The NAMM Show 2018 Interviews: Jenny Mann of Blameshift

Jenny Mann of Blameshift

The NAMM Show 2018 Interviews: Jenny Mann of Blameshift

When music and fashion collide, you’ll find the long running Blameshift over in the Strung Jewelry Booth at this year’s edition of The NAMM Show!  Founded by Blameshift vocalist Jenny Mann and guitarist Tim Barbour, Strung presents rock and roll jewelry of sheer and brilliant innovation, exclusively designed and sold by Ms. Mann.

Highwire Daze Online caught up with Jenny Mann at The Namm Show Media Center to discuss the makings of Strung Jewelry, music instrument endorsements and advice on how to secure one, the future happenings of Blameshift, and other topics of intrigue.  Read on…

Where is Blameshift based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We’re based out of Long Island, New York – and the music scene is not like it used to be. A few years back, a lot of the big bands were coming out of New York – and especially Long Island where we are from. And now it’s just so over saturated. Our favorite place is to get out of New York – go to the Midwest – go to the South – and that’s where the real rock scene is.

What are you looking forward to the most about NAMM this year?
I’ve been attending NAMM for about 8 years – and this is the first year where we have a booth for our jewelry line. It’s kind of like crossing the bridge between music and fashion. We’ve known so many people just from coming here for many years – and now it’s fun because we have our own booth and people are hanging out with us. We were usually hanging out at other people’s booths – so yeah, it’s really awesome.

Tell me about the Blameshift Strung jewelry line and how it all came about.
About two years ago. We did a lot of touring. We spent about 300 days a year on the road for about ten years. There was a lot of downtime on the bus. My guitar player Tim was constantly changing his strings, and I was seeing them laying around for years. And then finally one day I was like – because they are so pretty by nature – gold silver and rose gold colors – I just picked one up and started wrapping it – and I was like “Wow, that looks like a cool bracelet.” So kind of right there the idea was born. At first we started selling them at our shows – after shows I would sit there making jewelry and people would be waiting in line for hours for a custom piece. And I realized we had something special in combining music and jewelry. And that’s how Strung was born and it was very organic – very real – and now it’s turned into something pretty special.

Strung bracelets

And how has it been having a Strung Jewelry booth here at NAMM?
Just incredible. It’s such an overwhelming experience just by the sheer volume and nature of this place. Just so many people. And the cool thing is that everyone is so interested in music. So like when we do a showcase for accessories let’s say – everyone is buying for their stores – they’re not music stores, they’re just regular boutique stores. First we have to explain to them who we are, what we do, what it’s made out of. And at something like NAMM, everybody that comes by –they get it right away – they’re music people. So it’s been such a really awesome experience.

What are some of the latest designs you have?
Our core line that we started with was just a women’s guitar string line with a charm bracelet. Every bracelet has a charm and every charm has a song. So you could find your song and find the charm that goes with it. Our latest line is called the You Collection – it’s for men. And it’s an adjustable guitar string bracelet so it’s the first one of its kind. It’s really exciting! We’ve been doing pre-orders on them at this show and it’s been doing amazing! It’s a blessing!

And since we are at NAMM, we need to talk about instruments as well. So what are your weapons of choice and why?
Well, since I’m a singer obviously for me it’s easy because I just have my microphones and in ears. I’m actually sponsored by Sennheiser. I use Sennheiser wireless mics and Sennheiser wireless headsets for my in ears. That’s it! That and a mic stand and I’m good to go!

What is it you like to most about Sennheiser?
As far as vocal mics go, they are the best in the business. They kind of took us under their wing when we were a baby band. We’ve grown alongside them. They have the best gear and I’m honored to be part of their team.

What advice would you give a young musician or singer seeking an endorsement?
I think the most important thing is you have to show your value to these companies. They get as much value from you as you do from them – and you have to be able to show that. And I think for a lot of up-and-coming bands, you have to be able to show that you tour – that you’re making waves and you’re working hard. That’s all that these companies want to see. Are you working hard? Basically I scratch your back – you scratch mine. If I’m onstage with a Sennheiser mic and I’m touring the country 300 days a year – and they give me one mic – that’s 500 dollars that they gave me but look how much exposure it’s getting for them. So I think the most important thing if you’re looking for endorsements, you’ve got to be doing the legwork – you have to be touring – and you have to be getting out there playing shows. You can’t be playing in your mom’s basement if you’re going to get endorsement. You’ve got to be working hard, out there really hustling – and then get the respect of these companies.

How close is Blameshift to writing and recording new material?
Very close. Right when we get home from this show, we’re going to start writing some new stuff and probably come out to LA to record sometime in the Spring.

What do you think has kept you so passionate about Blameshift since 2005?
You know what? And I tell people this all the time. A lot of people go through bands – after two years they go and jump from band to band. They go to a different band and they change their name. I’ve always been so passionate about Blameshift – this is my first band ever. I’ve always felt this was kind of my baby and I’ve always believed it in. Tim, my partner in Strung is also my guitar player – it’s always been us. I feel like artists that kind of go through so many bands – they don’t have that other person to keep them going when they’re down. Tim, for me, is that guy – and it’s always been us – the two of us. We’ve had other bass players and other drummers throughout the years – but we’ve always believed in each other and kept pushing each other to be better and to get better. I think having that person is the key to longevity.

What’s up next for Blameshift after NAMM is over? You already mentioned writing.
Yes, we’re gonna be writing and come back out to LA because our producer Eric Ron is out here. We’ll probably do another EP and then hopefully tour in the Spring.

Blameshift is:
Jenny Mann – {Vocals}
Tim Barbour – {Guitar/Vocals}
Mike LaRoach {Bass}
Jeff Maurer {Drums}

(Interview and Photo by Ken Morton)

Blameshift on Facebook
Strung Jewelry on Facebook

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