Wednesday, September 19, 2012

INTERVIEW: The Sour Notes

1)      What do you want people to hear most when they hear your music?
A1: The song arrangements, how they transcend genre classifications, the styles they are influenced by... I think that shows in our catalog of material (we have about 40 recorded songs by now)... like Spector-esque-pop to psych-rock to Neil Young/Jawbreaker/Beyonce covers we tried to weird up. We make an effort to keep the songwriting in the forefront, hopefully the message is getting across!

2)      Having music on Band Camp, along with other such platforms in music right now such as Sound Cloud, Spotify and others, do you feel that music is moving into a virtual age?  Personally, I fully support the idea of downloading songs for free from Band Camp and then if I like them buying them on vinyl.
A2: Things are different these days. On the one hand, you don't get into a life in the arts in order to get rich quick, the idea of a starving artist is an old one. On the other hand, the longer and deeper you get into it, the more you begin to need some sort of small return in order to keep doing it without filing for bankruptcy. It's easier than ever now to be in a band and make music, you need to develop a fan base to stay afloat. A growing fan-base and sales of any kind are only strengthened by your ability to be heard quickly, easily and now! Its still all very new but I think more and more music lovers are figuring out that its a good thing to buy the music you dig even if you downloaded it for free. This is also why we've gone towards putting more things on vinyl. We just think its important to juggle exposure and sustenance and that changes over the lifespan of a band. When we first started out we gave away everything for free and it really helped us get the word out, but now it is a bit more half and half but that is also because our stuff is more expensive and more purchasable, the LP & 7-inches for example are all limited runs in screen printed jackets and a lot of personal hours went into their creation & assembly. 

3)      How important of a factor do you feel that record labels play in music these days when pretty much anyone can put their music on the internet as opposed to having to hand out demo tapes at shows, the distribution record labels can offer, etc.   It just seems like it’s a bit easier these days to succeed as a band- and even build up a strong fan base- before a label possibly comes calling for you.
A3: People always want to talk about the horror stories but I've also talked to folks with Cinderella experiences. Thrill Jockey for example just put out Future Islands previous incarnation's releases out on vinyl. I think like all things, especially business transactions, you gotta be careful. its easy to be impulsive and jump onto things without thinking them through but it can really hurt you in the end. It seems like a trend now is to start off on smaller labels that are gonna focus on you and that you have a good rapport with to fund, distribute and promote your stuff and then see where it goes from there, even if you're still having to do a bit of legwork still. Getting on a big label right away seems to do more harm to young bands than good, especially if you're too poor to have a lawyer and no one to ask for advice...

We don't have one (a label), but I think part of being a functioning artist is the ability to accomplish everything you need to by yourself if that's all ya got...  A helping hand or two from outside the band may lead to bigger things and that's great!  But it shouldn't really make a difference to your efforts in music, and if anything you're going to learn a lot more when you Do It Yourself.  So don't be so lazy and whiny ya'll out there! Nobody said this was gonna be easy.

4)      If you could tour with any single band or musician who would you pick and why?
A4: In a magical universe, Radiohead, because they're a rare example of a band that pushes boundaries in and outside of music. They aren't tied down to a particular sound and seem to do things their own way. I've always appreciated their existence! Also as far as bands around now that we really admire and that we think would be awesome to follow around and learn from as support artists Future Islands, Beach House & Grizzly Bear would be mindblowing (but also equally impossible), it seems as if they have come to age in a more recent era of music/industry as independent artists with very specific and cohesive musical ideals that are hard to come across these days. 

5)      Who is your favorite New Kid on the Block?
A5: the one that killed bruce willis in "the sixth sense"

6)      Who would win in a musical fight: Jack Black or Jack White?
A6: Whichever one will put our new rekkid "do what may" on vinyl, give us a ring fellas! It's halfway done. If'n you wanna throw in a tape machine while you're at it that's cool:

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