If the team behind Seattle Music TV has its way, before long we all may view the local music scene differently.
Scott Mckinley, David Reigns and Casey Sjogren — along with an ever-growing cadre of audio engineers, video personnel and other supporters with a variety of talents — are leading the charge for SMTV, a project whose goal is to sing the praises of Seattle musicians far and wide.
“The function of Seattle Music TV is to support Seattle,” Mckinley said.
At Robert Lang Studios, a renowned Shoreline recording facility that has played host to some of music’s biggest names since 1974, work is under way at a furious pace.
The studio's interior is being transformed, as construction crews turn an old indoor basketball court into a television facility. The studio will be the new home to a piece of Seattle history: the stage from much-loved Easy Street Records’ Queen Anne location, which closed up shop in January to make way for a branch bank.
“I wanted it to be known that we were going to keep the history and energy from that stage somewhere special,” Mckinley said.
To start, SMTV plans to produce one 24-minute episode every two months, each focusing on a local band. Nineteen of the 24 minutes will be devoted to interviews and background; each band will perform a full song at the end. Alternative rock trio BlackBeatBlue is scheduled for the premiere episode, whose release is still a good six to eight weeks out.
Also in the works are 10-minute webisodes, which are intended to spotlight the many national touring acts that come through town. Mckinley hopes the webisodes can help fill a role that the Queen Anne Easy Street in-store performances played, allowing musicians to showcase a few songs and generate buzz for their concerts. (Easy Street in West Seattle still hosts in-store performances on occasion.)
The webisodes are also an opportunity for fans to get some intel on their favorite national bands. Like, says Mckinley, “why they came here and why they picked the venue they played at. Where do they go eat when they’re in Seattle? What do they like about Seattle? It’s all about Seattle.”
The webisodes also will generate interest in SMTV while the full episodes are being produced. Washington-based music festivals such as Sasquatch and Bumbershoot should prove fertile ground for interview opportunities with well-known musicians.
How exactly SMTV will distribute its videos is still under discussion. SMTV could use its YouTube channel, its website (currently under construction) or a TV network. The principals have been in talks with several networks, which they declined to name.
Mckinley said that the first five episodes will be available only online, “because we want to build a grassroots network of fans before we try to shop it around.” Best case scenario? SMTV videos become part of an on-demand library, perhaps through a cable provider or a national service like Netflix. That way, says Mckinley, “it can be synched on an Xbox to somebody’s TV anywhere in the country.”
All three SMTV principals are transplants to Seattle. Mckinley moved here about eight years ago after formative years spent all over the world in an Air Force family. He honed his networking skills as a top salesman for Verizon Wireless for seven years. In 2010 he bought a still camera and started shooting concerts. That led to Seattle Music Photography, which he built into a successful operation. He also started his own record label (CaviGold), manages bands (including Lacero), promotes shows and has quickly become a major player in the local scene.
Sjogren is from Oregon and also has been in Seattle about eight years. He met Mckinley at Verizon where he, too, was a sales rep. A respected videographer and director, Sjorgen has shot everything from weddings to music videos.
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