MSI9W - Week 2: Creating The Perfect Pitch

 OK, WEEK 2, "Creating the Perfect Pitch" here we go....... I feel like I'm back where I started, because this is how I first discovered Ariel in February of 2009. She was running an "elevator pitch" contest in which she was asking artists to create a 15 second pitch that offers a unique selling point to potential fans and provides them with some kind of compelling context to pique their interest. A great example of an effective elevator pitch is Leftover Salmon's "Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass." 3 words and bumper sticker simple, but that's enough to make me want to find out more and hear what that sounds like.

I played around with a few ideas and got nowhere for a while. I'm in an interesting niche, which for lack of a better term, I will call "contemplative music." It occupies a nexus somewhere between ambient music, space music, chillout/downtempo, electronica and (as much as I hate the term), new age music. People have told me my music reminds them of Pink Floyd, Kitaro, The Orb, Future Sound of London, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Steve Roach and Shpongle. But I'm also very influenced by psychedelic music like The Grateful Dead and more traditional bands and artists of the sixties and seventies, like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell, as well as "progressive rock" bands like Yes and Genesis. And just to make the stew even more interesting, I have a passion for world music, particularly Indian music and Indonesian Gamelan music. Throw it all in a pot and stir it up and you have Atomic Skunk.

Ariel suggests using these artists that people say I sound like and artists that have influenced me in creating my pitch. She also recommends thinking about the feelings and vibes I want to convey. One of the important things for me as an electronic musician,that I discovered early on was that I could squeeze beauty out of all these bits and bytes. People tend to think of electronic music as beeps and boops and blips and robots and I was able to evoke a much more organic feel to my music, both through the use of sampled real-world instruments and field recordings, as well as an organic approach to the actual compositional workflow I adopted.

In addition to all of that, I found over time that the people that were likely to be attracted to my music fell into various "tribes." In other words, I knew that people who liked The Orb and Future Sound of London and Steve Roach and Kitaro would most likely enjoy my music, but I also began to notice non-musical groups that were drawn to my music, people that were into meditation and buddhism and yoga for example. Luckily for me, these are all interests I share as well, so it's either consciously or sub-consciously reflected in my music.

Having digested all this info, I set out to create my pitch. Initially I thought about including band influences in the pitch, like "Future Sound of London meets Steve Roach" or even "If Pink Floyd took a Yoga class, this is what they'd listen to", but after some thoughtful consideration , I settled on "Organic Electronic Ambient Space Music for the Heart, Mind and Soul." I felt like it encompassed my sound and what I was going for artistically and aesthetically while at the same time aiming to appeal to the "tribes" I defined earlier as potential fans.

Ariel mentions that the pitch may change over time and not to get too hung up on it, but I've had mine now since February 2009 and it still feels pretty good to me.

1 comment

  • Carla Lynne Hall

    Carla Lynne Hall

    Hey Rich! Good going on your blog and pitch! Carla (one of Ariel's judges)

    Hey Rich!

    Good going on your blog and pitch!

    (one of Ariel's judges)

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