Thursday, March 7, 2013

INTERVIEW: Fleeting Joys

1)      What do you want people to hear most when they hear your music?

Two things – First, we want them to physically feel and experience the vibrations of the music as if they were on something, or being shown how life works by higher beings.

Secondly, I would like them to experience a sense of joy mixed with sorrow so sublime that they would say “I’m so happy I want to die”.

That’s not too much to shoot for is it?

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.

I hope you’re not going to take offense to this, but this is my current perspective.

So, you're telling me you have the ability to support an artist directly, by downloading directly from them, paying them directly with no risk because most of the time you can preview the song, and you're choosing not to? Even though you’re listening to the music and enjoying it?

And instead you're saying, "If musicians want to get paid, they should spend thousands making vinyl then you might pay for it"? I'm sorry, but that is an unsustainable model for any musician that isn't already wealthy.

The technology we have enables us to do exactly what's been missing in the equation from the start - direct musician support, but somehow you're rationalizing still not doing it.

Many musicians can only afford to make music (which is time consuming and expensive enough) and put a file up somewhere. They cannot afford to make vinyl, which is an expensive luxury for posterity with little profit. Paying them for downloads would enable them to make the vinyl, pay for some touring (which is also mostly financial suicide for non-huge bands), pay for better recordings, take more time off from work to write, etc.

You've got how it could work backwards. By bypassing paying the artists directly for downloads you're forcing them to bring in middlemen who have to make their money back before sharing a tiny bit of profit (if their lucky). This completely dis-empowers musicians.

Also, Here is the reality of streaming. We were doing all right, getting the bulk of the dollar for downloads from Itunes and CD sales. Immediately after we signed up for Spotify, and with more free downloading occurring, a noticeable chunk of our income went away, and it has had a direct effect on our ability to create music. And this was in the midst of us getting bigger and bigger. That is reality.

Streaming is great for everyone except musicians, for whom it’s terrible. I would say it does 10% good of getting the name out, and 90% bad of taking sales away. The only way to empower musicians is to pay them for downloads as much as possible. Anything else is just making money for someone else.

Right now the technology could either destroy an entire class of musicians by way of Spotify, streaming and free downloading, or create a new renaissance of empowered musicians with PayPal, and paid downloading. It's the music loving public's choice. They've been in fantasy land for too long.

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.

Record labels are fine as long as they help the musicians in meaningful ways. The label in Japan that put out our CD was good to us. They paid us for our sales and brought us over to tour. Of course we are slightly more well known than many musicians starting out, so it enabled us to bargain pretty well.
Labels are also good in the way that they create cool collections of bands if they have good taste. It’s when they start to just go for what could be more commercially successful over what’s actually more interesting and soulful where they go wrong. I wont name any names, but nothing irritates me as much as when I hear lackluster music being marketed, touring the world, and getting their name everywhere just because they have money or connections. That’s all fine, but only if the music is great.

4)      If you could tour with any single band or musician who would you pick and why?

I wouldn’t mind touring with Serena Maneesh or Chapterhouse because I’ve met them and they’re really nice people. I talked to the guys from Chapterhouse about songwriting all night long and loved it. Same goes for Flaming Lips. I got to jam with Steven Drozd when he was still drumming and, not only was he really nice, he was louder than two Marshalls and a bass rig!

5)      Who is your favorite New Kid on the Block?
This one is really difficult for me to answer right now because I’ve purposefully been avoiding new music for a while, so as not to be influenced as I write new stuff. I feel bad about that.

I will say this - my standards are ridiculously high. I find it difficult to meet them myself. Seriously! If we were hanging out over a beer I might tell you which new bands sparked my interest with one or two tunes, then left me flat. I try to make every song you hear as good as the last. Over that same beer I might name the two FJ songs that are my least favorite and why.

6)      Who would win in a musical fight: Jack Black or Jack White?

Jack white has some cool stuff going on and at times I’ve been drawn to it………at times.

Jack Black is a musical jester and, although I might like to hang with him at a party and laugh about music, I’m not that into “fun rock”.

So, I’m going to go with Anton Newcombe.

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