“October 25th, 2013 by MG Staff
An Interview with Pasadena
Pasadena plays expressive music that borrows elements from rock, reggae and hip hop. Founded in 2000 by lead singer/songwriter Joey Harkum, the band now also features Will Finley, Aaron Hooper, Cory Streett and Sara Kryscio. Together, the five have built up a strong following in their hometown and throughout the U.S., connecting with audiences through original music marked by smooth bass lines, personal lyrics, infectious rhythms and lush harmonies.
We talked to the members of Pasadena about what inspires them to make music and how they have navigated big changes within the music industry during the past decade. They also shared some tips for other artists and bands that want build real careers in music.
How did you initially come up with the idea for Pasadena, and what inspires you to make music together?
Pasadena started out as a group of three friends from Pasadena, MD (who are all still current members), Joey Harkum, Will Finley and Aaron Hooper. We were too young to get into open mics, so we repeatedly sneaked in and performed anyway in and around our hometown. Eventually the three of us began to be referred to as “the boys from Pasadena,” and the band name “Pasadena” was born.
For the past ten-plus years, we’ve prided ourselves on the concept of freedom of expression, which is major motivating factor behind our band’s music. Expressing ourselves personally, socially and politically through music has allowed the voice and ideals of the band to be heard on a national scale.
Who is the main songwriter in the band? How does the inspiration for a new song typically come to you, and how do you feel your music has evolved since you first formed as a band?
Our lead singer and acoustic guitar player, Joey Harkum is the song writer of the group. Life experience is our number one source of material when it comes to writing songs. We write songs about our lives, our friends and our families as well as the trials, tribulations, joys, sorrows and any other highs and lows life throws at us.
In terms of how we’ve evolved, all of us began playing music at a young age and were at first influenced musically and lyrically by the angst of youth. We have since matured, and our songwriting and musicianship have matured along with us. Our music nowadays seems to be a little lighter in lyrical content as we try and focus on what’s good in our lives. We have also focused on trying to conceptualize our whole albums as opposed to just throwing together a bunch of songs that we wrote. I think we did a great job of that on our new album Nowhere Fast.
What do you feel have been some of Pasadena’s greatest accomplishments?
Touring the country four times over the past two years has been our greatest accomplishment so far. It has been great to travel this beautiful nation spreading our music to new fans and doing so on our own terms.
The 2012 release of our newest album Nowhere Fast was another major accomplishment, since it was the first full studio album we produced and funded completely on our own.
This past summer we were also invited to open for Sublime with Rome, Pennywise and Julian Marley in Baltimore at Pier 6 Pavillion. We have also recently been added to the Romello 2013 Cruise featuring Michael Franti and Spearhead, G. Love and many more amazing national acts. This is the largest national event we have been a part of to date, and we’re really excited about it.
Of course, keeping the band together and growing for more than a decade on a completely DIY basis is also another accomplishment we are very proud of.
What are the three things you love most about writing/recording/playing/performing music together?
The first is our camaraderie within the band and also the camaraderie between us and the other bands we perform with live.
Second is travelling this great nation and getting to meet some great new friends and fans along the way.
And finally, the rush you get from playing a live show is one of the best feelings an artist can ever experience.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences – artists, bands, singers, instrumentalists, etc. – that have influenced the type of music you play or the way you approach the work you do together as a band?
The three biggest ones are definitely Johnny Cash, Lauryn Hill and Bradley Nowell.
How would you describe the experience of seeing you live? Who are some of your favorite artists to play shows with and what have been some of your favorite venues?
Our live show is a dynamic journey of highs and lows that suck you in and make you feel like part of the family.
We thoroughly enjoy playing with all other bands but we especially enjoy or evenings with Lovebettie, Bumpin Uglies, Bond & Bentley, Arden Park Roots, Wooster, Shrub, Tsunami Rising, The Grilled Lincolns, Skribe and all our other Maryland-based friends.
In terms of venues, we love playing at Pier 6 and Rams Head Live in Baltimore, MD, The Whiskey a GoGo in L.A., Kenny’s Castaways in NYC, Jannus Live in St. Pete, FL and anywhere on 6th St. in Austin, TX.
What are some specific ways you have seen the music industry change in the past decade, and what are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a result? How have you overcome these challenges?
In the past decade, we have watched the music industry morph into a DIY atmosphere that in most cases is actually beneficial to indie bands like ourselves. We would never be able to tour the country and share our music so easily with the world if it weren’t for the development of all the social media and music promotions sites that have sprung up in the past few years.
As far as challenges, it’s always tough being an independent small business owner, which is really what running a touring band turns you into. And funding growth is always a major issue for the small business owner. Sites like Kickstarter, CDBaby, iTunes and the like have helped us with fundraising and with selling our music online. These sites have greatly helped us reach and fund some of our short-term goals.
Which marketing tools – specific social media sites and other online tools, offline efforts, etc. – have been most helpful at building personal relationships with your fans and promoting your music? How have your marketing techniques changed since you started the band?
In the beginning, we had to resort to word of mouth, printed play bills and flyers to advertise our shows. The birth of social media has drastically expanded our fan reach and fan base. It makes it increasingly easier to meet new fans, update old fans and share our music on a much broader scale. We currently use Facebook, Reverb Nation, Music Gorilla, Jams Space, Sonic Bids, Gigspots, SoundCloud and BandsinTown to connect with fans both new and old.
In terms of offline methods, we just try and stay friendly and welcoming to our fans and treat them as much like family as we possibly can! We are very appreciative of our fans for all their support over the years!
How has Music Gorilla helped you get the word out about your music? What have you found most helpful about the service?
Music Gorilla has been great in helping us network with other music industry professionals, presenting us with opportunities for musical growth and offering another very useful avenue for marketing our music to the industry. One of our favorite aspects of Music Gorilla is their Industry Showcases in NYC and Austin. We have performed at both and have had an amazing experience each time. Alexia and Larry are great people, and we are fortunate to have been able to work with them in the past. We look forward to many more joint ventures in the future!
Based on your own experiences building a band over the course of 12-13 years, do you have any words of advice for independent bands and artists trying to create a real career in music?
From our experience, I would have to say that the bands can make the mistake of not taking themselves seriously enough from the start. This is a business, and the sooner a band can realize that the better they will be in the long run. Take the business side of the band very seriously, and it can help your band grow tremendously in the future.
Other than that, keep your nose to the grindstone and work hard at your goals. There is success out there, but it doesn’t just happen overnight. Stay the course and never give up on your dreams.
Do you have any releases or shows coming up in the next few months that you’re particularly excited about?
We have a great tour-ending party on November 8th at Angel’s Rock Bar in Baltimore, MD. After that we are looking forward to our event on December 21 at The 8×10 in Baltimore with Bumpin Uglies and Tsunami Rising.
You can check out Pasadena’s music on the official Pasadena Website and follow the band on Facebook and Twitter.”
Autumn Anxiety Tour dates!!! Please spread the word if you have friends in these areas!!
9/27 York, PA
9/28 Buffalo, NY
9/30 Ann Arbor, MI
10/1 Madison, WI
10/2 Minneapolis, MN
10/3 Omaha, NE
10/4 Pueblo, CO
10/5 Denver, CO
10/8 Las Vegas, NV
10/11 Reno, NV
10/12 Lake Tahoe, CA
10/13 Santa Cruz, CA
10/14 Marina, CA
10/15 Costa Mesa **
10/16 Hermosa Beach, CA **
10/17 Las Vegas, NV **
10/18 San Diego, CA **
10/19 San Clemente **
10/20 Huntington Beach, CA **
10/23 Long Beach, CA
10/24 Carlsbad, CA
10/25 Flagstaff, AZ
10/26 Tucson, AZ
10/27 Scottsdale, AZ
10/29 Austin, TX
10/31 Raleigh, NC
11/1 Arlington, VA
11/2 Baltimore, MD
Due to our good friends in the government, we had to make some slight adjustments to the Denafest set times! Please make note of what time you or your favorite bands are set to take the stage! Hope to see everyone at the 8th Annual Denafest!!
OUTSIDE STAGES – ALL AGES
5:00 Bond & Bentley
4:40 Fresh Competition
3:40 86 the Effort
2:40 The Baby PLEASE!
12:50 Crash Lincoln Dynasty
5:40 Minlus & McCracken
4:20 Scarborough Sideshow
3:20 Zach Bellas
1:20 Sue Kuchli
12:30 John Ernst
INSIDE STAGE – 21+
7:30 Blonde Armadillo
8:15 The Driftwood Renegades
10:45 Bond & Bentley
12:30 Bumpin Uglies
Pasadena will be playing DNL Entertainments “Blockstock 5″ at the Party Block on 5th st in Ocean City Maryland this Sunday August 18th. We hope to see everyone there to show us some love and check out all the other great artists playing at this event! We’d also like to congratulate our drummer Cory Strett and his wife Abbey on finding out today that the newest addition to the Strett/Pasadena family will be a boy!
Artists and Set Times -
8:00 Xtra Alltra
9:00 Sticky Longfingers & The Rusted Butter
10:00 The Substance
11:00 Bong Hits For Jesus
7:00 Black Dog Alley
8:00 Saltwater String Band
9:00 Cheezy & The Crackers
10:00 Ill Luck
11:00 Downtown Brown
12:00 Higher Education
1:00 Hot Sauce Sandwich
Denafest is back!! This year’s event will be at Bamboo Bernie’s August 31st! Festivities will run from 12pm -8pm outside and then pick back up inside at 9pm!! For vendor or band information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Bond & Bentley
86 the Effort
The Baby PLEASE!
Minlus & McCracken
Scarborough Thrill Show
Crash Lincoln Dynasty
OUTSIDE STAGE – ALL AGES
6pm Bond & Bentley
5pm 86 The Effort
4pm The Baby PLEASE!
2pm Crash Lincoln Dynasty
1pm Driftwood Renegades
6:40 Minlus & McCracken
5:40 Fresh Competition
4:40 Scarborough Sideshow
3:40 Zach Bellas
1:40 Sue Kuchli
12:40 John Ernst
INSIDE STAGE – 21+
10:45 Bond & Bentley
12:30 Bumpin Uglies
Brought to by:
One Koast Entertainment
On FREEstate Mixtape Vol3 coming Sept 7th 2013 at the 8×10!
Thanks to Robert McFreshington of the FREEstate Workshop
Today will be the last day that you can get tickets from us on our website for The Pier Six Pavilion Sublime With Rome and Pennywise show July 17th. They will no longer be available after 10pm. We will still have tickets for sale, but you will have to see us in person. You can purchase tickets on the “Home” page below this post. Thank you for your support!
Tickets for Sublime w/ Rome, Pennywise, and Pasadena at Pier Six Pavilion on Wednesday July 17th are unfortunately no longer available through our website. It takes time to process tickets on our end through the website, but we still have them available in person. Please contact the band directly for any ticket sales before the show. Thanks again!