When it comes to being a musician, presentation is everything—the right web site, a perfect cover art for the CD, and even the right video.
Big Old Big One (BOBO), launched by Eran Shaysh and Daniel Perry, looks to provide high-quality videos for local artists. The videos are shot in a setting selected by the artist, giving fans a look at the faces behind the music, and giving the performers a new way to present themselves to the public.
The site has featured numerous local artists, including Will Dailey, Sarah Blacker, and Mark Lipman. Shaysh, a percussionist who has played with musicians such as Brothers McCann and Sarah Blacker, sits in on the video to play with the artist.
Noise: What’s the origin of Big Old Big One?
Eran Shaysh: When we started BOBO—and I say we because I’m one half of BOBO, the other half is Daniel Perry—the idea came from a really deep place in my heart. There’s a lot of musicians I’ve met from playing shows all over the last three and a half years, and the most common question asked is, “What do you have online for presentation?” Most of them have the same answer: “We don’t have anything on YouTube, any cool videos.”
I’ll be like, well, if you really expect to sell your music or your product, you have to have some presentation to people online to make them come to shows, make them buy CDs. I was thinking for a long time, how could I help these people, that’s where it all started. After my old band, Brothers McCann, broke up, I decided I want to play with everybody and somehow help them make nice videos. That’s where it pretty much started, get the good word out. From Daniel’s perspective, he’s an incredible producer, a ridiculous producer. He’s doing the video, he’s doing the audio, he’s doing everything and that’s a great showcase for him. I really believe in accessibility for people. Nowadays you need to put yourself out there, people want to see that. You’re competing with everyone else out there. I feel like it makes people work harder and I’m all about that.
We (Daniel and I) are like yin and yang. I’m doing all the booking, all the promotion online, and all the playing, and he does all the editing and the video/audio and all the technical side. I love working with him.
Noise: How do you find the artists that you’ve worked with on BOBO?
Eran: So it started with the artists that I knew of originally. I knew them and most of them didn’t have videos online. I can definitely can say I was obsessed with all their music. Nowadays, we have a page where you can submit your application on Sonicbids, it’s been really helpful for us finding great bands. We’re just trying to put our name out there. Our goal is to get to bigger musicians, to collaborate with them.
Right now most of the acts are solo, just because of the nature of things, but honestly I would love to have some more rockish artists, collaborate with cool bands as well. The only thing about BOBO that I restrict is I want to be on there as well. In some ways, it’s my experience playing with those people, and I’m giving those artists a lot of myself, just for the opportunity to play with them.
Noise: How do you find the locations for these videos?
Eran: One of the things I tell the artist, if they have a special location off-stage, the one place that means something to you, you’d like your crowd to know of that stage in that environment, let us know and we can make that dream come true. But other than that, the locations that me and Daniel are finding around town, beautiful locations, churches, great places. Some of it is the artists, like Sarah (Blacker). She has a vision of her, we made it happen. Some of it is just traveling and finding beautiful places that inspire me.
Noise: What is the filming process?
Eran: We’ll get our location, bring our recorder out there. Most of the time I ask for the musicians to send me their tunes ahead of time so I can learn it. But sometimes it’s about the improvisation of the moment. They’re not perfect—I’d say they’re perfectly imperfect.
That’s the beauty of it—we’ll go to a location and they’ll start to play and Daniel has his beautiful camera. The one thing I love to say to performers is the camera is not here, don’t even think about the camera, try to enjoy the experience right now and what’s happening, try to be in your own zone and your own location.
Noise: There was a time when music videos were common. Has this passed?
Eran: Absolutely not, it’s coming back even better. In my opinion, and I’m just one person, I like the imperfect. When I’m looking at the video, and hearing a drum roll that doesn’t fit perfectly, that’s what I get excited about. One of the artists I’ve worked with, he said it nicely, it’s all about the imperfections, it’s what happens in the moment. Nothing in nature is perfect. There’s nothing perfect out there, just do your thing.
Noise: What does a music video add to an artist’s repertoire?
Eran: They say one picture is worth a thousand words. I say one video is worth a million, and I think that honestly, after playing for the last four years in the U.S. and my whole life in Israel, I think the music has shifted. Rather than buying whole CDs, people are buying singles. When you ask people where they watch music, they’re more likely to say YouTube. So, I feel like it’s going to be harder for me to reach people, because that’s where I’m taking my new business.
A good video is just another dimension. Another dimension of what the artist envisioned when they wrote that song. I think it makes the artist more accessible. It makes it more fun. More interactive in our brain. It’s such a beautiful collaboration with the song. You have to have a good CD, a good video clip, you bring the intensity, the authenticity to your crowd, you make them be a part of it.
Noise: Does the large amount of videos seen on sites like YouTube push you to do a better job?
Eran: I am a sucker for nice quality stuff, so if I can bring the stripped-down thing to a nice, quality video, I’m happy. Who doesn’t like to see something that looks and sounds nice? If you respect yourself, people will respect you. It’s the way you carry yourself. If people don’t respect themselves, they won’t carry themselves well. I really hope those videos we make can help the artists. One of the things I tell the artists is take it and use it for your own promotion.
Noise: From what I see in the videos, you’re no stranger to the stage. What’s your musical background?
Eran: I came here (to Boston) when I was 20 years old. I went to Berklee. Maybe six months after I came here I met these guys, Mike McCann and Pat McCann and Daniel. We formed a band called the Brothers McCann and Mike and Pat wrote all the music. After a couple months of touring with them, Eric White joined us and the five of us did everything we could in New England, every week playing two to three shows, worked really hard. We released this one CD called Different Colors.
I just hung out with the right people, they taught me everything I know. They were incredible and I love them dearly. After four years of doing that we figured out, each of us had their own different beliefs and we ended on the best terms ever. We’re still best buddies. And now I’m playing with Sarah (Blacker), that has been an incredible experience. We met at a show at the Lizard Lounge. I asked if she needed a drummer and she said yes, and I learned a bunch of her tunes. Ever since then we’ve been playing together. I’ve been meeting so many people over the last four years. Berklee taught me all the professional stuff. It’s good to know all the perspectives. The experience of hanging out with all these characters, I’m in awe of that.
Noise: Where is BOBO going from here?
Eran: What we hope to do is collaborate with bigger artists. Some of the artists are Ingrid Michaelson, we’d love to have The Low Anthem. I would love to collaborate with people that inspire me. A lot of people contact me on Facebook or Sonicbids. I’m really looking at how they work for themselves. I want to make sure that when I help someone they will be able to help me as well, promote it (Big Old Big One). If you help me promote this, you help the other artists promote their stuff. Help everybody—that’s the philosophy of BOBO.
Learn more about Big Old Big One at www.bigoldbigone.com.