It’s well past midnight and while most people sleep Gerritt Tisdale works feverishly at the final mix on the last song of the year for the electronic music group he founded, Audio Runner. A collection of three high school friends, Audio Runner is quickly making a name for creating amazing music and marketing it via the internet and social media outlets.
The quality of music made by Audio Runner will leave you convinced that it is being produced in some multi-million dollar studio. You would be surprised (I was) to find that this HUGE sound is created in a tiny music laboratory with just enough room for the three musicians and their computers, laptops, keyboards, 2 microphones and small rack of tiny blinking lights and switches. At first sight this “studio” it is not that impressive but when these guys are at work, the Audio Runner machine is something to behold. Electronic music may never be the same again.
Gerritt Tisdale, Ryan Daniel and Andy Gonzalez all love music. It’s that simple. The plan for any Audio Runner song is that it must be “good”. There are no boundaries, there are no rules and the only expectation is that the quality must be top notch. To watch this trio in action would be something to see if you could somehow speed it up like an old movie from the 20’s. At any given moment, someone is on the guitar then at the keyboard then at the microphone then on the computer then back to the guitar then all three sit and listen for a minute until the process starts all over again. You get the idea.
Unlike most artists, Audio Runner does not focus on putting together an album then releasing it to their rapidly growing fan base. Instead, they start each month with a few ideas, whittle it down to one idea then concentrate on writing, recording and producing one song per month. This means at the end or at the start of each month, they have something new. It is also part of their social media marketing strategy. A way to maintain a fresh buzz and to keep their fans involved. Along the way, fans are entertained by status updates (via twitter and facebook) on how the new song is coming along, they are able to see the artwork for the new single and feel part of the action as Audio Runner frequently post videos of the song production process on their youtube channel (youtube.com/audiorunnertv ). When it comes to using social media to market their music, these guys truly do ‘get it’. Oh, did I fail to mention that they ALWAYS give their music away for free on their website? You can download in directly from www.audio-runner.com
Most of the lyrics are written by both Gerritt and Andy. Andy Gonzalez is a former underground hip-hop artist that found himself trapped by the single dimension of hip-hop music. “I grew up playing guitar and learning Led Zeppelin songs,” he says” drums, piano, trumpet.. all that. I love hip-hop music and all the poetry and rhyme scheming but I always felt like I could be doing so much more. I hooked back up with Gerritt and Ryan and it was like a breath of fresh air after being underwater for 5 years. It was magical.” Gerritt agrees, he too began struggling with the frustrated feeling of only making hip hop music. “I’ve made hip hop beats for almost a decade,” Gerritt smiles as he talks “and at one point I felt like I wasn’t doing it for me anymore. So I quit making music…took a break. A few months later, I sat down in front of the computer and started production on something fun. It was a dance track and after it was done, I was like ‘Whew…’ Ryan called me out of the blue a few days later and the rest is history.”
On most of the songs, you will hear Gerritt’s airy, soulful voice singing along to Audio Runner’s music. Although he admits that he isn’t the best singer he also fails to give himself enough credit. His singing is more than adequate and at times, it is just perfect. On the other hand, there are occasions that some “lyrical acrobatics on the mic” (as Andy puts it) are in order and Andy is more than happy to fill that roll. Don’t let the fact that this guy gave up a promising underground hip-hop career fool you. He lives up to his emcee namesake ‘ Word Perfect’ and is quite the acrobat on the microphone.
For all the combined talent of writing and constructing an Audio Runner song, nothing gets final approval until it is run past the trained ears of Ryan Daniel. A true audio engineer, he is the one both Gerritt and Andy defer to when the in-house music needs a professional tune up. Although you will find him giving his input during the writing phases and frequent nods of approval, his talent and skill as an audio engineer is his piece to the Audio Runner puzzle and probably the most important.
Audio Runner is Texas’s best kept secret when talking about electronic music. They are a secret for now, but there are big things and big plans on the horizon for Audio Runner in 2011. With some podcasts, an album with all the 2010 releases, their first live shows and a fan base that is growing by a few hundred per month, it wont take long until you find these guys being talked about in the same breath as Deadmau5 and Daft Punk. Andy says, “Audio Runner for life” and I couldn’t agree more.