Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Interview with Laura L. Witzig, President of Synchro Multimedia Group

1) What's it like being female in a male dominated business?

That's definitely something that's been lingering in my mind for a while. I've kind of reached a point where I can say that it really doesn't matter to me anymore about gender or any other stereotypes the world may have. If there are people out there who think that such things as gender determine whether I can be a great promoter or business owner then I suppose I'll just have to prove them wrong, won't I?


2) What is it that you want to accomplish?

I believe the highest thing anyone can accomplish in life is to share and love things together with others. I suppose it would be fair to say that I don't truly know what I want to accomplish in life yet exactly, but also that I know taking a big jump is incredibly important to eventually finding that out and being successful at it. My goals through Synchro MG are comparatively less abstract though... I want to help great artists around the world accomplish things they may not otherwise have been able to do, to bring new, interesting, and intellectually stimulating arts into the spotlight in our country, and to just bring people together in general.


3) What is your game plan for 2012?

As far as my work with Synchro goes, it's tough to say right now since we will still have some continuing projects as of the end of this year. But definitely on the agenda will be another year of new events, new artists, more innovative projects, and we're really looking forward to forging more partnerships with other like-minded groups. I also have some personal things in the works, like a new line of products (it's drinkable music!) and maybe a break back into singing or modeling or something? I seem to be getting some offers latel y.


4) You work with Tensei Sugahara, what's that like?

I couldn't have asked for a more fitting example of what kind of artist I had hoped Synchro MG would end up promoting. Tensei is a greatly talented artist in many different mediums who appeals to so many different scenes and crowds. His artforms are experimental and dive into the darker side of humanity, totally bursting with emotion and spirit. He also has a solid drive to accomplish his own goals, which has helped us help him better. It has been and continues to be an enlightening experience for everyone involved in the tour project.


5) Any advice/suggestions for those wanting to take on something like you do?

If you're looking to get into the promotion industry, I can tell you first off that the most important things I've needed are passion, positivity, and perseverance. I think it's a wonderful thing when the people that promote something have some sort of soulful connection to whatever that thing is. Otherwise you get that stiff droll of someone so far removed from the situation that their message can't even translate to their audience. But the potential risk with that mindset is a loss of professional perspective... the merging of fan and industry person. Fandom is a wonderful and important phenomenon, but you don't have to be a fan of something in order to thoroughly enjoy it. So the conclusion I feel is that someone in such a position should keep their passion first, their professionalism second, and their fandoms aside from their job responsibilities.


6) You founded Synchro Multimedia Group in April 2010, what has been some of the highlights on your journey so far?

In the begin ning there was Laura, who with some enormous amount of chaotic and unbridled ambition, drowning in business textbooks, cultural study books, and case studies of the others who came before her, somehow came to settle on a set of concepts that were able to make sense to her close friends and family, who then came on board with advice and further direction. A few false starts later, through the existence of Synchro itself, she came to be acquainted with one Lucid Luminos. He filled in the gaps which made their first tour project possible... and here they are today!


7) Synchro MG helps promote international talent in the fields of art, music, fashion design, and more... who are some of your favorite artists? (From any era and any country)

Oh no, the loaded question! There are so many but I guess I should choose some, right?

For traditional art, one of my current favorites is William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and always Yoshitaka Amano. I could do with a whole house filled with huge prints of his art. I'm a big fan of old silent films and early talkies as well. In fashion I love the underground indie brands from Japan like Kikirarashoten, and with their recent appearances in the States I also got to meet the designers of my childhood favorites Atelier Pierrot and h.NAOTO. We also had Tensei do a photo shoot the other day with a San Francisco/Los Angeles based designer named Eirik Aswang who makes these phenomenal alternative fashions.

My taste in music is much broader though... I think I've spent the largest span of time in my life on Japanese music, particularly the kind of stuff that was in magazines like Shoxx or Fool's Mate in the 90s (BUCK-TICK, Guniw Tools, Plastic Tree, Malice Mizer, Kuroyume, Key Party & Matina Records, etc.). But lately my mood music has been mainly goth rock, classic alternative, shoegaze, and post-punk. Like The Chameleons, Nick Cave, The Cure, The Smiths, and I feel like Loreena McKennitt should be mentioned too. Two bands that I respect the most for very similar reasons are Thursday (from New Jersey) and D. And I can't forget my collection of opera, swing, and classical music on vinyl... those probably get the most play when I'm at home.


8) You were a staff writer, and th en soon Editor in Chief of Askew Magazine, can you share some behind the scenes insight for working Japanese music magazine?

I actually really enjoyed being a part of a magazine. It was something I had always been interested in starting myself. I was able to learn a lot about the way the publication and Japanese music industries operate, I took many lessons from my experience there, and brought them into how I run my own business. I think things could have turned out much differently if I hadn't spent that time with them, and I really am happy with where I've come to find myself now.


9) Is there a chance of Synchro MG having it's own magazine?

Among our many projects in the planning stages, we do have some in the publishing area that have been around for a while now but are lingering on the back burner. But we feel that every project has a just perfect time to blossom... I'm hoping that time is coming soon!


10) When did you become interested/involved in the Japanese music scene?

I was like many young people in the last few decades, given the opportunity by popular US media to sample some of what other countries have to offer. (Read: I watched anime blocks on TV back in the day as I'm sure many of you guys did.) Given that opportunity I rolled with it, and eventually found my way to the really good stuff. Back when I first became interested, there were very few websites... maybe a handful that offered information about the Japanese rock or visual kei scenes in E nglish. From that point I started taking in Japanese exchange students and learning the language, and eventually started searching out and contacting interesting indie bands. I would contact them for permission to post their photos and information in English about how to order their CDs and merchandise on my old website (now defunct, but amusingly called "Visual Chaos"). From there I guess I realized that what I wanted to do most in relation to these artists was to share them with people and get some sort of response from the world. Although still relatively small compared to the mainstream music scene in the US, the Japanese music scene overseas seems to have grown massively since that time. It's now possible to contact many artists even on Facebook... such a strange turn of events!


11) Tell us about your first Japanese music concert.

Wow... that would have to have been Duel Jewel and Camino at Oni-Con in 2004. It was also my first anime convention, though I really only went for the music programming that time. It was incredibly surreal to finally see the bands in person that I had been so avidly researching. It was as if something two-dimensional that had lived only on my computer screen for years had popped into shape in front of me. I think everyone must feel that way to a certain degree even now though, since it's still not very often that particular bands get to come over and play shows here in the United States.


12) What are some of the things you enjoy doing when you're not busy with Synchro MG?

Lately I feel like Synchro has consumed my own life for itself. I think I remember that I liked doing things like singing with my vocal instructor's ensembles, always learning more about music theory, going to clubs, events and concerts, playing Katamari Damacy and Ōkami, dreaming about jewelry, fashion, and interior designs, and playing with cute fluffy things such as cats. But I can't really be sure about all that while inside the belly of the whale... maybe I'll emerge after this project with some new hobbies?


13) Could you please give a closing message to the readers?

I hope you'll take a moment to take a look at what we're doing with Synchro Multimedia Group! Since a big part of the equation is to bring people new and interesting things to see, hear, and do, you won't know if you're missing out until you check it out! And to all of you who have been so supportive of us as we grow and move onto bigger and better things, you have my most heartfelt thanks.

Be sure to check out Synchro Multimedia Group on Facebook and Twitter~!


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Hi I'm Bibi, I like frills and thrills.


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