Jan 24, 2011

BEYOND D.I.Y. - Artist Interview, Alex Pfender from yOya

1) At what point did you know you needed help with your career?

When we realized that the more people we have working with us, who know where we're coming from, where we're going, and how we want to get there, the more effective our efforts will be. Randomly bringing people on board would slow things down, but when everyone has the same mindset, it makes everything easier and faster (and more fun!) I wouldn't recommend teaming up with anyone before you know you want to, though.

2) What mistakes should artists avoid when they start touring?

Only book shows where you think a successful show is a possibility. Focus on areas where you know people, have family, where you have friends in bands or friends who like coming to shows, and cater directly to them. Playing shows for "crowds" of 3 disinterested people is tiring and disheartening, so why book a string of shows in cities you've never been to and know nobody? It drags down your morale and your performance. The only exception to this is if you can find a venue that has a built-in crowd (they do exist). If you're thinking to yourself "I don't know anybody anywhere, so what do I do?" then touring really isn't going to be what you imagine it to be. It will be hours and hours of work adding up to a pretty blah experience. Travel around. Take a road trip. Reconnect with old friends and family members, and your network will start to emerge. Also, if you do tour, always have a merch person actively selling your stuff. It makes all the difference in the world.

3) Have you placed any songs in film, TV or commercials?

Not yet, we have music with several agencies though. Fingers crossed.

4) Do you collect email addresses from fans? What's the best way to do this?

We do. The way to do this is to put on the best possible show you can. Be heartfelt and genuine, expose yourself (figuratively speaking), and then you really don't have to do much talking in order to get the audience to connect with you. Then, encourage people to come talk to you after the show. Go around and meet them face to face. Have conversations with them. Don't just walk up with the clipboard extended, looking like a nosy door-to-door solicitor, because wouldn't you hate that, too? Remind them that the mailing list is primarily so that they can know how to see another show when you come around again (always tell them you're coming back), and so they can get free stuff (have an incentive program in place, free downloads, etc) and not so they can "get updates on the band," because seriously, who wants every little asinine "update" from a band? Our target audience knows all the different stripes of spam and they will avoid anything that sounds like it.

5) What tasks are you glad to offload (shipping merch orders, social media etc.)?

Order fulfillment, booking (if we had an agent, but we don't), scheduling interviews and/or press meetings... the most business-y stuff. I feel sorta weird about PR firms and labels who employ interns to pretend to be the band, and contact people and post things saying "hi it's ___ from ____ and we're doing this and that" because that just seems unnecessary and weird. I don't think a band should ever short change itself when it comes to connecting with other bands, fans, potential fans, etc. People like talking with other people, not companies, and it seems lame to fake that.

Here is yOya's latest music video:


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