38 episodes

Behind the Backline is the podcast where we chat with merchants, brands and industry professionals in the musical instrument, pro audio and event technology space about their products, services, industry trends, stories, and more. Join us as we dig into the stories behind our favorite backline gear, such as drums, guitars, cymbals, microphones, amplifiers, mobile apps, lights, accessories, and more. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/behindthebackline/support

Behind the Backline Matt Jacoby

    • Music
    • 5.0 • 17 Ratings

Behind the Backline is the podcast where we chat with merchants, brands and industry professionals in the musical instrument, pro audio and event technology space about their products, services, industry trends, stories, and more. Join us as we dig into the stories behind our favorite backline gear, such as drums, guitars, cymbals, microphones, amplifiers, mobile apps, lights, accessories, and more. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/behindthebackline/support

    Booklive App - A Lifelong Calling to Serve & Make a Living in Music

    Booklive App - A Lifelong Calling to Serve & Make a Living in Music

    Very few of us know exactly what we want to do when we grow up, regardless of our current age (under 20 and over 80, I’m talking to you too!).  In fact, for most of the human race and society, the expectation to go from childhood, to grade school, to high school, to college, to career, to family, and end in retirement has become a bit of a scary “cookie cutter” way of life.  There aren’t enough of us asking “why do we do that?”.  What if everyone on this planet was able to easily identify their true passion, their true calling and accept that as what each of us are meant to do to contribute to the world during our time here? 

    In modern times, it’s more common to hear about this story in technology and philosophical industries where people are following their dreams to change the world for the better, but it’s not as often that you hear about this kind of story coming from the world of DIY arts and music outside of the superstar record deals and the American Idol type success stories. 


    This story begins on the east coast with a little boy named Jared.  After seeing his first live music performance by a violinist, this 5-year-old went home, found a couple of popsicle sticks, held them up to his shoulder and pretended they were a violin. The rest, as they say, is classical music history. 


    From following a deep passion to perform, to finding a second love of conducting an orchestra and prompting him to go back to school for it, Jared’s blood runs deep with “music geek” (his words). 

    After being accepted into the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee for his orchestra conducting calling, like many other musicians he found himself strapped for cash and trying to make ends meet with unrelated jobs that he felt were not contributing to his musical ambitions. 


    As he began to realize how much “back office” training in business was taught in music schools, his self-guided drive to learn these things landed him a record number of bookings as a string performer for weddings.  This newfound knowledge prompted him to launch Dream City Music, a music booking agency that helps brides and grooms find string players and quartets for their big day. 

    Taking it one step further, his experience as a web and app developer aided in his launching of the internal tools used by Dream City Music that helped their clients take their music to the next level.   

    These tools would eventually become the foundation for what is now known as Booklive, a web-based app that helps musicians organize the business side of their craft and enables them to grow their music businesses. 


    Jared Judge, owner and founder of Dream City Music and the Booklive app, joins us in this episode to share his musically enchanted story. From preschool to present day, Jared’s story is a reminder of how important it is these days that musicians realize they aren’t just performers. They are also entrepreneurs and small business owners. 


    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/behindthebackline/support

    • 24 min
    Dave Hillis - From Aspiring Musician to Multi-Platinum Recording Engineer

    Dave Hillis - From Aspiring Musician to Multi-Platinum Recording Engineer

    The music industry is an interesting place to be. A path you might start down might not be the path you end up on. What you think you want to do may not be the thing the industry picks for you. For creative musician types, there isn’t necessarily a typical “corporate ladder” structure that provides a single path like other industries.  In fact, the music industry is more like a series of (tuning) forks or a “choose your own adventure” book that dictates your career path. 


    Born and raised in Brooklyn, Dave Hillis grew up next door to the future lead vocalist and bass player for Type O Negative Peter Steele. At the age of 5, Dave started playing piano and guitar, and had a chance to watch Pete play in bands and become inspired by the rock and metal scenes. 

    Finding that he wasn’t good at playing cover songs, he found a passion for writing his own original music. Noting the record labels on his favorite bands’ album cases, he started just sending tapes of his original tracks to them and eventually got picked up at the age of 17. 


    After moving to Seattle, he had the chance to record at London Bridge Studios.  After a chance meeting about town with the studio owner and sharing how well his recording session was going and how much he loved being in the studio, the owner gave him a chance to work at London Bridge as his new assistant.   

    This was the being of a historic trip in the recording industry for Dave. Just by being in the same practice rooms and recording spaces as all these guys that were at the time unknown and unsigned, he became friends with (and eventually recorded) who we now know as Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Blind Melon and more. 


    After having Seattle run its course and some family changes, Dave and his wife relocated to Pittsburgh.  They really had no plans in regards to music or recording, so it was a bit exciting, scary and fresh. 

    Shortly after the move, Dave met Liz Berlin, a founding member of the 90s band Rusted Root. Liz and her husband owned a theater, which was a former church, in Pittsburgh called Mr. Smalls.  They also owned another church across the street from Mr. Smalls which she planned to convert into a recording studio, starting with the onsite Trident TSM Console she had recently acquired. Once she sparked Dave’s interest with the recording studio plans, they went in together to establish and build the new studio. 

    Dave was able to bring out and contribute to the new studio the 2” Studer machine from London Bridge Studios that recorded some of the greatest albums of the day, including from Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Blind Melon and Screaming Trees. 

    The whole goal of the new studio, which is called HJI Frequencies, is to do albums like they used to, to produce and maintain that historic, classic sound quality and bring that recording experience to newer and upcoming artists. 


    Dave Hillis, a multi-platinum recording engineer who’s worked in Seattle during the grunge era on 90’s albums from Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and more, joins us in this episode to share his story from being a young, aspiring musician to getting into recording and working on some of the most historic and legendary albums of our time. 


    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/behindthebackline/support

    • 34 min
    Michael Molenda - Guitar Player Magazine, Music Journalism & Beyond

    Michael Molenda - Guitar Player Magazine, Music Journalism & Beyond

    No one can predict the future. No one can ever know what’s coming next (except me, just kidding). A lot of times we have to roll with what life throws at us, regardless of how predictable we want our life to be. 

    As humans we are creatures of habit, loving every minute of having a routine, going to work, coming home, advancing our career, staying organized and having everything in its place, and knowing that we have the power to make tweaks to it whenever we want, as long as its within our comfort zone. 

    But as we very well know, life enjoys throwing the occasional right hook at us to see how we handle it.  This is something that both Michael and I, your humble podcast host, have experienced in recent years. 


    Michael had two career path options in his early years: music and journalism. As you’ll hear, his father was super happy he chose journalism, a job that he knew was stable and had a future (cough). 

    As time (and the Internet) will tell you, music and journalism began to have more and more in common, debunking this “some industries are future-proof” myth.  But lucky for Michael, he was able to merge his two passions into one as he worked through an array of music and non-music related publications and media outlets. 

    His crowning achievement? Landing a dream job as the longest-serving Editor-in-Chief at Guitar Player Magazine from 1997-2018, also overseeing Bass Player Magazine, Keyboard Magazine and Electronic Musician Magazine.  Score! 


    In 2018, not long after the magazine’s parent company was purchased by a UK-based firm, several members of the team, including Michael, were let go as the new owners reorganized and changed the way the magazines were run. 

    While not a fan of the changes, the grieving process was short-lived. Michael got back on the horse and decided to launch a new endeavor that allowed him to continue his music journalism path. 

    In October 2018, Guardians of Guitar was born, an online media outlet that evangelizes guitarists, guitar music, and guitar gear while supporting players of all ages, genders, skill levels and styles. 


    Michael Molenda, former Editor-in-Chief of Guitar Player Magazine and Founder of Guardians of Guitar, joins us in this episode to share his journey from his humble beginnings in journalism and Guitar Player Magazine to his new venture with Guardians of Guitar, and what he’s learned along the way. 


    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/behindthebackline/support

    • 32 min
    Bluesman Vintage Guitars - A Family Business Powered by Passion and Fate

    Bluesman Vintage Guitars - A Family Business Powered by Passion and Fate

    Most people who go into business have an idea they want to try and make a valiant effort and are aware that things are either moving or not moving. Most people need to put in the work to watch the seed they plant grow. Every once in awhile, though, it seems God and fate are in the driver’s seat and you just come along for the ride. 

    That’s what happened with John, the snot-nosed kid from Tennessee. Poor guy! 


    The story begins like others you’ve heard: boy meets guitar, boy hates the sound guitar makes, boy sees a lot of guitars, boy breaks up with lots of guitars, boy thinks he can do better himself, boy makes snot-nosed comment in one store, boy gets “scolded” with a random opportunity to apprentice with a guitar shop owner who teaches him the ways of guitar building, and so on.  Stop me if you’ve heard that one. 

    Wait, you haven’t?  Well, shhhhhhhhhhhh….. 


    After leaving his last job as a guitar finisher and frantically wondering how he was going to support a new family, one of John’s customers called him up and insisted that he help him with fixing up his guitar.  Seriously, insisted. To the point of offering to buy him the tools he needed while on the way to his house that day serious. No seriously, like shut the front door serious.  (I digress) 

    That single rogue customer that stalked John to his garage started to snowball.  First one, then another, and another, and soon we end up to present day where John now runs Bluesman Vintage Guitars as a retail, repair and build shop just outside of Nashville in Spring Hill. This shop has never seen an ounce of paid advertising beyond normal organic Facebook and Instagram activity.  He even builds and works on major player guitars and amps, including Aaron Tippin, John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls), and Rascal Flatts. 

    I mean, seriously, how else do you explain a snowball effect without marketing and built on a reputation that you constructed as an employee of another shop?!  C’mon!  Why can’t we all get our fate handed to us?!  OMG!  (I need a drink) 


    John Scott, founder and owner of Bluesman Vintage Guitars (not a cancer by the way), joins us in this episode to share his incredible story of how his early years in bands and learning how to build guitars eventually led to him establishing his first business in his guitar and growing it into what it is today, where they work on guitars for players he grew up listening to, buying the building they operate out of and how they are already looking to expand the physical space because their growth isn’t stopping. 

    SHAMELESS PLUG: As a side note, John and I found out during this call that we both knew some of the same people out of Madison and Nashville, including up and coming female country artist Kirstie Kraus and her friend and former guitar player Jacob Vance. 


    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/behindthebackline/support

    • 46 min
    Capital Music Gear - An Online Music Gear Store With Heart

    Capital Music Gear - An Online Music Gear Store With Heart

    Let’s face it: online retail store options are pretty cut and dry. Predictable discounts and sales. The same standard website design and layout. The same old shopping cart experience (unless you’re Amazon).  And most online music gear stores aren’t much different. 

    But there’s one online store that hopes to change all that. Less than a year old, Capital Music Gear is hoping to bring a couple of unique and welcome disrupting features to the online music store: heart and help. Let me explain.


    Capital Music Gear (CMG) is built with nonprofit music organizations in mind.  Every sale on their site gives 1% to the music non-profit of your choice, assuming that organization is registered with CMG and listed on their site’s checkout process as an option.  

    You also have the option to write-in a non-profit you think should benefit and CMG will attempt to reach out and connect with that organization. Last, if you don’t have a preference, you can let CMG decide which nonprofit your 1% gift goes to.


    While most online music gear stores carry mostly major brands, CMG goes one step farther.  Sure they carry some big names too, but they have a secondary mission to carry more of the smaller brands on the market, both nationally and internationally available or manufactured.   

    One example is Flattley Guitar Pedals from the UK.  Paul Flattley, when we interviewed him in Episode #16 of Behind the Backline, mentioned he was looking for a way to break into the US market. Through our mutual connections, Behind the Backline was able to connect Paul and Cory to get Flattley’s Pedals into the US.  

    A music store that helps smaller brands grow sales and create awareness: how cool is that?! :)


    As a customer, your activity doesn’t go unnoticed either. For every review you leave, CMG will give you a 10-15% discount on your next order, depending on the type of review you leave (video or written). Who gives you discounts for reviewing right on their store?  That might be an industry (or global?) first!  

    You can learn more on their Discounts for Feedback page.


    Cory Borgen, owner and founder of CapitalMusicGear.com, joins us in this episode to share with us his background in music, his career experience in retail, how that transitioned over to e-commence, what is first NAMM experience was like (especially meeting one of his guitar heroes, Brian Wampler: Episode #12!), and what it was like to finally be able to merge his love of music and the industry with his expertise in retail and online commerce. 


    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/behindthebackline/support

    • 28 min
    Death By Audio - Effect Pedals That Cause Total Sonic Annihilation

    Death By Audio - Effect Pedals That Cause Total Sonic Annihilation

    DISCLAIMER: No cats were harmed in the making of this episode. But one was seen in the background of our video chat. 

    Fuzz War. Cats. Absolute Destruction. Cats. Apocalypse. Cats. Interstellar Overdriver. Cats. Evil Filter. Cats. Robot. Cats. Supersonic Fuzz Gun. You get the picture (of cats in your head).  

    This conversation was anything but your standard run of the mill podcast discussion. Oh, and besides the overuse of the word “Cats”, all of those are the names of DBA’s guitar pedals. NOT methods of global domination (or are they?! *wink*) 


    Death By Audio was started in 2002 as a guitar effects pedal company after Oliver started tinkering with new sounds and ideas for his own bands. He started making pedals for other people, and over time the pedals got more and more crazy and more and more in demand.  The rest, as they say, is history. 

    As for the name of the company, rest assured no one died or fell victim to any of the pedals DBA makes. Rather, as Oliver explains, it portrays the passion they have to build the best pedals they can. They live by the audio products and they’ll die by the audio products. You can’t get anymore passionate than that! 


    As Oliver explains, the names are derived from what the pedals actually sound like.  Their team is driven to associate super awesome descriptive names to the pedals so players will know (almost) immediately what to expect when testing and buying new pedals. 

    While Fuzz War will obviously be a fuzz pedal, I personally am afraid to plug anything into an Apocalypse or Absolute Destruction. 

    The Evil Filter I am intrigued by. What magical sorcery will come of my quarter-inch plug when I engage this beast?! 


    Upon hearing about Matt’s drum background, Oliver immediately threw him a bone to explain how effect pedals can also be awesome as drum trigger effects too.  What a surprise concept that now seems obvious in hindsight!  

    Must. Annihilate. Drums. 


    Oliver Ackermann, founder of Death By Audio, joins us in this episode to talk about how he started DBA, his experience with teaching himself how to solder and work with electronic components, what it’s like to go from building pedals for himself (by himself) to working with a team and building pedals for some of the top bands and artists in the market today, and why you’ll see the occasional cat on their Instagram gallery. 


    Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/behindthebackline/support

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
17 Ratings

17 Ratings

Beier Drums ,

Excellent Podcast

I listen to Podcasts regularly, and must say...."Behind The Backline" is one of the best. Matt does an amazing job of getting into the "Behind The Scenes" of the music business, with people that are on the front lines of it. It is great to hear their stories, how they started, and their experience within the industry. As well, he is an excellent host, interviewer, and is just simply a really nice guy. I was grateful to do one of these, and it was a lot of fun. A+ Matt....Thank You Again....

Brit219 ,

Very interesting

Lots of unique guests with unique stories.

RobbD69 ,

More for your money

Great podcast to hear the stories you won’t normally hear about music and music tech. Tells the stories of the people in the trenches of music.

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