In Tune

By Tim Pyles and David Perloff / Photos by Jeff "Turbo" Corrigan

Rosemary Bystrak founded a popular blog called San Diego: Dialed In. Freddie Harb is president of Sleeping Giant Music and moonlights as a DJ. Candace Mandracia buys talent and books shows for Live Nation and House of Blues. Tim Mays opened, still runs and books shows at the Casbah. Tim Pyles has a local music program on FM 94/9, blogs for NBC SoundDiego and has his own night at the Casbah. Johnny Shockey owns Voyeur, cofounded LED Presents and brings some of the biggest EDM shows to San Diego.

Six people with different backgrounds and different musical tastes, each making sound decisions that impact what San Diegans are listening to on the radio, at concert venues and at the clubs.

What do you get when you ask half-a-dozen outspoken music experts their opinions on the local music scene? An earful, that's for sure.

Johnny Shockey

Before moving to California to skate for the San Diego Gulls, Johnny Shockey played professional hockey in Canada. These days, his events draw larger crowds than the Gulls ever did. Shockey cofounded LED Presents, an electronic dance music-driven marketing and production company that puts on big-time concerts (with mega-acts like Deadmau5) that sellout Petco Park, Valley View Casino Center (formerly the Sports Arena) and Wave House - not to mention Voyeur, the popular Gaslamp club he opened in 2009. mylifeeveryday.com

What good and bad things happened to the music industry in 2012?
The good: dance music blew up bigger than anyone imagined. The bad: DJ fees went through the roof, and the cost of doing shows was directly affected.

What do you foresee happening in 2013?
The good: dance music will continue to grow, especially in smaller markets. The bad: too many artists are playing the same music. Need more diversity.

What trends will emerge in the New Year?
I think fans will look for more underground music - Tech, Minimal, Deep House, et cetera.

Which acts should people look out for?
Dog Blood will be very interesting - Skrillex and Boys Noize together. I think Galantis could be dope; Swedish House Mafia is giving them support - Linus from Style of Eye, Christian from Miike Snow and Carli from Savage Skulls, all playing together. My personal favorite: Bromance, which is Brodinski and Gesaffelstein.

Whose career will come to an end?
I don't think anyone's career ever comes to an end in this scene. Some people are more relevant than others depending on what they are releasing. My career might come to an end if I spend any more late nights away from my family.

Which 2013 music events excite you most?
I always really enjoy Coachella. I would love to check out Bonnaroo.

What concerts or live performances will you definitely attend?
I'm still waiting for Daft Punk.

Rosemary Bystrak

Rosemary Bystrak created and is the chief blogger for San Diego: Dialed In, an online resource of local music, showcasing live performances and other music-and-art-related happenings. What began as her personal blog has blossomed into one of the city's go-to sites for daily concert and event listings, band reviews, photos and more. Bystrak is also a regular contributor to NBC's SoundDiego (sounddiego.com) and the publicist for the Casbah (in case her sweatshirt didn't give it away). sddialedin.com

What good and bad things happened to the music industry in 2012?
As a blogger - the expansion of the mobile and tablet markets helped drive new traffic and interest in the local music scene, as well as driving traffic to live shows at the Casbah, where I'm the publicist, and other venues. As a fan of live music - the growth of EDM, and specifically dub step, bums me out. It was big before, but in 2012 seemed to go mainstream. Think of every car commercial or movie trailer. I'm just not a fan and wish the trend would die like disco.

What do you foresee happening in 2013?
Music will always thrive in one way or another. People might convert in greater numbers to streaming services or using The Cloud, but I don't predict any colossal changes. Unfortunately, I think we'll see fewer live music festivals, because a new crop of promoters are too egomaniacal to work together. New festivals that popped up probably won't return after low attendance numbers in 2012.

What trends will emerge in the New Year?
Not necessarily a new trend, but I think remote concerts and performances via Ustream or Livestream or StageIt will pick up as the expense of touring continues to increase. For smaller artists, this can also mean finding new fans all over the world. Of course, a live show experience can't be replaced, but think of places like Alaska that are harder to get to.

Which acts should people look out for?
Locally, I think everyone needs to keep an eye on Family Wagon and Barbarian in 2013. I'm also excited about The Heavy Guilt's third record, due out this spring. Full disclosure: I help manage the band.

Whose career will come to an end?
Now that's just mean, isn't it? I suppose there are a slew of Right-Wingers nationally and locally that I'd like to see shipped off. Maybe they can go live with their money in the Cayman Islands.

Which 2013 music events excite you most?
I get excited about a lot of things throughout the year. January kicks of with NAMM [National Association of Music Merchants], then there's South by Southwest, Coachella, summer festivals, San Diego Music Thing, then the SDMAs [San Diego Music Awards]. Music is the gift that keeps on giving year-round.

What concerts or live performances will you definitely attend?
I'm hoping I can find another band to tag along with back to South by Southwest. I've been pretty lucky the last two years and would like to make it three.

Freddie Harb

As founder and president of Sleeping Giant Music, a San Diego-based talent agency specializing in managing artists and booking DJs across the county and country, Freddie Harb has his finger on the pulse of electronic music. Actually, make that 10 fingers - he also spins under the moniker DJ Fresh One, making regular appearances at Bar West, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego's 207 and Float, Ivy Nightclub, Sidebar, Stingaree and many other popular venues.
sleepinggiantmusic.com, djfreshone.com

What good and bad things happened to the music industry in 2012?
The good news, speaking on behalf of DJs, which is mostly who we represent: DJs are becoming more widespread in the mainstream, being involved in major events across the country - awards, festivals, movies, TV shows and many other media outlets. DJs are being looked at as the new rock stars.

For the bad, the digital DJ era has allowed many young kids to get involved in the business without a sense of understanding the art. Techniques like scratching are a dying art form, and Technics turntables are on the verge of not being manufactured anymore, leaving the very core essence of DJ-ing behind. This is paving the way for new technology, which is not a bad thing, but changes the dynamic of the business as a whole. Back in the day, DJs would scour on their hands and knees for vinyl records, and now they only have to download MP3s. Instead of buying 10 records at a time, playing them out and understanding how the crowd reacts, DJs are downloading thousands of songs, showing up at the club with their laptops and not knowing where to begin, what to play or when to play it - or what the record is going to do to the crowd.

What do you foresee happening in 2013?
I foresee live music coming back a bit in 2013, in a different way than it was done in the past. I also foresee that Electronic Dance Music (EDM) will start to become a bit more niche again, and most clubs will go back to being full open format instead of an all-EDM club by the beginning of 2014. The DJ game is definitely changing, some for the better, a lot for the worse, and I hope that this younger generation of DJs will look back towards DJ-ing as an art form.

What trends will emerge in the New Year?
I think certain venues are going to start booking live acts once again, and hopefully there will be more cross-pollination between the DJs and live musicians.

Which acts should people look out for?
For DJs, stay on the lookout for Four Color Zack, who just won the Red Bull Thr3estyle competition in 2012. For DJ/producers, there are just way too many to mention, and things progress at such a rapid pace. One day, one act could be hot; and the next, they can be done. That is the nature of the music industry.

Which 2013 music events excite you most?
I'm looking forward to seeing some of our DJs compete in the Red Bull Thre3style competition in January at Voyeur. DJ-ing has elevated beyond just the bedroom and nightclub. It's completely mainstream, and I am excited to watch things progress at such a rapid rate.

What concerts or live performances will you definitely attend?
I will find myself at numerous clubs across the nation; a couple key festivals, including Winter Music Conference and possibly South by Southwest; maybe a rock show or two in the mix; and a few jazz nights.

Tim Mays

Tim Mays owns and operates the Casbah, a San Diego live music tradition since he opened the joint on the edge of Little Italy in 1989. He also owns Starlite restaurant in Middletown and the popular Krakatoa coffee house in Golden Hill. Mays books the bands that perform at Casbah and puts on shows at House of Blues, SOMA, Soda Bar, Brick by Brick, The Irenic and more. casbahmusic.com

What good and bad things happened to the music industry in 2012?
Good thing is that there are more bands than ever that tour through San Diego, and there are a lot of places for them to play in town. There seems to be more willingness on the part of bands and agents to have lower ticket prices, which is a good thing, especially when there are so many shows to choose from.

On the bad side, I see so many great bands that come through that don't get any support from fans - bands with great records, great press, great live shows, and there are still only a handful of people at their shows. This correlates directly to what I mentioned as the good aspect of the industry: on any given night, there are so many options for the music lover that it gets overwhelming, physically and financially. First World problems, no?

What do you foresee happening in 2013?
I can't pretend to predict the future, but I anticipate that some great new bands will rise up in town and make themselves heard and seen - and that some great bands will probably break up.

Which acts should people look out for?
Barbarian, The New Kinetics, Boy King, Big Freedia, Iceage, Veronica Falls, Teenage Burritos, Oberhofer, Sir Sly, Fol Chen, He's My Brother She's My Sister.

Which 2013 music events excite you most?
Rocket from the Crypt performing again, hopefully somewhere small and sweaty.

What concerts or live performances will you definitely attend?
Maybe Coachella, depending on lineup; OFF!; Chelsea Light Moving - Thurston Moore's new project; Graveyard.

Candace Mandracia

As San Diego's senior talent buyer for Live Nation and House of Blues, the world's largest concert promoter, Candace Mandracia is responsible for booking concerts at House of Blues and SDSU's Open Air Theatre and Viejas Arena. She also assembles the multi-act line-ups for radio station 91X's annual X-Fest and Wrex the Halls concert events.
livenation.com, houseofblues.com

What good and bad things happened to the music industry in 2012?
It's a tie between Justin breaking up with Selena and/or Paris Hilton DJ-ing in Sao Paolo at the Pop Music Festival. Elton John calls Madonna "a fairground stripper." Whitney Houston dies, and Sony jacks up the price of her entire catalog. Boy bands just won't die. Generally speaking, ticket sales improved over last year with the concerted efforts of bands and agents alike to keep ticket prices down - although, some might argue if they are actually down. Miley cuts off her hair and actually thinks she looks good. Some might not understand this, but I can't think of anything I was more excited about in 2012 musically than aMiniature reuniting [editor's note: aMiniature was a 1980s band that formed in San Diego].

What do you foresee happening in 2013?
I foresee Taylor Swift becoming completely un-datable, since everyone knows she'll write about the breakup. I subsequently foresee her writing about not understanding why no one wants to date her, and that album doing quite well. She's unstoppable. More pop artists will cross over into country, like Kelly Clarkson , for instance. EDM peaks and so does pop, with the help of collaborative DJs. Alt and indie music goes country. Online streaming services compete for your business, which results in more affordable music for fans, and thank goodness because the $1.49 a song on iTunes is killing me. And finally, I foresee Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams breaking up, I don't know why, but I do. It's just an odd match to me.

What trends will emerge in the New Year?
Twitter wars. I don't know what is up with these artists and Twitter - Rihanna vs. Ciara, Madonna vs. Elton vs. Lady Gaga, Ja Rule vs. 50 Cent, Mariah vs. Nicki. While it's never nice to say mean things about people in a public forum, the good news is it got Chris Brown to delete his Twitter account. Also, I predict parachute pants will be back in style. Everyone who is anyone will also need to collaborate with David Guetta or Skrillex to get on the charts. I also think bands will stop touring altogether and simply project holographic images of themselves on stage like Tupac.

Which acts should people look out for?
The Maccabees, Depeche Mode will have a new album out, Kendrick Lamar, Porter Robinson , Alt-J, Miguel, Perfume Genius, Ty Segall, OFF!, Jake Bugg , Alex Clare, fun., The Lumineers, Django Django - some of these have been around for a while already, but will make their mark in 2013, for sure. There are too many to list.

Which 2013 music events excite you most?
South by Southwest, and there are a few concerts coming up that I can't disclose.

What concerts or live performances will you definitely attend?
I will be attending almost all the concerts I book, so that will be well over a hundred of them in 2013. So, my list is short. Currently, I'm looking forward to Quicksand and Pinback next year, as well as a few others that haven't been announced yet.

Tim Pyles

The unofficial mayor of local music in San Diego, Tim Pyles hosts FM94/9's The Local 94/9 (Sundays at 9 p.m.), a weekly radio broadcast showcasing some of the city's finest musical talent. He's a blogger/host for NBC's SoundDiego music blog, appears on the SoundDiego show each Saturday night after Saturday Night Live on NBC 7, books shows for the Casbah, hosts the monthly Maryjane's Underground (Hard Rock Hotel San Diego) and writes about music and concerts for PacificSD.

What good and bad things happened to the music industry in 2012?
Specific to San Diego, I see too many establishments opening without enough customer support. We need more supporters for the arts and music in our city. So many shows are under-attended, and local bands are overplaying the scene. The great weather has always been a deterrent to our nightlife; people love the daytime in S.D., not always the nightlife.

What do you foresee happening in 2013?
I see the continued homogenization of our culture to the point of everything sounding the same, all bland and boring. What we need is a new music revolution.

What trends will emerge in the New Year?
Crossover and more crossover. Too much of the music you hear on the radio right now is shared by other stations. So, you can flip through the dial and hear Gotye or Alex Clare on Pop, Urban and Alternative radio. I like it better when they don't share the same playlist. Electronic Dance Music is not the savior. Dub Step is fine and all, but not a revolution.

Which acts should people look out for?
Metz, The Burning Of Rome, Django Django, Danny Brown, King Tuff, Deap Vally, Wild Wild Wets, Tropical Popsicle, Mrs. Magician, the return of Rocket From The Crypt, Hit Dog Hollar, Cathedral X, Dan Deacon, DIIV, Japandroids, Alt-J, Atoms For Peace, Ty Segall, Iceage, Christopher Owens formerly of Girls, new Depeche Mode, Sir Sly, Pacific Air, Biffy Clyro and Danko Jones, to name a few.

Which 2013 music events excite you most?
South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and Coachella, which I have attended every year since its inception in 1999. Locally, the San Diego Music Thing is always a good time.

What concerts or live performances will you definitely attend?
I'm out four to five nights a week seeing shows, so just about anything good coming through town. Looking ahead to 2013, Muse; The Who; Keane; Coheeed and Cambria; The Residents; Electric Six; Frightened Rabbit; Veronica Falls; maybe the Soul Train Cruise featuring Earth, Wind and Fire; Gladys Knight; The Whispers; Mary Jane Girls; Dazz Band; A Taste of Honey; the list goes on.

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