About a year ago, a fledgling local label, London Tone Music Group launched their brand by doing something that arguably no other label has done. They released 52 new songs by 52 new and emerging artists, once a week for 52 weeks, culminating with a celebratory show at Seattle’s elegant Triple Door. The historic show featured no less than 4o of the most talented artists in around the Northwest.
The lineup consisted of: Kim Virant, Andrew Joslyn, Susy Sun, Jessica Lynn, Kitt Bender, Eric Lilavois, Geoffrey Castle, Nolan Garrett, Rikk Beatty, Tobias The Owl, Smokey Brights, Will Jordan, Strong Suit, Before Cars,Vanowen, Whitney Lyman, Lions Ambition, Jovino Santos Neto, Spyn Reset, Philana Goodrich, Jeremy Serwer, Danny Pentin and Antoine Martell.
SMI contributor, Bill Bungard was there to capture some of the wonderful moments in photos (See Slideshow Below)
After a few weeks had passed, we thought we would give London Tone’s Jeff Heiman some time to take a breather and process the last year and the historic performance from his labels artists at The Triple Door.
SMI: First of all, how did this whole thing come together?
Jeff: In a sense, it was over a year in the making. We officially launched London Tone Music in 2014. The company is a business partnership between the three owners of the iconic London Bridge Studio, Jonathan Plum, Geoff Ott and Eric Lilavois and 2 Jeffs on Music, a music business and artist management company founded by myself and Jeff Ross. The launch campaign called 52×52- A Year in Your Ear, was an ambitious effort to release a new song by a new and emerging artist, one a week for 52 weeks. The first single dropped on Jan 20, 2014 and the last single was released on Jan 14, 2015. All were recorded at London Bridge by either Geoff, Jonathan or Eric. The event at the Triple Door was a public celebration of the culmination of this monumental achievement and all the great talent, most of it from the Northwest. We were very fortunate to get everyone to participate in this crazy, extremely fulfilling musical adventure.
SMI: With so many artists involved in this, it must have been challenging getting everyone’s schedules to mesh along with lining up the date, yes?
Jeff: Yes. It definitely was. However, I think that it helped that we planned it for a Thursday night, rather than a weekend night, as the weekends are prime performing times for artists. It was definitely a smart move to pick a weeknight, as more artists were available to perform. On the other hand, It is more risky to plan an event like this on a Thursday, but with the caliber of artists involved, we felt that our risks were minimized.
SMI: What is it about this event that was so special that you were able to get the level of participation and quality of artists together?
Jeff: First and foremost, we’ve built a very special community of artists under our label’s umbrella and we all want to support each other’s efforts. We appreciate how lucky we are to be working with these enormously talented and very diverse group of artists as much as they appreciate what we are trying to do to help boost their careers and give them opportunities in a world-class studio and in the marketplace that they might not have had otherwise. Second, it was an opportunity to participate in something bigger than oneself, a very different musical event, with unique collaborations and challenges. True artists love to be challenged and tested and London Tone Music is full of that level of musicianship. Third, certainly the opportunity to play The Triple Door, a beautiful venue with a great stage, excellent sound and a big audience of music lovers, is hard to pass up for any performer.
SMI: What was the selection process in terms of choosing who would be on the bill?
Jeff: A few months before the event we sent out an email to all of the artists giving them all the opportunity to participate. We decided to accommodate everyone who expressed interest in being a part of the celebration. Of course, we knew that it was going to be a major challenge to fit everyone in within a 2 ½ hour time frame, but we figured if we could put out 52 new singles by 52 new artists in a year, that we could somehow figure out a way to bring together almost 50 performers in one night. Kudos to Geoff Ott, Jeff Ross, Jonathan Plum and Carson Lehman and the staff of the Triple Door for making it all work pretty seamlessly.
SMI: What were some of the highlights for you?
Jeff: Watching some of the first time collaborations go over so well was enormously gratifying, the diversity of the music throughout the evening was amazing to watch from one song to the next, the passion of the performances and the comradery and support that the artists gave each other throughout the night. I will also tell you unequivocally that a great joy for all of us involved with the label was being backstage and watching the artists talk, laugh and cheer each other on, knowing that many of these artists may never have met had it not been for London Tone Music bringing this community of great talent together under the auspices of this very special project. That was such a big thrill.
SMI: Are you planning to do something like this again in the near future?
Jeff: You never know. It takes a tremendous amount of work to pull off something on this large of a scale. We are thrilled that we did it and that we sold the show out. It was a win/win/win/win for the label, artists, venue and the audience. We do plan to continue to promote live music events with our artists at smaller venues around the city. We already have an ongoing series at Louisa’s Cafe & Bar, we just did a CD Release party for Tobias The Owl at The Sunset and plans are underway for more shows at various venues around the Northwest and to support our artists wherever they are playing. As far as the label is concerned, we plan to continue to record new singles by many of the artists who were part of the 52×52 project as well as sign new artists and bands. As a label, London Tone Music is starting to distribute both EPs and full CD projects from artists we believe in through our network of digital and physical distributors, but we are being very selective. We also plan to tell the 52×52 story to as broad a media audience as possible here and around the world and continue to find as many opportunities to monetize what we are doing on behalf of the artists. As a matter of fact, we just released our first Compilation CD, London Tone Volume 1, a 20-song collection from our first 52 singles. More volumes will follow soon.
So what is next for you specifically Jeff, any particular projects or shows coming up for you?
With over 52 artists and songs signed to London Tone Music, there probably isn’t a night where one of them isn’t playing somewhere live. As a lover of live music and great songs, I will never be lacking for music to hear whenever there is an opportunity. Of course, Seattle’s busy spring and summer music festival circuit is gearing up and I’m thrilled about that. Finally, I am looking forward to helping the label grow and continue my work with Jeff Ross, mentoring, coaching and helping artists achieve their goals, make good business decisions and help grow their careers.
To find out more about London Tone, please click the links below.
London Tone Music Group http://www.londontonemusic.com
London Tone Music Group is a new music company combining the forces of Seattle’s iconic London Bridge Studio, Pasadena’s Crown City Studios and 2 Jeffs on Music, a Seattle-based music business consulting company and includes studio owners Jonathan Plum, Geoff Ott and Eric Lilavois and the Jeffs, Jeff Heiman and Jeff Ross. These five passionate music industry professionals combine their experience as award-winning producers and engineers, record label executives, artist managers, music marketing, promotion and PR experts, event producers and music and video licensing specialists.
London Bridge Studio http://www.londonbridgestudio.com
Seattle’s surge to musical prominence in the late 80s and 90s stemmed, in large part, from albums recorded at London Bridge Studio. Influential bands such as Mother Love Bone, Temple of the Dog and Alice in Chains all recorded classic Seattle music at London Bridge. Soundgarden’s Grammy-winning “Louder than Love” and Pearl Jam’s multi-platinum debut “Ten”, cemented the studio’s International reputation for musical success. Bands and musical artists such as Blind Melon, Candlebox, Unwritten Law, Default, 3 Doors Down, Brandi Carlile, LeRoy Bell, Mary Lambert, Cat Power, Owuor Arunga, Glitterbang, Ra Scion have all recorded at London Bridge Studio.
2 Jeffs on Music http://www.2jeffsonmusic.com
Industry veterans Jeff Heiman and Jeffrey Ross work with musicians and businesses, helping brand, market, promote, license, and increase visibility and market reach. They assess the needs of an artist or business and determine where their expertise can help, set reasonable and transparent goals, work really hard and have a lot of fun in the process.