Published on September 5th, 2012 | by TLV News0
Oxford Sessions: Keeping Local Music Alive
This article was originally published in The Local Voice #163 – September 2012
Maybe you’ve heard the buzz around town about Oxford Sessions, the newest addition to Oxford’s music scene. Founders Danny Klimetz, Gabriel Scala, Brian Flint and Tim Burkhead sat down recently to answer some questions for readers of The Local Voice about their project.
Tell us about the people involved.
There are four of us that run this crazy thing. Danny Klimetz, who had the idea to begin with, is a local photographer (Captured Photography) and he takes photos and helps Brian shoot the video. Brian Flint, of Films by Flint, is our primary videographer—he shoots and edits all the footage from each session. Tim Burkhead of Timothy Productions is our sound engineer, and he’s responsible for recording and editing the sound for each session. And Gabriel Scala, owner of Mission 66 Records, is our producer. She handles artist management and scheduling and also built and maintains the Oxford Sessions Web site.
What inspired this idea?
Danny: I found a channel on You Tube based out of London called “Watch Listen Tell” doing something very similar and a light bulb just kind of went off. I knew this would be a perfect concept for Oxford. We have such a vibrant music scene that I don’t think a lot of Oxfordians realize or appreciate. I hope that with Oxford Sessions we are able to connect new fans with local artists they might never have discovered otherwise.
Why are you doing the sessions? What’s it all about?
Gabriel: For me, it’s about bringing wider exposure to the artists that are either from Oxford or, for one reason or another, make their way through our little southern town. I’ve been involved in the music industry since the late 90s, and I’ve seen a lot of really talented artists get completely overlooked simply because of a lack of exposure or resources. Oxford Sessions exists, in my mind, solely to put a spotlight on both the talent that resides here and on the town itself. Oxford has long been well known and respected as a literary town; I’d like the world to see it as the music town it also is.
Brian: I grew up in a musical household and have been involved with creating music my entire life. My creative works have recently drifted toward the visual side of things with mostly weddings and commercial work, but I didn’t have any “personal” projects. So, when Gabriel and Danny approached me about getting involved with Oxford Sessions, without hesitation I said a big YES! I just love that my love for filmmaking and music are colliding. And to echo what Gabriel said, it really is all about giving the local artists a voice.
Tim: I agree with Gabriel. I think Oxford is as much a music town as it is a literary town. Being a part of the music scene over the last few years has given me the chance to experience the high times of the scene, when people would come out to see you just out of curiosity, and the low times, when national acts could only pull a handful of people. We are certainly climbing back to the place we used to be in with an increase of local talent that spans from country artists to indie rockers to hip-hop troops. I look at Oxford Sessions as a chance to highlight this talent as well as those who back them.
Which artists have you worked with so far?
Gabriel: Mostly local artists at this point: Zechariah Lloyd, Bill Perry, The Cooters, Alex Hardberger, Harpo, One Mile South, Andrew Yurkow, Ciera Ouellette, Gina Sexton, and Johnny Blackthorn. We had the opportunity to shoot Bat-Or Kalo, an Israeli blues artist from NYC, when she was here for the Oxford Blues Festival. Next week we’re shooting Ricky Burkhead and Robert Earl Reed.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
Danny: We hope to showcase all kinds of talent with Oxford Sessions and not just one type of style or genre of music. The musicians we have worked with so far have set the bar very very high! Some of them I have heard before and a few were brand new to me. I have been blown away after every session. I really can’t wait to see who we discover next!
Gabriel: There are several musicians we’ve reached out to and plan to record in the future like Jimbo Mathus, Effie Burt, and The Holy Ghost Electric Show. We also had Adventure Gallery out of Portland, Oregon, on the lineup, but they unfortunately had to cancel the part of their tour that was bringing them through Oxford. Musicians who are interested in being featured can also send us a request through the oxfordsessions.com website.
Will the sessions mostly be viewed online, or are you planning on hosting live events locally?
Danny: Right now, Oxford Sessions is mainly focused on bringing video recordings that will just be viewed online through our website, as well as Youtube and Vimeo. We are hoping to submit some videos to the Oxford Film Fest, and are in discussions on having a feature during the festival playing between films. You never know where the future might take us!