|"Mad as a March hare" is this month's seasonal saying, and it aptly describes our V.I. veteran interviewer, SkidMcSkidder!, And, as we begin our 1st aniversary celebrations here at SkidMark, keeping the guy from bursting with excitement has been a real problem especially as he got to interview the beautiful & talented singer / song writer Stefanie Seskin (aka blue9girl9) - front woman of the first band ever to join SkidMark Multimedia, Blue Number Nine. Enjoy!|
SkidMcSkidder: Hi Stefanie, it's a real pleasure for me to be able to run this "virtual interview" with you, as this month is SkidMark multimedia's first anniversary as an Independent music resource. And what makes it extra special for me is the fact that Blue Number Nine were the first artists to be listed back in March 2001!
blue9girl9: You're a mush
blue9girl9: I mean that in a good way!
SkidMcSkidder: BN9 are probably the best funky, soulful indie band I've heard in latter years but before we talk about your distinctive vibe, tell me, does the band name have any specific meaning?
blue9girl9: No - it was a random thing. We had a different name originally. We hadn't even released a CD, we were on the internet and the scene for like only 3 months and people were emailing us... fans from all over the place.
SkidMcSkidder: And the name was?
blue9girl9: It was Red Letter Day so we kept the color thing and the letter became a number; While on the phone with another band member, we came up with this idea. I was multi-tasking, going through my clothes tidying up, and ran across an old soccer jersey of mine. It was blue, with the number 9… so instead of blue number NIGHT, we went with "nine".
SkidMcSkidder: You and the rest of the guys in the band all come from colorful and varied musical & cultural backgrounds - how'd you all come together to form the tight, fluid outfit that is BN9?
blue9girl9: Ads in the paper, people I already knew. Word of mouth amongst friends
SkidMcSkidder: How do the multi-cultural favours influence your sound? Does any one "scene" prevail?
blue9girl9: It's more multi-influenced than cultural. Our guitarist comes from Japan - not Tokyo, a small town, but he grew up listening to all kinds of music. A lot of Western music. Same with our bassist - from Italy - he has a strong jazz background. I don't really see the cultures as cultures... except when we try to communicate! In English!!
SkidMcSkidder: So who is dominant in the song writing role?
blue9girl9: That would be me . We co-write some, but not much. We're kind of busy!
SkidMcSkidder: Yeah, I understand you're currently building a recording studio in the basement! How's that going?
blue9girl9: Hard work and a lot of sweeping up after everyone. Guys don't understand the concept of 'cleaning as you go'
blue9girl9: Not in cooking, not in construction. It's looking great, though!!
SkidMcSkidder: So will this be the focal point of a forthcoming new album?
blue9girl9: That's the plan. Liner notes: Recorded at Concussion Studios, Jersey City, NJ. Actually, we're going to mainly use it for pre-production we want to make it a recording studio, but that's down the road. The ceilings are low, by the way hence, the name
SkidMcSkidder: LoL Reminds me of my first "recording studio" - Looney in the loft - it was set up between rafters in an area roughly about 10ft by 4ft wide!
blue9girl9: No, man, we've got a control room and everything. Plexiglass, the whole nine
blue9girl9: Soundproofing... It's really cool!
SkidMcSkidder: You have a masters degree in communications - did you study for this achievement as a precursor to working in a musical environment or did you initially have another career in mind?
blue9girl9: I went to college a few years after high school I wanted to be a model or a musician. I ended up going to Europe. I had a roommate I was a model and she was a songwriter/singer
blue9girl9: And we wrote some tunes together. Then, I came back to the US and tried modeling here. I also joined bands as a bassist. Then, I went to college because I wanted to learn about important shit.
SkidMcSkidder: Is that where you got involved in politics as a hobby? From visiting your site in the past I've seen you play a lot of benefit gigs & festivals for specific causes - Are there many particular movements you are sympathetic to?
blue9girl9: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - I had a brother who died of Leukemia. There are many other movements I'm sympathetic to but I don't really want to get into politics. They're in my lyrics. Religion - I'm a Buddhist and I'm a pacifist
SkidMcSkidder: Talking about your lyrics sorta leads me on to my next Q: One of the features of your excellent web site www.bluenumbernine.com is "Write a song with BN9". It's a great, unusual item that I've never seen on a band site before - do you get many visitors contributing to it and if so, how many songs have you produced in this way?
blue9girl9: Write a song... yes. Well, we also have a comic strip! Have you seen that? Both were the idea of cartoonist Keith D. who is so amazing and creative to me
SkidMcSkidder: I haven't seen it for a while - but yes!
blue9girl9: People participate. I've never put music to any of them, though. People start off strong and then peter off.. we never finish any!
SkidMcSkidder: why's that then? Because the input is so varied or the lyrics run out before a full blown track?
blue9girl9: Both, I guess. It's not an easy thing to do!
blue9girl9: And it's more like a game than something serious like those Mad Lib games.... Do you know what they are?
SkidMcSkidder: errr... Are they similar to ad-libbing / word association games?
blue9girl9: They ask you for a noun, verb, pronoun, color, etc...
blue9girl9: You come up with words and then the words get plugged into a story
blue9girl9: And sometimes, they're funny!
SkidMcSkidder: ah - yes I've seen them!
blue9girl9: ok! I knew it!!
SkidMcSkidder: I remember during a conversation with you last year you describing a number of web sites you had written for various concerns and individuals - Is webmastering a passion of yours or more of a hobby?
blue9girl9: www.checkothermedia.com is my business. I also tutor high school kids to take standardized exams and I do some photography, promo stuff for other artists and home computer help for the clueless
SkidMcSkidder: Cool! How'd you find any time spare in the day with so many different projects on the go??!!
blue9girl9: My time is inconsistent. Some days or weeks, I'm non-stop outta control busy. Other days or weeks, I have nothing to do, so my practicing my instruments is sporadic at times, too. It's a rollercoaster life
SkidMcSkidder: I know that feeling! On the subject of the internet, how do you feel the web has helped promote your music to an international audience?
blue9girl9: Um... hello UK??
blue9girl9: Seriously, it's cool talking to people in other countries and being able to share my stuff with them although It hasn't helped sales any! But what DOES help sales in this day and age? No one seems to know
SkidMcSkidder: I'm surprised you say it hasn't helped sales - from what I've heard of your self-titled CD it's wicked!! I particularly enjoy the track "You Tell me I know" - I always request it on bumpskey's show! In fact earlier this evening I was listening to the cool webcast show over at www.bumpskey.com and a couple of BN9 tracks were playing - I hear your material played regularly on Jerry's show - what's your thoughts on how indie webcast shows of this type help the BN9 cause?
blue9girl9: They're awesome It's all good. The internet's great It helps immensely, BUT I think that the best way is the live show - I'm old school.... I wish we could play LIVE for the international audience. We've been trying to get to Europe, we have all kinds of plots and schemes, It will work out eventually. As for Bumpskey and Jerry, well, they are champions. The coolest people and a great show
SkidMcSkidder: I agree. You've pre-empted another of my questions there too! I was going to ask: Have you any plans for a major tour or new CD?
blue9girl9: Yes and yes. We've always got plans that's how we've been able to keep going for 6 years - Gotta always have a vision and a plan
SkidMcSkidder: Exactly - my problem is I've SO many ideas and plans for SkidMark it's A) finding the time and B) more importantly, finding the funds to finance the projects!
blue9girl9:: yea, B is our case, too
SkidMcSkidder: I never asked before but, Are you signed to a record label or do you publish all your material through independent releases?
blue9girl9: Our studio CD is on Berger Platters Records, an indie label Our live CD is under "check other music" - that's my catch all business name and publishing company
SkidMcSkidder: So what's involved in releasing an album through a label? What do you get out of their involvement?
blue9girl9: This label is a cooperative. We got free recording time, basically and some promotional stuff but in exchange, I do some work for them. Everyone works together - Whoever is good at getting press gets it for as many of the artists as possible, that kind of thing
SkidMcSkidder: Sounds like the way forward!
blue9girl9: Also Soundscan tracking... someone else is doing radio it's cool
SkidMcSkidder: soundscan tracking - what's that?
blue9girl9: When people buy your CDs, retail and the barcodes are scanned. That information is stored somewhere and I don't really know much about it because I'm not the soundscan person!! But anyway.. it's proof of actual numbers of CDs sold. Make any sense??
SkidMcSkidder: Ah gotcha! So any ideas how many BN9 CD's have sold total?
blue9girl9: Not enough...
blue9girl9: Under 1,000
SkidMcSkidder: Well we'll have to run some promotion on SkidMark then - it's a great album!
blue9girl9: Thank you
blue9girl9: The next album will be truly great We'll have horns on more songs because we've been playing out with them a lot more. Just 2 horns - alto & trombone and less keyboards on the next one we've been having trouble finding a replacement for our original keyboard player. He was one of a kind... all over the first album; songwriting and keyboards so we're making some changes
blue9girl9: And I cut all my hair off - I'm bald now
SkidMcSkidder: Had me going there for a minute! LoL
blue9girl9: One more thing - tomorrow is my birthday (March 1st)
SkidMcSkidder: Hey ! Happy birthday Stefanie!
blue9girl9: Anyone else, I'll take a check!
blue9girl9: Actually, my mom sent me a check for my b-day How pathetic is that?
SkidMcSkidder: I hope you're going to invest it wisely! LoL
blue9girl9: At my age, a homeowner and all! It's going towards sheetblock or sound board or some such thing, straight to the basement
SkidMcSkidder: heh heh - My Mom was cool she bought me brake pads for my motorbike!
blue9girl9: Moms are the best
blue9girl9: I've got not much more to say except thank you! And keep up the great work with the site It's looking awesome. And love & good cheer from my bandmates
SkidMcSkidder: Thanks Stef - one more Q: Any major targets for Blue Number Nine in 2002?
blue9girl9: To get started on our next recording - beyond pre-pro. Actual stuff on tape (we like to do it analog!). And to snag this producer we want to work with that's the biggest one.
blue9girl9: And go to Italy... We have a little plan, but it may not work out... can't talk about it!
SkidMcSkidder: Well I know I'm looking forward to hearing a new BN9 album - we love ya here at SkidMark
blue9girl9: Thank you!
SkidMcSkidder: My wife REALLY digs you
blue9girl9: Well, I wish she could see us live. We kick ass live
SkidMcSkidder: If you ever tour the UK you've a ready & waiting groupie! LoL
blue9girl9: My bandmates are all talented The back up singers are incredible... Sheila & Camari. They work out movements and stuff and they can both dance and really sing. Bass player is incredible he always comes up with the perfect lines right away
SkidMcSkidder: Sounds like a really sharp live act
blue9girl9: Yes, sometimes so sharp, they're all a pain in my ass
blue9girl9: We all get on each other's nerves at times
SkidMcSkidder: Well, it's been great talking to ya Stefanie
blue9girl9: You too! Thanks, again.
SkidMcSkidder: I wish you the greatest success in all that you do and can't wait till the next release!
blue9girl9: I'll keep you posted
blue9girl9: and check the website --> www.bluenumbernine.com
SkidMcSkidder: Already a regular place of visitation!
blue9girl9: And write a song with bn9, would ya?!
SkidMcSkidder: will do!
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Virtual Interview conducted using MSN instant messenger ™ 28-02-2002
© SkidMark Multimedia Productions MMII