Taylorsville Punk: Bartow local merges music with entrepreneurialism

Whoever said millennials are lazy and devoid of ambition never met Cartersville resident Kyle Troop.
Not content with starting one small business, the 32-year-old is currently operating three, with plans to launch a fourth shortly. And that's on top of regularly recording and performing with four different bands.
"It's hectic, but it keeps me from getting bored," Troop said. "It gets different bits of things going through my day and I'm always on my toes."
Although born in Pennsylvania, Troop has resided in Bartow for the last 28 years. He spent most of his childhood in Taylorsville — "I grew up with some of the bluegrass pickers and got to hang with those guys" — and graduated from Woodland High School, where he played drums and the saxophone in band for four years. A business major, he said he spent a few semesters at Georgia Highlands College "before hopping in a tour van."
His downtown-adjacent Cartersville residence is home to two of his small businesses — the Faraday Recordings studio and Marsna Design, which offers various website and multimedia services. He is also a co-manager of a record label — the namesake, Pugs on Drugs, is an ode to his business associate's hyperactive pooches — and is making plans to begin manufacturing his own recording gear.
He said the businesses have a tendency to "meld into one." Working 60 hours a week, he often sees his entrepreneurial undertakings slipping into his rock and roll gigs. "I'll be in the van, building a website," he said.
His main music focus is an act called Kyle Troop and the Heretics. He's also performed alongside groups with such colorful monikers as Blud Buzz and Tragic Magic.
"They're all some sort of vein of rock, but one goes from punk, one's a little more surf, one's a little bit heavier," he explained. His latest musical endeavor, Sex Falcon, is expected to take flight shortly.
A '90s kid through and through, the influence of the decade's biggest punk bands — groups with names like Bad Religion and NOFX — are palpable in Troop's music. He launched his biggest release to date, the ten-track "Fake Songs," late last year.
"I ended up sitting at the bar of The City Cellar and Table 20 with a notebook and a pen and people probably thought I was crazy, listening to demos on my phone and writing furiously," he recalled. 
The album culminates with what he considers his musical magnum opus — "Van Culture," a blistering (and somewhat autobiographical) two and a half minute toe-tapper about the throes of nostalgia. "It's about how things change, people change and just keep moving on," he said. "And once you start something, eventually it's got to end and you're probably into the next thing before you realize it."
As for monetizing his music, Troop said digital sales are his top revenue source. His tracks and albums can be downloaded through Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and Google Play — "all the places people go to on their phones," he said. Thus far he estimates notching up "a few thousand" downloads, noting he doesn't get a full reading of the analytics until his end-of-year sale reports. 
"Concert sales, that's almost no more unless you're a huge act, and even then that's not a good source of revenue," he said. "And then when we do play shows it's selling the t-shirts, the records, the physical stuff that people want to come and get from you."
And when Troop says "records," he does indeed mean actual, physical records. "There's a few places in the U.S. that still press vinyl," he said. "We master it a little different and make sure it's to the specifications they need."
Another income source for Troop is licensed music, particularly tracks intended for film and television commercials. "Right now," he said, "I'm working on a theme song for a puppet sketch-comedy [program] out of Dalton."
For his businesses and his bands, Troop relies primarily on social media marketing. 
"There are so many online platforms," he said. "That's the best way to reach people. There's a new social media network popping up each week and you kind of have to just take a leap of faith on some things and just see what's going to do well."
While punk rock has traditionally been known for biting social commentary, Troop said his music is considerably less political.
"Punk is about carving your own way, and that goes into politics, but that can go into any other aspect as well as long as you're finding your own path and doing what you love," he said. "A lot of it is just thinking for yourself and treating people with kindness, how you'd want to be treated. A lot of people disagree on things, but they're still human so you should treat them as such. I find that keeps coming up in my songs."
As perhaps the only resident in Bartow County to have both a Matt Santini campaign button and posters of the bands Rancid and AFI near his work desk, Troop certainly has his finger on the pulse of Cartersvile's burgeoning indie rock landscape.
"There's a little bit of a scene going," he said. "There are some bands in town that are writing some good songs — I think the time is coming for rock to come back, I think people want it."
He compared modern Bartow to the hinterlands of Seattle in the late 1980s — both half rural, half suburban, largely blue collar communities residing in the shadows of a major metropolitan area. The same way that cultural milieu birthed grunge acts like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Troop said he wouldn't be surprised if the foothills of northwest Georgia likewise became an unlikely epicenter for the next big rock and roll revival. 
And with more economic developments and residents coming to Bartow, Troop said he anticipates the local music scene getting much larger — and more lucrative.
"The growth of our community, with LakePoint and all the new businesses that are happening in town, there are more people coming in," he said. "And with more people you get more of a melting pot of interests and styles and entertainment needs, whether these people are into music or not."


Last modified onSaturday, 10 March 2018 20:54
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