Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sebastian Sidi on Dealing with Insecurity (#IWSG)

        On the first Wednesday of each month Tossing It Out participates in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who convene to discuss the struggles as well as the triumphs of pursuing the literary life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog.  It's an extensive list which will lead you to much worthwhile information.  The co-hosts for the March 4 posting of the #IWSG are Chemist Ken,  Suzanne Sapseed, and Shannon Lawrence!

A Very Special Battle of the Bands/Insecure Writer's Combined Post

        On March 1st Tossing It Out also participated in the bi-monthly Battle of the Bands event which occurs each month on the 1st and 15th.  In this event two different music artists face off with the same song for voters to decide which version they like the best.   This recent Battle featured rock
interpretations of Beethoven's Für Elise by Orion's Reign from Greece and Sebastian Sidi of Los Angeles.   On Monday March 2nd I was joined by Orion's Reign guitarist Michael Batistatos for a special interview.   In our current post Sebastian Sidi joins me in my first video Tossing It Out episode with some of his thoughts on dealing with and overcoming insecurity.

         Be sure to check out the links following the summarized textual transcription of what is contained in the interview provided for those unable to view the video.  My thanks to Sebastian Sidi and to Red Rock Recording Studio in Los Angeles for making this video possible  I hope you enjoy the interview.  If you do watch this video I hope you might click the like button at YouTube and leave a brief comment there as well as on this blog.

If you were not able to view the video, here is a condensed text version of the interview:

      Hi, I'm Arlee Bird from the blog Tossing It Out.  We're here for the March 2015 post for Alex J Cavanaugh's "Insecure Writer's Support Group".  I'm joined by Sebastian Sidi who is one of the competitors in my most recent Battle of the Bands post.  I hope you've taken the time to visit that post and vote on your favorite song version.  If not, be sure to visit that post after you've finished here.

Arlee:   Who are you and what do you do?

Sebastian:  I am a self-promoted and self-marketed musician, primarily playing piano.  I have been in the business of music full time for about 15 years.

Arlee:  What exactly do you do here at Red Rock Recording Studio?

Sebastian:  Initially I built the studio to have control over recording my own albums.  Now I also produce recordings for other bands and artists

Arlee:   I've seen you perform a number of times and have watched you interact with fans.  You exude a sense of confidence in what you do and don't ever appear to be insecure.  In fact from what I've seen, you are one of the most self-confident people I've met and seem to be successful in every dream you strive to achieve.  Who has been the greatest force of instilling that self-confidence within you?

Sebastian:  Hands down that would be my father.  He's shown me that you just have to go for it. It doesn't matter if you fail as long as you try. If you don't at least try you'll never no and if one thing doesn't work you can keep trying until you succeed.  Just try your best.

Arlee:   If there are times when you feel insecure how do you deal with those negative feelings in order to keep moving forward?

Sebastian:  We're all insecure.  Anytime I go onstage I'm scared.  The moment I step on the stage I realize that I'm responsible for the emotions of the audience.  Even if I have to pretend I have to appear confident in order to relax my audience.  Once they are at ease then I feel confident and can do my job.

Arlee:   Over the years you've worked with many young people as well as seasoned musicians.  How do you instill more confidence in the artists you work with and mentor?

Sebastian:  I begin be letting them know I'm going to be honest with them. I'm not going to feed them false hope.  I work on developing their talent and what they need to be professional not to be a hit, but to make a career in music.  I keep it real  in order to arm them to have control over their careers so they will be prepared to manage their own futures.

Arlee:    You are in the music and entertainment business, but there are many aspects that are similar to what writers deal with in their lives.  What advice would you give to insecure writers and anyone else who is presently hindered with feelings of insecurity that might encourage them in their quest to break free of insecurity and start achieving their dreams?

Sebastian:  First of all you have to practice some social skills and get out to meet the people who can help you with your career.  You need to talk to people about what you're doing.  Also start doing things pertaining to your dream and don't wait for the approval of others as to whether you should pursue your dreams.  Have something to show people to give what you're doing credibility.

Arlee:   Marketing is a daunting challenge for many writers who often tend to be reclusive and apprehensive about meeting the public and promoting themselves and their work.   What marketing advice can you offer to them?

Sebastian:  Focus on what the public perception of you will be.  Do you have a quality product that is packaged well?   If you are out in public are you offering a good presentation that makes you come across as authentic, professional, and credible?  Don't spare expense in order to cur corners, but in the end make you look bad to the public.  Consider all of the little details that will make the public feel secure in buying your product.   Your packaging is just as important as your product.  Make tiny goals to take little steps toward the big goal.

Arlee:  What are some of the other services you are now offering?

Sebastian:   Currently besides my own music I am offering video production, photo shoots, and promotional consultation.   I can handle video services such as book trailers, personal profile videos, and any type of promotional video needs.  Also we can provide recording services for the spoken word as well as music.  I also can create original music if that's something you need for video or any other uses.

Arlee:   Thanks for meeting with the Insecure Writer's Support Group and anyone else who may have dropped by.   This has been the very first video edition of Tossing It Out made possible by my guest Sebastian Sidi.  Be sure to check out the links provided below to learn more about Sebastian's work and about Red Rock Recording Studio.


For more information about Sebastian Sidi, bookings, performance schedule, or products available for purchase visit Sebastian's website:   You'll find some wonderful CD's for purchase as well as a DVD documentary and concert video that has been broadcast on many PBS stations.

If you are interested in audio or video production find more information at Red Rock Recording Studio:   Feel free to contact Sebastian about your promotional needs.

And now for Sebastian's most recent recording from Red Rock Recording Studio:

        If you have still not voted on the most recent Battle of the Bands post, please do so by clicking this link.

        Do you have anything to add to Sebastian's advice ?   Have you personally utilized the services of a recording studio or videographer for your author needs or anything else?    Would you like to see more video features at Tossing It Out?


Monday, March 2, 2015

Orion's Reign Profile


       Orion's Reign is one of the bands featured on this March 1st round of Battle of the Bands.  The band is based in Athens,Greece.   Michael, the band's guitarist, graciously consented to answer some questions I provided to him as well as forward some band photos.   The band classifies itself in the genre of symphonic/epic/power heavy metal while much of the thematic content of their lyrics is considered "epic fantasy".   Go to you tube and you'll also see a number of Christmas songs performed in their symphonic heavy metal style.  

       Before you get put off by any of the aforementioned labels, please continue reading the interview below and then listen to some of their music.  You may formulate a whole new concept of what this genre of music entails.  For those in the know, think Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Listen to one of those Christmas songs and you might be listening to songs of the season all year long!  The "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" video is totally fun in a version unlike you've probably ever heard before.

           And Now I Give You Orion's Reign

Orion's Reign playing their music.  Let's meet the band!

 1.)   What influenced your decision to record "Fur Elise"? 

Most of the members of our band have classical music education and they love composers like Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart etc... Classical music is a very unique and intelligent kind of music and also some scientists claim it improves baby's IQ and human's brain! In our music you can find a lot of parts inspired from classical music, not only regarding the melodies but also the way of composing music. Some people say that heavy metal is the classical music of the 21th century and that if Mozart, Beethoven, Bach etc..  would live in our times they would probably play heavy metal ... So here we are haha! I would also like to point out that "for Elise" is not our first try, we have also recorded a metal version of Vivaldi's summer, that you can watch it on youtube! 

Band members on the "Fur Elise" film shoot featuring  Irinä Alexopoulou as Elise and video by Clement Delerot

2.)    Do any band members have classical music training or any other relevant background regarding classical music?  
Yes, as I told you before, most of us have classical education. Our two guitar players and the keyboard player have classical education background (they own some relevant diplomas)

3.)   What musical background, experience, or training do the group members have?
All of the band members began to learn music when they were young kids. Back then they attended some music schools and then, during their university studies, they focused on advanced heavy metal techniques and composition. Their university studies have nothing to do with music, but they probably found free time to practice a lot, to form bands and to experiment !

4.)    What are some of the biggest influences on your band's music?
Every member of the group has his own favorite kind of music, groups and composers. I would say that the biggest influence of our band is the epic music, enhanced with some power metal and folk characteristics. I can name some composers and groups like Hans Zimmer, Bach, Nightwish, Rhapsody of Fire, Savatage, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Yngwie Malmsteen and the list goes on for ever... haha!

5.)    Are there any plans to tour North America in the future?
No, there are not any plans for touring North America. We live in Europe (Greece) so it's very difficult for us to afford such an expense.

6.)   Upcoming projects (new albums, etc.)

There are a lot of thoughts, but the free time is really too short. We are currently trying to finish our next official album and in the meantime we record some covers for our youtube channel.

Now to Introduce the Members of Orion's Reign:

Michael: Guitar (main influences: 
Classical, epic, folk music and power metal. Fav bands Iron Maiden, Nightwish, Yngwie Malmsteen, Deep Purple etc..)

Kirk : Keys and orchestra arrangements (main influences: Classical, epic, folk music and power metal. Fav bands  Nightwish, Rhapsody of Fire, Luca Turilli, Soundtracks etc..)

 Noel: Drums (main influences: New metal, power and progressive metal. Fav bands Amaranthe, Bullet for my Valentine, Iron Maiden, Him, Dragonforce, Kamelot, etc...)


George: Guitar and bass guitar ( main influences: Classical and power metal. Fav bands Gamma Ray, Dragonforce, Helloween, Symphony X etc..)

Want more info about Orion's Reign?   Check out these links for starters and get to know these guys a bit better:

       My sincerest thanks to Michael for taking his time to offer this look at Orion's Reign to the readers of Tossing It Out!

       If you have not yet voted on the current Battle of the Bands post please scroll back to my previous post or click here to listen to your options and cast your vote.

        Please return to Tossing It Out on Wednesday March 4th to meet the other Battle of the Bands competitor Sebastian Sidi.

          Are you surprised that this band lists classical music as an influence?  Do you associate heavy metal music with classical music?   Would you like to see Orion's Reign tour North America?


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Für Elise (BOTB)


Battle of the Bands!

         I'm excited about today's post.  After all it's time for the Battle of the Bands, the event where music loving bloggers offer up two different versions of one song and you the readers decide which version you prefer.   The Battle of the Bands blog event was founded by Stephen T McCarthy and Faraway Eyes.   After you vote on your favorite of the two selections I've offered, please visit the participants who are listed at the end of this post to vote on their Battles.

       Today and throughout this coming week I'll be presenting a very different approach to the Battle of the Bands.  I'll explain more at the end of this post so be sure to read all the way to the bottom so you don't miss what's to come.  But first let me introduce today's musical selection and then we'll listen to two interesting and outstanding recordings based on this very famous work of music.

Für Elise

      You're all undoubtedly familiar with the piano work by Ludwig Beethoven known as "Für Elise". You might not recognize this title, but I'm sure when you hear the opening notes you will have that a-ha moment of recognition.  This piece is one of the most famous piano compositions that nearly anyone who has taken piano lessons has played at some time or another.   Beethoven's "Für Elise" is among the most recognizable of all classical works.

       For the reference only, if you wish to hear the traditional classical piano version you can check it out at Fur Elise but PLEASE DON'T VOTE ON THIS VERSION.  Vote between the two artists who are featured in this Battle.  While the featured recordings aren't note by note covers of the Beethoven work, they are artist interpretations in updated styles.   Please give them a listen in order to give each a fair judgement.  I will refrain from commentary on either for reasons to be explained at the end of the post.

       Now enjoy!

Orion's Reign "Für Elise"   (2014)

For the alternate guitar duo metal version by George and Michael from Orion's Reign visit Fur Elise Duet.

Sebastian Sidi "Für Elise" (2008)


An alternate concert version by Sebastian Sidi solo piano with synthesized back-up can be found at Fur Elise Cover.

Time to Vote!

    For this round of voting I'm using a tandem system to help me with voting verification.  Please vote using the poll included below this red message and also leave your vote in the comment section with reason you chose the artist you did.  Use the "Anonymous" option ONLY if you are unable to vote using one of the other "Comment as" options.  If using the "Anonymous" option please include your name (first only is okay) and your city.  

Which artist's version of "Fur Elise" do you like best? free polls

          Which do you prefer?    It's up to you to determine the winner.   Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the one you chose.  Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around.   And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

And don't forget the special news at the bottom of this post!

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:


 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands



DC Relief Battle of the Bands

Special Coming This Week!     
       You'll want to check back here on Tossing It Out throughout this week. 

       Tomorrow Monday March 2nd  I'll be hosting Michael from Orion's Reign with an exclusive interview and some photos of the band.  You might be surprised by some of his answers to my questions about the band and their music.   

       Then on Wednesday March 4th I'll be assisted by Sebastian Sidi for a special Insecure Writer's Support Group post.
        Finally, the results of my Battle of the Bands post between the versions of "Für Elise" as performed by Orion's Reign and Sebastian Sidi will be announced on this coming Friday March 6th. 

        This should be an interesting week so I hope you stay with me at Tossing It Out!

         Which version of  "Für Elise" was your favorite in this Battle?   What did you like about the version you chose as your favorite?  Did you ever take piano lessons and learn to play this song?

If you have any questions about leaving a comment, please read message at the bottom of this page below the comment box which will appear if you click on "No. of comments" next to the posting time or you can click on main post title then scroll down to bottom of the page.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Do You Enjoy Music?

English: One of the sled dogs listening to mus...
 One of the sled dogs listening to music coming from a gramophone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Another Battle of the Bands is coming up this week-end--on Sunday March 1st to be precise.  A number of my readers regularly participate in this music appreciation event and seem to enjoy it or at least tolerate it.  I'm always pleased when I get enthusiastic comments indicating people have enjoyed the Battle that I've presented.  It's even fine when I'm offered intelligently reasoned comments that tell me what they didn't like about a musical piece.

        Occasionally, someone who stops by will comment that they decline to vote.  I'm glad that they let me know they stopped by, but it also indicates that my Battle posts could have an effect on their future visits to my site when they see a Battle of the Bands post.  If it's only a matter of not liking the genre of music I've used or not liking the song or artist then I feel that those readers will continue to return.  Others just might not like the Battle of the Bands and my continuing to do them could lose them as readers.  I hope that's not the case, but it's a risk I take.

       The biggest item of puzzlement for me though are the occasional comments from people who say they don't listen to music or those few who have said they don't like music.

        Say what?   Are there really people who don't like music?  At all?  Any kind?

         That's the one answer that I really would like to know more about.  Maybe it's the nature of any kind of aural stimulation and the effect that it has on those particular people.  Or something about their upbringing or sociocultural influences.   Perhaps the music hurts their ears or discombobulates their mental faculties in some way.   What exactly could it be?

          Are you one who doesn't like music?  Have you ever known someone who doesn't like music?  Do you know why some people don't like music or never listen to it?  If it's merely a matter of limiting the types of music you listen to, what are the types of music you do listen to?

        Please be sure to join me on Sunday March 1st for my next Battle of the Bands.  I'll be featuring two versions of a very classic piece of music by one of the greatest of all composers.  Then on Monday the 2nd I'll feature an interview with a member of one of the bands with some special photos.  On Wednesday March 4th I'll be joined by the other competing BOTB artist for a very special Insecure Writer's Support Group post.   This should be an interesting week so please show your support for BOTB and the featured artists by voting for your favorite version of a piece of music that you undoubtedly know.