Are frontmen made or born? The six members of Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers are in the perfect position to answer that question. Four of them have fronted other projects, but during the past few years they have united under first-time bandleader, Hertler, to create sublime folk tinged with Motown, funk, and pop.
Joe Hertler took the time out of his busy touring and recording schedule to discuss music, venues and the planning involved in following a dream.
BOJ: How / when did you get involved in making music?
JH: I started playing in the orchestra (stand up bass, cello, violin), I believe, in 5th grade – mostly because my parents forced me to. I was pretty horrible student, especially to my music teachers – but between them and my parents – they kept me from quitting, cause I really didn’t like it very much. I ended up getting pretty humbled as an instrumentalist at Central Michigan University and quit. Amidst my post music depression, I bought a guitar and would eventually start writing songs in college.
BOJ: What instruments do you play? Do you have a favorite?
JH: Acoustic/Electric guitar, keys, harmonica, and banjo. I like to mess around in production software and MPC hardware, too! I’d say I’m most proficient at guitar, so that’d be my favorite… haha
BOJ: When did you begin work with The Rainbow Seekers?
JH: On new years eve of 2010! We were both booked on an NYE festival (they were in a different band at the time and were playing their final show). We were all label mates at the time and were sharing a hotel. We just started jamming in the hotel and they ended up playing with me on a handful of songs. Next thing I know we were picking a band name.
BOJ: Describe your band’s sound in your own words.
JH: I can’t hear my own music subjectively, so I generally just refer to it as “Authentic Yacht Rock”… other people would say it is Indie soul, fringe pop, and folk rock.
BOJ: How often is band practice? Where does it take place? How does it function?
JH: Generally, once a week at the Rainbow Seeker Learning Center of America in Old Town, Lansing! We’re not really practicing as much right now, as we’re allocating our time to focus on recording. We’re almost done with a new record!
BOJ: What types of venues do The Rainbow Seekers play?
JH: My favorite room in Michigan is the Crofoot Ballroom. Mac’s bar in Lansing is our hometown venue. We’ve also played soldier field and just booked a show at Wings arena in Kzoo!
BOJ: What was your first show with the band like? How was that performance different from recent shows?
JH: Our first show was at Mittenfest 2010 (on NYE). We put together the set into a hotel room, so as you can imagine, it probably wasn’t very good. We weren’t being all that serious about it though, so it didn’t really matter at the time. We had a ton of fun!
BOJ: If you could grant your band 3 wishes – what would they be?
JH: For the sake of my bandmates? Lasting artistic and creative happiness, prolific, varied, and dynamic music/art careers, and – lastly – that they all produce happy, healthy families which they can support through music.
BOJ: What are your plans for future jamming? Anything to watch for specifically?
JH: We have a new record on the way! I can’t say when it’s coming out, but soon!!!
all of our shows are posted at www.joeherter.com
BOJ: What would you say to those looking to pursue a similar dream? Any tips to making a music career work?
JH: Read lots of books, take adventurous vacations (ie… not a cruise or resort), don’t be sensitive to put downs, work with musicians who you like as people, don’t be a dick, don’t hold grudges, support your local art community. Also, have a great product before releasing it, have a plan for everything, find someone to manage your finances if you’re bad with money, don’t sign contracts without someone who knows what they’re doing and can look it over, find more than one artistic medium, watch documentaries, go to the bar at least once a week, don’t abandon your old friends for music, don’t abandon your family for music, tell people that you love them (but only if you actually do) – also, make sure you have at least 10,000 hours of being average, find an agent, manager, and label that is respectful, transparent, and honest. Lastly, work harder than everyone else and invest everything you make into your project.