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Luke Allen takes over the OC Music Awards
Luke Allen already got praise from the Weekly for running 2007’s Best 24-Hour Lockout—also known as Gemini Studios, sometime home of such supercharged screamers as Thrice, Atreyu and Saosin. But now he’s got a gigantic new project: He’s taking over the OC Music Awards (originally helmed by Martin Brown) and hoping to give local musicians another way to get noticed.
Now that you’re in charge of the OC Music Awards, do you feel you hold the ultimate power in OC music?
Not at all, man! I’m just trying to help. That all lies in the hands of the musicians making the music. I’d like to find a way for people to bridge the gap from “decent band” to the next level in OC. There’s a big disconnect. Most bands, once they get to a certain point, feel compelled to go to LA. But with the record industry the way it is, you don’t have to do that like you did five years ago. You can put together your own tours and do incredible things on MySpace and ReverbNation—really make noise in a local town and broadcast that noise via the Net, worldwide.
What qualities common to OC musicians do you think most deserve awards?
There’s a lot of cool stuff happening. The screamo/emo/hardcore stuff—with Thrice and Atreyu—the scene is now branching off into more of an eclectic pop/indie/dance-y kind of feel. In OC, you have many different cultural aspects coming together—very conservative and very liberal—all sort of mashed up, and everyone is trying to do something. Make a name and make their own noise.
What do you think is most unique to OC music?
There’s a big opportunity for OC musicians to branch into surf/skate/bike/snowboard action sports. Every company that has anything to do with alternative music on an action-sports level is in OC, and bands who are looking for resources will find them right at home. Bands are doing shows with brands like Ezekiel. Saosin is doing stuff with Hurley. People are getting connected to how we can combine the soundtrack to all these alternative lifestyles and make opportunities out of that.
Was it hard to part with the guitar you donated to Mike Ness to sign and auction off for [anti-homelessness organization] Mercy House?
It was a bit hard, man! It wasn’t a very expensive guitar, but it was the guitar I did my initial sort of music with—that I played in my pop-punk band at Chain Reaction back in the day. So it meant a lot! I probably strummed “Story of My Life” a few times on it! But it was a good opportunity to meet Mike Ness and see a crazy Social Distortion acoustic set.
What’s your favorite band to eavesdrop on when they’re rehearsing at Gemini?
I remember eavesdropping on Thrice when they were writing The Artist In the Ambulance, when they were starting to cover “Eleanor Rigby.” That was insane! I definitely remember times I’d go in to paint a room and have my iPod, and I’d walk in and Atreyu would be playing—“Well, I don’t need my iPod today!” Right now, I like Dolphin City—kind of art rock, sort of like Talking Heads. And the Jakes, a younger band, but on the move up. And Halos and the Color Turning. Some good bands I get to listen to!
What was your own music like?
Nothing really fabulous to speak of. I got some acoustic songs. I used to be in a pop-punk band—Barely Legal. My high school band.
Did you have trouble getting a website?
Funny story—our drummer’s mom was a grade-school teacher, and she pulled up our website for her class. But she forgot to put barelylegaldot.com, which was our site, and she pulled up [porn site] ?barelylegal.com. She got a few phone calls from parents! But that was a high-school thing. Since then, I haven’t been in a band. I’ve been trying to get Gemini going, and then the OCMA opportunity came along, and that fit with the whole direction of trying to make opportunities happen for musicians. In the future, who knows what will happen? Hopefully, OC will become the next thriving music scene. Hopefully, the country will look to OC for the next big sound.
The OCMA Showcase Shows begin Jan. 6 and run every Tuesday until the end of February. Finals will be in March, and the awards show will be April 4. Complete information at www.ocmusicawards.com. Visit Gemini Studios at www.geministudios.com. Contact Luke Allen at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.