We had the good fortune of connecting with Gregg Oliver and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gregg, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started looking for musicians that were NOT typical musicians. A band is a partnership with members bringing an aggregate of all they things they love about the art. Hopefully, they have a few things in common and LOTS of differences too, in order to produce a unique sound. I think that there is an audience for nearly any kind of music you can think of, so we might as well make our own blend, and FIND the people that identify with it. Of those musicians, I looked for good business partners. To me that meant, 1) committed and eager to put in the work needed to realize the opportunity, 2) curious as to what we could make together and willing to criticize and be criticized until we created something that met our standards, and 3) able to do MANY things that are not related to playing their instrument or writing songs. There are SO MANY things you have to do that are critical to running a business that are not related to creating the product… marketing, finance, sales, network building, social media management, equipment management, and facilities are typical for any small business. In a music business, you not only have to write and record songs but also need to be able to produce recordings and video, you need to be able to operate sound equipment and lighting, and in 202 with all the venues shut down, you need to learn how to provide public entertainment without a venue! That has been a challenge met with Live Streaming. So ALL three band members in The Serenade have to be motivated enough to quickly learn and adequately perform new tasks which means working together well, maintaining shared standards, and having empathy.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The music that The Serenade produces comes from our common foundation (we all particularly respect The Beatles catalog) and our different influences. Tyler (guitar, keys, and vocals) is greatly influenced by John Mayer, Dave Matthews, or Jack Johnson and has blended their styles (along with others into something very unique, I am influenced by more progressive sounds like Yes and Peter Gabriel, Chas (the drummer) is a fan of rock and also influenced by jazz like Brubeck or Return to Forever. Additionally, because our format is a trio, we use the sound of other trios like Cream, The Police, or The Jimi Hendrix Experience to shape the way we imagine the songs sounding in the end, but even so, they still sound like only us. I hope I can say that…LOL. The fullness of what we do, the depth of Tyler’s expression over what we are playing together is part of what makes us unique, but there’s more… some kind of alchemy that you hear if you listen to our songs (for free, On SoundCloud,com). Achieving a level of success as a musician is not easy. I figured out that if I got as good technically as i could, it still wouldn’t be enough. The Serenade strives to be the “easiest band to work with in the world”. People LOVE having us back. Our brand is about being original, honest, and accessible. We attract a crowd that like us for having no pretense or artifice. We really love the kind of fans we get.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m very grateful to the many musicians and entertainment managers I’ve worked with that have shown me what to do (and what not to do) in order to run a band and interface with music customers (fans, venue owners, promoters, radio stations, and the media) but four specifically come to mind: The TAMA Band in Truckee California in the 90’s – We were a 40 piece “ensemble” of musicians that played big non-profit shows to to entertain the community and support local area causes. The leaders of that group (from my perspective – everyone had responsibilities because it was a huge effort managing that many players). Joe Dollister was certainly a musical and leadership mentor to me, as was Merri McKee. Both are accomplished players and i respect them both very much. The other name that comes to mind is San Diego local Kristina Beth Vinas from Studio CCMA. She and her partner Rodney Elliot (at Silver Tiger Productions) have given The Serenade SO much mentoring, encouragement, and friendship that we greatly appreciate. You can’t receive the kind of help I’ve been given and not be grateful to a long list of people, but Joe, Merri, Beth, and Rodney top my list. Honorable mention to Tyler Benson, though – he is the front man and lead songwriter in The Serenade, and every song he brings to us is a gift.
Other: ReverbNation@ https://www.reverbnation.com/theserenade BandsInTown@ https://www.bandsintown.com/a/15463211-the-serenade-(san-diego)