The Euphoria of Sound: How to Rock Local in Arizona

Euphoria: {noun} a feeling of well being or elation.

Sound: {noun} mechanical radiant energy that is transmitted by longitudinal pressure waves in a material medium (such as air) and is the objective cause of hearing.

Soundphoria: The euphoria that people experience via the listening to and enjoyment of music.

I hadn’t been back to Seamus McCaffery’s in downtown Phoenix since meeting my sister’s boyfriend a while back, and my interview with Wyves, over a year ago. It is a great place to meet people. And, there is a motorcycle only parking spot directly across the street, which means even when I am running late from a new endeavor over at Saint Vincent de Paul, with Cosme (Skywalker) Durante I can still grab a parking spot downtown!

Ownership…. has its privledges

Gavin Donnelly, creator of Soundphoria, was waiting patiently under the misters outside, checking his phone. I always have to explain to folks that it is hard to give a quick courtesy call or text saying, “omw, be there in about 10 minutes” when you drive a motorcycle. Gavin didn’t seem to mind, and soon we had a table in the subdued Irish bar with an order of Irish Nachos on the way and two pints after a long day.

Sláinte!” Gavin toasted, and we clinked glasses. The nachos, potatoes loaded with all the nacho goodness, plus bacon… were delicious.  To good health indeed!  Gavin and I may have to make a revolving monthly tour of Seamus’s and Fibber’s.  It’s all about the music… and spreading the ever faithful word of…..

Pineapple does not belong on Pizza !

Ryan B. Clark: So, in short, what is Soundphoria? What is its goal?

Gavin Donnelly: Soundphoria is a word I once made up for the euphoric feeling that music gives people. The video strives to be a networking tool among bands and venues that allows a one stop forum for all information on local rock related music.

Interested in getting involved?  CONTACT SOUNDPHORIA.MEDIA@GMAIL.COM

Ryan: Is the Vlog metal/ hard rock specific?

Gavin: Although right now there is a heavy prominence of participating bands which happen to play heavier music, the platform seeks to grow to all genres of music.

Ryan: It also seems to be quite geographic, at times. I have noticed that in the Phoenix music scene in general. It seems to be quite regional. For instance, I love hard rock and metal music but going to see a show at Joe’s Grotto is about a 2 ½ hour commitment for me… just in driving. It seems that a lot of the metal in Phoenix, is on the west side… and it is not like there are not rock fans in Mesa. Sure, the East Valley has Club Red, but the point is that there are a lot of music venues in between.


Gavin: There is definitely a sense of territory in the Phoenix music scene, and Phoenix is a large metropolitan area, covering the Valley is quite a task for a local band. We like to have different bands on as a guest hosts as we feel it encourages greater cooperating and networking.

Ryan: It’s interesting that you use the word encourage? Would you care to elaborate?

Gavin: Most of it is about awareness. Artists may not be aware of resources and tools. Artists may not have contacts for certain venues. Artists may be looking to team up with other acts for shows.

Ryan: Is there also a sense of perhaps not all artists being business people? They have great ideas for songs, for creations, but not necessarily any idea how to get that work out into the world?

Gavin: There is also that, certainly. Bands also have a tendency to fall into comfort zones, it is easy to keep working with people that you know, that you have worked with before, and that you trust. Soundphoria tries to bridge that gap somewhat to allow bands to expand their network.

Ryan: Is there a promotion side to Soundphoria… do you promote and build shows?


Gavin: We stepped into the promoting side as we wanted to do our own spin on things: more video, more interviews with participating bands, and of course, as a member of a band myself, making sure that everybody gets paid. That said, it is also important to note that nobody works for free. We do not work for exposure. Exposure does not pay the electric bill, and local artists should know that as well as anybody.

Before going too much further, it certainly needs to be addressed that Soundphoria has made the great strides that it has due to the hard work Michael Quintana, Trevor Ronde, Joe Bertucci, Terry Babicz, and Matthew Miller.  Without each of these guys’ constant work getting out the flyers, making cue cards, co hosting, and just in general being Kick Ass Collaborators, there is no way we would be were we are today!

Ryan: Explain the phrase ‘participating bands’. Are there dues?

Gavin: Participating bands means…. SEND US YOUR FLIERS. No, there are not dues. All bands need to do to participate is reach out….

Ryan: So literally, there are zero downsides to reaching out and being involved with Soundphoria promotion. It is just another great way to get the word out about your projects and events to the Phoenix community.

Gavin: Absolutely. Furthermore, the goal is to grow and spread this idea into more cities and build a broader web network of bands. This allows easier touring logistics, marketing campaigns, and radio reach to multiple cities for musicians who choose to get involved! It really is a Win – Win.

Ryan:  I reached out to my ‘inside-the-biz’ informant, and sometimes partner in crime, Dani Cutler, DJ Extraordinaire at KWSS Radio to get her take on the cross pollination of music for live shows.  Her comments, as always should be taken with great weight by local artists.  Dani is one of the foot-soldiers on the ground.

Dani Cutler:  Not everyone is into many different genres nor do they want to go to a show where they are mixed. The radio gig aside, when I want to go to a show I first look for the type of music that interests me. For example, I’m not as likely to go to a show that has a metal band. Too hard for me and I’m really picky about harder rock. So as with most of these types of questions, the answer is “it depends”.

The focus should be on mixing up bands more than genres. There are more than enough bands out there, I feel if we want to grow the community, newer bands need to learn who the more well known bands are and reach out. On the other hand, established bands need to be open to putting the newer bands on their shows.

Ryan:  I think that this is incredibly important.  Sure, not every band is cross applicable to every bill, but there are an awful lot of bands in Phoenix, and a lot of these bands could create some really exciting new billings !

As an addition to this I have posted a social media poll to get people’s feedback…. BE SURE TO VOTE… and I will update this article with the DATA !!!!!

Ryan: One of the other areas I am excited to explore the possibles of is using musical promotion sites, such as Soundphoria and Keep the Greasy Side Down as well as our friends in local radio, to try to cross pollinate the regional territories in the Valley. Just recently, I went to Club Red for the Mid-Summer Throw-down, specifically to see Killing Sunday. As I mentioned previously, most of the time Frank and crew play up in Glendale, and it is quite a commitment when I work early in the morning, so taking the opportunity to see the Club Red show was a must.



Gavin: Fun band. What did you think?

Ryan: I was surprised a bit. You are right, they were a lot of fun, but I was expecting more metal. And herein lies the point. I was judging completely on social media and stereotype. Killing Sunday seemed like it fit the metal genre, and their affiliation with Soundphoria seemed to corroborate it. But as I was watching the second band, waiting for Killing Sunday to play, I was thinking okay. It’s a classic hard rock three-piece with metal hooks. Metal in the same way Metallica is metal… if you will. Not Bon Jovi, but certainly not Slayer either. Then Killing Sunday came on, with their punk infused, Sublime-esque, Red Hot Chili Peppers inspired brand of funk rock. Frank is a charismatic lead man, simultaneously channeling Flea, Maynard James Keenan, and Smeagol with a high pitched but versatile voice and some fancy guitar work. The band is garage. It is fun. It is punk rock. But it is not metal, and seemed out of place on the billing. Simply put, they seemed like they would be a hell of an addition to some of the Central Phoenix shows I have seen.

Gavin: Exactly, and it is these stereotypes that we are trying to combat. Soundphoria exists on all platforms and genres of music. All folks can relate to that euphoric sense of joy that music brings. That is the binding link to Soundphoria, not metal.

Ryan: That is really awesome, and I am not sure if it is something that is generally known. But there are some acts playing over on this East Valley circuit that are very punk infused, a bit harder edged, and I think some collaboration would be fantastic. I would love to see, say Jane n the Jungle on some harder billings. And bands like New Chums and Wyves that are just solid classic and riff rock, are fun in any crowd. Soundphoria indeed!



Gavin: Exactly! Right on.

Ryan: So, two years. Soundphoria will be celebrating two years of working in this crazy musical world here on September 1st. Tell me about Soundphoria Year Two.

Gavin: Chaos and Mayhem. It is back to back to back bands on two stages. It is going to be a hell of a night. We have Sectas, EbinezerMission G, While She Waits, Three Seconds More, Swindy, Guardians, Malo de Dentro, Indogen, and Violent Revolution!

Ryan: {Tell you what….. let’s let Gavin tell you all about it!}


Ryan: As a promoter, when you are building billings and putting together shows, what is on your mind the most? This has been working around in my head as well lately, really…. how important is uniformity in a band-list at a given show?


Gavin: I like to think about a show like a several course meal. Obviously you have your headliner, but from there, I like to build a show based on the experience as the viewer, not just from a pure tickets approach. Sometimes, you need to cleanse your pallet between performances, it makes for a better overall experience. So in that light, I think a band list needs to be crafted, with the show experience in mind, but that does not necessarily mean all the bands on the ticket are the same.

Really… in the end music fans.  Here’s the deal.  There are really great things going on in Phoenix.  Almost every single day of the week.  Indie art, is not in any way at all, a lowering of expectations.  It is a realizing that in today’s modern world, from the movie industry to the book industry to the music industry…. the fat cats only want  a sure thing.  And a sure thing does not great art make.  Keep doing you, Arizona….


And Keep the Greasy Side Down !!!!

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