Well hello, this is Robonzo and you’re about to listen to the Unstarving Musician podcast. First I would like to give a quick shout out to my friends at tracks music for featuring my new song New Gods Part 2. At the time of this recording in April of 2021 Trackd is the exclusive streaming platform for my new song New Gods Part 2. If you’re a fan of independent music Trackd is a great place for music discovery for the musicians and recording artists among you, it’s also a recording and collaborative platform in your pocket, that is changing the way musicians create and share music. Check it out TrackdMusic.com. or download the Trackd app for iPhone, and check out my new song Trackd. Let’s do the show, shall we?
This is the Unstarving Musician podcast. I’m your host Robonzo. The podcast features conversations with me, indie music artists and industry professionals. And it’s all intended to help other indie music artists be better at marketing business, the creative process and all the other things that empower us to do more of what we love. make music.
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I hope you’re doing well. I’m doing pretty good. The weather is nice here by the beach in Panama where I’m at, it’s about 86 degrees. might rain later. I don’t know. But it’s looking good. I hope your weather is being kind to you and the people around you’re being kind to you. In is lovely to be in your earbuds, or your speakers, or whatever the case may be. Again, I appreciate you for listening tuning in. My guest for this episode is Michael Gilbride. He had recently released his debut EP, called My name is not Kaiser and the single from that EP called say hello, when we spoke which was back in December of last year 2020 because it was shortly before the Christmas holidays. The video for say hello is amazing. You should really check it out. You can find it at telco music.com or in the show notes for this episode. In our conversation, Michael and I discussed the animators behind the say hello video, the stories behind the EP and project titles. His biggest challenges with writing and recording the EP and how music became therapy for his OCD, which was a bit of a side note, but an interesting one in our conversation. At the time of that conversation, this conversation that you’re about to hear, he had another single on the way that song minus nine is the name of it was released on January 8 of this year. That release coincided with my first ever single release, which he was apologetic about at the time, but I thought it was awesome. I just finally listened to his song minus nine and it’s great. You should check it out. It is on the Spotify and elsewhere. Including telco music.com, I would imagine, I think I just saw out there today. Michaels music has a great pop sensibility. And we talked about his influences. In the in the conversation you’re about to hear. I had a laugh at his mild preoccupation with aging out of music at 25 years of age. I’m old enough to be his dad. But we need not get into that. Here’s me and Michael Gilbride talking about his music project telco enjoy.
Let’s talk about Say hello. I realized in doing some reading you and I just became acquainted, like yesterday, or day before. And thank you for making time for me. I know. Likewise, the holidays are coming up and you have a lot of things going on in your life. So I appreciate you. Luckily, I’m glad we had the schedule, collision to be able to do this, but I was reading that say hello just came out, like in August. Um, congratulations, by the way. Appreciate it. Yeah, it’s an amazing video. So I wanted to start out by asking you not so much about your song yet, but tell me about those animators.
Michael Gilbride 4:25
Yeah, so, um, that animated video only came out a couple weeks ago. And it was something we wanted to do. Because when I was putting the project together, it’s a solo project. But it goes by telco because a lot of times what I was seeing is if people use a real name, they tend to get pigeonholed a bit into the singer songwriter. So I kind of wanted to prevent that by using the you know, like a project name like similar to like Boney bear or bleachers or something like that. So, because I had that intermediation between me and the audience by the project name, I thought it’d be weird to sort of make a music video. That was just all centered around me as like, you know, physical human being. So I was trying to think of ways around it. And I knew animation was like pretty hot right now in the music video arena. And so we started reaching out to a couple animators and then we got in contact with this animator, animator, Sabrina Valdez who agreed to come on and animate and direct it. And we had some ideas, and we sort of built it out from there. And it sort of turned into this thing that like, is a separate piece of art entirely from the song itself. But I was so happy with the way it turned out. I think it’s, it’s beautiful. She did an amazing job.
No it’s lovely. I as you can imagine doing this, I tried to check out a lot of videos, especially when it’s a new artist, new for me, like, like you are and it was definitely compelling. I wanted to watch the whole thing. And and I hope you don’t mind me saying so. Although, as I say, I know the influences reach a little deeper back based on my reading anyway. But I got a definite both from the video, the music, and the singing style. But I got some sort of Pink Floyd and Radiohead influences. And again, I think your influences go a little deeper than that. How have you heard? Have you heard that a lot? Or, and how does it make you feel when someone says that?
Michael Gilbride 6:17
Yeah, I mean, obviously those those two bands are legends. So anytime you’re, you’re putting the same sentences. That’s awesome. But it’s funny because I’ve heard those comparisons before. And I don’t think Radiohead and Pink Floyd were my direct influences. I think the bands that they influenced were my influences. So I will like Coldplay or something like that, who was influenced by Radiohead then becomes my influence or like, I noticed, a lot of the bands who were influenced by the strokes then influenced my music. So it’s always like this second degree of influence from those like primary people who sort of created the genre, but I’ve gotten the Radiohead comparison a lot, which is, which is great for me to hear.
Yeah. And I think when I first heard you, I was checking out I’m like, a live, just sort of acoustic thing that you and a couple of guys were doing. I didn’t have that thought it was really the the video. And then it puts you in a new context with the song. But anyway, the songs great, I love the recording is nice, the videos great. And kudos to Sabrina and I guess Lacey who worked on that animation, I immediately went and found them on Instagram and like, Oh, I got to talk to these people. I am, I have been. So I’m releasing my first single in January 8. And I had these you know, video plans. And I wasn’t too different in you that I didn’t want to stick myself. I’m assuming this is a little bit how you feel I didn’t want to stick myself in the video, I was maybe going to do a cameo, I was going to have an actor and try and build a storyboard for the video around, you know the song. So I’ve run into some delays. And I’ve started in talking to a friend I started thinking about some other approaches. But the animation thing was one I hadn’t given a lot of thought to but when I saw yours, I was like, Oh, that. That’s really neat. I like that idea.
Michael Gilbride 8:10
Yeah, it’s, I mean, it’s labor intensive to like that was the thing we started. I mean, we we got this in motion several months before the song was even out. And then it’s still went on past past when the song was actually released. Because it’s it’s such a labor intensive process. And say hello is like four minutes and 15 seconds long. So like, it’s a lot of animation, but it’s a great medium, because I think people can insert themselves into an animated song a little bit more than they can or an animated video a little bit more than they can like, something that’s just a strict video of you the actual person. I think it leaves more room for interpretation. You could you could get a bit more creative with this on.
Yeah, me. Yeah, and I’m sure Should I get involved in something like that what you did something you just said made me realize what a schooling I’m going to get. Because, I mean, it doesn’t look easy by any means. But when you said labor intensive, I was like, Oh, I didn’t I can’t even imagine and I hadn’t imagined yet you know, I thought in my head I was kind of like I just turned over this concept to these people, you know, gives them some some insight into the song and yourself and and you know, they just somehow magically make it happen, but it’s probably a little more complicated.
Michael Gilbride 9:25
Yeah, you would think it’s a it’s intense process and I got a schooling on it pretty quick. takes a long time. But you know, when you get a product like that at the end that’s like, visually stunning. It’s definitely worth it if you can get it in motion, you know, several months before the single comes out or something like that.
Yeah, telco music.com. I want to mention that right now. T E L C O music.com is where you can see the video say hello and it is on your debut EP. My name is not Kaiser. Can you tell me a little bit about the title of the EP?
Michael Gilbride 10:02
Yeah. So it’s a kid’s kind of a dumb story. But we, me and my brother, when we were little, we got our first dog, and his name was Kaiser. And we were taking pictures of him. And I guess we thought it would be funny, for whatever reason, to put a piece of paper in front of him that said, my name is Kaiser, I don’t know. And then we took like five pictures of dog. And then we were taking pictures of ourselves that said, my name is not Kaiser. So I found that picture when I was going through some stuff for the album art. And it’s funny, because it’s such a, it’s like a stupid little kid joke. But my face in the picture is like one of pure dread and existential dread. And like, the weight of the world is on my shoulders. And I was like, it’s such like a funny juxtaposition between like, this dumb little kid joke. And this face of like, the weight of the world being on my shoulders, which is like a common theme in all my pictures as a little kid. So I thought was just representative of sort of like, the way I’ve lived my life, just, you know, being torn between those two kinds of things.
How old? Were you in the photograph?
Michael Gilbride 11:07
It’s a good question. I think it must have been maybe five.
Do you remember the weight of the world like what that might have been when you look at the picture?
Michael Gilbride 11:16
Yeah, well, going back, I always had really, really bad, like anxiety, and really, really bad, like OCD. And that was something that I struggled with all the way. From the time I was like, in grade school. And so my mom used to always say that to me, she was like, you know, those are adult problems, you need to you need to worry about good things. But in every single picture of me, it’s like this. I’m also terrible at taking pictures. So that definitely factor. But it was really like something that I struggled with really bad all throughout grade school. And that’s actually why I turned to music as our point because this was sort of my outlet for for those anxieties.
Do you mind talking a little bit about what the root of that that was?
Michael Gilbride 11:58
Yeah, the well, the worst part was the OCD, which was sort of like something that started creeping in, I remember happened in first grade where I had to, like, stand up and actually leave class. Because it was the first time I was kind of experiencing it to the point where it was overwhelming. And it wasn’t so much like physical OCD stuff, like tapping on a wall or something like that. Something called like pure OCD, which is intrusive thoughts and ideas that you don’t want in your head, continually flooding into your head. And so like, I remember, in first grade, my parents were on vacation. And so I was really worried about something bad happening to them. And so that thought just kept coming into my head no matter how much I wanted it out of my head. And I remember had to stand up in the middle class and leave. And so that was something that I battled throughout my whole life. And it’s sort of infects all the different areas of your life. And so when I found music, and I started writing and recording music, it was the only time that that sort of calmed. And so I wasn’t good singer. I’ve never played an instrument till I was 19. I’ve never written a song. But I knew that that feeling was too valuable to not pursue. And so from that point on, I just oriented my whole life towards music and pursuing this goal. And that’s when all this kind of got set in motion.
How old are you now?
Michael Gilbride 13:22
I’m 25. Now,
Okay. Old man.
Michael Gilbride 13:27
That’s why I was like, I need to get a move on. I was like, all age out of the music industry before I even start, if I don’t get started,
If it makes you feel me better. So I’ve been playing since I was before I was 25, probably since I was 13. And then I didn’t start playing, you know, like in clubs or anything, which I did a lot of in my life, until I was 25. I think about 25. I met some younger guys who, I was playing in bands, but I just, you know, didn’t know how to go get gigs. And I um some younger guys found me, they’d heard of me. And they hired me to go play with, in some clubs with them. But so I’m just releasing my first ever single, I could be your dad. So if it makes you feel any better, you got a lot of time.
Michael Gilbride 14:09
I know. And it all depends on sort of what genre you’re in what you’re going for. And that’s what I thought I was like, if I can come out at 25 Be honest about my experiences and be authentic, then it’s not gonna matter if I’m 25 or 20. You know, it’s all about authenticity and being honest. So,
Sure, yeah. And having fun, right?
Michael Gilbride 14:28
So the last question on the whole OCD thing do you have so music is therapy for you, dude, is there anything else that you’ve done in your life to just kind of manage mitigate, you know, deal with it?
Michael Gilbride 14:44
Um, you know, not so much an effective way. Like the only you know, my parents were my mom specifically was super hands on and helping me with my OCD and that was great, but there’s a point where I had to sort of transition and find a way to deal with it. My Self. And it’s a funny story. It was like, I was in a high school play in my sophomore year, and it was a musical. And I went to the casting director because I had done some of the plays, and I was like, I’ll do the play. I was like, when I’m not doing a singing apart, I was like, I hate singing, you’re not gonna make me sing. And she was like, no worries, like, I won’t get you singing part. So I get to the first rehearsal, and that casting director is not there. But the music director is there. And he was like, Oh, yeah, you have a singing part. And you’re gonna sing. And I was like, but she just told me I don’t have to sing. And he was like, No, you’re, you’re singing. And so from that point on, I was forced to sing. And I was so petrified of it, that I realized when I was singing, I couldn’t think of anything else, right? It was almost a plane. Like, when you jump out of a plane, you’re not worried about your day to day anxieties. And that’s what singing felt like to me. So after that play, I started singing non stop, every time my parents would leave the house, I would just like lock the doors, I would run into the basement and I would practice singing for years and years and years. And then it became like this therapy for me and something that had to do. And no one even knew that I was practicing singing. So when I told my parents, I was like, starting my solo project that we’re like, What are you talking about, like I heard you saying, so that was really the only way that I could effectively sort of deal with that constant sort of intrusive thoughts. And it’s still to this day, it’s like, the greatest form of therapy.
Well, thanks for sharing that. I hope that there’s someone listening who or who will listen, who will benefit from that. So you grew up in Pennsylvania, right? That’s where you’re
Michael Gilbride 16:36
Scranton, Pennsylvania. It’s my hometown. Scranton.
I’ve heard of that.
Michael Gilbride 16:40
Yeah. If you see The Office, that’s, that’s where they that’s where that takes place. So everybody, that’s the first thing they say when they hear Scranton.
Yeah. Forgot. So how are the promos slash PR efforts going for say hello, and the album or the EP,
Michael Gilbride 16:55
It’s been really good. Um, you know, it’s, it’s very difficult to go from no one knowing that this music projects exists, including like your own friends or family, basically, to trying to get out there and get some credibility. So, me and my, one of my best friends, who’s now my manager, we really just like months and months in advance started planning this trying to reach out I mean, that’s how I got in contact with you, right? Just reaching out and, and saying, Hey, would you want to talk about that song, and just really trying to get the music in front of people. But we spent a lot of time sort of getting a plan in place, because I knew that if I just dropped the song, I believe the song was good, but no one was gonna hear it unless you promote it properly. So we spent a lot of time like really sort of getting that in line. And it’s been really good. So far, we’ve gotten like, you know, blog reviews and a bunch of podcasts. And, you know, the song itself is up to like 150,000 streams, which is great. My first single, so everything’s been good so far. And I’m excited to now sort of hopefully transition into playing some shows and getting a backing band and actually going out and playing this music for some people now.
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You mentioned the band thing. So now I know where you’re at with that. I you know, originally when you contacted me, I thought I was a trio just because I saw a video of you playing with some guys and I always get this little I have this little bit of anxiety that happens when a band a band approaches me I think, oh, they all want to come on and want me to talk to all of them. And I really prefer to do one on one. I have done like two people before and it’s okay. This is more the format that I’m best at. But so I did gather though as I was looking a little further into your endeavors that you are a solo artist, for the most part, right?
Michael Gilbride 19:44
Yeah, so the in that live session you you watched it was with another artist who we sort of share similar genres. His name’s Christian Sparacio he’s one of my good friends, amazing artists if you want to check him out, too. But yeah, he he’s another artist and Then the drummer in that video, the guy playing the cajon. He is the guitarist for say hello. And he’s what I call like my secret band member. I keep telling him he’s part of the band, whether he wants to or not. He’s just a guitarist that I’ve known since high school. And when I had the demo for say, Hello. I actually just reached out to him. It was the first time I talked to him since high school. And I sent him the song I was like, please, would you play like live guitar on this track. And so he came on and played guitar and did the drums and helped me produce that song. And so he’s actually come back on board for a new song that we were working on. And so he’s like, my secrets. My secret second member? Amazing. Yeah. His name is Eric Chesick. So he’s, he’s great.
Nice. I have one of those guys as well at the moment, but not from high school. He’s someone I’ve known for maybe a couple years. But he’s also recording engineer in high demand. He’s a musician in high demand. So he was a secret sauce for the one song and I hope that he can be a, you know, a continuing thing. And maybe we can actually do something live together. But someday, but he’s, he’s pretty incredible. I did want to ask about telco the moniker for the project. What is it? What does it mean?
Michael Gilbride 21:18
So the word itself doesn’t mean much of anything, which is exactly why I picked it because I wanted to have something that people can easily just associate with my band now, right? If you have no emotional attachment to a word, then it’s easy to sort of attach it to whatever you want it to. I saw it on a door somewhere, just the word and I was like, oh, man, that’s like, that’s, I don’t know, I just was attracted to the word. And then we were out one day at a bar. And they were doing this like glass monogramming, where they were like putting names on Guinness glasses or something. And they were like, what do you want to put on there? And I was like, I, I don’t know. Put telco. And at that point, I was like, Okay, I think I’m just gonna adopt this. And, um, but like I said, like, the most important thing for me was going under a project name instead of Michael Gilbride the artist because I feel like when you use a project name, it allows people to sort of listen to the song and put themselves in the song a little bit better than if you’re using your own name sometimes. You know, like, if I write a breakup song, under Michael Gilbride, they’re gonna be like, Oh, that’s about his breakup with so and so. Whereas if I write a breakup song under telco, they sort of insert themselves into that. And for my music specifically, I felt like that was more beneficial with the way that I write lyrics and stuff.
Sure, it’s clever. I like it. What, um, what were your biggest challenges? Someone asked me this recently. But what were your biggest challenges in writing and recording the EP?
Michael Gilbride 22:49
Aside from Say Hello, which I recorded with Eric, like I mentioned, everything else was self produced, and recorded all I moved out in New York, I moved back to my parents, I did it all from my parents basement. So all of the rest of the EP was recorded by myself. And like I said, I’m not I like I’m not a prodigy in music whatsoever. This is just something I feel like I have to do, because it’s so therapeutic for me. So trying to flesh out a complete song from start to finish, with no help, and also produce it was something that was just a massive challenge for me, because I remember, when I first started putting the EP together, I was asking Eric, if he could come on, and help me produce the rest of it. And he wasn’t able to because he had some other projects he was working on. And I was like, Oh, no, like, now, like, these songs are gonna be like, strictly up to me. But, you know, when you look at it as a challenge, and not something that’s like, you know, horrible and terrible, the work on it was, it was a huge challenge for me. But I was able to just really get across exactly what I wanted to. And, you know, looking back now, like now that I’ve worked in a studio with like, an engineer, and with like, an our new song. The quality, of course, is not going to be the way it is when you work in a studio. But that’s sort of what makes this EP so special is like, it was an authentic representation of how I was feeling at the time. And it was captured that way sonically, and lyrically. And for me, that was a huge accomplishment and the songs resonated with people. And so it gave you just sort of this, this launching board to sort of, you know, now start improving as a musician, as a musician, too. So, it was tough. I mean, it was a learning curve, for sure. But being able to put out an EP that you produce three of the four songs and recorded and wrote, for me, it was huge, you know,
Do you find I don’t know if you’ve had this type of questioning about it before but do you personally find that you know, talking about What you think are your shortcomings? You know, you said, I’m not a prodigy musician, I think you were critical. See, you’re talking about the challenge, you know, you’re sharing with me the challenges of recording D. I’m sure that feeds the authentic aspect of what you’re trying to do. But what else? What else does that do for you?
Michael Gilbride 25:22
Um well, I get really bad imposter syndrome with like, the whole music thing. You know, like, everybody who I’ve played music will tell you that where it’s like, because I started so late, because I didn’t really start playing music until I was 19. I always am just like, Oh, yeah, I’m not a musician. Like that guy’s a musician. I’m not a musician, even though I have an EP out there and like, you know, making music. And I think that’s good. Because, you know, I mean, I also come from Scranton, Pennsylvania, everyone’s so self deprecating here. Everyone’s like, super sarcastic, right? Like, the last thing I want to do is go out and influence anything. If people like the music, I think that that’s great. I want people to resonate with the music not really so much with me. Um, and so. But I do get imposter syndrome really bad even though that like this music is out there. And it’s done? Well, it’s like, I still don’t really consider myself a musician. But maybe that day, I’ll call him I don’t know.
Well, you certainly are. And the songwriter and a singer, all those things that I understand your struggle with, I have a package of my own, you know, a package of, of imposters and syndrome sort of characteristics of my own because I’m a longtime drummer, a guy who would sing occasionally, a guy who picked up the guitar once upon a time and, and that’s so I can relate totally, and, and having it but it’s fun. It’s so I mean, the bar has definitely been lowered for publishing music, which is cool, because we get to hear a lot of things. I knew. For me, I knew I wanted to, and I would someday, I yet at the same time, I thought, well, I’m getting older, maybe I’m not going to but then for I think it was coincidence for me that this was the year that I did it coincidence that it happens to be the year that everyone is so so isolated, but I think it was January or February, I was like, Okay, I gotta I’ve been actually putting this out publicly that I’m going to do some studio stuff at home. And part of it was to do video, which I still haven’t done, but acting completely, completely relate. And I have purposefully sort of resonated with the, like some of the people that I look up to who have expressed challenges with things. It could just, it could be nothing to do with imposter syndrome, but more just other challenges. And I’ve come to appreciate that. So I totally appreciate what you’ve gone through.
Michael Gilbride 27:46
Yeah, and I think, um, I think being self aware, is the only reason that I was ever able to do music. Like, if you’re aware of what your strengths and your weaknesses are, that’s the only way that you’re ever going to actually improve like, and so, for me, I knew like, Okay, my weaknesses here, here and here. And that’s why I brought on talented people to fill those gaps. That’s why I had Eric, come in and play guitar and help me with my first song. Because if you’re not self aware, you’re going to think you could do everything. And then that’s when you get really bad product. And, you know, for me, if I wanted to say that I was actually good at one thing, I think that would be I’m just being honest, like that was my strength was being honest in my music. And that sounds like a weird strength. But I think it’s getting harder and harder in music to be honest anymore. Because there’s so many different ways to disguise yourself with like, I mean, you you load up a Pro Tools track, you could put you know, 300 tracks in there, and we bury everything and so when you start cutting tracks and letting your vocals through and writing honest lyrics, that’s, that’s hard to do in today’s day and age. And so that’s the only thing that I think is like my, my actual talent, and then the rest. I’m just sort of learning as I go or surrounding myself with people who can help.
Yeah, cool. Well, I like it. I think you’re doing a great job. What um? Last question here. What is what’s on the map for the new year, which is just around the corner?
Michael Gilbride 29:09
Yeah, so, um, so I haven’t actually officially announced it yet. But we’re going to be putting out a follow up single. I hate to do this, but it’s on January. So hopefully, we can ask for each other’s song. But we’re gonna be putting out a follow up single on that day. And it’s gonna be a big change of pace. I wanted to sort of put the EP in the rearview mirror just for a moment. And short sort of shift gears much more towards that like, the Killers, Strokes vibe that I mentioned before, or like Bleachers, they’re a big influence for me. And so I wanted to do something different. And I think with 2020 being the year it’s been I wanted to shift gears and do something a little bit brighter and more open and still sad. But still still a little bit more optimistic. And so that’s going to be out in January. And then. And then at that point, it’s hopefully getting together a band and starting to get set for, for some sort of live shows at some whenever we’re allowed to do that.
Yeah, cool. I like it. Well, I admire everything you’ve done. And I’m excited that you’re doing your next fun on January 8. That’ll give me I don’t know, something fun to talk about. And maybe we can talk again, shortly thereafter. And compare notes. I’m sure I can learn a lot from you. You got a head start on me. And it looks like you’re doing a really good job. Thank you for spending time with me. It’s been fun. I know. We’ll talk again soon.
Michael Gilbride 30:41
Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure. I really appreciate it.
I have been asking you to check out my new single on top of the world available wherever you get your music, including robonzo.com, my artists website. You can also find the new lyric video at robonzo.com. On top of the world was released in January 8 2021. And well, I’m still excited about it. So I hope you’ll check it out. But now I’m crazy excited to tell you that you can stream my forthcoming single New Gods Part 2, on Trackd music for iPhone. It is the exclusive streaming platform where you can check out New Gods Part 2, it’s my personal homage to Yes, Zeppelin, Genesis and prog rock, with a bit of commentary on the world we live in. Hope you like it. Again, you can hear it on Trackd music, the app for iPhone or on tractmusic.com. And that’s T R A C K D, no E. Tract music.com. Link in the show notes.
Thanks for your support, and I hope you dig it. Thanks again for listening. If you loved this episode, please subscribe or follow on your favorite podcast slash audio platform. It’ll help us stay on top of the latest episodes and help other indie musicians and indie music fans find the podcast. And if you have feedback, please go to Unstarving musician.com. To get all my contact info. You can text me call me email me leave a voice message right there on that page. Just go down to the bottom of the page and you’ll find everything you need to know I really would love to hear any of your comments, suggestions, questions, whatever you’ve got. And you can find links to just about everything talked about in this episode at Unstarving musician.com forward slash podcast. All right, I’m peacing out. Thank you for listening and sharing with your musician friends and fellow indie music, bands. Peace, gratitude and a whole lot of love.