Mike Ziemer is the founder of Third String Productions, Third String Records, and the South By So What?! music festival. While Dallas has been the home to this company for awhile now, Ziemer is ready to expand his talents to the west and share one of the great things about Dallas with Cali! Take a look below at what all Ziemer had to say when he chatted with BareBones Ent about his companies and interests!
BS: How long has Third String been around and what all does the company do?
MZ: I started Third String Productions in 2004 by accident, helping out my friends’ bands. At that point we did management and shows. Since then we have expanded to Third String Festivals and Third String Records!
BS: Earlier in the year it was announced that the company would be expanding into California. What does this mean for Third String?
MZ: I will be moving to LA along with my marketing guy, Hunter, and we will be expanding our festivals and shows to CA. The label will be moving with to LA as well. We will still be doing all our TX stuff, but Orlando and the rest of my team in Texas will handle all that!
BS: There has seemed to be some confusion on the affect that this move will have on the predominately Dallas, TX based company and scene. What differences can supporters actually expect to see out of the company’s local work and Dallas mainstay, South By So What?!
MZ: It’s weird because I have emphasized so many times that the festival is only going to continue growing and that on a local/regional level, Orlando will be holding it down like always. So just expect us to continue to grow.
BS: Speaking of South By So What?!, this year’s line up looks especially awesome. How did this line up start to come together?
MZ: Thanks! I started booking bands over the summer and kind of built each day around the various headliner acts we got. I am most proud of this line up, above all the others, and hope that everyone else is and that it reflects in the attendance.
BS: Can you walk us through how the festival started out and where the name came from?
MZ: The festival started out in 2005 as our “One Year Anniversary” show and then 2006 was our “Two Year Anniversary show” etc. By 2008, one of the guys I was working with jokingly said “You should just call it South By So What?! because you are bringing all the bands to Dallas that the all ages crowd wants to see and can’t see in Austin.” So we rolled with it!
BS: The show is known to bring in people from all over the country. What is the furthest you have heard somebody say they traveled to come to it, and what does that mean to you?
MZ: Maaaan Singapore, Australia, Japan, Germany, Scotland, all over. It blows my mind man. These people plan vacations and trips around the festival and I can’t wrap my head around it.
BS: Not long ago, you started Third String Records back up and quickly signed Dear You. What made you want to start the label again?
MZ: I was only 18 years old when I first started a record label, that was 11 years ago. I honestly had no idea what I was doing and I feel like I can help bands now and they can benefit from all the different hats I wear in the industry. Plus I absolutely love Dear You and wanted them to have more backing than they could do on their own.
BS: I think your take on the record label is awesome. Can you explain to our readers how you run this record label and your philosophy on it?
MZ: We try to make our artists more so partners in the label than slaves to debt. We do things at REAL cost and don’t bullshit the bands. We let them approve spending and be involved in the entire process. We are working towards a way that bands can make profit from the sale of their first song, hopefully we get there one day.
BS: What are your goals overall moving forward with Third String Productions and Records?
MZ: I would love to See Third String Productions / Festivals really take off outside of Texas and grow in California and beyond. We don’t want to be just limited to Texas anymore. As far as Records goes, we want to continue signing bands that we love and believe in and help launch their careers. I am well aware that we are not the biggest label out there, but we hope to be one of the bigger labels in the future.
BS: If you could put on a show with any band and/or sign any band in the world to your label who would it be and why?
MZ: If I could book any band ever it would be Blink 182, They are my all time favorite band. But there’s also a lot of bands I would like to have “reunite” and play a stage at my festival including Midtown, The Movielife, Underoath, Envy on the Coast, and a million more… hopefully I will look back on this one day and have booked some of those. As far as the label goes, I always want to find NEW talent so I can’t really say who I would sign, but I’ve got my eyes on a few bands 🙂
BS: What currently is your music guilty pleasure?
MZ: Chase Atlantic. They are this boy band type pop act out of Australia that my friend manages. They are gonna be the next craze, guarantee it.
BS: Anything else you would like to say to the readers out there?
MZ: I appreciate your interest in interviewing me and I look forward to reading this in the future and hopefully having accomplished some of the things I’ve discussed. I’m still a small fish in a large ocean so it means a lot to do any interview!
Tickets are still currently available for South By So What?! starting March 20-22 at Quiktrip Park in Grand Prairie, TX! Get your tickets HERE!