As I said last week, my plan with the Expert Fan profiles is to introduce you all, once a month, to someone I know that is a tireless supporter of indie music. These people absolutely amaze and inspire me with their levels of commitment and passion. Well, it’s March now and this next profile is extra fitting because our Expert Fan this time is John Anderson of Hunnypot Unlimited, who happens to be one of our sponsors for SXSW. Believe it or not, he enlightened me that he was one of the first people to start the ‘day party’ at SXSW and has been involved in SXSW in some capacity for more than 20 years.
I met John via the typical LA meeting, a friend of a friend; you know the drill. He and his Hunnypot crew frequented many of the same shows I was attending. John has an extensive career in Music Supervision and Music Publishing, and he is out at shows just as much as I am every week. He has an insanely eclectic taste in tunes and even hosts his own industry mixers/radio show at The Mint in LA every two weeks, in which anyone is free to attend. So, Hunnypot not only specializes in Music Publishing, but they foster a community of genuine music lovers who work in the biz.
So, John was kind enough to let me hang out with him for a bit at Hunnypot Headquarters, and I decided to ask him about how he got into Music Supervision/Publishing, who his favorite artists are, and what piece of advice he would give to indie bands trying to break into the industry. Read on, and get to know a little more about John Anderson.
Are you originally from LA?
Well, I was born in Norwalk, California, but I was raised mostly in a small town in Wyoming. Powell, Wyoming. As soon as I finished High School I ventured to LA and made my way into the music industry.
Did you come thinking you were going to be a musician or did you just want a job in music?
My dream job at that time was to be a Music Supervisor. I love music, film and television and that combination. So, I thought, “Wow, if I could figure out how to sort of get involved in this sort of world, it would be a great gig.” Geez, it took me a few years working odd jobs in LA to figure out how to get an internship at a music industry related company. I started and I met a Music Supervisor and got close to that environment. Also, at the same time, this Music Supervisor, Joel Sill, started up a Music Publishing Company called Windswept. I ended up becoming the first employee and that was my introduction to Music Publishing, which is what I developed my craft under. That’s what I really like.
Have you done any other jobs in music?
My career has mostly been focused in Music Publishing with film and TV placement for artists. Originally, I was hired as a song plugger where you’re trying to pitch songs and get cuts. Then I started doing A & R work, where I started signing my own writers and bands. Then I started doing film and TV placement work based on these great writers and bands where you’re trying to recoup your advances and break the artists. We really focused on that world. At the same time, me and a few friends decided to start our own Music Supervision themed mixer. That became the Hunnypot parties. We started doing these events about 15 years ago quarterly, then monthly, and about eight years ago it evolved into the Hunnypot Radio Show, which was weekly, and is now bi-weekly. So there are a lot of things happening under the Hunnypot brand beyond Music Publishing.
Favorite bands growing up?
I really explored all the genres of music. I loved 50’s rock n roll, rockabilly, and early punk rock like The Cramps. I think my favorite all time group would be Queen, you know big, rock, and great songs. There are so many bands I’ve connected with. I still continue to find great artists that I can connect with every week. It fuels my passion.
Best live show you have ever gone to?
There are so many. One, which is fairly recent and a group I ended up working with after I saw them, Fischerspooner. They did their notorious Coachella debut, I forget what year that was. It was a perfect capper for a great festival and a band in which I loved the single and was excited to see. I was with a bunch of friends who really didn’t know the band, but I told them we were going, so we all went and it was spectacular. We had a blast. Everything was combined just right.
Aside from the music, what makes a band great when you see them live? What do you look for?
I always look for groups who are wildly entertaining live. That helps. If I can go and I don’t really know the music, but it is a great show and I can engage with it, then I know I can bring people out to see them.
Favorite moment working in music?
So, so many. The moment I met Pete Townshend. Being able to work with Pete, going to London and spending four hours with him at his house, in his studio, going through back tapes of his old catalog. He was playing demos of “Magic Bus” and all that. Me being the man forced to put on the publisher hat had to encourage Mr. Townshend to write songs and make a new record. I worked with Lux Interior and Poison Ivy from The Cramps. Going to their house and being able to look at their collection of everything was just beautiful and fantastic. Kings of Leon, back when it was just Caleb and Nathan, they were just The Followill Brothers. Before the band formed and they made their first record, we spent a great day in Nashville hanging out and smoking a lot of weed; that was a great moment. I have 25 years of quality stories to share.
I am partial to The Mint in Los Angeles. It’s a venue that has been around since 1936. They are known for great musicians and rock, blues, soul, country and New Orleans flavored artists. It’s a great room, the sound system is fantastic, it’s just a great venue.
If you could book a dream lineup of any five bands, who would it be?
I would pick 5 current Hunnypot artists- The Dollyrots, Das Tapes, King Washington, Seven Saturdays, and Louis Prima, Jr.
Who are you listening to currently?
Definitely the ones I just said. I continue to find music across the board. I love Hip-Hop, I listen to a lot of rap. I am completely partial to songs about pussy and weed. There is a lot of great music out there. I encourage everyone to check out the playlists that we post from the radio show! Every show I pick 15 or 20 songs that I love. We archive all the shows, so you can go back and see the set, listen and see the photos.
If you could give indie bands one piece of advice, what would it be?
There are a lot of bands that approach me trying to figure out how to get into the industry and how to get noticed. I always tell them to ignore the music industry itself, focus on your fan base and your art form. Sooner or later the industry will find you. Then, you’re in a much better place to negotiate at that point.
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