By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
As if Michael Briggs and Brent Frishman hadn't already established themselves as the foremost curators of Denton music, they went ahead and took it a step further.
The men behind Gutterth Productions, organizers of many a showcase and former hosts of the Gutterth podcast, changed the podcast in January into a new website called The Violitionist. In some ways, the site is an extension of and an improvement upon what they were already doing with the podcast. But Briggs makes it clear that The Violitionist and Gutterth are not one and the same.
"This site is not necessarily associated with Gutterth," Briggs says. "It's the same people, but they are two separate entities."
The format is simple: Get a band into Briggs' home studio, record (in both audio and video format) three songs, ask the band three questions and then post the videos, a transcript of the interview and free downloads of the audio.
The old podcasts contained more than an hour of music, most of which the listener had to skip in order to reach the music from the featured artist. The new formula, however, is more straightforward, allowing for some pretty raw and engaging results.
"The podcast was a little less accessible, maybe a bit more daunting," Briggs says. "It's a lot easier to check out what people care about—the recorded songs—in this new format."
Another key difference is that the Violitionist does not relegate itself to local acts, as touring bands that come through Denton are now fair game.
"We're doing a lot more touring bands and bands not from here, which is bringing more people to the site," Briggs says.
The site's launch, which happened two months before the 35 Conferette, meant that Briggs and Frishman could capitalize on the wealth of touring bands that stopped by for the festival. Even still, there is a backlog of sessions from that time period.
"For 35 Conferette, I was doing three and four sessions a day, back to back," Briggs says. "Some of it has been posted, some of it hasn't yet."
Upcoming posts include sessions from Nite Jewel, Fair to Midland, Darktown Strutters, The River Mouth and Sans Soleil. Starting with the Power Animal session in April, Briggs and Frishman began posting a new session every Monday. Briggs also says there are plans in place to release compilations consisting of each session.
"We want to do a Best of 2009, 2010 and 2011," says Briggs. "And, when that's over, we'll put it up for free download online, and probably pick one song from each of the bands that did it that year."