Exclusive Interview Series: The internet and the music industry – The Arusha Accord

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.

Paul Green, vocalist of The Arusha Accord, comes next in our series as he took time to answer some questions about what is happening with the band.

Recently The Arusha Accord re-signed to UK label Basick Records after a small gap period and announced the re-release of their debut album ‘The Echo Verses’ in a special collector’s edition which includes their debut EP ‘Nightmare Of The Ocean’ along with videos, photos and also the tabs to each and every song on the album.

Paul talks to EspyRock about re-signing with Basick, the re-release of their album and EP, their next full length and also a possible split record with the one and only Justin Bieber!

Be sure to follow the band on Facebook for all the latest updates on their next album and head over to their store right now to order the special collector’s edition of ‘The Echo Verses’ which will be released on the 18th April! You can also listen to the full album below:

Interview

This year saw the band re-sign with Basick Records and although there was always love between the band and the label after the original split, what made you come back?

Like you say there’s always been a lot of love between us.
It was an easy decision to make for us as Basick are not only a great bunch but they have never strayed from their musical mandate and continue to gather a collection of the finest bands & will soon achieve global domination!

I noticed in an interview that you mentioned labels such as Listenable and Earache had come forward for you, it must have been exciting to have two major labels such as those put interest in your music?

Yeah it was a really exciting time for us, we had just decided to go full-time and it was a really positive period. As much as it was a shame the talks didn’t work out I think we’re in a better place for it now. It would’ve been great to be on a major back then, but at the same time we speak daily to Basick and I know that we wouldn’t have had anything near that connection with any other label.

On the 18th April you will re-release ‘The Echo Verses’ and your debut EP ‘Nightmares Of The Ocean’ as a special collector’s edition compilation. What was the initial thinking that led to the re-release of your album and EP?

We’d had a few brief chats with Basick boss Barley about releasing our next record through Basick and after a few drinks at Ghost Fest last year we really got an idea of what Basick were looking at achieving over the next few years and to be honest it was very exciting. We wanted to release TEV properly, they wanted to release it worldwide, and so it was an easy decision.

Of course as it is a special edition it is going to be full of extras, the most notable extras are the tabs to the full album which is something new. What made you offer this?

We’ve always wanted to give the fans a true insight into our music. It’s not easy to understand. This is us giving everyone the chance to get involved, learn to play the tracks and most importantly interact with us. The guys have spent days and days tabbing everything out; to have some guy in South America or Russia or even down the road playing your track on a YouTube video is really awesome!

The Arusha Accord - Paul GreenYou mentioned at the end of March you will be starting some writing sessions soon when Luke returned from university. What can fans expect from the new album; have the pieces that you have wrote separately given you a promising look to the future?

Oh definitely it’s sounding really good so far!
I’ve heard bits in the inbox over the last few months but to sit in with the guys and Barley on Friday listening properly was very pleasing. All the musicians have been doing their bits on their own but a few are now linking up nicely and turning into what I can see being very strong tracks. I guess there is quite a Tool-y sound in the mix but the guys write in phases and it may be a Tool inspired section one days and the next a frantic Dillinger [Escape Plan] style. Far too early to say what’s the album will sound like.

With the summer months ahead will it be head down and completely into the writing process before university picks off Luke and others or jobs take too much of a stranglehold?

I think we will to an extent. Tom is away travelling from May so I like to think when he gets back there will be loads of stuff for him to add to. With this new record we have promised ourselves to not set deadlines, we nearly killed ourselves writing TEV in the time we set, this ones all going to be as and when, otherwise the enjoyment will evaporate. It will definitely be a better album for it!

When you signed for A Wold At Your Door Records you created a split vinyl with A Textbook Tragedy before they split, do you think you could see yourself doing something like that again?

Maybe? I don’t think we’d want to discount anything like for the future. It really depends on who it was with though. Obviously we don’t want to do a split with Justin Beiber! In fact yes we do want to do a split with Beiber! Beib’s call us buddy!!!!

Other than the re-release and writing towards a new album, is there anything as a band that you would like to achieve before the end of 2011?

Just to get bigger as the year progresses. We wont be playing any shows in 2011 due to our commitment to writing so we’re hoping that while we’re away from that side of things our name grows so when we’re back playing its to some quality crowds! Fingers crossed ha.

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?

I’m not a fan of illegal downloads. I don’t know how the internet policing works but they’re doing a terrible job at it & it has certainly cost us 100’s of sales. Funnily enough we’re only just coming to the end of paying off the last album so those 100’s of cd’s would have been quite handy.

The Arusha Accord - Paul GreenDo 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?

I think if you’re a small band or a massive band giving away your music for free has some great effect but for us middle sized bands its not something we can afford to do. Recording at a decent quality costs thousands and we would like to recoup at least some of it. We’re not in this for money but we’re not in it to lose money either.

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?

I think it has had a huge effect but not necessarily a negative one. I still love a physical copy, there’s nothing like it. It’s not so much the internet’s fault but the internet user becoming used to getting what they want when they want it.

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?

Totally! I have a vast collection and I like to have something to show for the money I’ve spent. Special edition CD’s (like our own – shameless promotion…) can offer a billion times more than a download. However I will download the odd individual track from films etc.
They are certainly positive as it offers another option.

As 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 critical for us. We would have a lot less fans if it weren’t for MySpace in the beginning and now Facebook. Without it we would be stranded in the UK.

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?

Totally! I love chatting with the fans and it’s a great to spread news. We would be a fraction of the size if it didn’t exist.

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?

It’s perfect for our current set up as we can’t meet regularly. For me there are no negatives with them. Saying that, there is no better writing session than one face to face as you get an instant answer.

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?

Hadn’t heard of it but it’s a great idea! We will be recording in a studio and not on our home set-ups but this pledge music sounds great.

The Arusha Accord - Paul GreenIn 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?

That stat makes me a little sick to be honest. I think piracy is avoidable but the internet has become lawless and overrun with scams and horrific sites. Somebody needs to sort the problem out as it has devalued film and music in a critical way. I personally have a solid job outside of music which is lucky but for those who don’t I feel their frustrations.

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?

I really can’t tell. It seems to change all the time. I hope physical copies make a comeback though!

     

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.

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!