Ben KonenBen Konen is a student at Berklee College of Music. With the help of International Programs he and his band, Cluttered Clarity, will be touring around Europe this summer. Read more about Ben’s adventures here.

Last week I explained how Cluttered Clarity ended up having the US embassy in Luxembourg support our tour. This week, I will talk about the way Jason Camelio and his team helped us organize a 3 week-tour and get into the Montreux Jazz Festival.

band photoAfter I received the good news that the US embassy is covering our flight tickets I contacted Jason to tell him the good news. He was pleased to hear about the tour becoming a reality and came up with some management ideas right away. The first thing he threw at my head was the word “Montreux.” As a musician, playing at the Montreux Jazz festival has always has been one of my biggest dreams. At first I thought Jason was messing with me.

However, I soon realized that at Berklee College of Music all your dreams can become true. The same afternoon I found my self in Jason’s office discussing further steps for our tour-project. In fact, Jason really considered sending us to Montreux. He explained how he has been in touch with the organizers of Montreux for a long time, but had never had the opportunity to send a Berklee band to the festival.

So far, everything sounds great. The challenging part for us as a band was that the organization of Montreux already booked most of their acts. We had to make our band look professional in a really short amount of time (read 3 days). Remember this band only came to be a little more than 1 month at that point.

First, we had to create a web presence. We needed to find a good spot for a band picture and create a webpage. Next, we had to record a better demo tape. Unfortunately, all the Studios in the Boston area were already booked during those few days. We had no other choice than recording another demo tape with one microphone and logic. Luckily, Berklee is full of great sound engineers who know how to get the best sound with even the smallest, cheapest equipment. My dear friend Jacopo Penzo gave me some great advice (where to position the microphone, how to set up the room, etc) and made our demo tape sound pretty good.

Having all the equipment isn’t enough, though. We needed to find a time that was convenient to all the band members. Unfortunately, every single band member was really busy and there was no single time spot available that matched the hours of the ensemble rooms (6pm-12am). Berklee wouldn’t be Berklee, if there wouldn’t be a way around the official rules. The Global Initiatives contacted the ensemble department that was able to provide us with a room outside of the normal hour regulation. And my teacher, allowed me to use his office on a Saturday morning, because it was the only time that suited all the band members for a recording session.

We sent everything we had to the Montreux Jazz Festival. 2 days later they got back to us letting us know that they where able to fit us in their program. On top of that, Jason and his team took a lot of time to advise us what to write as a catch phrase and bio, and how to make the most out of the little we had.

Sending Cluttered Clarity to the Montreux Jazz Festival required a lot of work in a short time, but I am really thankful that the band took the time to spontaneously rehearse, create a web presence, and record in only 2-3 days.

Yours truly,
Ben Konen