Life on the Road: Touring Tips from Air Traffic Controller

Boston-based indie pop band Air Traffic Controller are on the road Bronze Radio Return, have just been nominated for three Boston Music Awards, and have been touring nonstop for the last few weeks. Read on to get their top tips for surviving life on the road.

Air Traffic Controller’s Top Touring Tips:
  1. Know when you need your space.  It can sometimes be hard to be around people 24/7 for weeks on end, especially if you’re an introvert like me.  If you need to throw on headphones or go for a walk to recharge, do it.  It helps a lot.
  2. Pack as light as possible.  I don’t always take my own advice on this one, but I always end up trying to bring things that I don’t need and it only weighs me down.  I’ve worked over the years to cut down everything I own so that it fits in a small suitcase, and it feels a lot better.
  3. Be kind to everyone you work with.  Your band, the sound staff, the promoter, the bartender, everyone.  It’s so much easier for everyone when everyone is psyched to be there.  If you act like a diva, it just makes things miserable.  And what’s the point of that?
  4. Driver gets to choose the music and the navigator sits shotgun and stays AWAKE.
  5. Don’t make any rash decisions.  It’s not always gonna be a good day and you’re not always gonna get along with everyone at all times.  Let moods pass and give things time.  Vent to a neutral party if you need to, but arguing and complaining don’t really do any good when you’re traveling around the country for months in a little tin can.
  6. Live in it and enjoy it while you can.  I feel like the luckiest person in the world to get to travel and play music with my best friends.  I don’t always get to work with my favorite people in the world and it’s the best thing.
  7. Don’t let one sub par show get you down. When you’re playing every night it’s not always going to be magical. Maybe you have an off show, sound isn’t great, show isn’t well attended, you’re exhausted, etc. There are a so many factors that come into play. All you can do is try your hardest to give the best performance possible, support each other onstage, and remember to have fun. We’ve gotten into a really great habit of dissecting our performance after each show and figuring out what we can do to make the next show better.
  8. Take care of yourself. Your body is going to take a pretty good beating. Loading gear in and out of the van, not sleeping well, constant long drives, not to mention there’s probably a good amount of free booze around. Anyway, it’s helpful to try and eat well, rest when you can, and drink plenty of water. You might still feel like you’re not human most of time… but hey, you’re on tour with your BoyZ!
  9. Pre-Stage. Making sure that your gear is setup and ready to go off stage can be a huge timesaver and make your life a whole lot easier. This is especially helpful if you’re the opener on a tour.
  10. Make sure all your gear is tour ready. You really don’t want stuff breaking on the road. Especially if it’s something that’s not easily replaceable. I always try to go over all my gear with a fine toothed comb before we leave for a trip, and bringing some tools along for the ride isn’t ever a bad idea.
  11. Socks. Bring all of the socks.
MikeLife on the Road: Touring Tips from Air Traffic Controller
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Music Publishing 101: What’s a Performance Rights Organization (PRO)?

Are you playing your original songs/music live or are they getting played on the radio? Was your song placed in a TV show, film or commercial that is being played on TV? Did you know that songwriters get paid for these types of public performances? PROs (Performing Rights Organizations) are an integral part of the music industry and in getting these types of public performances licensed, tracked and then royalties paid to songwriters. The administration and business side of your song catalog is as important as you creating it - read on to learn the ins and outs of how this works from SESAC Creative Services Manager, Diana Akin Scarfo.

What is a Performing Rights Organization (PRO)?
If you’re a songwriter, you have the right to be paid royalties any time your song is performed publicly. A PRO, also known as a Performing Rights Organization, tracks and licenses a songwriter’s music and pays the songwriter and music publisher public performance royalties (it is very common for the songwriter to act as the music publisher until a publishing deal/agreement is entered into).  Public performance royalties are when your song is performed on radio (terrestrial, satellite, and internet), TV (TV Shows, films played TV, commercials), live performances (i.e. bars, music venues, festivals, etc.), and digital streaming services (i.e. Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music, Pandora, Rdio, Rhapsody, etc.).

MikeMusic Publishing 101: What’s a Performance Rights Organization (PRO)?
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Behind the Opportunity: Treehouse Festival

We’re so excited to share that we’re the official submission platform for the inaugural Treehouse Festival in L.A.! What started as a monthly event held at pop-up locations in L.A. where performers present their talents, has evolved into an all-day festival at The Ambassador Auditorium to expose upcoming artists to the crowd they deserve. We chatted with the inspiring team behind Treehouse to learn about the festival, exclusive ReverbNation opportunity, Kickstarter campaign, and more.

Hey Alex, Diana, and Charlsey! Thanks for chatting with us! Can you tell us a little about yourself.
Alex Wisner: Musician at AKW/Founder of Treehouse
Diana Mantis: Photographer
Charlsey Kellen: Founder of Dog-Eared Records

We are beyond excited to be the official submission platform for the First Annual Treehouse Festival! Can you tell us a little about Treehouse?
Alex: I’m so happy to be working with you guys. I know that this site has such a plethora of artists waiting to be found and that’s truly what we’re all about. Treehouse Festival is a one-day festival taking place in Los Angeles on October 15th. This festival is the result of a monthly event that I’ve been holding every month for the last year and a half. These monthly events started in my living room and quickly grew too large and became pop-up events all around Los Angeles. We showcase musicians, writers, actors and filmmakers. Each person has a 8-10 minute slot and we’ve ranged from 8 artists to sometimes 20 artists in one night. People submit via our website and we curate a night in a random location adorned with Christmas tree lights, an attentive audience and very memorable, touching performances.

MikeBehind the Opportunity: Treehouse Festival
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Artist You Should Know: Matt Kivel

Singer/songwriter Matt Kivel just premiered his video for “Permanence,” announced an upcoming double LP due out in October, and consistently gets praised by the likes of Pitchfork, SPIN, and more. We caught up with the LA-based artist to chat about the collaborative recording process of 'Fires on the Plain,’ his evolution as an artist, and more.

Hey Matt, we’re stoked to have you be part of our series! Let’s start off with a quick introduction. Who is Matt Kivel?
Hi! Thanks for having me. I am 30 years old, married to a very intelligent woman named Emily, and I have been writing songs and making records for a long while now. I live in Los Angeles and have lived here, more or less, for the past 27 years. I enjoy reading, playing music, watching movies, and boxing … I feel like I’m on an old timey dating show right now.  

MikeArtist You Should Know: Matt Kivel
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Artist You Should Know: Adam Jensen

With an addicting new single out, and the ability to beautifully pair alt, pop, and electronic sounds with emotionally raw lyrics, Adam Jensen will be one of your new favorite artists in no time. We chatted with the Boston-based artist/producer about his major influences, production style, and more.

Hey Adam! What’s your story?
Hello there! That’s a tough one. My story is equally everything I am, and everything I am not. In short, I’m just a ruffian from Boston who was lost until I found music as a means of staying out of trouble.

MikeArtist You Should Know: Adam Jensen
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Gear Talk: Ellie Herring

Kentucky-based electronic artist Ellie Herring has been praised by the likes of Paper Magazine, Pigeons and Planes, and Gorilla vs. Bear for her hard-hitting beats and airy vocals. With a highly-anticipated EP due out this fall we caught up with Ellie to learn about her versatile style, go-to gear, music production advice, and more.

Hey Ellie! Introduce yourself.
Hey guys!  I’m Ellie Herring, & currently I’m sitting in my backyard in Kentucky on my second cup of coffee… & also have a browser tab open to a page with directions on “how to make the best iced coffee at home.”  I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, not because I’m an insomniac, but because I’ve recently discovered The Rockford Files & can’t stop watching.  Have you ever read James Garner’s life story? It’s amazing.

MikeGear Talk: Ellie Herring
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On Tour: Air Traffic Controller

Boston-based indie pop band Air Traffic Controller is hitting the road with Bronze Radio Return. They've recently been featured in Culture Collide, Gary V's Daily Vee, and included in the NHL 17 Spotify playlist. Check out their upcoming tour dates below and find a stop near you.

Air Traffic Controller 2016 Tour Stops:
September 28 – Grand Rapids, MI, Pyramid Scheme
September 29 – Chicago, IL, Lincoln Hall
October 1 – Columbus, OH, Rumba
October 2 – Ferndale, MI, Magic Bag
October 4 – Milwaukee, WI, Shank Hall
October 5 – Minneapolis, MN, Turf Club
October 6 – Davenport, IA, Redstone Room
October 8 – Dekalb, IL, House Cafe
October 9 – Saint Louis, MO, Delmar Hall
October 10 – Cincinnati, OH, Southgate House
October 11 – Nashville, TN, The Mercy Lounge
October 12 – Durham, NC, Motorco Music Hall
October 13 – Atlanta, GA, Vinyl
October 16 – Pittsburgh, PA, Diesel Club Lounge


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MikeOn Tour: Air Traffic Controller
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