With a little over a month of Artists Den performances left to air on Thirteen and WLIW, we thought we’d get a little behind-the-scenes with the show’s producer:
1. How did the Artists Den concept come to you? Was there a concert you saw that was your inspiration for the series?
You spend your high school and college years seeking out all kinds of live music and then, all of a sudden, you stop. The shows start too late and the clubs are unfriendly to adults. I began to host concerts in my living room – hoping to introduce new music to friends in a better setting. We called it the Artists Den. The idea grew as we found unique spaces which inspired audiences and artists alike. Something always felt different about these shows and we began, five years ago, to film and record them. With help from Grey Goose, we’ve now been able to bring The Artists Den series to a national audience on public television. It’s very gratifying and we’ve only just begun.
Saadiq & Co performing at the Harvard Club
2. Do you think that changing the setting makes for better concerts?
To perform in a small, beautiful, historic room away from the traditional concert circuit is very exciting for artists. It makes the evening special and gives the night a unique meaning and purpose. Artists are naturally creative and a new setting with a unique format can be a great inspiration. The variety of locations and their stories makes for better concert television.
3. I know you’re the producer, so you’re not supposed to be biased, but what has been YOUR personal favorite in the series so far, and why?
Hard to answer, like asking a father to name his favorite child! Each episode gets better for us, so I will pick our most recent taping and tell you why it was so special. Raphael Saadiq performed at the Harvard Club in Boston. Raphael brought down the house with his 9-piece band, dance moves and an incredible female backup vocalist. His interview about his songwriting, his sense of place, his spirit really moved me. He was so inspired by the room and our audience that he performed a particularly fantastic version of his music that night:
4. Is it possible for just the man-on-the-street to obtain a ticket to the shows?
Absolutely. Anyone can sign up on our mailing list at TheArtistsDen.com and we give away many tickets to shows. You can also join our subscription program for a better chance at being selected, or become a member for guaranteed access.
Do you ever consider suggestions of venues or artists?
Always. We get hundreds of suggestions for venues from all over the world and an equal number of artist ideas. The venue suggestions can be quite elaborate with story, photos and offers to assist in securing the space. The bar is high, but I would not be surprised if one of these suggestions turns into a TV episode in the near future.
Make a venue suggestion here.
Schedule for the remaining episodes of the Artists Den on Thirteen:
4/9/09, 10pm: The Swell Season (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglová)
4/16/09, 10pm: Aimee Mann
4/23/09, 10pm: Crowded House
4/30/09, 10pm: KT Tunstall
5/7/09, 10pm: Josh Ritter
5/14/09, 9:30pm: Ben Harper
(artists den generally repeats on Thirteen at 1am later the same night.)
Schedule for the remaining episodes of the Artists Den on WLIW21:
4/4/09, 10pm: Ani DiFranco
4/11/09, 10pm: The Hold Steady
4/25/09, 10pm: The Swell Season
5/2/09 at 10pm: Aimee Mann
5/9/09, 10pm: Crowded House
5/16/09, 10pm: KT Tunstall
5/23/09, 10pm: Josh Ritter