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The Chaz Interviews - July, 2003
by Chaz and the artists

It was the summer of 2003 and's active message board community was heating up as well -- with flame wars. Along came Chaz Fanaro, looking to cut through the negative noise. He began to interview many of the musical artists who pitched a tent on the popular indie music forum. Others pitched in with questions of their own. July of 2003 could have turned ugly, but thanks to the interviews blanketing the forum, it became a home for insight and mutual respect. The forums were wiped clean by Vivendi in December, 2003. The interviews live on.

Paris By Air

Artist description
Eclectic. We took our love for alternative music, our Producer's success in "Miami Dance" sound, poetry-laced lyrics -- put them all into a blender and hit frappe. We hope you enjoy the concoction.

Music Style
Eurodance with an edgy alternative aftertaste

Musical Influences
Depeche Mode, Madonna, Gloria Estefan, Fixx, Fatboy Slim, Seal

Similar Artists
Madonna, Depeche Mode, Norah Jones, Destiny's Child, Company B, Aguilera, Shakira, Ashanti, Vanessa Carlton, Kylie Minogue, 3LW, Dido, Nelly, Jessica Simpson, Expose, Estefan, TLC

Artist History
Willie Cleer and Rick Munarriz formed the band fresh out of high school. They were signed to Columbia Records just two years later, with Haydee Rivera singing lead. "Voices in Your Head" was released in July, 1989. It peaked at #14 on the Billboard Dance Chart. In March of 1990 "C'mon & Dance With Me" topped off at #35. Later that year "It's Another Holiday" began the first of its seasonal airplays (now past 65,000 according to BMI).Unfortunately, the successful singles and the infectuous holiday hit was no match for the 1990-1991 recession. Columbia dropped many artists, Paris By Air included. Haydee moved to New York, Terri Gil took over. "I'm Serious" was released independently in 1992 and "Mr. President" got favorable rave in Billboard. "Could open new doors," it went. Yep, Hurricane Andrew blew open more than a few doors, destroying the band's studio. Rebuilt and ready, the group released "All Around the Sound" in 1996 which was picked up and distributed in Europe by YYZ Records. 2002 marks a revival, with the band back in the studio to see if recessions or hurricanes can stop them this time! We would love to hear from you --

Group Members
Terri Gil (Vocals, Keyboards) Rick Munarriz (Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals) Willie Cleer (Drums, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals) Produced by Lewis Martinee

Of Construction! We play them all. We use them all. Listen and see.

Albums releases: Voices (December 1999), Edge (March 2000), You & I (May 2000), Dance (November 2000) It's Another Holdiay (November 2001) and All Mixed Up (February 2002)

Press Reviews
Favorable press in Billboard, Dance Music Report and The Herald. "Do you like the Eighties? I do and I also like Paris By Air. Paris By Air compose absolute eighties influenced Synthpop with classic synth-elements and catchy refrains. Terri Gil upvalue the quality of their songs with her superb and gentle voice. I feel good when listening to their music as I got remind of my experiences during the beautiful eighties." -- SynthPop for the Masses

Additional Info
What would you like to know? Email us at

Miami, FL - USA

Chaz the Spaz
It's now 2003, what happened to Paris By Air 2002 back in the studio revival?

If only I could get Doc to fire up that DeLorean and go back in time! I'd either make sure that we would make the time to have that 2002 studio revival -- or delete that reference before Chaz Fanaro would see it!
I made it out to the studio a few times last year, only without Terri and Willie. I wound up getting together with Lewis Martinee to write some songs for other artists.
A conventional strength -- higher learning -- may have hurt us in our recording career. See, we have six college degrees between the three of us. Not only does it make it hard to find the time to head back into the studio when you're a newlywed pharmacist (Terri), a fireman with three kids (Willie) and an MBA working a few different jobs (me), but it's also hard to justify the hunger.
Hunger matters. I've always had this philosophy that goes that you can tell who is going to make it in the music business by the way they start up their car in the morning. You have the radio. You have your seatbelt. You have the air-conditioner.
One who goes for the air-conditioner first is too concerned with their own comfort. One who forgets the seatbelt is too reckless to last long enough to see their risks bear fruit.
So why didn't we get together to record more original music this past year? I guess all three of us went for the A/C. I won't be bold enough to predict a 2003 studio revival, though we WILL get together soon -- especially since our producer is in the process of building out his home studio.

Chaz the Spaz
Rick, you seem to be very involved with the on-line music scene. Do you think the recording industry will take advantage of what the indie artists have built?

I think they have little choice but to, Chaz. I actually have a Motley Fool article that will go live tomorrow that addresses this (note to self: come back with link when the Download No Evil column is up).
It boils down to what peer-to-peer downloading has done to music. Forget the fact that Napster went under. Forget the fact that the RIAA will be serving up lawsuits to individual users next month the way it settled with some college students earlier this year. Whether the recording industry is able to shut down P2P file sharing or not, the value of the CD has been devalued, possibly forever.
Labels have to wake up and stop feeding off the teets of CDs. They are great promotional tools but they are now loss leaders. Labels need to spend less money marketing the appeal of the discs and more time and money in taking an active role and financial stake in the artists it will sign.
That means labels will be taking cuts of tours and merchandising, sure, but it also means that it will no longer have incentives to load up CD recoupable costs with costly videos and outlandish studio time expenses. This will encourage the labels to approach the artists as long-term partners, not something to be squeezed dry in a hit or two and discarded.
Why will this matter to the indie artist? Because this is the farm club system for the efficient parnetship-based major label solution of tomorrow.
Online sites are steps ahead of where the majors will be when they realize that you have to further the careers of prospective artists and use the Web and digital distribution as a cost-effective marketing tool.

I like your car analagy Paris.
Looking forward to listening to your future works.

Natalie, thanks for the kind words! I've been a big fan of your work dating back to the early days of -- when there were so few of us around (sort of like today, only with more of the wit and less of the venom).

Rick, you seem to be very involved with the on-line music scene.
I was lucky enough to have stumbled across early in its tenure. We first uploaded our music on in 1999.
It was the perfect medium for us. In the early 1990s we were coming off our Billboard chart success (in its dance clubplay chart) and our tenure with Sony's Columbia Records. We gigged pretty consistently, all over the country and even overseas (well, okay, one gig in Panama for a televised beauty pageant).
But by 1999 our aspirations were different. Will was too bogged down between work and family life. Terri was about to get married. I think 99% of the people on this site dream of being signed. We had been there, done that. We just wanted to get heard. We were always studio junkies so any chance at licensing work or getting promising bands to cover our material was more attractive than trying to make it happen again.
Maybe it's because I never approached as a steppingstone to fame that I became one of the site's loudest apologists. The promise of a new listener mattered to me. So during one of SOPHIE's silent spells I created NO FEE SOPHIE.
I'm not a fan of anons, but working under this disguise I was able to help artists hone their promotion skills and having been around so long I was able to be a lot quicker with answers than itself. I eventually outed myself as NO FEE when some folks were questioning my intentions.
Before that, and to this day, I set up as a modest New Music Army group. It all started when Paris By Air had the #1 song in New Wave and we were approached by another band for tips. I went over the band's page, made suggestions to make it more appealing and ways to grow their audience. They hit #1 in New Wave too! An NMA was born. Liquid Stereo has been in and out of the Top 40 ever since. Never too big for the top, but along with the site, I think it has helped others get heard.
Around the time that NO FEE was making the rounds, started showing some interest in me. Bandtech had asked if I could drum up some suggestions to fix the NMA program. Unfortunately, as soon as I scribed some thoughts and sent it his way, he was gone from
Then I was approached to write artist tips for the artist log-in page. Perfect. I did that for about two months, with plugging my band (and in return. Then I was asked to be the moderator at last year's ACE event in San Diego for its getting signed panel.
Around that time was when I was approached by 1Sound to lend a hand to its upstart ways. I was always a big fan of Rod and the vision that 1Sound had (which is still in the process of being fully realized) blew me away.
So I have gladfully helped 1Sound by moderating the boards over there, providing content (I'm part of a Webby-award winning content site at so I really love to write) and being another head to bounce some ideas off of.
I guess I've rambled quite a bit on this, but my point is that I guess I have always been involved in the online music scene because it's something that I believe in, it's something that has rewarded me and it's something that I think I understand pretty well.
I love to help, and I'll always help.

Paris! I didn't know you were on back then. How cool! I thought us bunch of pioneers were all long gone. Nice to know that you've forged on through it all. It's amazing to hook up with people from back then and compate notes on what's gone on the last5 or so years. Time sure flies huh!
Funny... back in the day Crack was the board dude... now it's the Marquee Dude... same crap different day! LOL There always has to be one, don't there!
Keep up the great work and keep in touch.

Chaz the Spaz
Since Paris By Air is essentially on hiatus, what have you been doing musically?

I don't think that the creative juices ever stop flowing. I still write and, like most artists, even the most mundane of life's patterns like being stuck in traffic or hanging out on a beach will trigger a new composition.
I still have all of my musical gear but because my recording gear (and production abilities) are limited I've mostly gone to our band's producer's amazing studio and worked on new songs with him for other artists that are looking for material. It's amazing how so many talented vocalists and musicians can't write squat and those of us who are mediocre players (I never fancied myself a great musician) can compose to the point of banking on quarterly royalty statements.
I don't think Paris By Air will ever break up. We all remain friends and always promise to get together to scribe new material and hit the studio together. Families. Careers. That darned air-conditioning on switch! Hurdles all and we've been too lazy to leap.
But I know that our song library is not complete. If not, my nephew is an amazing guitarist and he's got two years of high school. My own two boys are much, much younger but they seem to be taking an interest in music. Maybe the legacy (or is it a curse) gets handed down.
In the meantime, I learned too much to squander that knowledge. That's why I came to in 1999 to try and find new outlets for my band's own music but also to be a positive source of encouragement.

Chaz the Spaz
There seems to be some worry over the possible demise of, in your opinion is the site financially healthy and will that justify the new owners maintaining the site?

Chaz the Spaz
How did you first become interested in music?

Chaz the Spaz
Your list of musical influences and similar artists indicate basically a pop style, what is your personal listening preference in music?

Is the site financially healthy? Of course not. Vivendi won't break the numbers down in the SEC filings but when was independent it was perpetually in the red. While the company was approaching positive cash flows a lot of that was coming from LVMH Moet Hennessy which was locked into a $20 million a year ad contract. Anyone who was here before early 2001 may not have realized but the vast majority of the banner ads displayed were from LVMH (Louis Vitton -- who also owned a lot of the cosmetics and booze subsidiaries pitched in those Sephora days).'s saving grace was that it had a ton of IPO money left and that investors didn't care about profitability. It was eyeballs, baby (and, in our case, ear drums).
Under Vivendi the company's now forced to deliver on the bottom line. Companies like and Webvan litter the dot-com implosions. Those who remain, independent, have made it through the rain and are mostly profitable. But and most of the online operations of any of the major labels? I doubt it.
That doesn't mean that is toast. Under new leadership it might take either the fresh approach to turn a profit or it might accept this as a loss leader as long as it drives its own brands higher.
Time is running out on Vivendi's ownership of but as Roxio is breathing new life into Napster, I don't think is toast just yet. The new boss may not be the same as the old boss. So we can hope.

Chaz the Spaz
Mercy, mercy, mercy, are you asking forgiveness for all those mixes, why all the "Mercy" songs?

How did you first become interested in music?
I'm probably not the first musician who was forced into the craft. When I was five my oldest sister was taking private piano lessons. Nowadays soccer moms relish having their children doing different activities and shuttling them around from place to place.
Not my mom. She went ahead and signed me up for lessons right after my sister to kill two afterschool birds with one stone.
My teacher's name was Periut. She was this horrifically theatrical elderly lady with the flair of a flamenco dancer and let you know in her booming voice when you missed a note.
I never liked it. After my first year's recital -- where I was her only male pupil -- I begged my mother to let me quit and take up sports. She complied.
I regret it now because when I finally picked up the electric guitar in 7th grade it seemed as if every band was loaded with mediocre guitarists but nobody could play synths. So I made the transition and wish I would have had a few more years of classical seasoning under my belt, but I guess it was that lack of a complete education that made me a better songwriter because I was forced to write into my strengths rather than play all covers.

Your list of musical influences and similar artists indicate basically a pop style, what is your personal listening preference in music?
I'm not ashamed of any of the songs that we ever recorded but only a few really made me proud. Our influences were more new wave and alternative than the Miami freestyle brand of pop that we fell into.
A lot of that came from our producer who was having a great deal of success and labels like Atlantic were coming down to Miami to sign anybody who had a Latin freestyle flavor.
Our own influences were darker. At the time it would probably have been Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb, Berlin, The Fixx, A-ha, Dream Academy. But when in Rome you do as the Romans and when in Miami it was easier to adapt our songs to a more club-friendly format if we wanted the record deal like the Miamians.
So while I feel attached to all of our songs the ones that probably hit closest to what we eventually wanted to do if our career with Sony's Columbia would have extended beyond the two singles would be more like Changes and the Tears for Fears-like blowout buildup you'll find in Our Children's Garden which was more of a nod to fellow Sony artist Martika's Toy Soldiers.

Chaz the Spaz
I've been listening to Paris By Air for two days now, and have a lot of opinions. "Changes" does have an original new wave sound, kinda' like Gary Numan and Orchestrial Manouvers in the Dark. I'm had a tough tome deciding which song to use on the station, "Dearly Beheaded" has a uniqueness apart from your other songs that attracted me over and over again.

Dearly Beheaded, despite the morbid title, takes me to a happy place! I think it was the apex of our confidence as a band, just before it got pulled out by Sony a few months later.
I guess since this is an interview a little fleshing out would be in order. When Sony let us go my first reaction was anger. When no other label stepped up to pick us up that anger turned into frustration. It took some time before I learned to not only forgive Sony but to feel sorry for them. They blew $150,000 on our advance and a lot more in marketing our first two singles to draw 35,000 sales and then the recession hit.
I never came around to embracing our management company. They swallowed the advance. They treated us like know-nothings. Before Sony came around they had blown a deal we were working with Polygram because our producer was too busy with "paying" projects to record more of our songs beyond the demo that Polygram was digging.
But all was right in the world when Dearly Beheaded came into being. After Voices and C'mon & Dance With Me charted on the Billboard Dance Chart Sony gave the green-light to the full CD. They liked a lot of what they were hearing but they still wanted the one can't-miss single to launch the CD.
Our management company was adamant that we had recorded enough. Sony had two dozen songs to choose from. But we knew better. Then we recorded Hearts Start Calling. It felt right from the beginning. It was the perfect pop song and right up the alley of what radio was playing at the time (late 1990). But our self-produced demo was it. Our management company didn't want to record it in the 64-track digitial studio to present to Sony.
In a defining moment our A&R guy came down to have dinner with us in Miami. As soon as he started talking about the need for that first single we presented him with a copy of our demo. Our management company was always the middleman -- we had effectively cut them out. Surely enough, when he got back to New York, he called us back singing the song. Everyone at Sony loved the rough demo and our management company had no choice but to go ahead and record it.
Banking on it being the next single Willie and I wanted to do a remix for the maxi-single. We were so confident that we had outmanaged our managers that we decided to go in an entirely different direction for the remix and start from scratch. Dearly Beheaded was born.

Chaz the Spaz
Geez, good music, bad timing for the market. It just goes to show you, even successful musicians can have the rug pulled out from underneath them. Sometimes bad music takes off, reference: The Residents, sometimes I actually like the dissonance, other times I can't believe they get away with some of their stuff.

Mercy, mercy, mercy, are you asking forgiveness for all those mixes, why all the "Mercy" songs?
This goes back a couple of years. There was a time when Mikel Fair (aka 303Infinity) ruled the airwaves. He was up there with Martin and Ernesto as the top earners on the site back when it was paying out good money.
He approached me to do a remix of Mercy. Well, I'm no chump. I realized that it would make for some great exposure. He needed the vocals isolated to work his magic.
No problem. That's one of the few digital studio recordings we did with just one songwriter -- and that was me, so no problem. When I finally got Martinee to take the time to lend me the tape and help me cut the vocals-only track Mikel was busy with some other projects.
I waited.
Then I stopped waiting.
I uploaded the vocal tracks and opened up the remixing process. A lot of artists have done some amazing things with it -- taking the song in directions that I never thought possible. I felt wrong cheating some artists out so I put them all up there -- towards the bottom of my page.
One of the versions -- Intervox's Desperation Mix -- was so good that it wound up in a compilation release. Shadow Dancing II actually won the best compilation award at the 2000 American Synthpop Awards. You can actually buy it on Amazon.

Chaz the Spaz
Mercy bo coup
What are your goals and what do you have planned for your music?

Once I accepted that happiness was a superior goal to fame being an artist got a whole lot easier. I was able to focus on writing the songs for myself rather than for someone else. Commercially feasible? Not sure, but it sure is more therapeutic that way.
I intend to continue to try to market my music and strike more licensing deals. I intend to get back into the studio with Teri and Willie and Martinee and work on new material now that time is more of a hurdle than money. You can make time. You can't exactly make money.
Along the way I really want to help other artists who are just starting out. I mean, I saw the unscrupulous manager and the indifferent major label. We played the nationally televised gig as well as the obscure hole-in-the-wall venue with just a few dozen clubgoers in attendance.
I've been working online before the Internet was the worldwide web. I was a message board moderator for General Electric's GEnie service dating back to 1990. I've been writing online content since 1995. I think I know the Internet and I think I know hot to use it to an artist's advantage. So, maybe it's a cheesy selfless goal but my hope is that when it's time to log off for keeps in this world I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference in the artistic lives of others.
Sappy, ain't I?
Chaz, Thanks!

Chaz the Spaz
You're welcome, Rick. I still plan to ask a few more questions, there is still one week left. Man, time flies when you're having fun.

Chaz the Spaz
Practice makes perfect, do you practice?


  -- Rick Munarriz

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