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NAJM Interviews KromOzone's Randy Lance
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NAJM Dance Culture
Florida based Randy Lance is the creative force behind The KromOzone Project. With hits like "Take My Love", "Stay In Love", "Emotional Rollercoaster", and "Luv With U", The KromOzone project continues to pump out energetic dance grooves both domestically and abroad. NAJM recently caught up with Randy to talk about his start in the music industry and his future plans...
NAJM: Born in the Midwest, what brings you to Florida?  

 

KROMOZONE: I graduated at Ball State University with a degree in film and broadcasting. I got an internship to work for ABC down here in Tampa. I was really excited about coming to Florida because I was so enamored with the Florida sound… that kind of actually drew me down here.
NAJM: How does one make the jump from producing Television for Ivana Trump and Suzanne Somers on the Home Shopping Network to producing club music?
KROMOZONE: I always did music on the side. I play by ear and I also play classical piano. I also used to be in lots of vocal competitions up North, I just never wanted to use it as a major for school. It just seemed easy to do on the side. So I came down here to work for ABC – I was the TV editor for a show called PM Magazine.
NAJM: Is that like an “Extra”?
KROMOZONE: Yes. I was hired as an intern and worked my way into an editor. Then I worked as a Sales Producer for Home Shopping Network in North St. Petersburg. My job was to take their jewelry, exercise equipment, Dick Clark’s eye cream and make it look good on TV, so people would be tempted to buy it. I did that for about 5 years.
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From TV to Break Beat

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NAJM: Did you ever do music for TV?
KROMOZONE: I started doing musical ID’s – the stuff you hear between commercial breaks. One of the hosts, who was listening to my music one day just stopped me and said “Randy, what are you doing here?” He said if he had my music, he would leave and hit the street. That’s what did it. I thought maybe he was right, and started taking music seriously for the first time.
dot_clear.gif (43 bytes) NAJM: How long ago was that?
KROMOZONE: In ’95, I decided to seriously record my first album. The first single was called “Emotional Rollercoaster”. I got my start in Tampa because I was working with Matt the Bratt, Stan the Man and Domino who were mixing jocks on WFLZ 93.3 on the weekend. Stan is the now the music director and Domino is the programming director. They’d play my songs on the weekends, and they’d always say, “This is Tampa’s own Randy Lance.” It was just a big thrill for me, I couldn’t believe it. That’s how the whole thing started.
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Stay In Love with The KromOzone Project

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NAJM: How did you connect with the “Stay In Love” project with Mon A Q?
KROMOZONE: I was working at Thoroughbred Music (now Sam Ash), I was one of the sales people. Two guys walked in one day wearing suits, sunglasses and carrying briefcases. I thought they were the feds. They were looking for me to remix something for them. I asked how they’d heard about me, and they said they’d heard me on the radio. They’d been trying to do dance music, but all the labels they had approached said that they needed a producer if they wanted it to work. I told them that I would listen to their demo, but I couldn’t make any guarantees. They gave me a CD with thirteen or so cuts on it.
NAJM: What came out of that?
KROMOZONE: I told them that of the dance songs, I didn’t think that I could do anything with them, unless I totally reworked everything. But the very last song on the CD was a ballad called “Stay in Love”.
NAJM: And that was your introduction to Mon A Q?
KROMOZONE: Well, the band was called Back To Basics, but another band already had the name. They hired Monique Smith to be their background singer. While working on the project, I nicknamed her “Mon A Q” just phonetically pronouncing Monique. The ballad’s melodies and chord progressions were simple, and it featured mostly her. I told them this was their strongest track. They gave me an ADAT tape, and I pulled out her vocal and I re-recorded the music. The dance music version for “Stay in Love” was actually a KromOzone track called “I’m Gonna Make It”. Some time after completing the Ballad project, I took all the words that sounded cool, sped them up from 85 to 130bpm and pieced them together until they made sense. About 3 weeks went by, and I got a call and one of the guys said, “We’d really like to use your dance mix on a B-side”. But after giving them a copy, no paperwork was presented concerning the legalities, so I figured the project was dropped.
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A Surprise Hit?

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KROMOZONE: After about eight months or so, I received a call from Monte Lipman at Universal Records – he’s like, “I hear you have a hit on your hands, it’s getting 65 spins a week on Power 96 in Miami. I asked if it was “Emotional Rollercoaster” and he said it wasn’t. It was a song called “Stay in Love”. I asked if it was a ballad and he said, “no, it’s a dance mix”. This was the first time I’d heard about it. I couldn’t believe it. All my life I’d been so careful about copyrights, etc. I felt so stupid.
NAJM: That’s horrible!
KROMOZONE: In a nutshell, it’s like a football game. Your whole life you wait to play the game and all of sudden from nowhere the football lands in your hands and your standing there, you don’t know what to do with it, and then five guys jump you. When it’s over, your clothes are ripped off and you’re covered with mud. That’s what “Stay in Love” was like for me.
NAJM: Good analogy.
KROMOZONE: I have never been so excited and happy and so depressed and pissed off at the same moment. It was the worst.
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The DNA Behind The KromOzone Project

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NAJM: Tell me a little bit about your KromOzone Project and how did that all come about?
KROMOZONE: I was a film and broadcast major and I had a minor in psychology. I was doing experimental music, so I came up with chromosome because it’s the genetic makeup of DNA. I thought I could just change it around and make it kind of cutting edge cool. I put Project on there because I could do anything with it, pop, dance or rock. It would be easy to adapt.
NAJM: I understand you play classical piano, how has your musical training translated over to dance music and the breakbeat scene?
KROMOZONE: Bach is my all time favorite composer. His compositions were very simple in melody, yet complex in timing. The right hand does one thing, and the left does another. They are both in perfect harmony, but each compliments on another. Breakbeat is an energetic funk. I just took both elements and merged them together.
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Tools of Choice

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NAJM: What are some of your favorite tools in creating your music?
KROMOZONE: Use the least amount of technology as possible. I like to keep my set-ups really simple. I want to focus on vocals and music, not technology. I don’t want either to dominate the other. If you speak to a vocalist, they would probably say, I wish I could produce my own music because in my head, I know how it would go. Talk with the guys who produce music but can’t sing, they might wish they could because in their own heads, they know exactly how it should go. I’m one of the lucky ones that can do my owns beats, synths, and if need be, my own voice to go with my remixes, so that neither one dominates.
NAJM: Do you have any special instruments you like to use?
KROMOZONE: Most everything comes from Roland! I also love my Korg Trinity. Most of my stuff is 85% Roland, 10% Korg and the rest is a mix, like Emu and Ensoniq. Roland is very articulated and warm. I sometimes use very heavy compression and Roland works well with that.
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Hands On Approach

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NAJM: You are a very hands-on artist when it comes to promotions. How has your approach worked to your benefit?
KROMOZONE: It was never my goal to try and ‘do it all’. I wanted to be a band like Queen, be like Freddie Mercury and have my friends on stage with me. I have tried to make that work; early on I could never get anyone to ever show up. It was too difficult. Later on, it seemed a lot of people were ‘me, me…me!’ I sometimes get bummed out about the business. I feel a lot of love and emotion for music. I know for some it’s just a business, but some like me really do love it and it hurts when you get negativity on something you feel good about. When I am promoting myself, I simply know the job is getting done.
NAJM: How do you take criticism?
KROMOZONE: 50/50. Really depends on the person giving it. Right now, I am working with Brazil, Germany and Canadian markets. The day both my Brazilian and German affiliates received the track, the contracts came through my fax machine. The first thing they’d tell me is all the good stuff they liked about the track, while the first thing major labels or industry reps in the USA tell you are all the things that are wrong with it. Glass half full, half empty. It’s a huge difference. And now I see it. The foreign markets don’t seem to try to control your tunes, just appreciate them.
NAJM: How do you keep it in perspective?
KROMOZONE: I’m a very happy person, if I die poor or with a million dollars, I will never change. Randy is very stable and happy in his life. It would be nice to have it pan out in the USA and God knows I’ll keep releasing tracks. I’m just glad that other markets have opened up for me. When you start to get instant love for a track, it puts things in perspective.
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KromOzone Goes Internet

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NAJM: You also run and update your own website. How has the Internet played into your music career?
KROMOZONE: Large part! For me and all other Producer/Artists like me that haven't had the experience of being commercially saturated in the market by a Major label, the internet lets the MUSIC be heard and spread around --"unjudged" by a controlled industry.
NAJM: Have you been affected by Napster? And what are your thoughts on the free trading of music over the Internet?
KROMOZONE: On one hand, I'm extremely flattered my music is in demand enough to be searched out and downloaded by alot of people out there. On the other hand, I can see how it can get out of control. Someone pours his or her soul into a "work of art" and another just walks up, looks at it and passes it around like a daily newspaper.
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Going Global

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RandyLance2.jpg (3292 bytes) NAJM: How are you distributed and how did you arrange for that?
KROMOZONE: In the past, it has been through Ample Entertainment and Subsonic Distribution who sell directly to Transworld, Virgin, etc. Ruben Martinez (Amber's Mgmt.) has turned me onto a distribution network on the west coast called Bayside Distribution that will handle my new product. I've been lucky I guess, because many people have come to me instead of me searching for them. Your reputation in this business is like your credit rating. Don't screw people over, it will come out eventually. (You know who you are).
NAJM: How did you take your music globally?
KROMOZONE: Outside the US, I license directly to Brazil, Germany and Canada for Sub-Publishing and Distribution. Brazil approached me because of my successes on Power 96 in Miami and Flamingo Record Pool charts (thanks Richard) and Germany approached me because of Interviews and Reviews from Freestyle web sites.
NAJM: How do you monitor your international business relationships to make sure that you are being fairly treated?
KROMOZONE: For the most part through ASCAP. I have a track on a CD compilation currently sitting at #2 on the Sales charts in Brazil. Sao Paulo in that country is equivalent to New York City here in the states, so that's a large number of CDs. I did a background check by getting references that have already worked with them. This Brazilian company is excited about the overwhelming response to the KromOzone Project track on it and wants to offer me an album deal with options for more singles... a similar deal they've recently done with Taylor Dayne. I'm wearing alot of hats right now: Artist, Producer, Remixer, Publisher, Record Label, Promoter, Webmaster, etc. hopefully as time progresses I can create my own "team" that will be able to monitor this more closely.
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Randy on Licensing and Getting Radio Airplay

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NAJM: What is some advice that you would offer to artists, who are thinking about licensing their music either domestically or Internationally for the first time?
KROMOZONE: My advice is not to be too greedy or paranoid about being ripped off in the beginning. Do your research! Conduct your own background checks on the people you will be working with. I have an "endless" supply of ideas for tracks in my head. If I get screwed on a track I've released, I'll just go back in my studio and pop out another one. It's nice not having to contract or pay others to do remixes or sing if need be. I haven't had the advantage of getting alot of help or guidance in this industry in the past, so I've been bumping into walls and making tons of mistakes by trusting others. Luckily, I haven't become jaded.
NAJM: How have you been received by Radio and how integral is radio airplay to the success of you as an artist?
KROMOZONE: Radio = LOVE and HATE. LOL! What's there to say? I'm like a little tugboat on the waters, cruising in and out of ocean liners and battleships. Any love I get on radio is extremely appreciated, because I know it's because they dig the track, not because I have a huge pull with any "consultants".
NAJM: What approach have you taken to get your music picked up on radio stations?
KROMOZONE: Mixshows and Record Pools. If the track is hot and you have good relations with these jocks, it makes for better chances in getting a song on the radio. There are only so many slots in an hour of radio for songs and commercials. It's a constant battle for all the Majors and big Indies.
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Winning the Lottery?

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NAJM: What is your take on attitude in this business and how has your personal attitude contributed to your success?
KROMOZONE: Alot of people have major attitudes, it's really amazing. And many of these people seem to use the music industry like the "lottery", hoping that one track will make them a lifelong stack of money. Doesn’t work that way. However, I am surprised to find that the more creative and talented a person really is, the more humble and internally confident they seem to be. It's nice to finally be meeting some of them! :)
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A Bright Future for The KromOzone Project

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NAJM: Are you planning to tour with the new album and single out?
KROMOZONE: YES! The live show is the best part of this business for me. A chance to see how my creative efforts have affected individuals all over. We are currently scheduling an Asian tour overseas for May now. DJ Baby Anne asked me once how it feels "to see people in a crowd singing every word to my songs", because she sees it all over the country. She said “that hasn't happened since the songs from the 70's”. The answer is: ‘the most awesome feeling in the world’.
NAJM: What is next for Randy Lance and the KromOzone project?
KROMOZONE: More and more and more songs!!!! I have at least 500 more tunes in my head just dying to come out. I am a very versatile person who can swing very easily between the boundaries of dance, rock and ballad formats. After all, the same musical chords are used in all formats. Lenny B of X-MIX, Lewis Martinee' of Expose' and I all agreed at the WMC last year that we all like vocal pop songs that can transform into dance mixes, keeping the original elements intact. I'm just a guy writing emotional love songs and putting them to energetic dance beats!
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Rand LIVE in Concert! The New Single!
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Check out NAJM's Review of "Luv With U"

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