P.N.G. (People Not Gathered)

People Not Gathered: - One Man Band & CEO/ ShoEnTeL Music

The History


KC Shoen has always flirted with music: from DJ-ing,  making mix tapes, and free-style MC-ing during the Golden Era of Hip Hop (1985-1992), from learning guitar and piano at age 15, to composing his first rap track and acoustic rock demos by the age of 17.
Previously, he thought, at age 13, that a career in writing poetry and novels was in his future until one cold winter day in January 1984, while combing through his friend’s vinyl collection, he came across this little double-album he had scarcely been aware of. Between the Police’s ‘Synchronicity’ and Men At Work’s ‘Cargo’ records,  was pulled from this thick collection an influential game-changer, propelling him to consider opening other areas of intrinsic expression..
Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’
As ’84 progressed, and while others became obsessed with the likes of Michael Jackson & Madonna, KC Shoen further discovered another game-changing sound being delivered to the masses: Prince. The eclectic hybrid of funk, rock, and classical mixed with the sexual ambiguity of his lyrics were enticing to his teen-aged mind. More importantly was the realization after listening to ‘1999’ and ‘Purple Rain’ in their entirety was the sheer fact that resonated even more deeply than the man’s music: Prince Rogers Nelson was writing, playing and producing it all by himself.
 
in the latter 80’s, Run-DMC, George Clinton, Art Of Noise and Go-Go Music  (a stylized genre which combined Jazz & Hip-Hop merged with a rock n’ roll sensibility exclusive to the Washington DC area), would soon enter his consciousness.  He, along with 6 other music die-hards/ DJs and fledgling MCs, having the serious misfortune of being saddled with residing in the homogenous, culturally-backward, and intellectually vacuous backdrop of Salt Lake City, Utah during the 80’s, were largely responsible for bringing Hip Hop to the Intermountain West.
 
In late ’84, this music was a hated and misunderstood genre by the mainstream majority and the extreme punk and ‘new wave’ sub-cultures that pervaded the music scene in Salt Lake (if you can imagine that). By early spring of 1986, KC Shoen, after all the live shows he and other members of the Gang of Seven performed in the area, distributing and sharing a dearth of underground mix tapes that were brought in from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, DC and L.A, heard something on a local mainstream pop radio station he thought he would never hear:  LL Cool J’s ‘Rock The Bells’ being in the line-up alongside Madonna and Depeche Mode in regular rotation. A mighty feat, considering the environment and the ‘internet’ still eight years away from being realized.
To escape the confines of his existence, KC Shoen joined the US Navy in ’88, spending the next 5-8 years traveling the globe as a Naval Photographer, having further musical flirtations and experiences that would broaden his horizons, but make no serious forays into music, thinking that he was not talented enough to compete. After returning the US, settling down with the woman of his dreams, he then got kicked in the head by his new wife: after musing over his option as a career, even considering joining the corporate world as a suit-and-tie 9-to fiver, she said to him ‘are you nuts? What about a career in music?’ It did not occur to him until she had said it outright in 1995 that he could actually do music as a profession. Up until this moment, he had never truly received that kind of personal support with regard to his creative outlets, and had it not been for his wife, no music career would have ever been considered. Period.

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         'Somber'-Recorded July1999..and never released. Click on image to listen, or use player below

From the time he completed his first set of professionally recorded  demos in 1999 and 2000 until this very day, KC Shoen  noted that the denigration of the music industry as being both an obstacle and an opportunity. On the verge of being considered for a label deal with Capital Records in 2002, the industry cratered, deciding to no longer invest in undiscovered talent through A&R-driven development deals. At 32 years old, with two young children to raise and care for, he did what every man would do to maintain the economic security and stability for the sanctity of his family in unstable times..
The exact opposite:  he deiced to continue taking risks, stay gainfully employed with mediocre jobs in between..and  keep evolving as an Artist, Producer and Songwriter.

                                            

         "Alpha De Millennia'' From The album 'The Darkest August: Life Inside the Myst ' ©2006 ShoEnTeL Music). Click image to listen, or use the player below

He then took on the moniker of ‘PNG’ which originally was intended to mean ‘Persona Non Grata’. His 2006 full-length release ‘The Darkest August’  was a protest against the US government’s handling of Hurricane Katrina (in particular , the 9th Ward area of New Orleans), in relation to America’s known history  of slavery and racism with its treatment of the African-American community.  The lead single, the instrumental ‘Alpha De Millennia’ used snippets of the 9/11 commission testimony against the backdrop of the attack on the WTC itself. The result was an urgent instrumental piece that ‘spoke’ to the chaos and complexity of the American psyche with regards to the attack and its immediate aftermath.

 


In mid 2006, the song nearly broke the Billboard 100, the only platform for its access into the music listening market being the ‘American Idol’ music website charts for undiscovered artists.  Though sales for TDA lagged, KC Shoen decided to turn his in-print ShoEnTeL Music into a full-on label based on the aspect of collaboration with other unknown artist & bands.  Between 2007-2010, music output would slow down, but investment interest, audience reception and connections would increase. As an experiment, KC Shoen created, produced, and hosted a 1-hour commercial free radio program called ‘The Defrag’ for three months in 2009. The programmed, carried on-line through wpmd.org at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calf. Beginning with only 300 listeners in February of that year, its fast-pace, eclectic mix of featuring undiscovered/underground music plus a news/talk format drew listenership that expanded to 30,000 by May 5th.

 'The DeFrag' May 5th 2009 Broadcast (©2009 ShoEnTeL Music) Click on image to listen,or use the player below

 2011 would see a reversal of fortune. Due to a ‘perfect storm’ of unforeseen circumstances, KC Shoen would find he and his family temporarily displaced: in a position where many Americans and others around the free world have found themselves under the current corporate corruption: No Job, No Income..No Home. After being dormant musically the year prior and coupled with the challenge of finding permanent shelter, in April 2012 he managed to get his family off the street after 3 and a half months residing in an RV. During this experience, he changed his artist name to stand for ‘People Not Gathered’: not only to represent himself as a 4-instrument singer/songwriter artist and audio engineer, but also as a reflection of what he perceived as the act of disappearing by those who said they would always be there in times of need. Especially haunting to him was a song lyric once stated by LL Cool J himself in .357 (Break It On Down): ‘When you’re rich you’ve got friends. When you’re poor you’re alone.’


His confidence shattered, he was encouraged by his wife to work with a fledgling vocalist looking for his first single to put out to the world: an inexperienced young artist who had never completed a song in his life, let alone never sang. During the latter summer of 2012, KC Shoen, for the first time in his creative life, completed a electronic dance track, handling lyric, songwriting, production, engineering and background vocals.  Another first was that he elected to take the back seat on the main vocal performance. The result was DaMax’s ‘Sweat Some More’.
While the song was making the various promotional rounds and receiving positive reception through internet radio airplay, KC Shoen was suddenly struck with the sound of violins playing in his head while routinely viewing twitter account. At the exact moment he pulled Smokey Robinson’s twitter page, an entire song manifested, leading to the new single ‘Into The Empty’. He immediately hit the boards.
He was back; and it was time to go to work. More stories must be told.  A label needs to expand and bring new bands and Artist to the hungry masses. The time is now.


Are You In ?


       ..Stay tuned for P.N.G.'s  upcoming release: