Brent Orndorff: The Mouse That Roars
AAJ: With this first release you quickly established yourselves playing venues in some of the largest cities throughout the Midwest. How did your music reach national media exposure to ultimately be picked up by the documentary series Road Trip which airs on national television?
BO:When the first album was co-released with Statue Records we started touring to promote the band and the new album. Our immediate scene is pretty weak to put it kindly (there are only two venues in our city really worth playing and the radio stations here only play like 25 songs on rotation). But our location works out to our advantage because we can travel around three hours to play a lot of larger cities.
Once we were getting out there and getting some fans, we started pushing for more and more opportunities and then a year later two songs ended up on TV. Roadtrip Nation picked up our songs after we submitted our electronic press kit on Sonicbids, but I feel it heCDed that we were playing pretty often in larger cities, plus we had a decent amount of college and PBS radio play around the same time.
I've learned over the years that you have to show people you are already making things happen for them to take you seriously at all. However it's not like we started playing in 2006, got a record deal in three months and then got our songs on TV a year later. I've been a songwriter for 17 years now. Blue News is the result of everything I've done right or wrong since I was 13 years old.
AAJ: You have also made arrangements with InGrooves Distribution of San Francisco. They are to digitally distribute your music all over the web. Where can we find your music? What big things does this mean for you?
BO: INgrooves has been great to work with. They get our music on iTunes, Napster, eMusic, Rhapsody, Amazon and I could go on and on. They quickly get any of our releases on all the major download sites and quite a few I've never even heard of. It's really convenient because we don't have all of the research, submissions and tracking to worry about. They just take a small percentage for downloads and it's worth it because they get the releases out there. They do a great job tracking downloads then they report sales each month and pay us whenever we get a substantial amount built up.
INgrooves actually just signed a deal last year with Universal Music Group to carry their entire digital catalog and they're also working with Universal Publishing now to get bands like us the opportunity to license our music in TV, film, advertising, video games and so on. We actually just signed a new deal with INgrooves Licensing. That could mean big things for the band because it greatly improves our chances of getting a deal for more national TV exposure or, with a bit of luck, placement in a feature film or video game. It's a great break and hopefully it'll open some doors for us.
AAJ:Tell us about your most recent release, a 13-track CD titled Strange Light?
BO: Our sound is solidifying on this album. We've never been a straight-ahead blues band because there almost always seems to be something else in there to make it our own. Everyone wants to make each new album the best they've ever done and I think that holds true for us. So far, people have told us they like the songs "Rattlesnake Blues,"" Running Back To You,"" Promiseland," "Where Does She Go?" and "Shelter," but we hope people listen to the album a few times and find their own personal favorites.
The new album was entirely self-produced and we've released it under our own label, called Blame Records. We recorded, mixed and mastered everything in our own studio and we even manufacture our own discs now. It's worked out incredibly so far and we were all excited about having the album finished after working on it for months.
We actually had our first video shoot for the song "Shelter" for the new album, and I think it heCDed us realize the album was complete. We had a great offer to make a music video in HD and the timing was just right because we were just wrapping up the last tracks for the album. We worked with director Chris Thornberry from the video production company Green Sky Media/The Price Of Admission. Chris did excellent work and allowed us the right amount of creative control. Everyone involved was easy to work with and good at what they do so we had a great time making the video.