Exclusive Interview : Kyle Ragan

1) Tell us about your musical background
I grew up playing classic rock with my stepfather who is a fantastic drummer. honed my skills playing with his band, a bunch a great guys all over twice my age at the time. Though that music wasn’t my real passion, the 90’s really shaped me as a musician. I really loved a lot of the acoustic based rock groups and songwriters during that time. That really shaped my songs and playing style.

Kyle-Ragan_01_464x6492) What are you working on now?
A couple of things actually. My band Screams and Whispers is in the midst of recording our 3rd album. We are very DIY so we are engineering and producing it ourselves. We are very excited about that. Aside from that I also run a Youtube Channel, where I do gear reviews for guitarists. I have been building that up for the past 2 years. That is also a big focus for me.

3) What is the role of education in music?
Music education is VERY important to me. I grew up in vocal programs throughout my school years. It stimulates creativity and fosters teamwork. It teaches you how to be a part of something bigger than yourself. So important.

4) How do you feel about the current ‘state of the music industry’?
It is a double edged sword. The path to be heard is open to everyone now. The platforms exist, the opportunity is there. That said the days of the mega star are over except for a select few break through artists. Making a living is MUCH harder through the business. Also getting heard over the abundance of people making music is very hard. The options are limitless, the opportunity is there but you have to creative.

5) Why do you play Dr J pedals?
Being somewhat a gear head I have amassed quite a collection of pedals and run a pretty large board live as as result. With Dr.J, quite simply they make pedals that are exactly what a guitarist like myself needs. The Armour Buffer REALLY helped me tame my pedal board and deal with any signal loss I was getting across that many jumps. The Aerolite is a very Flexible Compressor allowing 2 options not commonly seen in other compressors. One, being a mix control which I find extremely useful and the other being an input level select which really comes in handy when switching guitars and allows me to quickly compensate for differing pick up output levels. This was key for me. Dr. J offer innovative solutions for these problems and others we commonly encounter, as well as tried and true mainstay gain pedals. Just a great company really trying to push the boutique sensibility into its more, mass market, parent company Joyo.

Click here to learn more about Kyle, and click here to check out his YouTube Channel.

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Meet Shem Creek Music Center’s Scottie Frier

Shem Creek Music Center

How long has the store been in business?

Shem Creek Music has been open since 2004.

Shem Creek Music Center's Scottie Friera

Scottie holding Dr J Green Crystal & Mooer Shimverb

How long have you worked at the store, Scottie?

Shem Creek Music was the first place I pulled into when I moved to Charleston fresh out of high school in 2008. I was the kid they couldn’t kick out of here since then, they hired me in 2010 to help out, then in 2011, began managing the store.

Why are Dr J and Mooer pedals doing so well at your store?

Osiamo offers several great pedals, but we have had the best success with Mooer and Dr. J pedals. Those pedals sell themselves. Let a customer play one and then ring them up later, it’s been that easy for us.  Great pedals.

How does the future of music stores look?

Music stores that have adapted to the changes with online sales and Guitar Center/Sam Ash/etc. have done so by pushing their service, as well as lessons and repairs. Lessons really fuel a music store. The lessons should sell the retail, and the retail should sell the lessons. That’s how we feel a successful store should run. If more stores take this model as well as competing with Guitar Center/online prices, music stores will have a very bright future.

Shem Creek Mooer display

Shem Creek Music Center’s Mooer pedal display

What is the biggest challenge for your store for this year and beyond?

Our biggest challenge is getting the greater Charleston area to come to our store and not go to a big box or online store. This is also a blessing for us, we do more repairs than anyone else in Charleston, as well as lessons. Our customers are usually our best salesmen. People come in every day with a “Bruce sent me” or “Bob told me you guys were the guys to go to.” I make damn sure that when they come in, they leave not only satisfied with their products and services that we offer, but also happier that they came in. You want customers to WANT to come back, not just need to. Our biggest challenge is catching that “average Joe” who just saw a GC commercial with a big sale, and he goes there instead of trying the local guy first. However, in Charleston, SC, there are stickers all over town with the saying “Be Local, Buy Local.” We’re very fortunate to have a town that really supports and goes the extra mile for small business like us. In return, we do the exact same for our customers.

Thanks for reading our blog. If you’re interested in learning more about our Dr J and Mooer pedals you can click over to www.OSIAMO.com and see what we have to offer; if you’re a music store and are interested in dealer opportunities send us an email at dealers@osiamo.com and we’ll get right back in touch with you. If you’re already one of our dealers we’d love to feature you in an upcoming blog too. Get in touch with us!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!