Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Folks Behind The Music: Into The World Of Ripple - Penfold

How did you first get involved in The Ripple Effect?

Once upon a time there was a young man looking to expand his musical horizons.  He regularly navigated the world wide web looking for well written recommendations which tickled his fancy.  One day this young man landed upon a blog entitled The Ripple Effect.  Knowledge of the first review/writeup he encountered has been lost to time, but this budding connoisseur quickly became a regular site visitor.

Alright, enough of that fairytale nonsense!  After reading the site for awhile I came across a 'Writers Wanted' ad.  Racer and Pope were needing someone to help them review the growing number of music submissions flowing in, specifically the extreme metal/indie rock submissions that were outside the wheelhouse of the existing writers.  Well, that didn't accurately describe my musical tastes so I took no action.  Fast forward a couple of weeks and they ran the 'Writers Wanted' ad again.  I honestly can't explain what made my brain throw up it's hands and say "Screw it, what do you have to lose?", but I decided to throw my hat in the ring.

One, maybe two days later I submitted reviews for a couple of my favorite albums (Mr. Bungle's California and Blackalicious' Blazing Arrow).  Much to my surprise I heard back from Racer and Pope who told me they dug what I wrote and asked if I would like to contribute to The Ripple Effect.  I replied ABSOLUTELY!!! and the rest is history.

What kind of stuff do you get to do with the site?

When I first joined the ranks of the "Kiddies In The Pool" I was simply reviewing music.  In order to differentiate myself from the other superb writers on staff I landed on the idea of writing little pieces of fiction inspired by song titles/album titles/the band's name that would precede my actual review.  Actually...that last sentence makes it seem like it was a conscious decision on my part.  In truth inspiration struck while I was reviewing a Watain album, I enjoyed writing my little story, and the template stuck.

Other activities I've taken part in over the years include being a guest on our currently-dormant blog talk radio show and helping put on the first RippleFest in Dallas, Texas.  When it came time for Racer to devote the majority of his time and energy into growing Ripple Music, I took over the care of The Ripple Effect.  I've been editing our writer's reviews and formatting news posts ever since.

Your responsibilities with The Ripple Effect have grown a lot over the last few years. What’s your favorite aspect of the work?

I appreciate being a part of something bigger than myself.  Racer and Pope started this blog because of their love of music, and being able to help support them in their quest to bring righteous tunes to the masses makes all the formatting worthwhile.

What are some things you have learned while doing this job?

One, you can absolutely have too much of a good thing.  I burnt myself out for a good chunk of time when I attempted to listen to an obscene amount of new music.  Kids, unless you are a trained professional like The Huntsman or Xroadie, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONSUME MORE MUSIC THAN YOU CAN HANDLE.

Two, working on the site helped open my eyes to how interconnected the Internet makes us.  I post a review on The Ripple Effect.  Racer will then link the review on our Facebook page.  The artist or someone representing them gets wind of the review and posts links on their website.  Word spreads quickly nowadays.

How did previous life experience inform your work with the website?

Life has taught me to strive towards being a trustworthy individual.  Hopefully the people who frequent The Ripple Effect feel that they can trust me/us to bring them information that they will find interesting.

You have been creating content and developing this site for eight years – why?

The music is the juice for me.  Always has been.  Always will be.  Also I like to think that what I do, in some small way, helps artists get paid for what they create and allows them to continue making music.  If something I've written turns someone onto a band/artist they would otherwise have never heard of and they then buy a copy of their album or go see them perform that makes me ecstatic!

What inspires you within the world of stoner rock?

I am constantly inspired by the burgeoning, well-intentioned, caring community that has sprung up in the stoner rock world.  It's truly special.  Oh, and the riffs too.  All the riffs.

What do you think separates Ripple from other labels and The Ripple Effect from other sites?

Other than our debonair attitudes and dashing good looks?  Ripple Music is a special entity that is different from everyone else thanks to the tireless efforts of my two bosses, Racer and Pope.  Their singular focus on delivering high quality musical tonnage to the deserving masses is unparalleled!  It doesn't hurt that they have a fine ear for all things heavy either.  I haven't met anyone who wants their business partners and friends to succeed more than those two gentlemen.

As far as The Ripple Effect goes, I can't rattle off too many other music sites which never print negative reviews or features.  Because we only stress positivity that means we don't waste any time on stuff we don't like.  Readers always know we're recommending what we're writing about.  Another differentiating factor is that absolutely nothing is out of bounds regarding what we review.  I am free to pinball between reviews of rock/punk/hip-hop/funk/jazz/americana/electronica/etc all I want and no one will tell me to stop!

Where do you see the website going and where do you see yourself going within the website?

The Ripple Effect will continue to be a site readers can put their faith into.  I'd love to see the site continue to grow in terms of expanded readership.  The more eyes the better!  I'd also love to reestablish some form of Ripple Radio.  As for myself I'll keep plugging away for as long as possible, in any capacity I'm needed.

What is your favorite Ripple related memory?

That's tough but I do have a favorite.  Back in the day I reviewed an album called Forever Famicom by the emcee Mega Ran.  I'd been a fan of his for a few years and I learned that he would be playing a concert near where I live.  Great, I thought!  Then I found out that the concert was to be held inside a hotel hosting an anime convention.  To see the concert I needed to buy a day pass for the convention.  Nothing against anime conventions, but that wasn't something I was particularly interested in attending.

So I contacted Mega Ran by email, identified myself as the guy who reviewed FF for The Ripple Effect, and asked if there was any way I could simply pay him to see his show?  He emailed back and informed me he would figure it out.  Fast forward to the day of the concert.  Mega Ran calls me and tells me to meet him in the entry hall to the hotel.  I wait there for a couple of minutes until he shows up with his partner in crime K-Murdock.  They hand me a bag and tell the convention staff that I'm their merch guy.  I get in for free, and proceed to hang out with the two artists until their performance.

Sometimes it pays to write nice things about people and their work.

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