If You Make It; Awesome DIY Music Site

If You Make it is a thoughtfully entitled Website that will realize the self-fulfilling prophecy that if you make it, they will come. Dave Garwacke's site features friends who love and make music. He films bands that have created a history, memory, and soundtrack in the lives of a broad music community he has been a part of. Dave has been recording them at shows, in garages, apartments, outdoor festivals, and the special The Pink Couch Sessions. He is creating an archival record of current bands and disbanded outfits to be filed on the Web.

What started out as a simple idea is growing, and although it is a labor of love, it has turned out to be a labor of hard work. Dave’s undeniable web programming talent defies the very nature of his philosophical bent. Despite its best intentions to be a makeshift low-key affair, it has seen a lot of traffic. This is a Web community!

Since its inception If You Make It has gone through many design configurations. Right now, he is settling on its current format, but I suggest don’t get too comfortable. I am sure there will be more changes.

The Pink Couch Sessions' quality has stepped up, without losing its downright homey nature. The footage captures the way musicians are rather than just highlighting the music. It presents people true to form. It is as if you, the viewer, are just hanging out, and the music is in your living space. It is close-up and personal and definitely not staged.

One of the most unique things about the site is the music. These bands are not the latest or on anybody's buzz list of up-and-coming bands. They have little web history but are well known within certain music communities, grassroots, word of mouth, and DIY culture.

I am glad Dave took the time and has the ambition of his convictions and wherewithal to know how to present what he loves in the best way possible. This kind of work ethic is unusual for someone who is Twenty-five.

Dave Garwacke's love of music is apparent. I am grateful that he will put forth the time and effort to share this love with all of us.

My interest and affiliation started when I realized Dave was embedding my writing along with the videos he was presenting. His forte is in web development and not writing. So as he started this site I’ve been watching from the sidelines.


Your background education/web programming combined with a love of music.

DG I went to SUNY New Paltz for Computer Engineering, but the whole time I was teaching myself web design and programming. I worked on a couple of local things, including a website for the house I lived in, which had shows in our basement. A ton of bands came through there, and I saw it as a way to get the word out about shows and document all of the things going on there. Unfortunately, our landlord shut it down when he saw an article in the school paper about it. Afterwards I realized that no physical evidence existed of the things that we did there. When I moved to Brooklyn, I wanted to make sure that sort of thing wouldn't happen again.

Philosophical mission of site?

DG I want to expose people to my friend's music through channels that they might not have access to. It's also a fun experiment for me to fool around with.

OC Other possible directions, or wish List for future endeavors.

DG Recently I added in the Pink Couch Sessions which features artists in my Brooklyn apartment performing 2 songs. The next project will be more dynamic and involve artists performing different places in their home communities. Through touring I've seen a lot of communities being sustained by one or two bands that act as parents, fostering new bands and venues into the scene. I want to capture those bands somewhere iconic to them and their community.

Affiliation with Plan-it-x (designing their new site) plus other connections to the bands etc.

DG The majority of the bands on the site are my friends, along with the folks from Plan-it-X. A band I'm in, Halo Fauna, is also on the label. I saw that Chris (owner of PIX) needed an update, I mentioned it to him, and got to work on the site. Other than that, most of the friendships were formed through touring and helping other bands with shows at my old house in New Paltz. For Pink Couch Sessions, I usually just shoot people an email when they come into town, or talk to them at the show about coming over afterwards.

Is part of your goal to keep the music you love alive and exposed?

DG I worry that bands will break up before people have a chance to get into them. Also the ability to see the band in a show atmosphere adds so much more to the song. When you witness the energy the crowd and artists put in it adds something that you never get from a record. Having the videos online also let's younger viewers, who may not be of show age, keep in touch with bands their into.

Any commercial considerations? My philosophy is to expose great music and hopefully help musicians have a viable income from their music without being distracted by other jobs.

DG I'm all about getting help running the site (i.e.; hosting, pr), but I want to make sure that it represents the music first and me second. Hopefully I can get some help from labels that are trying to promote these bands, but the main goal is to help them get attention that may not come naturally. I also had the luck to pick a camera that does an amazing job at recording audio in a live environment. I think it has to do with its lack of bass pickup, which tends to distort other cameras, even ones that cost more. It's a Panasonic GS320, if Panasonic is listening and wants to help a poor boy out.

Has your perspective changed since starting the site and realizing the impact it can have on music?

DG I've noticed throughout the course of the site that the videos on it fall into a special niche. They represent a new group of talent that is up and coming on the east coast. IYMI is in a unique situation because it doesn't come off as commercial, or inversely, poorly done. I want to make sure that the videos are of good quality, but don't want to come off as cheesy or exploitive. MTV already exists and it's a flawed vehicle, only pushing music that has been enhanced and misrepresented.

OC Anything else you wish to mention?

DG Some friends with new releases worth checking out;
Get Bent (NYC), Tin Armor (OH) and Cheeky (NYC).

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