Interviews The Business Touring

LORD bassist Andy Dowling on the music biz (“the evolving industry”)

LORD is one of Australia’s highest profile heavy melodic bands. Having toured both nationally and internationally with artists such as: Queensryche, Nightwish, Saxon, Nevermore,  and Gamma Ray, as well as their own headlining tours and festival appearances. 

Our Australian representative Jake Weber caught up with LORD’s bass player Andy Dowling to talk to him about his thoughts on the current state of music.

 

The music industry has changed so much recently, where do you see it going?

Overall, I think it’s in the process of evolving into something completely new. The way in which we’ve viewed the music market, industry and culture will be forever in the past. As to where it’s going, who knows?! As an artist it’s concerning, but also exciting if you can keep up.

 

Touring is so important nowadays, how do go about setting up your tours? Do you DIY it?

Jerry Maguire, where are you???

We do everything ourselves. Unfortunately we haven’t been lucky as of yet to get in with a good booking agent, so we physically sniff out and organize shows ourselves. I personally put together our tours, book shows, network with local promoters and cross my fingers in the hope that it all comes together!

For young artists, the biggest skill you can have to book tours and shows is to master your social skills and network. Make contact with other bands, promoters, fans, people of interest etc. Don’t be a dick and outright ask for things, but instead build a connection and some rapport. As the old saying goes ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Not only will you form great connections that your band can potentially benefit from, but also form some fantastic alliances and friendships that will last long after your performing days are over.

 

The polarizing issue that is facing musicians today is the piracy debate.
What are your thoughts on it?

It has its pro’s and con’s. I think it’s a fantastic way for young bands to be heard by people all over the world. As I mentioned, the industry is changing and this is the biggest reason why. Bands are no longer making any money from their music itself, but are instead investing more in other areas to bring the money in (e.g. merchandise). It’s a shame, because it’s harder to get good label support, because the labels are no longer making money themselves.

For us, there’s no point dwelling on things that cannot be changed. While I have little respect for people who no longer buy music and grab it for free on the internet, I have to realize that there’s nothing we can do about that. It’s got to a point where we’re looking outside the square and hoping we can find new ways to keep the band alive financially. You either embrace the changes, or you get swept away and forgotten.

 

How hard is it to be successful and survive in today’s modern music industry?
What do you feel it takes?

A completely fresh approach and way of thinking is needed. New artists need to realise that the chances of making any money from their music is slim, but to not look at it as a negative thing. You have to be open to any and every opportunity that comes your way. Don’t be afraid to do something that a lot of other bands are not doing.

Always keep your fundamentals (networking, self-promoting, song writing, performing), but look outside the box as to how you use them. At the moment there is no blue print to survive as an artist, and bands need to take advantage of that.

 

It’s important that different members handle different aspects of the ‘biz’, how do you guys split it up? (like handle social media, do interviews)

Myself and LT take care of 90% of the interviews and promo. We all have a hand in the social media pages (ie: Facebook), but I’m doing the majority of online promotion. Business as a whole (merchandise, tax, bookings, logistics) are handled by the two of us.

We all have our strengths in the band, whether it be creative or administrative. In our camp, I’m carrying out the majority of administrative duties. It’s a lot of work and stress, but we would much rather have it remain in-house than have an inexperienced manager come in and try to run everything for us.

 

Young artists have a tough road ahead of them to succeed, what suggestions would you give them?

Have fun, but show professionalism. There’s a large amount of bands in our (Australian) scene who musically have what it takes, but lack any professionalism. From aesthetic elements such as logos, artwork, banners,  and on stage persona’s,  to the way that they conduct themselves publicly and privately when representing themselves. If you take yourself seriously and portray a professional outlook, then you will earn a lot of respect and opportunities.

 

What’s rolling next for you guys?

We’re finishing off the writing of our next album which is due later this year. We hit the road in April with Iced Earth, playing our first shows for over a year. From there we will play some scattered shows before heading to Europe in July, and then back to Australia for a national tour later in the year followed by Japan and New Zealand, if all falls into place.

We have a lot on our plate for 2012, so we’re hoping we come out of it alive!

 

— Jake Weber, Warshifter