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Wednesday, April 01, 2009 

GoGirls Interview with Natasha Fatale of Blister

by Annette Warner

What drives your music. When did you first know you had to do this thing called music or bust?

I'm driven by a passion that's always been too strong to ignore. When I was three years old, I would sit at the piano with my sister while she practiced her piano lessons. It wasn't long before I could pick out the songs by ear. She showed me what keys the notes were and that opened the flood gates. Soon after, I began my formal training. Much to my instructor's delight, I learned at fast pace and much to his chagrin, I'd discovered Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. Later it was Stevie Wonder and Billy Preston. Dr. Prunty was very cool about letting me play what I wanted as long as I played what he wanted.

Describe your style and name three musicians you have been inspired by admire and tell us why.

My style is kickin' ass. Because I have no preference of musical style, I love it all as long as it speaks to me. I've been playing and composing for so long that every day, week, month, year, and decade hold something special for me and drives my passion. I mentioned my piano heroes from my early years, these days I lean more toward the "band" format. My favorite bands are Tad, Nirvana and my band mates, Larry Love and Dave Dred, in Blister. I love them because they ROCK! I came into this world kickin' and screamin' and I'm going out the same way!

What's your ideal venue atmosphere?

Parrrrrr-ty! I like it packed with everyone having as much fun as we are.

Describe your music career's evolvement since you first started performing? And tell us about your music scene at home.

I started as a classical pianist and retired at 28 because it just wasn't fun anymore. There was a short time doing the six string acoustic guitar thing, but it didn't last. My heart now knows true fulfillment playing bass in Blister. We started playing local gigs. Six months later we put out an EP that did very well on the internet. We had regular rotation on all the top sites for all three songs. On the strength of that EP, we made it to the semifinals of the "Best Unsigned Band" contest for Musician Magazine. Over the last years we've been listed in several tri-state music magazines "Best Of" issues. In 2000 we received a B.E.A.M. Music Grant from Jim Beam's Benefiting Emerging Artists in Music Grant Program. The next year we headlined The Jim Beam Stage of the Atlantis Music Conference in Atlanta. Since then we still make some prestigious "Best Of" lists only now it's on a an international level. We've put out 6 CD's, the last three we engineered and produced ourselves and we are currently working on a new CD. We've done three movie soundtracks and are working on our fourth as we speak. We get a big fat check every month from our music downloads, the majority sold in the Australia, England, Germany, the Netherlands and recently Japan. We also have sales in North America and South America.

The music scene is tough right now for everyone everywhere. We're based out of the Raleigh, NC area, but play more out of town concerts than local, we gotta' spread the love around. We actually get more money and respect on the road than we do here. The press in this area only write about the same bands they've been writing about for the last ten or fifteen years. They're too lazy to actually go out and look for talent. And, if it's not main stream middle of the road, you're out of luck until someone from somewhere else tells them you're good. Many of the venues here are pay to play, they're going to take the first $150 out of the door cover and you get to split what's left with the other bands or they just pay the touring bands.

Tell us about the inspiration for your latest release; what inspired the name and how has your music evolved since the first one.

Most of the time we write about the human condition. Some of the time ours, but most of the time, other's. Our latest release is called "Lipstickin' a Pig". We called it that because some of it's not real pretty and no amount of polishing is going to make it something it's not. Also, we had our difficulties getting it done. It's not easy getting the lipstick on the pig. We recorded it in 2004, the year of the pig according to the Chinese Calendar. We felt it pretty much described the CD. We got a lot of mileage out of it because of early buzz and the election thing. We are planning the official release party this summer. We delayed the release to go back into the studio to record music for the zombie western, "Fistful of Brains". We wanted to get that out of the way before touring in support of "Lipstickin' a Pig".

Our first release was a self titled EP demo called Blister. We later recorded three more songs and remixed the EP and combined them and called that one, "Moment". Next came "Live". We wanted listeners to know exactly what we sounded like at a show. After that we started recording at The Blister Compound, a huge leap for us. It takes a lot longer to make a CD this way, but it's more cost effective in the long run and we don't have to deal with other people except for mastering. Our fifth CD was "Blister VS. The Theory of Evolution" and was different from previous CD's in that "VS" was a departure from our high energy fast and loud predecessors. All three of us write and have different influences so we used "VS" as a showcase for our other material. As we prepared to record "Lipstickin' a Pig", we found out that another band we played with had recorded a show we did with them. After we took a listen, we thought there was enough material for another CD. That one is called "Alive Again". And finally, we have "Lipstickin' a Pig". Over time we've gotten better at recording and more diverse in our writing. "Blood in the Wind" is a single release for "Fistful of Brains". We had music in two previous movie by independent film maker, Christine Parker. She came to us with the idea that she wanted to do a zombie western and asked if we could write something for that period. Blister, write a cowboy song? Why not? We were very pleased to see the premier at The Ava Gardner Film Festival and "Blood in the Wind" got the opening credits. The first question of the Q & A following the movie was someone asking who wrote that first song, "It was perfect." When she said Blister, you could hear people gasp. So there seems to be no end to what we can do when inspired and we're inspired all the time.

What do you think is number one for a musician to think about before preparing for a CD project - and do you have any tips on saving time in the studio?

Number one; figure out why you're making a CD. Do you just want to be heard or do you have something to say. If you're on the clock in the studio, have your gear ready to go. I've heard stories about people changing their strings or drum heads when they get there! Have your music completely written and arranged and have yourself and other musicians rehearsed and polished, unless you're paying top dollar for a producer and he asks you change something. There can be a big difference in the end product if you haven't taken the time to find the right studio, engineer and producer. Make sure your expectations and budget are in line. You're not going to come out with a product that can compete with the big dogs if your buying a $400 demo package and, it's probably not going to be mastered. If you want radio air play or a record deal, mastering is essential. When mastering, go with a true mastering house, don't be fool with one stop shopping. Time is money, but you should be comfortable and feel that you've made an informed choice. Never mix after hours of recording, your ears will get tired. We usually only mix for a couple of hours at a time. Make sure the people you work with have good equipment and know how to use it. I know it's hard when you're new to recording, but don't get too excited about hearing yourself for the first time, it can be pretty heady. When you do mix, don't let the guy at the studio turn up the volume really loud. Bad engineers can hide a lot of crap that way. Your playback should sound good no matter the volume and you'll be better off in the long run.

What makes or breaks a musician just starting out in your opinion?

Not owning a tuner.

Your mama and your friends are going to think your great, but keep it real. Music can be a harsh mistress. You have to spend time honing your craft. No matter how long you've been doing it, there is always something new to learn or master. Be kind to other musicians, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything. Music is not a competition, there's nothing wrong with being confident in what you do, but that doesn't mean that you're better than someone else. And, just because you're not into the style that someone else plays, does not mean they suck. Different strokes for different folks. If someone has taken the time to put together a band and written songs or they do covers and they're on the stage, they've spent a great amount of time getting the gig, respect that. If you're playing with other bands, stand out front and support them. When you're done playing, stay till all the other musicians have played and support them. There's nothing worse than playing with a band and they leave and take all their fans to go out in the parking lot to hang out. Or, they leave one guy to collect the money and the rest leave with the people they brought. Don't fuck with or steal other peoples equipment, that is so not cool. And, this one is really important to me, get on the stage at the time assigned and get the fuck off when your time is up!

Describe your toughest moment in your quest for a pro music career so far and tell us how you overcame them.

Sometimes it feels like I'm beating my head against a brick wall when trying to book shows. I get really fed up with the assholes in this industry. It's hard to be professional when you're dealing with jerks, but because I am a professional, I conduct myself that way, no matter what. I just keep on keepin'. This happens all the time and I don't expect it to change so I'm still overcoming it everyday.

What kind of advice would you offer up and coming artists that get discouraged other than don't give up?

You have to find your own special niche. The music I play is not what I'd call user friendly. Not everyone likes it and I'm okay with that. If you really want to perform, you're going to have to get some thick skin. Play what you love for yourself, but play it well. There's always someone to put you down and someone that's going to think your great. Who are you making music for? Cause if it's not for yourself, you'll always be looking for validation from someone else and you'll always be disappointed.

Tell us something you want the independent music world to know about you.

I kick ass!

What can your fans expect at a show and after a show?

Blister kickin' their ass! After the show, hangin' out with the fans.

On gogirls music...

Go Girls Kick Ass!

More about Blister at:
http://www.blister.tv/
www.myspace.com/blisterusa

In addition to being the Founder, and Editor of CoffeeHouseTour.com, Annette Warner is a freelance sales Copywriter and Web Resource Developer with her own business; Awesome Webs. She also enjoys duties as a part time event planner and booking and music entertainment manager for several local festivals. She holds the position of Editor with the oldest and largest online community for Women in Music, http://www.gogirlsmusic.com/ and is the SC and NC Chapter Coordinator for the organization. She organizes and promotes the Wilmington, NC based and successful AWEsome 'Live Performance' Songwriting Competition now in it's 11th year. She is the owner of A. Warner Entertainment, a Live Entertainment Publicity Planning Agency. In short..."Some serious A'netteworking since 1995." Annette resides in Wilmington, NC with her tiny Chihuahuas, Kirby and Sofe. You can reach Annette at Awarner at coffeehousetour dot com.

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You did a very good job in interviewing her. You did found the important facts to ask from her personally. Thanks for sharing. I also learned so many things from this interview.

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    Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 15 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

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