20 Minutes To Park
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20 Minutes To Park

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"20 Minutes To Park To Perform"

By MAGEN KRITSCH
Courier Press staff writer 464-7593 or kritschm@courierpress.com
Thursday, June 21, 2007
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If you're into a smooth, relaxing acoustic sound and a treasure trove of mellow songs, including "Forever Goodbyes," "Other Side of Midnight" and "Grey Eyes," 20 Minutes to Park's 10:30 p.m. performance today at Ri-Ra's is worth checking out.
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The Indianapolis-based duo, consisting of Mitch Strohm on lead vocals and rhythm guitar and Josh Gilmore on lead guitar and backup vocals, will perform songs from their debut album "Can't Stand Still." They also anticipate doing covers ranging from '60s music to contemporary favorites.
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According to Strohm, 20 Minutes to Park's music is different because of their chance to collaborate and to "fill out the music."
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Strohm and Gilmore formed their group in 2002, released their first album in November 2006, and toured for more than a year before beginning to record and establish their own songs. They write and record their own lyrics and music.
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The two work together when writing their music, making changes and editing.
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"We share everything we can," said Strohm. "Even if one of us totally writes a whole song, we end up changing it up a bit."
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They gain musical influence from classic blues and jazz artists and from groups such as the Beatles. "It spans a lot of stuff," said Gilmore.
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Ri-Ra's is one stop on the group's tour in the Midwest. It's when 20 Minutes to Park is touring that Gilmore is the happiest. "It is a lot of fun, it's what we want to do, and we are making a living at it," he said. "Not being in an office is nice."
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Right now the group is in the midst of a college radio campaign. Gilmore estimates that the group's songs are on rotation at 120 campus radio stations.
Your Turn - Courier Press


"Studio Struggles"

Studio Struggles
The road to recording an album
By Diana Tychsen | Indiana Daily Student | Thursday, October 07, 2004


Aside from the occasional opportunity to sleep in, record production is not a good career choice for lazy people. The exceptional producers put their heart and soul into each record that comes out of their studio, and that can be exhausting. A perfect example is Russ Castillo, of Castle Creek Recording Studios, who is an absolute perfectionist by nature and says he has never been 100 percent satisfied with any of his efforts. But his resume, which includes work with Pink Floyd and Ray Charles, is impressive enough to make you trust the quality of his work. Castillo says the challenges that accompany the job are what keep him on his toes. Every day is another opportunity to "up the ante," so to speak.

"I take on these projects," Castillo explained, "and throw all I have in there, but eventually I have no choice but to move on and be done with it."

The producer, as a part of the artistic process, can only do so much. The recording artists play the most important roles, serving as artistic directors, composers, lyricists, and inventors. The musicians come into the studio with a master plan (and hopefully a bit of talent), and most of the time they like to call the shots.

Josh Gilmore, who recorded with Right Side Down a few years back, explains that when his band first entered the studio to record, they knew exactly what they wanted.

"We came in with the framework of the album pretty solid, but the producer turned out ideas here and there. He never pushed us in a certain direction unless we were feeling it," Gilmore said.

There is one job that is solely up to the record producer, and it begins way before anyone sets foot inside the studio. This job requires spending hour upon hour researching each project before deciding to take it on. They observe the band backstage, at concerts, at rehearsals, and in normal, everyday interactions with each other. It is crucial to get an idea of the dynamic of the band, and the status of their working relationship before entering the studio. After all, the atmosphere that is created during the recording process dictates the quality of the record. No producer wants to work with a bunch of stubborn, close-minded divas. A good musician must be open to suggestions, and a good producer must be able to adjust his style in order to accommodate the musicians.

Observing Dave Webber of Airtime Studios will give you a good idea of the professionalism that is required of a producer. Dave sits back leisurely in his chair and waits for the signal from the young woman in the booth. She nods, he counts off a few beats, and then starts to record her vocals. The woman stops after a half a minute and looks anxiously at Webber for approval.

"Sounds great, it really does," he said. "How 'bout one more take, but this time try really hard to mesh the vocals with the piano track. Don't think about them as separate entities. Sing just like you sing when no one's listening. Be bold."

The young woman takes a deep breath and begins again, this time with a vibrant burst of confidence.

Because of the amount of time spent working solo on each project, many producers design their studios as a type of sanctuary. Webber designed his own studio, having completed it just 18 months ago. The space is about the size of a garage, but the ceiling is relatively high in the recording booth (17 feet) to create a natural, crisp resonance that makes the record sound authentic and somewhat live. There is a partition in the booth that the drum-set sits behind, with separate microphones for the hi-hat, snare, kick, and tom drums. There has to be just the right amount of space between the mic and the drum, and it initially took Webber hours running back and forth from the listening booth to the recording booth for the right amplification.

This goes for the vocal mics as well, which have their own set of complications, such as windscreen positioning and shock mounts. Webber calls each musician on the mixer up one by one, starting with the drummer. After laying the percussion down, it's on to the bass guitar, and so on, until the song is completed. After the musicians leave, Webber can layer the tracks and mix each one separately.

While some producers, like Webber, allow each band member to record on an individual basis, Castillo requires all band members to be present in the studio at the same time, playing simultaneously. He protects the sound of each individual instrument by routing the cables from the guitars directly into the mixer, and giving the guitarist a pair of headphones so he can hear the output. He then places the singer in a soundproof shell in the corner of the studio. This allows the vocalist to see the percussionist and the guitarist playing, and hear them through a pair of headphones, while protecting the vocal track from harboring any outside noise. This way, the sound, as a whole, is much tighter and the output is more energized. Plus, Castillo feels the final cut should sound just as if the band were playing live in the listener's room.

"You want everyone there (in the studio) to get that feel of real rock 'n' roll," Castillo explained. "When the entire band is playing together on a track, there aren't any holes in the sound."

After a producer is finished mixing the last track on the set, he burns a final copy. Once this is completed, his job is done. The next step will be to send it to a manufacturing house in California where the CD will be "mastered." Mastering involves balancing the frequencies on each track, fixing any imperfections in the instrumentation or the vocals, and compressing the pitch range of each song so the volume of each instrument is proportional to the song as a whole, and to the album as a whole. The manufacturer then adds the finishing touches by printing the cover, packaging the album, and shipping out the ordered amount.

Obviously, this can be pricey. Studio time, production costs, and manufacturing costs can get out of hand. Some musicians choose to go another route and use home computer programs to record their songs. Mitch Strohm and Josh Gilmore, the acoustic duo 20 Minutes to Park, have made the decision to oversee their own production efforts. Using CoolEdit on their desktop PC, the two have recently completed two songs (which can be heard on their Web site www.20minutestopark.com) and have many more in the mix. Both Gilmore and Strohm expressed have no regrets about their decision to produce their own album.

"This way, we get complete control," Strohm said. "There are no time restraints, no scheduling conflicts to work out, and it is a hell of a lot cheaper, obviously."

Gilmore, who has sacrificed a section of his room for the project, also enjoys being in the driver's seat, but for a different reason.

"I've recorded before, and a lot of times, audio engineers' ears get tired," he said. "You can tell. It is so much easier to listen for long periods of time when it's my own music. I am picky; I want the track to be absolutely flawless. I don't mind sitting there for hours at a time."

Mitch agrees.

"We listen to the song a ridiculous amount of times before we put it out," he said.

Still, there are some things that only a professional studio can offer that a personal studio cannot. For one, sound quality. Both the user-friendly CoolEdit and, ProTools, another popular home recording program that is preferred by Mac users, have limits to their technical capabilities. The quality of the recording, although relatively professional sounding, is nothing like the spaciousness and authenticity of a studio recording. Plus, many home programs offer downloadable drum tracks that, although convenient, sound too repetitive and too rhythmically precise to pass as an authentic percussion track.

For musicians, it comes down to whether or not the investment seems worth it. Gilmore and Strohm, who are diligently at work on a 6-track EP, both think their decision to record at home is a good one for now.

"If we get a deal, we'll invest in studio time. But ours is just a little project," Strohm explains.

And that's what record producers are hoping for: young musicians who are passionate about their craft.

"Passion, confidence and talent, that's what I look for," Russ Castillo said.


- Indiana University News


"Artists Passion"

Beautiful Acoutistic Music! 20 Minutes To Park!
October 24th, 2006 by Liane

by: Liane Schmidt

From Indianapolis, Indiana two extremely talented young musicians, Mitch Strohm (Lead Vocals, Guitar) and Josh Gilmore (Lead Guitar, Back-up Vocals) have come together to form “20 Minutes To Park”!

“20 Minutes To Park’s” music is reminiscent of greats like Train and Matchbox to name a couple. This band beautifully combines the feel of country, blues and acoustic pop rock to create great songs like “Forever Goodbyes”. Their music is easy going, with an upbeat tempo that leaves the listener feeling inspired and hopeful for beautiful and better things in life!

Be sure to check them out! Please visit: 20 Minutes To Park MySpace Site - 451Press


"Bands come together on common ground for show"

Bands come together on common ground for show
March 20, 2007

By AILEEN WONG
Reporter

Three bands will converge at one place today: Common Grounds.

Florez, 20 Minutes to Park and Green River Ordinance will perform at 9 p.m. in the backyard of Common Grounds.

Mitch Strohm on lead vocals and guitar and Josh Gilmore on lead guitar and back-up vocals perform as 20 Minutes to Park.

"We're playing with two other pretty professional bands," Gilmore said. "It's our first time in Waco, and that's pretty exciting."

The band is originally from Indianapolis and has been playing mainly in the Midwest.

Strohm and Gilmore met at Indiana University and combined their musical influences of country and blues to create a new sound of their own.

They played together for four years around the Midwest in Michigan, Chicago, Cincinnati, Florida, Tennessee and Indiana. After they graduated in May 2005, they decided to pursue their music careers full time.

"We've been doing this for a while," Gilmore said. "It's fun. It's what we love to do, and we'll keep doing it. Now we're taking it on the road."

The duo likes to relate to their audience with a self-described quirky, soulful acoustic rock sound.

"We'll throw in some humor here and there," Gilmore said. "We definitely feed off the audience."

20 Minutes to Park recently released Can't Stand Still, its debut album.

Florez, a band based out of Nashville, Tenn., is made up of Alex Florez on lead vocal and guitar, Erik Huffman on bass and vocal and Dusty Emerick on keyboard, harmonica, banjo and vocals. All of them played together at Furman University and would perform regularly around the campus in Greenville, S.C.

Florez is touring around the country, and John Robinson, a drummer, is touring with the band, as well.

"We haven't been to Texas in almost a year," Florez said. "We're really good friends with Jill Mashburn (owner of Common Grounds), so any chance we get to hang out with her, we do."

Florez said playing at Common Grounds will be a different atmosphere for the band because the coffee shop is such a small venue.

"We're not going to be able to do the rock 'n roll stuff we usually do," Florez said. "It's going to be a more acoustic, more relaxed sound."

However, Florez said although the atmosphere is different, the performance will still connect with the audience.

"When the performers are on stage and feel at home, it resonates with the audience," Florez said.

Florez said his musical roots go back to his childhood. His father was in a band, and his mother encouraged him to take guitar lessons.

"My family has always supported me and never told me to have a backup plan when I told them I wanted to play music professionally," Florez said.

The band has shared the stage with popular artists such as Gavin DeGraw and Amos Lee.

The song "Natalie" from its first CD, In Flight, was featured in NBC's Scrubs. Its second acoustic album is called The Brooker Sessions.

Green River Ordinance includes Joshua Wilkerson on electric guitar, Josh Jenkins on vocals and acoustic guitar, Jamey Ice on electric guitar, Geoff Ice on bass and Denton Hunker on drums.

"I'm excited about the show," Jenkins said.

"We did a show there a couple of weeks ago, and the weather should be good."

For Green River Ordinance, Common Grounds is close to the members' hometown of Fort Worth.

"We've got a lot of friends in Waco and enjoy hanging out with them," Jenkins said. "Usually we're playing for people we don't know when we're on tour, but now we get to see people from high school."

The five met, wrote and recorded their music before they even entered high school.

Their first EP was recorded in the basement of their church and sold out within a few months. The current album, The Beauty of Letting Go, has received numerous positive reviews from music critics.

The band was listed among the top 20 college-based bands in the U.S. by MTV in 2006.

"We love to have a good time," Jenkins said.

"We want to play music that puts people in a good mood. We want our show to have a lax atmosphere."

Admission for the show is $7.

For more information about the bands, visit www.myspace.com/florez, www.myspace.com/20minutestopark and www.myspace.com/gro.

For information about the show, call Common Grounds at 757-2957. - Baylor University


"ARTIST OF THE WEEK: 20 Minutes To Park"

Remember the band you played with in college, or the buddy that you used to get together with just because you both had an interest in music? What are those cats up to now? 20 Minutes To Park consists of Mitch Strohm (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar) and Josh Gilmore (Lead Guitar, Back-Up Vocals), and they have never wondered that question because they are still together.

The two lived on the same floor their freshman year at IU and forged a friendship that would span their college careers and beyond. Soon, they began playing shows for their own enjoyment. Their first show proved to be a fateful experience. Mitch says “It took us 20 minutes to find a parking spot, and we ended up being late to the show by 20 minutes. Our excuse for being late was 'Sorry, it took us 20 minutes to park.'"

Band and name in place, they continue to play gigs today and create more tunes. Their latest album “Can’t Stand Still” has been a long time coming, Mitch explains. "The writing for the EP actually started when we first began playing back in college, but we didn’t feel we were ready to record it until after our first full tour in spring of 2006. In May of 2006, after 4 years of fine-tuning, we decided to sit down and record it. Six months and eight songs later, we had “Can’t Stand Still”, which is an EP drawn from our personal lives, relationships, and experiences on the road.”

The band reveals how they pride themselves on performing all of their "soulful acoustic rock" on the album themselves. “We're really proud to have taken on the 'Do-It-Yourself' method full-time. Producing and recording our debut EP, setting up our own tours, doing all of our design work, including album cover, posters, website, and MySpace, and taking care of promotions and press. Basically doing a lot of hard work to make this dream work. It has really made us appreciate getting on stage and playing to an audience of 2 or 200; the hard work proves to be worthwhile when you're in that moment."

The two are elated in the fact that they got their start in Indiana, “We've met a lot of great artists in Indiana and it has been a nice place to get our start. There's enough creativity and artistry without an overwhelming cluster of artists that you might find in bigger cities like New York or LA.”

20 Minutes To Park is currently setting up a spring tour for the Midwest and South in March, and they have future plans to head East come May and June and West in July and August.

"Overall, we’re just two guys with guitars who love to play music, travel, and meet everyone we can."

-- Christopher Jones -- - indianapolismusic.net


Discography

Can't Stand Still - November 28, 2006

Changin' Tones - November 17, 2009

Photos

Bio

20 Minutes to Park is a Rock/Blues/Americana band based out of Nashville, TN, comprised of Josh Gilmore (Nashville, TN) and Mitch Strohm (Chicago, IL). With well over 300 shows in their tour archive, they have gained and maintained a strong fan base, both nationally and internationally. Their first 8-song EP, "Can't Stand Still", was released in November of 2006, which received significant college radio airplay on 120 different stations across the U.S. “Changin’ Tones”, their sophomore album, will be released on November 17, 2009. For more information, visit www.20MTP.com