Connecticut’s music scene can be tough. Clubs want cover and tribute bands playing familiar music, James Mauri says. Creativity — not so much.
So — after banging around since his 1995 graduation from Staples, studying media production, writing songs and working in a studio — James settled in Black Rock, trying to figure out how a singer/songwriter like himself could get noticed.
He realized that independent radio stations like WPKN, and internet stations, offered a way to reach music fans. He booked himself to be interviewed and play. Sometimes that meant 15 minutes at 2 a.m. — but it was better than doing long shows for unappreciative, drunken bar crowds.
These days music sells through videos too. James bought himself a MacBook Pro — and an iPhone — and got to work.
It’s not the most sophisticated equipment, but it gets the job done. For a song about the endless development of Route 7, James stuck his phone on his dashboard and drove north. He intercut what he filmed with some performance tapes, then played around with speeds and special effects.
The result: a sophisticated, compelling music video (below).
Make no mistake: the iPhone is not a sophisticated video camera. Lacking built-in lights, interior shots are particularly tough.
It can take a couple of weeks to get the effect James wants. He adds features like stop animation as needed.
When he’s ready he uploads the finished product to YouTube, and sends links to friends. Soon, the video is making its way around the internet.
James thought he’d simply be introducing his music to new fans. But he’s been contacted by people who want him to make iPhone videos for them too.
He will not stay with his low-tech equipment forever. James hopes to upgrade to a “better, more serious camera,” as well as to Final Cut Pro, a more robust editing system.
He may prefer the cutting edge of guerrilla video making to drunk-filled clubs, but James Mauri has not totally abandoned live performances. This Saturday (June 11) he’s got a gig right here in town.
He and fellow Westporter Buddy Valiante will both play at Arcudi’s. It’s not your typical club scene — but James Mauri is not your typical singer/songwriter or music video maker either.