The evolution of the industry

by Isabella Place

A few issues ago, The Daily Aztec published a review of the musical showcase of local bands at the House of Blues. One of the bands that truly left a good impression on the audience was Just Like Jenna. The Daily Aztec recently had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with frontman Austin Mahn, a 27-year-old San Diego native, to ask his opinion about the music scene in town.

The Daily Aztec: What do you think is the single biggest change made in the music industry in the last few years?
Austin Mahn: Here, locally, a lot of collectives started. Music is getting tighter and more musicians are going to more shows to check out other bands. If you play local music you have to go support the local scene. We all network together and get recognition for supporting other artists, because at the end of the day, the music itself is the important part.

DA: What do you think about the changes the Internet (i.e. illegal downloading, online radio, etc.) has brought to the music scene and what do you think will happen in the future?
AM: We are so about piracy. Your art needs to get put out there regardless. Personally, the more people that listen to my music, the more people get to experience what I’m trying to do. We don’t even sell our CDs, we actually just give them out. In my opinion, music should be free; your live performance is what draws people in and keeps them coming.

DA: What do you think about the San Diego music scene and its future?
AM: It’s all about the live show; no matter how small the venue, you have to give the audience their cover charge’s worth. If San Diego is going to be known for something, it’s having bands that play many different styles, but also having bands that put on the best shows anywhere in Southern California or even anywhere in the country.

DA: What do you predict to be the next “big thing” in music?
AM: Focusing on the local scene, the pop-punk explosion in the 2000s was a starting point for many current bands, but now they are reinventing themselves. In our band, we actually get to ride that old classic sound of actual rock music. We record in a very organic fashion and perhaps other bands will turn to that pretty soon. Too many bands have a MacBook sitting on stage nowadays. That’s just glamorized karaoke. Bands are starting to realize it’s not so much about incorporating pre-recorded music, but more about the natural sound of the live show and the spontaneity of the moment.