Hanging On Sunset, Season 3! What to expect?
Now that September has arrived, we can get started on Season 3 of Hanging On Sunset.
While I am basically operating alone now, the adventure keeps getting more exciting around here. Fernanda has stepped away during the last season, she has found love (congratulations!) and we wish her all the best for her future adventures.
I started this thing with her about two years ago during lockdown, and we didn't really know what we were doing at first. It was initially intended to connect with local bands and create a new rock community in Los Angeles during the pandemic. Having heard "rock is dead" too many times, we got tired of it. Additionally, I had enough of the feeling of competition in the city, the "pay to play" gigs and bills that didn't make sense. My goal was to reconnect with the LA spirit of the 60's and 70's, when Sunset Boulevard and Laurel Canyon were the epicentres of a vibrant community that resonated around the globe.
Hanging on the Sunset Strip is basically a walk of shame nowadays, unless you're nostalgic of the gross and grotesque hair metal days. The real days of glory on Sunset Boulevard are in the past, and we thought they could return only if we united. Trying to build something new as a collective seemed to be the only way to move forward.
My friend David Gitlis, a French music video and film producer, was also thinking about that idea at the time. He dreamed of creating a label dedicated solely to rock and alternative music. The task was not going to be easy... Why?
We realized rock suffered because of how the industry evolved in the past decade. Because of the new streaming model, labels stopped investing in new artists and developing them. As a result, they became completely data-driven and started offering licensing deals to performers. They completely abandoned the previous Artist Contract model that allowed bands to develop. To those who are unfamiliar with the music industry, it means labels are no longer scouting musicians based on their artistic merits. A&Rs (people who used to handle that part) are disappearing from labels, and algorithm engines are replacing them. When an artist blows up on TikTok, labels will offer to distribute them and hope to cash in on their existing following. I know it's sad...
In this model, it's harder for a band to achieve such success on their own than a solo artist. It costs more money to develop a band, which means someone needs to invest in it. The same goes for social platforms that emphasize individual efforts over collective ones. The whole social media circus also killed the mystique of rock n' roll. Due to all this, rock n' roll artists received less attention because they were less profitable.
Thus, David came up with this bold idea of scouting rock artists again, investing in their development, but also, finding new strategies to make rock attractive again. The idea was shopped around to a variety of labels, and I am happy to report that after long efforts, it worked. The largest French independent label, Wagram Music, loved the idea of creating a rock sub label and after nearly a year and a half of negotiations, it's finally happening. Team Nowhere records is coming to light and in 2023, there will be an artist-focused label dedicated to rock artists.
Building a local rock hub and pushing the scene forward will remain Hanging On Sunset's primary goal. We will also act as an intermediary between our scene and the label. Quite an accomplishment, eh?
Another accomplishment for us is that we gradually grew into a broader media outlet over the past year. The interview with the Dandy Warhols was definitely a highlight that helped me realize we could become more than a local rock hub. Besides serving local artists, we can also provide a unique and different tone for rock aficionados in general. That thinking has resulted in some changes around here. As part of our effort to create a tone that is authentic and speaks to anyone with a desire for rock, we are working on developing more written formats such as portraits and music reviews. It is a work in progress.
A relaunch of the legendary Creem magazine proves rock music is growing again, and we need voices inside the genre to cover it; voices who don’t fear renewing with the tone of Lester Bangs, Cameron Crowe, Ben Fong-Torres and all the legendary critics who turned rock n’ roll journalism into something more. It's important to talk about rock music in a rock n' roll way and to not be afraid to express our opinions. The late Hunter S. Thompson showed us that we could make things differently, and we aim to do the same since we need to be the ones shaping our movement's narrative. It's time to move beyond clichés and click bait from unimaginative big corporations and conditionned journalists. Rock music should be treated differently than it is in endless list articles and tabloids.
Hanging On Sunset is probably starting a fight it can't win, but we're ready to throw a few punches before going down.
Here's what to expect this season:
There should be more podcast interviews with local and national artists.
There will be more articles and written formats, including Ziggy's Corner (my cat's monthly music review column).
With our partnership with the label, events, and partnerships with local brands supporting our cause, we aim to help local artists emerge on the national scene.
It's just the beginning, folks! Moreover, you can contribute as well. It is a tool that should serve our community. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any suggestions or if you want to be involved in any way.
As a final note, I wish to thank all those who have shown us friendship in those first two years, all those I met through the podcast, musicians and fans who have inspired me to believe in Hanging On Sunset and made me realize it is, above all, a human experience.
Rock is dead, long live rock!
- Vincent Walter Jacob