Interview: Veteran musician, Marc Platt, shines new light on today’s indie music scene
Marc Platt

Singer-songwriter, Marc Platt, has been a well-known fixture of the Los Angeles music scene for nearly four decades. He began his career in 1983, taking an entry-level position at the newly formed label, Rhino Records. The job gave him an invaluable education in every aspect of the business and that same year, Platt released the debut EP of his Power Pop band, The Real Impossibles, which granted him official entry into the industry. The band immediately found its place in the LA club circuit playing shows at popular venues such as Club Lingerie, Madame Wongs, The Roxy and The Central (which later became Viper Room).  In 1986, The Real Impossibles released their second EP, Play Loud, which placed them on a few international charts and on major networks such as MTV and ESPN.  

During the 90’s, Platt formed his next successful band, Stringtown, which included violinist, Don Teschner, who eventually went on to play with Rod Stewart. Platt also eventually moved on to a successful solo career and has since released several albums such as Big City, Tambourine Alley and the upcoming, Beautiful Dreamer. His music has been also featured on several film soundtracks and popular TV shows such as "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" and "E! True Hollywood Story."

Platt has also become a renowned advocate for the new breed of indie musicians trying to break into the industry of today. In a recent interview with AXS, he sheds more insight on the factors that helped his own career path and his efforts to create more opportunities for emerging artists to showcase their talent in Los Angeles and to audiences across the globe.

AXS: What initially inspired you to become a professional musician?

Marc Platt:  Well to be honest, I initially just wanted to play the guitar because I had heard it was the best way to get girls. I started playing in 1967 and quickly discovered my true passion for music.  It actually wasn't until 1978, when I was in my first year of Journalism at San Diego State that I ended up getting a really great girlfriend.

By the next year, I formed my first band, The Impossibles, with friends Wally Giffen and Gil Ashley. My girlfriend, Jenny, did our artwork. A few years later we played our first gig at the Natural Fudge Company in Hollywood and it was enough for me to know I wanted to pursue a career in the industry. 

AXS:  The LA music scene has always been tough to break into and most people never really do.  How did you manage to do it within a few years?

Marc Platt: I started out like many other struggling musicians did back in the 80’s. I was fresh out of college and just wanted to keep working on my music and find any kind of paying job related to the industry. It took a solid three months and a strong will to turn down a few good opportunities outside of industry. But I kept looking and finally got an interview at Rhino Records, which at that time was a brand new company with only seven employees and few quirky acts nobody had heard of.  I was hired as a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy who did everything from A & R to billing to receptionist work to proofreading, and it was the best possible job I could of asked for.  They taught me everything about the music business from the ground up. How to record, press, master, distribute, market…so many valuable skills that I still use to this day.  

I was also very lucky to have people who were willing to mentor me. My boss at Rhino, Gary Stewart, was very supportive of my music and he helped me through every step of recording my first EP.  He set me up with engineer, Ethan James at Radio Tokyo in Venice, CA, which eventually became the legendary studio where The Bangles, The Long Ryders and The Three O’Clock recorded their debut records.  Once my EP was recorded and mastered, Gary gave me a press list to send out copies for reviews. My first review was from Mikal Gilmore at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He gave us an amazing review and then questioned whether  “the band" would sound nearly as good live.

Then I really started panicking when the calls started coming in. People from MCA, Island Records, Bug Music, etc..suddenly everyone wanted to see my band play live. The problem was that I didn’t even have an actual band yet, so I had to act fast. I called Probyn Gregory to be my bass player and put an ad in Music Connection, which led me to Kelly Fair and Robbie MacDonald who were both excited to be part of something that already had momentum.

The next five years completely changed my life.  We played shows and went to shows and recorded and hung out with musicians who were also my idols at the time.  I had always been a huge fan of the Plimsouls and Peter Case (the band’s front-man) basically took me under his wing and introduced me to everyone. I was making connections with legends like Elvis Costello, Peter Buck (R.E.M.), John Hiatt, Bonnie Raitt, Steve Earle, Jackson BrownT-Bone Burnett, etc.  Just being around these amazing talents was the best education for me as a musician.

AXS:  How has the industry changed over the years and how do you see it affecting today’s artists?

Marc Platt:  I think music has never been better and the talent is stronger than ever. Now we have access to three generations of music and so many different genres to draw from, and it’s given artists have a much bigger palette to paint from. Technology has also given people a lot more freedom to create their own sound.

But yeah, the industry itself has definitely changed and in many ways it’s become a lot harder for artists to break in.  The main difference is that artists have less access to major labels but it also means they have more control over their careers. So, now its up to the artists to find different ways to promote their own music and that’s exactly what I’m trying to help people do.  The advice I give everyone is to continue creating music that truly inspires you and try not to do anything with an agenda. Those are the type of artists I want to promote.

AXS: Tell about us about radiocandy.net and your Radio Candy Indie Radio Show.

Marc Platt:  One thing that hasn’t changed about the industry is the value of getting radio play and Internet radio is allowing more artists to reach bigger audiences all over the world.  But it’s still very difficult for artists to place their own music without any established contacts. I realized this back in 2011, when I started trying to get my own music placed. 

So over the last several years, I’ve managed to build a lot of contacts with indie stations all over the world and I realized there should be a service that places indie artists on indie radio stations. Artists need exposure and radio shows need content. In 2015, I created the company, radiocandy.net and have since placed a ton of artists from all over the world get on popular indie radio shows across the US, UK, Australia, Japan, South Africa, etc.

Then I was inspired to start my own radio show. A show that would just allow all artists to have a shot at getting played on the radio. The Radio Candy Indie Show has attracted a huge audience and now airs on 10 different stations around the world and features a new selection indie artists every week.  Everyone is invited to submit their music by emailing an MP3 file with their best two songs to: candyradiohitsongs@yahoo.com. I listen to all submission and then tag the artists featured each on our Facebook page. 

AXS:  You also host a lot of popular live music events for LA musicians such as the Tuesday Music Club at Social State House. Tell us about that.

Marc Platt:  In Los Angeles, open mic nights have always been the best way for artists to test out their material and also the only way for new artists to gain experience performing in front of a live audience. The Tuesday Music Club is not an open mic night, but rather a night that showcases an exclusive selection I make of local and touring acts each month.

The performers are by invitation only but the show is open to the public and free of charge. So it’s become a really popular event for people who like to get out on a Taco Tuesday and enjoy the amazing talent here in LA.  

The Tuesday Music Club is held on the first Tuesday of every month at :

State Social House 

(8782 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069)

The next event will be on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, and will feature the following artists:

Zoe Chernov 7:30 p.m.
Furious Seasons 8:00 p.m.
Dani Hagan 8:30 p.m.
Kate Copeland 9:00 p.m.
Quincy Coleman 9:30 p.m.
Ada Pasternak 10:00 p.m.

Find out about upcoming Tuesday Music Club events here.