Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Social Potion [Interview # 101 // Carmen Toth]

1)     Social Distortion can be given the nickname Social D, so can we call you Social P? 

Our fans call us "SoPo" actually :) 

2)     I also feel as if your name can be traced back to a sort of medicine to cure social anxiety.  Is this true and if so how would one go about doing that? 

Yes, we feel that music itself is a social potion. Music has been proven to have a positive, healing effect on the brain, and music has also brought people together throughout history. I actually found the name using a band name generator site after typing in the word "Potional," which was the title of my EP released in 2004, when I was working as a solo singer-songwriter.

3)     Your music (self titled EP) is being offered for a Name-Your-Price download at Band Camp.   Do you feel as if fans of the music will download it for free, enjoy it and then end up donating for it?  That’s how I feel most music should work, mainly because I spent far too much of my youth buying entire albums worth of crap for $15 because I only heard one song off of them.   Also, will the EP ever be released on 7”, cassette or just some form of d.i.y. CD? 

We're offering the 5-song digital EP free as an investment to build our following. It costs us nothing to give it away as a digital download, but it gives us free exposure and puts us in people’s ears J I worked in advertising for 12 years, and I know that the most valuable form of advertising is “word of mouth,” so the more people that download it, and share it with their friends, family, and social media networks, the better. We’ve had some people pay for it though. We do sell the same EP as a physical CD with album artwork at our shows for $5 CDN. And we can mail it out (autographed) for $5 CDN plus shipping costs upon request – just ask us J

4)     The EP has been out since 2011.   So what’s new on the music front? 

We’ve definitely got enough new material to make a couple of EPs or a full-length album. Because we’re indie/unsigned, we just need to secure some sort of funding to help us do it right so it’s of “radio quality.” Right now, I’m exploring different crowd-funding options (such as IndieGoGo, Kickstarter and Pledgemusic) and FACTOR grants through the Canadian Government (which is what A LOT of Canadian musicians end up using – even the established ones like Metric).

5)     A somewhat notable singer/songwriter type of musician recently said on Twitter that she hoped one day that “female music” would become known as simply “music music”.   Now apparently, “singer/songwriter” might not even be allowed to be a musical genre anymore if the fascists have their way, but as a female in music yourself do you find the idea of the female being pointed or used as a genre in some sense to be degrading or sexist?   Personally, I feel like sometimes it’s overkill to say “female vocals” if the person is a name such as Joan Jett where you can pretty expect that to be the case, but having a band name like Social Potion you don’t know if a male or female will sing and I do believe that in some cases it does make a difference because, well, guys and gals sing differently.   Plus, I’m at a stage in my life where I’m very much pro-female music and I’m listening to it more than male fronted music which is why I like having the distinction but, I digress. 

Well, if my being female brings us fans we wouldn’t otherwise find, awesome. We’ve been featured on some female focused music blogs/Twitter accounts/Facebook pages, which we totally appreciate. I do find there are more males than females in music in general, but I just try not to think about it, and think of myself as an equal. I love Stevie Nicks, and that’s her attitude too. Social Potion recently played a show where we were one of 4 bands on the bill. Of all the bands, I was the ONLY girl there – there wasn’t even a female musician in one of the other bands. But the funniest thing was that I didn’t even notice until someone pointed it out to me afterwards. I think the fact that I didn’t notice is progress in itself J

6)     You are from Canada, which surprisingly has a decent number of musicians outside of Celine Dion (And inside Celine Dion, it’s too dark to sing! Sorry, ancient joke but I couldn’t resist)   Do you believe how many people actually have googled “If you die in Canada do you die in real life”? 

Really? That’s hilarious! Yes, there are a ton of talented Canadian musicians – some of our favourites are The Band, Neil Young, Rush, The Guess Who, The Midway State, Jane Siberry… the list goes on and on. I’ve found that our being Canadian actually works in our favour when submitting our music to blogs and stations because there are so many great Canadian artists out there J

7)     Coming up at the end of July, I’ll have been married nine years.   I couldn’t imagine forming a band with my wife for a number of reasons (Mainly because I fail at making music on a whole, which is probably why I write about it)   Do you find it to be more difficult to be in a band with only your husband?  Would it be easier to have someone you could kick out of the band or at least a third member to gang up on? Haha

Congratulations on being married 9 years! It’ll be our 10th anniversary this fall and we’ve been a couple for nearly 13 years. The most challenging thing about being a duo vs. a bigger band is finding ways to create a fuller sound. In the studio, you can do layer upon layer, play different instruments and parts, but when you perform live, you have to find other ways to get additional instrumental parts in there. When we played the NXNE festival (Canadian version of SXSW), we rented a Roland SPDX trigger pad and pre-recorded different keyboard parts to be triggered live along with the percussion. It took a lot of rehearsal and trial and error, but we pulled it off live. Being married is a total perk when scheduling rehearsal too – we can probably rehearse more often and at different times than other bands. I would say being a band is a good way to “test a marriage,” but we always seem to pass that test! Haha. We did try playing with two other people for a while but they just weren’t a fit for our sound. The whole experience just made us appreciate each other more and made us more sure of the sound we were going for and the music we want to create. We are open to working with other people in the future, on recorded material or live shows. On our EP, our producer Steve Gadsden from Tattoo Sound + Music played bass on 3 tracks and lead guitar on 2 tracks.

8)     Do you plan on having any children, and if so would they ultimately end up joining the band, creating a real life Partridge Family one day?  (Do they have the Partridge Family in Canada?) 

We do like kids, but don’t plan to have any of our own. We have 2 little nephews though, and we plan on giving them music lessons when they’re old enough. So you never know, they could be “special guests” at Social Potion shows someday. And yes, they have The Partridge Family in Canada and we’ve seen it.

9)     Final thoughts, concerns, questions about Americans, rants that aren’t from me, etc.?? 

We’d just like let our fans know how much we love and appreciate them! Thank you for listening to our music, watching our videos and sharing our stuff. You can learn more about us and download our 5-song EP for FREE at socialpotion(dot)ca 

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