Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Green Light Go Interview

Published in Blog. Tags: .

Green Light Go Interview

Chris DeLine of Culture Bully makes you both laugh and really, really think about the world of online journalism and the serious impact it has on the way bands market themselves. But then he flips the fun switch on again when he says something totally out there (read question #8 for instance) that reminds us why we love working with bloggers. Online critics love music just as much as we do, and it’s great when they have that balance of a sense of humor and seriousness and professionalism of it all. Culture Bully covers folk, hip-hop, electronic, everything, really. Major label superstars and indie underdogs. As to what Culture Bully likes to cover, DeLine said, “…if it sounds good to me, I like it. That said, if it ever comes to the point where Culture Bully is rocking some Seether on the reg, I would sincerely hope someone smacks me around with a tube sock full of batteries until I come to my senses.”

Music Monday Q&A

1. How long has Culture Bully been operating?

1,970 days as of August 23 2010.

2. What makes Culture Bully different from other websites?

It’s the only site to be a) called “Culture Bully,” and b) be 100% fully endorsed by me: Chris DeLine. I’d like to make it clear that I, in no way, stand behind the sub-par Culture Bully Español knock-off.. But if you’re looking for an actual example of competitive edge… I can’t think of another site that recently featured new music videos by Scissor Sisters, Behemoth, RZA and Joanna Newsom in the same day. So I’ve got that goin’ for me.

3. Do you think Culture Bully has a specific musical niche?

(See: Behemoth & Scissor Sisters.) I was genuinely mulling this over about a week ago. To some degree I know the site alienates a lot of people because it’s all over the place—too all over the place, even. But I’d rather go that route than try to pick a single genre, or sub-genre, and focus solely on that. It just doesn’t seem like it’d be as much fun. I mean, at this moment there’s stuff on the main page focusing on everything from heavy metal to hip-hop… Actually, come to think of it, there’s a common denominator there: tight jeans. Maybe the site does have a niche and I just never realized it.

4. What albums are you looking forward to coming out?

Grinderman, Robyn, Kanye West… but there’s an impossible amount of music to listen to that’s released every day, so it’s not like I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for anything to reach my ears. Each day offers a new surprise in that regard.

5. How does Culture Bully support independent music and what’s important about doing so?

I’m probably not the best guy to stand up and wave the indie-music flag, and I’m not even sure that I know what it means to truly support independent music. Is there a sticker, like the “I Voted” stickers you get during elections, that says “I support indie music?” Just like major labels, much independent music is so ridiculously god-awful to the point that I don’t think I could wear the sticker in good conscious, if there was one. I had a friend in university who liked bands along the lines of Seether and Nickelback and whatnot, and when I would push him to qualify why exactly he likes that stuff when the options are limitless of what you can listen to he gave me a response along the lines of, “If it sounds good to me, I like it.” To some degree I’ve grown in a similar direction. Ten years ago I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to pop music, and the vast majority of rap made no sense to me. (Sidebar: not Wu-Tang though, them shits was tight even when I was in junior high, son.) But once you open your ears and let down your guard a little bit, life becomes more enjoyable; same holds true for music. I don’t have much interest in ignoring major label music or specifically focusing on independent music just for the sake of doing so: if it sounds good to me, I like it. That said, if it ever comes to the point where Culture Bully is rocking some Seether on the reg, I would sincerely hope someone smacks me around with a tube sock full of batteries until I come to my senses.

6. Do you think online publications are taking precedence over print magazine? What kind of effect do you think that has on bands?

I guess the only way to know for sure would be to look at circulation statistics or earnings statements of the individual publishers to know if they’re getting their asses handed to them financially. If they are, then I suppose you could draw the conclusion that the online world has taken over. Until then, though, I’d have to say no: I mean, until Pitchfork can move a couple hundred thousand issues of a print magazine every month, it’s still just a website. There’s still a market for print, and there will be one for the foreseeable future, but yeah, the shift toward digital publishing is eating up more and more of the pie as each year passes. There are certainly exceptions, but I still don’t think the online world takes precedent quite yet. If your band gets a feature printed in some zine like NME, I’m still thinking that it means a whole lot more than getting a blog post on Stereogum (for example).

As far as bands are concerned, as the music blogosphere/world of online music publications continues to expand there becomes more opportunities to be featured somewhere on the Internet. Honestly, I love the idea that there are thousands and thousands of music blogs—so many that the idea of actually figuring out a ballpark figure is staggering—but the flip side is that there are thousands and thousands of music blogs. It becomes a blur after a while and unless you really connect with some site in particular as a reader—whether you like a blog’s style, content, or are simply a fan of their niche—chances are that vast majority of everything that’s out there is going to be overlooked anyways. So in the end, I’m not sure that it means that there are any more honest opportunities for bands now that there’s a balance between print and online than there was when print dominated. It just means that the way bands have to market themselves is changing… but that’s an entirely separate discussion for another time.

7. What blogs/magazines do you read other than your own?

Honestly, I pay more attention to Twitter and digg-ish aggregators than individual sites for the most part. But, as far as music sites are concerned, I check out arm’s length-list that’s featured on my links page fairly regularly. I’ve been enjoying more dance/electronic sites as of the late, for whatever that’s worth. Non-music: Mashable, Cracked… Like I said though, on the whole I just go where the Internet leads me. It’s a trying mistress at times, but one that typically treats me right in the end.

8. What has been your most definitive moment since you started Culture Bully?

This interview… or the time I got a cease and desist order from Axl Rose’s lawyers… or both. It’s hard to say.

9. If you could interview any musician/band (dead or alive) who would it be?

The thing about interviews is that they’re pretty much forced conversations between strangers. I don’t know that you can expect too much from anyone you haven’t really met before, especially considering the typical amount of time it takes to simply crack the ice with someone. The more you think about it, the more awkward the idea seems. That said…

Dead: I would like to hang out with Jimi Hendrix for a while. I think I could’ve learned a few things about partying from that cat.

Alive: I think Neil Young would have a few words that would help me gain some insight into life. The man’s smart, and having lived through what he has, I can’t imagine him not having a few amazing revelations just waiting to roll off his tongue. And if all else fails, we could just talk about hockey… though I honestly wouldn’t mind just hanging out in awkward silence with the guy; seems like that’d make for a pretty great story to tell someone else’s grandchildren.

10. If you could be in any band (of all time), who would you rock with?

I’ve never really wanted to be in a band. Sure, daydreams here and there, but I’ve never really wanted it. I’d much rather tour with a team of skateboarders, the Harlem Globetrotters, or even the Jackass crew. Actually, especially the Jackass guys: they’re kind of like a band when you think about it. And I know Chris Pontius can actually jam a little bit. In the event someone has the power to make this happen holler at me, seriously—I’d jump at the chance to intern for their website or something. I’m pretty flexible and have already moved three times across two countries this year, so I have no qualms with picking up shop at a moment’s notice. Please America, help show the rest of the world that dreams can come true!

[This article was originally published by Green Light Go.]