Blogger Spotlight: Daniel Gallegos (Dread Music Review)

Hello and welcome to a brand new week of music industry advice and insight on the official blog of Haulix. We have been preparing all month for the days ahead, and could not be more excited to finally share the content we have in store with all of you. From interview to advice, everything you love about this blog will be making an appearance in the very near future. If you have any questions regarding the content of this blog, or if you would like to learn more information about the services offered by Haulix, please email james@haulix.com and share your thoughts. We can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

There are many types of music critics in this world. Some people love to hear themselves talk, others feel they have a mission to prove one genre is better than all the rest, and still others critique for the sake of finding the best music anywhere in the world. Genre does not matter. Age does not matter. If they have an audience, these critics want to know why. They dedicate themselves to the pursuit of the most memorable, catchy, infectious, and downright unforgettable audio offerings ever created. They are a rare breed of writer, and we are fortunate enough to have one of their brightest minds with us today.

For the better part of the last three years Daniel Gallegos has served as founder, editor, and sometimes photographer of The Dread Music Review. The goal of these efforts has not been to preach about one genre of music, or to say one group is better than the other, but to show the world all music is awesome and worth hearing. Through music reviews, live coverage, editorials, and little bit of everything in between, Daniel explores the wide reaching world of music so casual listeners can enjoy the latest greatest offerings from around the globe. His mission is one we applaud, and we are honored to have him take part in this series.

If you would like to learn more about Daniel Gallegos and the efforts of The Dread Music Review, please take time today to follow the site on Facebook. additional questions and comments can be left at the end of this post.

H: Please tell everyone your full name, job title, and the site you’re going to discuss with us today:

D:Hey James! My name is Daniel Gallegos, owner, writer, and sometimes photographer for the DreadMusicReview.com.

H: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Daniel. I’m excited to learn about your journey in this business. Tell me, has music always played a major role in your life?

D: My father always told us ‘Music is the voice of the universe’, He was very musically talented and ensured music was always a part of our lives growing up.

H: Who was the first artist you can remember obsessing over, and how did you initially discover them?

D: I believe it was 1985 or maybe 1986, RunDMC broke the music barrier by covering Aerosmith’s ‘Walk This Way’ which came up randomly on MTV. I ended up not only learning every single song by RunDMC, but also Aerosmith, and began to understand how diverse the world of music really was.

H: Do you remember the first concert you attended? Go on, tell us a little about that experience:

D: The first memorable concert i went to was the Rolling Stones Steel Wheels Tour, in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. We had flown from Albuquerque to LA just to see the Stones play. It was a fast unplanned weekend trip my dad put together in just a few days, because he wanted me to see one of his favorite bands while they were still touring. The Stones played 3 shows in 3 nights, we were there for two of them, i believe this was back in 1989. I actually spent that Halloween on the beach with my ears still ringing from the concerts.

H: We’re mainly here to discuss your working in writing, so it’s only fair we dive into your history there as well. Can you pinpoint any formative moments or experiences you had growing up that may have steered you towards a life of music criticism?

D: I have always had a love for music, I have found that while most my friends growing up stuck with listening to one genre, or style of music, i always wanted to hear, and experience more. I was the kid always flipping through the stations, looking for the songs that felt right, and sounded perfect.

H: Where did you get your first taste of writing professionally?

D: in 2008, I was photographing events for the now defunct ArizonaReview, taking photos for Nubia Calvillo’s articles. We actually sat down after one event, looking over my images and discussing how we wanted to place them in a way that told their own story along with hers. I sat down and wrote out what i saw, and how it made me feel. from that point on, writing about shows just became an obsession.

H: Onto the site. Would you please tell us the origin story behind Dread Music Review? You are, after all, known by many as ‘Mr. Dread.’

D: I spent a very long time wrestling with the decision to make my own site. Running a website is hard work, and takes a degree of dedication that is incredibly amazing to maintain. I had spent months looking for companies i would like to write for, but i couldn’t seem to find anything that seemed to resonate with the non-biased form i had grown to love in the ArizonaReview. I discussed making my own site with some writers, photographers, PR agencies and labels and decided to push forward with the idea of launching a site, with the goal of not just sticking with one genre of music, and to be open to all forms of musical expression. While brainstorming ideas, one of my phone ringtones went off, it was a sound-clip from “The Princess Bride”, so i looked at that movie for inspiration, and went forward with the Dread Music Review name.

H: We should address the nickname. When did you first begin using the pseudonym Mr. Dread?

D: That credit goes to my daughter, Bonnie, after discussing the name I had chosen for the site, she began calling me “Mr. Dread” and it just stuck, so i integrated it into the DMR.

H: What were your initial goals when DMR launched, and how have they changed or evolved in the years since?

D: The goal of the DMR has always been the same: we want to share with the the world all music. The goal isn’t to preach about one genre of music, or to say one group is better than the other, its to show the world all music is awesome and worth hearing.

H: How would you describe the content offered by DMR to people who have never visited the site?

D: I would have to tell them that we are lovers of all forms of music, and share all that we can, and if they check out our site, they will more than likely find something that will be interesting to them.

H: The competition in the field of digital music journalism has ballooned in recent years. What do you feel sets DMR apart from the rest of the sites vying for clicks?

D: I do my best to find local writers and photographers for events. I have found that if you invest in local people to go to shows and events and to take photos and write reviews, they bring their own cities/colleges and areas with them to the site.

H: Looking at the site now, I notice that you have pretty much no advertising whatsoever. Have you attempted to monetize that site at all? If not, do you have plans to do so in the future?

D: I have wrangled with the idea of selling advertisements, and even using resources like Google ads, or other pay per click ad banner companies. But, so many sites already have all the same advertisements and banners and “click here"s and pop-ups. I have found that ads distract from the content. I want DMR readers to read about music, and events and check out artists, not wrestle with ads. As much as i would love to see the DMR make money via ads, i would rather have a clutter and ad free environment for our readers. In the future, i would like to be able to offer concert and event tickets, and even work in advertisements for our DreadMerchStore, but at the moment it just seems like a bad idea.

H: Besides traffic and continued access to press materials, how do you measure the success of your efforts with DMR?

D: I went to a show in Phoenix, Az, a local band was on stage, and they actually told the crowd about the awesome interview their drummer had given to the DreadMusicReview. The pride in the knowing that band recognized the DMR onstage and was excited about being featured in it has been the standard of how i measure the DMR’s success. we dont do it to be "successful”, we do it to help the artists get out there and become just a little bit more well known.

H: What advice would you offer to up and coming writers who are currently considering a career in music joualism/criticism?

D: Keep at it. Set some goals and don’t stop until you reach them, then make some more and keep that train rolling. Always follow up, even if it is days or weeks later, keep communication going; Your career and that of the artists you feature are dependent on how well you communicate with those in your industry.

H: When it comes to receiving music for review/feature consideration, which distribution platforms do you prefer and why?

D: I have found Haulix to be an absolute godsend! I get an email from a band or PR agency with a Haulix link to content from the band and everything i need is right there at my disposal. I sometimes get links to soundcloud, or other music sharing sites or even just youtube, but being able to have everything bundled up and readily available saves so much time.

H: Beyond continuing to develop DMR, what career goals have you set for yourself?

D: I plan on expanding the Dread family, i have recently started a new project, the DreadMovieReview, still in its infancy and beta stage, along with a band merch site to offer products to artists to sell to their fans at wholesale prices.

H: Is there any area of the music industry you have yet to dabble in that interests you? On the flip side, are you active in any areas we may not have discussed in this interview?

D: Eventually, i would like to move into the PR aspect of the music industry, there are so many awesome PR agents out there that have taught me so much, and some that go above and beyond, like Tom George from Fixit, or Mike from Earshot, they are always there for whatever us writers need. I would love to learn as much as i can from their side of the industry.

H: If you could change one thing about the music business, what would it be?

D: I would like to see less festivals and more intimate events. But there is such a demand for festivals, it would be along time coming to see that kind of change.

H: There are a number of young artists reading this who hope to one day be featured on sites such as yours. What advice would you offer them on advancing their careers in the modern music landscape?

D: Get yourself out there, submit your music and bios to every site you find, and network as much as you can, the friend you meet today could be the person hyping your record to all his friends tomorrow! Also, invest in a good PR agency. They will help you reach as many potential fans as you can.

H: Looking ahead to the rest of 2014, are there any major changes or evolutions coming to DMR? Tell us what lies on the horizon.

D: I am planning on bringing live concert streams to the DMR in June, hopefully streaming EDM festivals as well. My goal is to have the DMR be the place to go to for up to date information on new and current artists.

H: Okay, I think that covers everything. Before I let you go, do you have any final thoughts or observations you would like to share with our readers? The floor is yours:

D: The best thing i can say is always move forward. Plan ahead and you will come out ahead.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.