“The Alligator Song is one my favorite songs to play live; it has a slow beginning, but then it jumps into a rhythm that makes it hard not to tap your feet. Before you know it, I’m doing scat over this crazy bluegrass rhythm” @ansonkrekeler
GETTING TO KNOW ANSON KREKELER
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
I grew up in Cincinnati…
picked up a guitar when I was 15, and I never really put it down. I played electric guitar and sang in a band through high school, but we only played a handful of shows; mostly we just jammed in the basement. I was writing songs from the beginning, but it took years before I began to get comfortable with my lyrical style. I discovered the open mic scene when I was about 20, and I went at it with an acoustic guitar. I was immediately hooked, and started playing open mics all around town. I got to know a lot of people, and even hosted a few open mics at a local coffee shop, and I guess that’s where you could say I “got my start.” Because the open mic scene was a community in itself, and when I started to realize that music was what brought all these people together, I knew for sure that I wanted to be involved. I’ve been writing and performing ever since.
The Alligator Song…
is one my favorite songs to play live; it has a slow beginning, but then it jumps into a rhythm that makes it hard not to tap your feet. Before you know it, I’m doing scat over this crazy bluegrass rhythm, and then I end the song with a tongue twister. It’s a lot of fun to take an audience on a ride like that. Beyond the song structure, the lyrics tell a story. It’s about a place in Alabama where alligators are starting to cause problems. There’s a grandfather that likes fishing, and you can only guess where that might lead. What happens at the end is kind of up to interpretation, but rest assured, alligators are pretty protective of their food.
The song was recorded at Clear Lake Studios in Los Angeles, and the recording process was pretty simple. We basically tried to capture the energy of a live show by setting up high end mics throughout the studio, and then I just played the song as if I was performing at a packed bar. It came out pretty well, and you can hear the lyrics if you listen.
I live in Los Angeles, CA…
and the music scene here is alive and well! Basically any kind of music you’re into, you can find it here. It’s a city of transplants, so musical influences come from everywhere. I know a place in Culver City that has Gypsy Jazz on Monday nights- The Cinema Bar. Worth checking out if you’re in town on a Monday. Right now the Folk & Blues scene is a little quiet, but I’m in the process of shaking things up a little.
One fun thing I like to do…
I like to walk around construction sites and see how things are put together. Restaurants, apartment complexes, train stations; any place you can still see the framing. Watching a building come together is like watching a team of people make a collective piece of art.
The music business is an animal unto itself…
I’m just trying not to get eaten while I figure out how to tame the beast. I think the best part about the business right now is that anybody can create music and put it out there for people to listen. This levels things out and leads to a whole lot of new and more diverse content, which is awesome! For me, the tougher part that comes along with it is finding a balance point where I can make a living by playing and writing music. I’m overcoming some of this by playing three and four hour shows at bars, filling out the nights with cover songs from some of my favorite influences, but one day I hope to fill venues by simply playing my originals. One day they’ll stand on their own.
Social media is neat…
I like that I can reach thousands of people all around the world, and often times people who would otherwise be unreachable. It’s pretty cool that you can have a conversation with the world. The real challenge for me is that my thumbs don’t seem to work very well on a touch screen, so I have a lot of trouble typing. I also don’t know quite how to address the social media world in posts and whatnot; I want each post to be personal, but I’m also trying to reach as many people as possible, so I sometimes end up sounding like a corny radio announcer or a highway billboard. I’m still working on the balance.
Singles vs an album…
I think that both singles and albums have their good points, but if I was going to release a single, I would use it to help promote an album. There should always be a link to more songs. For me, an album is more fun anyway, because it can tell a story. It’s much more personal, and it can give a much broader perspective of where a musician comes from. I have an album in the works right now called “Lifeboats,” and the songs tells stories about senators, alligators, accountants and gamblers, and though each song stands alone, together they tell a much broader story.
Music marketing is extremely important…
Getting your music to reach people’s ears can be a battle in itself. My current marketing plan is to get my music onto Pandora, Spotify, iTunes and online radio, and to keep offering a free song for joining the email list! I find some of my favorite artists through Pandora, so naturally I want to have my music there; it needs to be in places where people go to listen.
I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…..
Buddy Guy. I saw him once at a festival in Cincinnati, and he broke a string while playing a solo. Without missing a beat, he grabbed hold of the loose string and started using it as a percussive element, smacking the other strings on the guitar to finish out the solo. It was amazing! He’s easily one of the best guitar players out there, and although his music is deeply rooted in the blues, he weaves in elements of funk, jazz, and rock & roll to create a style that is all his own. He’s now 78 and he’s still touring and performing! I can only imagine what kind of life experience he’s got packed into his years; he played on tracks with Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, and he’s been performing for more than half a century!
The music industry has always put a heavy emphasis on what is current and trendy…
and I think there will always be bands that share that emphasis, but that doesn’t necessarily take away from their musical talent. Trends come and go, usually in cycles, and popular music is no exception. I think the key is just to play music that you love, and the rest will come together. You just have to be ready when the cycle comes back around.
I challenge myself …
Besides the usual booking and performing required to make a living as a musician, I challenge myself by writing, recording, and recently, teaching myself to play percussion. I have a washboard, a snare, and several other percussive toys that will be heard on the upcoming album. I try to incorporate a lot of different influences into what I play, and each song poses it’s own unique challenges. I’m also trying to get really good at scat.
I am most afraid of…
Ice Skating. I only did it once when I was young, and I couldn’t help thinking that if I fell, somebody would skate over my fingers!! Those things are sharp!!
My personal definition of success is…
They say success is to achieve what you set out to achieve. So for me, that means cultivating a career in music that entails writing and performing original songs for a living, and touring six to eight months out of the year to support that living. I want to travel so as to reach as many people as possible, all while sharing these experiences with my Bear.”
Buy the album here: http://ansonkrekeler.bandcamp.com/releases
Link to Video: The Alligator Song