Self-producing is a tricky minefield to navigate – if you don’t do it just right, your end result won’t be great.
But, self-producing is also an avenue to becoming a full-time producer and making a living from creativity, which is exactly what Todd Barriage of Theatria is on the show to talk about.
Not only does Todd self-produce Theatria’s music, he also works with artists from all over Canada (and the rest of the world) to craft stellar-sounding music that artists can be proud of.
Listen now to learn how you can become a better producer for your own music, as well as go full time in a creative field!
What you’ll learn:
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– “The Weakest Man In The Room”
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#78: The Inside Scoop on Toplining | With Chad Kowal
– “The Boy Who Destroyed The World”
Welcome to episode 81 of the Bandhive podcast.
It is time for another episode of the Bandhive podcast. My name is James Cross and I'm not here with mMtt Hoos of Alive in Barcelona, but we have a very special guest, Todd Barriage of Thetria.
How's it going today, Todd? It's going all right, How are you doing? Glad to hear that, and thanks for asking. I'm doing really well. Let's jump right in. So, Todd, you're releasing a new song In just a couple days on June 18 called Daddy Issues, Let's get the Elephant out of the room and talk about that song first. What can you tell us about the song? Sure. So, from a lyrical standpoint, my guitarist chris thought it was about maybe a previous relationship I had had with someone who had daddy issues and that I was maybe making light of that person's like familial problems.
But what it is, it's about my own daddy issues, but not with my father. Uh it's a very close friend that I had who uh maybe it wasn't quite like a father to me, but definitely like a big brother role model, kind of figure. So the song kind of covers the disillusionment with going from a place of adoration and admiration, you taint that with just a pinch of betrayal and it becomes a really scornful kind of pity that's kind of where you end up or where I ended up anyway emotionally.
So uh and the reason I went with the title Daddy issues on it within our group, uh this guy and I kind of went by papa and step dad. We're kind of our nicknames, him being papa. So with him being the father figure, uh, it just sort of made sense for me. So I had the title of the song and the instrumental written before I had the lyrics done, but I already knew what the lyrics were going to be. Yeah, you knew what road you were taking on that.
Yeah, I was feeling a thing when I wrote it. So I waited a year to finish writing the vocals because I didn't want to, I didn't want to tackle it from the place I was at, where I was like really angry and bitter still. So I, I sat on it for a year and then finished. So I had the chorus done and then I finished the verses with a little bit more clarity on it and I feel like that helped me write it sort of into a story rather than it just being like a word vomit of angst.
So yeah, man, well that's obviously a lot to go into a song and especially for, you know, the first single of your upcoming album, that is a very deep look right into you and the band as the first single of the album. You know, it's been a few years since Theatria released an album, I believe, the last one was 2017. And going back, you guys have been together for over a decade now, so before we dive into the meat of the episode and talk about why you're here on the band, I've podcast, can you just share a little bit about your journey as a musician and a producer?
Yeah, so growing up, I didn't have like hobbies, I just basically played donkey kong country and super Mario world up until I was 12 ish, maybe 11. And then Tony Hawk pro skater two came out and the soundtrack of that sort of like turned me on to music in general 23 came out the following year, exposed me to a F. I and once I heard the boy who destroyed the world, I was like, okay, I need to Do this. Like this is inspiring me. So that summer I learned how to play drums that would have been summer between Grade eight and Grade nine for me around 2003.
Then through high school I played drums in a few different bands. The last one of note being we are Adam West which was a punk band three piece where I played drums and and also sang uh and that was the first one where I also produced because we were broke, especially at that point, I had moved out of my parents house, so I was like extra broke because I was, I had an apartment. So to record ourselves, my, my bass player, josh had this like little four channel mixer.
And so we lined out into the mic input on his computer Where his brother had a Pirated copy of Adobe Audition 1.5. So his brother was very busy, much too busy to record his little brothers, you know, crappy little punk band. So, uh, he just sort of, he allowed us to use his stuff to produce our own record. And so a lot of that was me and and my friend josh in tandem. And then what ended up happening was I just fell in love with the process. And so I got my own crappy little mixer and my own computer and my own Pirated copy of adobe audition 1.5.
And you know that this summer after grade 12, I started recording some local bands for like $20 a song Did that for maybe a year. And then I never raised my rates because I didn't value myself for my work. So I was like, Oh, this isn't sustainable. I quit music. I went to business school in 2010 and so I moved up to Toronto, a big city and uh, had the apartment to myself. And so there were four of us moving into the apartment, two of us moved up early, me and my friend Austin, so I just quit music.
And in that month, before school started, I'd written half of the first, Theatria album, which was self titled. And so the first song I wrote was the weakest man in the room. And that's where I really started trying to make things sound good instead of just like getting things technically recorded. I started actually putting in the work and like finding guitar tones and getting drum sounds by using uh fruity loops to blend in like the Paramore snare sample and the Nickelback kick drum with easy drummer and do that, bounce it out in four bar chunks.
Until I had a song composed and roughly mixed drums wise. And then I would do the rest in adobe audition, which is what I had been used to doing. So that's where I got my start in pursuing production. And then I think it was like the year after that I dropped out of business school uh and started producing professionally. That's awesome. So it was a pretty quick turnaround once you decided to go all in on it to going all in on it, it sounds like, yeah, I mean you're going to do it or you're not right.
Yeah, that's a great point. I think it's really interesting that there's a lot of artists who self produce and for the audio version of the podcast, imagine me doing air quotes around that, but they don't really have the production experience. And for you, you are now a producer and engineer who plays music, you're not a musician who also produces, even though it started that way. So now that you have this production experience, does that affect how you write your songs? Does that affect the writing process? Yeah, I'm I'm more cognizant of arrangement and how frequencies will clash.
You know, you can put two things together and they're in the same key, but maybe their they're overlapping a lot on the frequency spectrum. So I'm more prone to cut apart even before I demo it out already know this is going to clash with the vocal. So I spend a lot less time dilly dallying in terms of like seeing what other parts will work because if I have a chord progression and the melody, I've already, you know, half of my like lead guitar choices are, are just gone.
They're off the table because I don't want them clashing with the lead and it's made me more aware of dynamics. So like the new Theatria song Daddy issues, it's one chord progression for the entire song which is something I never would have done Before. It was always, this is the progression for the verse and then it goes to this progression for the chorus because, without that production experience, I didn't have enough tinker time to realize that you can literally just open up the part and it's a new part, and that's something I picked up from listening to a lot of Kesha back in 20 14 2015, I had a huge, like, dr luke face and max martin, and they do a lot of that.
I noticed that each song, or at least the hits from, from those records, it was generally one chord progression that would just move up and down dynamically through the song, which at the time was, it was mind blowing to me, I was like, you can do that, like, you can just have one thing and that's your song. And so that's something that I picked up on as a producer, that I now apply to my own music. Yeah, you know, there's so many great examples of that, like Weezer say, it ain't, so is the same chord progression.
The bridge might be different if I recall, but the verses and chorus, they're all the same or going even a step further. Um, Beastie Boys sabotage one chord. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I just got that little guitar riff and then the one chord, it's incredible. And then it's the dynamics and the emotion that's actually making the song breathe and, and like, Dammit by blink 1 82 I think in the chorus, they have time to progression, but it's the same progression. I mean, it was always there. I just never noticed it until it was a synth because it's so effortless and natural when bands doing it, it didn't pique my ear is oh, that's just one progression.
I was like, oh, this song really hits me where pop songs, I love them, but they don't hit me the same as rock songs and I consider sabotage a rock song. But, yeah, so it totally retooled the way I view music as a songwriter, and whether that's for the better or for the worse, I don't know, or maybe it's just different, but it's definitely effect that it's that it's had on me. Well, it's funny that you say that because I have to bring this up now with daddy issues.
I've made two comparisons, pierce the veil and senses fail, which, ironically, you don't listen to either of those bands. So, obviously, it's not a rip off. It's just that it happened. But in my mind, that's that's a great thing, because it shows me that your son writings on par with those bands. On its own its independent. You're not just saying, hey, I like this, I'm going to copy it. You're actually doing what those incredibly successful bands are doing. Yeah. The very least, if it's in the same family, it's bare minimum.
It's like the ugly cousin, but even that's in the same family, like that's no matter what, that's a win. Yeah. And the thing is that if you are putting out music that sounds commercially viable, that's what makes it commercially viable. There's so many artists who self produced and in my opinion, lack the self awareness to say we sound like a garage band in a genre that's typically highly polished, especially with a lot of pop punk bands. They'll have a very rough nineties pop punk sound. It's like, Yeah, that worked 30 years ago.
But now pop punk has shifted. You're not doing classic rock, you're doing pop punk, you have to adjust with the times, especially it's the drum sounds with modern pop punk. Like if you don't have those drums get out. We could rabbit hole on this all day, you know, to production nerds sitting on a video call as much fun as that would be. I think we need to serve the listeners here. So I'm going to steer in a slightly different direction because you are doing something that so many artists want, you are making a living from your creativity now, it's not, you know, solely from your band, but it's from being in a band, being a full time producer, working with clients.
And ultimately, in 2021, it's not super realistic for somebody to make a full time living off of a band unless they become superstars or they do other stuff like create content on Patreon or provide a service like guitar lessons or production work or anything under that umbrella. That adds value to people to the extent that people will give you money. So what advice would you give to artists who want to make a living with their music? But I haven't come to the realization that they might need to branch out and open up other income streams that are related, but aren't just writing and releasing songs okay, um I'm going to start this is like a life lesson that ultimately would tie in with being successful in any field, but I feel like this isn't discussed nearly enough on any sort of like success oriented platform, learn the difference between being nice and being kind and be kind.
So that's your, that's the first foot in the door of any scenario, is just be a good person, don't be a doormat that's being nice, but try to do things that are mutually beneficial in whatever scenario end up in. Don't try to think of how you can take advantage, that's one way to get ahead. But, you know, it might not be a long term solution, but for me it's worked just to to be kind and try to think, you know, say when I'm producing a record, I want to make the best album possible so that it looks good in my portfolio.
Also, the band ends up with the best album possible. That's a pure win win, right? Or when you're an artist and you're you're playing a show, try to, you know, if you have a relationship with the promoter, what the patriot did with a local promoter around us is we had a guarantee that was unique to this promoter and it was, you give us this dollar amount, we will make damn sure there's at least 100 bodies in that room every time. And if you want to play the percentage game, I can show you, we will come out on top.
If you want to play the percentage game, we will go out of our way to double the number of people there. So we get more money, you know, like spitefully even, so let's just do this safe. You know what you're paying us, you know what we're bringing in the audience has a good time. You make your money Mr, promoter, we don't lose our gas money, we make money on merch over there sort of thing. So there's a lot of dynamics, um, when you're working with people, just try to figure out what's mutually beneficial and, you know, try not to be a sociopath basically.
Beyond that. It's just a lot of hard work, especially if you're self producing, which more and more people are your own music, do not handicap your result by saying, oh well I wrote it and recorded it and mixed it and mastered it so you can't expect it to be perfect. Well why not? And then branched that off into marketing. Like you can't have asked the marketing just because you whole asked the production. Like it's gotta, you gotta just go all in on the whole thing, which is, you know what I said earlier, when, when you mentioned, oh, you just kind of started producing, it's like, yeah, you're either doing it or you're not.
So the most important thing is to do it. And a lot of people spend a lot of time deliberating a lot of time, not even making a plan on, say like a song release, but like choosing a type of plan, they'll spend a month just deciding the rough how and then a week figuring out the semantics, it's like that's not going to work, you need to just pick a direction and it doesn't matter if it's the wrong one, you can find out later, do the wrong one the best way possible, figure out what worked and like learn and grow on the next one from there.
A lot of people spend, I think any way too much time dilly dallying and uh just just burning their tires and instead of just going out there and getting your music in people's ears, which is the most important part. Yeah, Well, there's a couple things I want to touch on there. The first one being what you said about people who really make excuses saying, well, I did everything myself, it's not gonna be great. And I'm a massive proponent for outsourcing if you aren't the best at something outsource it.
And you know, that's why you have clients Todd because you're a better engineer than those clients are, and they know that Yeah, because because I help them, like, in terms of like, being kind as a producer when they're demoing and they have like mixed questions, I'm not going to hold my secrets back, I'm like, oh, I did this and so like they can get inside my head as a producer and not better serves the record in the end. So Yeah, absolutely. And there are so many artists who have that sense of pride in doing everything themselves poorly and would rather do everything poorly than let somebody else touch their baby.
It's like, that's great, but don't expect the song to be the next big hit, and a lot of them have that unrealistic expectations. So I think that's going to a deeper level, kind of, what you're alluding to is that artists need to have realistic expectations. Like if an artist is doing everything themselves and they're not marketing it, they need to realize this probably isn't gonna take off. We're not going to get discovered and get a label deal or get on a Spotify, curated playlist, all that kind of stuff.
And that's all fine. Just you need to know that's what you're doing. Yeah, exactly. And that's part of the reason that we change the name of the podcast. I don't know if I've ever talked about this before, but the old name kind of made it sound like we were saying that bands who take themselves seriously are better than bands who don't take themselves seriously. And that's not what we're about. We're here to provide a resource for artists who want to make a career out of music. If you just want to play music and hang out with your friends, that's totally fine.
Nothing wrong with that. That's super valid. But don't expect to be the next Green Day or the next mike M or the next fallout boy that takes a ton of effort. That's a full time job. And if you already have a full time job that's two full time jobs, like that's what you gotta do and there are artists who will go out and do that. So on that note, Todd, you spent hundreds of hours, literally a full time job recreating a F. I. S. Masterpiece. Sing the sorrow.
Yes, I did. It was painfully detailed. I listened to it and I'm like this sounds like a F. I like the vocal tambor is a little bit different because it's your own voice. Yeah. Nothing you can do about that. But instrumentally it's almost exactly the same. And that must have been extremely fulfilling for you, right? Yeah. I mean like even if I released it and no one liked it just knowing that I did it like that, that was sort of the thing for me. Like I wanted jerry Finn is one of my favorite producers of all time and obviously I can't Go get a crash course from him.
So the next best thing is like okay, I'm going to recreate one of his records and see what I learned along the way. That's amazing. And for those who don't know, Jerry Finn, great producer. Unfortunately he passed away in I believe his late 2008, early 2009, sometime around then most big producers these days have of course you can go check out jerry Finn obviously doesn't because that was before online courses really a thing. Yeah, he didn't even really do interviews. Like there's nothing. Yeah. And it kind of seems like so many amazing producers don't do interviews because one they're so busy and too they're just like I don't want to talk to people.
That's that's it. I want to make music like leave me Alone. I'm a hermit. Yes. Which I mean I don't know if that's the reason behind jerry Finn not doing interviews but it's quite plausible from what I gather he was a workaholic I imagine he didn't have the time and energy. Yes. Like why spend time talking to somebody when you can spend time making something sound amazing. Yeah. So for artists who want to self produce but are just getting started and you know they don't really know how to produce.
Would you recommend recreating an album like seeing this time or maybe even just one song from their favorite artist. It's like when you're first learning say to draw now you don't want to get in the habit of tracing, you don't want to be a trace artist. But there's a reason in like grade for art class, the teacher just throws up a picture of van Gogh on the overhead projector and it's like, all right, everyone do this and you just do your crappy nine year old rendition of this classic painting.
And you you pick up some techniques like, you know, whatever it is, if you learn pointillism, you're going to recreate something using dots and it's it's the production slash arrangement because they're very hand in hand version of that. It's it's in my opinion, if you're the kind of person who learns by tinkering in general, it's it's the only way to truly understand what makes a sound of sound is to recreate it from the ground up yourself. Yeah, I have to point out that your Canadian is showing I was homeschooled so caveat, I don't know for sure.
But in the States from my understanding art class is not like that at all. No. Oh man. If you're lucky enough to have art class, okay, maybe I'm wrong. But I think that's great that they teach you to, you know, express yourself that way by saying like learn these techniques and then go do your own thing. That's incredible. And I'm sure the benefits for you were along the lines of you learned how to make a jerry. Finn record. Yeah. But you also gained a ton of attention from doing that because you released it commercially essentially.
You had a release plan for, it's on Spotify, you were dropping weekly videos for five months. It was a while. How much of a carry over did you see? Because I know everybody in the f I community was sharing it. How much of that did you see carry over to fi atria? Did you see an influx of new fans when you did that project? So the theater trea social media scene is very dead. Like we we don't post and and that'll change like by the time this airs will have probably started posting stuff for daddy issues, but like we haven't had anything going on for a while.
So regardless of that, our social media numbers have doubled in that time frame. So like on facebook, I think we went in a large part of this is our bass player is really good at just trying to get us out there despite the lack of content we have. But I think our our facebook has like close to 3000 followers on it, which, to my recollection like say a year ago, it was maybe 1000 and then our instagram is same quite dead and we predated instagram's popularity. So we had like 50 instagram followers.
Now I think we have close to 200. That's just from the FBI stuff cause it's not like the band's doing anything. And even my personal instagram, it went from, I think about 600 in january up to, I think it's about 1400 now. So like I've doubled or tripled and I trust that will carry over once Theatria has stuff Because right now it's literally three posts and it's like our previous three records as album Art. It's, it's it's a dead page as of May 29, but in june it'll it'll start ramping up.
We've been back logging a lot of studio footage and stuff. That's the way to do it. But yeah, there's been a ton of carry over. Um I I think just like musically like almost all of our songs of gang vocals, so there's lots of things that like older midday Fi fans will appreciate about what we're doing that. Maybe if I doesn't do anymore. As much like the gang vocals or the just like the the A. F. I. Song progression right? Where it's verse chorus, verse chorus, moody bridge chorus out.
You know, we've got a bunch of those on the record, Daddy issues doesn't super tie into that, but we have woes, we've got woes in the end of the song. So there's lots of little things kind of threw out. But I know it's very strange. Just the amount of a tent, like I didn't expect a F. I H. Q. To share it all, much less any of it. I didn't expect any of that. I didn't expect them to interview me. I thought that was really I still think that's really cool.
Like, that blows my mind. Like it's this website I've been reading since I was a child, you know, and it's uh their post in my face. So it's been really cool. Yeah. That's amazing. And I mean, especially like you mentioned, not having a social media presence None, and still doubling your following on every platform. That's huge. And I mean, I have to say for all the artists out there, don't neglect your social media presence or your social media profiles will get daddy issues. Yes. 1000%. That's a great joke, But 100% true.
Um and that's the thing. The reason that that we've been stockpiling studio footage instead of posting it is we're releasing daddy issues and it's not strictly speaking, the first single from the record. It's the first song from the recording sessions of the album that's coming out. But there's like a small chance it doesn't even make the album Like we were recording 14 and it's going to be an 11 or 12 track record. So I'm not saying it's getting the acts, but like we don't know, we're still in sort of that phase of development, but we didn't want to start hyping up the album with nothing of value to be waiting for you there.
So we're releasing Daddy issues as like, that's, that's the net that's going to catch you. And as we start hyping up the album through the summer. It's not like, why do I care? Like you haven't done anything in five years, Why do you care about your new record? It's like, okay, you did a song a month ago and it's pretty dope. So yeah, I'm stoked to, you know, wait to hear what comes from the record. So it's it's basically like a marketing bedrock more than it is a single, in my opinion.
Yeah, that's a great way to look at. And it's a great strategy to because that way you don't necessarily have to wait until the album is completely finished to start dropping songs because that's, you know, a typical release strategy is finished the album. Start dropping songs a couple months in advance and what you mentioned with keeping the studio footage and just holding on to it until you're ready for the big push. That is perfect. That's what, you know, every major artist does and that's what every D. I. Y. Artists should do.
If people want to hear more about that Episode 19 of the Bandhive podcast, we had infinite signal whose Hoodie I'm wearing right now. Actually. Uh they were on the show to talk about their latest ep. So go check out that episode. It's called How to make your band stand out. Using tactics the major labels have mastered and that's all about creating a promo plan for your next release. Keeping in mind that you know it might take a year to record and release an album. But you want to be pushing it only in the last two months.
Like you want content the whole year. But you don't wanna be talking about your new album the whole year. You want that in like a two month focused push single one single two album single three or E. P. In their case. So I think it's stellar that you're doing that as well because that's the model. And as much as I hate to say this that's what everyone does. And until somebody figures something better out, that's what everyone who's not doing, it needs to do. And I like the model what I did with the sing, the sorrow Rollout where it was like a song every week.
That was fun. It was like this parade that went on for for several months and maybe doing it every week and maybe doing, you know, as many songs as there were might be a little much like I I felt a little burnt out by the end, I could tell the audience was like getting there, but You know, if you can condense that down to say 10 songs and do it every two weeks, I think that's a great way to keep the momentum and sort of snowball it. Instead of like the even five years ago, the model was drop a single, drop the album and then that's it, you're done.
Like, you know, you go on tour and stuff and then you drop more music videos and whatnot. But the content aspect of it wasn't as much of a focus and that content based relationship wasn't so much of a focus back then. Where now I I like it because it's, you know, we're releasing, I want to say 10 videos related to daddy issues in june. That's huge. Yeah, it's a lot. It's a lot. Can you give us a run through of what those 10 videos are? At least as many as you remember off the top of your head. Yeah.
So basically it's like a 10 day crunch and that's just basically we have 10 days to remind people we exist and then we can start hyping up the album after that because right now it's just about the single and that we're alive because that's sort of where we are right now because we've been dead for for so long. So it's the music video, obviously on the 18th next day, lyric video next day. Drum play through video next day. Drum mixing video next day based, mixing video, guitar, mixing video vocals.
Probably going to skip mastering because my mastering chain is depressing. And and I think at that point we're back to the next friday. And then acoustic music video, acoustic lyric video. And that might be it. That might be the last one. There might be one more that I'm blanking on, but basically it's 10 days, 10 videos and maybe it's a merch video that I'm forgetting because like we've got some some shirts that just say daddy issues right across the chest, that I think they're great. Well, we'll see how they carry over.
You know, it's a weird inside joke. That's not even an inside joke. Like that sounds like depending on your demographic, it might need to be booty shorts as well. That is something that's been on my radar. We're also thinking condoms, like actually like I'm talking to a company. I once we're done here, I'm emailing them back to confirm the order. That's amazing. I'm thinking, you know, a batch of ones that say daddy issues in a batch with my face on. I think that's the move that might lead to some interesting conversations.
Yeah, I'm hoping so. Oh yeah, that's the spanned. I listen to you should go check it out. Hey, I can put it on right now. The condom of the band both. Oh dude, I love creative promo ideas like that. That's, it's something that people don't do enough. They don't think outside the box. And you're thinking outside the box, there's no live events, right? So, like, we can't do a 10 day tour, so let's do the next best thing and just do one. But globally, and everyone all at once, instead of, you know, just Idaho here and just Calgary here and you know, whatever.
Yeah, Well, and I think the other thing that having those 10 videos, Essentially, you're rehashing the same thing 10 times. It's the same piece of content. It's what's called content replication, where you're taking the same piece of content and showing it in a different way. The tutorial video is the lyric video is the acoustic version. It's all about the same piece of content, it's about the same piece of art, but its unique pieces of content is how I look at it. Yeah, that's a better way to put it.
For sure. Yeah, the lyric video gives a different vibe than the performance video. The mixing videos are a whole different, you know, it's an hour of me rambling. Yeah, that's a different demographic. It's for the nerds like me who want to see what went into the song exactly, but it's a way for you to stay top of mind. And so many artists say, well, I don't know what to post. I don't have any content, like, well you have a song, right? So do it behind the scenes.
You know, do an acoustic version. There's I think it was already hurston's book that I was reading where it said every song you release needs to have at least three videos. The music video, the lyric video, and just the audio, the album art with, like, a visualize er an audio and that's it. You have three versions right there already. And then you can go and do all the other versions you're doing Todd. But at the very minimum, people should have three versions to push the song because maybe one of them takes off on the Youtube algorithm and the other two don't having three chances of getting found by the algorithm is better than having one chance.
And that's something people are afraid of, like diluting views, right? Like oh if I released three videos, they're each going to get one third of the views and that's just not true. Like uh to jump back to af i case they're the only band I can talk about with a degree of confidence. They released, each of their songs have been releasing in their album cycle. You've got exactly like what you're saying, you've got the music video, the visualize er and then just the song that's the game and I've watched all three of them unwittingly.
I didn't even seek them out. I'm just like, oh, this is new one in my feet and I click it and like I've heard this but I haven't seen this. So I'm going to stick around to see the new thing because the internet is so visually oriented and I feel like musicians think of their content as music oriented and it's not like the song has to be good obviously, and when you're creating it, it's the most important thing. But when it comes to market it, you've already made the good thing.
So make visually appealing things to keep doling the same song out in a way that's meaningful, you're providing a new experience each time they go in and watch it. Yeah. And one thing that people don't already know this, Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world behind google, which owns Youtube. But that means that if somebody is looking for something one, they're going to google it and to, they're going to Youtube it, that's the order. Yeah. And that doesn't necessarily only apply to music. That's like how to repair a lawnmower.
You're either going to google it or you're going to youtube it. And for music, it's the same thing. I replaced the drum in my washing machine by googling not finding what I wanted, then you tubing it. Like it's so useful. Everyone's on it all the time. It's, it's silly not to sort of take advantage of that. Yeah. And there's videos for everything. The rabbit holes on Youtube are intense. I started following this guy who drives buses because some of the busses, he drives, our old entertainer coaches, like tour buses.
That's sick. And it's like, oh, I miss my days in a tour bus. I want to see what other tour buses look like. He's Canadian by the way. So go Canada, but just the rabbit holes like that. You know, people will find something that they can relate to and subscribe. Like I subscribe. He's got like 3000 followers and like, I want to see more about buses and learn like I used to live in a bus. This is cool, that's the kind of thing that people go for. Like, whatever is interesting to them.
So if somebody is interested in your band, they're going to search for your band on Youtube and hopefully there's multiple versions of videos out there. Hopefully there's behind the scenes stuff, You know, there's mixing videos, there's acoustic videos, all that kind of stuff. So, you know, I'm beating a dead horse here since we've been talking about the same topic for like 10 minutes. But I think it's so important for artists to realize, like put out videos, multiple videos. That's one horse that needs to be beat. Yeah. Poor horse. Yeah.
But I mean, you know, videos are like the glue of your social media presence. That was a terrible horse joke just for the record. I thought it was great. Thank you. Before I sidetrack us way off into like muddy waters, which I realize that's a band joke, but I'm not even gonna go there. Let's turn back to Todd as the self produced artist. And when it comes to Theatria, how does your production work play into the band dynamics? See it's hard to, I've always self produced Theatria.
Well, I guess our, our second ep, I didn't produce actually. So, so I guess I do have a frame of reference for when I'm not the producer I know for me personally, it compounds the madness. You know what the madness is, right? I have an idea. Yeah, but why don't you tell the listeners? Sure. So the madness is uh when you're embarking on a creative endeavor and you may not know when it hits, but at some point you will know that it has hit. So on the on the creative band side, you're writing the record and you're writing song after song after song and you don't even know what's good anymore because you've just been writing so much and your existence becomes questionable.
You don't even know that anything is real anymore. Like what is bus fare, what is a grocery bag? It's all meaningless because it's not a chord progression. So you get the madness because you go crazy writing. And so I'm already in my own world relative to the outside world by the time we're done writing, and then I've got to produce a whole record. So the band is in its world because we've been songwriting and then within that little world is my little producer world, where I'm just out of it, like, I don't know anything, you could say my name, and it doesn't even register to my brain, that little dopamine spike when someone says your name and you're like, oh, that's me, I don't even get that anymore, because I'm just so like the song, So it changes the band dynamic in that the band has to somewhat just humor my delusions a bit, because I'm we're all out of touch collectively, and then I'm out of touch of that, out of touch nous.
Um so, as far as the band dynamic goes towards the end of it, it's always like, can we make sure Todd's eating, kind of thing? Um just because it's been, you know, by the time this record is done, it will be a year and a half, that I haven't had many thoughts that were outside of the record, where being just a band member, just a band member, air quotes, you know, you get to write the song and maybe two or three days a week, you're thinking of the album or maybe the whole week, but you're not, like actively invested in it.
Where from the production standpoint, you know, after we're done writing, I'm doing demos and then after we're doing demos, I'm tweaking the writing, and then after that we're recording and once everyone leaves after tracking I'm editing. So it's it's a lot you've got to be committed to it, but it's good to have people you trust around you who understand what you're going for, understand the vision and appreciate that all the insanity is in service of that vision. My bandmates do a really good job of keeping me in check the past like three days.
I think I've worked a collective six hours on the album because I, you know, we all just sort of decided like, Todd's getting in the mood needs to take a break. So they've been really good with that and, you know, trying to make sure it's not the Todd show is another big thing when yourself producing, especially when one guy, I don't write the majority of the songs, but like a healthy share, I'd say, like, probably a third of them come from my brain couple that with the fact I'm producing the whole way through, it would be very easy for me just to swing my manhood around to be like, this thing's mine.
But having that creative respect and personal respect, going in all directions and having days where we get together and we're not making the record, like, we're going to go to chris's house instead, a bunch of stuff on fire and just watch it be on fire. Like he's got a flamethrower. It's awesome. It's it's incredible. I don't know if I can say that publicly. I don't know what, what laws govern flamethrowers in Canada, but we have fun. There's your content right there. Burning some Nickelback merch. Oh man, Nickelback is not that bad.
I'm gonna say it. No, no, I, I agree with that. But you do it for the meme. It's for the meme. That's true, that's true. And let me say this. Like, I'm not the biggest Nickelback fan. I'm not. But they are incredible business people, their management team. All of that is I can't even put into words. The meme around Nickelback is what's kept them relevant for the last 10 years. Well, you know what I said earlier about, you know, you make the song and the song is good and that's great.
But now you've got to market it and that's the most important part. I feel like no band is a testament to that more than Nickelback because an argument could be made could be made. I'm not saying that I'm making it, but an argument could be made that their songs aren't even that great. And yet here we are talking about Nickelback. Yeah, exactly. So that's the power of marketing. You know, it's the same thing with creed. Everyone makes fun of scott staff for the Yarra. Well, we're in a big creed phase in the band right now.
That's amazing. Tree does the same thing and as terrible as trapped opinions and rants and bullying are they stayed in the limelight for like a couple of years enough to get rich just by being bullies on twitter until they got banned and now somebody took over their username and it's like making troll tweets. That's so wild. Yeah, it's amazing. But trapped is still trying to make music and I don't know if they would be able to, if they hadn't stayed relevant by being bullies. Now there would have been much better ways to stay relevant.
But all these bands that people make fun of are still being talked about, it's strange. They've got it figured out trolling matters. Yeah. They say all press is good press. Like sticker mule, one of my favorite brands. Their twitter is literally just random posts about the evil bird, ak twitter and lima beans. Yes, the evil bird and lima beans. I'm following them. Their twitter is amazing. I saw your, your sticker mule post like minutes too late. Oh no. So I'm going to stay on top of that though for people who don't know last night, which was made 28 at the time of recording, sticker mule did a custom packaging deal.
It was 50 branded poly mailers for 29 bucks. It's such a good deal. Yeah. Dude, I paid $25 for 50 plain white boxes. So $29 for branded mailers is incredible. Like normally it's like 80 something dollars and they look incredible. Yeah. Now I'm a big fan of using boxes instead of mailers, but for something like a T shirt, it's not always the best idea to use a box. Like it looks nicer to use a box, but it's not really cost effective granted. A box is more recyclable than a poly mailer. So it could go either way depending on if your brand is green or not.
I try to be as green as possible. Anyway, I'm absolutely side tracking at this point, noting out about people who tweet weird stuff like sticker mule. So yeah, lima beans and the evil bird. And now I'm not saying that a band should start tweeting about lima beans and the evil bird, but have something like I fight dragons. So we had on the podcast a few episodes ago, I think it was 77. If you want to check that out, it's banned. I've got rocks slash 77. They have a meme which is chad solo.
Their drummer will never play a solo. So chad solo is just, the band will say chad solo and I'll turn and stare at the drummer and he just sits there grinning and does nothing. And that is the chad solo. So, having an internal joke like that the fans can be a part of because they're like, yeah, he's not gonna do anything. Having that kind of in with your community is something I think that a lot of artists could take more advantage of. And I don't even remember why I thought of that and why this is relevant to what we were talking about.
We arrived here from sticker mule, I think ah yes, you're absolutely right, because sticker mule has the end jokes of lima beans and the Evil Bird bands can have the jokes of chad solo or whatever it is for your band. Thank you for reminding me. I appreciate that. Very welcome. Anyway, as we start to wrap things up here, my last big question for you is how has self producing changed your approach to producing other artists, to working with your clients? Self producing has given me a lot of insight into the relationship between songwriting and production.
I feel like without that understanding I'm just an engineer and without, you know, like I said like an hour ago, just like being kind because I know the value of just waking up disheveled and in my pajamas and grabbing a guitar and getting a guitar track out, sort of like creating something of like a safe space for artists, which I don't think I would appreciate if I wasn't self producing my own songs. I know a lot of guys who are like all these guys show up and all they want to do is party and it's like, well if their party dudes, why not just let them do a bump before they do their take if that's how they roll, like obviously I don't let people rage in your studio.
But if that's what they need to do to get where they need to be within reason to have the best output and then the best ideas coming forth and and the keeping the motivation up. I think whatever it is, like if you're into flat Earth, tell me all about it. But after five minutes of you talking, we're hitting the record button and we're going in because now you're in your zone where you know, self producing, I'm always in my zone, this is my zone and so understanding and appreciating the effect that has on the music I make, especially with our our theater, a second record we did at a different studio with Adam um who's delightful, I love him.
He's an amazing producer, amazing person. That space wasn't mine when I was there though when we were recording with him. And I feel like that that showed in the result it wasn't his abilities as a producer. It wasn't our abilities as musicians that sort of made that that E. P. We did sort of come short of where we wanted it. It was facilitating that creative space. Which is something I learned not as a producer. I learned that as being an artist and they carry that forward into my production.
I think that's played a huge role and then also being the songwriter Tm. Which over time within Theatria I'm less and less of that guy but at a time I was that guy. So understanding that that is a dynamic and that's not inherently unhealthy and it's not something that that band member should be frustrated about. It's something the band should embrace. It's not that you know, the guitarists that's usually the guitarist is the guy. It's not that the guitarist isn't open to your ideas, it's that this band sound is his voice and until you're on the same page as him creatively or until you evolve to a place where everyone's input is on that same page equally, sometimes it's best to just embrace that.
And so a lot of my work production wise isn't even the recording in the tones and the mixing. It's the band sociology and working with everyone's just basically ego management and helping the main songwriter learned that it's not bad. It's not that their band mates are lazy, it's just fate has decreed that you're the dude or or the girl. But in my experience that happens less and and maybe that's more to do with misogyny and in greater band culture, which is a whole hour long discussion on its own, but just understand that, you know, if you're the person just be the person because a lot of bands will fight in the studio, you know, about this one person getting all their ideas, get to become full songs, why don't mind stuff like that.
So, yeah, it's it's helped me understand band dynamics by having to do it with my own band and and having an extra layer of, I'm also like, I'm the producer and the songwriter and the mediator of that dynamic. It kind of, recording other bands is on Easy Mode, because I get to be removed. I have that layer of separation where I'm the producer, but I'm not the dude. So I get two more objectively, look at the dynamics and help make people feel that their involvement is important, because it is if it wasn't than all five of them, you know, wouldn't be in here making the record.
Yeah, that's a solo project. Exactly. And making sure that's communicated and understood because I have my own solo projects and I have Theatria and I cannot do Theatrial alone, I can't do it, I've put out my own music and it's not as good, it's just not as good. Yeah, I mean that's why, you know, you look at pop songs and they have 5, 10, 15, 20 writers, they're collaborating and that's something on a recent episode we did with chad qual number 78. The inside scoop on top lining. If you want to check that out, it's at band, I've got rocks slash 78.
We had a follow up clubhouse chat with him about the episode and one of the things that he talked about when he's writing for Top lining, which if you haven't heard the episode yet and you don't know what top lining is for the listeners, it's writing vocals and melodies for E. D. M. Songs and what he was saying, he loves to collaborate with other artists because he'll learn, you know what somebody in Germany rights or what somebody in Ireland rights or what somebody in Japan rights and they have their own cultural background that influences how they write music.
And because of that, he is now getting a wider knowledge of music writing from around the world. And I think that's amazing even on the smaller level of if you're in a band and you're all in the same town or the same area, you grew up listening to different music, you're not all carbon copies of each other. Everyone has value. There's probably going to be somebody who is a better songwriter than the rest of the people, but that doesn't mean the input doesn't matter. I think that's an awesome point for you to share that, Making people feel comfortable, makes them do better work, they're going to feel better and then the mood is going to be better and they're less likely to fight with each other.
It's like a chain reaction of like, make people happy, they make other people happy. Those other people make more people happy. Like it just goes down the line. So, man, that's great. And to me, at least I see a nugget in there for self producing artists, which is if you're self producing and you're not a producer to yourself, you're just self producing because you have to, you know, you don't have the budget or the means to go to a studio to hire Todd or to hire anybody learned that lesson that Todd just told you because that is going to make a better final product for you and your band unless you know if you're a solo project I guess it doesn't apply as much, but maybe you need bandmates, maybe that's what it means.
It depends, that's what happened with Theatria. Like i it started as me and an empty apartment and you know I had a conversation with with Brandon who's our bass player while I was making this thing and it became evident to me like this thing I am trying to do is bigger than me not to say like Theatria is the biggest band of all time but like it's just on a creative level, I can't do it alone, I can't and and that was a big awakening for me because I was done with being in bands I thought and then uh Theatria happened, that was 10 years ago, so Yeah, well, Todd, man, thank you so much for joining us and talking about production and theatrical a and all the little rabbit holes.
I decided to take us down like lima beans. Well, thanks a lot for having me. This has been awesome. Yeah, agreed, this is a blast. I'm looking forward to the song dropping and uh for those who haven't heard it yet, it's a really killer song. And I'm also looking forward to the album. So before we wrap this up, do you have any final notes you want to share with the audience? Any final thoughts? Any shout outs and the links, all that kind of stuff. Yeah, I'm just gonna leave one little nugget that's sort of related to one of my earlier little lessons of of being kind be kind to yourself, it's so easy to get caught up in in the marketing semantics and the creative process and managing relationships and all this stuff.
If you need to take a day, take a day. If you need to take to take to the world will move on without you. And that's a good thing, you need to be okay with that impermanence. Um So that's my last little little thing I want to say to the audience as an overarching lesson. Um but if you know you like what you're hearing coming out of my mouth here, feel free to check out my Youtube channel. It's youtube dot com slash Todd Barriage. That's T O D D B A R R I A G E I'm also on instagram, instagram dot com slash Todd Barriage or just username Todd Barriage.
And then my band, Theatria is on instagram at Theatria band. And on facebook simply Theatria, which is th e A T R I A. Like The Atria, but that was already a band. So we made it one word. Oh nice. We were Theatria almost almost a good shark stroke. Yeah, I had to throw that in. I'm not even going to sidetrack. Just look up we were sharks and their story. If you're interested in what we're talking about, all the links Todd just dropped will be in our show notes at band, I've got rocks slash 81.
So if you want to check them all out, just head there and you can click them all rather than typing them all in with if you're like me, fat films on a tiny screen, it's easier to just click stuff on a page. So Bandhive got rocks slash 81. Dude, it's been a blast chatting with you. Thanks again for joining us and I hope you have an awesome rest of your day man. You too. Thanks. Mhm. Mhm. Mhm mm. That does it for this episode of the Bandhive podcast.
Thanks so much for tuning in and listening. And of course, big thanks to Todd, Barriage of Theatria for coming on the show to talk about self producing and marketing and being a producer to make a full time living off of creativity where maybe the band wouldn't support that, but he is able to do what he loves to do. That is amazing and I think it's a really valuable lesson for any artist to learn. So, thank you again, Todd, super awesome for anyone who's really looking to make it in music, even if it's not with your music, there is a path for you that said, remember to check out Todd's new song with Theatria Daddy Issues is out in just a couple of days after this episode releases.
The episodes original air date is june 15th and the song drops on june 18th. So go check that out. Pretty save it on Spotify, do what you gotta do. It's an amazing song, I've heard it already. This is like three weeks before the release and it sounds like some of my favorite bands. So please go check it out and also feel free to join us. If you have questions want to chat about self producing or business in general or any of that stuff, please join the Bandhive facebook group, you can find it by searching for Bandhive on facebook or going to better dot band slash group which will automatically redirect you to our facebook community.
There's lots of great people in that group, including Todd himself and he loves to share knowledge there. So I'm sure if you show up with questions about production or marketing, Todd might be one of the people replying to your question. So please, like I said, feel free to join us. You can find us by going to better dot band slash group or searching for Bandhive on facebook. We'll be back with another new episode next Tuesday at six a.m. Eastern time. Really looking forward because we have another amazing guests lined up for that one and we plan on keeping him coming for as long as we can.
So that will be next Tuesday at six a.m. In your favorite podcasting app. Until then have an awesome week. Stay safe. And of course, as always, keep rockin. Mhm.
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