People often think that being a musician is a great way to get rich. The truth is, it's hard work and most musicians fail at making money from their music.
Most musicians dream of the big time when they should be focusing on smaller things like getting gigs in front of small audiences and perfecting their live show and branding so they can stand out.
Listen now to hear Jon from Memorist describe how to use business principles to become a more successful musician and artist!
What you’ll learn:
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– “You Broke Me First” (Tate McRae cover)
#81: From Self-producing Artist to Full-time Producer: Todd Barriage of Theatria
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
– The North Stands for Nothing
Caskets (fka Captives)
Welcome to episode 88 of the Bandhive Podcast.
It is time for another episode of the Bandhive podcast. My name is James Cross and Matt Hoos is not back yet, but he will be back very soon. He is just wrapping up recording in Spokane Washington with his band, Alive in Barcelona.
In the meantime, I am very pleased to have Jon from Memorist joining us all the way from the U. K. Today. How are you today? I'm good. Thank you. James, thank you for having me. That's great to hear. In my pleasure. It's I'm very thankful that you're I guess publicist label rep reached out. He's a jack of all trades from what I can tell. He's a very talented man, very talented man. Yeah. And I'm not just saying that because he's also named James, I'm not biased.
But yeah, he he reached out and full disclosure. I hadn't heard of memories before, but I checked it out man. That's good stuff and it's right up my alley taste wise. So very glad to have you on the show. Talking about the business behind Memorist. So before we get started with the business side of things, Jon would you mind just talking a little bit about your background as a musician and how you came to form Memorist? Yeah, sure. I've played music or sang for as long as I can remember.
My dad was a musician. So from a really young age I was always around music and I always, you know, I learned to play guitar when I was seven and it kind of stemmed from there really. Throughout high school, lots of different bands, enjoyed some moderate success in my late teens and into my early twenties with a tech metal band called Chronograph. So if you're assigned that sort of thing and really completely ducked out of music altogether, focused on my career, teaching, had a family and then uh, yeah, a few years ago, so it was through a mutual friend actually.
Um our guitar player Chris was getting married in las Vegas and he had a photographer out with him called Felix. Really talented photographer. And by chance Felix has a friend called Ali who is also a photographer who by chance was in Las Vegas at the time. And I've done a guest vocal on Ali's old bands single years years before Felix invited me to come take some photos in the desert in Vegas. Really cool photos. I mean, if I get a chance, I'll shoot him over to and they start talking about music and how they wanted to form a band.
And they were like, oh, do you know any singers and all? He said, yeah, I I know this guy, he guested on my band's track once. He hasn't done it in a few years. I wonder if he's interested to cut that kind of short. I said yes, Ali was going to play drums. He doesn't play drums for us now. He never actually did. He's actually now a photographer. So he's still involved in the team. But yeah, it was it was kind of almost kind of through happenstance really.
And the guy showed me a couple of tracks and like they've been working on and I was blown away. It was it was incredible. The instrumentals were beyond anything I've ever worked on before, and I couldn't turn it down. And I just said yes on the spot. And Here We are. Two years later, and three singles and million or so views on Youtube. And it's been a journey. Yeah, well, I think that's great. I've talked to so many artists who say, yeah, you know, we got into it and this is what happened in La la La. But you're just like, no, I I knew I had to do this.
I think that shows, first of all that there was already something special there. Because when you heard the songs, they were that good that you knew you had to do it, but also that you didn't have any hesitations about jumping into it. You knew like, this is what I want to do. And I think that leads further in, you know, psychologically to you being committed to the band, You're not going to say, you know, should I really go play the starts? Like, no, this is what we're doing, we're going to make it happen.
That's just my assumption. But that's typically what I see when somebody is committed to a band on that level, the band does better because the people in the band want to make it work. Yeah, I think that's fair. I mean, there's a kind of, there's a driving force at the center of Memorist in terms of the creative direction and the songwriting and those sorts of things. And that really is because there are those of us who we didn't when we were younger. Like I said, all of us that have been in bands before and had done relatively well, but kind of went, okay, I'll hang my hat and I'll get a real job.
And that kind of itch at the back of your head as a musician, it never goes away, no matter what you play or what style of music you play, there's always something that goes, you know what, even if I'm just playing covers at a wedding, I have to do something. And yeah, for all of us, I mean, we just clicked together. It just clicked and it meant that we wanted to work for it and that's where we are now, is yet driving for it. Yeah. And I think that's really what any band who wants to take their career seriously needs.
Without that fit, it's just not gonna work. So I think it's really great that we're highlighting that early on in the episode before we get into all the other stuff to talk about because there's a lot and I want to throw this out there for the listeners. Jon has been a business teacher in school and that is one of the main reasons Jon is on the show. I thought, hey, this is perfect. But let's get into the other topics first, because you also run a graphic design business and you're working on re launching a clothing business.
Can you tell us a little bit about both of those? Yeah, of course, business as you kind of kind of highlighted in terms of my work as a teacher has always been a core part of my life when I was in music before I was an artist manager, I had a kind of a roster of bands I managed and I also worked in pr for a while, um for a couple of labels and various bits and pieces, but alongside that had always done graphics, I'd always branded my own project.
I'd always done all the graphics work for any artist on my management roster and it's just something I'd always kind of had on the back burner and I never really set it up as a formal business. I kind of skipped past that bit, but a couple of years ago I decided I wanted to launch a clothing brand again. I had a clothing brand previously, but I had this idea and it kind of tied in with what memories were doing, which was this idea of borderline nihilistic, slightly emotive tongue in cheek, black comedy sort of stuff.
So I launched this clothing brand called troubled sleep Co, which is wearing at the moment because shameless self plug and then that kind of stemmed into doing graphic design work for my friends. So chris our guitar player runs a barbershop and I did a full rebrand of his barbershop and and kind of alongside that I went, you know what, I'd actually quite like to do this for a job. One of my many jobs. And yeah, so I I set up a creative agency essentially. That doesn't doesn't just do graphic design.
And we created a whole range of things. I said we boil me called Sundown Creative, which really the idea behind it is creating compelling branding, graphics, multimedia direction, creative direction for bands, brand small businesses. And that runs alongside troubled sleep, go trouble sleep being jean paul sartre, quote, or reference to one of these fictional novels. And yeah, that's that's really launching soon. So that's been kind of paused momentarily. Thanks to Covid. I'm sure we'll talk more about what trouble sleep does. But yeah, that was kind of designed as something for me to release the designs that I wanted to print. Really?
I mean I designed stuff and you can't always sell a design bands don't always want to use it. So I'll print myself to be harder sometimes just because I want to wear it myself. But yeah, a lot of the time because, you know, it's an opportunity for me to express myself artistically. And then I also kind of set it up as an imprint. I mean, the first three Memorist singles, Loss, Love and frustration were all released through troubled Cinco. And I have another project as well. Musical project with 83 miles, which again, is released through troubled sleep.
I kind of branded it as a creative collective rather than just the clothing brand. And there was an opportunity there if if it had arisen for, say, tattoo artist to print their designs on clothing and so on and so forth. A lot of what I've done business wise throughout the years has really been focused on empowering other creatives or collaborating with other creatives or allowing young people who maybe don't have an outlet or a platform to have a platform, which is kind of where my love of teaching came in.
Well, I think what you're seeing right here actually points to something you already tied it into teaching, but also by giving people a platform, you are in a way and this is going to be a terrible comparison, but you're in a way doing on a much smaller scale and probably a much more ethical scale what fiver is doing with contractors, you are saying, hey, I have the business knowledge, if you want to put something out, you can do this. And obviously, you know, like I say, fiber is a terrible comparison because they are such a large company that for a large part takes advantage of contractors in third world countries which is obviously not what you're doing but from the core business model of I know business you don't you're giving that experience, your business experience to people who don't.
Yeah I think that's fair. Yeah. So what really inspired you to get into the business side of things? Was it your early artist management career or was it even before that? Always before that. So at school I took business, took businesses at GCSE and what the equivalent would be in America our whole system is so different. Just like you have high school and then you have university. Yeah it's in high school but between the age of 14 and 16 you take a two year course that you get a general certificate of secondary education.
I took business is one of my options. I could choose my options. And I chose to do business. And I had this business teacher called Mr Bell who was an ex Royal Navy and Merchant Navy ship repair specialist. The guy was minted like loaded, he had so much money but he was bored like his wife had a business making pickles and jams and chutneys which he helped out with and he like did things on a weekend with her. But he was bored and I don't want to say I hated school.
I was quite academic like I was quite good but I was never really interested like all I wanted to play music and so I was a bit of trouble. And he took me aside one day and he said Jon what you wanna do with your life. And I went on to make money and he went right, pay attention and that was it. I was hooked like those two years of learning how businesses operate and in some cases, actually had to operate ethically, how to operate within, within your own means to not be exploitative, those sorts of things.
That was what really hooked me into it. And then that alongside my love of business, so my love of music kind of propelled me to where I was going for university american college and I chose to do a music business course. So I did a degree in music business disclaimer. The course was trash, like it was completely pointless, but in that three years I set up three businesses and I learned so much about the industry and myself and how to operate and it was invaluable, really my inspiration.
Mr Bell chris, bell shout my man, that's great. And I've heard the term GCSE before from watching shows like skins back in the day when I was a teenager and um here, it's just not like that here in the States, like basically high school and I was homeschooled, so I have a different experience, so maybe I'm not getting this 100% correctly, but basically of high school, which trains you for college or university, and then you have trade school, which is, you know, if you want to like automotive or something like that, but there's no real thing of like, hey, this is your track, you're going to study business for two years, that's not a thing until you get to college.
And yeah, when I went to college, we had an intro to business class and they were covering the super basics, like business structures, which I didn't know, and I have the feeling that was one of the many topics you covered in those two years was just the basic business structures. So it is incredible to me to see how much more advanced that is, where you are. Just makes so much more sense. Like it really gives people preparation for the real world and that's something that here in the States, if you go through high school, but you don't go to college or university, a lot of people don't necessarily have that, first of all, I think it's really cool that the structure is there in England for that, but also that Mr Bell was able to help you out with that and give you a path to go down and now here you are, I don't know, 10, 15 years later saying, hey, this is what I'm doing, I've learned from this, I think that's great.
We had a guest from Canada a few weeks ago to talking about his experience in school, Todd barry Jon episode 81. So if anyone hasn't heard that episode you can go back and listen to it. It's advantage I've got rocks slash 81. But to get back on topic here, as I nerd out about the difference in school systems in in three different countries, I'm from education, so I'm all about that man, don't worry. Yeah, absolutely. I could probably no doubt about it all day, but I don't know if our listeners would appreciate that.
How has your experience, both as a business teacher as well as just somebody who enjoys business in general, given you a foot up over other artists who don't care about business or don't know about business, I'm going to put a slight spin on your question so I don't think it's so much knowing about business. Business in general and its general use of the word is about monetization. We talked about going into business. You incorporate, you set up a company and your aim is to make money. Bands don't operate like that.
You don't start a band with the aim of making money if you do get done because really your band will cost you more money than it will money you make. Maybe the slight advantage that it's given us is that I understand marketing, I understand consumer perception and I understand that what you put out isn't just about the music you release just like in a business, it's not just about the products you make, it's not just about the service you provide, it's about everything. There is so much more.
And this is where a lot of bands fall short, and I have this conversation with bands I operate on a consultancy level with on a regular basis. That that's how we've got this this ep. We want to put it out like that's great pause. There is more to what you're doing than just what you've made. Your listeners need to believe in you and they need to understand the message you're trying to portray just if I'm selling a shoe, I need to tell my customers, not just that it's comfortable, but you believe in this shoe.
You believe in the identity of this shoe. You believe that this issue is better than the other shoes. And there's a reason you emotionally invest yourself in that shoe. Just like a listener emotionally invest themselves in an artist. That's why bands like, I mean, I'm gonna throw a wild card, but bands like Nirvana long gone but are still hugely popular because there's such an emotional investment. You listen to what kurt Cobain's got to say. And even though a lot of it is laced in metaphor and little bit kooky, you're emotionally invested in it.
And that even came across in, you know, their record covers or their live performances or their merchandise, everything, it ties together. And I think that that really is the advantage and I'd like to kind of add a caveat memories. They're not alone in being able to achieve that. There are so many bands that do brilliant things. I mean from the UK, especially to name a few, loathe brilliant kind of creating this experience that you buy into holding absence. Sleep token is one of my absolute favorites. That's really like a proper case study and to be cheeky, I referenced it.
You know, I looked at the sleep token case study, I went right, this is how you get your listening to bite. It's a cult. It's not a band, it's not a singer, it's a cult and the fans are so invested in it because they believe in not just the lyrics, not just the music, but the branding, the music videos, the merchandise, the communications on social media. It's so involved. A lot of bands missed that. Yeah, You grow a great five track ep. It's the heaviest thing ever.
Yeah, You're singers got great range. Like the production is amazing. But if you just put it on bank account and post on facebook and say, hey, we're such and such, we've got this five track ep, it's just a band from somewhere with a five track ep and there's loads of those. The difference is the differentiation. Yeah, absolutely. I think first of all it's such a great point. And then you specifically mentioned the word cult and this morning I got an email from frank carter and the rattlesnakes saying, hey we're launching our fan club, international death cult and not even that band just frank carter in general.
I'm sure you're familiar with, since he's also from the UK from gallows to pure love to. Now the rattlesnakes, everything he does has been so carefully curated and branded that it's amazing. Like even when he was leaving gallows, he started wearing Pure love merge his next band on stage, like pushing it, showing like, hey, I believe in this brand in this band. Another one from the U. K. That I think is doing incredibly well as well. She sleeps like if you look at their pages and sleep society, but that's just intense.
Even their tech page has a giant following. A lot of people aren't interested in tech, but they still go follow that page and I'm a tech nerd while she sleeps is actually just a really interesting example actually, because the W. S. S, the swans, the logo, actually funny, I worked on the pr campaign for their debut album, Seven Hills, and following on from their first ep, The North stands for Nothing, which was british hardcore one oh one, like if you want to be a british hardcore band, listen to that ep, it's brilliant.
The over sprayed like graffiti logo was everywhere. You couldn't go, even if it wasn't asleep show you couldn't go to a show in the UK and not see at least five people wearing the sleeps W. S. S like front over spray graphic t shirt stroke of genius because it was so simple and no one knew what it was about, but didn't even didn't even to like the band, it just looks cool and you see it on slaps on lampposts and you'd see it sprayed like you go to Sheffield and it was sprayed on the wall and you'd be like, I don't know what that is, but it's ingrained, you know, it gets into your head and that kind of comes back to the point about branding is it's so important to reference sleep token again, I mean the the cliffs that kind of ruins that they use on his mask to reference bringing their eyes on when they announced that they were going to release them.
Am I the only thing that came out was the kind of pentagram kind of logo they did with do you want to start a cult with me? And they just put it all over the country with a random phone number and people like what is this? And called the phone number and they get little snippets of songs like the power of clear and strong branding is unquestionable. Absolutely unquestionable. Yeah. Well, so going down that path, let's say if you were coaching a band who's just starting out, what would the things that they should do first be like a quick step by step, It doesn't have to be super in detail, but just the main overarching points of what they should do to get started with creating their brand. Okay.
I mean, I have a formula, but I usually use, I speak to clients, but I kind of trim it down to a very simple terms. First of all, figure out what you want to be, what do you want to be perceived as? What do you want your listeners, your fans to see you as secondly, and most importantly, why don't you not want to be what don't you want to be compared to what don't you want to be seen as? Because those are the things you really need to steer clear of.
You know, if you're you want to be the next brutal death metal project and you absolutely don't want to be seen to be quote unquote cheesy, how do you avoid that? Like, you need to know what you don't want to be and what you don't want to be perceived as. Once you figure out those two things, think about the key words that are associated with those things. Yeah, so in terms of what you want to be, you're gonna say right, I mean in terms of music, let's stick with the death metal theme, brutal, satanic, creepy fast and pick up all these ideas and then from that, you then have a brand identity, it's really that simple brand identities is about emotions, feelings and perception.
So if you look at a brand like Fiji water is a really really good example when I'm teaching branding I always use water. Fiji. Let's be frank is the same as tap water, faucet water. It's exactly the same. The difference is the packaging they go it's from Fiji and it's filtered through layers of volcanic rock and it's fantastic and it's really good for you and it's got all these things it's water. But what you're conveying to consumers that's going to justify that $3 a bottle price tag or in the U. K. £2.50.
£3 price tag is the feeling. It's the emotion, it's the perception of what it is that you're buying. It's the same with music. It doesn't matter whether you're selling water, shoes, music, cars, beer doesn't matter. It's all about how you're perceived and the emotional reaction of your customers or your fans. So how do you achieve the things that you want to be perceived as we want to be perceived as the most brutal, scary, terrifying, creepy thing in the world. Alright, well slaughter prevail as a case study. Let's get creepy gold masks where bulletproof vests get really ripped and make horrible animal noises.
Like it works in its most basic terms. It works. Um, and that's a clumsy case studies to use just disclaimer. I love thought to prevail. Don't send the big scary Russians after me. Yeah, just figure out what it is you want to be, what it is, you don't want to be. And then once you figure those things out, think about the emotions, thoughts and the perception and how you're going to achieve that and that's a starting point for them. Your entire brand identity. I mean, I could teach branding 101, but we'll be here a lot longer than 90 minutes.
Yeah, I should ask then, do you take clients now? Like if somebody were to reach out to you and ask for branding, would you take them on as a client and help them through that discovery process? Absolutely. I mean, three Sundown, I do a huge range of things. I've just taken on a new client. Someone I actually really want to work with, a friend of a friend who's come up with some fantastic music. I jumped more. The projects I want to work with, obviously time is limited, it's the one thing we spend that we can never get back.
That's a lower Atlantis with lyric actually, the one thing we spend that we can't buy. So I jumped more of the things that I want to work on. But absolutely, I always, I always take new submissions and if people are interested and even if they want to have a kind of a 30 minute consultation conversation, I'm open to it, you know, hit my inbox and let's have a chat. Great if anyone is interested in that and Jon, if you want to share some examples, I feel like Hillary shared a bunch of examples of artists that you like, but if you want to put some, some genre tags out there that you're particularly interested in that might help to qualify folks before they reach out which they can do so at sundown Creative dot co dot UK or at sundown creates on instagram. Absolutely.
I want to steer clear of the genre tax thing. This, this term fact, our manager American. And he said to me, one of our first conversations here in the States, we have this thing called genre nazis and he kind of hastened to use the word Nazi with me, like because I'm english, I'd be really offended. But yeah, there's two types of music, good music and bad music. That's it. Like I will listen to UK drill, which is like gang inspired, real life street stories through to one of my biggest vocal influences is Christina Aguilera.
I'm not even joking and I will listen to slaughter to prevail and what I've been spinning recently, Alpha Wolf who are absolutely mad. I've discovered a band today called To the Grave, I think they're called to the Grave really heavy. And then I'll listen to Siga ross and explosion in the sky. So if you think you make a good music, email me, it's that simple and we'll have a conversation and I'm honest, like if people come to me and say, hey, we've got these tracks and I'm like, it's just not what I'm into, I'm sorry, or I just don't, I don't think it's got much potential and I will have a constructive conversation around that I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna shoot someone down, I'm not that sort of guy.
Yeah, well that sounds great and and that's such a good point about genres. And even for me, I think back and I always say, my favorite genre is, you know, alt rock and its sub genres pop punk, metal core, that kind of stuff. But then I'm like, wait, I actually don't like most metal core, it's like five fans that I quite enjoy and then everyone else is like, it's metal core or SAm goes through pop punk or indie or whatever genre. So it really is the artists that speak to me, which goes back to branding.
So another question on that path of branding, how important do you think it is for artists to have a community of some sort, where their fans build connections with one another? Because ultimately, this is from my experience when I was a teenager and I was building connections with fans of a F I or I fight Dragons, that gave me a tighter connection to the band, even though I don't necessarily know the band personally, I still feel a tight connection with them because they gave me some of my best friends.
Is that something that you work on? That's a really interesting question actually, and it's something I've given a lot of thought recently. So growing up, I'm gonna assume James, you're around the same age as me 28 right now. Okay, so you're younger than me, I was about to say, I really hope you're not younger than me, but you are, everyone's younger than me these days. So growing up in the nineties, like, I was a member of the Iron Maiden Fan club and the Lincoln Park fan club and the biscuit fan club.
So I was into New metal and I was also like traditional rock. Now, they haven't really been a thing until very recently, and bands have started to create these kind of, you've mentioned Sleep Society, you mentioned, you say something death cult, yeah, International death cult, which is also their, their label, their self luis label, but now it's their fan club. So social media has been really instrumental in this and back in the days of like Myspace, which is where my music career was, was first spawned by the way.
If you're born after the year 2000, you probably have no idea what my spaces and that saddens me greatly because it was wonderful. Thanks Zuckerberg, you killed my teenage years. But yeah, social media kind of became those fan clubs, you know, you would meet people on the group posts from the band's Myspace page, and you know, maybe you interact with them through instagram, we would interact them through twitter, facebook, kind of killed that a little bit, like, facebook's become almost like, kind of faceless entity, like there was a page and they post things and you ingest it, and there's no interaction, like, there's no so bands are now taking it upon themselves to create these fan clubs, and I find it really interesting and I think it's a fantastic idea, I've toyed with the idea for Memorist services like Patreon are really, really great way to build engagement with fans, and if I can just, kind of, circle around that point, engagement is really the key in whatever capacity that might be to reference another UK band.
They're doing really well right now. In fact, they're doing really well in the States as well as they were called captives. Then I called caskets um beside the Sharp Turn records and they get span a lot on serious octane. They've just started a similar sort of thing, a fan club and it helps with that emotional investment. You know, you have these, these fans that are so emotionally invested in what this singer or the band has got to say lyrically and when they hear it, they want to have a further connection and you're right, they can't sit down and talk to the band unless they go to a meet and greet or unless they can walk up to the merch, stand at a show.
So what do they do? They meet with like minded people and especially over the last kind of 18 months in this country especially where live shows just haven't happened. Like live music in the U. K. Has stopped to stop dead. So any interaction between fans that can take place has to happen digitally and that I think it's really important. It's important for fans as much as it is for the artists themselves. It's kind of time and answer your question. It's not something I've advised a client on yet but it's the sort of thing that is always at the back of my mind.
How can you achieve that? Unfortunately it's never really viable at small scale. You know if you if you've got 500 followers on Instagram and you played 10 shows if you start a fan club quote unquote you're not really going to have the critical mass for it to be enjoyable for those fans. And they're gonna they're gonna kind of go into this thing about Karma, going to meet so many. No, let's use a plural band named baskets fans. I've got a basket next to me. That's what I said, basket.
I'm gonna make so many baskets fans and then get into the group and there's like five people there and they're like, well, this is dull. So you have to wait till you get to that point where really you have an engaged, thirsty fan base that are really gonna I want to talk about your music and you've got to have enough work out there for it to be talked about. I mean, if you got three songs, like we have, like, I wouldn't start a fan club right now, We've got three songs.
I mean, there's there's a huge emotional attachment to loss. There's a huge emotional attachment to frustration. Yeah, I'd say there's quite big emotional attachment to love as well. But equally, it's not enough until we've got a larger body of work. I wouldn't entertain the idea. Yeah. Well, is there a certain point that you have in mind is kind of like the trigger point where you would go ahead and do that or is it just on a case by case basis? Yeah, I don't think there's ever an individual trigger point.
I mean, you have to look at how the fans interact. I mean, our fans are quite engaged, I would say. But I could probably name for you, not on two hands, but you know, I I could name a good number of the most engaged fans by their instagram handles or by their facebook names. And the list is not exhaustive. So it needs to get to a point where I go down there. There's a lot of people here that are constantly commenting and they're always going, oh, this is amazing and they're commenting on each other's posts.
Like it is case by case, but you, It comes down to feeling, I think you can tell yeah, just the gut reaction of its time. If you play a show a packed out show to 300 people and everyone in the room is singing the lyrics back at you. It's time. On the note of when you're playing shows, whatever shows return in England, I know where you're going with how often do you see artists not make a call to action in their entire set? And how many call to actions do you think an artist should make if they're playing, let's say a 30 minute opening set.
I mean you've got the standard form call to action. There's a much tighter at the back of the room. Help us to pay for our fuel. That's a given. It's no secret that artists don't get paid enough. We're overworked, underpaid, but we don't do it for the money. We do because we love it. But really we'd rather not be out of pocket. We'd really rather cover our costs until you're in a nice unique situation where your streams are, your merchandise is ticking over nicely. I mean, you don't want to overdo it.
I've been to shows where bands between every song like, hey, check out our facebook page, find us on Youtube. Much like we're doing now I'm here. We're talking about my business, but also we're talking about the music that we released and I'm not talking about all of it. I'm talking about specific parts because at the moment we're prioritizing certain parts. So if I'm playing a show and we've just released a music video before that song, we just released a music video for this song. You can check it out, done.
You know, maybe part way through the show, we just released this ep, this is the title track. Those sorts of things keep it relevant. Don't drown your fans or your potential fans in these calls to action that really might fall on deaf ears and they can just come across a bit desperate. People don't go to shows to be sold to people that shows to enjoy music, let them enjoy the music. If you can get a call to action in their sensibly without ramming it down their throat.
And that is really what you need to avoid ramming it down their throat without any choice, avoid that at all costs. Just make it tasteful. Yeah. So on a related note, first of all, I fully agree with that. What do you think of when artists have a scrim, for example? And on that screen there's a QR code that people can scan and it has all their social links. I think that's a great idea. In fact, I've never I've never thought of that and I'm going to steal it. Thanks.
Please do. Please do. That's one of the things I've seen, like one artists do, and it wasn't just part of their scream. It was like their entire backdrop was the QR code and like, okay, that's a bit much, it wasn't a large backdrop. They were, you know, a regional band, but it was still like, your band name is not even on there, it's just a QR code. I mean, it's a clever marketing idea, don't get me wrong, like, I I don't want to shoot down the idea like, whoever's done that, like your thinking on your feet and I respect that.
I think it's a bot. I mean, scrims just to come back to it are brilliant way to brand yourself and communicate your brand image at a show. Like, how many shows have been to in a band, hasn't got a band behind them, and you didn't hear them announce who they were at the start and you think this band is sick, Who are they? And if you are slightly introverted or maybe a little bit anxious, are you going to go up to the merch, stand to go watch your band name?
No, of course you're not. You've lost that fan, lost them. They're gone. Unless you play that town again and they happen to be there again, put something behind you, put something in front of your amps, just invest some money like it costs, I mean in the UK I can get a banner printed for like 70 quid, which is like $80. Put it behind you like get some cable ties, get some tax. Like put it on the wall, the sound guy shouts at you, tell him to go away. Simple or scrims great idea in terms of the QR code.
I mean, that's fantastic. The problem is now there are so many social platforms. You got youtube, you've got video, you've got twitter, you've got instagram, you've got Tic tac, you've got facebook, you've got, there is still on Myspace, believe it or not. There are so many platforms, you could have a website, you can have a band camp, you have a Soundcloud. How do you get all of that dense information to your fans here, having a five flyer with all of our social links on that looks awful.
Q. R. Code genius. The best business cards are the simplest. Yeah exactly. And that way people can follow you on whichever ones they want to, they don't have to type anything in, but it's all there and if they want it great, if they don't want it, that's not a problem. But it's there, they don't have to scan it. They don't have to scan. You haven't, you haven't got to force it down their throat, It's there. Even if you can't afford a scrim, get a QR code, which is so easy to make, if you're going to make them google it, this is a great idea, whichever.
I mean James, you got, you got a reference to ban because they deserve some serious praise for this, printed on a piece of paper and put it at the front of the stage. It doesn't matter and people go, what's that done? Exactly. And I have to say, I would love to shout them out, but I don't even remember who it was. This was like seven years ago, you didn't scan the QR code, did you know? This is before Iphones had QR code capabilities. It was only for android at the time.
You're excused, you're excused. But to add to that also you say, put a piece of paper at the front of the stage. I think on the merch, table is a great idea to so as we pivot to now that I've mentioned merch tables, what do you think an artist can do to make their merch table stand out and fit their brand? Because I have the feeling this is going to be something you can say a lot on as well. Okay, I'm going to sum it down into four words and then I'm gonna I'm gonna explain what I mean.
Don't print bad merch, Don't do it. Just don't. I mean like oh I had this conversation with and I'm really sorry if he listens to this because he's actually a friend. Anyway, hey man, we're going to print, we're gonna put the band name on the front, we're gonna put a scar on the back. Don't do it. Should first show. If you turn up your first show, no one knows who you are, right, No one knows your band name, they've never heard of you before. They might buy merch if they're your friend, they might buy merch if they like your music, but really at 15 £20 of t shirt, which is what you're looking at for a good margin these days, people aren't gonna part with that amount of cash unless they really like you or they really like your music.
So what you have to do to make them part with their money, make it look good. How many bands do you see with band name logo? Come on, spend a bit of money hire a designer. I don't want to promote it, but christ if you can't afford a proper designer, go on. Fiverr. Like find Someone in Malaysia who will design your t shirt for $50 and print it like get some good merch, make it compelling. But most importantly, it needs to communicate your message. It needs to line up with what it is.
You're trying to say to your fans, like memories merge to reference some of it uses, we did it in capsule collections. Right? So, and actually released it through troubled slip co. So it was all tied together. And because I designed it all kind of looked contiguous everything referenced lyrics we had for loss. There was to draw me one more coffee nail and it was to cross coffee nails in kind of a similar sort of design to this chest print back print. People loved it. Another really popular lyric from the song.
There's no such thing as happy endings. Just massive on the back. Yeah, Love was a similar thing. We chose some lyrics. We use them and then frustration. The same thing. Again, you pick key points or moments from the song that you want to communicate and you use it. And then we also had our kind of core collection which was we don't use it anymore. It was the third eye. So I can't actually do it in my hands because my fingers are knackered, but it kind of looks a bit like that.
It was a circle with an upside down triangle inside it. People turn around to see what it looks like. The ghost inside logo. And I went, okay, when you get a new logo. And actually again, full disclaimer, I didn't design the New Memories logo. The New Memories logo. And the Monica that we use was designed by a guy that I've known for a great number of years because I feel it's important as a creative to sometimes step away from your own project and go, I want someone else to have a go at this.
But yeah, we had this this this kind of third eye emblem, that was it was the court, was the o in our in our name, Memorist. And and we used it as kind of like a chest emblem as a hat thing and it was consistent. So in terms of bands making their merch table look better. First of all don't print bad much. Yeah print good merch, you can have this one for free. Pick a color and I don't mean pick a color of T shirt. I mean pick a color that is a theme for you as a band. Right?
Loath have done read a lot there such red. There are very, very angry band. If you don't know, loathe listen to him. I'm not the biggest fan in the world but they've got some good songs that sound a bit like deftones but if chino drank instead of smoke weed caskets again that used to be captives. There are yellow, we were monochromatic as we're holding absence and then they became live and in color and now they're all color and you know that's a nice little selling point for them on this E. P. Cycle, we've gone for purple, Pick a color, pick something that communicates your brand image.
And and that goes back to branding one oh one like coca cola, that red, you see that red and you go coke, right Cadbury, you have to be in the States now cabra chocolate. Yes, yes. The purple and white. Yes. They try to copyright that purple because it was so valuable to them. They wanted that purple Kodak is another great example. We could go on and on but you pick a color that communicates your brand image, what you're about and use it. And it also comes to the merch table and this is less about what you're selling and what you got on the table.
It's more about what we call point of sale. So you go to a supermarket or what do you call it? Marketing american grocery store, market, whatever supermarket they all work market, grow street, whatever you get to the till the check out and the person is there and you've got stuff lined up. There's, you know, chocolate bars, mints and sweets and candy and whatever else. And that's your point of sale, right? Or you walk in and like Doritos have launched a new flavor and there's some massive big cardboard thing that's like Doritos, no flavor, totally good and you're blown away by it and I'm gonna buy that bag of Doritos because that shouted at me to buy that bag of Doritos do the same with your merch stand.
Like don't be afraid to sell yourself a little bit and don't don't let your drummer sit behind it with his feet on the table on his phone. It doesn't look good. Like if I walk up your merch stand and you don't engage with me, I'm not buying anything. If you go to farmer's market and you want to buy some sausages, the guy selling the sausages is gonna go, hey, want to try a bit of sausage because he's trying to invite you in. It's really that simple, invite people in, make them want to buy your stuff, make them engage in conversation.
Maybe they didn't catch a set. Show me a QR code. Hey, did you catch our set were called, check us out. You can find all our socials on here. This is our debut ep, it's only four bucks. Give it a go. Like engage with the people on the other side of the merch stand and I said, make it look decent. Like don't just throw your t shirts on the table in this country. We've got prime Mark. I think that's probably the equivalent of like, best buy, as far as I'm aware, Best buy is like in a bit budget, like, you go in there and things are just kind of throwing all over the place.
That's more like walmart. Best buy is uh electronic store mainly. Right, okay, so we'll go walmart, right, walmart. In fact, we've got ASDA in this country, which is owned by wal mart, it's not the best presented in the world. Yeah, you go in there and you're like, well, that's I'll buy it because it's a few quid, but if it was any more than that, I wouldn't because the place looks like rubbish, you're not selling t shirts at your merch stand for a few pounds or a few dollars, you're selling it for probably 10, 15, 20.
You need the people on the other side of it to believe it's worth that. And if it's creased not presented properly, there are no prices listed, there's no display behind you. You've got your drummer with his feet up on the table sweaty because he just played a show or you know, your singers wasted because he's drunk all of the rider, like all of those things are bad for business and I mean, I don't want to contradict myself in the point I made at the beginning of the show, which is that we don't go in to make music as a business, but if you want it to be sustainable, if you wanted to carry on, if you want to be able to play more shows and write more music and do this more, it has to be at least borderline of business.
The money has to come from somewhere because eventually your part time job that you're working in the burger place or the grocery store or the car dealership, you're gonna get bored of it and you want to get a real job and then you're not gonna have the time for the music like I did, you know, I I went to teaching and I didn't have time for music, I had a family, I had a full time job, I was trying to run my own businesses and music became a burden and it should never be a burden.
So at least focus on the way it looks to people so that you can make a bit of money, you can put the fuel, the gas, the petrol, diesel, whatever in your van and you can get to the next show, you can afford to buy new strings, you can afford to fix that window that you're singer smashed because he was wasted and the venue owners really annoyed, you know, all of those things that you need money for which are inevitable. Make your merch table look nice. Don't sell bad merch, make it look nice, engage with the audience.
You said I was going to say a lot and I did. Sorry. Well that's all good. That that is amazing. And there are so many questions in my head, I feel like we could talk all day, but I'm going to be respectful of your time and say maybe we'll have to have you back on the show in the future. But of course we want to talk about what is going on with memories right now. So this episode, we're recording it on july 1st, but it's not coming out until august 3rd.
So if you're listening to this, it's august 3rd or sometime thereafter, which means that memories, new song, the empirical has already been released. You can go check that out now and on thursday, august 5th. Memorists Next single. The second single, aptly named second sequence is going to be dropping. So you can check that one out as well. Either in a day or two or if you're listening in the future, you can listen to it right now Jon can you talk a little bit about what these singles are leading up to what the plans are for the rest of 2021, going into 2022, all that kind of stuff.
That's an interesting question. I don't actually know if I'm allowed to announce fully what's happening at this point. Fair enough, fair enough. As it stands at the moment, we have a plan for a bunch of singles. Okay, I'll tell you that much. So we got a bunch of singles. So the Imperial is the first one and that comes with a music video. Second sequence is the second one, as you said, quite aptly named second sequence. And that will be accompanied with kind of a visualize er of sorts.
And we plan to covid dependent do kind of like a live session for that song. That's that's it's a personal favorite of quite a few of the guys because it's it's quite showy. We're not a tech band. Like I I come from a technical background, so I'm used to all the wiggly and and the kind of almost like virtuosic sort of musicianship. So that should be accompanied by hopefully some sort of performance or that sort of type of thing in terms of the rest of the year.
So yeah, there's more singles coming. 2021 22 is looking to be very exciting. I really can't say any more than that. I mean we are writing like crazy as of the time the show will air. The empirical is spinning on Sirius XM octane on the test drive show, which is crazy for us. Like We are six guys from rural England. Like it's mad. I got that email and I went, that's cool. 16 year old me would be kicking himself. So that's, that's kind of the start of how cool things are looking.
There are lots of conversations happening that make the rest of this year and next look very exciting. But we are writing furiously and the stuff we're coming out with is great. Like I'm really proud of it. I'm super self critical when it comes to what we write and always have been with whatever I've written before. I mean, I'm proud of this, this, this collection of music we're about to release. I'm as if not more proud of the coming stuff. If there are any listeners that were fans of memories before this cycle, we've drafted in a new guy.
So we were five guys, not the burger joint. We were five guys, you know, vocals, two guitars, bass and drums. And I did a bit of kind of electronics and programming and I still do and chris our guitar player did the same, so dash over the guitar player who was incidentally also our producer, really, really talented guy. And I have to give him a shout out actually, I'm I hope that's okay. Ash got open Sky Audio, unbelievable producer, like actually top notch. But it got to the point where we're fascinated by cinematic music hans imma, there's this guy who did the soundtrack for Arrival and his name escapes me, yo yo han something.
But that kind of interaction between organic and electronic elements that we really wanted to be able to get across in. I don't like using the word, but kind of metal were like an old metal band alternative metal. And the other guys knew a guy called Craig, who they always worked with before, who is a really, really talented synth wave producer and we brought him in kind of at the last minute as we were completing the writing process and we were like, look Craig shows what you can do, let's see what and he just he nailed it and he has become so instrumental to our sound going forward, which is why I'm so excited about the next phase.
Like the next phase is really, I mean, I kind of want to call it heavy pop music, I don't want to water it down. But yeah, this, this year, what we're releasing now is kind of the heavier side of I think what we wanted to get out of the system, there are some emotional elements in it. And I mean I'll talk about the emotional themes in a second. But yeah, going forward, I mean it's really driven by that kind of synthetic and electronic element. That is something that I've always wanted to do and all of us have always wanted to do that that beautiful interaction between organic instruments and synthetic instruments that I think so many bands try and fail or so many bands try and you know have kind of like five minutes of fame Attack.
Attack is a good example. You know, put a transit in a song although bear tooth is doing well. Now Bear tooth yeah, Caleb Shomo is the singer. He used to be an attack attack and now he's in bear tooth. Okay. I didn't know that a friend of mine did show me bear to some years ago and I didn't pay much attention. But in my opinion they are much better than attack attack. I do like stick stickley though. Who doesn't? It's a classic by now and Smoker Hunters is Smoker Hunters is a jam.
I should turn up in my car and like not do. But yeah, needless to say we're incredibly excited. Like the tracks we have coming out are surprising. I think people are gonna be shocked by the empirical have been shocked by the empirical. It's not anything like, I mean if you've, if you've seen the teasers James, I mean talking directly to you, if you've seen the teasers, it doesn't look anything like what we've done before and going forward. I mean the creative vision we've got for the videos for the other songs is like, it's a step above anything we've done before.
And I mean, I'm here for I'm stoked and the other guys I spoke to and it deals with some really, really challenging emotional themes. I mean, the empirical is without putting too fine a point on it. It's it's a it's a shot at Western governments and more specifically, the UK government for their woefully inadequate handling of the coronavirus pandemic. I mean, our death toll in the UK, It surpassed 100,000 months ago. And it was all because the interests of businesses, it sounds really hypocritical coming from business teacher and someone is talking about business.
But the interests of corporations were put above the interest of the public. You know, we're not closing that. We're not doing that. We're not doing that because it will harm the economy. Well, newsflash, hundreds of thousands of people are dead and your economy will be forever damaged by that. It will take you years to recover because you cannot pluck new workforce out of thin air. So that's what the empirical about. It's it's really a you've got blood on your hands and to those of you that were saying I'm not wearing a mask, I'm not getting vaccinated and I'm not stepping away from people.
You've got blood on your hands as well. You are part of the problem. And if you are too stupid to realize that I won't say anymore. The rest, the rest of the tracks are less less political or less politically charged, I would say. And they're more about kind of my own personal struggles and the things I've had to deal with over the last 12 months You know, more like last 18 months actually. So the start of the first lockdown, I had some some real problems with mental health. I was in a relationship that was, this is the first time I've said this publicly, but controlling emotionally abusive and it really affected me and it changed who I was.
And I've only really gotten back to close to who I used to be probably in the last couple of months and throughout that time period I was and and and following some awful events that happened towards the end of last year, I was painted as the worst person there could possibly be, which couldn't be further from the person I actually am and all that from a manipulator, from an abuser. I've lost my Children in the process and that has been a real fight to be honest with you.
And the whole, the whole idea of memories has always been that it says in a press release, so called because singer Jon can't forget and I don't I don't want to downplay that like I've not had the worst life. I mean, I was lucky. I was born in the west. I was born into a family of moderate means. You know, I never went without when I was a kid. You know, there was sadness. My dad died when I was five. My other father figure, my grandfather died when I was in my early twenties.
My mom suffered from cancer and there's been various other things that happened. I've been awful. But generally if you, if you kind of take the good with the bad, my my life experiences being fairly, fairly okay. If you compare me to, you know, someone from Bosnia and Herzegovina or you know, someone born in rural Russia where you don't even access to clean water or God forbid, someone was born in a communist regime. You know, generally my life standards pretty good. Can't really complain about it. But the things I do experience I never forget and I remember them in excruciating detail and the idea of memories was to invite people into those memories, the things that I've experienced and a lot of them are not alien to people Lost.
My, one of my closest friends died unexpectedly at age of 29 just out of the blue. In fact, he's right there and loss was about him, You know, we were brothers and he just dropped dead believe it or not, actually, only six weeks ago. My other best friend, my oldest friend died at 29, completely out of the blue. And I'm sure he will feature somewhere down the line. But those those those emotions of loss and love and frustration and abuse and slander and all these things we experience everyone experiences it.
So by writing songs that invite people to share in that it's kind of therapy for me. And I think it's kind of therapy for other people as well. I mean the number of people that reached out and been like, yo I heard loss and like my friend died and my brother died and my dad died and it was exactly what I needed to hear. That's why I write music. I don't I don't do it for the money, I do it because it helps me and hopefully it helps others.
Yeah, I think that's well, first of all incredibly powerful and It's a feat that with everything you've been through in the last 18 months, it's like it's all piling up at this one year and a half span, you know, like to me that sounds incredibly overwhelming, so amazed that first of all your as well, put together as you are. But it also makes me think that when you say that making music is your therapy, it makes me think that to an extent it's working like I don't know what else you have going on in your life obviously, so I'm just making assumptions here.
But considering we just had a great hour long chat, I would say that most people in that situation in this situation you have faced the last year and a half would be falling apart if they didn't have some way to express themselves the way you have. You know, I mean, don't get me wrong, I've been I've been at breaking point, but this this comes down to I mean this is this is actually christ, this was a lion I read at my friend's funeral a few weeks ago and it was the closing statement.
He was the old bass player in my band chronograph. So his name is Tom Benson. He was an incredible human being. He was one of the best men I've ever met in my entire life and he's gone. And funny enough, the quote is from a weekend as roman song called intentions and the quote is this for we are nothing without brotherhood and brotherhood is nothing without our brothers. When I was at my absolute worst, my closest friends tom included who is not a member of Memorist but chris and Ash and josh and Benji.
They were the ones that pulled me out of it and they were the ones that were saying, right, we've got to do this now and they pulled me back into the space where I could make music. And I mean, James, I'll be fully frank with you. Up until I was no longer in that relationship. I wasn't able to make music. I couldn't when I was in that relationship, it just didn't happen. So yeah, you're right. Like having music has really, really helped me. And I mean like being able to put down everything that's happened into words and it's anonymized because the same reason I don't give my surname, it's anonymized, but putting it down in terms of written word and the gift for a singer is that I don't just say what I want to say.
I say what I want to say. There is tonality and delivery that really you listen to it and you know what I'm saying and that's been that's been a real of real benefit to me. And actually, again, yeah, I say it publicly the first time I don't think I'd be here if it wasn't for that. I really don't. Yeah, well, I have to say, I I am so pleasantly amazed at the healing power of music. And as you said, you know, it's helping you. But you are expecting that it will help others as well.
And I would be very surprised if it doesn't help others. That's the power of music. And it goes back to what we were talking about earlier about creating that connection. That's something that people bond with each other based on what they hear in music. And so, yeah, I think that's absolutely amazing. And to put it out there for anyone who is listening, where can they go? Obviously, you know, they can look up memories on Spotify, but where can they go to connect with the band as far as band camp, social media, all those urals.
If you want to toss him out there, I mean we are on down there. Everything you can think of because that's the way it has to be now. Um, so we've got facebook page, it's facebook dot com forward slash Memorist UK because there's a south korean drama that came out shortly after we launched. Also called Memorist, thankfully there are one series and done job. So it's just us now guys. Don't worry, instagram. We're at the marist UK twitter. I think it's Memories UK Craig runs the twitter because I can't stand it.
We do have a tick top, we have Band Camp, you can search for us on band camp. We have a Soundcloud, but there's nothing on the Soundcloud because we use it to private stuff, but we may use that to post public things in the future. So follow it. If you wish you can follow our label, year of the Rat Records, you can find us on Youtube. We have our own Youtube channel and there's a little bit of content on there. We released a cover of a really talented british singer.
She's called Tate Mcrae. In fact, she turned 18 today, which is well when we're filming this july 1st, she turned 18 today, we covered a song You Broke Me first, which is on the V. M. A. S. She's unbelievable. She did it way better than we did. But I loved her voice and I had to sing it. So sorry, tape. And yeah, anyway, you want to want to engage with us. Anyway, we have a conversation. I mean our instagram is monitored by all of us all of the time.
We quite frequently do AMaS our facebook again is monitored by us all the time. If you send us a message and ask the question well we'll answer it. You know, we want to talk to our fans so if you want to talk to us, go ahead equally individually we have public facing instagram's. I'm at Jon underscore memories on instagram, chris hasn't changed his over. You actually got a barbershop so he's still doing his barbary thing. Then there's Ash underscore Memorist, there's Benji underscore Memorist it's up like drop us a line.
Like I've got fans from texas and Belgium and Ontario and Adelaide and all these places all over the world that I talked to, who they drop me a line every now and then. In fact funny enough I used to live in Bath in southwest U. K. And some random guy popped up on instagram was like, hey I love your band just started talking and lo and behold, he lived in the same city, like never even met him, but just just drop us a line reach out like we're all nice guys, I hope, okay, we're nice guys.
Well yeah, as long as you don't send us unsolicited naked photos were nice guys, it sounds good. Well Jon thank you so much. It's been an absolute pleasure speaking with you. I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and giving an insight into who you are, both as a person and as a band. And I'm really looking forward to this episode coming out. So I just want to say thank you so much and I hope you have a great rest of your day and fingers crossed that everything works out for you and you keep going on that upward trajectory James, thank you for having me and thank you for listening.
Thank you very much. Mhm, mhm, mhm mm That does it for this episode of the Bandhive podcast. Thank you so so much to Jon from memories for coming on the show and sharing so much knowledge about business and marketing and branding and also for opening up and talking about his experiences and what music means to him. I think that is honestly incredible and I hope that you all learn so much from this. There were so many truth bombs and nuggets of wisdom and all that kind of stuff in this episode.
And I would love to see every band who listens to this, implementing what they learn from this episode because really it's all gold and I'm not saying you have to implement every single thing, but take the main points and figure out how to apply those things to your band to your brand and make it happen because I know it will be a massive benefit for you. I'm going to leave it at that. I'm going to say, go do what Jon talked about in this episode. Use those lessons to your advantage and of course go check out Memorist on Spotify as well as all the other pages that were mentioned.
They are instagram, band camp etcetera, etcetera. If you want to get all those links, you can find them all at Bandhive dot Rocks slash 88. We'll be back with another brand new episode. Next Tuesday at six a.m. Eastern. Until then, I hope you have an awesome week. Stay safe. And of course, as always, keep rockin.
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