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Neil Burkdoll – Photo Credit: Neil Burkedoll
By Deborah Sexton
For fans of shoegaze and dream pop, there are not a lot of media outlets that focus on only this genre of music. There is DKFM, a radio station that only plays shoegaze/dream pop. There are lots of Facebook devoted groups, and there are even a few blogs including Static Sounds Club, which is headed up by Marky Anderson.
But there are not many places that do in-depth interviews with the bands, especially in a video format.
Neil Burkdoll, a shoegaze musician and songwriter himself, noticed this gap and decided to step in and fill it.
He created a new YouTube Channel called Among The Clouds, which allows him to interview bands he admires and wants to get to know better. Each episode ranges from about 30 to 45 minutes.
“This was an idea I’d had for at least a year, but kept talking myself out of doing,” says Burkdoll. “Finally, I messaged a few musician friends to get their opinion. All of them responded they’d be interested and that gave me the confidence and motivation to move forward.”
“The original idea was to interview artists as a fellow musician and have meaningful, interesting conversations. There were Youtube channels that reviewed shoegaze music gear, but I wanted to do something different that would interest fans of the bands. As an introvert, this was completely out of my comfort zone. But when I realized no one else was doing it, I thought “Why not?””
With Burkdoll’s wide range of musical knowledge and being fortunate enough to have many musician friends, perhaps one of the biggest challenges has been choosing who to feature.
“I have a pretty long list of guests who have expressed interest in doing the show, especially those who have a new release on the horizon. I’ve been excited about the guests I’ve had on so far. It’s always great to talk with someone I’m a fan of and learn more about their history and creative process.”
Now having produced eight episodes, Burkdoll is learning what’s involved in the process and, not surprisingly, has discovered, “each episode is taking way longer to create than I expected.” So at the moment, he is releasing two shows a month. Depending on how things go, he may increase that or keep it the same.
“It would be nice for the channel to pick up steam and become successful enough for me to make more episodes at a faster rate, but right now, this is something I am having fun doing in my free time and hopefully people will enjoy it,” he says.
While the premise of the show is to focus on shoegaze and dream pop, Burkdoll is not ruling out adjacent genres. “My definition of shoegaze and dream pop are pretty loose compared to other people. That being said, I am interested in interviewing anyone who is creating dreamy music I enjoy.”
“It could be darkwave, chill out, shoegaze, dream pop, ethereal, space pop, blackgaze, goth, and maybe even some IDM bands at some point. It’s just whatever gives me the feeling of being transported. I am using the term shoegaze, but it’s really just a starting point for the show.”
With the first episode having premiered June 14, Burkdoll is focused on building up his following. “From feedback, I know people are enjoying the episodes. As I increase subscribers, I hope to get some bigger names on the show,” he says.
If you want to support the channel and the bands he is featuring go to the Among The Clouds YouTube channel or search for “Among The Clouds.”
Sharing plays a big part in helping spread the word, so do not be shy!
Curious to know who’s been featured so far?
1. Jeff Kandefer- The Daysleepers
2. Elliot Frazier – Ringo Deathstarr
3. Michael Farren – Submotile
4. Maxime Wingender – The City Gates
5. Paul Baker – Static Daydream
6. Dirk Knight – Seasurfer
7. Oliver Ackermann – A Place to Bury Strangers
8. Full Band – Tears Run Rings
Neil Burkdoll does not like to sit idly around. As a stay-at-home dad of two lovely daughters, when he is not taking care of them, he is busy writing, recording and producing music as well as producing episodes for his new YouTube channel, Among the Clouds.
He has been in an assortment of bands since the early ‘90s playing everything from death metal, grindcore, and horror punk to shoegaze and releasing no less than 12 albums over his musical career.
Currently he is active in Whimsical, along with Krissy Vanderwoude, LoveBlind, and Dirty Dead.
Neil Burkdoll kindly took part in a Q&A interview in order to give more details about the Among The Clouds project:
What made you decide to start your YouTube Channel?
“Well, I’m not entirely sure to be honest. This was an idea that I’ve had for at least a year but I kept convincing myself out of doing it. Then one day I decided to randomly message a few musician friends from other Shoegaze/Dream Pop bands to tell them about my idea for Among the Clouds and all of them actually responded that they would be interested in doing the show if asked. So once that happened, I figured I’d have to go through with it because I’d reached out to around ten people and I didn’t want to look stupid by just dropping the idea. The original idea was to interview fellow “Shoegaze and Dream Pop” musicians as a fellow musician and hopefully have a conversation that I could then edit down to a manageable length for each episode. There were already a few channels on Youtube that specifically talk about and review music gear used in Shoegaze, so I wanted to do something slightly different that would hopefully interest fans of the bands.”
What is the purpose or what do you hope to accomplish with it?
“Well, the main purpose was to try something different as I’m pretty introverted and this is completely out of my comfort zone. Also, it gives me an excuse to talk to other musicians I admire and to get to know them a little better. I figured no one else was doing anything else like this, so why not me? Hopefully fans of the bands pick up on the channel and enjoy it.”
How are you choosing your guests?
“Most guests are people I know or have communicated with in the past. I have a pretty long list of guests who have expressed interest in doing the show at some point, especially when they have a new release on the horizon, but I’ve just been using social media to reach out to potential guests. Some have been excited about the channel and others have just ignored me altogether. It’s sort of a bummer when that happens, but I try not to let it get me down and to just focus on the people who want to do the show.”
How often do you hope to publish new episodes?
“Right now I have been posting two episodes a month but that might change at some point. It might not seem like it, but each episode is taking way longer to create than I expected. It would be nice for the channel to pick up steam and become successful enough for me to make more episodes at a faster rate, but right now, this is just something I’m doing in my free time for fun and hopefully people who discover it will enjoy it.”
Will all the artists be within the shoegaze realm or do you plan to be flexible with talking to bands in adjacent genres?
“Well, my definition of Shoegaze and Dream Pop is pretty loose compared to most other people. That being said, I want to interview anyone who is creating “dreamy” music that I enjoy. It could be Darkwave, Chill Out, Shoegaze, Dream Pop, Ethereal, Space Pop, Blackgaze, Goth, and maybe even some IDM bands at some point. Really, it’s just whatever gives me the feeling of being transported away. I use the term Shoegaze, but it’s really just a starting point for the show.”
What kind of reaction have you gotten so far?
“So far it seems that the people watching are enjoying the episodes, but there could always be more people watching. It would help me greatly if the people watching Liked and Subscribed to the channel as well. It goes a long way to help make the channel more professional and also gives me a reason to keep doing it. I know I just started, so I still have time to grow and hopefully get some big names on the show at some point.”
How can fans find your YouTube channel?
“The easiest way is to search Among the Clouds Channel on Youtube.”
Does the channel have its own social media pages or should fans simply be checking your personal page for updates and news?
“I always post links and info for Among the Clouds on my personal social media accounts, but yes, Among the Clouds has it’s own Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as the Youtube channel.”
Are you able to reveal some upcoming guests or you can’t say?
“I’d rather not say because part of the fun is posting a new episode and hopefully catching people by surprise. Let’s just say that if everyone who has said they would like to do the show, actually does the show, there will be some very cool episodes in the future.”