Oren Barak - Finespun
25th August '05
Finespun have been with SkidMark since the early days and are one of those bands who make visitors want to come back to find out more - with two highly regarded independent releases under their belts, these guys aren't the sort to sit back on their laurels. Whilst continuously developing their EXTREMELY cool web site & working on the mix of a new CD, Front man Oren Barak multi-tasks and talks to SkidMark about what they've been up to in the last three years....

SkidMcSkidder: Hey Oren! It's great to talk to you again - I can't believe it's like three years since our last "Virtual Interview"!

Finespunmusic: I know man, time flies when your building sites and making music!

I know you and the guys have been up to loads of cool things in that 36 month period, but let's first talk about the new album "digging yourself deeper" - what's the feedback been like since it's release?

Finespunmusic: The feedback has been great, we get a lot of complements on the recording and the fact that the song writing has come a long way since the first CD. We're actually in the studio now recording 4 new songs for an upcoming EP. "Staring Down A Gun" from "Digging" is actually going to be a featured song in a new indie movie coming out shortly in the US called "Showcase" as well

SkidMcSkidder: Excellent! It's a great track too - visitors can hear it on your promo page or the FAOTM page - is the new E.P. in the same vein.. I.e. VERY cool, & VERY rockin'?

Finespunmusic: Its actually probably a little heavier Finespun than your used to.... not to say we've gone the way of a thrash or hardcore act by any means, but these tunes definitely have a bit more bite to em

SkidMcSkidder: Nice... I've always leaned to the heavier side (what I grew up listening to) - looking forward to hearing the tracks - any projected release dates yet?

Finespunmusic: We were hoping to have it done during the summer, but that hasn't been possible. We have all had some family issues that needed to be taken care of, our guitar player lost his best friend to a motorcycle accident as well, so things have been on and off hold for a while. We're actually up to recording vocals right now

SkidMcSkidder: Bummer. I feel for him - I've lost a few myself on bikes over the years (though it still hasn't stopped me riding!) well I can't wait to hear the disc when it hits the streets.

Finespunmusic: Yeah, we don't know what we're doing with it yet, we may remix and re-release some of the other tracks along with the 4 new ones

SkidMcSkidder: What's the live scene like in NYC nowadays? I remember talking to Lyn Ann of Gate 18 back in March and her saying it was in a dire state in as much that the clubs paid virtually nothing unless you could guarantee at least 100 bodies turning up to the gig! Is it still like that??

Finespunmusic: That's exactly what's its like, I couldn't have said it better myself, except for that unless you can drag at least 50 people down to see you on a Tuesday night, NYC clubs don't wanna deal with u

SkidMcSkidder: Wow! That's bad news man! I mean, if you're starting out how the hell can you arrange that many people??

Finespunmusic: A question we've been trying to answer for a long time

SkidMcSkidder: I'm almost glad I've only the nerve to do webcast "live" shows via sites such as Bumpskey.com!! Talking of which - have you played on Jerry's show recently??

Finespunmusic: Not recently no, but Jerry has been a long time friend of the band. We don't talk as much as either of us would like, I'm sure, but he's always in our hearts and minds

Finespunmusic: I always hope to give Jerry the fist crack at our new releases

Finespunmusic: First crack

SkidMcSkidder: (Laughs Out Loud) I was going to say!! is that some sort of deviant behaviour??? (Fist crack!!) (Laughs Out Loud)

Finespunmusic: hahaha

SkidMcSkidder: Seriously though - I owe what SkidMark has become to the big man and I too have been lacking in talking to him in recent months. My problem is he's live at ~7pm EST onwards which is the early hours of the morning here in the UK & having the little one now I NEED to sleep!

Finespunmusic: Yeah I know, scheduling is hard when its USA to USA, you've got a bigger problem being across the pond!

SkidMcSkidder: Speaking of the pond - when're you guys going to paddle over and treat the UK to some full on Finespun?

Finespunmusic: I'd love to do that man, we have some kids over in London that really dig us, I'd love to get over there to play for em, but the $$$$$ are always the #1 thing to hold us back

SkidMcSkidder: Don't I know it!! I was supposed to come over to your side last year for my 5th wedding anniversary (married in Vegas) but the lack of greenbacks meant a 100 mile trip to the Welsh coast instead!!

Finespunmusic: Well, I have to imagine the Welsh coast is much prettier than Vegas anyhow!

SkidMcSkidder: Oh yes.... But HELL I love the bright lights, "ching ching" of the slot machines and the "in your face" every thing over the top under belly of the American way of life!! (Laughs Out Loud)

Finespunmusic: haha, well, let me know if you go, I have friends over at the MGM!

SkidMcSkidder: Better start saving now!! So, any plans for any kind of touring in the near future?

Finespunmusic: Money is really holding us down, but as we always say, if there's something fruitful offered to us, we'll be on it like white on rice

Finespunmusic: We blew lots of money this year on a commercial radio promotion that got us a few spins and some good contacts and interest, but that's where most of our money went this year

SkidMcSkidder: Industry contacts I take it? Any whiff of a deal or label interest?

Finespunmusic: There's always one thing or another going on with label interest for this band. We have interest from a major label producer, but again $$$...who knows what the future will bring, we just try not to get too high or too low about it

SkidMcSkidder: Funnily enough I'm currently reading a book called "How NOT to make it in the pop world" by John Barrow who is a member of a recently listed SkidMark band, The Swinging Laurels...

Finespunmusic: Haha, I'm going to have to look into that one! Sounds like a fun read

SkidMcSkidder: And it's amazing how much time and graft he and the boys put into gigging, they were signed to Warner Bros briefly, appeared on top of the pops twice, toured with Culture Club, Beautiful South & worked with many artists including the clash as session brass, yet never quite made it on their own!!

Finespunmusic: That's just a shame, congratulate them on their success, its just a shame to not be able to get it out there as much as you would like ti to be and come so close

SkidMcSkidder: Another project you've personally been involved in is www.StretchTheSkies.com tell us a little bit more about what that involves..

Finespunmusic: Well, STS is an artist empowerment company as well as independent record label. About a year ago, I met some of the guys from the company down at SXSW in Texas and they silently followed my band for about a year before they liked what they saw and started working with us

Finespunmusic: In the time we spent working on the band, they got us on Itunes and worked all kinds of other deals for us and basically just helped us move forward in any way they possibly could. I've never met a nicer bunch of people who seemed to genuinely care about how my band was doing or about getting us ready to move to the next level of our career we ended up getting a music button from them which enabled us to sell our CDs online from tons of sites, which REALLY helped our sales since we weren't selling much online, most likely due to the use of paypal as our only way to sell

Finespunmusic: In any case, to this day, they continue to help the band by any means possible, they helped negotiate our commercial radio promo, distributed our press releases, hooked us up with a major label producer in a class A studio*which we cant afford!(Laughs Out Loud)) and continue to do so. When I got laid off from my day job, they were kind enough to hire me into slavery and the rest is history!

SkidMcSkidder: Ah right - so you're actually a full time STS employee now huh?? Cool!

Finespunmusic: Yes that I am, and I'm proud to say that we have some big things happening in the near future with this company that I cant talk about yet muhuhhahahahaaaa

SkidMcSkidder: World domination and that kinda thing eh? (Laughs Out Loud)

Finespunmusic: World domination is key, the rest will follow!

SkidMcSkidder: So fill me in on a couple of points:

Finespunmusic: What would u like to know my friend

SkidMcSkidder: I've been working on and off on a brand new web site for my own stuff aka incubuslovechild at www.incubuslovechild.com and obviously I want to sell my own CD's and merchandise directly from the site. I was going to use my Ebay account to generate carts for the various items but if my memory serves me right, Ebay take about ~3.5% of every sale as their fee - how does a STS button differ from that??

Finespunmusic: Well, its like this

Finespunmusic: As an artist, you can set your own price for the CD, sell it for $2 or $50, we recommend $10. We take $4.00 from each sale to cover our processing fees. When you sign up, you ship 5 copies to our warehouse and every time someone orders your CD, you get an email invoice. At the time of purchase, we do all the work for you, pull a CD from the shelf and ship it where its supposed to go. As an affiliate, which you would be for Skidmark, every time an Artist buys a Music Button, you receive 25% of the price of the button(its sells for $39.95 so you get roughly $10) and every time one of your artists sells a CD, you get $1.00 commission out of OUR pocket, not the artists

SkidMcSkidder: This starting to sound interesting! (Laughs Out Loud)

Finespunmusic: Hehe it is very interesting

Finespunmusic: The idea is this:

Finespunmusic: You can post your music button ANYWHERE that accepts HTML code, your site, other sites, you can even send it in an email! This means that you can create a virtual storefront anyplace to sell your CD from

SkidMcSkidder: Very versatile. Finespun not only has its button on our own site, but also on myspace, pure volume, Skidmark, and a host of others. The button is also customized per product, what I mean is the same technology can be used to sell a DVD, Shirt, Book, whatever you've got, the only thing that changes is the graphics of the button.

SkidMcSkidder: Nice! And how does an artist get involved ? Who should they contact?

Finespunmusic: Well, they can contact me at [email protected] anytime, they can go to www.themusicbutton.com or www.stretchtheskies.com but in fact, if you become an affiliate, you would post a link on your site and they could sign up directly through Skidmark

SkidMcSkidder: Okay let's do it! (Not right now during the interview though hey??!) (Laughs Out Loud)

SkidMcSkidder: Hahahaha

SkidMcSkidder: So what other subjects of independent music mayhem do you want to talk about bruv?

Finespunmusic: I don't know man, there's just so much out there for a musician to work with its hard to know where to start end or be in the middle

Finespunmusic: Its hard to avoid the scams and do what's right, but we all keep plugging on and hopefully, success will follow indie music is just that, artists working for themselves, I think id like to see us come to gether as an even bigger community and stop trying to compete so much, we can all help each other if we put egos aside

SkidMcSkidder: For sure! I get the vibe that myspace.com is doing a pretty good job of connecting bands with fans and vice versa what do you think?

Finespunmusic: Myspace is great for that indeed. We;ve gotten nothing but love on there as a band. I hope that it continues to grow and flourish because its truly a place where independent bands can gain new friends and fans (and sell their CDs!)

It's a fantastic marketing tool

SkidMcSkidder: I only discovered it through being invited to join by an ex-SkidMark listed artist and when I got there I saw it has got loads of potential - within a couple of days of being listed I'd got 20 "friends"!! Very nice! I also like www.purevolume.com (but that's only because I feature quite regularly in the psychedelic genre top 10 (managed No.2 last month wahoo! ) (Laughs Out Loud)

Finespunmusic: Hey! Congrats on that! We're on Pure Volume as well, but I don't pay much attention to that page for some reason. I find I can do much more damage on myspace (Laughs Out Loud)

SkidMcSkidder: Definitely - I seem drawn to checking out the myspace page more often than any of the various other sites I'm listed on and also the fact you get emails from myspace from fans / people wanting to become your "friend" - it's all good!

Finespunmusic: That's right, its not a site, its an addiction! any of my friends on there will tell u that. Its actually helped us in the real world alot, it lets you connect with local people and lots of them actually show up at our local shows believe it or not

SkidMcSkidder: Fantastic! Well if I was a stronger swimmer I'd come to a gig or two! I'll just have to wait until the buttons have generated enough $$$ for you to tour the UK

SkidMcSkidder: So matey, anything else you want to talk about before I completely dry? Anything you want to ask me about SkidMark??

Finespunmusic: Yeah man, when are you going to get a team of people to help you out so you don't work so hard!

SkidMcSkidder: heh heh Yeah I feel pretty bad being behind and late uploading stuff every month & taking so long to process new band pages - the bane of the site being a "part time" project still after all these years! Although I've actually got "staff" started this month!! I introduced a new section called "Indie Editorials" to the site (reached through the type writer button on the home page nav bars), containing a new monthly piece by ex-Blue Remedy front woman Danielle Sottosanti under her pen name of Dani Veracity - the first piece is great!

Finespunmusic: Nice

Finespunmusic: If you need another rock writer, I've got just the guy for ya

SkidMcSkidder: Yeah?

Finespunmusic: Yeah, we have a street teamer who's just a wealth of rock knowledge, so much so that its scary

Finespunmusic: Always on top of new indie bands and nationals and things like that

SkidMcSkidder: Very cool

Finespunmusic: We played a game with him at dinner about a month ago, we named a band, he would tell us what dates they were playing across the country

SkidMcSkidder: That IS scary!! (Laughs Out Loud)

Finespunmusic: It really is, ill have him contact you if you wish

SkidMcSkidder: Yeah - fill your boots bro

Finespunmusic: I know he writes for 1 local site at the moment

Finespunmusic: Cool

SkidMcSkidder: Well bruv that's me spent anything else you want to chew the fat over?

Finespunmusic: Yeah, what's the cure for carpal tunnel syndrome dude! my hands are killin me

SkidMcSkidder: Stop masterbating...(Laughs Out Loud)

Finespunmusic: HAHHA

SkidMcSkidder: Or change hands (works for me heh heh)

Finespunmusic: (Laughs Out Loud)

SkidMcSkidder: Well it's been a pleasure as always Oren

Finespunmusic: As always with you too man, always a good chat! Keep riding that Finespun Colored bike

SkidMcSkidder: Thanks for taking time out to talk to SkidMark - I'm proud to have a class act like Finespun listed on the site - bands like you make SkidMark a cool place to hang. 8-) And yes the GPz is still terrorizing the locality!!

Finespunmusic: Keep making a cool place for bands and we'll keep being cool!

SkidMcSkidder: DEAL! Later bro....

Finespunmusic: Later!

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Virtual Interview conducted using Yahoo instant messenger 25-08-2005
SkidMark Multimedia Productions MMV