Blogger Spotlight: Brandon Delano (Side Stage Magazine)

We have dedicated a good amount of our Blogger Spotlight series to people who have dedicated years to running or contributing to a particular site. Those are the people who have war stories to share, both good and bad, and we have always maintained they have something to teach newcomers, as well as their peers. Every site is different, after all, so there really is no one way to do anything in this business. We simply try to highlight those we feel are doing something special, and through doing so hope to help them get a few steps further in their career.

Brandon Delano is not a veteran music blogger. In fact, he could very well still be considered a rookie, but after years of contributing to Shockwave Magazine Brandon recently decided to step out on his own with a site called Side Stage Magazine. The blog is very young, with less than six months of content in total, but every single post is filled with a clear love for music that speaks to Brandon’s passion for this industry. We know he hasn’t gotten very far yet, but we believe as long as he continues down the path he is currently on he will find success in the future.

We had a chance to speak with Brandon about the challenges of starting a site in 2015, as well as the things he hopes to accomplish through his work with Side Stage. You can read his responses below. If you would like to know more about Brandon or his work, we highly suggest you bookmark Side Stage Magazine today.

H: Before we dive into your site, let’s talk about you. Please give our readers a little background on your history in music writing:

B: Well I’m more of a photographer vs being a writer. Ive always been into live music and was always that guy who took a camera along with him to the show. I guess my first break was shooting a band called Saint Diablo when they played Mayhem Fest. They really liked the pictures and I started to look more at how I could become a concert photographer. From there I met up with their manager at the time Tony Wilson of The Lafeyette Agency and thanks to them I was able to shoot In This Moment at The National in Richmond, VA adn things just kind of took off from there.

H: Where do you believe your interest in writing comes from? How about your connection to music?

B: My connection to music goes way back to when I was a kid. My sister was into music and I followed her interests in the type of music that attracted me. My first show was Judas Priest and Cinderella back in ‘88 I think and Ive been hooked ever since. Between my mom and sister we just always had music playing in the house.

H: Have you done any work in music outside writing, perhaps being in a band yourself?

B: Ive never been in a band or anything, I tried to learn the guitar as a teenager but it just never sunk in. Other than having a lot of friends who are musicians I pretty much just find myself behind the camera.

H: The reason I wanted to speak with you is due to the fact you recently launched a brand new music blog, Side Stage Magazine. In a world overrun with music news sites, what inspired you to create one of your own?

B: Yes, I just recently launched my own website Side Stage Magazine. I had been helping run a magazine called Shockwave Magazine for a friend of mine named Vince Anderson out of Baltimore, MD, but there just came a time where it was time to move on. I owe Vince a lot as far as teaching me the ins and outs of running a magazine. I thought if Im going to put the hours, and hardwork involved in running a magazine, tha it might as well be mine. So late one night I decided to jump in head first and launch a magazine.

H: I’m honestly a little impressed you were able to land the name you chose. Were there any other contenders for blog names before settling on the one you now use?

B: At first I was at a loss for coming up with a name, then of course everything I came up was taken. I was suprised when I searched for Side Stage Magazine it was available so I grabbed it up.

H: How would you describe the content found on your site if you were talking to someone who had never visited before?

B: Right now the content is more rock and heavy metal based, but Im hoping to be able to cover more genres of music such as country etc. Eventually maybe even add internet radio and some type of podcast.

H: You’re well aware the is a vast amount of competition for clicks in the music blogging world today, so what would you say sets your new site apart from the rest?

B: Honestly right now its still in its baby stages, so its still growing and searching for its identity. Im hoping that it will grow to a site where people will go to get the latest news in music, listen to music, as well as enjoy a podcast if those features get added at some point.

H: I noticed you have a tab for columns, but no content for that page just yet. Do you plan to begin running editorials and other in-depth piece in the coming months?

B: I feel that the columns section could be an area that sets us apart. Im reaching out to musicians and kicking ideas around on the types of columns to include. It could be a column of life on the road told by an actively touring national musician or musicians talking about gear. Of course I would hope to have columns about upcoming releases and tours as well.

H: You have a lot of content for being a relatively new website. How big is the Side Stage team? Are you looking to add to your numbers?

B: Right now the Side Stage Team is very small. I would say there are roughly 5 or so of us. We are looking to expand that and have writers, photographers, and editors across the country. I feel that building a staff is very important and the dynamics of the staff have to be there. Its hard juggling assignments because there are times where multiple staff members want to cover the same show. Im looking to build a diverse staff that would cover all major genres of music and as I do that the site would evolve to reflect that.

H: You cover a lot of big rock acts, but do you have a place for up and comers as well? I’m sure a few of our readers may want to pitch you on their music/talent.

B: I believe in the saying that every national was once a local. So I do want to spotlight local bands on the site. I have to figure out how that is going to work once we have more staff spread across the country. I feel the good thing about an online magazine is that it hs the potential for a local or regional band on the east coast to reach people on the west coast who may have otherwise never heard of them.

H: At the end of the day, what do you hope to accomplish with Side Stage? Do you have any longterm goals?

B: The short term goals woul dbe to get the site to a point where its stable in regards to how it looks and flows. Long term I would like to see it grow into a brand. We are working on logos and banners for the site which we may put on stickers, t-shirts etc.

H: As you currently receive no money for your work on the site, why do you do it?

B: Right now its an expensive hobby based on the love of music and the live show. I think anyone who gets into this for money has gotten into it for the wrong reasons. There are times where I ask myself why am I doing this but at the end of the day I just feel at home with a camera at a live show.

H: Are you working to monetize the site? If so, how?

B: Hopefully as the site grows we will have the numbers to bring in some advertisments and make a few dollars to pay staff for the expenses of doing all this, or at least to pay for the site.

H: If you could offer any advice to people reading this who may be considering a site of their own, what would you say?

B: My advice for anyone looking to get into concert photography, or launching a magazine is to do it. The worse thing that could happen is it fail. But if you dont make that initial leap how will you ever know. If you have a love for music then get out to a live show and document your experience either thru writing or from behind a camera.

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.