Meet Andrea Young of Aspenbeat Record Label!

Andrea Young of AspenbeatAndrea Young was born to work in music; it runs in your blood. After graduating college with a degree in music and psychology, she began work at MCA – a distributor who then handled Tom Petty, Chaka Khan and more. But like most of our Fluence curators she didn’t stop there, over time Andrea co-owned a chain of record stores, co-founded a company that computerized the music business (hello SoundScan) and eventually made her way to radio. We got a few minutes to catch up with Andrea and here’s what she had to say:.


Tell us about your present day career. What do you do? And what does it entail? 
It’s always been about the music for me, whether as a hobby or a profession. I currently run my record label and produce my radio shows, so I am doing what I have always wanted to do! I spend my time listening to music to find tunes to play over the airwaves and share [digitally]. What that entails takes many forms, from coaching artists through Fluence and other online review sites to promoting individual artists I believe in through my record label, Aspenbeat. And from playing tunes on my weekly eclectic public radio show on Aspen Public Radio (“Aspenbeat”) or my jazz radio show (“Jazz From Aspen”), to creating playlists on Spotify for my private clients, or sharing in my newsletter and blogs and playlist sites to my listeners and fans – in other words, I share them anywhere and everywhere I can.



Is Fluence helping make your role a little easier? How?
Definitely. I think Fluence is part of the future of music promotion and distribution. The good and the bad news is that the field of getting attention for your music has opened up to anyone and everyone with a tune and some persistence. But how do you spend your resources wisely, what makes the most sense? That type of strategy is what I love to do and Fluence brings artists to me to do that in both a shorthand version (online review) and then in more focused ways as I work with some of the artists who have come to me through the site. Fluence matches up curators and creators in an affordable and viable way unlike anything that’s come before it. In the past you’d have to struggle to find an industry expert to listen to your music – now with a little bit of research and work you can reach curators like myself and gain some traction for your music. I’m always listening for something that resonates with me and therefore my audience. Fluence helps bring those tunes to me.

On the other side, I get too many submissions to listen to every day: Fluence helps moderate that process for me, bringing in artists who might be a bit more serious (i.e. willing to pay an industry expert for a listen and feedback). I’ve got an ear for hits and what makes a great tune. I’m building my label and always looking for artists to work with. While I’ve been in the music business a long time, I’m working through the transition happening in the industry right now just like everyone else. It’s a new paradigm and a new road for me and everyone. Fluence helps with that too. I’m a big fan.


Have you made any epic discoveries while using Fluence?
On the music side, I have discovered artists, that I love, that I have played repeatedly on my radio shows and that have become part of my ‘Aspenbeat Top 300’, ‘Aspenbeat Top Songs of 2014”, and ‘Aspenbeat Constant Repeats’ playlists, including CMBSTN, Birds Over Arkansas, Ted Pearce, David Rosen and memoryfield (now on the Aspenbeat label).



Fan girl moment, what artists can you not get enough of right now?
I tend to play certain songs over and over again when I find something that catches my ear. Usually just one song off an album, it’s rare for me to find two or three that I really love. You can find my Constant Repeat playlist on Spotify, SoundCloud, Youtube and my website. I tend toward pop and singer-songwriter with some good high energy rock and roll thrown in.

Right now my list includes songs from Dr. John (‘Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child’), Sam Smith (‘Money On My Mind’), The New Basement Tapes (‘When I Get My Hands On You’), Stevie Nicks (‘Lady’), Willie Nelson (‘The Wall’) and Kids On Bridges (‘When The Needle Drops’). On the Aspenbeat label there’s memoryfield (with their cover of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’), Natasha Marin (yes Cheech’s wife and a prolific classical pianist, try her ‘Chopin Collection’), MYA Project (electronic pop with ‘Believe Me’) and The Rifters (Americana with ‘One Hundred Miles’) just to start.



Oh! I just saw Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden and that reignited an incessant playing of Billy Joel music on my playlists, he’s one of the most prolific entertainers of all time, I consider him our world’s Beethoven or Mozart. I’m also a huge fan of what I call ‘big pop’ from the top of the charts, the Taylor Swifts and One Directions of the world, I love their complex production and energy.

Sweet! Thanks for your time, Andrea.

Want to send your music to Andrea Young? Visit her Fluence profile here.


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Indie Folk Artist on the Rise: The Division Men

Meet The Division Men; a husband / wife acoustic duo based in Austin, Texas. We were blown away when we heard their mesmerizing, haunting, desert-dusted sound a couple months ago, and since then their music has swept across the Fluence community evoking recurring comparisons to Leonard Cohen, The Handsome Family, and Tom Waits to name a few.


We see great heights in store for their talent, and after listening to their music, it’s not hard to imagine them finding a place alongside Conor Oberst, The Good Life, and Monsters of Folk in the future. Read our interview with J. and Caroline below to hear The Division Men’s genesis, creative influences, and what’s upcoming for them this year.



How did your collaboration as ‘The Division Men’ begin and transpire?

(J) The band began in my apartment Berlin, Germany, in 2008. I met a few musicians that I wanted to collaborate with. My idea was to work with my friends who did not live in Germany at the time. I  know a lot of talented musicians and I didn’t think our locations should be a factor.
I sent files to guys like Fredo Ortiz (Beastie Boys/ Tito and Tarantula/ Ozomatli), Steven Medina Hufsteter (The Quick / Cruzados / Tito and Tarantula) and Mitch Hertz (Salacious Crumb, Salmon Hater). I really enjoyed collaborating with them but just like everything in life, people get busy and the work slows down. At that time Caroline and I were dating and we continued to play music together under the already established name “The Division Men”.


Dying To Get By - The Division Men







Did growing up in Texas inform any of the creative direction in your work?

(J) I was raised on the border of El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico. I was able to be apart of two different cultures coming together. El Paso is a perfect place to write music because of it’s surroundings, everyday struggles, history and beautiful people that have so many stories to tell. Our music is naturally Texas because it’s what we know, who we know and what we’ve heard and read about.
(C) San Antonio is a predominantly Hispanic town. It’s full of culture, fiesta, music and art. Any contributions that I have come from what I was surrounded by. I grew up in a musical family from the guitar makers (Bajo Sextos) to the guitar players. Although all of these things are my Texas influence, moving to El Paso in 2009 definitely encouraged the writing for our music.

You just released the music video for ‘Criminal’ which tells the story of a man spending his days travelling behind a mask. Is there any significance in that particular mask, and the cemetery where he chooses to remove it in the final scene?

(J) There’s no direct significance in the choice of the specific cemetery or that particular mask. The song is about someone realizing the wrong choices he made and trying to rectify them. The use of mask represented the temptation and the choice made. In the cemetery he leaves the mask asking for redemption in his choice.


Are there any artists in particular you’ve drawn inspiration from?

(C) There are many artists that both of us draw inspiration from. We’re inspired by writers, film, art and music. Going into this we never tried to replicate or mimic anyone but have been compared to some amazing artists who we both truly admire.
(J) David Romo, Cormac McCarthy, Stanley Kubrick, Wes Anderson, David Lynch, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen are just a few.



How did you discover Fluence? What do you think of the platform so far?

(J) I’ve followed Travis Keller’s writings for years and have been a fan of Buddyhead. I read that he was doing reviews and thought it was a great opportunity for him to listen to our music. I’m glad we became part of Fluence because we have been fortunate enough to have great writers review our work. We plan on continuing to work with Fluence and promote it as much as we can.


You released your debut album ‘Under The Gun’ the past May. What are your plans for 2015? Can we look forward to any live shows?

(J) We’re currently getting ready to head out for a short tour in February. This will take us through Texas, California, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming  and Colorado with our friends (Black Market II) from San Diego. Another tour later this year is also a possibility. We are starting to work on new material for a third record and will release a few more videos.


Follow The Division Men here on Bandcamp, Facebook, and Twitter

Indie Folk Curators | Music Writers and Bloggers | Indie Curators

It’s Music Blogger Pioneer, Travis Keller!

Travis KellerTravis Keller has always been slightly ahead of the curve; a true DIY music industry tastemaker (and fan). He created his blog,, in 1998 which has since become a record label releasing over 40 records since 2001. And now he’s taken to Fluence to find fresh music discoveries and help artists with advice.


So, Travis, how’d you get started in music?
When I moved to Los Angeles at 17 my first friends were a band called, the Kanker Sores (they later became the Icarus Line) who were on Recess Records and ingrained into the punk scene. So I just kinda landed in the middle of everything; my best friends were always promoting shows and playing shows with their band. I picked up the slack in the areas of photography, ‘zine (later webzine) and started pressing 7 inch vinyls of extra songs they had.


Why did you initially create Buddyhead?
It all just kind of happened, it wasn’t something that was planned. Coming out of the punk DIY scene it just seemed like what you did. You got involved in whatever way you could and wanted to. I’ve always loved music and been around it, but never really planned on running a business around it. It was after Buddyhead’s fourth record release that we started getting demos from bands we didn’t know and it was like “Oh man! I guess I run a label now.” But the idea of BUDDYHEAD and still the motivation behind it is to shine a light on art or music that normally wouldn’t be seen or heard… And make myself and my friends laugh from time to time too.

The label side started because we were promoting a Valentine’s Day show in 2001 at The Smell (first show at that venue ever) and the Icarus Line had an extra song, so we pressed up a thousand 7″ vinyls and gave 214 of them away (to the first 214 people at the show). Get it 214 = February 14th. Sold the rest. Then our friends in Ink and Daggers singer died and they didn’t have a label for their last album so we released that. From there things just kept popping up that needed homes like At The Drive-In and Murder City Devils.


What artists are you currently listening to? Any new artist predictions for 2015?
This week I’ve been listening to that YG record a lot. Also, Kendrick Lamar, Rowland S. Howard and The Wytches. I predict 2015 won’t suck as bad as 2014 because I just don’t think that’s possible.


Tell us about your Fluence experience thus far.
I enjoy it because Fluence is different than reviewing an album, I try to look at it like parenting a bit. My version of Rock N Roll’s older brother I guess.


What types of artists would you like to hear from on Fluence?
All kinds… Maybe people that were inspired by the same records I was to do this and keep doing this. And people who are in music because they have to be because there’s no other choice… It’s something you have to do and be around (AKA no posers).

Visit Travis Keller on Fluence to submit your music today.

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Fluence Interviews Electronic Artist Toph Allen

Toph Allen is a new electronic artist we’re excited to recommend and share with you. His luminescent sounds soar along ambient lines, while the pop-infused synth rhythms suggest a deep affinity for Röyksopp and Pantha Du Prince.


Toph had a moment to give us an interview, so read on to hear about his musical evolution, inspirational drivers, and how he shares his music with Fluence and the world.


How long have you been making music? How did you get your start?

It’s kind of a weird story; I started doing it as a hobby. Just doing it for myself really. But I played the violin growing up, so I had some musical background. Then in 2006 I got my first laptop, and being interested in technology, electronic music was naturally what I created. I just played my music for myself and friends—it was more basic, kind of like Garageband stuff, and I gradually began working on it more and by the time I finished grad school, I discovered that I had improved over time.


Why did you choose the electronic genre?

It’s kind of like the tools that you use, right? So I had kind of taken to computers and it was as simple as that. If I were using just a piano, maybe I’d be writing different music. I do listen to wide variety of music: folk, rock, pop. But I have no urge to write lyrics. Maybe I was influenced by growing up playing the violin, that’s probably why my music is more melody and harmony driven and less beat-driven.


Any other genres you’d like to explore?

I would eventually like to do something with vocals. I’m working on a second EP right now that’s similar to my first, but in the future, I’d definitely like to explore vocals, music that’s more beat-driven, more upbeat and “dancey”.


Is there an artist you’d like to collaborate with?

I have a huge fanboy crush on Nils Frahm. His studio albums are still and beautiful; mostly on the piano. He mics the piano really close, and you hear incidental sounds, the movement in the background, like him shifting on the piano stool. Live, he uses more synthesizers and does these amazing looping crescendos. It would be a dream to do something with him, but don’t think I’m ready for that yet.


Where do you draw your inspiration from?

It’s a combination of looking at the world different ways; through an analytical and an emotional lens. I guess it comes from my different interests, like science. For example, during grad school I was studying public health and the concept of “path dependence”. It’s not a fancy concept, basically just stating that things are the way they are now just because of past circumstances. I mean, you face this sort of thing all the time in your everyday life, that feeling of constraint. I want to embody those feelings with the sound I create. I think I get bogged down with words when I try to describe it—which is probably why I don’t write lyrics!


The landscape for musicians has changed in the last few years with social media. Do you think it has hurt or helped you?

It has helped me immensely. In my day job, I am an epidemiologist. With the internet and social media, I can share my music with more people. It makes it a lot easier for hobbyists and part-time musicians to do that. Without it, I would probably just write for myself and a few good friends. I’m entirely dependent on the web and those tools.


Tell us how you’ve used Fluence.

I forget where I first heard about Fluence, but it popped up again when I was beginning to pitch my track “Limits”. I didn’t have time to write a ton of emails asking people to listen to my track. Fluence was a way to get people to listen and get feedback. I sent my track to a few people; one person loved it and tweeted a link to it. Another curator, Mike Mineo, contacted me through Fluence and said he helped independent artists promote their music, so I worked with him to promote “Limits”. It was way more than I would have been able to do through my own efforts. And just last week on the train back into New York, I was talking with a fellow passenger and he asked if I had any of my music on SoundCloud. It was really gratifying because he actually had heard some of my tracks. And, Fluence was the thing that put me in touch with the publicity guy in the first place. It was all very serendipitous!


“Toph’s new track ‘Limits’ seems to blend the ambient beauty of Boards of Canada with Röyksopp’s pop-laden underlying rhythms. Small additions – like the introduction of a synth arp around the two-minute mark and the haunting string flourishes a few moments later as that arp progresses – are brilliantly executed… This is up there with some of the better instrumental electronica I’ve heard all year.”

Mike Mineo | Obscure Sound


Any advice for other musicians?

Play your stuff to people more. Just because you’re doing it part-time, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t release stuff. There are tools out there to help you. Go for it and don’t sell yourself short!


What are your plans for 2015?

One is another EP and I’m aiming for a 2nd quarter release. I wrote the core of it ages ago when I was teaching myself to mix with Logic Pro, then came back to it in grad school. I ended up splitting it up into 5 different tracks. Another thing is I’m taking piano lessons. I’m working on it more, because although I don’t have plans to play live in the near future, I want to be prepared if the opportunity comes up.


Find Toph on SoundCloud, Facebook, Twitter, and his website here.

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