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In A Clouded World, The CD Can 'Stay'

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In A Clouded World, The CD Can 'Stay'

Music Interviews

In A Clouded World, The CD Can 'Stay'

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Twelve years ago on this program, we presented the story of a Boston band that was trying something new to get their tunes to fans. Jim's Big Ego took its recorded music to potential listeners by way of the Internet.


JIM INFANTINO: We do a lot of things the way bands have always done them. We play clubs and colleges. We tour. We're on the radio sometimes. We've put out a few CDs, but now we have a more direct connection to our fans.

SIEGEL: The story was narrated by the band's songwriter and lead singer, Jim Infantino. He started his tale at Ducky Carlyle's South Boston studio.

INFANTINO: When all the parts are done, Ducky mixes it together to sound like a song. When that is done, I walk away with a CD that has the final song on it. And now, I can encode it and put it on the Web. Then I upload it to You've probably read about them in newspapers. They're this huge warehouse of MP3s mostly uploaded by the bands themselves, just like us. They allow us to release the MP3s online and track how many people are downloading them day to day. Plus, they pay us when our traffic gets really high without charging the person downloading the song, which I think is pretty neat.

SIEGEL: This was pre-historic, the year 2000, before iTunes, people talked about newspapers. We're joined now by Jim Infantino, who is still making music in Boston and has a new CD out. Welcome to the program.

INFANTINO: Hello, Robert.

SIEGEL: Do you still think selling music that way is neat?

INFANTINO: Yeah. I think it is neat. There are models whereby the songwriter and performer get paid for the Web play that they get.

SIEGEL: Well, since you were on the cutting-edge back then, what's happened over the past decade? Did you continue this way or is - there's the physical CD that I have the way things are now?

INFANTINO: Interestingly, the CD has not gone away yet. We keep expecting it to happen, and yet CD sales outpace digital sales for us. It may be the generation that we're part of as a band. Although I was speaking to the son of a good friend of mine who's also a musician, who I think is representative of a lot of the music buying, you know, populace, of the younger generation. And the way he deals with music is more that he'll listen to a lot of streaming music, and then stuff that he really likes he likes to own. He wants to have a physical copy. He says that he likes to feel it in his hand and go through the artwork, much like we did.

SIEGEL: Well, you have a new album. It's called "Stay." Let's listen to this song from "Stay." It's called "My Cult."


INFANTINO: In my cult, we wear a simple weave in my cult. There's nothing to believe in my cult. Our clothes do not have sleeves. You may think that we are naive, but there's a lot of joie de vivre in my cult.

SIEGEL: This is a song that has not only the naive joie de vivre rhyme, but later on, the tragic and pelagic rhyme. Tell me about writing this song.

INFANTINO: Well, this song was actually written as a group with Jesse Flack, Dan Cantor, Josh Kantor, myself. And it came about because I had an opportunity to go and play a New Year's concert at a Buddhist practice center at which I go to meditate. And Jesse - I think it was Jesse who said, oh, so we're going to go play your cult. So we immediately kind of leapt on that and began to build it into this tune that shows how crazy the things can seem from inside of your little bubble if you're looking at it from the outside, even though everything seems normal inside of the bubble to you.


INFANTINO: We sleep in one big bed in my cult. We program for the Web. Our names all start with Zed. We're watching "Shaun of the Dead" in my cult.

I was really happy with the way it came together. Everybody contributed lines, and we ended up with something much stranger and more beautiful than I could have made myself.


INFANTINO: And our leader is charismatic in my cult. And the Kool-Aid is magical in my cult. Of course, the ending is tragic. We're becoming more pelagic. We're interpreting the static in my cult.


SIEGEL: And who contributed pelagic to the...

INFANTINO: That was mine.


INFANTINO: Can you feel it in your groins? Send all your golden coins to my cult.

And interestingly, we had some complaints. We used Auto-Tune very heavily in that song. We tried it both ways. We tried it without Auto-Tune. And we used it the way Cher uses it, you know, just turning it all the way up.

SIEGEL: Well, you used it almost to have a grace note in every phrase that you...

INFANTINO: Yeah. So that's a beautiful thing about Auto-Tune is when you - you can slide into a note, then it kind of takes those and just kind of plays the chromatic scale on your way up to that note. It's ridiculous sounding.

SIEGEL: Are fans picking up on the cult idea?


INFANTINO: The record has only been released for a little while now, so I don't have anybody camped out on my door stoop yet, but I'm hoping.

SIEGEL: Well, Jim Infantino, thank you very much for talking with us today.

INFANTINO: It's been a real pleasure.

SIEGEL: The band is Jim's Big Ego, and the album, the CD is called "Stay."


INFANTINO: And I want you all to join us. Can you feel it in your groins? Send all your golden coins to my cult. Only then you will be free enough to witness the ongoing Apocalypse.

SIEGEL: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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