A change is occurring throughout the music industry and how people listen to music. One of these changes is incorporating Artist Apps.

In Chicago, founder of Volcanoes for Hire Matt Fredrickson is undertaking the switch. The company builds Artist Apps and releases music through the app in a dynamic and interactive way. It can also be easily updated.

IMG_4754CUSP Magazine sat down with Fredrickson at 2112 to talk about Artist Apps, collaboration and the future of Volcanoes for Hire. There is a strong sense of collaboration at 2112 that has become a staple in Chicago.

A.Carter_VforH (1 of 2)“All of that comes together, and it creates essentially this ecosystem that Fort Knox and 2112 are,” Fredrickson said. “It’s a representation of what makes this city great. Artists in one side of the building, producers in one side of the building. Entrepreneurs on another side of the building. …Chicago is a good city where people are saying, ‘Make something that supports you.’ That’s a healthy and realistic approach.”

A. Carter_VolcanoForHire (11 of 12)After putting out records for 20 years, Fredrickson was bored with the process. As a touring musician in Austin, he has also worked as a sound engineer, music producer and coder and can now add founder to his list of repertoires. Having moved to Chicago to marry his Michigan native wife, he felt like Chicago was a good place to continue his music pursuits. A chance discussion while at an event at 1871 led him to discover a new incubator merging creative individuals, businesses, television and film industries under one roof. The new company was 2112.

A. Carter_VolcanoForHire (8 of 12)“It was just getting started, and just by word of mouth I ended up being one of the first people in this place,” Fredrickson recounted.  

A. Carter_VolcanoForHire (10 of 12)Once the adequate space was reserved, Fredrickson started the groundwork on building up his business.

A. Carter_VolcanoForHire (4 of 12)“I’ve been working on these concepts in some form with a computer scientist in Austin for about five years,” Fredrickson said. “This is sort of a maturation of that process, of us exploring that dynamic music. … I took my own music, and I made an app. I created a band called theSilentSamples. It’s separate from my band in Austin, so I wouldn’t freak them out. I put it in the App store so I could make dynamic music. I started to realize there were all these things that you could do that weren’t necessarily requiring a giant development team to do.”

A.Carter_VforH (2 of 2)Essentially, a user can download the Artist App and decide from there what they would like to hear in a song. For example, there might be options to hear a guitar solo in a particular moment in the song, and a user can decide what to do by selecting different icons that appear in the app while playing the music. Or let’s say you want to hear another featured artist give their vocals in one portion of the song. With the Artist App, it would easily be feasible to do so.


“The main thing is that I fill a pocket for traditional songwriters to do dynamic music,” Fredrickson said. “If you just download that part, we will lay it in the mix and you can choose between them. Now the app is a conduit for the same song instead of a list of versions of the same song.”

In recent years, big name artists such as Bjork and Radiohead have released their own interactive and unique Artist Apps. They offer much more than a typical artist website. Being a one-man team, he tries to make it as easy as possible. He does the sound mixing and producing, and since he has previous experience as an artist, he knows the ins and outs of that as well.


“I think that apps are a chance for somebody who is a real fan of a band that wants to intentionally listen and recap some of that tactile in the moment,” Fredrickson noted. “[It’s an] I’m spending some time with the artist sort of thing.”


Since the inception of Volcanoes for Hire in September of 2015, Fredrickson has collaborated with local Chicago band and Fort Knox studio artist Zaramela.  As his first client, they are taking a chance by joining the Artist App crowd.

A. Carter_VolcanoForHire (7 of 12)“They are so talented and are also the perfect artists in the sense that they are working with other artists,” Fredrickson said. “They are featuring people such as Saba, ProbCause and Eryn Allen Kane. … I think Zaramela are are going to have some good things happen to them.”


A good point that Fredrickson brought up is that if every other artistic form is evolving, why shouldn’t how people distribute music be? His first aim was to create something fun and get it out there. Down the road, he would like to incorporate icons and tools that are more aligned with online gaming.

A. Carter_VolcanoForHire (9 of 12)“Why are you just accepting music in the same form that your grandparents did?” Fredrickson asked. “What I am doing is not for casual listeners. There’s no reason for you to download an Artist’s App if you are fine getting it from Spotify.”


Fredrickson expects his idea to become only more and more common as time goes on, which he believes will actually help his company to grow.


“I only succeed as a business if there are eventually 100 other people doing this,” Fredrickson said. “By myself it’s not an industry, it’s just an experiment,”


It’s good to see creative individuals are at work at Volcanoes for Hire, Fort Knox Studio and 2112. It makes for an integral and important balance of community building and collaboration.

VfH1800x600For more information, pricing and updates, check out the company’s website. Follow Zaramela on Facebook, Instragram or Twitter. Most importantly, make sure to download their Artist App on iTunes when it drops April 8!


Mooni Salam