more eyes that wind up on ALL of our releases, the better for all of us, so it’s really win/win. I help promote and do anything else I can do to help bring the eyes over.

TAKE ME TO THE FUTUREMAN RECORD STORE!!!

What is your role at Futureman Records? What is your your mission? Do you plan on taking it further? Questions questions questions!

Futureman is all me, so whatever there is to be done, I’m doing it. (Both Chip Saam from the Hangabouts and Lindsay Murray from Gretchen’s Wheel have been a big help lately though, more of that!) I just love to unearth the gems that people haven’t had a chance to find, be it never released before, or things that never made it to digital.

I like to work with the artists to add a few interesting bonuses to something that was only previously available on cd to give our release a good reason for existing. Sometimes that leads us to a classic one-of-a-kind release, like Erik Voeks’ seminal “Sandbox”, which has been near impossible to find for the last 15 years or so. I worked with Erik to add six of his original demos from that record, which may never have been heard otherwise. (and I personally am a demo nerd..)

Do you think it’s an exciting time for music again? Why or why not?

I have the same answer most of us would. It’s a super exciting time in that we can all make music so easily now. We can all release music so easily now. The problem is getting anyone to care. Sooo much out there taking up people’s mental bandwidth, you’re totally lucky if you get someone’s attention for 10 seconds, but even then getting them to actually take action, like clicking “buy” or remembering to look for you on next record store trip is a total crap-shoot.

Okay…THIS was a really fun interview and I cannot thank you enough for it, Keith! I finally understand who you are and what you do! You…and ALL of it, MATTERS!

Keith 2

QUICK LINKS 

 
 
The Legal Matters: Thelegalmattersband.com
Legal Matters on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/thelegalmatters/

 
 

Behind the Co-Op Curtain…

The Co​-​Op Communique Volume Three by Various Artists is OUT NOW and FREE!!!

Download here: 
https://coopcommunique.bandcamp.com/album/the-co-op-communique-volume-three

So I decided to catch up with my music friend Dw. Dunphy and find out what’s been going on in his musical world. Funny, how I’ve known him for a while now, and yet I’ve never really understood what his actual mission was-at least as far as The Co-Op Community Facebook page that he’s created. What is this community all about?

Like me, he has a LOT going on! Let’s see how well we can clarify all the great work he’s doing!

But first, let me just clarify something with you, the reader. Notice the co (lower case o) and then the Op (uppercase O) resulting in Co-Op. Cool! Now let’s move forward to the man himself-Dw. Dunphy!

CoOp Community Image

So, Dw., when a person clicks on your Co-Op Community Facebook page, what are you hoping they will find?

First and foremost, I hope people will find a place where they are understood. One of the peculiarities about creative individuals is that we often create compulsively. We don’t have strict regimens about it. If anything, our compulsions mess up other regimens. So I hope that being a part of the Co-Op means that you don’t have to explain that.

Second, I hope the group allows people to collaborate. The page should be more than just an outlet for musicians, but also for writers, illustrators…origami folders. How brilliant would it be if a traditional painter connected with an origami folder and did something.

Finally, I want people to promote their work. So often on these Facebook pages there’s an overarching dictum about it being okay to talk about what you ate for lunch, but not about what you make or do. Seems kind of backward that we would celebrate the mundane things but not the things that express talent and effort. Therefore — so long as it is not incredibly offensive or comes from a place of hate & intolerance — the Co-Op welcomes your creativity and wants you to talk about it.

B. What is it you hope will keep the Co-Op community coming back?

The idea that this is a real community, that you should be inspired by stopping by, and — I hate to use the word “empowered” because it’s so overused to the point of cliche…how about — emboldened to do your own thing and be proud of it and to show it off. I think that would give people a reason to come back.

C. I am clarifying that your CD comp releases are technically called “The Co-Op Communique” (?)

Yes. The Communique is an annual collection. I hope that in future installments it can be expanded to include a PDF booklet about the musicians, but also include visual contributions. That would continue to push the arts community aspect forward.

2) How would you LOVE to see the Co-Op community “participating” more on the community page? Has it been as active as you’ve wanted it to be, up to this point?

Collaboration and the freedom to take a bit of ownership of it. Frankly, there’s only one rule that I hold as far as the page goes. It’s pretty simple. “Don’t be a jerk.” Show each other some respect and support. Definitely collaborate, strike up conversations. But if you’re there to stir up trouble that is the one thing that will cause someone to be ejected. And frankly, there are plenty of places to be a jerk on the Internet, and not so many where you can express your creativity. So I want to see participation, interaction, and hopefully lots of collaboration.

3) You are also a label for artists but you don’t necessarily “sign” artists, right? What is your role, as a record label?

I started making music a long time ago but found it incredibly hard to stay motivated because it often felt like there was no audience. Or rather, that support system that said, “You’re onto something here, keep going” wasn’t in place, so there was often a struggle involved with staying motivated. Nothing is as deflating as working on something for months and months, and then you drop it into the world, and the response is the same as if you’ve done nothing at all.

So my primary goal with the Co-Op, the label (Introverse Media), and all the efforts that surround them is to be that megaphone that shouts out, “You should see/hear/read this!”

CoOpVol1

Although I’ve run Introverse for more than a decade, it’s been only for my own purposes but that might change soon. The fact is that I’m doing this on a shoestring, financially. I’m hoping to scale up so that my ability to be more of a help to everyone is that much greater. There are opportunities. I think that there’s going to be a genuine need to support the arts independently, and very soon. I’ll keep this from getting political in either respect, but suffice it to say that the days of government-funded arts is probably over. I’m hoping that independent concerns like mine can fill the void and I’ll be able to work with patrons who can help grow this.

That’s another thing about the Co-Op Communique. I don’t charge artists to be included. I know of other annual compilations that do, and I know why. There’s a certain amount of overhead involved, and maybe that’s necessary to carry forward the final product. But I feel very ambivalent about taking money from artists, and generally refuse. You spend months writing a song. That’s a valuable-enough contribution. To have to pay to get it heard — that just rubs me the wrong way.

In lieu of money, I strenuously encourage the people involved with the Co-Op to help promote. Doesn’t have to be paid either, and I don’t want people going out-of-pocket anyway. Using one’s social media to connect their fanbase(s) with the compilation, and expose them to new artists and songs, that’s pretty effective too. Spread the hashtag #CoOpCommunique like crazy. Word-of-mouth is very effective!

4) What are the methods you are currently using to help promote the artists you support?

I will put out a press release upon the compilation’s release — a paid release with good reach into the media. I also will pay for social media ads and, in fact, have been promoting Co-Op 3 for more than a month now, even though it doesn’t come out until the end of May. That will continue.

CoOp Community Image

Available May 26, 2017

Once it does come out, not only will I be promoting each song and artist on Volume 3, I’ll be doing the same for the artists on Volume 2 (which presently is the combined Vols. 1 & 2 on Bandcamp). That’s another thing. I’ve structured this so that once you’re in, I won’t forget you come the next time around. I hope to give each Co-Op Communique volume as much spotlight as the previous one. There are ways to accomplish this. You can do it if you really want to.

And this promotion will continue well after the initial release occurs. I think that’s what people have appreciated most. I get emails back saying, “Thank you for continuing to back me. It’s been 9 months since this came out and you’re still tweeting out my song and spreading the links to my CD Baby and Bandcamp pages.” I think that’s what means the most to artists, that they haven’t been forgotten. That incentivizes continued work and effort.

5) As you continue your work on The Co-Op Communique Volume 3, what do you hope will happen, that didn’t happen with the last volumes….or do you feel the last 2 volumes were successful in reaching people and promoting the artists?

It’s a steady process. You do have to establish a name and identity for the overall concept. But like I said before, the folks who contributed to Vols. 1 and 2 will get continued push when Volume 3 launches, and it is my intention to funnel that rising tide that lifts all the boats.

As far as the success rate…sure, I would love to be able to talk about this on a larger stage. And I will talk about this to anyone who will speak to me on it! But there is a growth pattern that has to occur. People are reticent to jump into things without a track record to go on, both for producers and consumers. The task is to keep it up and keep pushing forward. I will insist that those who contributed in the first round continue to get heard and seen by the third, fourth and fifth round. I think this, too, is something that differentiates the Co-Op Communique. I don’t want to leave anyone behind.

6) Besides for promoting artists and their musical recordings, what else do find yourself promoting (art, theater, other arts…)

I’m a Senior Editor at the website Popdose.com. We cover everything, but we have a heavy focus on new and independent artists. That’s always encouraged by the Editor-In-Chief Jeff Giles. I don’t tend to promote myself there, but I have run reviews of artists who appear on the Co-Op Communique. I’ve also run interviews with artists who do other things. For instance: musician Dan Pavelich also has a comic strip called Just Say Uncle. I’ve covered both his music and the comic strip. Popdose has covered releases from the label Curry Cuts and artists like Brandon Schott. It’s all about pushing creativity forward, I suppose.

7) What else are you enthusiastically working on, as far as the Co-Op Community page goes?

Everything — within reason. My only rule in that is to be respectful and play nice, but by all means, play.

FABULOUS! I get it now! 

******************************************************************************
Dw. Dunphy-The Man Behind The Co-Op

Dw Dunphy

You are a musician yourself. Can you tell us more about the music you write and record?

I come from a 60s-70s pop and prog rock background. A lot of listening to Beatles, ELO, Yes, Rush, The Cars, Pink Floyd…so all of that tends to get filtered into what I do.

What is your musical background? (Bands, professional lessons, etc…)

I’m self-taught, but that’s kind of facetious, really. My grandfather always had instruments around and played almost everything. My parents both loved music and surrounded the kids with it. My sister had an outsized influence there. While kids my age (at that time) were listening to “kiddie records,” we were listening at least ten, fifteen years beyond that.

I’ve been in a couple of loose collaborations and was a part of an experimental unit called Nightmare Variations. I’d like to play more in a group setting but, primarily, I’m a one-man band in a DIY setting.

How long have you been creating, playing and performing music, on a professional level?

Since the mid-90s. Lots and lots of cassette releases. Having a graphic arts background as well, I was able to package them up and do okay in that respect. I wasn’t necessarily punk, but I had a bit of that renegade mentality. That’s really how Introverse started (and yes, that’s also an allusion to a bit of an introverted personality…but I do try!)

What instruments do you play?

Keyboard, guitars, a bit of percussion. I like doing multiple vocal harmony parts. I think if you can nail the perfect multi-layered vocal harmonies, there’s nothing better than that.

Do you do your own recordings, or do you record somewhere else?

It’s all me, at home with my modest computer rig. That’s one of the best things about the age we live in. It can be done, and the only limitation is your determination to do it.

That said, I’d love to see Abbey Road Studios. I’d love to see Real World Studios. I’m an idealist, but I’m not crazy! 🙂

Do you collaborate (or have you before) with others?

I’ll collaborate anywhere that I’m welcome to. Preferably, I’d collaborate with people I know and have a good rapport with, and are okay with my personal “isms.” If you are mainly a solo artist, you do pick up traits in process, so I like to work with folks who get that about me. I don’t really have much call to collaborate, but I’m definitely open to it.

After searching for your music, I came up with these main sites. Can anyone purchase your music from them at this time? 

On Bandcamp: https://dwdunphy.bandcamp.com/music
On CD Baby: https://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/DwDunphy
On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/D.W.-Dunphy/e/B001LICDVO

Most are available. A couple aren’t, and on earlier releases you can definitely hear a learning curve taking place. You are your own harshest critic, but I think I do well, and I’ve made several albums I’m really proud of. I haven’t done too badly as a “bedroom pop” pioneer!

What are your current releases?

The First Thing That Came To Mind came out late last year, and I’m prepping a 7″ record release that has songs from two previous albums, Modernism and The Radial Night called:  Your Saturday Sins Limited Edition 7″ Record.
***(CLICK HERE TO LISTEN/PURCHASE)***

What else can we look forward to from you in the near future? 

Currently, I’m putting everything I’ve got into Co-Op 3. We’ll see what progresses at the end of the year. I definitely want to devote my energy to Co-Op 3 though.

Apart from that, I’m going to have a few paintings and drawings hung at a local arts community center here in New Jersey around July, so I’m excited about that.

Any live shows/events scheduled? (even if it’s via internet).

Nothing live slated for now. The one-man band thing is an impediment, but I have considered finding a couple of folks in the area who might want to do some acoustic trio sort of thing, mostly just for fun, maybe just show up at a park and do some songs…annoy some deer, that kind of thing.

LOL-Nice!

Where can we find more of you and what you are writing about? 

My website, which needs to be updated more often, is www.dwdunphy.net and I write an awful lot at www.popdose.com.

Popdose is a great site with tremendous writers and a great sense about the world and the arts. I’m extremely proud to be a part of it.

And there you have it! A fabulous guy with a fabulous mission. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today, Dw.! 

Follow @DwDunphy on Twitter!

Links!
Dw. Dunphy’s Facebook Page
Dw. Dunphy’s Website
Dw. Dunphy’s Newsletter Sign up
Dw. Dunphy’s Blog at Popdose
Dw. Dunphy’s music for Preview and/or Purchase: Bandcamp and CDBaby