Musicians are increasingly turning to their fans to crowdfund their material – from While She Sleeps crowdsourcing their new album and new band Hundred Suns, featuring Every Time I Die’s Ryan Leger and Norma Jean’s Cory Brandan.
It’s clear that fans are becoming increasingly important to bands but, if you dig a little deeper, it’s indicative of the struggles that many bands are facing. The simple fact is that the music industry is evolving, to the extent that we’re seeing fantastic bands having to look to alternative money-making opportunities or, unfortunately, give up the thing they love doing most altogether.
We got a stark and brutally honest insight into the real state of the industry when we spoke to Eva Plays Dead lead singer Tiggy Dee this week.
Tiggy said: “The music industry has changed dramatically, I’d say over the last five years, and it’s a very expensive business to be in. If you’re not entangled in this world then it’s very hard to understand how much these things cost. We don’t make a profit as a band, we probably lose money because it’s so expensive to do what we love to do. And I think a lot of very big bands are also in the same position.
“Record deals aren’t what they used to be and so all the people out there that love music have to support the bands they love. There’s always going to be cynics but there’s video games that have been crowdfunded and I think it creates a sense of belonging and having put something towards it.”
All this means that bands are increasingly looking for new ways to make money, which goes straight into making the next album, recording the next video or buying new kit.
Tiggy explained: “We’re all guilty of going on YouTube and watching something for free. When I was a teenager if I wanted to listen to a band I had to go down to the local record shop and buy the CD, but now I can just go online. The industry is changing and the way you make money is through merchandise and tours, the things that support the music and the products that you create around it. Just look at the money that Oli Sykes and Bring Me The Horizon make out of merchandise – I know people that have never heard of the band but wear the clothes they make.
“You don’t have to be involved in it if you don’t agree with it, but you have to understand the music industry is so different and bands are realising they need new ways of making money while still being a band.”
These struggles are not helped when the thing you’ve worked hardest for is taken away from you – which is exactly what happened to Eva Plays Dead. The Derby-based band were recently victims of a robbery that saw criminals make off with £3,000-worth of equipment that they’ve worked hard to purchase from their tour van.
The band were understandably distraught and setup a social media campaign to get their kit back, which brought about an amazing reaction. Bassist Zach Shannon’s employers, shoe manufacturer Dr Martens, pledged £2,000 and an extra £1,000 was raised by fans.
Tiggy told us: “Everything we’ve done has always been self-funded and we all work full-time so that we can put more into the band. So Zach went into work quite upset about what happened and – because they are such fantastic bosses, always there to help and do so much for the people that work for them – they reached out and said they wanted to help him as they were so grateful for the work he’s done for them.
“The whole band are just a little bit overwhelmed at the moment. It’s one of those things where you can’t verbalise or articulate exactly how you feel. We can all be very cynical and we’re all guilty of thinking the whole world’s against us, but then a group of people turn round and say we’ve done this for you and it’s actually very emotional.”
Eva Plays Dead have been around for three years, although Tiggy and guitarist Matt Gascoyne have been writing music since 2009/10. Debut album Guilt Trips & Sins came out in 2013, before EP Sounds of the Written Word was released last year. Tiggy’s vocals are beautifully complemented by fast, heavy guitar riffs as perfectly exhibited on the excellent Wonderland (video below) and Live Again.
However, Tiggy’s musical background is actually steeped in operatic training before, thankfully, switching to the world of rock and metal.
She explained: “I was just interested in singing and performance, more than anything. Music was a love, I loved rock music and I do now love all kinds of music, so when the opportunity came up to be in a band I grabbed it with both hands. People always want us to define ourselves, because they’re struggling to put a term on us – be it metal or rock. Music is just music and we just do what we want to do.
“Our music comes from things that happen to us. We don’t have a spreadsheet that we look at and think, ‘oh we’re going to make this song.’ Things happen naturally, like Matt’ll say I’ve written a guitar riff check it out or I’ve got a melody in my head shall we write something. We’ve always been quite organic be it in a recording studio or at home. I think if you force yourself into a room and say ‘We’ve got to write a song now’ it’s going to be shit.”
To get a taster of the band in action, check out their cover of Foo Fighters’ The Pretender below.
Tiggy told us the bands expects to have new material out by the end of 2016, with further announcements about more activity in 2017 expected shortly. So get out there and buy their music and gear here and we’ll keep you posted on upcoming announcements.