you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

03 December 2010

Music Resource Exclusive: Interview with Ryan L Abato of I Am The Programmer.

First thing's first: If you aren't already a member of Facebook's best group and resource for good music, I Am The Programmer, then go here NOW and become a member. There. That's better.

Now, while I prefer to allow Ryan L Abato explain his business, IATP (which includes a Facebook group, radio program, events with musicians, and an online store that sells exclusive merchandise, such as signed CDs and the like) in his own words in the interview below, I do want to speak for a moment about why Danny and I support IATP so much, and why in turn IATP is a When The Sun Hits supporter.

Ryan, Danny and I actually met on IATP when it had just been born, at the beginning of this year. Unsurprisingly, even before the blog, Danny and I mainly used Facebook to learn about and tell others about good music - exposure and discovery have always been our top priorities. Danny and I, sharing the same love of the shoegaze/dream pop genre, soon became the "resident gazers" on IATP and became fast friends (yes, sometimes it IS possible to make real friends on the internet). The IATP group page is a collective of amazing people (almost 5,000 of us now) with incredible and varied music tastes who are of like minds - we all want to share new music, celebrate the older stuff, and discuss it - only the best of the best, mind you. We aren't posting WHAM! videos and having discussions about them.

Sometime over the summer, Danny and I decided we wanted to take our enthusiasm of the shoegaze/dream pop genre further with a blog about that specifically, and so When The Sun Hits was born out of the minds of two friends who found one another through the amazing musical resource that is IATP. Furthermore, IATP & When The Sun Hits want to pool our collective resources and knowledge to help artists get more recognition, expose people to good music, and in general be stellar musical resources on as many levels as possible. You'll notice that though our vehicles for doing this differ, IATP & WTSH work together on many projects and do many things collectively, because our goals are essentially the same.

Ryan, Danny and I do all of this because of one reason: We love music and we want to share it with the world. With that being said, When The Sun Hits is proud to feature this interview with our good friend Ryan L Abato, owner and creator of I Am The Programmer.

1. Can you tell us a little about I Am The Programmer and how it works? How did IATP get it's start?

IATP is a big PR vehicle for all music that fits my brain's format, which evidently fits many people's musical fancy. The hard facts are: members post their favourite videos on the group page and people express enthusiasm. There are also events, the IATP Radio Program and the website IATP Altitudes.

It started when I was a kid making mix tapes for strangers and would get real "likes" and comments. My stepfather was a Program Director at a radio station. Before my mother and him met when I was 8, I had a very interesting ear for music. I still liked ridiculous music you couldn't pay me to listen to now, but there was this room at their radio station filled with current promotional albums they would never use. I would take home 50 albums at a time and play them before going to sleep. Many nights, they'd keep me up. I was the only kid in my classes with dark circles under my eyes trying to finish my homework at 5 in the morning, because of music and Showtime After Dark (remember that arty porn crack?).

2. IATP regularly holds video events on Facebook, many of which have been shoegaze/dream pop artists. Tell us a little about how those events work and who you've worked with on these events.

Simply, the artist comes on to IATP and posts 20 songs/videos that have inspired them as a musician. Actually, it does not even need to be songs. I am looking for the influences that connect us to these sounds they seem to effortlessly make. Liner Notes are a fascination of mine, so the insight has been great. Members of Programmer feel the same way. So, we had just brought on Chapterhouse - coming up is Emma Anderson from Lush/Sing Sing. More past artists David J (Bauhaus/Love & Rockets), Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins), Ingrid Chavez, Jason Falkner, Eric Matthews, the Depreciation Guild, Roger Joseph Manning, Fred Schneider...

3. IATP Altitudes, the website. Can you talk a little about that aspect of your company and what Altitudes has to offer?

First, I love that my server provider sends me solicitation to optimize my rank on the net. IATP Altitudes is for the fans of I Am The Programmer. In coordination with our events and radio program which this month is going to iTunes, there is a store where you can purchase limited and personally signed items from those artists who are working with us. It does well. There are also links to places we support. As for the rest of the website, I choose to open "windows" when the time is appropriate. The one in progress currently which I was reluctant to create is "About Us". IATP and my persona are almost too chameleon-like in real life, but I will do it in 2011 to affirm vision for all parties looking for more information.

SIGNED copies of Chapterhouse's Blood Music.
Available on
IATP Altitudes.

4. Since working closely with IATP for the past few months, When The Sun Hits is more than aware that you have a special place in your heart for the genres of shoegaze/dream pop and their derivatives. Which bands that fall under that umbrella were most influential to you in your youth?

The Jesus & Mary Chain, Pale Saints, Ride, Lush, Chapterhouse, Catherine Wheel, Moose and Adorable. If some of you count Ultra Vivid Scene in this bet. I think there are a lot of artists that nailed dream pop in a period of their career, but can be classified into another genre. For example The House Of Love and The Ocean Blue. Oh! How I looovvve Frazier Chorus.

SIGNED copies of Highspire's Aquatic.
Available on IATP Altitudes.

5. How do you feel about modern shoegaze/dream pop acts? Any favourites?

There has never been genres more shortchanged than shoegaze and dream pop. I am enthralled with many of the new currents : Soundpool (there is no god if this band doesn't break a wider audience), Highspire, A Place To Bury Strangers, Film School, Dead Leaf Echo, the Depreciation Guild, Tears Run Rings, Me You Us Them, Engineers, Crocodiles, SPC ECO, BRMC, etc. I can do this all day.

SIGNED copies of Simon Raymonde's (of Cocteau Twins) Blame Some.
Available on IATP Altitudes.

6. You mentioned recently that in 2011, IATP will be going through quite a few changes and upgrades. Tell us a little about those.

Sure. I feel to grow IATP in the right direction, partnering with the right labels will ensure goals to be met at a faster speed, building their brand and portfolio in the process. So, in 2011, Monday through Friday on Facebook will be for label admins to post their artists' songs and videos. The weekend however is back to the supporters. I will be looking to receive more music than ever by unsigned artists who are looking for distribution. Myself and Bee Round (my right hand) will be the advocate on the page for those artists. There are absolutely no guarantees, but if we feel the music is that impactful to both us and the supporters, then we'd like to put in a little effort to stamp things with our approval.

And let me just say something because I walk around with it everyday...We have ALL ruined the music industry. Corporate greed is the genesis, and illegal downloading is revelation. Support the artists you love by purchasing the music. Barely anything is on labels that I hate these days, so really - there is no excuse. I love the new Mark Ronson and yes...I love Duran Duran and will purchase Sony products too. I'm very particular about this, because you can't really expect the band to stay around without making money. Hell, buy a shirt if you go that route. Be a billboard. That is what IATP really is and in 2011, people will see the next wave of standards in the industry.

SIGNED (by both Emma & Miki) copies of Lush's Lovelife.
Available on IATP Altitudes.

7. Within the genres of shoegaze and dream pop, can you name a few dream artists you'd love to have host IATP events?

There are too many to mention due to my completist heart !

8. Between When The Sun Hits and I Am The Programmer alliance, there is so much we can do as a unit to help support artists and bring new music to people. What are your hopes for our union?

Our union is to ensure that we both continue and reinforce our thoroughness within the genres appreciated, and to bring forth the music that makes sense in our format to the listeners. There is a lot of responsibility that comes along with this statement, but it is the grand design and will be accomplished, spoonful of sugar or without.

SIGNED copies of The Depreciation Guild's Spirit Youth.
Available on IATP Altitudes.

9. What are your main goals for I Am The Programmer? What do you envision happening for IATP a year from now?

I envision a major growth in numbers and will campaign branding the lifestyle. I want an IATP keychain free in every box of Frosted Flakes. Does this mean I want to be mainstream? Absolutely! How do we make careers without opening the forum? We are here to convert the sick - to save the ears of Dave Matthews listeners everywhere. He's soulless, the anti-christ and yet THAT makes a dent. To imagine him high on the hog while Highspire is struggling...just a bad joke. In one year, IATP has built an environment that people believe in - the numbers are my goal - to keep them up and interested.

10. What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?

If you are fortunate enough to have two good legs, sprint. The hare was shortchanged and I almost ran over a tortoise yesterday.

Upcoming IATP Event: Lush's Emma Anderson posts her favourite videos on IATP.

Time: Wednesday, December 8 · 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: The IATP group on Facebook

To join this special flight, become a member of IATP on Facebook. I Am The Programmer is the definitive source for quality indie music. Be sure to check out our radio programs and everyday fare.

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