For my first interviewee for Toggle For Music the choice was easy. It had to be Quartz. In my previous life I had put on several big charity events, and nobody was more generous with their time than Quartz and I was keen to catch up with him again. Hailing from Canada, Quartz is a shining example of what can be achieved by performers of live music in Second Life.
The easy, eclectic style and huge vocal talent of this multi instrumentalist has placed him right up in the highest echelon of Second Life artists.
I was lucky enough to arrange an interview with Quartz through Duplicat, his wonderful manager who has been at his side throughout his career.
In the interview Quartz was more than happy to discuss both his own career and his personal views of the Second Life live music scene in general.
Michael: Hi Quartz long time no see - thank you soo much for taking time out to do this interview with Toggle For Music. Soo - First off something I have always wanted to ask ...why the name Quartz ?
Quartz: I could go into some philosophical or other worldly tangent but I choose the name from one of my favourite band's songs. Not too hard to figure out which song when you know which band. No hints, to become a Jedi, you must work ;-)
Michael: Now something you must be asked a lot - You come over as a sane, balanced kind of individual - how on earth did you get involved in the crazy world of Second Life?
Quartz: There was a news story on television about Second Life and I thought, "that's kind of cool. I think I'll check that out." I then discovered you could play live music in SL, and basically play whatever you like. So off I went.
Michael: So after a while you decided to have a go at singing live in Second Life - can you remember your first gig - the venue and how it went ?
Quartz: My first gig was at a place called "The Kickin Club." It was a fun place to play, and the owners (LilMissPriss Lane & ScrtsSafe Waco) and their manager (Diadorine Lane) are lovely people. They were really kind to me even though there weren't a ton of people at my shows because no one know who the heck I was.
I remember playing at some SL venues where no one showed up, but I guess we all had to start somewhere. My eternal gratitude to those venues who stuck it out with me.
Michael: Following on from that is there a gig you remember above all ? (excluding the memorable ones you did with Max for Feed A Smile of course)
Quartz: Playing with Max Kleene is always fun. He's a great guy and I think we both have a similar sense of humour. I also think our voices go well with each other's. The shows I do with Sky Fire (Lexi Marshdevil & ParticleTom Nova) are really amazing for me to perform. Lexi & Tom are particle artistes, so it's awesome to have such an amazing visual spectacle to perform with.
As far as memorable? That's hard to say. I remember little bits and pieces here and there. People making me laugh with their comments local chat while I sing is always funny. Messages when I do a song from someone who enjoyed that song or it brought back a memory. Or made them feel better. Singing at Kat Vargas' memorial was emotionally hard for me. They are the moments I remember.
Michael: And the future? Clearly you have reached the absolute peak of live performing in SL and the world is at your feet. Have you any remaining goals or are you happy with what you have achieved and aim to keep up your exceptionally high standard into the future?
Quartz: Thank you for being so kind. However, I can't say I've reached the peak, but I'm doing my best. I have to say though, I have some of the most generous and loyal fans in SL. They are simply the best and I am grateful to every one of them. Now, if everyone from my inworld group and Subscribo all showed up at once, that would be cool and that might be my peak ;-)
I don't know though, I really need to promote my original music more so that's a future goal. I'd like to drive down the street and hear someone with their windows rolled down blasting one of my songs on Spotify. That would make me happier and grateful beyond words.
Michael: You know the Second Life live music industry inside out by now. Do you feel it is in a healthy state at this moment in time ? If you could do one thing to improve it - what would it be?
Quartz: I 'believe' SLive Music is doing very well. That being said, my RL work is so overwhelmingly busy that I had to scale back on the number of shows I perform inworld. This has resulted in me being terribly out of touch :-(
However, on a technical improvement note (and yes, I am a geek), I wish we could find a way to reduce the latency between what we send out on the stream and the inworld reaction of an audience. That 10 or 20 seconds really does separate us both a bit, and it would be nice to have a true conversation between with the people kind enough to be at my shows. I think it would be WAY more fun.
Michael: Conversely what would you say irks you the most ? (aside from annoying interviewers)
Quartz: Lack of respect for one another. I won't go into details, but I've seen a few instances where things have fallen apart. Things that could have been avoided, if a little respect was observed.
Michael: At Toggle For Music we are now a month into our crusade, with our blog, to promote SL live music in any way we can. Could you give us any advice on ways we could go about this?
One of my biggest failings is my general lack of self promotion. If it wasn't for DupliCat, Kat Vargas and The Keys Management Group (KMG), people would be saying, "Whatsa Quartz?" Never underestimate the power of a good manager. In short, if you want to talk promotion, you should talk to DupliCat. I couldn't sort out fridge magnets if it wasn't for her LoL.
*DUPLICAT'S NOTE: Kat Vargas (Vargas & Associates Entertainment), Liz Harley & Laurie Alexis (KMG) taught me a lot about SLive Music management, and Liz Harley taught me a TON about promotion; Liz is a promo wizard. The bottom line is that you need to get out there... Get on some social media outlets and spend the necessary time to make and circulate your posts.
Michael: Lastly, on a more personal note, we lost a mutual dear friend recently when Kat Vargas left us. Is there anything you would like to say in her memory?
Quartz: Kat was a good person who always treated DupliCat and me kindly. We didn't always agree, but, we respected her point of view and she respected ours. And she was always great fun. And a groper extraordinaire :-) She is a SLive Music legend, and she will always be missed.
Thank you very much for this interview on Toggle for Music. I am thrilled that you wanted, and took the time, to interview me. Much thanks.