The Independent Artist Spotlight is a behind-the-scenes look at what life is like for musicians who are building a career without the support of a record label. In this five-part series, you will learn about the pros and cons of being an independent artist directly from the bands themselves.
PART 2: Interview with Matt Bryant of POYNTE.
The five-piece hard rock band from Covington, GA formed in July of 2007. They have won multiple high-level competitions, which has helped to put them on the radar of the industry and secure opening slots with well-known artists.
The band formed in 2007, right around the same time that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter started to gain traction. When and how did you begin to incorporate social media to build a fanbase, and what other methods did you use beyond social media?
Social Media was one of the first tools we used to try and spread the word about our project. We, just like many bands, started out on MySpace. It was actually great! MySpace was geared towards allowing musicians spread their music in a very social manner. Since the death of MySpace, and the rise of the almighty Facebook, we have had to change our approach to online promotion quite a bit. Facebook makes it difficult for bands to share, and interact, with all of their fans, which makes it necessary to utilize multiple online platforms like Twitter, and Youtube. We have seen a great response from our Twitter fanbase! We will soon be breaking into the Youtube market with our debut music video that we hope to release this year. We have handed out thousands of flyers and free demos, and plan to start promoting with free download cards in the very near future.
You’re currently working on your second release as an independent. Can you describe what the recording process is like without the help of a label?
Well, we are lucky to have access to our own studio. Our guitarist is a trained audio engineer, so we are able to cut costs by recording a lot of it ourselves. We still seek an outside ear on vocal production, mixing, and mastering. Recording without a label, manager, or assigned producer is quite nice. It’s a great feeling to be able to be 100% creative without having the opinions of others weigh too much on you. It’s a sense of freedom. The new album has been a long time coming, and it is something we are all very proud of and excited to get in the hands of our fans, friends, and family!
We have a good working relationship with several venues, booking agents and promoters that see the hard work that we put into our project and do what they can to help us out. We have won several competitions, including ones where the grand prize gave us a chance to play with some of our favorite artists! From these shows we have made friends with several bands, and that helps too.
Funding is always an issue for developing artists. How do you fund recording, touring, merchandising, etc.?
We play shows…lots of them! We have set up our merchandise so that when we make a sale we put back the money we need to re-order first. The same goes for our tour expenses. We separate every dime we make into separate funds: gas, van maintenance, new merchandise and an emergency back up fund in case something unexpected happens. Recording, video and PR has a fund of its own…one that seems to be a never ending pit!
There are obvious challenges to being an independent, but it also has its advantages. What are some of the advantages that you feel that you have as an independent that you wouldn’t have if you were signed to a label?
To be honest, being an artist that does it all ourselves is very satisfying! To know that the things we are accomplishing are things we have all worked for and earned makes it that much better. I’m not going to lie, it would be great to have a big budget to be able to do the things we want to do, but contrary to popular belief, everything does not revolve around money! It takes a lot less money to accomplish your goals, when a large percentage of your hard work is not being skimmed from the top before you ever see a dime.
What advice would you give to other hard rock artists who want to go the independent route?
GET IT ON PAPER! Don’t accept what people say as a truth. Always ask questions. And never give up!