Rockin’ Out with PepperDome and Chatting About What Works For Them

Image

PepperDome interview – with John, Eric and Vattel

What is the name of your band and how many members do you have?

John: The name of the band is PepperDome and currently there are three members of the band, a drummer that does vocals, a bassist that does vocals and a guitarist that does vocals.

Where are you from?

We are based out of Mebane, NC.

In what genre would you classify yourselves?

Basically we’re a hard rock band, but we’ve got versions of progressive, punk, indie, and alternative influences that come through.

Has it evolved over time or was there a certain sound that you liked and had initially when you started?

It evolved, I guess, because Vattel has a jazz background, Eric is little bit more of a heavy metal guy. I’m a little all over the map, I listen to everything and anything, but I think that’s what makes the music what it is.

What is the collaboration process?

Eric: We kind of tried a couple of different writing styles but right now seems like the one we’re most comfortable with is we’re working on a batch of 3 songs, that is Vattelbrings in something that he’s written and we’ll basically explore that and then I’ll bring in something, we’ll explore that and John will also bring in something.  We’re definitely all involved in writing, but it usually starts with one of us having a core idea, whether it be a riff, a drum beat,  or a metal beat, and we work off that.

Do you ever find it difficult having equal collaboration and contribution?

Vattel, bass player: This situation is one of the most open ones I’ve been in.  Each of us have an idea and if we all band our heads together and make it grow. We all invest in each other’s ideas.  It’s not like I’m more protective of my idea than I would be of John’s idea, or Eric’s idea or PepperDome’s idea. It doesn’t matter who brought in the idea, we’re all more concerned about the end result of what a song is going to be and wanting it to reach its full potential.

John: Basically we have a high level of respect for each other so we understand that as we’re working, if a song or something is not working correctly that we can step up and say wait a minute, something’s wrong here, we have to do something and we will sit down and reevaluate what we’re doing.   Moreso than just saying it’s wrong and there’d be a big battle.  It’s all about the music and what we want to do and again, the end result is the most important part.

Have you toured outside of your area?

For the past year we have been playing shows and touring around probably within an hour and a half radius of where we are based.  Just a few weeks ago we did have the opportunity to head to Tennessee and play in Knoxville and Nashville, but after this album is finished we plan on broadening our horizons and moving out much further–maybe making short weekend tours and try to get out further than the radius we’ve done so far.

How do go about organizing your tours?

Eric: John did most of the legwork regarding the electronic press kits that we send the venues. We’ll e-mail them, send them a press kit.  We’ll have a song and then a lot of press on websites, Facebook, Myspace, Reverbnation. They can review from there and decide if we fit their club or venue or not.  And we’ve also had other bands ask us to play with them.  A lot of networking seems to be very important around this area so that helps a lot too.

You mentioned sending EPKs. What do you include in your press kit?

We have the typical one sheet with the history of the band, we have a couple of pictures, some song samples, a video sample, and there’s actually some interviews and a couple of reviews.

How do you develop your songs?

Vattel: We’ve tried a few different approaches.  We’ve tried starting with a riff or some sort of message idea or scheme or Lego, to put blocks together to create a structure.  Normally we go with what works and get a feel for the lyric and sort of slap that together and bang our heads together to come to some accord regarding what the lyrics are trying to express with our instruments.

What’s the best piece of advice your band has been giving since you started playing together?

We’ve been told to keep writing music, keep experiencing playing together and keep moving forward and really try to meet.  Of course practice makes perfect so the more experience you have with each other, the more you feel how each other plays, the more it makes for better conditions and a better band overall.

What inspires your music?

There’s basically two main themes that are in there–a social awareness of the world around you that could be anywhere from just experiencing life all the way up to some song with a political intent to it or a political message and there’s also other songs that are about self-exploration and how to live to be yourself and don’t worry what other people think of you and to have the strength and power to go beyond whatever restrictions are put on you by society.

If you had a megaphone that you could let everyone listen to one message, what would it be for Pepperdome?

I would say just for people to wake up, understand the world they live in and to be themselves.

Do you have any new releases coming up?

Yes, we are currently working on an album as we speak, almost literally.  We are almost done with what we’re calling the first draft of music.  We’re going to have a full length record by the first of next year, so we’re in the process of putting it together.

And that’s your debut album?

It’s actually the fourth CD in the mix.

How do the songs differ from other CDs?

Vattel: The previous three CDs were written by John himself but he played all the instruments.  This will be the first CD that Eric and I will be participating in the writing of the music so it will be more of a band record than a solo project, I guess you would say.

John: Which is bringing the music to a whole new level.  It’s allowed the music to expand to areas where it hasn’t gone before and hopefully that will grab some people’s attention.

What would you like to say to your fans?

John: Thank you. Keep coming out. We love the support.  We love to see you constantly and hope you bring all your friends.

Vattel: Like us on Facebook!

Anything else you’d like to share?

John: The only other thing we can say that hasn’t been covered already is we are actually looking for a fourth member.  We are currently looking to broaden our horizons and we are looking for a lead vocalist.

Listen to PepperDome’s music now at www.Studio120Music.com/PepperDome

And stay connected with PepperDome at http://www.pepperdomeband.com

Advertisements

Touring Tips: 3 Things All Artists Should Know to Route a Tour

“The life I love is makin music with my friends I can’t wait to get back on the road again” – Willie Nelson

Good Relationships with Venue Owners, Managers, and Booking:

The biggest misconception about business is that it is about making money; when in fact business is not at all about making money. Business is about building good relationships and money is the residual side-effect of these good relationships. Therefore, if you want to do well in the music business you have to maintain good relationships with the people you work with. The best way to maintain relationships is to continually create win-win-win situations; make you playing at a venue a win for the audience, a win for the venue and event organizers, and a win for your band.

So we know how to make it a win for the band (get good pay, play a good venue, play good music, and have a good crowd) and we know how to make it a win for the fan (play good music), but how do we make it a win for the venue and organizers? The answer is to satisfy the booking person, the manager, and the owner. Particularly with smaller venues and bars the owner, manager, and booking person for an establishment may all be the same person. If that’s the case then you need to do all the things I am about to describe for that person; yet assuming they are all three different people there are things you should do for each to keep them happy. For the person who booked your band, they want good music attracting large crowds, so promo and practicing the music is the key. Also, do not forget to introduce yourself and show gratitude when you get there if they are at the venue that night. The manager wants large crowds and “drinking responsibly” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), so make sure to bring people who won’t start fights and destroy the venue. And then, the owner wants all of these things but it is best to just try to relate to the owner in a personable way. Try to find something to relate to the owner on whether its sports, movies, or music, just find something that will get them talking. When you relate to the owner in that type of way the next time your band comes up he will just remembered that you all had a great conversation about Led Zeppelin. Then, the manager and booking person can act as advocates for you who already have credibility with owner and tell him that you played great music, you brought a crowd, and the venue had a successful night. With the vote of confidence from his team the owner will not only want to rebook because you’re a nice person but also because his people have convinced him that your music is also good for business. Also, it’s particularly good to be in with the owner as he is the final decider in any increased compensation that you could get from a renegotiated deal after you have played somewhere multiple times.

Be Geographically Smart:

If you are routing a tour through the south the Midwest and the northeast do not bounce from Atlanta to New York to Nashville back to Philadelphia back to Chicago and then through Baltimore. Instead, be geographically smart. If you are doing those cities for instance go in a big circle, so that you go ATL to Nashville to Chicago to New York to Philadelphia to Baltimore and back. This will greatly reduce the amount of gas money spent and driving hours wasted for your tour. Another important aspect of being geographically smart about booking your tour is that you should route geographically dense tours where you’re never driving more than 8 hours. So, for instance, Chicago to NewYork is quite a drive but you break it up on the way by doing a show in Cleveland or Detroit, or even the trip from Nashville to Chicago you can break up with a show in Cincinnati. The beautiful part of touring in this big country of ours is that you rarely drive more than 8 hours, except in Texas, to get to the next major city you could perform in (Disclaimer: no offense was intended to Texas but yall have a big state, about 13 hours east to west driving).

SMART Goals:

All tours should have SMART goals; these goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented (meaning there is a set of actions you must take to reach the goals), Results-Oriented (meaning that those actions must aid in achieving a desired result), and Timely. For most businesses a timely offering would sell winter cloths in the winter and ice cream in the summer time. Yet, in the case of music it is a little different because it’s always the right season for music. So, timely in the case of touring music is about doing it in a timely fashion. If you have 20 shows it is much better to have a 30 day touring schedule than a 100 day touring schedule; of course, you don’t want a show every night because you’ll burn out but you also don’t want the show dates too spread out because every day off day on the tour is an extra day you’re paying for hotel and transportation. So, doing a show no less than every other day reduces the cost of the tour and therefore increases the profit from the tour.