Tag Archives: Northern State

The Business of Being Hesta Prynn

Photo by Randy Scott Slavin

Photo by Randy Scott Slavin

A few months ago, Lila and I heard that Hesta Prynn put out the call to her fans to come up with words to describe her. Having met her on our NYC “No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn” whirlwind adventure, Lila and I took up her challenge, brownosed by turning our words into a bit of art and ended up landing an interview.

Surreal.

The main word chosen for this little project was “Propulsive”. The power to propel. It had a lot of meaning – how both Lila and I have claimed that Hesta’s music makes us run harder, how her music moves us, how when we met her she was like a force. And then we realized just how much velocity this girl has.

Hesta Prynn is an entity. And she knows it. In an industry that is often fickle-minded and self-indulgent, Julie Potash, is a smart and savvy business woman. She is building the Hesta Prynn brand. She recognizes the business behind music, the changes in the music industry and combines creativity with something that many artists rely on big companies to provide them: business smarts.

This was not the interview we expected.

Most people who know me know that I have a decided interest in how the music industry is run. I have a bit of a predisposed skepticism of the need of big record labels and traditional musical marketing methods. I mean, when you work more than a decade in marketing and advertising, you tend to have a healthy skepticism of all mass marketing tactics and the driving force behind them. So I, obviously, was elated to talk to an artist that….well, she gets it. According to her, “I’m like Hesta Prynn, the whole business entity; not just Hesta Prynn – musician.”

And what is more, Julie manages to intertwine business sense with some good old-fashioned idealism without it seeming trite or canned. She’s just real. She wants people to like her music, but more than that, she wants people to share it.

So, when her EP drops today, along with her new video, it’s not going to be in a traditional way. According to Julie, it’s going to be done “more grassroots.” This isn’t a full length record. “In this day and age, I wonder; I explore the idea… if putting an album of music is a dated way to do this. As opposed to, let’s say, putting out an EP quarterly?”

“I started in this business pretty young doing Northern State; it kind of got really big. We did the more traditional things for a hot minute. Then things started to change in the industry at the same time things started to change in the band. By the time I’d done that for a number of years, I was ready to try some other things. Just like any other profession. It was a natural progression.”

Instead of just writing music, putting it out and touring to support it, Hesta Prynn is diverse. She Djs (notably opening the Roxette show on September 2nd, more on that in a bit). She writes for other artists. She creates art and mixes it all together to be a force. Propulsive, indeed.

It isn’t any wonder that she has had the fortune to work with the likes of DJ Muggs (Cypress Hill) and Adam Horovitz (Beastie Boys). And she shows immense gratitude to the lessons learned from those she has either collaborated with or learned from.

These people shaped who I am and the fact that they’ve been generous to me, as an artist, I sometimes can’t really believe that it happened.”

And if you want a prime example of exactly how awesome her collaborations have been, ask her the story of Clown from Slipknot. A story I can’t even begin to do justice here in writing. To get a taste of it, go YouTube Hesta’s “Seven Sisters” video and just watch. Watch and appreciate the sheer creativity that is shared and know that one day, should you have the luck to meet her, that you can ask her to tell the story behind the video. That Clown is a Hesta Prynn fan kind of blew our minds. I think it initially blew hers as well. That we got to hear about the creation of the video, the insights delivered by a metal icon and shared a bit of what Julie was able to experience with him was a highlight. I know, I know.. it’s like teasing by not sharing the entire story here. But trust us, it’s something best heard in person. In the very least, go check out the song and video.. it’s one of our all-time favourites.

But, the EP and video release – the driving force of why we wanted to talk to Julie. What could we expect? Of course, both the music and the video are shared below. And we had to ask if there was a certain satisfaction in pulling all of this together on “her own” (of course, Julie has surrounded herself with a team, but this isn’t big label relase-ish.. this is all her own.).

We Could Fall in Love on iTunes NOW!!!

“If you look at my videos, they are so much better than anything I’ve ever done. Everything is better now, but I have pay it out of my pocket. And that is a little stressful, but I’m running my own business. It’s about investing in your own. I don’t know if it’s more rewarding, but you can do it better (than relying on a label).”

“I’m really doing this one really grass roots. One of the songs is produced by DJ A. One is produced by Teen Wolf. I’m basically going to do it all myself. So we’ll see what happens. And see how much attention it gets. I hope that people that have always supported me, will pass it on to their friends. I’m counting on my community.”

Immediately after the release comes her September 2nd show, opening for Roxette at the Beacon Theatre.

A 45-minute set that she has promised will be a mix of showcasing just who Hesta Prynn is. This show marks the largest she has ever done. She’ll spin, she’ll sing and we’re certain she is going to propel the crowd. It’s her goal. This set isn’t about her, in the typical “look at me” stage artist. It’s about the audience. And she makes that claim without an ounce of false modesty or faked humility. She just really wants people to enjoy her work.

“It’s a really big show for me, the biggest I’ve ever done. I’m doing a DJ set and I’ll sing a couple songs and a video installation and show people what I’ve been doing, what I can do, what my interests are. I would never just show up and play records for 45 minutes, I craft it.  I’m creating it, I’m definitely over-thinking it, for sure. But that is exactly what I was told to do, how to do it. When you’re performing and for people who don’t necessarily know you, you are constantly marketing yourself; selling yourself.  When it comes to performing, my real dream, my real 100-percent-honest-to-god, I want every single person, not just one person, I want EVERY person there at one point in that show to say, “Oh shit, that’s my jam.” If you can make 3500 people say at least once, “that’s my jam”, you know what you’re doing. I literally may die trying.”

And this is why Lila and I are such fans.

I won’t get into this long and overdone concept of “girl-power” and feminist attitude. But just as Julie has shown great appreciation of those she has been able to collaborate with in her life, she shares that by equally giving back to her fans. Sure, we write this blog and review music, but we’ve been long-standing fans of Hesta Prynn that were afforded a greater insight into a woman who, frankly, we both exclaimed we would happily just hang with. For no other reason than… Hesta Prynn is just awesome. She is exactly what she sets out to be. She may not know what your jam is, but she is pretty sure she is going to hit it. She recognizes that Hesta Prynn is the “most outgoing, my most sure, my freshest dopest most awesome version of myself… in my most inspired moments.” And I’m pretty sure everyone has a bit of that in themselves. Their most confident.

She doesn’t expect to be the biggest star at the party. I will never expect her to try be the diva of the ball. What I expect of this EP is just solidly great music that is fun and inspired. Something to share with those I know will appreciate it. Nothing contrived , nothing fake.

So, as we leave you with our sharing of one of our favourite artists here at Beat & Lyric, let us impart the biggest thing we learned from Julie during this process. Her parting moral, if you will:

I think that it’s hard to be your real self in this world. I feel like having another name or persona and a look I think it helps you – I mean, I have to step up to be that. If I’m going to go and perform, I have to show up already knowing this time is going to be good. I really have built this thing that I have. I do feel that when I step into the Hesta Prynn thing, I’m ready to have fun. And I’ll be the coolest girl at the party and I’ll be friends with you. I won’t be the coolest girl and I’m not nice. I’ll be the coolest girl at the party, I’ll be friends with you and I’ll be like ‘get in my car and let’s go.”

Well played, Hesta Prynn. We are more than ready to take a spin with you.

~Betty Beat (with Lila Lyric)

 

Follow Hesta Prynn on Twitter

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Check out the official Hesta Prynn webpage  www.hestaprynn.com

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Beastie-ality

Picture this: 15ish years old, walking home from school with your older sister. Assume we were fighting over something inane and pointless (and it likely involved hair-pulling of some variety). A large car sits curbside. Obviously such a girl thing, but the kind of car it was is not part of this memory. It was a big, old car. Like an old hand-me-down Cutlass (think mid-80s Cutlass-style). Sporting fabric that was so well-worn that it seemed plush and comfy. Now, that? Was a great backseat. Inside, two brothers that both sisters are pals with. They live in the area, offer a ride home.

What becomes a casual – and friendly; let’s not read too much into the backseat – pick up becomes a daily tradition of rides home. What makes this memory is the music. Daily doses of classic Beastie Boys. An introduction to music outside a pop-bubblegum world where we relied on Tarzan Dan to tell us what to listen to.

Brass Monkey, Slow & Low, the undeniable Fight for your Right Licensed to Ill was my first sampling of Beastie Boys in the backseat on youthful and sunny afternoons. And these three guys became “backdrop” music. This isn’t flash-in-the-pan music – a temporary obsession that burns out once you get over your initial interest. It’s influence that lasts for decades. A sound you can always recognize. Albums that each hold a different meaning. My Hello Nasty CD was often filched from my younger brother, much like his coveted green Doc Marten’s. And when I finally broke down and grudgingly handed back the purloined copy and bought one for myself, it became theme music for my first year of college and Intergalactic (despite it currently being my least favourite Beastie Boy cut) was what I spent many an evening dancing on speaker tops to.

I could liken it to a comfortable pair of jeans, but that seems too clichéd. Suffice it to say, I may go months without hearing a Beastie Boys song, but when  I hear those first few moments of any Beastie song, it inevitably evokes a reaction or memory. Which is why they are classic. They broke ground, but didn’t need to keep breaking it. It’s just good music. In the purest way music can be great.

So, why the nostalgia? Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. Despite my claim that Beastie Boys are often taken for granted that they will always be part of my inner soundtrack, I’ll cop to obsessing over this album. Not much has been playing over the last couple of weeks. Except maybe the very fantabulous Z-Trip remix that was released as a free download (with permission, which makes it even better, in my opinion). The album is a testament to why I sat up and listened in the backseat of that car instead of focusing my feminine wiles on choosing one of those cute brothers (only later would I learn that no matter the cuteness of the boy, a boy who listens to shit music seems a little less adorable). It’s more “classic” Beastie Boys. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the instrumental-only The Mix-Up and the more electronic flavour of “Intergalactic” – but both those sounds seem to live only in nostalgic music listening instead of songs that maintain relevancy over decades. Admission: Intergalactic was on such heavy rotation, it is now a song I avoid. Whereas Sabotage, which got equal CD-playing time, I rarely tire of.

Instead of sampling a new song from Hot Sauce, I’m playing a classic today. No Sleep Til Brooklyn. On my Top 5 Beastie Boys songs list, moving up after a memorable 48-hour stint in NYC where sleep eluded and adventuring was paramount.

 Interesting segue: Adam Horowitz (Adrock) collaborated on Northern State’s Can I Keep This Pen? (of which, Suckamothafucka is still on heavy life-soundtrack rotation). Hesta Prynn (Julie Potash) was in Northern State. Hesta Prynn played a role in the Webster Hall 48-hour-NYC-Adventure. It’s like playing a musical version of Six Degrees of Separation. I wonder if I can find a way to tie Kevin Bacon into that…

No Sleep Til Brooklyn:

Z-Trip’s All Access Beastie Boys Mega Mix can be found here (free download alert!):

http://ztrip.bandcamp.com/album/z-trip-presents-all-access-a-beastie-boys-megamix

Take a Listen – Hot Sauce Committee Part 2:

http://blog.beastieboys.com/


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