Exclusive Interview Series: The internet and the music industry – Not Tonight Josephine

As part of a new series of interviews EspyRock commander-in-chief Michael Hughes, who is currently writing a dissertation on the effect of the internet on the music industry for the University Of The West Of Scotland, will be getting the views of artists on the internet’s effect on the music industry. The interview series will cover what is currently going on with the band at the moment but will also feature a questionnaire ranging from topics as to illegal downloading, social networking, technology and the future of the industry.

“Tampa, FL’s Most Buzz-worthy Rock Band” Not Tonight Josephine are the next band to get involved with our exclusive series of interviews. Preparing for the launch of their upcoming full length ‘All On The Horizon’, these alternative rockers have been gaining popularity at an alarming rate.

With their cover of the classic Ace Of Base hit ‘All That She Wants’ taking over the airwaves, there has been no slowing these guys down.

Read on as guitarist Jake Moore talks about the upcoming album release, working with Brett Hestla and of course his views on the internet and the industry.

Be sure to follow the band on Facebook for all the latest updates and sneak peeks of their upcoming album. If you like what you hear below then be sure to pick up a copy of ‘All On The Horizon’ on 26th April!


Interview

In the US you starting to make a name for yourself especially with the title of “Tampa, FL’s Most Buzz-worthy Rock Band” but here in the UK you will be an unknown name to possibly everyone. What can you tell us about the band’s back story, how did you get together?

We are seeing that the success of the Ace of Base cover “All That She Wants” is gaining us a fanbase in UK. But yes, on the grand scheme of things we are still an unknown there. Most of the band had been in bands together previously. Not Tonight Josephine began with Randy and Jake working on new material. David was brought in to sing and eventually Evan was found from an online ad. Adam was added from David’s former band to fill the final spot. The first show as Not Tonight Josephine was January of 2008. It’s been a quick and eventful 2 years and we are very thankful for the success.

The band’s name I think a lot of people associate with being a little more sexual in nature than what it really is. From what I would think anyway, it is associated to the quote made by Napoleon?

It is from the quote made by Napoleon. We feel the way Napoleon looked at war and power as his “mistress” relates to how we view our music career. He was willing to go to war at all costs and he realized that his passion took him away from family. As with us, our love for music takes us away from family and loved ones. It’s something we pursue out of passion.

Not Tonight Josephine All On The Horizon ArtworkThe new album is set for release this month, what can you tell us about the album from the sound to the lyrical direction.

The new album is, for us, a step forward in our sound. It’s more polished, more involved and more powerful than the EP we released in 2009. The sound is big, catchy and powerful. The lyrics nod writing on this album is focused on relationships. Even the artwork portrays that. You will see the album cover is a guy looking a girl in the desert, it’s a sad look at how he sees the relationship. As you turn the pages you will end up at her view, which finds her looking at him standing in a green, grassy field with sunshine. It shows the contrast of how people view relationships. Each song hits on different points, good or bad, of those relationships we form in life.

For fans who have heard ‘This Orphan Heart’, how would you this this record differs?

It’s the next step. If people liked what they heard on the EP they will quickly grab onto this album. It’s more polished, more defined and at times more diverse. This new album has been called “heavier” or “darker” but to us, we feel it’s just more aggressive and has a higher quality of musicianship.

What has the experience of working in the studio with Brett Hestla, who has worked with Creed, Tantric and more, been like?

Brett is amazing! He is truly a friend and a great guy to work with. He can bring out the best in each and every musician. Brett understands each instrument so he can easily communicate with each band member. His work style is to make you feel comfortable and get the best out of you. We have formed a “friendship” with him and he continues to be there for advice and helping us along in the industry.

Do you think his experience producing and performing has helped the band in any form?

It has been a huge bonus for us. He has given us insight and direction on so many topics. In a way it has been like having a big brother that helps you in life.

Now there two songs I want to ask you about on the album, the first being ‘All That She Wants’ and of course you have likely guessed my question by now, what was it that made you want to cover this song?

The honest answer is, we never wanted to do a cover. We were actually playing the song “Maneater” and Evan, our bassist, happened to hit the chords for “All That She Wants”. David sang along and in less than 30 minutes we had made a heavier version of the song. It stuck with us, and we felt we had made “our” version of it. After playing it live and seeing the crowd reaction, we knew we had to keep it.

The second is ‘Carousel’ which you released with the video. Can you tell us a bit more about the meaning behind this song and the inspiration for the Dexter style music video?

Carousel is about being stuck in the same problems over and over. Many people in life often find themselves not being able to get away from a bad relationship or an addiction. The chorus “Spin, Spin and Spin, Can’t tell up from down, I’m stuck here on a carousel, going round and round”, defines the way people often see life. The Dexter part of the video was focusing on ourselves and how we feel about the music industry. It takes a lot to get somewhere in this industry and often you feel like you’re going round and round trying to get ahead. Almost like your “killing” yourself to make it!

You will be touring from the end of this month to the end of May in support of the new album. Are you looking forward to showcasing all the new material on the road?

Right now we are even booking a second tour from late June to late July and are even talking about August. We are so very excited to get out there and let the world see what we are all about. This is really our first chance to show people face to face that we have a killer live show and we love the fans. Interacting with new people and being able to share our music is one of the best things about what we do!

Tying writing and performing live together, do you write music with the thought of how it will be played live in mind and how you will express it to fans on stage?

This album we did not do that. We wrote this album for the sound and the hooks. We felt we have always had a great live show that is very energetic and crowd oriented. They blend well together and if you get to see us live we promise to make it worth your time.

You have performed on the road with some big names such as Anberlin, Sick Puppies and Drowning Pool. Where you able to learn anything from these bands on the road as they have a lot more experience over you?

We learn from every band we have ever shared a stage with. We watch and learn what they do to set up, what gear they use, how they handle the crowds, literally every detail of every show we make notes so we can be where they are.

Not Tonight Josephine - Jake MooreDo you have any crazy tour stories that you will like to share?

Oh we do, we didn’t attached our trailer securely late last year in Orlando, FL on a Saturday night. We went over some railroad tracks and all we heard was Randy and Evan in the back yelling “WE LOST THE TRAILER!”. No kidding! It slammed down and the road cracking pavers and bringing traffic to a complete halt in downtown! The cars couldn’t get around us and we had a couple cars blocked on the railroad track! We got out worked as fast as we could and get everything reattached (amazingly with no major damage). It’s on video so we have proof of the 100 or so cars we backed up through downtown!

After the album is release what are the bands goals for the rest of 2011?

Tour, Tour, Tour!!! We have already started some writing for a new album as well, but our main focus is to stay on the road as much as possible! We would love to be touring in the UK by late this year or early next year!

Thank you for taking time to answer some questions, please feel free to add in anything you wish below.

We just ask everyone to help spread the word! Message us on Facebook, we always interact with our fans, request “All That She Wants” at radio and hopefully we can bring one killer NTJ tour to the UK very soon!!!

Internet and the music industry

The biggest issue with the internet for artists is of course illegal downloading and there has been a rapid decline in value of the industry as the internet expands throughout the world. Several artists I have spoken to have stated that it has become part of life and that now selling albums is no longer a profitable business; money is solely earned from touring. What are your views on the matter of illegal downloading?

We want our music to get out there! We know illegal downloading is going to happen before we even record the album. The music has to get out there and the more it gets around the better our crowds will be when we tour. It’s a double edged sword but one that we are aware of. Money is there to be made on tour and that’s why we plan to do as much time touring as we can.

Do you feel that any of the current methods such as watermarking or streaming based models which have users paying a fee to stream music will take off and help stop the illegal sharing of music files? Or do you see any strength with the idea of giving away your music for free, having it shared around the world and again relying on touring to make money?

The music needs to get out there. We don’t want to just give it away, but if it means more people will take notice then there is a plus. It’s all about getting a larger fanbase.

The global recorded music industry saw a 31% decline in value from the years of 2004 to 2010 but the digital music market has seen a 1000% increase in value over the same period. Do you see the internet’s influence on the industry as the sole cause of this decline or do you believe there are any other factors which you consider an issue?

Just like we went from records to 8 track, to cassette, to cd to digital. It’s all a progression and all about who can progress with it. The music industry and record labels are sadly what are killing the artist. Once people realize there is still freedom in music and we don’t need labels or radio stations to shove music in our face, and we realize there are amazing artists “signed and unsigned” out there that we may gain back some of the enjoyment in music.

With such a growth in the digital music market, many artists have already stopped creating physical albums; the most notable is Rob Zombie who stated his most recent release would be his last physical album as the growing popularity of iTunes and Amazon is now controlling album sales. The IFPI recently published findings that 16.5% of internet users in the United States purchase their music digitally than physically.
Firstly as an artist and music fan, do you still buy physical albums or do you download from digital music stores? Secondly, do see the digital music markets as something positive for the industry and your career as a new and cheaper distribution method?

The internet has given every artist their own distribution abilities. We still buy albums and yet we download like there is no tomorrow. It’s the time we live in and this is how you get music with ease. Downloading has killed album sales for most people, but there are ways to offset that. I still buy albums because i like the artist.

Not Tonight Josephine - Jake MooreAs the digital music stores assist in distribution, other factors that come into releasing an album are marketing and promotion of any sort. What are your views on the ability to use the internet to promote and market yourself?

It’s an easy way to reach more people faster. But at the same time, it’s 24/7. As an artist you have to keep us with multiple sites and it can be quite exhausting.

Social networking has naturally become a massive asset in the industry for labels and artists to be able to interact with fans on an everyday basis from anywhere in the world. Do you feel that if the social networking boom hadn’t taken place that it would effectively hinder careers as there would have been no direct route to communicate with fans?

It gives each artist a direct line to fans, and that can be good or bad. At times the fans feel more in touch with an artist and support the artist more. For us we love our fans, we love the interaction and meeting so many people. It helps to spread the word about a song, a show or an album much faster. The other side is that it may actually hinder many artists for all the same reasons.

A big development in recent years has been the hardware and software that has been created for anyone and everyone to purchase. We now find aspiring artists building their own home studios at their computer by purchasing top of line software, sound cards, microphones and such. What are your views on the technology advancements in recent years from software, hardware and even to the MP3 itself? What positives or negatives if any do you see from these advancements?

These are all positives for us, we are able to record demos, guitar ideas and vocals without paying to be in a studio. We can file share and work on writing even when we aren’t together. We make our own videos, video blogs and it gives us access that artist didn’t have 20 years ago. There is the unfortunate Rebecca Blacks that pop up… but hey, you have to take the good with the bad right!?

While purchasing hardware/software and recording in your own home studio is a method of removing big studio costs and staff costs, recently fan funding in return for incentives has become a new way forward. Recently in the UK bands such as Madina Lake, Funeral For A Friend and The Blackout have used Pledge Music (Kickstarter in the US) in which fans contribute towards the cost of the studio in return for signed albums, special gifts and more. Do you think this method of involving fans more intimately in the creation of an album and offering them incentives to do so could be a way forward to combat the losses through piracy?

Yes and no. You have to decide for yourself at what point do I need the fans to help. We still haven’t really looked into this for ourselves, but we certainly won’t rule it out in the future.

In the United States from 1999 to 2009 there was a 17% fall in the number of people hired as a musician and in Europe, while not directly musicians, the estimated number of jobs likely to be lost due to piracy in the creative industries will reach 1.2 million by 2015. Do you worry as an artist that you will ever be swept by this wave and be forced to leave the industry you love in order to provide a better living for yourself?

Of course there is always that concern…. but we are just getting this going and haven’t reached our full potential yet! We have our heads up high and we are going “full steam ahead”, everyone better be ready for NTJ, here we come!

When you consider the industry previously to the time before the internet and to now with the internet in full swing, what do you see for the future of the industry?

Looking at it with a positive outlook, it will survive….. music is life….. for so many people couldn’t live without that creative output.

     

About Michael

Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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