Exclusive Interview: Ben Sharp from Cloudkicker

For many artists, music is about “making it big” and living the proverbial “dream” but not for Ben Sharp, solo artist behind the DIY instrumental post-rock/metal project Cloudkicker. In fact, Sharp is comfortably living his own version of said “dream” from his home in Columbus, Ohio. While his career as a musician may seem like more than just a hobby, with eight impressive releases available on Bandcamp and a considerably large international fan-base, Cloudkicker remains as such. In fact, his music is even available for free online. It was only within the past few years that he started to accept payment for downloads, with a humble “name your price” option. This started in 2010 with the release of his breakthrough album, Beacons, a full-force bludgeoning of rapid instrumental and musical proficiency that would bring any musician or metalhead to their knees. Upon first listen, one might expect this to be the next big band of skilled musicians to take over the world of post-rock and metal (or “djent” as some music fans have called the genre), but upon more research you will find that it is just Sharp’s sole ambitious and talented efforts. I had the pleasure of speaking with him about the comfortable and fortunate position he has found for himself in the music world, as well as his thoughts on the music industry, how the Internet is changing the way ideas and music are shared, what his journey has been like so far, and what lies ahead for Cloudkicker. (more…)

ESPN "Main Event" Competition Winners Battle For "Images Of The Year" Feature

Here at OurStage, we’re all about healthy competition. That’s why we pitted 10 of our best artists against each other over the past few months to see which five would win on-air features on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. Now, FlyRydaz, Fight The Fear, Ciph Boogie, Konsept, or DIVE will win the ultimate Grand Prize: a feature on Friday Night Fight’s “Images Of The Year.” Head over to our Facebook page and cast your vote by noon on August 12


Fight The Fear

Ciph Boogie


DIVE Emerges Victorious In July Main Event Competition

The dust has finally settled after the face“off between the dubstep-influenced beats of Circuit Assassins and the anthemic rock of DIVE, leaving only one group standing in the July round of the ESPN “Main Event” Competition. New Jersey’s own DIVE has won the Grand Prize: a spot on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights that will feature their song “This Time.” But the fight’s not over yet. This month, all of the previous “Main Event” winners will return to battle it out one last time for a shot at being featured on Friday Night Fights’ “Images of the Year.”


Get Your Final Votes In For The ESPN "Main Event" Competition

This month, we’ve seen dubstep duo Circuit Assasins take on alt-rockers DIVE in the ESPN “Main Event” Competition, but only one group can have their music featured on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. The winning act will also compete with past “Main Event” winners to have their song featured on FNF‘s “Images of the Year.” With the competition coming to a close, these guys need your votes now more than ever! Head over to our Facebook page and cast your votes now” voting ends this Tuesday, July 31.


Help Choose The Winner Of The ESPN "Main Event" Competition

Battles aren’t just for the boxing ring. This month, OurStage artists Circuit Assassins and DIVE will fight for placement on ESPN. The winning act will be featured on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, moving one step closer to winning the Grand Prize: an additional feature on FNF‘s “Images of the Year.” So, will it be the dirty dubstep DJs of the Assassins, or the seasoned alt-rock of DIVE? Make sure you vote for your favorite on our Facebook page by July 31. May the best artist win!


Circuit Assassins and DIVE Face Off In July Maine Event Competition

Like the hits on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, the monthly ESPN “Main Event” match-ups just keep on coming. This month, the dirty dubstep-influenced beats of Circuit Assassins are going toe-to-toe with the aggressive, melodic rock of DIVE.  The winning group will have their music featured on Friday Night Fights, and will return next month to compete for a feature on the show’s “Images of the Year.” Head over to our Facebook page to vote for your favorite act before July 31!

SoundTrax: Cop Chase

One of my favorite cinematic chase scenes is the climax of the ˜99 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. You can check out the scene here. Nina Simone’s Sinnerman layered over the quick-cut shots make for an incredibly fast-paced and tense foot chase through the MET. The claps that never seem to line up, the playful piano melody, Nina’s powerful vocals and the frantic video editing all add up to a beautifully executed piece of cinematic art.

There’s no doubt that the music plays an integral role in providing the needed tension, and directors have burned through hundreds of musical styles looking for the perfect chase music. While I don’t think you can get much better than Pierce Brosnan’s calculated mayhem in the MET accompanied by the lovely Nina Simone, we’ve compiled a playlist of the some of the most adrenaline pumping music out there.

This week at SoundTrax, we’re throwing you a bit of a curve ball by juxtaposing two seemingly unrelated genres into one collection; the head-pounding, alternative rock of some great OurStage bands and the bumping electro-house from some of my favorite national producers. The styles of music lend themselves to something a bit more fast paced than a foot chase, so make sure to have your getaway car ready before you rob the bank.

SoundTrax: Cop Chase from OurStage on 8tracks.


OurStage Artists Win Opening Slot For Kid Rock & Bon Jovi

Back in April, OurStage teamed up with Bon Jovi to host the Bon Jovi’s Wanted: A Super Band Tonight competition and give OurStage artists the chance to open for the ’80s rock icons. Throughout the summer, winning artists embraced the opportunity to open for both the legendary rock group and special guest Kid Rock in sold out stadiums across the country. Wonder what the experience was like? We caught up with Charm City Devils, The Malibu Knights, The Kids of Survival, The Worsties and DIVE post-performance to get the scoop.

Charm City Devils

For some of the winners, performing at a stadium venue was a first, for others it was familiar territory. However, it’s clear from both sides that each band took away something unique from their performances. John Allen of Charm City Devils commented on some of the unexpected outcomes of opening for major touring acts. From my experience, sometimes in a support situation you can play to an empty venue but on this show I think we played to over 10 thousand people!!! New  Jersey rockers DIVE had the experience of playing one of the first shows held at the newly constructed Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Besides the bands and crew being the nicest and most helpful people we have worked with, the stadium blew us away. Being on the first show ever at the new Meadowlands Stadium was a dream come true!

The Malibu Knights in Edmonton

Opening for Bon Jovi has many perks, but the most important benefit for these acts was the chance to reach out to new fans and boost buzz through their performances. We had 5000 samplers we gave out after we played and got to talk to people who said they loved us, commented Dylan Lipari of Kids of Survival. Once we found out about this event we sat down and made of lists of things we can do to snowball this into something huge and use this as leverage.  And thanks to OurStage and Mr. Bon Jovi we now have some really cool things in the works. Dan Harden of The Malibu Knights commented The buzz has been huge for our touring band before and after the show. The audience was standing and clapping along with our tunes. They were terrific!

The Worsties before their set in Chicago

Tennessee natives The Worsties won the opportunity to open for Bon Jovi in Chicago on July 31st. They drove all the way from home to perform in front of a huge audience at Soldier Field.  “I have not met many people in my life that can honestly say they had a dream of theirs come true, and it did for me. The experience is one I can relive for the rest of my life,” recalls bass player Jairo. Lead singer Anna “Madame Worsty” Worstell stated, “Being in Chicago for the first time and being able to play Soldier Field was a surreal feeling…It honestly felt like a dream except completely natural. This could not have been made possible if it weren’t for the OurStage team and Bon Jovi for hosting this contest, and The Worsties could not be more appreciative for the opportunity…I have a funny feeling this is just the beginning…” You can check out a video of the Worsties performing their song “Let’s Go” live from their set at Soldier Field below.