Remember when MTV still played music videos? For those of you who miss discovering new bands on television, or simply just want a regular outlet for previewing unconventional musical artists, you’re in luck. Not Mainstream Television Videos is a comprehensive network dedicated to bringing viewers the best of the independent music scene. Started in January 2006 and sponsored by Microsoft, the show is created, filmed, and edited by Tom Rowles, an experienced, Los Angeles-based content producer whose credits include Geraldo. In addition to releasing episodes (hosted on web TV network Revision 3), NotMTV also offers a great vault collection of indie music videos across several genres. Yup, it’s definitely not MTV.
There is something for just about everyone on NotMTV. Witness the eclectic mix of musicians profiled by the show: Panjea, a fusion-funk band specializing in African rhythms; Wylde Bunch, the alternative hip-hop group that created the theme song for ABC/ESPN’S 2007 NBA season; Muse, a cabaret-style singing/dancing/stripteasing variety show; the Street Drum Corps, a percussionist troupe that uses everything from pots to motorcycle parts to create beats; and, of course, no shortage of rock bands like Bleed the Dreams. In each 20-minute episode, Tom Rowles and other NotMTV hosts interview the artists and showcase at least one full live performance (such as this in-studio exclusive by punk group Something for Rockets, starting at 14:30).
The interviews give us a revealing look into the people behind the music. During one Q&A with fusion-rock band Slightly Stoopid, band members sum up the spirit of the indie music scene (along with some truths about digital age music) with refreshing candor: “We’re not trying to make music for [record labels]. We make the stuff for us and for the fans. As long as you’re not pulling on our bank accounts, you can pull any records you want [from file sharing]. Those musicians who talk s*** about people file sharing are already the ones who have sold millions of records. What gives them the right to be bitter? It helps independent artists.” Take that, Metallica.
Hardcore/scremo band Bless the Fall sets Christianity-laced lyrics to head-banging, heavy metal shouting. As they say…don’t judge a book by its cover. So don’t judge a song by its…riffs? Guitar solo? Genre? Oh, you get the point.