There, did that get your attention? Just wanted to make sure you’re getting as hyped up as I am about my free house party show with my band and Comandante Zero on Saturday December 19th, 9pm at a secret location that you must email me at talktojccassis AT gmail DOT com to receive, or you can just check out the facebook invite I’ll send out.
This show is going to be really great, and I’m hoping for a great turnout. It’s free, it’s fun, there’ll be music and beer and snacks and a great NYC apartment–what more could you ask for?? Plus, finally finally finally, it’s on a SATURDAY NIGHT! No more of this Wednesday/Thursday BS. We are playing real nights now!
Check out my music here as always, and Comandante Zero’s amazing electro-funk here.
This past week was a busy one with two big shows. The first, at R Bar, was my first show with my live band in four months, so it was great to get everyone back together and rock the house. Problem was, the house was pretty small. I was glad to have a few new faces there, and everyone enjoyed the show, but the problem is, when your show is late on a weeknight with a $10 cover charge and your friends are either broke and available or have some money because they’re working past 10pm on a weeknight, that doesn’t make for a big audience. That will be my last weeknight, high-cover-charge gig for the forseeable future. I wish these small venues and bookers would be more flexible about door charges because they really hurt draws for small bands/artists just starting out. Thank god there are some venues that will do shows with no cover where you can pass a tip jar so the musicians still get paid. That makes more sense to me since the venue makes more money off the bar than anything else, and more people in the venue means more money for the bar! Oh well, at least some venue owners understand that. The other option we have is to do gigs at house parties and other spaces where we can control the audience’s experience. So, to that end, our next show will be Saturday, December 19th at a friend’s loft in SoHo, which means no door charge, prime timeslot, free drinks, food, relaxed atmosphere, and good times. Plus we’ll be playing with the amazing Comandante Zero, an excellent electro-funk band out of Brooklyn who are friends of mine, so there’ll be not one but two awesome shows in one spot! I’m really looking forward to that show. If it’s still hard to get a good crowd at a free show on a weekend night with six weeks advance notice, then, to be honest, I’m not really sure what I need to do, haha.
The show on Saturday in Central Park had a much better draw because it was Central Park on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with a mammoth sound system. I had so much fun! I’ve always wanted to perform at the Bandshell and indeed it was a great time. I had a guest spot between house music DJ’s as part of Art for Progress’ Sunset Jam in Central Park, and sang “Anything You Want,” “Dance Dance Dance,” and “Everybody’s Crazy in New York.” Now, if you frequent the Bandshell area of the park, you know the regular crazy people who are always there, and they were there in full force! There’s the guy with the green ‘fro wearing brightly colored women’s clothes with a poodle and a parrot that he dyes crazy colors who skips around as people frantically take his photograph, and then there’s the old guy who either leaps and spins in circles continuously for about ten minutes at a time and never gets tired, or he stands in one spot and shakes his chest up and down as if he were an old, male, crazy Shakira in sweatpants. It’s a sight to see. I go to that area of Central Park all the time and I’ve seen those guys a lot, so it was pretty surreal to have them dancing to my music as I performed it. And it went absolutely perfectly with “Everybody’s Crazy in New York,” LOLOLOLOL. I wrote that song because it’s true, and they’re the perfect evidence of it!
The show was also great because a lot of little kids were there who really liked my music, and it always makes me happy when kids like my music. One little girl came right up to the stage and watched my set and would wave back to me and smile when I waved to her. Then later, she was like “I really liked your songs,” and SANG “Everybody’s Crazy in New York” BACK TO ME! SO CUTE AND AMAZING! Then this tween boy asked me for a hug and to have a dance-off, and this group of tween girls really liked my stuff as well. And another tween girl came up to me and was like “Did you go to Spence?” I swear, I cannot go anywhere or do anything outside without a Spence girl coming up to me! They’re everywhere! And I’d never know it if I weren’t always doing weird things outside! One lady asked if I’d come sing at her Christmas party. Not Christmas songs, my music. Everybody’s crazy in New York…
One thing that drives me crazy is that no matter how much people like your music and want to take your info to look you up online after a show, people are SO hesitant to sign up for the mailing list, which everyone in the indie music world says is the one thing you HAVE to get people to do. I totally get it because even when I’ve gotten on people’s email lists, I often don’t have time or desire to read the emails, I’ve never bought their music, and I’ve never been to their shows, and I often don’t get on the email list in the first place because of all that. But it’s just hard to have people say they love your music or your show and then decline to ever hear about your shows in the future. You just have to hope they’ll remember to look you up later, which is where getting a song stuck in their heads comes in. But that’s why it’s ALL about getting publicity. If I were getting publicity and people were seeing my name over and over again, they’d start looking me up and having a context in which to think of me. When I hear of something once, I forget about it, but if I keep hearing about it, eventually I check it out. So I’m excited to start pushing for publicity once the album’s done so I can see if it helps the way I hope/think it will.
See you at that show on December 19th!
Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/jccassis
All photos by Berette Macaulay except the fourth, ninth and tenth, which are by Kenny Bae. Thank you Berette and Kenny and Art for Progress!
So as part of this, the busiest month EVER, I did a one-hour outdoor show at 345 Park Avenue in the daytime on 9/15, then a set of Mexican songs for my friend Fernando’s Mexican Independence Day Party in the evening! Two very different shows, two very different looks. Here are pics of each!
From doing the 345 Park gig, I booked another outdoor, daytime gig for 9/30 at 24 State Street, 12:30pm. Hope to see some of you there if you work around there! This brings the total number of September gigs to 7! Nothing’s nailed down yet for October, but I am working on putting together some cool, free performances with my lovely friend Dan Freeman of Comandante Zero (myspace.com/comandantezero). And of course I’ve got a tremendous amount of work to do finishing and putting out and starting to promote my album and demo as well, so there’s that!
There’re only 3 days left to get your free exclusive download of my song “Hands Off,” so go here now and get it before it’s gone! After this promo is over, I won’t be able to give it away for another 3 months or so, so get it while you can! Click here to get it: www.myspace.com/windows?homepage=jccassis
Wow, I feel like I blog all the time and yet every time I go to post, I see it’s been two weeks since my last post. Ayayay.
So, the gig at R Bar last Thurs was so, so awesome. The venue looked and sounded great, and because the bar part isn’t separated completely from the music part, people in the bar who didn’t know us came in to watch the show, and they really loved it! It was so great. Having everyone in the bar come in to the back room doubled the size of our audience, and there was a lot of dancing and singing along, which was great. I noticed that that did not happen at all for the other acts, so I take that to mean that our sound was especially catchy and intriguing. Yay! There were stripper poles on the stage and I could go out and sing in the audience without getting feedback in the monitors, so it made for a much more movement- and audience interaction-friendly show, which was so awesome. At one point I even laid all the way down on the floor while singing a song. Can’t do that in other venues! Yay for R Bar’s setup!
We also did a cover of “Man in the Mirror” as a tribute to Michael Jackson. The amazing thing was, the time we played it on stage was the first time we’d ever played it together. We mentioned that maybe we should do it two days prior in rehearsal, and then the night before the show we were all emailing each other saying “I LEARNED MAN IN THE MIRROR!! DID YOU GUYS LEARN MAN IN THE MIRROR!?!??!” And everyone did. Yayyyyyyyyyyyy it was so rockin’!!!
Having my good pal Dan Freeman of Comandante Zero sub in on keys was soooooo great. He played the parts just like they are on my recordings, right down to playing the exact synth sounds that I use in Reason when I make the songs, and it sounded so great. The rest of the band sounded awesome as well, and most of the guys decided to dress alike, in skinny ties, vests and white shirts. My drummer joked that he was playing with the Jonas Brothers, but they looked awesome. For my part, I wore my big red feather headdress, crazy facepaint over my eyes, double fake fur cuffs, a studded shirt, zebra print leggings and knee high wrestling boots. So awesome. I will be posting some amazing pics and video of the show here very soon.
Musically we were really rockin’. It was the first time we did a full set of all dance-pop songs, none of the old stuff from the first album. I have been writing up a storm and it feels really good. What felt especially good was that this show was so great and the audience was so into it, that each time I finished a song, the audience really erupted into that kind of really sincere, excited cheering you get when people are really bowled over by what you just did. There’s nothing better than rocking out in the crowd, spitting the last line of a song hard into the mic clenched in your fist, then turning around and striding back onto the stage while people are screaming and clapping because you just rocked them. Aaaaaaaaaaah so awesome. Also, it was great to debut the three new songs I had not yet performed (Dance Dance Dance, Good Time and Anything You Want), because when I wrote Good Time, I was worried that musically it was too boring and repetitive (even though, while writing it, I listened to Lady Gaga’s “LoveGame” to see how repetitive and simple that track is, and it is really repetitive and simple, and people (including me) love it), but when we played it, people totally lost their shit over it. They LOVED it and they were singing along to the repeating parts, and it was awesome. It is so great and so helpful to be able to test my stuff out in front of audiences regularly, and it really builds my confidence when they love stuff that I wasn’t sure was good enough. Makes me trust my ear even more.
Just wanna mention, in case I ever get big, that I totally went up to the people I didn’t know in the bar and let them know that I was the ten o’clock act and I really hoped they would come in and watch. It was scary and a little awkward and totally unglamorous and un-diva like, but when you want success, you have to hustle for it, even if it’s uncomfortable. I’ve heard from people in the biz that Madonna was quite the hustler back in the day. So.
Because of the success of that show, I will be playing another show this Thursday July 16 at 10pm at Rebel, 251 West 30th Street, btw 7th and 8th avenues. Hope to see you there!