Each year, millions of music fans around the world head out to live shows to see their favorite artists perform. Since 2009, “Live From The Artists Den” has given listeners the opportunity to see some of their favorite musicians or up and coming artists play a unique venue. The show has featured Adele, Alabama Shakes, The Killers, Ringo Starr, Mumford & Sons, Robert Plant and more. Before Season 10 premieres on April 9, show founder Mark Lieberman spoke to International Business Times about what’s to come this year on the concert series and how the show has progressed over the years.
Lieberman believes it’s “remarkable” that the show is already on Season 10. He said when everyone involved in the show looks back, each performance means something to them.
“It’s a real journey if you’ve watched a number of these episodes of artists in places that have special meaning to them and each of them are a story so they all live as a tribute to their craft at that time,” Lieberman told IBT.
“Live From The Artists Den” Season 10 will feature Hozier, Marina and the Diamonds, alt-J, and Gary Clark Jr. Lieberman said Clark Jr. will be playing a show at Antone's in Austin, Texas, which was the venue where he was discovered 14 years ago. Hozier will kick off Season 10 this weekend.
The concert series was started in Lieberman’s living room in San Francisco in 2009. He was a “hardcore music fan” who had the goal of giving people the opportunity to see bands in more intimate settings that they might not see in clubs. He also wanted to make the show something people can gather around their TVs to watch live music.
“‘The Artists Den’ was for many years a happening and it was a mission of mine to bring artists that I love to friends that at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday with cocktails can sit around for an hour or two and really get to know an artist they may have never heard of,” Lieberman revealed.
Since then the show has grown to be broadcast on over 270 PBS affiliates and major artists now approach the show saying they want to play. Lieberman said the show has now built a reliable reputation.
“If it was an ‘Artists Den’ show it was going to be in a really cool place, with a great crowd and a phenomenal band and if you didn’t know who they were even better, because odds are you were going to walk away a fan.”
The show has featured all different kinds of venues through the shows 10 seasons, some of which aren’t normal places where music is played. For example, in Season 7 Phoenix performed in a high school auditorium while Death Cab For Cutie performed at the Brooklyn Museum in Season 4. Lieberman said the venue choice rests on the artist’s shoulders and that it has to be a fit for them because the location is as much of the story as the performance.
“The choice of venue is an important decision for them and what we do is scout around their creative ideas or our best ideas for them, and present a couple. They give us feedback and hopefully the one they decide is the right one for them we’re able to lock in for a date that works within their tour,” Lieberman dished.
Despite the show being on for 10 seasons, Lieberman said the series still faces challenges with each show. Whether it’s finding power sources or dealing with acoustics to make the sound work for the cameras, Lieberman said the crew is used to going through the many details of production.
“The band is going on at 8 p.m. and they’re going to play until 8:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. and then they’re going off someplace else and we’re never going to see them again. We only get one shot and we better get it right, so there’s a lot of advanced planning that goes into productions,” he revealed.
Each performance throughout the years has left a mark on Lieberman and he feels each one stands out. He’s also amazed at how far some of the artists have come after playing the show. Adele performed in 2011 just before she exploded into the music scene with her release of “21.” Ed Sheeran, Alabama Shakes and Imagine Dragons have also gone on to grow immensely in popularity following “Live at the Artists Den.”
“When we think about artists that have played our shows that stand out, in a way what stands out if how far they’ve come,” Lieberman explained. “Those are the shows that standout to us as far as working with artists early and you wake up and they’re on everybody’s mind.”
As a live music program, Lieberman said he feels the series has done a lot of music since it’s inception in 2009. “It is important in the sense that if you watch an artist for an hour and it’s an incredibly, beautifully produced story I think you walk away a fan and we create fans all the time from our show and that just gives the band an additional way to reach the world,” Lieberman said.
Production for Season 11 is underway and Lieberman said they’ve already filmed Panic! At The Disco at one of the oldest Broadway-style theaters in Los Angeles. His ultimate goal is to bring the show to as many fans and countries that they can. For highlights and interviews from the previous seasons, you can check out the show’s site.
“Live From The Artists Den” Season 10 premieres Saturday, April 9 on Thirteen at 11 p.m. EDT in New York and Sunday, April 10 on PBS Socal at 8 p.m. PDT in Los Angeles. For other times you can check your local listings here.