American Idol Top-10 Finalist and KRK User Dennis Lorenzo Offers Insight on Influence, and Becoming Your Own Artist

Dennis Lorenzo KRK ROKIT Blog 2 1American Idol Top-10 finalist Dennis Lorenzo offers insight on influence and a list of artists who helped sculpt him into a diverse music creator.

“So, what kind of music do you make?” This is a question people ask me all the time, and let me tell you, it used to be a difficult one for me to answer. Part of the reason is because I grew up listening to so many different genres of music, and I really was influenced by everyone one of them. There were two genres however that stood out from my childhood, and would later define me as a musician. I’m talking about Rock and Soul music.

Dennis Lorenzo KRK ROKIT G4 1ROCK

When I go back as far as I can remember, I have memories of my Mom playing, “Frontline” by Stevie Wonder, “Beat It”, by Michael Jackson and every song in Prince’s catalog. All of this music had one thing in common, Rock “n” Roll. I didn’t really think too much of it until I became somewhat obsessed with the music in WWF promos, which was 99.9% rock music. One Christmas I asked my Mom for 4 albums, the artists were Three Days Grace, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, 30 Seconds To Mars, and Breaking Benjamin. I studied them all, and then some. I think one of the most defining moments for me happened at the final scene of my favorite film of all time, “The Matrix”. Neo says his closing line and then boom, “Wake Up” by Rage Against The Machine plays, that was when I knew I was a rocker at heart.

SOUL

Musiq SoulchildOn the other side of the spectrum, which I happen to be most known for, we also listened to the likes of Donny Hathaway, Jill Scott, Boyz II Men, The Temptations, and Whitney Houston among many other great soul artists of my time and before. Actually, the first time my Mom found out I could “really sing” (as she puts it), was when I sang the high note at the end of “Love” by Music Soulchild in the backseat of her car when I was 10—and I didn’t think she was listening. Soul and RnB music was surely the default in my household growing up.

When I was 15, I’d ask my Grandma and Pop-pop to buy me a guitar, that gift changed my life forever. I taught myself how to play guitar at 17, and I haven’t looked back since. While my voice grew more soulful, you would find that rock had influenced most of the music I was writing. I listened to Jeff Buckley, Hendrix, Andre 3000, Circa Survive, Coheed and Cambria, and Donny Hathaway always, that pretty much sums up what my music was like back then.

ATLANTA

Pushing ahead a few years to my time in Atlanta, you’d have found me with a laptop and a keyboard as much as you’d see me with my guitar. Compared to Philly, this was a completely different world for me. Picture this, I moved to Atlanta in 2013, we’re talking Dennis Lorenzo KRK ROKIT G4 7 2Future, Migos, Mike Will Made It, Rae Sremmurd, Rich Homie Quan, Young Thug, I mean the list goes on. Trap wasn’t just a genre of music in Atlanta, it was a lifestyle. I’ll never forget the first time I heard the “S**t” by Future. I was like “What the hell is this?” It was different from NY, Philly or Jersey’s style of Hip Hop, there were no boundaries, and the 808’s were booming! The song “Versace” by Migos and Drake pretty much shaped a new sound for hip hop, along with artists like Lil Wayne. And the Migos are from ATL. It’s almost like Atlanta trap became the new Pop music. I was immersed in the culture. So much that I taught myself how produce trap music! It became my favorite thing of all time. A common joke among my brothers and I was how they’d hear/see me late at night, breathing heavily, slamming keyboard keys, and being blinded by my MacBook light, with my headphones blaring (I’m laughing as I write this thinking back). By the end of 2015 however, I came to a realization that I didn’t want to fully accept: my time in Atlanta had reached its peak, I had to make a move that would take me to the next of my artistry, and not just as a producer, so I moved to LA.

IN MY BLOOD

DLAbout 2 and half years after I moved to LA, I got my first “big break” on American Idol. The most important part of that journey was when I sang “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes. When I finished, Lionel Richie brought himself to his feet and said to me “I just want to congratulate you because there is a time in every performer’s life, when you actually break through the ceiling, and you’re introduced to your new self. You have just taken that next step my friend. I am very proud of you!” After that Katy Perry said that I’m “Alternative” and that I remind her of Chris Cornell, another one of my biggest influences.

After my stint on the show ended, I went on a short hiatus and began to really craft my sound which is now a blend of Rock, Soul and Trap. I believe that the sky’s the limit for any artist who really knows himself/herself. Finding your sound, and/or where you fit in is no small feat for artists these days, especially in an industry that demands more and more of what it already has. It takes courage, strength, practice, trial & error, and failure to find who you are in this business.

It also takes these things to win, because that’s what you do when you find yourself regardless of where you end up.

MORE INFORMATION:

IG: @dennislorenzo

FB: @Hllywdrenz

TW:  @DennisLorenzo

Dennis Lorenzo uses KRK ROKIT G4 RP7 Monitors

Pro Songwriter Gabe Simon Gives Some Straight Talk on the Nuts and Bolts of the Deal (and Pizza)

Songwriting: Don’t Get Screwed

As you move more and more towards a professional environment, the reality is that it’s gonna happen.  Your goal as a songwriting/producer is to limit the extent of that screwing.  Repeat after me… “I (enter name) will always hire an attorney before signing any deal, and that said attorney will be versed within the music industry.  Not my mom’s friend from church.  Not my uncle who does ‘Slip & Falls.’” Ok—you get it—now we can talk.  And, if you already know how this stuff works, it’s never a bad idea to get another perspective from someone who has lived it.

Music is split into three pizzas.  You have the writing pizza, the publishing pizza, and the master pizza.  Say there is 75 dollars on the table.  $25 of that is writer, $25 of that is publishing, and the last $25 is master.  It’s almost never that cut and dry but please see the above section on “I will hire an attorney.” 

The writer pizza is sacred, pretty much the simplest pizza, and intrinsically yours—even if you have a publishing deal.  You will still collect your writer royalties, so you’ll get that 25 dollars. Pretty much anyone who writes a song that ends up making money will be paid the “writer’s share.”

Now the publishing pizza.  There are essentially 3 deal types and there are more ingredients.  Full pub, co-pub and admin.  The most common is co-pub.  So, there is that $25 and now you split that piece with someone who now represents a part of your catalogue.  If it’s co-pub you get $12.5 and they get $12.5.  Usually you don’t see that 12.5 until you have recouped your deal. 

After you’ve recouped, then you’ll start earning your royalty of 50% of your royalty.  There are some other elements in there that reduce that royalty a bit more but see said attorney.  If you do a 100% pub deal, well then the publisher owns all your publishing, but they most likely pay you a monthly stipend to live on.  So, you trade your publishing for a longer-term security.  It’s old school but people still do it. 

Recoupment is a big word for paying back the money (with interest) someone gives you to live on. The concept is that they give you money for you to focus on creation, and that gets paid back when your work gets placed.  That money is called an advance. 

Last is admin, which is where you allow for a company to administer the rights to your publishing catalog, but they don’t own it.  They are usually licensing it for a small percentage—say 10%, 15%, 20% of your publishing.  These deals are great for collection on both domestic and international and have a lot of the elements of a traditional publisher, but tend to be less hands-on because of the scale these companies sign. Lots of people tend to have their catalogues in admin deals.  We are talking tens of thousands in some cases, so it’s easy to be a spreadsheet number. 

When you sign a pub deal, you are signing not just because you are sick of slinging tacos or working as a valet, but because you want a team to help build your writer/producer/artist career.  I know many people who take less money for a better team—so keep that in mind. 

Alright, so we have all that.. now there is the “master” pizza. The Master is the recorded embodiment of the song. All the others are just the IP but this is the physical medium and there are quite a few ingredients.  When you sign a record deal, you are signing away your “Master.”  They pay for everything and give you money to live and make music, but that all has to be paid back.  You pay that back by them owning the master and then hopefully having a stupid-big hit that makes everyone go bat$#!+.  Lots of times writers don’t see any master income.  That goes to the artist, producer, and whoever else is involved and getting points on that production (record).  Ask said attorney about points, it’s boring, it varies on how much the artist owns of their master, and there’s no need to talk about that in this article. 

With these three pizzas there are a lot of ways to make money.  Streaming, traditional mechanical royalties, performance royalties, SoundExchange, sync licensing, neighboring rights, and dozens of other very small revenue streams that start to add up to a decent chunk of money. 

“All this is great… thank you for this info Gabe, but how do I get a song cut or placed so I can make money?”  I’m getting there – and here is where it gets interesting:

OK, so you write a sick song.  It’s 2:30-3:15 of pure hook driven pop.  Well… this is where those publishing people become very helpful.  They know who is looking and unless you happen to be friends with the artist (which is the best way to pitch a song,) or you wrote it with them (best way to get a cut period,) you are trusting your publishers instincts to get it in the right hands. 

Well…Not solely though.  It’s your career, so maybe what you need is for those publishers to intro you to some A&R folks at labels or artist managers, and YOU go in and pitch the song yourself.  Nothing is better than personally telling the people who can make it happen why a song is great.  I mean get creative!  I had my manager send a song to an artist’s girlfriend because he knew her, and I couldn’t get it in front of that artist…go go go go–hustle!

Maybe you don’t want anyone to cut your song but that 2:30 gem you wrote might be perfect for an ad or tv show or movie.  And on the plus side… you performed it!  Which now means you are collecting on all 3 pizzas.  There are a bunch of companies out there who purely do this.  These Sync Licensing companies are sending tracks to supervisors all day when big request go out.  They are usually looking for something specific, so these sync companies or your publisher can help facilitate getting your song into their hands.  Also… there are writers and producers who just work on sync stuff all day every day.  It’s immediate money compared to waiting for hits and royalties in the mail, but it’s very competitive and takes a certain knack. 

So there you have a very brief breakdown of the 3 music pizzas.  It’s way more technical then all this and I learn new things about my deals and other deals every day.  But don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help.  Reach out to people on socials who you respect.  You never know…they might hit you back.  And if you take anything from this thing repeat after me, “I (enter name) will always hire an attorney before signing any deal, and that attorney will be versed within the music industry.  Not my mom’s friend from church. Not my uncle who does “Slip & Falls.’” 

Survive and Thrive.

More Info:

KRK ROKIT MONITORS
EPIPHONE GUITARS
GIBSON GUITARS
Gabe Simon Twitter @callmemrgabriel
Gabe Simon Facebook @MRGABRIELMUSIC
Gabe Simon Instagram @callmemrgabriel

How Songwriter-Producer Gabe Simon Approaches His Craft with Artists from Dua Lipa to Fever 333

Gabe Simon KRK 1Just like KRK Systems, ROKIT G4 user Gabe Simon is Behind Great Music as an all-in-one songwriter/producer/musician.  He began his career while in college, writing for and fronting the indie-rock band Kopecky which had great and widespread critical acclaim and Alternative Radio success for the 2012 release of “Kids Raising Kids” via ATO Records and the 2015 sophomore release of “Drug For The Modern Age.”  Since then, Gabe has been busy producing and writing songs for numerous projects including Dua Lipa, Wilder Woods, Jai Wolf, American Authors, Adam Lambert, Coin, and Fever 333 to name a few.  Gabe is currently working with Grandson, MXMTOON, Miya Follick, Whethan, Lovely the Band, and Grizfolk.

We are fortunate to have Gabe as a “KRK Blog-takeover Artist” who has shared his songwriting approach and perspectives with us through his unique world:

As a producer/artist/creator, I spend about half my time co-writing. Before Covid-19 2020 I brought people into my home to collaborate 3-4 times a week. And now, with Zoom and plug-ins like Audiomovers, I’m collaborating probably 2-3 times a week.

Gabe Simon KRK 11I think people have trouble getting into co-writing because they think it’s scary to work out great/shitty/weird ideas in front of people.  Or they think it reflects on their creativity in some negative light.  But music is collaborative by nature.  Playing guitar in your room is just playing guitar, but bring a friend over on drums and it becomes music.  A great idea can happen in a split-second flash and if you’re not paying close attention, the moment will slip by without anyone noticing.

I’m terrible with this—I have a horrible memory and half the time I forget to hit record on my iPhone to capture the 30-seconds that happened over a 3-hour period of coffee and cigarettes with another songwriter, so I started tracking the entirety of my sessions.  I don’t like when people feel like they are being recorded, (even though, ironically, that’s what we are there to do). People have a tendency to change once they know they’re on tape.  So now, I’ll usually turn on my piano mics (a pair of Electro Voice 635As), and they pick up conversation incredibly well.

As a co-writer, you have to be spontaneous.  Sometimes the moment is perfect, so we just have to record it where it is.  I operate a studio that’s ready to go at any second, so usually I can throw a mic on the guitar (87 or 414c) and cut a vocal (SM7 or 87) in 30 minutes – then I’ll dive into production to keep the moment going.

Gabe Simon KRK 3I find co-writing is all about scene changes. The idea that sparked the excitement might come from a guitar and vocal, but the concept for verse two starts with an 808 or Mellotron line, so I want to be ready to run.  I understand this isn’t feasible for everybody, but the more you can streamline your set up, the better.  It helps you get out of the way and allows the music to happen.

I started producing for this very reason.  I was sick of walking into rooms and running faster than the producer.  I thought the pace killed the vibe because they always seemed caught off guard when we needed to hit record, so I started producing and creating in a way that focused on the moment. Thankfully, artists and writers love the efficiency and excitement of this creative process.  It’s not original, but I do it my way.

Gabe Simon KRK 12But it all comes back to the moment when the universe aligns, all existence is at peace, and the greatest song idea ever is born.  That moment usually happens when you’re dropping the kids off at school, or cowering in a coffee shop, or out of breath on a treadmill, but the co-writing session begins before the co-writing session.  It doesn’t matter what the style is: trap, hip hop, rock, alt, pop, bedroom, electronic, or just plain old piano vocal – but come into the room prepared with something.

By nature, I’m a melody guy.  I hear things and then I sing them in an unintelligible language.  I do that over and over again until the chants of some lost tribal language turn into lines like “you can bury every hatchet, but you can’t bury the past.”  It’s my process—it’s bizarre, but I like it.  My wife hates it and my kids don’t get it, but it’s my thing.  Do your thing!

Gabe Simon KRK 7Some of my best ideas come from this process.  I have over 10,000 voice memos on my phone and only around 20 are worth a replay.  Or at least that’s what I think… Sometimes I send one of those other 9,980 ideas to my manager or publisher who say, “You know, this song ‘New Recording 5938’ is kinda dope”.  That’s the best and worst part about managers and publishers; they make you question everything.  Sometimes you send what you think is the best idea ever – I mean “Let It Be” on MDMA – and get a… “Meh”.

But I love that questioning.  It Keeps me on my toes—makes me work harder.  Also, I only trust a few people, and I really trust them.  And my own instincts.  And if my wife hates it, it’s a hit.

If a song gets an A+ in all those categories, we are doing great.  I want my team to love it, because if they love it they can pitch it and help it find a home.

Sometimes my team doesn’t like a song.  If they don’t think it’s a hit and I do, I’ll go pitch it.  There was a song that I pitched in an A&R’s office and I told them the story, and why it was great, and then I left.  The next day I got a call saying, “So-and-so wants to cut it.”  Your career in music only works as hard as you work.  This same rule applies to your team.

Gabe Simon KRK 9My publishers (Pulse) are badasses.  Not only do they make sure songs are registered properly with ASCAP (or whichever Performing Rights Organization you like), they do all the yucky split stuff.  It’s usually easy: 3 people in the room, let’s split three ways.  But sometimes, you got a dude who has a dude, and they brought in their mom, and her sister adds a snare on the last verse, and the artist wants 25%.  Suddenly, you’re only getting 5%… so you need a publisher and a manager who fight for every piece.

You gotta knock on doors if you believe in something.  I call people all the time.  “What’s exciting? Who’s looking? When can I get them in the studio?”  I don’t think it should be intimidating.  It’s music, not life and death.  And the people in this business all want the same thing you do: the moment. Where they get to be a part of building something – to hear that hit before anyone else – to dream things that 3 minutes ago didn’t even cross their minds.

Gabe Simon KRK 4

“Go.  Be reckless.  Be smart!  Create in bizarre ways.  Be prepared for the unknown.  Make dope shit and they will come.”

~ Gabe Simon

 

Gabe Simon uses KRK Monitors, Epiphone and Gibson guitars.

More Info:

KRK ROKIT MONITORS
EPIPHONE GUITARS
GIBSON GUITARS
Gabe Simon Twitter @callmemrgabriel
Gabe Simon Facebook @MRGABRIELMUSIC
Gabe Simon Instagram @callmemrgabriel

Advice from American Idol Top-10 Finalist and KRK User Dennis Lorenzo on Being a Modern Music Creator

KRK ROKIT G4 user Dennis Lorenzo is an inspiring and accomplished modern singer/songwriter/musician whose story is unlike most.  Growing up in PA, he turned some adverse situations into positive outcomes through optimism and music, eventually landing himself on American Idol as a Season 16 Top-10 contender.  We are fortunate to have Dennis as a “KRK Blog-takeover Artist” who has shared his American Idol story with us through his eyes:

Dennis Lorenzo
#LiveLoveLorenzo

Dennis Lorenzo KRK ROKIT G4 5a

Being a modern music creator these days is dynamic!  Not only am I constantly songwriting, producing and mixing at home, I also have to keep up digitally with my fans—which at times can be the perfect outlet for any artist.  In my case, it’s dope to be able to engage with people online since most of my fans aren’t able to make it to my shows.  It also gives me the opportunity to learn about people all around the world!  What’s even cooler is the story about how I gained my fans.  I’m one of the lucky ones who got through to the American Idol platform, and I figured it would be interesting to share my story on how I got there.

It all started with a phone call from a friend when my business partner and I were about a week into working on another artist’s project.  This day had been “personally challenging” for me as I was craving to start work on my own music after grinding day in and day out on someone else’s.  To get a break, I stepped outside the studio lobby to about 77 degrees of that good ol’ LA weather, which was the opposite of the humidity I’d faced in Philly.  The studio owner was outside and before he headed back in he gave me a nod and a “What up D?  – Y’all in there workin!” I’ll never forget laying down on a bench between two lion statues outside this studio, looking to the sky for 15 minutes and wondering, “man, what’s next?”  I had been grinding, working hard and doing everything right, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to get to the next chapter—the next level.

Dennis Lorenzo KRK ROKIT G4 9Getting back into the studio, I sat down to listen to what they’d recorded and as soon as my bro Aaron pressed play, my phone began to vibrate.  I excused myself once more to take the call and it was my friend Ranae, her tone was excited but serious.  She got straight to the point, “Hey Dennis, so this is urgent! I have a friend who is a producer at American Idol and he’s looking for talent. He asked me if I knew anyone and I immediately thought of you! This is no joke—super serious!” Before I could spit out my response, she said, “If you’re down, please send me a video of you singing and playing guitar, ASAP!” Of course, I said, “Well hell yeah I’m down—I’ll send it right over!” To that she responded, “I’m so excited for you! I’ll forward it to him when I get it, and he’ll call you today or tomorrow, so glue your phone to your hand or something!” He called me that same day and well, the rest is history…

American Idol backstage KRKLater that week I found myself standing in line with thousands of other musicians, each of us about to take on the opportunity of a lifetime.  I stood in front of Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.  I grew up listening to a lot of rock and artists like Lionel, and not many people knew how big of a KP fan I was.  Sometime after I had first moved to LA, I went to Runyon Canyon.  Me and my bro Will overheard a tour guide from the bus yelling “And THIS is Katy Perry’s house!”  That was a big deal because again, I loved Katy Perry.  I said to myself “One day, I’m gonna meet her out here.”  What were the odds that the American Idol show would be revived, I’d get a call to audition, and that KP would be one of the judges? – good enough apparently!

DLSo there I stood, in front of three juggernauts of their respective genres. Teamed up with my broken guitar with a hole in it, I sang “Unaware” by Allen Stone, another big influence of mine. That performance got me a golden ticket and etched a new chapter in my music career. The experience was like being inserted into the thick of the music industry overnight. There were very late nights, really early mornings, euphoria, stress, and butterflies in your stomach all at once.  It was awesome!  I made it to Top 10 on the show, which was incredible to say the least.

Dennis Lorenzo KRK ROKIT G4 1A lot of people ask what my overall take away from the experience was or what did I learn, and here is what I normally say.  Firstly, if you think your career is set for life after becoming Top-10 on a show like American Idol, think again!  That’s when the real work begins:

  • Be sure to maintain/cater to the fan-base you’ve acquired and stay on top of your Social Media.
  • Create something EVERY SINGLE DAY, even if you write one song, sing and create every day.
  • Play as many shows as you can (If you have management, they’ll get you to where you need to be).
  • Some may challenge this, but don’t veer to far away from your style on the show; be who you are. Don’t be afraid to try new things, or take chances, but remember, you don’t want to experiment too much during your “opportunity of a lifetime.”  So take your chances, but don’t make every performance something different,—trust me, I know from experience.
  • This last one is very important, and it actually applies to every facet of life, remember to live in the moment.  Don’t let thoughts of winning or losing consume you.  I say this because I’ve seen it happen.  And remember this, do anything you do in moderation. So, it’s totally fine to acknowledge the fact that you will technically either win or lose, however, the moment you allow your psyche to become riddled with those thoughts, you’ve lost yourself.  There is no way to maintain your truth or yourself while those things are ruling you.  Because the truth is, the moment you get that golden ticket, you can take that win ANYWHERE.

Dennis Lorenzo KRK ROKIT G4 2There’s also one final thing I want to share with you! If you’re an artist and you’re reading this because you’re a fan of mine, or because you just want to read what some guy who almost won American Idol has to say, get a home studio setup! To those who already have one, and I know there are many, you’d be surprised how many artists don’t take that leap. So, here’s what you’ll actually need:

  • A computer (laptop or desktop/Mac or PC—it does not really matter anymore).
  • DAW (Digital Audio Workstation—there are some great free ones available now).
  • A microphone – you would be surprised how great some mics under $100 sound these days.
  • A pair of decent studio speakers – I use the KRK ROKIT G4 as they adapt to my home sound-environment with the KRK Audio Tools app.
  • A keyboard/midi controller – (not a necessity, but I highly recommend one for creating music.)
  • Mic stand.
  • Interface – this is the unit (box) that plugs into your computer and goes between your mic, guitar, keyboard, bass, etc. Again, there are some decent low-cost choices out there these days.
  • A comfortable studio chair (these are in NO way overrated 😉 ).

Dennis Lorenzo KRK ROKIT G4 8Here’s a list of what I use: MacBook Pro, Logic and Ableton Live, Apogee Hype Mic, a pair of KRK Rokit 7 G4s  (these are really great speakers for a home studio!), Yamaha Portable Grand, Stage Stands mic stand, Audeze LCD-1 headphones, KRK KNS800 Headphones (for mix reference), Apogee Duet, and some random studio chair I found a few blocks from my house.

Dennis Lorenzo KRK ROKIT G4 6One final, final thing to note: I know how this business can be, so getting help as you navigate through is a must. With that, I hope this article was of some help to you, until next time, rock on!

2020 WINNER ANNOUNCED: KRK GUITAR SOLO CONTEST AT NAMM

IMG_2811If you’re a fan of musical gear you’ve surely heard of the NAMM show in Anaheim California.  If you’ve never been, it’s an overwhelming bliss of musical stimuli that opens your eyes wider at every juncture.  As a musician, it’s where you go to see the newest—greatest—latest—bestest-of-the-best gear that will soon hit the market in the upcoming year, but it’s also where you go to meet like-minded musicians who all share the same passion of music creation and performance.

In that spirit, this year KRK came up with light-hearted idea to hold the 1st Annual KRKIMG_2802 Guitar Solo Contest at NAMM in conjunction with Gibson and Epiphone.   Each day, 12 fearless battle-axing warriors had 15 minutes to get acclimated to a short piece of music before recording one live take of their solo performance through ROKIT G4 10-3 monitors in front of NAMM-goers.  Word of the contest spread quickly as each daily winner took home a new pair of ROKIT G4 RP5 White Noise monitors and a set of KNS8400 Headphones.  Each daily winner then went on to a final post-Namm round where a panel of judges from Loudwire ranked each solo anonymously based on four criteria to determine a grand prize winner who was awarded an Epiphone Uptown Kat ES guitar.

Epiphone Uptown Kat

We at KRK thank all the great musicians who participated this year and look forward to seeing them again next year.  Without further ado, congratulations to the following daily winners and Grand Prize winner:

DAY 1:  Lemek Yisrael (Louisianna)

DAY 2: Michael Lis (California)

DAY 3: David Aizuss (Oragon)

DAY 4: Scott Lomaglio (California)

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FINAL GRAND PRIZE WINNER OF THE EPIPHONE UPTOWN KAT ES GUITAR:

LEMEK YISRAEL

Lemek 3

WINNER PROFILE:

Lemek is a young accomplished guitar player from Louisiana who first picked up the guitar when he was 5 years old.  He is a diverse player with a wide array of influences some including Charlie Parra, Syu (Galneryus), Stevie Ray Vaughan, and above all his dad Quintin Gerard W who is an amazing jazz saxophonist.  He grew up at a young age listening to a lot of funk and R&B, but as he got older, he started listening to a lot more technical music such as prog-metal, power metal, jazz fusion, and even classical.  Some of his favorite modern artists are Billie Eilish, Post Malone, and Zedd.

Lemek lives in New Orleans and has played with many bands and has had many performances in the city.  At the moment, he’s currently a solo artist and in the process of working on his debut album that will be released later this year (hopefully the new ROKIT G4 and Epiphone guitar will help that cause 😉).

Lemek’s goals are to continue making music and hopefully one-day compose music for video games or movies.  “I get awestruck when I listen to my favorite movie themes or soundtracks and they inspire me to write more and continue coming up with new creative ideas.”

Click here for information on the new KRK ROKIT G4 10-3 Studio Monitors

For more information on Lemek Yisrael, please visit

Instagram: lemekyisraelguitar

Facebook: Lemek Yisrael

YouTube: Lemek Yisrael

Twitter: @LemekYisrael

 

 

How Dan Konopka of the Band OK Go is Using KRK ROKIT G4 on a New Music Platform

KRK_Dan KonopkaWith KRK, you’re not going to find a group of people more supportive or fired-up about DIY music creation.  On a daily basis, we thankfully hear from and talk to incredibly talented musicians, producers, mixing engineers and songwriters about their experiences with our gear.  Recently, we caught up with a KRK user who we truly respect in that DIY spirit; someone who will forever be ingrained in Rock & Roll history with one of the most engaging music videos ever.

If you’re a fan of great music and music videos, you certainly remember the band OK Go’s “Treadmill Video.”—it was epic.  It captured your attention immediately and it was incredibly original considering we are now at a point in time where kids eat Tide PODS® to get acceptance.  No, this was not a gimmick, this was simply a group of Rock & Roll soldiers doing something they needed to do – make a video for a great song without the support of their major label, who at the time wasn’t giving them the attention they needed. In that procedure, the guys of OK Go stumbled upon something so authentic in which we now know of today as “gone viral” and “must see.”

OK GO KRK

It was “that thing” you can’t put your finger on that makes you watch certain content repeatedly.  “We made that video completely on our own,” Dan told us while producing a new band out in Denver, CO.  “We weren’t getting what we needed from the label at the time, so we had to figure something out with what we had in front of us—we had to do something.  We didn’t ask for permission and the label basically wasn’t involved until after we uploaded it to YouTube on our own.”

KRK is very excited to have taken permanent residency in Dan’s home studio who is a principal member, drummer, producerDan Konopka KRK Rokit g4 3 and re-mixer for the GRAMMY Award-winning group.  He relies on KRK monitors, subs and headphones to produce music with his band, but most recently, he has also implemented the gear into his workflow for projects with SoundBetter, the world’s leading music production marketplace, which helps musicians around the world connect with and hire top music pros to mix release-ready songs. With KRK’s new ROKIT G4 studio monitors, 12S powered Subwoofer and KNS 8400 Headphones, Dan feels more confident than ever in the quality of his mixes.

Though the ROKITs are his current go-to monitor solution, his initial introduction to our brand was through the eight-inch model of the renowned two-way V Series (V8) Powered Reference Monitors. “I first began my search for studio monitors because I needed something that was going to sound better than my home speakers,” he says. “I’ve been using the V Series 4 V8s for many years and I have never been disappointed. When the new ROKIT G4 range was released, I knew I had to get my hands on them.”

Dan Konopka KRK ROKIT G4 2

Working on both sides of the music industry—live stages and in-studio—Dan especially knows the value of a high-quality mix; that’s why KRK’s ROKIT G4s have become a staple solution in his home studio. “These studio monitors do their job perfectly and they’re involved in everything that I do musically,” he adds. “I receive such great feedback with the ROKIT G4s.  SoundBetter clients seek professional-quality mixes that they cannot produce on their own and KRK monitors allow me to provide the most pristine mix to my clients, so I know I can meet their expectations.  The reliability and quality of the G4s is something that I’ve never seen before at this price point—it’s really amazing.”

Please visit here for more information on working with Dan Konopka on the Soundbetter.com platform.

Please visit here for information on the most innovative studio monitor line on the market.

Thanks for reading!