3 maart 2011

Fitz & The Tantrums doen het zo (slot)

De reactie op Bobs blog van vanmorgen:'Hey Bob -

Just wanted to say thanks for taking notice of what we are doing. I've been a reader of yours for years and just thought i would give you more details into what has happened for us as a band. So much of what you have written about has resonated for me as an artist and relates to this band.

Let me start by saying that this band is truly an amalgamation of Old and New school music business paradigms and its been incredible to be a part of and witness. I've been making music forever in this town with many musical projects that never went anywhere and certainly never got an ounce of recognition from the industry in the slightest. With my heart finally broken one to many times by an industry that would never take notice I started working for a producer as his engineer and trying to pay the bills by writing music for film and television.

Out of a sheer need to be creative I started writing the first FATT songs in 2008 with no thought of doing anything with the songs. The response I got from friends and fellow musicians was pretty intense and encouraged me to continue. With the Help of my sax player James King we quickly were inspired to put a band together. Everyone in this band has put in their 10,000 hours of Gladwellian practice and our live show has truly become our calling card. We got Lisa Nupoff and Brian Klein to manage us. Two people that respected the DIY approach and had experience with the direct to fan model. They really believed in us from the very beginning when no one else did. We self released an EP and we started playing shows around LA. We eventually released the same EP 3 separate times in the first year and a half because so few people knew about us and every time we did we garnered more fans. So much of our success has been word of mouth, fan to fan, music lover to music lover spreading the word. It is absolutely the main reason for any early success. We are not that radical of a band in our sound but in terms of an industry that wants to put you in a nice little labeled box we certainly didn't fall into one of their categories. All the A & R types came out to shows and promptly didn't "get it". But the fans did and people kept spreading the word. We got no major press in the early days just a ton of baby blog write ups with readerships of 10 people. We did all the social media platforms, Facebook, twitter, last fm, the sixty-one, used TopSpin and gave away a free track in exchange for an email addresses. All the social media sites have collectively helped build a foundation but facebook has hands down been the most important of them all for us as a band. I hate to give Facebook any more power or cred but its true. It has given our fans access to us without them having to leave their own personal facebook page. It has helped us build a deep relationship with them over time. They are invested in seeing us work hard and grow and now that we are experiencing some success they are cheering for us all the way because they are connected... we have become friends. Noelle and I as the singers do all the correspondence on facebook and twitter. We take time to write them back or respond to their comments. People let us know when our site is down or we mislabeled a venue for a tour and they keep us on our toes. When someone doesn't get their vinyl Lp they ordered from our website they write to us and we make sure to take care of the problem personally.

From the very first show Noelle and I have sold our own merch at the end of every show and shook every hand and taken every picture till there is no one left in the venue. The guys in the band come out and hang with the crowd after the show and talk to people. There is no pedestal or better than you rock star vibe. Everyone in the band is down to earth, gracious and truly appreciative of everything that is happening to us.

Here is the hard part. MONEY!!! That word of mouth got us some amazing opportunities to tour and open up for Flogging Molly, Maroon 5 and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings but all DIY means is YOU PAY FOR EVERYTHING YOURSELF!! These were too amazing of opportunities to pass up so I invested my own money I had made from composing for tv and film into these tours.

The other part to our story is radio in 2 parts. Part 1- KCRW and KEXP took us under their wing early early on in the bands career and KCRW invited us to do morning becomes eclectic. This gave us a real foundation in LA, all of a sudden people were at the shows in LA singing every word to an album that hadn't even been released yet.

We went into SXSW as one of the "buzz" bands last year whatever that means. we did our big show with KCRW and every president from every major was there and they all left. We never got more than an initial inquiry from them. Which was fine for me because i was petrified to even entertain the idea of doing a major deal and becoming yet another victim of that corporate culture. But everyone was congratulating us and yet no one stepped up. We had run out of money and everyone in the band was broke, exhausted and stressed. Our last show was playing the Dangerbird Benefit concert for the Pablove Foundation fighting children's cancer. We played to a big crowd of "regular" people. The show was not a badge only event so lots of regular folk came down and we had a blast.

We flew back to LA and the Next morning Jeff Castelaz the owner of dangerbird asked me out to coffee and told me he was really impressed with how we had built this thing all on our own and he was gonna offer us a deal. I live in silverlake and I love being a part of a community and Jeff and everyone at Dangerbird have been really great and forward thinking and yet not ignorant to the old guard institutions.

Radio Part 2: The label has an amazing radio person. She was able to get us on AAA radio and Non Com. Some Alt rock and a ton of college radio and XM/Sirius. Until this band I thought that radio was truly dead. Who listens to radio? Well apparently a shit ton of people. We have been building with radio every day and we tied in every single tour date to a radio station in every city. We decided to go out on tour right at the new year, dead of winter when the market wasn't too saturated or competitive and hit every town from Philly, to Madison, to Kansas City and Portland Maine. Never a day above freezing on the entire tour! We would show up in the morning do an in studio performance at a radio station, go to the next radio station and do the same and what happened was we were able to make that personal connection with every radio station and their listeners and we ended up selling out 95% of the tour. it was such an education for me. Old School hitting the pavement, meet and greets, signings at the end of every show. Doing the work. Plain and simple.

On tour one of the most amazing realizations was to see the impact doing Live From Daryl's house had on our career. We gained more devoted fans doing that one webisode than Kimmel and Carson Daly combined! It was nuts meeting person after person every night on tour in every city at the merch table. Over and over it was "we found out about you from Live from Daryl's house" love the idea you can create an internet show and it can grow to be a huge success and truly we owe so much debt of gratitude to Daryl and his people becuase they made an enormous impact on our story. There was a whole family, Mom and Dad introducing their 16 yr old daughter and 19 yr old son to our music because of LFDH and the whole family coming down to the show.

We never tried to make music that would have a broad appeal, we just wanted to make music we were happy with but we have quickly seen that our demographic of fans ranges from the 14yr old who is discovering soul music for the first time to the 60 yr old dude that drove in from barstow to see us because he grew up listening to Motown and every age in between.

We have tried to create a great live show because yes anyone can make a decent recording. Everyone can steal your music but they can't steal your live show. Our shows try to feature these truly talented musicians that I am so proud to play with. No two shows are the same. Ripping farfisa solos and Bari sax break downs and a rhythm section that can hold it down. And yes NO GUITARS!!! We aren't trying to be the coolest band out there. There is nothing pretentious or ironic about what we are doing. We are having a great time playing together and we want people to have a good time when they come see us. We want the audience to be a part of the show not just be a bystander. Who knows how long the ride lasts but we are in it, still broke! but loving the experience so thank you for taking notice and we hope to see you at a show very soon!!'


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