Monday, April 13, 2009

Interview With Darnell - One Of Kerchoonz' Hardest Working Bands

UK-based Darnell was one of the four bands to win the Kerchoonz December Live Sessions contest "to find the hardest working unsigned acts on the circuit." In addition to earning a "substantial amount of money" for their plays and downloads on Kerchoonz throughout the month of December, Darnell was invited to perform at the 'House Of Rock' studios in Glasgow for an 'invite only' audience.

We took the opportunity to chat with band about the secret to their online success and attitudes to artist compensation. You can read the full interview with Donna Marie, Helicopter Girl and The Fortunate Sons here.

What was the secrets to your success on Kerchoonz? And how was it playing the 'House Of Rock' studios? Any good back or on-stage anecdotes/stories?

I think the secret was a lot of spare time spent on the Internet, messaging Facebook friends as well as contacts made through MySpace, asking people to listen, and better still, download our songs on Kerchoonz,... I did bother friends a little more than usual, but as you can see it paid off. Facebook made it much easier to promote Kerchoonz because when you added our Kerchoonz page to Facebook, it adds the link with picture and all, so that was good.

As for playing at the House of Rock studios, that was an amazing experience. We were so humble. We would say it was our best day ever in our journey within the music biz! Indianna Gregg was a fantastic host and Ian Marrow was just so chilled and very approachable. He was even willing to sit down and tell us some stories about his experience within the business.

Taking to the stage was a bit daunting as it was so intimate and with cameras rolling etc,... it all took a little getting used to. By the third song, I had chilled and was starting to get into it. Unfortunately, we only got to play 3 songs each! Junior said his hands were sweating while he was playing, possibly nerves.

Our biggest thing was trying to pick the songs that we liked to play, but also songs that we thought would make an impact. When Darnell plays live, it is just one guitar and two vocals. We try and fill the room with our song the best we can - we think we did OK on that night.

Obviously, you've build an active fanbase before joining Kerchoonz. What is your general approach to online marketing? Have you had similar successes in generating traffic and/or getting paid on other sites?

We always wanted to build a band website and felt that we really needed to do that in order to progress and let people know what we are about. It was another one of those things - starting a site, the time and money!

We played a radio station in Manchester about 2 years ago and the DJ asked if we had a MySpace page. We weren't sure what that was, but she insisted that we set one up. So I did and very quickly realized that perhaps we didn't need a website after all - MySpace does it all!! Within no time, we had built up a fanbase. We found that a lot of Americans really liked our stuff which was great.

Over the last 6 months, we felt like we needed something new - and along came Kerchoonz. It's fresh, it's new and better still, you get paid, just for people downloading and listening to your music.

The Internet has changed the way we market and distribute music. But has it changed the way you approach creating music?

I think the way I approach creating music has always been the same. Our demos on MySpace and Kerchoonz are all old songs, anything from 3 to 10 years old. People can't tell. We would love to record new songs, but it all costs money. But what is great about the Internet is that you can play a gig, videotape it using a phone or camera, and within hours, you can place that video on your pages for all to see.

For example, Darnell took part in Channel 4's Orange unsigned competition. We decided to videotape our journey to London, which we placed on YouTube and Kerchoonz/MySpace. Within no time, we had 1500 hits on YouTube alone, and that's without us promoting it in any way! So we feel the Internet and today's technology can bring fans closer to the artist.

What are other ways you interact with your fans on a site like Kerchoonz? What tools have been most effective in communicating with your fans? Does it sometimes become a little overwhelming?

When we first found Kerchoonz, I thought "...aahhh something else to get used to. I can't take it anymore." But within no time, I felt it was so easy to use. I like to use the comment box when I talk to people as our fans like to see what has been said and lets them know what the real you is all about. Updating your status on Kerchoonz lets people know that you are online or have recently been online which it can generate traffic to your page.

In the U.S., recording artists are lobbying Congress to get paid for the use of their music by conglomerates like Clear Channel. Most social networking sites like MySpace or YouTube grew on the back of musicians and other creators without compensating them. Do you think that artists should demand compensation or be content with the exposure they receive? How did it feel to actually get paid by Kerchoonz?

It is fantastic to get paid by Kerchoonz. Writing your own songs and playing them live means that you rarely get paid, so the opportunity to get some compensation for doing something that you enjoy is amazing. Also, it will sure come in handy when we need to record new tunes. I don't feel it is such a big deal, but I think it will be a good incentive to get artists to sign up with the site.

As for other sites like MySpace, I don't feel artists should push to get paid as they know what they were signing up to when they started. I feel the exposure is a bigger payment than any amount of money. Being part of the first Kerchoonz Live Session will be worth more in exposure than any amount of money!

Darnell -

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