For almost a year now, Jeremy Larson has been the Senior Staff Write for the Consequence of Sound music blog. Recently, the writer from Whitewater, Wisconsin agreed to take time out of his day to talk a little about his experiences in the blogging world.
Q: How did you first get involved in journalism?
Larson: I was actually an acting major and I was a professional actor for a couple of years. I toured with a bunch of companies, but I stopped doing that because I sort of became disenchanted with theater and I just didn’t like it anymore. I started writing in a blog, and it was sort of just me trying to get my thoughts out about this sort of transition in my life. Then I realized if there was one passion I had that wasn’t theater, it was music. So I started writing about music and how it was affecting me and my life. I had a couple of album reviews here and there just for fun. And then I was just browsing around the internet one day and I thought, “You know what, I’m writing about music in my own blog, I might as well try to see if I can get other people to read it too.” So I submitted a bunch of applications to a bunch of blogs all around the internet, and a couple of them got back to me, including Consequence of Sound. I just kind of stumbled on it.
Q: What are some of the pros and cons of writing for a digital medium?
JL: I think advantages and disadvantages are kind of combined into one, which is speed. The advantage is that if a story breaks you can post it right away. But then the focus becomes speed and that’s not investigative journalism. With digital medium, a lot of it becomes who breaks the story first. Then it becomes how many hits you can get and that sort of thing. So it’s kind of a different type of style and different skill set. It’s a fun skill to have that’s different than investigative journalism.
Q: Any memorable CoS assignments that stick out to you?
JL: Yeah, back in the summer there was this deal that was happening between Live Nation and Ticketmaster and they merged to form one super conglomerate ticketing company. That was sort of coupled in with this story about the 9:30 club in DC trying to open up another venue that wasn’t under the offices of Live Nation. So I spent a lot of time doing that story and researching who was in the right and who was in the wrong between these two large corporations and this small rock club in DC that was just trying to stay alive and stay separated from Live Nation and Ticketmaster.
Q: What kind of music do you generally like to cover?
JL: My favorite music is lo-fi, garage stuff. I really like the Smith Westerns and I really like Yuck and Harlem. But I’ll do anything. I’ll give anything a shot. I love interviewing new bands because they’re always so eager to give interviews. And it’s really fun because they’re really passionate as opposed to bands that have been doing it for a while and have been asked every question and interviewed a thousand times.
Q: Is it ever hard to enjoy music you’re covering?
JL: Absolutely. One of my oldest favorite bands from back when I was in high school was the Decemberists, and I’ve loved them forever. So when my editor asked me “Hey, do you want to review them,” I said no. When you review an album you have to listen to it twelve to fifteen times and you can get sick of it, and sometimes you just can’t enjoy it. Sometimes things just rock and sometimes things just suck, but you can’t just say that. And that can be hard, because sometimes you just want to say that band sucked ass, or that band rocked hard. But it is a job.
Q: Any tips on breaking into the blogging world?
JL: For me, I have kind of minimal training in Journalism and writing so I feel like I’m kind of at a disadvantage. But I do read a lot. I read as much as I can. I grew up reading about music writing, and I started reading old issues of Cream or just reading books on music. You read about how people write about music and you sort of adapt your own style. And then writing every day. Just write. It doesn’t matter about what, just make sure you’re writing and writing and writing. Just get your words out there and train yourself to be able to express cohesive sentences. Also, listen to music and be aware of all sorts of art around you. Every aspect of art bleeds into each other and collaterally enhances your knowledge of other arts. So keep your eyes and ears open to any aspect of creativity.