"Moeller Mondays" Daytrotter Sessions

Daytrotter Records 5000th Session Promoting Indie Music

Friday, June 12, 2015 Louis Vasseur

The Daytrotter Sessions are the brainchild of Quad City native Sean Moeller.  A former journalist, Moeller and a few friends began the music website/blog in 2006 to fill a gap they saw in the music industry.  "I kept coming across all these bands that were better than the bands I was reading about in the magazines." explains Moeller.  "I kept thinking what can I do to let people know about these great bands whey have never heard of?"  And from this, the Daytrotter Sessions were born.

Daytrotter Founder Sean Moeller in His Office

Moeller is reluctant to try and explain the concept behind the Daytrotter Sessions.   "It's easy to explain but difficult to define the concept." he says.  "It is my living, breathing art project.   The basic idea is how can I use this platform that I have to promote bands that create great music but absolutely no one knows about?"   Featured artists run the gamut from rising indie artists such as the Brooklyn-based Turkurz to more established performers such as Death Cab for Cutie or WILCO.  Throughout it's nearly ten year history, Daytrotters has become a place of discovery for music lovers around the world.

The Daytrotter studio has become a musical mecca of sorts. The studio is located in an unassuming building in downtown Rock Island, IL.  There is no sign and the space is not open to the general public.  Yet bands from all over the world travel to a small Midwest town most have never heard of to record stripped down, honest version of themselves.  Some bands actually re-route their tours to come here.  Others, make the quirky studio a destination, maybe playing a show or two on the way here.   However, once in the studio, every artist is treated the same.  Whether you are an unknown, up and coming indie artists or a multiple Grammy winner, each band has the same amount of time in the studio.  What the band lays down in the studio is what they get.  There is no editing or overdubbing.  The analog recording is then transferred to a digital format in order to post the music on the website in an .mp3 format.   Each session is linked with a signature caricature illustration of the band drawn by QC artist Johnny Cluney.

Brooklyn-Based Turkurz Recording a Session at Daytrotter Studio

Due to their tendency to offer an eclectic sampling of music, and their old-school production style, the Daytrotter Sessions have been compared to that of the legendary Peel Sessions from the BBC's Radio 1.  Over 200,000 music fans visit the Daytrotter website each week through an inexpensive subscription model (although Moeller occasionally offers free membership to any QC resident).   According to Daytrotter's website, they have served over 21.5 million song downloads.  On june 2, 2015, Daytrotter Sessions hit a key milestone.   The 5000th  session was recorded and posted with indie rockers Built to Spill.

Audio Engineer Mike Working a Session

Moeller selects artists to record based on his own personal tastes.  He constantly sifts through press packages, emails, and recommendations from friends.  "I have pretty eclectic and diverse tastes in music," he says.  So the artists featured on the Daytrotter website come from a wide range of genres. "I want people to know about all this cool music.  It's not worth it to  me to spend time with something I don't like.   I don't understand when people write articles or reviews panning an artist they don't like.  There is so much great music why wast time with anything else?"

One thing Moeller is particularly proud of is the impact Daytrotter's success has had on the Quad City community.  Many of the bands will make the Daytrotter studio ((and thus QC) a destination.  Other bands will travel out of the way to visit.  Many of the bands will then play shows at local music venues such as Rozz Tox or RIBCO. So the community will have the chance to see artists playing a show at a local music venue that would never consider playing here otherwise.  Bob Herrington, the owner of Ragged Records, a QC indie record store, says that visiting bands will stop at his store because musicians like records.   Some may even play an in-store performance as well.  "Moeller Mondays" at Rozz Tox is a direct offshoot of these band visits.   A little over a year ago, Moeller was talking with Benjamin Fawks, the owner of Rozz Tox, a 100 person capacity music venue located near the Daytrotter studio.  As they discussed a couple of the bands coming in the next day to record, they decided it would be cool to do a show later that evening.  "It was really a last minute experiment. It went off well and everyone had a good time.  The next morning, I had  over a half dozen emails from bookers asking how their artists could get booked for "Moeller Mondays", something that didn't even exist 48 hours earlier.

Sean Moeller Caricature

Moeller plans to continue to expand his platform in order to help even more unknown musicians.  In addition to "Moeller Mondays", he serves as promoter for the "Barnstorming Sessions", where he takes bands to smaller towns to play shows.  "I would like to expand into a more traditional promoter role in the future," he says.

Daytrotter is a success by most any definition.  But Moeller isn't satisfied.  There are too many great bands out there that people don't yet know about.  And he plans to continue to do something about that.   You can check out Daytrotter Sessions at www.daytrotter.com.

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