As you may have heard, our good mates over at The Soda Shop recently put out their third Soda Shop Compilation album. And it’s loaded for bear with a pile o’ rawkin’ tracks from many a great bands in the bluesy, riffy, fuzzy stoner rock genre(s).
As you also may know, The Soda Shop kicks ass. And we often visit with them to get all of the latest lowdown on rawkin’ bands and whatnot.
We were lucky to grab hold of Soda Shop co-owner/founder Bill Goodman to talk about the new compilation, and to shoot some more cool breeze about music, and what it’s like actually putting together a compilation album.
Needless to say, we have a ton of respect for The Soda Shop and what they do over there in kindred fashion to promote great music. And we’re honored to put forth this great interview with Bill. Enjoy.
ROCKTHOUGHT.COM INTERVIEW: BILL GOODMAN – THE SODA SHOP
RT: As this is your third Soda Shop Comp, what inspired you guys to begin doing compilations back in the beginning?
SS: It was getting near the one year mark of me joining The Soda Shop and it’s rebirth. I wanted to do something special. I thought a comp album to give away would be perfect. Dan over at Exploding in Sound was still doing his comps and was a complete inspiration that got me started.
RT: Did you do anything differently this time around compared to previous comps?
SS: I waited a bit longer to release the newest one than I would have liked. I wanted to center the comp around the new MOTHERSHIP album so I waited until they had a track ready. Those guys have real jobs and other business to tend to outside of the band, as well as do the people that recorded it, so things went a bit slower. It turned out that they had the whole album done and gave me free reign on picking which song I thought would fit. VENOMIN JAMES and GROAN were finishing their new albums too. They both were finishing up recording at the same time so I waited until they had something.
RT: What is the thought process on how you go about collecting the songs? Is there a “method to the madness” or are you basically collecting recent gems and favorites from new artists?
SS: I usually start with a theme in mind. As I start contacting bands music, a lot of times the theme will change or alter. I try to choose different bands for each comp. VENOMIN JAMES is the only exception so far. Joe (from VJ) had let me hear rough mixes of the new album and I couldn’t pass up a new track. It is a mix of new bands and favorites. Every band I ask to be on is asked because I really like what they have to offer music-wise and want to share it with everyone.
RT: Your comp covers have had some pretty sweet artwork. Do you guys do the artwork, also?
SS: Yes and no. Gary Kane, whom also sings in FORGED IN FLAME, is a spectacular artist. He freelances so I asked him to do the cover for the first one. When it came time to do the 2nd comp, I was broke so I couldn’t afford to pay another artist. I have some decent Photoshop skills, so I put them to use. The 3rd one was a fluke. I was originally inspired by a tour poster for a Small Stone band. It was a simple 3 colors and very retro-ish. My first attempt I didn’t like – so I scrapped the cover. I Googled something along the lines of “hot girls with guns” or something close. After scrolling through I found the current one. All I did was crop the picture and add the logo. It took all of 10 minutes to do. I do have a few different artists in mind for future covers. My financial situation at the time will dictate whether or not I can do it.
RT: What’s it like actually putting together the compilation? Do you have to get permission from each band or label to include the song(s)? Or are most bands generally pretty cool about the idea?
SS: It usually takes me a few months to make the comps. Partly because I look for what’s coming out in that time frame and see if any band is interested in pushing a song from their upcoming or newly released album/EP. If it’s not out, obviously I need to ask for it. So I’ll contact them and see what they say. I’ve been blown-off by a few bands. For what reason, I’m not sure. But I usually have a good idea of who I want to ask. Most bands are cool with the idea. A lot of the smaller and upcoming bands are actually honored that someone wants to spread the word of their tunes. I’ve only had to ask a few labels for permission, and all that I’ve asked were cool with the idea.
RT: You picked some rad jams on this last comp. What are your top 3 jams? Any other “must hear” bands we should pay attention to, of recent?
SS: Well as far as the new comp album goes…they’re all good. I picked them because I thought they were good and others would like them. The songs by MOTHERSHIP, GROAN, and THE HEAVY EYES would be my personal stand-outs. Aside from that, I’ve been listening to the debut by BLACK MOTH a lot as well as MOTHERSHIP, GIN LADY, and the new MOUNT CARMEL. I go back to ‘Blood Lust’ by UNCLE ACID and the DEADBEATS and ‘Capricorn’ by ORCHID a lot.
RT: Do you release a hard copy version of the comps as well? Or is it a digital download only?
SS: The comp albums are only available digitally. I have thought about & considered pressing some on CD in the future. Right now I can’t afford it financially, so that idea is on the back-burner. Once I can afford it, I’ll go ahead with it. Getting the bands & labels on board for that may be different, but we’ll see.
RT: Can you shed some light on the different song format file types? How does the song quality differ amongst the file types?
SS: As far as the file formats, there are two types – lossless and lossy. Lossless formats are WAV, FLAC and OOG. Lossy formats are MP3. Lossless formats are uncompressed music. The idea behind it is that they sound no different than the CD and in some rarer cases – the LP. Lossy formats are compressed versions of what you would hear on the CD. There are different levels of lossy as well, and they get worse as they go down. V0 and 320 Kbps are considered high quality. 256 Kbps, V2 are about medium and so on. You can really hear the difference if you pay attention. The key is with the percussion.
When I put together the comp albums, I require at minimum, lossless files. I am a bit of an audiophile myself. I have had a few cases in the past where I have already had the CD, so I ripped the track myself. My thought behind it is if I’m using this bands’ music to represent The Soda Shop, I want the best sounding track I can get. In turn, I’m presenting the bands’ music how they meant for it to be heard. There was one case where, for whatever reason, the band could only get me a high quality MP3. I bit the bullet on that and ended-up converting it to FLAC. That’s a golden sin to audiophiles, but I listened over and over and was hard pressed to find any flaws.
RT: In ten words or less, describe IRON GIANTS.
SS: Absolutely, positively, one of the best songs of all time!
RT: What has the response been like so far on Comp 3? Are people getting it? Which bands are you hearing about getting the most feedback?
SS: The overall response has been great. It’s been downloaded about 700 times already. In fact, I just ran out of free downloads a few days ago. The new stuff like GROAN, VENOMIN JAMES, MOTHERSHIP and ORCUS CHYLDE have gotten the most streams according to Bandcamp.
RT: For other folks who may be interested in doing compilations, do you have any tips or suggestions on how to go about it? Tips for approaching bands/labels? Tips on production, file formats, etc? Any mistakes that one should avoid?
SS: Anyone looking to do the same thing – I recommend thinking about it. Put some thought into it. Decide on a theme. Maybe all stoner rock. Perhaps all doom. Don’t put a CLUTCH tune on and have it followed by Nickelback. If you stick to a theme, the listener is more likely to listen all the way through. All killer no filler. Try and do something to stand out from the others that hit shuffle on iTunes and the first 10 songs that play is their comp. One or two CDs worth is fine. That is the length of a typical album. I’ve seen many comps in the past with hours and hours of music. They get their hoards of music and put out 9 hours of music. How many people are going to sit through all that? It’s overkill.
Quality. Pick a file format and stick with it. Me, I’m an audiophile so I prefer lossless and use them for my comps. If that’s too much or you’re not sure, stick with 320 Kbps or V0. Get the best sounding recording you can. Don’t be afraid to approach bands and ask.
As far as mistakes and what not to do…well there was a blog last year that put together a comp album. It was huge somewhere in the 9 hour range. The guy putting it together took whatever submissions he got. A few days before its release he announced that he wanted 1 format, 320 Kbps and he was going to convert everything to that format. I warned him that anything that was of lesser quality would suffer and sound worse. His response – “My blog, my comp, my way.”
RT: Will you guys continue to do more comps? Is an official Soda Shop Fest in the works?
SS: We will continue to do more comps in the future. I haven’t begun thinking of the next one yet but I have the interest of one of my writers and his desire to help. The next one may sound radically different.
As far as a fest, we had one in 2010. It was called Fuzzapalooza. It went well. A last minute snafu at work prevented me from attending but everyone agreed it went well. There was an interest for a follow up in 2011 but it didn’t work out due to numerous reasons. I’m not sure that we’ll do one this year but we were approached by an individual in New York who expressed interest in us doing one there. That’s still being worked on at the moment. We’ll have details when and if something happens.
RT: Last but not least, tell us something about The Soda Shop that we might not know.
SS: This last question by far has been the hardest to answer. We’re pretty open as far as what’s going on with the site. We just switched over from a WordPress hosted blog to a private server. The transition was actually smooth with little to no problems. We’ll be bringing the forums back online soon as well as the radio stream. There’s a new Podcast every other week on Grip of Delusion Radio. I’m working on getting the archives for that up, but it’s been a headache so far. Eventually we’ll have an actual band signed and start putting out records. We’ll continue to be selling the new issues of Vincebus Eruptum Magazine as they’re released and eventually put out a US edition. We have lots of ideas that we’ll be trying out. I hope everyone has enjoyed what we’ve done. If you have, thank you and don’t be afraid to tell all of your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, email or any other way. Most importantly – THANK YOU!