Blogger Spotlight: Jason Bales (Face The Noise)

Jason Bales and his brother, Justin, began their adventure in music writing as a way to share their love of rock music with the world. Those simple ambitions quickly turned into something greater, and not long after an early version of what would eventually become Face The Noise was born. Covering all areas of rock, the Bales brothers use their site to connect with music fans all over the world with a clean site design and timely updates. We recognized their passion for writing the moment we set eyes on their site, and we knew immediately that we wanted to capture their journey while it was still in its infancy.

HAULIX: Thanks for doing this, Jason. Can you start by telling me the origin story of Face The Noise?

Jason: Absolutely! Thanks for having me. Face The Noise really started a few years ago under the name ‘Rokonnection.’ My brother, Justin, and I were playing video games one summer day, bored out of our minds, and we decided to start a website devoted to rock music. At the time, we were pretty one-sided with what we listened to. Both of us were still in high school, and my computer skills were at a pretty beginner level, but nonetheless, Rokonnection launched and actually had a little bit of success. It wasn’t until a couple years into my college career that I decided to take it seriously. Rokonnection seemed too one-sided, so a name change was in order. After all, there are plenty of great genres of music other than rock. I graduated with a degree in Music Business and Philosophy, and after graduation started up Face The Noise. It has actually only been active for about two months, and we are starting to get back to where we were, as far as views are concerned (content quality surpassed Rokonnection immediately), with the other website.

H: Is there any story behind the name or how you settled on it?

J: The name actually just came to me. Rokonnection took quite a bit of back and forth between Justin and I, but Face The Noise popped into my head without any warning. I loved it immediately and just stuck with it.

H: I know you cover a variety of genres/styles on your site. How would you describe your blog to someone who had never visited it before?

J: Our blog currently does not have the manpower to keep up-to-date with every little thing that happens in the music world. However, we pride ourselves on outstanding and well-written content and an as unbiased as possible view. Our bread and butter, if you will, is our reviews and interviews. We strive to make them interesting and fun to read or listen to.

H: Is there one genre in particular that you feel you cover better than others, or is there a certain type of feature that you feel is the best example of your publication?

J: Absolutely. Face The Noise covers rock and metal more than any other genre, and that is because of my background. I’ve been working with rock and metal publicists for years now, so I obviously have a lot more relationships formed in that area. I’m hoping that the other genres will catch up by 2017, so if you are a publicist that handles genres other than rock or metal, feel free to contact us!

H: What was the first thing you wrote about on your site, and how did that set the tone for what you do today?

J: Oh, wow. I honestly can’t remember what the first thing I wrote for Rokonnection was, but I do remember setting up an interview with Hollywood Undead. Remember, we were very beginner at this stage in our lives. Justin, Kyle (my best friend), and I started looking into doing interviews and what not. We had a couple under our belts, but nothing as big as Hollywood Undead. Their publicist hooked us up with an interview at the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and it was one of the greatest moments of my life. We went backstage and met the band. The interview went well. Everyone was so down to earth. That was probably when I really realized how cool this hobby (it is a hobby until you get paid, right?) really is. I think this really pushed me to succeed because I wanted more experiences like that.

H: What separates Face The Noise from similar music blogs?

J: Going back to a couple of questions ago, our well-written content and unbiased perspective is quite unique. Without stepping on any toes, I see a few music websites and blogs that tend to look more towards what one might consider ‘click-bait.’ Face The Noise will never let that happen. Of course, our social media may attempt to intrigue a viewer to click into an article, but that article will always be exactly as advertised. The content will be relevant and well thought out. I saw an article the other day while scrolling through Facebook, by a rather large music publication, that had a title something along the lines of “[insert band name] sucks, finally set to retire.” That is as rude as it is unentertaining. I’m sure it picked up quite a few clicks, but at what cost? We treat music as art at Face The Noise.

H: On the topic of blogging, there are some who say the necessity for music sites is dwindling as social media becomes the launching pad for the majority of conversation online. Why do you feel blogs still matter?

J: I think that blogs, at least the good ones, provide knowledge and information that some random Joe on Facebook could never provide. Album reviews and interviews are engaging and entertaining. The same is generally not said of Facebook comments or Twitter tweets. This may come off as egocentric, but music websites provide a bit of expertise in the subject.  

H: You obviously receive a lot of advance music for consideration on your site. What service do you prefer and why?

J: The absolute best way to receive music is through the mail. Absolutely nothing beats opening a package and finding a brand new CD to listen to. That said, bands just do not have the money, and publicists do not have the time, to do that sort of thing any more. It is changing rapidly with streaming and what not. Haulix is great, as far as online music promotion services go. I promise no one paid me to say that! I hear a lot of good things around the publicist community about it, and it is so much better than getting an album through Dropbox.

H: Are you currently hiring at your site? If so, how can people submit an application?

J: Well, let’s define “hiring.” If by hiring you mean providing volunteer writers and photographers with a relaxed atmosphere to share their work, then yes. Money will not be involved. Simply put, we aren’t currently making any money. If we ever start, so will our staff members. An application can be submitted under the “Jobs” (and we use that term loosely) section of the website.

H: What are your longterm goals for Face The Noise? Short term (year or less)?

J: Our long-term goal would have to be to become the best music website in the world. We want nothing less. I would love for this to become much more than a hobby. As far as short-term goes, it would be cool to start picking up a couple extra writers and expand our content, increase the number of interviews we have on YouTube, get a few extra e-mails every day, finally get to exclusively premiere a song, and meet Tyler and Josh from Twenty One Pilots. The last goal is the only one that should take more than a year.

H: What’s the easiest way for people to keep up with everything you do?

J: Social media – Our Facebook and Twitter for news and reviews, and YouTube for interviews.

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.