The Brian Hazard of Color Theory Q & A

 

Brian Hazard: Color Theory

Brian Hazard: Color Theory

I subscribed to the Color Theory newsletter ever since I stumbled upon the music three years ago. The man behind the musical project is Brian Hazard who is based  in Huntington Beach, California. He now enjoys more than a 138,000 via twitter. He has also singles on heavy rotation courtesy of electronic music stations via the internet or radio stations all over the world.

He runs three websites. Passive Promotion focuses on “set it and forget it” methods of music promotion, along with a few tips on mixing, since he is both a mastering engineer and recording artist.

Resonance Mastering offers major label quality audio mastering and replication on an indie budget. This is his ‘behind the scenes’ in music work.

Color Theory is his own music site, dedicated to his releases as well as his own reviews of what’s hot and new in the world of EDM.

This isn’t my first feature article about him.  In fact I did an interview with him around September of 2011 which you will enjoy reading!

This is one of the spur of the moments interview following an article he posted about a Depeche Mode album. What is fascinating about Brain Hazard is that he is passionate about promoting music of other artists. His insights are truly make sense.

 


Before we start with your music, let me jot down the line you wrote on your review of Depeche Mode’s new album.  I was nodding my head in agreement to your statement: “Brits may find the blues fascinating, but as an American kid, I turned to Depeche Mode to escape just that sort of “rootsy” sound that infected everything on the radio.” As a non-American or Brit, I know where you are coming from. Sometimes we escape our own musical culture because we have TOO MUCH of it and want to get into that ‘grass is greener on the other side mode.” Do you consider yourself as a cultural observer on top of being a musician?

Not any more than the next guy. I don’t keep up with TV or movies. Maybe a little politics here and there. I’m comfortable talking about what it was like for me and my friends growing up in that particular time and place, but don’t feel comfortable extrapolating beyond that.

You seem to know what listeners are looking or waiting for. Your songs are never disappointing. What’s your formula?

That’s very kind of you. No formula, really. I mix things up. For the past couple of albums, I’ve started from a production idea and built the song around that. When I write songs at the piano, it’s hard to make the leap into the studio.

You also do other production works apart from your music. This comes with being well rounded. What’s your biggest concern being both the front man and the behind the scenes guy in music?

Finding the time to do it all. But you have to, really. Social media being what it is, nobody else can do it for you.

 Brian, what do you think is the best marketing strategy for electronic musicians?

It really depends on the musician, more than the genre they work in. Some focus on YouTube, others on live performance, others on social media, others on courting music bloggers or labels. I’ve got an entire blog devoted to music promotion at passivepromotion.com, which details my experiments with a variety of promotion strategies, sites, and services.

Can you give us more info about your latest projects?

Unfortunately, I cant talk about the biggest two without violating nondisclosure agreements and/or getting friends in trouble. After I wrap them up, I’ve got guest vocal spots to record for a few tracks, and then I can focus on getting my next EP out.

Where can listeners buy your albums?

They’re on iTunes and the rest, but it helps me most when they buy directly from me at http://music.colortheory.com.

What’s the weirdest experience/request you have as a mixer?

Technology has come along way, but I’m still routinely asked to do impossible things like turn up an individual instrument in a full mix.

How do you keep inspired to come up with new materials?

I keep a text file of song ideas. Whenever anything hits me, whether it’s a title or a line or a concept, I add it to the file.

What’s cooking for Color Theory this 2013?

I’d like to put out parts 2 and 3 of my Adjustments EP series, and then release the full album in 2014 to commemorate 20 years of Color Theory releases!

What are the top 5 albums on your list (other than the new Depeche Mode album you dissected in your review).

Not sure which list that is, so let’s go with all-time favorites:

David Sylvian – Secrets of the Beehive
Depeche Mode – Violator
Japan – Tin Drum
The Cure – The Head on the Door
Smiths – Hatful of Hollow
The Sundays – Reading, Writing and Arithmetic

Sorry for the bonus! Couldn’t leave out The Sundays.

Worse advice you got when you were just starting out in music.

You have to play live.

 Best advice that you followed.

Make the best music you possibly can.

Bio(Through his own words)

80?s synthpop is in my blood, but I mostly listen to Electronic Dance Music these days. My songs draw from both, fleshed out with piano accompaniment. Anyone who took music lessons as a kid calls themselves “classically trained,” but I stuck with it, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance. Immediately after graduation, I left Beethoven and Brahms behind to pursue my first musical inspiration, Depeche Mode.

The line between inspiration and imitation blurred when my song “Ponytail Girl” spread like wildfire on Napster, mislabeled as a Depeche Mode b-side. Despite both parties’ efforts to set the record straight (depechemode.com went so far as to address the mix-up in their FAQ), bootleg versions of Depeche Mode’s Exciter album were sold around the world with “Ponytail Girl” included as a so-called bonus track. I used the incident as the basis for a tribute album to the band, Color Theory presents Depeche Mode.

I’m currently working on my 9th full-length Color Theory release, scheduled for 2013. Career highlights include winning the Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, two songs in the hit video game Rock Band, and several song placements on MTV’s The Real World.

You can hear everything I’ve recorded and download free songs at music.colortheory.com. I’m also on iTunes and the rest.

My music is powerless without you listening, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

-Brian Hazard

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