Jason Devin Of CT Indie Interview

October 7, 2010 by Chris Grosso

In the few short years CT Indie has been around, it has established itself as the “go-to” site for all things independent related in CT. Jason Devin, creator of CT Indie, was kind enough to take some time to share a bit of his story, and vision of CT’s independent music scene.

TIS: CT Indie provides an invaluable service to independent music lovers not only of CT, but surrounding states as well. Can you tell me what motivated you to start the site?

CTI: It all started after I read an article Eric Danton did for the Hartford Courant called “Pumping Up Indie Music” in February of ’07. The article talked about how the local indie rock scene was growing, and this inspired me to jump in and help. I created the CT Indie MySpace page to provide a networking hub for Connecticut’s local bands, venues, and promoters. MySpace’s blog was garbage, though, and I wanted a proper website for people to visit, so I got the blog up and running a little over a year later in July of ‘08.

TIS: A lot of touring bands opt not to play our fair state and instead stick with MA, NY, RI, etc. What do you attribute that too?

CTI: Mainly it’s that we’re missing mid-sized rock clubs that are easily accessible by foot and public transportation. Sometimes Connecticut is just a bad fit for a band. A few months ago there were two bands that decided it was too impractical to play Connecticut – Naomi Punk, and another called Nervous Systems. The expense of touring through Connecticut didn’t make sense for those bands because it was their first time on the road and they were almost completely unknown by our local scene. For bigger acts, sometimes it’s as simple as a radius clause, which will keep a band from playing too many shows within a certain number of miles of a certain area for a certain length of time. So, whether your band is huge or barely a blip on the radar, playing Connecticut can sometimes be more trouble than its worth.

TIS: What’s one of the strongest elements the CT Indie Music scene has going for it?

CTI: The strongest elements are the promoters, all the great local bands, the slew of local labels, and cities like New Haven and New London. In general, we do our best to all work with each other to make shit happen. There’s also a solid house-show culture here.

TIS: What’s one of it’s weakest?

CTI: The insularity of Wesleyan and Yale is a drag, but understandable.

TIS: Can you create your dream show and venue (CT optional) for me?

CTI: It’d be nice to see a business model like the Iron Horse Entertainment Group take hold down here. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it would help build up, maintain, and possibly create more venues across the state. But my dream show is much simpler – I would love to see Shaki Presents happening at BAR again.

TIS: What’s your take on the Indie Hip Hop scene of CT? Anyone you’re really digging right now?

CTI: I know next to nothing about it. Ceschi and his label Fake Four is about all I can think of.

TIS: Name me three things that bands do while playing live which turn you off?

CTI: Not moving, getting too drunk to play, and not joking with the crowd.

TIS: Who else, beside CT Indie, should people be aware of in the state that work really hard and do it for the love (publications, radio shows, promoters, etc)?

TIS: The list is huge. How can I not mention Manic Productions, Safety Meeting Records, WESU’s Homegrown and Bobby D.’s Connecticut Rocks on WPKN? Brushback’s blog One Base on an Overthrow. Hartford Party Starters Union are doing what they can in some fairly tough territory. Steve Rogers at The Space. The folks behind the soon to die Popeye’s Garage. Danny at February Records. Joe at American Laundromat Records. There’s Enemies List and Never Heard Of It Records. There’s Redscroll Records. People like Alexis Zanghi, John Panos, Rick Omonte, Ben Levesque, the new promoter Asterisk Concerts. The list goes on and on.

TIS: Any big plans on the horizon for CT Indie?

CTI: Well, getting release review stuff sorted out is a priority. It’s hard because the locals need to be talked about, but there’s also the fact that a lot of what comes in isn’t material we talk about, or if it is, it might not be up to snuff quite yet. There are some other plans that I’m just keeping mum about for now, though.

TIS: What do people need to know, and do, to continue making the CT Indie music scene successful and worthwhile?

CTI: I think everything will continue to grow so long as we all keep working at it. We cannot take on the attitude that it is all or nothing. I mean, I’d like to see CT Indie be as big as Brooklyn Vegan. Lofty goals are fine and all, but it’s about getting down in the trenches and helping each other out as best as we can. We cannot let one bad day or one rough week get in the way of the long term.

Visit CTindie.com Here!

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Chris Grosso is a writer, public speaker, mental health youth group facilitator, and author with Simon & Schuster. He also writes for Revolver Magazine, Fangoria, and has spoken at a bunch of fancy-schmancy festivals and conferences (as well as even more events that were significantly less than fancy-schmancy). Chris's podcast, The Indie Spiritualist, is hosted on Ram Dass's Be Here Now Network.