A number of record labels and other music industry members have joined forces to make June 2 “Black Out Tuesday” in response to the killing of George Floyd and nationwide protests. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis by a police officer in an incident caught on camera. The officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for nearly ten minutes while Floyd was handcuffed. Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Warner Records, Universal, Sony, Interscope Geffen, and Columbia are among the labels that have pledged to “disconnect from work and reconnect with our community” on Tuesday. Continue reading
Ghost Cult recently caught up with Justin Benlolo, the progenitor of the band BRKN Love, who released their debut, self-titled album on February 14th via Spinefarm Records. Although young in years, Justin has actually been working at his craft and releasing albums for many years after coming out Toronto, living all over the country and eventually landing in Los Angeles. We chatted with Justin about his modest start, how the group formed around him into a full band, rather than a solo project, the issues he has had to overcome to get his music in front of people, working with producer Joel Hamilton (Highly Suspect, Pretty Lights), his approach to touring and more.
Felix Griffin is a drumming legend of Hardcore Punk and Crossover Thrash Metal. He has been a drummer with D.R.I. on some classic albums, and played with a host of other bands, recently with BAT and M.O.D. Classics. In a brief chat with Felix, he explains the basis of the new project MOD Classic with founding M.O.D. members, eventual plans for the project, the progress of recruiting a new singer, hopes for touring, how corporate interests ruin music, balancing a family and work in music, as well as Felix’s other projects such as playing on the recent BAT release and his new work with The Krum Bums. We appreciate Felix’s time as well his patience as a parade passed by our office right before we spoke! Continue reading
In part two of our chat with Devin Townsend, our conversation keyed in on the overall positive vibe of Devin Townsend Project’s Transcendence (InsideOut Music). Devin goes deep talking about the current cultural zeitgeist, and going against that grain with his band from what other bands are doing. He also talked about progressive music’s more prominent seat at the table these days.
In Part 2 of chat with Michael Del Pizzo of Sunflower Dead, we discussed what is on tap next for the up and coming band, cover songs, writing album number three, and how do they see the climate right now for bands trying to be successful in the music industry.
We’re thinking about a lot of things. We’re trying a couple of songs with radio programmers right now to decide if were going to go to radio with the next single, and if we do, then there will be another music video and we’ll go to radio in the fall with the third single. We actually also are writing for the third record in our downtime, because you never know. We might decide to do the new record in the fall and get it out right away, or we might tour this record for another year. We’ll see what the demand is. I know there’s also been talk of, because we’ve been doing these acoustic tour shows, maybe doing the other three or four acoustic songs Sunflower Dead style, like a little EP for fans to download. We’ll see if that happens.
I know you guys have done covers before that were fun, but I don’t know if that’s something else you would do in the future or not. I think the first thing never heard from you guys was the Police cover.
We’re definitely not a band that does a lot of covers because we’re just lazy in the sense of learning other people’s songs, but we’ll do a cover thing on a whim, like we’ll just work it and reload it to make it fit us. I don’t knowing we’ll do any covers. Maybe. You never know. Like I said, I do think the album still has legs under it, so we’re just, like everything we do, we’re just going to see how it goes and make decisions when we get all the facts. That’s it. We’re just starting to tour the record now. We did press and media without touring for a year purposefully, and radio to just build the awareness. Now we are finally touring the record so it’s all coming together.
That was definitely an interesting choice. Do you feel like it’s tougher than it used to be to break a band? This is not your first rodeo with a band and this environment is brutal for rock music.
All I can say is that the music industry unfortunately is the Wild West right now. You have to make up your own rules. I would say that Sunflower Dead takes advantage of that. We make up our own rules and we see the current climate, and we use it to our advantage. I could see how the current climate would be discouraging to most people because at the end of the day whether you’re on a label or completely independent, it all comes down to not only does the talent and skill and desire you have, but you need to have financial backing. It costs money to make money in any business, and in the music business, it probably costs $2 million to make $1 million. Do you know what I’m saying? Its a difficult time, and for us we are taking advantage of it and it’s working. I think that I was personally disappointed that the first single didn’t go higher on the charts than it did in radio, even though it did well, and I believe that’s because it’s the first time we’ve gone to radio. We are a new band in their eyes, but It’s Time To Get Weird single hit the top 40, which was good. We’re just like everyone else. We’re working and cresting awareness, ans at the end of the day, a bands job is to create awareness of their sound and their product so people will come around to it. You have to beat people over the head with it over and over again until they finally go “Oh, I get it.” That’s just how it goes.
I heard a really great thing on a podcast recently: for a new band to make it, you have to reinvigorate your fan base every couple of years with new blood, and really stay consistent for the first five years of your career. If you can do that over a couple of releases and bring awareness, then you get that sustainability factor kicks in when you get that recognition.
It’s a constant building process, and then when you reach a certain plateau, then you think “Okay, I’ve gotten somewhere.” Then you realize “Oh my god. There’s another huge amount this time.” then when you acquire that one, then you’re like “Oh my god. There’s another huge mountain.” It just keeps going and going and going. It’s why you have to keep in your mind, I would tell myself to enjoy the small victories, enjoy the process. You never know how long we’re going to be here in life or as a band, so just keep enjoying it and working to get better and spread that awareness. It’s working for us at a nice steady pace, and I believe that the groundwork that were laying, if we put out the right song, so the right things, when it does really connect, it’s going to connect big. That’s definitely the hope.
Catch Sunflower Dead on tour this fall with Hellyeah and Escape The Fate.
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