June, 2020

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“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
― James Baldwin

The above quote is from the powerful James Baldwin movie, “I am Not Your Negro”. It’s on Netflix right now. I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it. Black Lives Matter.

This newsletter may be more personal than you’d expect or want to hear from me….in which case, dear reader, perhaps you may want to stop reading now.

To be honest-life has been hard these last several weeks. It certainly seems to be pervasive through these whole United States-not only here in my little world. Here in Texas the coronavirus has shown no sign at all of slowing down-our numbers are increasing dramatically-meanwhile the Governor has been pushing for the economy to open back up and those sole-proprietors (like me) that are on unemployment are supposed to start looking for work again. I don’t really even know what that means.

When I look around at the music industry, I see a hollowed out and evaporated empty space where there used to be something. It has always been an ephemeral ghost that is kept alive by hopes and dreams of those of us that moved forward despite the odds. But now important local music venues are closing for good, Live-event corporations are trying to shift losses on to artists, and even platinum selling artists are in the same boat as us indies with nowhere to play and nothing to do.

I honestly don’t see any hope for the future of this industry. I tend toward more depressive thoughts anyway, but I don’t think this is depression-I think this is reality. To think otherwise would be the equivalent at staring at the sky and trying to will it to be red instead of blue. It simply is not our reality any more.

So….what to do with all of that?

Well, for me, I can say that the actual act of creating music is decoupled from any sort of calculus that I use in trying to figure out how to get by in life. It’s one of the few acts in my life that gives me genuine peace and comfort. It’s mental-health support, intellectual tickling, and meditation. I’ve been lucky for the last couple of decades to be able to make a living making music. I think that luck has run out.

This last week I had the interesting experience of taking an Algebra test. I’ve decided to go back to school and so I needed to take a math test to show that I’m ready for college. I have gone to university three times over my life-it’s always been to pursue more musical knowledge and was never to get a degree. I was surprised to see that I’ve accumulated 91 credits over the years (I guess you need 120 for a bachelors degree), and so I’m going to spend the next year or so taking core classes so I can get a degree. While my plan is to complete a music composition degree, I have always been really interested in electronics. I’m considering going back for electrical engineering. It would add a couple of years to my degree plans, but it is something I’m considering…still talking to advisors about dual major stuff, etc.

So, I guess this is all to say that life really feels like it’s in flux. I don’t know what the next chapter will look like…for me, and for the rest of the world. We are all going through massive transitions. I wish every one of you the best of luck and grace getting through these next several months!

Ok, so now let’s get on with the newsletter!

Love,
Joel

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New Music:

i love this

I Love This

My latest release is out now on all the major platforms.

How would it sound if angels and robots had a dance party? Maybe a bit like this….

Did you win

Did You Win? (Patreon Exclusive)

This tune is now scheduled for release on Ecstatic Wave Records on July 3rd.

If you are a patron, you can download it now!
(free download on Patreon!)

Starfire

Starfire (Patreon Exclusive)

My latest creation!

Coming out on July 17th.

If you are a patron, you can download it now!
(free download on Patreon!)

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What’s the deal with Patreon Exclusive music?

I want to humbly thank the nine people that have become patrons of my music and art! Thank you so much! If you are inspired to help support me as an artist, the very best way is to become a patron. For as little as $5 a month you can get access to all my music for free before other people can even buy it. You also get access to behind the scenes videos and other perks.

My fantasy is that eventually I’ll have 1,000 true fans!

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A new studio addition:

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I had fun building this little tube amp. It’s based on an old Vox AC-15 amp. Just a simple 18 watt class-A amp. I wanted to have a nice warm sound in my studio, so I decided to whip this up.

On another note-did you know I used to run a company called “Vintage Amplifier Repair”? I built and fixed tube guitar amps. Started in 2001 back in Albuquerque. I fixed hundreds of amps over the years. The first day I moved to Austin in 2006, I walked in to South Austin Music and Bill (the owner) gave me a job fixing all the amps that had been sitting there unfixed for years. I fixed about 150 amps in that first year for him!

Anyway-this is all to say that after building this little amp, I have the bug again. If you are here in Austin, and if you have an old tube amp that needs some love…let me know!

***

Well this was a heavier newsletter. Maybe next month will be easier! Thanks for reading!

With love,
Joel Laviolette

PS: Here are some social media links if you want to connect with me out there-I’d love to see what you are up to!

Facebook Artist page
Instagram
Spotify

May, 2020

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Hi Friends,

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
― Vivian Greene

I feel like that’s an appropriate quote for these days. For so many of the people I know these days, it seems to be about figuring out how to do the best we can with what we have…finding the silver lining!

Are there any silver linings that you have been seeing through this? I’d love to hear them-feel free to email me back and let me know!

Let’s get on with the newsletter!

Love,
Joel

***

New Music:

One of my big silver linings has been getting a lot of music done in the studio….including a track my daughter Siena and I made together!

Mellow Morning

Mellow Morning

Chill-hop by me and my daughter!

Siena loves making Tik Tok videos! Instead of using other people’s music, we decided to make our own! (listen)

i love this

I Love This (Patreon exclusive)

A fun glitchy song that I’ve been working on since Feb 2019.

I really like taking vocal sounds and chopping them all up and turning them in to percussion.
(free download on Patreon!)

Did you win

Did You Win? (Patreon Exclusive)

Fresh out of the studio! I just finished this track this evening. It’s a minimal Techno style tune…agin with those glitched out vocals-I just can’t get enough of that!
(free download on Patreon!)

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What’s the deal with Patreon Exclusive music?


The journey of getting a new song out in to the world can often take a very long time! Two of the above songs took me over a year to complete! When a song has finally been produced, mixed, mastered, artwork made, metadata entered, etc…only then do I start the process of sending the song out to labels (or self releasing), sending promos out to music critics, get the song to the various distributers, etc, etc. That process usually takes around 6 weeks. I wanted a way to be able to instantly share my new music with my true fans. So now the first thing I do when a new song is done is I post it on my new Patreon page. My true fans there get instant access to High-Resolution audio files (no other distributers offer that!).

TLDR: The above two songs that are Patreon Access will be available only to Patrons until their official release in 6 weeks. Join Patreon for as low as $5 per month and get access to ALL of my music the minute it’s finished for free! 🙂

Patreon is a way that I can connect directly with true fans, and it’s a way that fans can help me establish a basic and consistent income. It’s a win-win. You get full access for less money than you would anywhere else, and I get a little closer to a steady income!

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Mbira Mondays! Global Mbira live-stream

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Join us on my personal Facebook page on Monday nights 5:30-6:30PM (CDT) for Mbira Monday!

Every Monday we feature music from musicians from around the world playing this beautiful music. I hope you can join us!

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That’s all for this month!

Please feel free to drop me a line and let me know how you are doing! I’m happy to connect and be here if you want to reach out!

With love,
Joel Laviolette

PS: Here are some social media links if you want to connect with me out there-I’d love to see what you are up to!

Facebook Artist page
Instagram
Spotify

April, 2020

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Hi friends,

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
― Fred Rogers

I love that quote so much. How are you holding up these days? What have you been doing to keep yourself occupied and happy? It’s been really interesting connecting with lots of friends from around the world. As you surely know, those of us in the music industry have taken a huge hit-almost all of our work went away from everything closing down. But on the flip side, I have some friends in other industries that are busier than they have ever been! That’s a good reminder to me that it’s easy to think that our own reality is all there is, but when I look out, we are each experiencing this in our own unique way.

If you want to share with me how you are experiencing things right now-even just to have someone to talk to, I’m here and I’m happy to connect with you!

It’s been a while since I’ve shared what I’m up to, so wanted to send this out. I’m hoping to get better at sending out a monthly newsletter to you all.

Thank you all so much for your love and support~it means everything to me~it’s what keeps me going every day. 🙂

Love,
Joel

***

New Music:

I have several new singles out. You can listen to them below. I’d love to hear what you think! Do you have a favorite?

reflections

Reflections

Calming Ambient Music.

I wanted to write something beautiful and meditative for this difficult time. Based on the overtone series of one of my favorite notes – Bb. (listen)

animal farm3000

Animal Farm

Started on an ipad in Hana, Hawaii. Finished in the middle of Coronavirus isolation in Austin, TX.

A fun exploration of glitched out percussion and distorted guitar and synth interplay. (listen)

entering dande

Entering Dande

A slamming Psytrance song.

Heavy, driving rhythms. Inspired by spirit possession experiences in rural Zimbabwe. (listen)

Tripped Again

Tripped Again

Glitched out Modular Synth IDM/Braindance.

Explore odd time signatures and deep layering. I like this one a lot.
(listen)

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Mbira Mondays! Global Mbira live-stream

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Every Monday night, over on my personal Facebook page, I have been doing a live-stream show where I’m playing mbira and also featuring videos of mbira players from around the world. It’s been a really great feeling to connect with other lovers of this music from around the world during this time. I’d love if you’d join us!

***

New Patreon page launched

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Are you a true fan of my music and art? Do you want access to all my latest music before anyone else hears it? Or maybe you like seeing my behind-the-scenes process? Have you been learning from the tutorials I post and want to give back?

You can join my Patreon page for as little as $5 a month to get access to all of that and more. Patreon is a way that I can connect directly with true fans, and it’s a way that fans can help me establish a basic and consistent income. It’s a win-win. You get full access for less money than you would anywhere else, and I get a little closer to a steady income.

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That’s all for this month. I love you and I so appreciate your support over the years! And, again, I’d love to hear how you are doing through all this! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me….and while you are at it, please reach out to your neighbor and see how they are doing!

With love,
Joel Laviolette

PS: Here are some social media links if you want to connect with me out there-I’d love to see what you are up to!

Facebook Artist page
Instagram
Spotify

September, 2019

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Hello, Friends!

I’ve been back in Austin now for a few weeks, and its been full steam ahead! Lots to share, so let’s just jump right in.

Also, I’d love to hear about what’s going on in your life! Shoot me a reply and fill me in on what’s going on for you!

***

Upcoming shows:

09/30/19 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Me-Mer-Mo Monday – Kupira Marimba (mbira set)
The Volstead Lounge: 1500 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
See more details

10/01/2019 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Ecstatic Soul Sessions – Joel Laviolette solo DJ set
The High Road on Dawson, 700 Dawson Rd, Austin, TX 78704, USA
See more details

10/06/2019 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Ecstatic Dance Houston -Joel DJ set
Houston, TX
See more details

10/13/2019 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm
ACC Campus:Ableton Live performance/Demo: Joel Laviolette
Northridge Lecture Hall 4136, Austin

10/16/2019 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Austin Airport – Joel Laviolette solo

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Seis Manos Premieres this Thursday on Netflix!

seis

I’m thrilled that the time has finally come for the release of Seis Manos. It will be streaming worldwide on Netflix on Oct 3rd. I had the honor of doing the Music Preparation working with the great composer Carl Thiel.

Make some popcorn and put the kids to bed (this show is NOT kid friendly!) and enjoy!

Check it out!

***

Makena Surf single now released

Makena Surf 3000

This is a really fun “Surf Trance” song…yes-I just made that genre up. It’s sort of a progressive trance song, but with guitars, and sound design from right down the street at one of my favorite beaches in Maui. This single has an extended version and a shorter radio edit.

Listen or Buy it here!

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Interview with Dorico

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I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Steinberg’s Dorico team. Dorico is the notation software I use. We spoke about the process of scoring Seis Manos.

Read it here!

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Construction, construction, construction!

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My primary focus since I’ve been back is to get my studio construction finished. Currently, all my studio stuff is in the rehearsal room at Mosaic. I need the studio done so I can move everything out and have a dedicated space to work again! Hopefully the room will be done within the next two months! There is a lot of activity at Mosaic, so I am trying to do this room right: doubled up 5/8″ sheetrock with green glue, whisper clips with hat channel to decouple the walls from the studs, etc. It’s a big job, but it’s coming along!

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Get a free 30 minute Skype lesson if you sign up on patreon!

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One of the most recent Patreon lessons

I’m running a special on the mbira Patreon page that ENDS OCT 1st!

If you sign up at the standard $20 per month rate, I am throwing in a free 30 minute Skype lesson ($45 value)! As a reminder-anyone that is a patron has access to ALL of the mbira lessons-well over 300 lessons!

Sign up now and get your free lesson!

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That’s all for this month. I love you and I so appreciate your support over the years!

With love,
Joel Laviolette

August, 2019

Hello, Friends!

Hi friends near and far! I hope you all had a beautiful summer – or winter for those of you in the southern hemisphere. I’m wrapping up my last week here on Maui and then heading back to Austin. Very excited to be back with Siena and Rakefet…and not excited to be back in the 100+ degree heat! Let’s to share, so let’s dive in!

PS: I’d love to hear what you are up to, so please feel free to message me back and let me know what’s exciting in your life!

***

Upcoming shows:

09/07/2019 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm 
Central Market – Kupira Marimba 
Central Market, 4001 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756, USA 
See more details

09/13/2019 11:30 AM 
Mother Earth Day Festival – Kupira Marimba Trio 
Barton Springs – Austin, TX 
See more details

09/25/2019 Midnight (the night of the 25th) – 1:30 am 
HAAM Benefit – Joel Laviolette solo (lots of other acts as well!) 
The Venue ATX 
See more details

10/01/2019 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm 
Ecstatic Soul Sessions – Joel Laviolette solo DJ set 
The High Road on Dawson, 700 Dawson Rd, Austin, TX 78704, USA 
See more details

10/06/2019 10:30 am – 12:30 pm 
Ecstatic Dance Houston -Joel DJ set 
Houston, TX 
See more details

***

Dudidodo EP now released!

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My latest EP “Dudidodo” is now out in all the digital platforms.

These two tunes were a lot of fun for me – mostly done on the modular synth with vocals contributed by my daughter, Siena.

“With this latest EP, Joel takes us back to his Techno music roots. ‘Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep’ brings us squarely back to the acid-techno days but with a striking modern feel. Interweaving spoken word from the 1932 poem of the same name by Mary Elizabeth Frye, this dark piece takes us deep with its use of syncopated glitch lines and sequenced FM synths.

On the second track, ‘Dudidodo’, Joel sampled his daughter singing and then pitched it and glitched it-interweaving it with the exclusively modular synth creation. This track checks all the boxes and is destined to become a minimal techno classic.”

You can find the EP on any of your favorite stores including iTunes, Bandcamp, Beatport, and all the others.

***

Makena Surf single coming in September

Makena Surf 3000

I have a single coming out in September (early release on Beatport on August 30th) that is a really fun “Surf Trance” song…yes-I just made that genre up. It’s sort of a progressive trance song, but with guitars, and sound design from right down the street at one of my favorite beaches here on Maui. This single has an extended version and a shorter radio edit.

“A fun and playful journey from Trance to Surf music. Surfs up!

This 138 Left-Field trance song takes the listener on a playful journey through the arpeggiated synth waves and joy-filled grooves from a time when life was easy and fun. A chance to be less serious! “

***

Very cool educational language video game project: FabuLingua

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I’m thrilled to have just started working on an exciting project that is close to my heart: FabuLingua. This is an interactive dual language children’s storytelling app that parents use with their kids. I really struggled with learning a second language until I finally really had a reason to learn Shona when I moved to Zimbabwe and my teacher doesn’t speak English. Before then, I was HORRIBLE in grade school when it came to learning languages. I was convinced that it was something I’d just never be able to do. I love this project because it makes it fun for kids at such a young age to engage with these stories.

For my part, I’m excited to be recording and editing dialog with the great team at FabuLingua! They are scheduled to go live in September, so stay tuned!

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Lots more mbira lessons on Patreon!

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One of the most recent Patreon lessons

For those of you that are mbira players-we are cruising along with the lessons over there on Patreon! Eight new lessons have been posted since the last newsletter and we are now well beyond 200 lessons!

Full access to ALL the lessons is only $20 per month (scholarships are available to those in need). So if you are interested in going deeper in to learning this music, come say hello! https://patreon.com/mbira

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Beginner and advanced music production tutorials now on Youtube

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I’ve been having a lot of fun exploring some deeper concepts in my productions. Those of you that are music producers may be interested in some of the tutorial videos I’ve been making. Check them out on the youtube channel-and I’m always open to suggestions about what you are interested in learning more about!

Thats all for this month. I love you and I so appreciate your support over the years!

With love, 
Joel Laviolette

PS: I have a new personal Artist page over on facebook. Please come say hi!

July 2019:

Hello, Friends!

Aloha from Maui! Rakefet and I are visiting my mom and Kevin. Rakefet will be here until the beginning of August when she’ll head back to Austin to start graduate school for mental-health counseling. I will be in Maui through the end of August as I continue to work on music and look at some next steps in my own career.

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My next EP “Dudidodo” coming in August!

Dudidodo cover 3000x3000

My latest EP “Dudidodo” will be released on Ecstatic Wave Records officially on Aug. 23rd in all the stores. Early release on Beatport will be Aug. 9th.

I really enjoyed making these two tunes!

“With this latest EP, Joel takes us back to his Techno music roots. ‘Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep’ brings us squarely back to the acid-techno days but with a striking modern feel. Interweaving spoken word from the 1932 poem of the same name by Mary Elizabeth Frye, this dark piece takes us deep with its use of syncopated glitch lines and sequenced FM synths.

On the second track, ‘Dudidodo’, Joel sampled his daughter singing and then pitched it and glitched it-interweaving it with the exclusively modular synth creation. This track checks all the boxes and is destined to become a minimal techno classic.”

If you follow me on Spotify, you will be notified when the EP is released!

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Seis Manos

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I’m thrilled to be wrapping up this project that I have been working on over the last year with the incredibly talented composer Carl Thiel (From Dusk To Dawn, Spy Kids, and many more). Carl has been so gracious with his time and energy in teaching me the film composition process. It is such a thrill to sit by his side and see a master at work. I have had the honor of doing the Music Preparation for his music. It has been an amazing learning experience.

Seis Manos-created by the same people that brought us Castlevania-will be releasing on Netflix this fall. We are wrapping up the music for the last episode now. I can’t wait for everyone to see this awesome (and gory!) show! It’s a blast!

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Rattletree and Solo shows:

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Audio and video setup for Fall site installation at Luminaria SA

A lot of people have been asking me what is going on with Rattletree and whether the band is still together and playing. The short answer is “Yes, of course!”, but there is a longer answer.

For me personally, I have been really enjoying going deep into a lot of musical elements that the container of Rattletree can’t really hold. The boundary between sound, noise, and music has intrigued me since I was a little kid experimenting with recording loops of feedback from my guitar and playing the loops back at different speeds-finding the music in the chaos…or spending hours with an old TV set that would play white noise but when tweaked…just…so…there would be ghostly voices that would come through. So while Rattletree as a band has a set repertoire of music, (and a beautiful group of fans!) I have been increasingly interested in “coloring outside of the lines”. I’ve been mainly focusing on my live compositions and generative music and video making processes.

My near-term hope is twofold: 
1) to continue to dive deep in to working with Carl as an apprentice film composer – where those worlds of visuals, noise, and music merge. Where we are left with pure feeling and expression. 
2) to continue to refine my connection to the source through my live compositions, Ecstatic Dance DJ sets, and site installation work. I am especially excited about a big project with Luminaria in the fall where I will be incorporating live video projection-mapping onto the surface of a creek and ambient mics will capture the sound of participants. Those inputs will get tweaked in real-time by me and my modular synth and the music/ambience will then affect the video output that is on the water. This “feedback loop” will hopefully create a situation where the audience becomes an integrated part of the art making/experiencing process.

I can’t wait to share more about it as I go forward, AND I’m always interested in connecting with others that are intrigued by this field, so feel free to hit me up! If you or your organization are interested in working with me, don’t forget that I’m on the TCA touring roster. They are often able to help with tour support and their deadline for supporting us through the fall is August 1st, so if you want to work together-get with me soon and let’s make it happen!

I think this newsletter has gone on long enough, but I want to send a warm ALOHA to you all. I love you and I so appreciate your support over the years.

With love, 
Joel Laviolette

PS: I have a new personal Artist page over on facebook. Please come say hi!

Recent Articles and Press:
Austin American-Statesman
Austin Chronicle
Culturemap Austin
Austinot

Credits:
Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy (2019) (Music Preparation) 
Seis Manos (mid-2019 release) (Music Preparation)

Awards:
Austin Music Awards “Best World Music” band (Rattletree, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017)
Esme Barrera Award for Activism and Music
Four-time recipient of the Enjoy Texas Music Grant
Grant recipient from the State of Texas to build marimbas for the Texas School for the Blind

Memberships:
ASCAP Composer and Publisher
Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) Touring Roster Artist
Percussive Arts Society (PAS) World Music committee member
The Recording Academy (Grammy) member

Partial Client List:
The Long Center
NPR
SxSW
ACL Festival
Mr. Greenhearts Treehouse
Percussive Notes
Sound On Sound Magazine
Save Our Springs Alliance
The City of Austin
The Herb Bar
Fox 7 News
KUTX Radio
KOOP Radio
WWOZ New Orleans
Art Outside
Luminaria Festival
Waco Tribune Herald
KERA Dallas