@LA_SMB – Pork Pie Percussion

Bill LinkedIn

Who: Pork Pie Percussion

What: A custom drum company owned and operated by Bill Detamore, along with 5 full-time employees

Where: Based in Canoga Park

When: Founded in 1987

@LA_SMB is an occasional series showcasing some of the coolest small and medium-sized businesses from around the Los Angeles area.

Unless you play drums, chances are you don’t need to know much about where they are made, how they are made and who makes them.

What music lovers should know is that one of the oldest custom drum companies in the U.S., Pork Pie Percussion, is located right here in Los Angeles, and they work with the drummers behind some of your favorite bands and musicians.

That list includes Frank Ferrer (Guns N Roses), Butch Norton (Lucinda Williams), George Recili (Bob Dylan), Robin Diaz (Daughtry), Dave Klein (Agent Orange), and Marky Ramone (The Ramones).

“I have been very lucky to work with some of my musical heroes,” said Pork Pie founder and owner, Bill Detamore. “Pork Pie started in a garage and now has three buildings making the finest and most creative custom drums on the market.”

The following interview was conducted by email. Some responses have been edited.

Pork Pie 2

@LA_SMB: What was the inspiration for Pork Pie Percussion?

Bill Detamore: My inspiration started with playing drums and wanting to know how they work. I started buying old drums and customizing them for resale. I then bought a snare drum kit from a small company called The Corder Drum Company. I made that one, then bought 2, then 4 and so on.

I put a serial number on every drum I make at my shop. I am now up to 45,000 drums. I love creating things and bringing new ideas to the market. This is all driven by passion.

@LA_SMB: You still hand sign all of your drums. What are the advantages to remaining a boutique manufacturer?

B.D.: Yes I still sign all of the drums made here at my shop. I take a lot of pride in that. Being a small drum manufacturer allows me to change things on a dime and also bring new drums out with no real problems. I can also make what I want and not really be concerned with what everyone else is doing. One thing I have never actually done is be to worried about what others are doing. I make what makes me happy.

@LA_SMB: What are the limitations or advantages to making musical instruments these days?

B.D.: The only limitation to making drums these days is a struggling economy. Business has been rough since 2007.

@LA_SMB: How has the industry changed since you started Pork Pie?

B.D.: The drum industry has been bombarded with imported drum sets, but I see that trend changing. Last NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show, earlier this year, many dealers said they were just tired of import crap and wanted to start focusing on quality again.

@LA_SMB: Why is your business a perfect fit for Los Angeles?

B.D.: Being in LA is great because my biggest dealer, Guitar Center, is very close to my shop. I am able to make a new drum and take it to them to get business going with no real hassles. Studios being here is also great. I have studio musicians coming buy quite often to buy drums or use them for records, and also studios that have Pie kits for the house kit.

@LA_SMB: Where will Pork Pie be in 5 years?

B.D.: I will be here in my shop. I would like to grow the business to a pre-recession level and stay there. I have no ambition of taking over the world or becoming Ludwig or DW. Happy where I am right now.

Previous @LA_SMB post: BROODWORK

Steve Coulter is a marketing guy, writer and drummer living in Los Angeles.

If you have suggestions for future @LA_SMB features, please send Steve a message on LinkedIn. Include the name of the business, a short description and a link to their website. Steve is a one-man band, please keep it brief and expect a slow response.

Full disclosure: Steve is friends with and/or has worked with many of the businesses featured, at least for now. Thank you for reading to the bottom of the page.

@LA_SMB – Stark Raving Group

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Who: Jeffrey Weber, founder of Stark Raving Group, along with three part-time employees and a dozen freelancers on a project by project basis

What: Purveyor of short novels by NY Times bestselling authors, Pulitzer Prize winners and other award winning authors

Where: Virtual offices, based in Los Angeles

When: Founded in 2013

@LA_SMB is an occasional series showcasing some of the coolest small and medium-sized businesses from around the Los Angeles area.

The novella may not be a dominant literary art form these days, but Jeffrey Weber is aiming to change that.

A successful music producer and avid reader, Weber founded Stark Raving Group in response to a couple of big challenges that he sees facing the publishing industry – books are too expensive and consumers have less and less time to read.

“Regardless of what publishers and authors will tell you about publishing, the public has their own opinions. And they differ markedly from the publishing industry,” Weber said. “The public may love to read, but who has time to sit down and read four hundred and fifty pages.”

Stark Raving sells all of its 25,000-35,000 word novellas for $2.99 each and today boasts a roster of eighty-five authors. Weber believes that this approach will help to “re-ignite the love and thirst for reading” by offering quality writing in several genres including mysteries, crime fiction, action/adventure, thrillers, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, horror, women’s literature, romance and non-fiction.

“We treat the authors with respect, dignity and value their input. We’re partners in the truest sense of the word,” Weber said. “By 2020, we expect to have close to one thousand authors on our roster and will be publishing more than 200 books per year.”

The following interview was conducted via email. Some responses have been edited.

@LA_SMB: Why novellas and not novels?

J.W.: Novellas can supply the entire arc of the reading experience in a shorter time frame – one that’s designed to fit into the lifestyle of today’s society. The great thing about a novella is that once you complete a novella, you want to jump right into another one. When you finish a lengthy novel, you are satisfied, to be sure, but you want to catch your breath and take a breather. With a novella, you can pack all the intrigue, romance, capers, and action into an hour or two and feel re-energized. You’ve just gone on a mini vacation.

@LA_SMB: Why is cover design such an important part of your business?

J.W.: I have specifically commissioned illustrators that work, for the most part, outside the book industry. Our covers are bold, colorful, over the top, compelling, in your face, aggressive, and yet inviting. We have illustrators from Madison Avenue, the music industry, the comic book world and many of our illustrators are simply legends. The purpose of the cover is to make a consumer stop in his tracks and focus on the book long enough to pick it up or find out more about the title. That we are publishing ebooks only makes the impact of a cover even more important. The cover represents the front door of our house. If the front door of our house looks terrible, it’s a good bet that the rest of the house looks like crap.

@LA_SMB: How has your experience as a music producer informed your approach to publishing?

J.W.: What I have taken from my experience from the music industry is the need to activate the peer to peer recommendation engine. That has become the only way to sell music, and by and large it is becoming the only way to sell books. As with the music industry, you can have your book available to anyone on the planet with a smart phone or computer within three weeks. You don’t necessarily need a publisher. That’s not the battle anymore. The war is to rise above the “noise” (32 million songs on iTunes and who knows how many millions of books are available on Amazon) and grab the attention of the consumer to somehow convert his attention, his interest into a purchase.

@LA_SMB: What are the similarities and differences between the music and publishing industries?

J.W.: Music and books are products of a creative mind and designed to take the participant on a journey. Both take extravagant amounts of time to create and often the road to their creation is tortuous and yet cathartic at the same time. A great song can be listened to hundreds of times, and to a lesser extent, so can books. There is a certain rhythm to all music, and the reason we love a specific type of music is that the rhythm of our bodies is sympathetic to the rhythm of the songs we love. There is also a rhythm to writing, and if that rhythm matches the rhythm of the reader’s imagination, then the journey of the reader and the writer merge and are propelled to intense satisfaction.

@LA_SMB: What challenges is your industry facing?

J.W.: Awareness is our biggest challenge. Competition for the time, energy, focus and money from the consumer is all encompassing, and in order for us to succeed, we have to be aware of the fact that we have become a niche based society. Within that niche is a very powerful community, and within that community is purchasing power. Awareness and access represent our challenges.

@LA_SMB: Why is your business a perfect fit for Los Angeles?

J.W.: Because we fit in with the pace of L.A. Lots of choices, quality at every turn, and extremely cost effective.

Previous @LA_SMB post: Greg Danylyshyn – Go Big! Entertainment

Steve Coulter is a marketing guy, writer and drummer living in Los Angeles.

If you have suggestions for future @LA_SMB features, please send Steve a message on LinkedIn. Include the name of the business, a short description and a link to their website. Steve is a one-man band, please keep it brief and expect a slow response.

Full disclosure: Steve is friends with and/or has worked with many of the businesses featured, at least for now. Thank you for reading to the bottom of the page.

 

@LA_SMB – Go Big! Entertainment

GD Crop

Who: Go Big EntertainmentGreg Danylyshyn, partner/attorney Gerry Cueller and 3 employees

What: Music supervisors who find suitable music for Film, TV, Commercials and Brands

Where: Los Angeles

When: Founded in 2001

Clients: MTV, Vans and feature films

Greg Danylyshyn fell in love with music at an early age, founding one of Utah’s first punk rock fanzines while still in his early teens.

He went on to pursue a music career of his own as the lead singer for the pop punk band Rocket Air, before eventually setting his sights on a full time job behind the scenes in the music business.

“I was working at a reGo Big LOGOcord label and was asked to clear music for a Tony Hawk program. I was hooked and knew that I wanted to be a music supervisor,” Danylyshyn said.

These days Go Big! Entertainment is a successful music supervision operation that boasts a client roster including major television networks and film studios – a success that is all driven by a passion for music.

“I’m still a huge music fan and I love coming across a new band or record that I listen to over and over.  I’ve consumed music the same way since I was 13 years old,” he said. “Currently in heavy rotation are Dawn Golden, PUP and Ourlives.”

The following interview was conducted via email. Some responses have been edited.

@LA_SMB: How has Go Big! evolved since you first opened your doors?

G.D.: It grows each year as more shows and brands realize the importance of good, real music.

@LA_SMB: How does your business help new bands build a career?

G.D.: I love finding new bands and discussing the current music business – why it’s so important to be open to all kinds of licensing and even more important, being easy to work with. Licensing is a main source of revenue for a lot of artists and sometimes the newer artists don’t understand this.

@LA_SMB: I know that you don’t have a catalog, but how do you find new music?

G.D.: A lot of word of mouth and seeing which bands are touring with bands I like.  I like to try to listen to various streaming services as well. There are also pitch services that will sometime surprise you with a handful of artists you’ve never heard of. [Bands, start HERE]

@LA_SMB: What is the most unique thing about your business?

G.D.: That we get to champion unknown music and, in turn, make money for the artist.  It’s very gratifying seeing a band go from the garage to getting them on TV.

@LA_SMB: What is the most gratifying thing about being a small business owner?

G.D.: Cliché answer, but you really get out of it what you put into it.

@LA_SMB: What is the hardest thing about being a small business owner?

G.D.: I work constantly. I used to be able to get away from it on vacation or in the shower, but not really anymore.  That’s why you need to do what you love if you’re going to have your own business.  There is no separation between your business life and your personal life – it becomes a lifestyle.

@LA_SMB: Why is your business a perfect fit for Los Angeles?

G.D.: Most of the production companies we work with are here and for the most part, the film industry is still based in LA.

@LA_SMB: What challenges is your industry facing?

G.D.: The overall perceived value of music (or lack of value).

@LA_SMB: Where will your business be in 5 years?

G.D.: It will be more web-based. We create drives of thousands of songs for most of our clients and those will be living on the cloud soon.

@LA_SMB: What’s next for you?

G.D.: I’m happy to continue on the path we’ve been on and to keep it growing. Maybe we’ll add a few more supervisors to our roster.

Previous @LA_SMB postCarrie Kommers – Table One Marketing

Steve Coulter is a marketing guy, writer and drummer living in Los Angeles.

If you have suggestions for future @LA_SMB features, please send Steve a message on LinkedIn. Include the name of the business, a short description and a link to their website. Steve is a one-man band, please keep it brief and expect a slow response.

Full disclosure: Steve is friends with and/or has worked with many of the businesses featured, at least for now. Thank you for reading to the bottom of the page.