Continuing Work on Black’s Backbone

The Black’s Backbone album continues forward.  With three tracks left on a 16 track album it’s a great deal closer than it was a month ago.  Check out the album check list notes below.

Updated album notes for the Black's Backbone album - Spiral World!

Updated album notes for the Black’s Backbone album – Spiral World!

More green = good!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

In other news the Bleep Blip Bloop Re-mix Competition is complete!  We’ll be announcing the winner soon.  Thank you from the REB Records team to all those who submitted.

Re-mix competition!

Re-mix competition Complete!

Harmonie Phoenix on WHPK 88.5 Live

Rocking with Derrick da Deacon on WHPK Live!


A great shot with DJ DeRon and DJ Derrick da Deacon.

A great shot with DJ DeRon and DJ Derrick da Deacon.



A whole lot going on

We’ve been busy the past couple months behind the scenes at REB Records.  Working with K.Joy/Harmonie Phoenix, Tarek 22, Theft to the Gallows, Black’s Backbone and several DJ in and around Chicago.

With a new compilation album coming out in the next six weeks (fingers crossed) REB has been on a couple radio interviews: WHPK hosted by DJ Derrick da Deacon, and yesterday on the TP Live Show with TP Corleone.  You can see the amazing collection of vinyl below.


Harmonie Phoenix vocal edits

Working on some vocal editing for Harmonie Phoenix REB Records.  This week has been crazy with over 50 hours of production work between Monday and Thursday,  Radio interviews, discussions with some great producers and DJs, from Chicago to Atlanta to South Africa!  The whole team has been working hard.   Here’s a little behind the scenes look at “Girl Boy Panic” production.  To be released on the REB Records compilation album “Unrestricted.”



How long it has been

Well it has been a while.  I mean, seriously, like months.  That doesn’t mean that Sully and I and the rest of the REB team hasn’t been moving forward, it’s just been a time of subtle movements and progress.  Building relationships and figuring out new projects.

Current projects include:

New tracks form Theft to the Gallows, being put together to be played live by the end of the summer, as well as official release of the “First Knot” album!

Tarek22 is in full swing, with 9 tracks outlined and written in the last couple weeks.

We’ve also begun work on a musical with a working title of “Button.”  Keeping this under wraps currently as we work out the details of production, writing, scripting, and the creative process are on their journey.

The website should be updated soon as well.


So there is a lot going on and we’re all working hard to keep creating and working with creative people.



The MMM poster with the “micro-feature”

Some serious thought went into this idea; “what do you call a featured artist in the opening slot without taking away from the ‘feature’ main act?”  For the hosts of the MMM (Theft to the Gallows) this is an important concept as this idea is going to be a steady part to the show.  For the April 23rd show we’ve booked Stolie!  A very talented songwriter and artist that brings something unique and refreshing to the Chicago Music Scene.  Check out some of her work here.

Some options were “micro-feature,” “mini-feature,” “featurette,” with and without the hyphen… anyway the point is at this point it is “micro-feature” which lines up with the name of the series and allows “featured” to still have its importance for the headlining act.

Here’s the poster.


Micro Music Mash – Videos from April 9th

The first MMM went well.  Theft to the Gallows hosted and got a great response and Terrible Spaceship also rocked as the headliner.  Some fun unexpected things were planned, and this is something TTTG is hoping to bring to every show.  Here are a couple videos from the show of TTTG.

and here is another of their parody performance of the awesome track “Geek in the Pink” by Jason Mraz.  Keeping things duct-tape, spit, and gum, yet well written, thought out and entertaining is a hard line to play, but TTTG is actively working to do this.


The Stage Design for Theft to the Gallows

Sully and I have been working to put together the stage design for TttG for several months.  We have the cool sign: Theft to the Gallows Headboard2

We have some cool music:


We have a great concert that we’re hosting coming up:

We have a sweet venue:

Some sweet equipment:

And Now we have a state-of-the-art stage:


New TttG song – El Half Asso!

New track from Theft to the Gallows completed last night, most aggressive to date!  Will be up on the TttG Tracks page in the next week, we snuck it on the blog early.Theftlogo2

Moving forward with the Micro Music Mash!

REB Records has been working hard to put together a residency style performance and the first steps are finally falling into place, (still waiting full confirmation, so maybe I’m jumping the gun a little.)  We are excited to be doing a set of two shows at Gorilla Tango at 1919 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL on April 9th and April 23rd!

On a business note the idea is to see how the space works, if marketing brings in new demographic then “current fans” and if we as performers can put on a great show together.  The performers currently booked are Theft to the Gallows and Terrible Spaceship.  These two groups are polar opposites in stage presence with Terrible Spaceship rocking labcoats, synths, lights, video; techno-soul music, while Theft to the Gallows wraps themselves in t-shirts and ducktape, plays acoustic, and builds some stuff from scraps; you’ll have to see it to see it!.  Really just check out the music, these groups are both doing some unique and interesting music and put on super interesting shows.

If these first two shows go well and the kinks get worked out, we will be looking to begin a residency in the summer.  Every other week or so.  What we are doing is transplanting a band based musical show into a musical theater or comedie theater business model.  Meaning there is a set venue (think of Million Dollar Quartet at Apollo or Second City here in Chicago) that generates traction over time as the word gets out.

The current model for bands is to go play a whole bunch of gigs all over the place, mainly at bars where people are sort of paying attention, then after doing a couple dozen shows (translate to hundreds of hours of work) booking as an opener to a larger band, or booking a larger venue.  There are several issues with this method.  First is that ninety percent (I’m making numbers up – and being conservative) will never play 24+ shows in a meaningful time frame to generate a fan base that will then actually pay for that larger gig.  Secondly once you hit a certain age – around 27? or so – the rock band local tour life style loses its appeal.  The bass player starts talking about what carpet they’re putting in their condo this weekend, or the drummer can only rehearse for 1 hour 13 minutes on Thursday evening starting at 7:04 PM.  Life starts to get in the way.

Great musicians and bands stop playing, music becomes something that “I did in college” or that you gear up for once or twice a year to rock out in front of your friends and coworkers.  This is not necessarily due to a lack of commitment (though there are cases where it is completely that.)  The expected route described above does not compliment having a house, family, pet, job, or anything that warrants waking up before 1:00 PM.  Now I would argue that someone could do musical theater, local theater, even be in a local or professional symphony (in which I have several family members) and because there is a structured schedule, at a set location, with a committed audience and various means of funding, can still work a day job, and have a pet; and a life.

The point is not to become famous or make a bunch of money (we would love to break even since running a record label and recording does cost thousands of dollars); it is to perform, entertain, enhance a community, pursue creative outlets and have some fun.  This is what the Micro Music Mash is about.  REB is extremely excited that it is happening and maybe you will be there!

– REB Records

Theft to the Gallows at The Heartland Cafe


Theft to the Gallows went out to do their first open mic style performance last night.  One song only; they chose “Lucky to Love Me.”  The Heartland Cafe is a cool restaurant on the north side of Chicago that has hosted an open mic on Wednesdays for 25 (or maybe it’s 26) years.  This was the anniversary and it was also Halloween, so there were costumes and congratulations.

Theft to the Gallows Headboard2

This is Lucky to Love Me – not the version from Heartland, but similar – Acoustic, one take.

Theft to the Gallows came up on stage around 10:40 PM, and opted not to use a microphone.  After a rousing “Welcome!” chant thing, that is given to new participants in the open mic, Theft to the Gallows went into Lucky to Love Me.  BB Mayes nailed some moves why Ryan took the opening lead, and then, having gotten the jitters out, BB Mayes rocked the crowd going into the first chorus.  Pointing, gesturing, and singing to the intently listening audience, (they had to listen intently because there was no amplification) it was a fun performance that continually picked up temp.  A three minute song ended up being about 2:30!

Looking forward to the next show.

– Ryan (Theft to the Gallows)


First Performance for Theft to the Gallows

Theft to the Gallows played their first show.  It was awesome, but not at all in the way that was planned.  The performance was really just a workshop for the new songs, and it was unexpectedly cancelled.  Dang!  So, the evening was open, but looking for some victim on which to lay those sweet sounds, calls were made, and friends having drinks were found nearby.  A captive audience!

Buy em’ some drinks, some onion rings, chit chat, and before you know it the guitar is out.  Right there on the street we’re doing a five song set.  People stopped and watched, couple of em’ clapped.  It was a great way to play!

– Theft to the Gallows (Ryan)

Theft to the Gallows

Theft to the Gallows has been working hard on putting together some acoustic versions of their tracks in production.  The idea being to go out and perform them live at small venues, open mics, and songwriters showcases to work on their chops as a group.  Today they recorded some of these, just one take through live.  Check em out!

Theft to the Gallows is moving forward

Posted on September 9, 2013
The Theft to the Gallows project is moving forward, and is beginning the design of a fun live show. There will be guitar, vocals, nooses, lollipops, it’s all coming together, and it will be fun.

It won’t have to be super-good, it will be super-fun.

That’s the direction we’re heading.

Been a while

Posted on July 8, 2013

REB Records has been working on our next step… Expansion! (sort of)

We’ve been looking at what would be next for artists who come and work with us, and after much discussion it seems like physical restrictions are one of the key places where we could improve. Of course there are other things; marketing, publicity, equipment, web site redesign, among others. Product is important, and REB is about helping artists develop and complete (one of the hardest parts) their work. Then distribute and market.


Steps to create a record: (partial credit to Collin Jordan over at the Boiler Room Mastering)

1) Pre-production – writing songs, arranging, practicing, lyrics, chords, instrumentation, contracts, demo tracks, metronome tracks, harmonies, guitar tones…

2) Tracking – recording all potential parts, possibly basic editing, microphone placement, preamp choices, guitar amps, tuning drums, dealing with phase, finding a good room…

3) Mixing – The art of the recording process, where the parts are all put in place and polished, fine tune edits, delay lines, perfecting phase, EQ, compression, gate, other processors, this is painting the picture, bring it to life and enhancing the underlying production and song…

4) Mastering – taking all of the individual tracks and creating a final album, levels, 2-track EQ, clarity in extreme highs and lows, perfecting the sphere, black-magic…

5) Duplication and Distribution – Getting the work out to the world, internet presence, social media, downloads, streaming, videos, CD, vinyl, marketing…


REB has a good start on the following


(1) Pre Production – The Cleft Way, and several artists who are starting to self produce, though having a space for rehearsal and creative interaction would be helpful.

(2) Mixing – REB has a decent mixing space, a treated room with several sets of good monitors, relatively quiet environment, master control, Logic, Pro Tools, Ableton, CS6; standard stuff and some pretty cool outboard equipment.

(3) Mastering – We’ve been very happy with Boiler Room Mastering here on the north-side of Chicago. Collin does a great job and has A+ equipment and ears.

(4) Duplication and Distribution – This is something that REB is pretty devoted to utilizing primarily the internet. As smart technologies continue to transform the public’s interaction with media, REB will continue to research the best ways to bring artists and fans together. This is the place where REB needs the most human resources and knowledge, and we feel that having a larger product base would be helpful.


Obviously missing hear is step “2″ from above – Tracking. A space would also allow artists to have a real place to do pre-production.

Anyway on to prep work!

Media, Media, Everywhere

Posted on June 2, 2013
This is a challenge (and major expense in time or money) to any artist out there right now. Consumers look to go to the most convenient location and expect to find their media there. This means that an artist now has to worry about YouTube, SoundCloud, Facebook, MySpace, Google+, Pitchfork, iTunes, Amazon, bandcamp, Pandora, Grooveshark, LastFM, Jango, EMusic, Rhapsody, Spotify, and I’m only getting started. Now you have to figure out which of these stretch internationally, which appeal to what demographic, and whether you are selling or streaming or giving music away; no one wants to pay $10 for an album on iTunes and then find it for “pay what you’d like” on bandcamp! (Also are any of these going to make an income that pays for the year and a half of production that went into the album in the first place?)

Now of course there are resources that make this more stream lined, tunecore for example, but still it takes dozens of hours to figure this stuff out… AND THEN consumers change their loyalties or another site comes on as the big player, and any artist or record label has to take significant amounts of time to keep up with this.

Now with everyone doing this (and no one really knowing the “correct” way) artists are throwing ingredients into the pot with out knowing who the soup is for, and consumers are grabbing into the pot looking for something they might like – and pulling up lots of bones and crap they don’t want. Where’s the filter? Once a consumer finds something yummy, hopefully they follow that thread, maybe even tell a friend about the awesome morsel they discovered (by “liking” or “+ing” or “tagging” or “linking” or “posting” or “thumbs upping” or whatever) and then a bunch of people jump on the thread like capillary action are pulled to listening/watching that artist. Right?

But with the thousands of hours of material being uploaded to the machine daily without any filter at the front saying this sucks or this is worth checking out, great art is getting lost as any given consumer has a 2″ x 2″ frame through which they are forced to look at “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island” and any artists is just one point. The whole concept becomes one of chance, (and on a cynical note the House are the internet providers who can charge $100 a month for access to all the material, which they don’t pay for and then are free.) We now live in a world where the internet really is the land of the free.

Now add on to the fact that once a fan does find that awesome speck in their 2″ x 2″ viewing field they will most likely do one of the things above (like, +ing, tag, ect…) to show their support, and the concept of creating art (a very expensive – time or money – pursuit) becomes something daunting. How do you create income in an industry where the consumer won’t pay for a product??? Pose this to a business major, as every major label is doing, and it becomes clear there must be a different interaction and model than what many artists are doing now – throwing everything in the pot with prayer.

If one looks around this site a little bit they’ll see several mentions of Amanda Palmer. Her TED talk has some really interesting ideas – and an approach that seems to work for her evangelical (not religious) fan base. There is significant issues with it (here, here, here, just for starters.) But even with all of these criticisms it comes back to the same dilemma; if fans expect to actually pay by clicking “like,” how will anyone be able to continue to create? What does it cost to create an album? I mean really create. For example if I’m an artist/performer I can go tour, until I have a kid. But what if I’m the studio owner, the back up singer with a family, the arranger of the string parts, the conductor, the technician, the string players, … the song writer, the lyricist…; the things that make great albums great. These people can’t go tour, and artists don’t have the money to pay all of them – well at least not if the only income is from touring.

Touring is a short term solution. For example, if I build an awesome fridge, and the only time one pays for the fridge is when I hall the fridge and sell it on location, but the fridges that are in stores all across the world are free, will this generate enough income to make the next fridge? No. Even if everyone in the world loves my fridge and has it, if there is no exchange where is the innovation and evolution of the fridge?

This may sound like a rant, but really it’s the components of the equation that artists, producers (those who are not at the front line) and fans of music must solve. And REB Records believes there is an answer, probably several answers. We’re working (as artists and sort-of business people) on a path that may lead to something that works, one that both consumers and artists and producers can accept. One that allows artists to create with a “___” centric concept for ART, not one that is based on “selling” or capturing a fan base. The fans, the supporters come because art pushes boundaries and it is exciting to be a part of new art and entertainment.

Ok, I’m done … for now. 🙂


Euro-American TEE album is now up!

Posted on May 12, 2013
We just got up the second TEE album, Euro-American Electrick Glowstick Dance Bunny up on REB!

– Thanks for listening and please enjoy! Download, stream, leave a comment if you’d like…

Mastering completed on TEE!

Posted on May 4, 2013
Yesterday we spent 9 hours at The Boiler Room with Collin. He did a great job putting the final touches on the TEE albums. They will be up and available this week (The instrumental versions will be available in the next two weeks, if interested send us a note.) REB Records is excited to bring these albums to you!

Things to come on REB

Posted on May 1, 2013
Right now REB is working towards some new things; “things” because they come from many different angles.

We have begun production of Audio Synthese, and exciting socio-electronic artist based out of Chicago. Tracks will be placed on the AS page once they become available.

REB is putting together YoueTube videos for all of its current artist and the many albums, which includes:

Satya Graha, The Cleft Way, Naz, Kym Franklin, and TEE.
These are going to be cover art vids, and will be made available soon.

We are finishing up an actual music video for the new TEE release. Mastering is Friday.

REB is starting work on the “Theft to the Gallows” project


Black’s Backbone single is being mixed for that artist.

and there’s more…

We’re excited about going through this process to bring art to a greater audience and also beginning to build a catalog from the many different artists that move us, and that will hopefully move you.


– REB Records

Finishing up the TEE albums!

Posted on April 24, 2013

It’s been a long project, but REB Records is going to mastering next week with the TEE album. Final mix notes were implemented this last weekend with a 12 hour and a 6 hour working weekend… and it was worth it. After two years of production these albums bring some new sounds to REB, and cover a variety of topics.

Updates will be coming soon, as we start working towards a summer show and the next musical recording project.

Pre Production Begins – The Cleft Way “Love Junkies” Album

Posted on April 15, 2013

REB Records is starting prep on the next production, well sort of. Prep started about 3 years ago, but the basic songs are being geared up for the production stage! Below is a draft of the working lyrics (which may or may not be change). Frank Libbe, Satya Graha’s original bass player who wrote “Oliver & The Dutchess” with B.B. Mayes contributes the music for this ethereal love gone wrong song. Those from Chicago (or into supernatural phenomenon) should be able to find some history mixed into the [true] story. Possibly a rough draft coming in the next couple weeks, as the final steps of the TEE albums come to a close.

“The Brimstone Ballet”

My marriage turned into a horror show
I ended up in Bachelor’s Grove
When Mary, a thumbing ghost of a chance
Asked if I knew how to ballroom dance

Dark and dismal a crooked plie’
This wasn’t a dance but The Brimstone Ballet
Sensually sinister & hard to resist
Her Grand Jete and its splits

She brought me to life when I needed it most
Showed me another side to my ghosts
Music and drink at an Abbey Pub
What I called friends well she called it love

Dark and dismal a crooked plie’
This wasn’t a dance but The Brimstone Ballet
Sensually sinister & hard to resist
Her Grand Jete and its splits

I wanted her youth and a little pleasure
She wanted love with no bounds or measure
So much for our dance light and airy
When she began to lead it all turned scary

She wouldn’t take no for answer
She said I was much more than a dancer
She said we were connected souls
That’s why I’m hitchin’ back to the grove
Thanks for stopping and dropping me home
If you see Mary walking keep driving alone

Keeping Up

Posted on March 24, 2013

Weeks go by where one is so busy they can’t do anything. Day jobs are nice because they give structure; a set time to work, and a set time not to. Starting a business this is not the case, that is where teams are needed. An explanation: It seems that there are often groups of two or three individuals that work together to make big things happen. Often one one person gets more of the credit (Bill Gates and that other guy, Ahmet Ertegun and… Herb Abramson) and this is probably fine, because consumers can perpetuate the mystical genius and luck, as opposed to hard focused work and time. (Ok that was a little cynical…) If you want to go more in depth on this check out Michael Eisner‘s book “Working Together.”

So this week has been one of those weeks where nothing got done, at least of the important stuff towards REB Records. There was substantial paper work, planning of lectures and classes (I teach audio production) Benefit dinners, trips to the doctor, trip to the DMV, run out recording for the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (great concert by the way,) taxes, and other stuff. No mixing, no writing, no web updating, no composing.

But then B.B. Mayes got a little free time, and started working on the verbiage for the website (probably the one you are on now.) And stuff got done. The momentum kept going. The drop did not happen, the one that seems to come when I work alone. It’s probably happened before, but this week it was obvious.

The pursuit gives meaning, and with so many necessary jobs and “important” distractions of life, it is often justified to not have time to get to these passions. Then the momentum fades, has to be built back up, and is now on a slightly shoddier foundation. It is a balance, one that is made easier with a team.

This week the teammate stepped up and caught the ball coming down the hill. Next week (or even later today) we’ll be ready to roll.

Where Three Roads Meet

Posted on March 19, 2013

Where Three Roads meet is now up under The Cleft Way‘s production section.  REB is happy to bring another great album to its catalog.


Posted on March 15, 2013

“The albums going to be done this weekend!”

“Awesome! That’s great to hear.”

“Oh, hold on a sec, I’ve got a call on the other line…

You still there?”


“Well looks like ____ passed away, so I’ll be out of town all weekend, and the album won’t be done this weekend.”

“Aww, that’s horrible. Well do what you’ve got to do. Best of luck with the weekend. We’ll get it done in the next couple weeks.”


And that is the wispy 300 lbs defensive linemen stepping up and blocking that perfect last run. So yes true, and now the album is delayed again because of… life, I guess. It’s all good, TEE has 16 of 18 tracks that are pretty much done – one more listen through, and a bounce without compression on the master. Two more tracks to go, one of which is close to completed.

Here’s another track, maybe as an apology or maybe as more of an offering, asking for Life to give the space to finish. Savage Heart. This song explores the relationship of powerful men to their captive females, from the females’ perspective. It was originally a response to the song Man Eater by Daryl Hall & John Oates, explaining why the She is a man eater; that Man (especially those with power) has essentially made her this way through centuries of history.

Man Eater is an amazing song, but also an awesome video. 1980s as they might be remembered, with mirrors, mustaches, tight pants; angular yet smooth.