by Rick Moore
Very few independent artists actually make a living off their music, but Dane Schmidt has been able to do it for several years now with a combination of musical talent, drive and business smarts. As the mastermind behind the band the Jamestown Story, Schmidt has sold over 250,000 song downloads and some 25,000 albums. While the Jamestown Story has at various times been a full band and sometimes is simply Schmidt alone, the act has played all over the nation and even in Japan.
That all sounds pretty impressive. But what is probably even more impressive is that this Duluth, Minnesota native’s original material has found its way into some 75 TV placements on shows such as Dr. Phil, Jersey Shore, Snooki & Jwoww, Teen Mom 2, One Tree Hill, The Real World, and Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Schmidt recently packed it in from his base of Minneapolis and moved to Nashville, where he and his engineer/producer/writer brother Jordan Schmidt have opened Fantasy Land recording studio for the dual purpose of recording material for release and placement, and for working with other bands in recording their music, and possibly helping write, publish and place their material as well, depending on the act. Writer Rick Moore sat down to talk with the 28-year-old Dane Schmidt at the Music Row office he maintains to keep a presence in the city, though his studio is in suburban Sumner County.
You’ve worked off and on, both with a full band and without, as the Jamestown Story. Where’s that name come from?
Nowhere, it’s totally random. Everybody asks that but that’s the answer.
It’s not hard to understand why you left the Minneapolis area. There are a lot of great artists there but the opportunities are limited. But why Nashville over L.A. or New York?
I’m just not a big fan of New York. And L.A., I like to go there but it just didn’t seem like the right place. When I came to Nashville, and actually did some recording here at Darkhorse Studios, I just fell in love with the place. It’s a lot more like the Midwest, the people are more like the Midwest. And it doesn’t get as cold as Minnesota.
So how have you managed to get so many TV placements?
(Pointing at his computer) This right here, I just worked it. Just made contacts, worked hard at it. It’s not easy.
Being a Duluth guy, is there any kind of Dylan connection?
(laughs) Unfortunately, no.
You aren’t playing out a lot these days, though you traveled for years. What are your plans in that area?
Once the band sort of disassembled I did some solo shows, but I realized it’s just really not for me. I really respect the people who go out and play all year long but playing out just really isn’t my thing. I just finished a new album in December, still under the name the Jamestown Story. I like to make music, and I like to sell music. I like the business that comes with it. That’s my passion I guess.
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