Interview by: Mac M.
Video & Photos by: Cinderblock Productions

Update: Charley Crockett will kick off Cinderblock Sessions – Season 2 on Saturday, March 26th at 8PM! Details:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1761602494063222/

New this week we sat down with the co-founders of Cinderblock Sessions, Jake Ryan Hull & Nick Melita, inside their new production studio in Dallas. On topic we covered their season two lineup party, camera setups, the birth of Cinderblock and how Jake fell in love with and wanted to marry one of the music artists from last season!

GBS:
You guys are kicking off the second season for Cinderblock Sessions this year. Along with a new season of artists can we expect anything new with the sessions?

Nick:
Each new session they are all going to have a different look and feel. We have to build a set in our studio for the sessions with a stage and set decorations.
Jake:
Up until now we had the same set for the last 27 artists. It will be a nice surprise to the artists that have signed up with us. They might think they are getting the same set but they are going to get their own original set for the next six sessions.

GBS:
When did the idea for Cinderblock Sessions first come about?

Jake:
In 2013 I was doing a lot of videos for a musician friend we had to post content and the best way to do that is with a crappy video from one of his friends. We were running around Dallas to different locations and I realized he had a bunch of friends that needed videos like that and there’s plenty of opportunity online to throw my own branding and get more videos under my belt and for my friends that was kinda the idea. After that why not find a cool location to have all of these artists come and do a session. Once I found that [location] at American Beauty Mill in Dallas we got that flow started. It wasn’t a solid this is where we are going, it was after the first two or three. A lot of live sessions online don’t invite live crowds and fortunately for the space that I found we had the opportunity to bring in larger crowds.

GBS:
You just recently moved into a new Dallas studio. How will that help or change the production this year?

Jake:
The biggest thing is that we were in a residential spot before. Creatively we have six times the space so we have more opportunities to get better shots.
Nick:
You just have more versatility to shoot different ways. Our space before was long and skinny now it’s almost a big square space. We can fit more people and still feel comfortable and intimate.
Jake:
From the viewer or fan perspective we have left the hobby business and turned in an actual vital production company. It doesn’t feel like it’s two guys that happen to own cameras in a cool apartment.

GBS:
Favorite moment so far from one of the sessions?

Jake:
I fell in love with someone during a session. You can’t tell her that! There’s only been like three girls that ever come through. That would be my favorite moment.

GBS:
Did it turn into something?

Jake:
Yes and no. It’s nothing now. We invited this band to come and this girl was playing. After we shot the three songs fortunately Nick and I can just walk back and enjoy the music like everyone else which is really cool for us. While you are doing camera stuff you don’t get the full experience. Nick and I went to the back of the room just standing there. They were singing and I leaned over to Nick and said I’m going to marry that girl! Unfortunately that won’t happen but I remember that feeling. I think it was because once we are finished with cameras you get high on the feeling! We’re doing something really cool especially because we are the ones creating it.
Nick:
For me I can’t remember which artist it was… it might have been Moonlight Native or Northern National. We use to be in an apartment that was a loft and you could go up the stairs and watch from the top. I remember this particular session had maybe one of the biggest crowds we have ever had and the artist just played an awesome set and I felt really good about all our camera work. Jake and I are standing right there and our sound guy was there next to us. I think that was the first time it felt like we were doing something sustainable were we could turn it into a career. I’m a film maker and want to pursue being a film maker. I haven’t made a ton of films but I’m young and still starting out in my career. That was the first time it felt like it’s possible for us to go out and start making something that feels significant.

GBS:
What camera setups and other gear will you be using for this season?

Jake:
Primarily past and currently we have been using DSLR’s. We do a three camera setup. The cool part about it is we don’t do multiple takes. The artists get one time and as a camera man get one time. So it’s just as much on us as it is on the artists. It’s usually Nick and I on camera and a third person getting other shots. This year we are upping our game and have hired two more people and we have better cameras, production video cameras.
Nick:
Everything is digital, we’ve had the same sound guy since day one.
Jake:
We use tripods and shoulder rigs. We make every session a little different.
Nick:
Depending on certain artists like a buddy of ours Matthew McNeal. It’s him on electric guitar and he has a drummer. It’s pretty upbeat and electric so we chose to do a shoulder rig for that one.

GBS:
The season two lineup reveal party is set for Feb. the 26th at Drug store Cowboy Deep Ellum. Any previews you want to share with us?

Jake:
We have four DOMA (Dallas Observer Music Awards) nominees who are the hot topics.
Nick:
We will have a couple drink specials during the event. One thing that you and I talked about is the listening stations. I bought some old first generation iPod Touch(s). Still kinda looks like an iPhone but we will have kinda a classic listening station with an old record store feel.

GBS:
If you could work with and film any music artist in their prime alive or dead who would it be and why?

Nick:
Mine would be someone from classic rock. Names that come to mind are John Lennon and the Beatles. The Beach Boys, I love Brian Wilson. That’s where I would lean.
Jake:
I’m going to go with Queen. Just because, just to watch they would be my favorite band ever to see live. The recordings I’ve seen they put on one hell of a show. I would love to be one of those recordings! The production side of it I could see sixteen cameras, cranes, spotlights, smoke. I would drop my own money on that, they don’t even have to pay me!

More on Cinderblock Sessions:
http://www.cinderblocksessions.com
https://www.facebook.com/CinderblockSessions
https://twitter.com/cndblksessions
https://www.instagram.com/cinderblocksessions
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVsQrA8dRc59fGfyUBeiNRg

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