New music is discovered via word of mouth, Twitter, long, sweaty days spent at music festivals, perusing the pages of old faithfuls Spin and Rolling Stone, or shazaming an overhead catchy pop ditty. iTunes libraries grow at the rate of Giada DeLaurentiis’ peak-of-season garden. Pop culture is oversaturated with the Katy Perrys and Rihannas of the world, and rightfully so to an extent; they didn’t get to be as popular as they are without talent, but they can overshadow bands who work hard without achieving similar radio play.
North Texas resident Ty Griffin, founder of EscapingTheOrdinary.net, is working relentlessly to push listeners out of the VIP room of mainstream music and into the studio with lesser-known artists.
A graduate of Texas Tech, the Marketing and Management double major cites that working in the music industry was always a goal. After graduation, he received an internship with Kirtland Records [The Toadies, Sarah Jaffe, Smile, Smile] in Dallas. “After a while, I got the itch to do something, and I came across this site called ExplodingInSound.com. Their site has the best compilations, and I was completely blown away. I got in contact with the founder of the site, Dan Goldin,” Griffin says, recounting that a friendship and partnership with Goldin built from there. “The whole framework for how I do [Escaping the Ordinary] came from what [Goldin] was doing.”
Griffin has made a bit of a name for himself by creating two musical compilations, Escaping the Ordinary Volumes One and Two, composed of bands he considers yet-to-be discovered by large audiences. “They’re bands that I feel are unique,” he says. “It’s a combination of bands that have been an influence on me, and bands that just need to be heard.”
Volume One features bands such as Fair to Midland and Here Holy Spain. “It was very well received. It got good downloads, and the bands were really excited to be on it,” Griffin says of his first compilation. An avid fan of the progressive hard rock genre, he tries to appease a variety of musical tastes, with hopes of appealing to a mass-download audience. “So, if you’re in to punk rock, that is on the compilation as well.”
The more recent Volume Two accentuates 23 bands “that must be heard” such as Dead Letter Circus and Dredg. “These are bands that are trying to do different things and have a different sound. They’re not the cookie cutter-type bands.”
The compilations, each found on his website, detail each track; here, Griffin’s readers are provided with links to listen to the selected tracks and download the compilations; a truly valiant effort to make certain his choice of music is heard. Better yet? The compilations are free.
Though Griffin is a fan of each band on his compilations, he is not quick to name a favorite. “The thing about these bands is I want for them to succeed. I love every band that is on these compilations.”
“My go-to playlist is really large. I feel bad mentioning names because I want to highlight everyone I can, you know?” he says, continually making it known that he has a difficult time choosing just one. Finally, a bit of bias shows through, “Some of my favorites are Dredg and Dead Letter Circus.”
So where does a person, the life force of underappreciated, under-the-radar bands, frequent for music in the Big D? “I go to the Granada and Deep Ellum, and I like The Door and The Curtain Club. In Denton, I’ve been to Rubber Gloves a few times. There are multiple great venues.”
One of Griffin’s favorite venues, the Granada Theater, will host his upcoming inaugural Escaping the Ordinary concert, headlined by Fair to Midland, a Texas band that has appeared on both of Griffin’s compilations.
Asked whether or not Griffin will continue producing these compilations, he hesitates as long as a hummingbird’s wing flap. “Oh yeah! Volume Three is going to be coming out in January.” Griffin’s intense passion for music will continue to inspire downloads of bands-in-hiding. “There is so much good music out there, and so many good people that deserve to be heard.”
Escaping the Ordinary presents Fair to Midland with Dead Letter Circus, The Nicholsons. White Elephant and New Magnetic North at the Granada Theater Friday, December 23. Doors at 7pm.
Laura Stillo is the Arts & Entertainment Writer and Creative Social Media Producer for YouPlusDallas. Follow her on Twitter at @laurastillo.