Umm, can we have your job?

When you think of indie music, hipsters and coffee houses are usually what come to mind. However, music television producer, Shirley Braha makes indie music cool again.

Her show New York Noise, a music video show on the New York City channel, got a lot of buzz before its cancellation. In the vein of New York Noise, Braha created her latest project Weird Vibes which is currently being shown on a MTV online network. Aside from being featured in The Wallstreet Journal and New York Magazine, and one of “YM Magazine’s” coolest girls in America, Shirley shares with Love Twenty Magazine everything on her high school years, her current music playlist, and advice for aspiring bands! 

When did you know you wanted to do something with music?
Pretty young! When I was a freshman in High School I was totally that girl who spent all her lunches on the computer in the school library….Basically nobody liked me and I probably didn’t like anyone either. I felt really alienated so I was always on AOL, on another planet discovering this thing called “indie music,” joining music mailing lists, and making indiepop Internet friends. It was weird to realize that there was this world that I could identify with much more. By the time I was 16 I had started a small indie record label and really enjoyed the experience–I loved working with bands I admired, dealing with all the different arms of the industry, enjoyed the process of creating something.

Have you ever been turned down in your career? If so what’s your advice to those who have been in this situation.
I think it’s good to build your own opportunities as much as you can. No one in the world can turn you down when you’re creating a project that is your own. No one can stop you from starting your own record label, blog, book, band, record, anything! It’s inevitable that there will be setbacks when you reach out to work with other people or companies, but I think proving what you’re capable of on your own can open up a lot more opportunities in the future.

What was your coolest celebrity encounter?
I probably wouldn’t even get out of my chair if someone in the office told me that some huge pop star was in the hallway– But I love getting to meet or hang out with people in bands that I like and shooting fun video segments with them. Recent shoots with Holy Ghost!, Twin Shadow, Tanlines, and Twin Sister were pretty entertaining, and some of my favorites from the past were with Adam Green, Vampire Weekend, Au Revoir Simone, Les Savy Fav, and AC Newman of the New Pornographers, but also a lot more.

What’s your advice to aspiring bands?
I think sometimes people don’t realize that most musicians who are ‘successful’ now probably played in a bunch of different bands that sucked prior to this one. There are definitely exceptions but
generally it takes some time practicing and experimenting in different bands before you end up making something that sticks. Bottom line though, the best thing you can do to be a noteworthy band is the most obviously thing — make good music.

What’s on your playlist right now?
I love ‘scrobbling’ my music on so I can answer questions like this one. According to my statistics, over the past 3 months I have been listening a lot to Sleep ∞ Over, Pat Jordache, Shabazz Palaces, Teams, Tune-Yards, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Twin Sister & Real Estate.

What are your duties as music producer?
I’d say I’m actually a ‘music television producer,’ because a ‘music producer’ is more like someone who helps a band record an album, which I would be terrible at. As producer of Weird Vibes and my previous show, New York Noise, I’m basically responsible for making sure each episode gets made from concept to delivery, and I direct all the shoots. That’s the production aspect of it, but in reality I more or less make the whole show myself including editing and graphics, which usually doesn’t fall under the role of producer.

When you were growing up you were listening to?
Anything I could get my hands on! Before bandwidth got to a point where you could easily share MP3s it actually required some effort to hear new music. When I was in high school, like 1996-2000, I would discover newbands mainly from mix tape trades with people online, or recommendations from mailing lists, CMJ New Music Monthly comp CDs, record label samplers, the early days of MTV2, this late Sunday night radio show called “the buzz.”

I started out listening to indie rock entry bands like Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Violent Femmes, Sleater-Kinney, and soon veered heavily towards indiepop / twee stuff — my first two concerts were Belle & Sebastian & Olivia Tremor Control.

Tell us more about your new project Weird Vibes?
It’s a new indie music video show that you can stream on and now also as an iTunes free video podcast. Each episode is hosted by a different band or has a different concept and also has 7 or 8 music videos. To me its pretty much a reincarnation of my previous show, New York Noise, which ran on NYC TV from 2003-2009.

What’s it like working with MTV’s sister site?
I feel lucky to be able continue doing what I love doing, which is making music television, and it seems like MTV / MTV Hive is the ideal place for that. I remember how much I loved watching music videos on MTV & MTV2 growing up, and hopefully I can give back to someone else in that way.