In a recent interview conducted by Greg Maki of Live-Metal.net, SEEMLESS singer Jesse Leach (formerly of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE) and drummer Derek Kerswill discussed the uncertainty of the music industry today. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Live-Metal.net: What do you think needs to happen or change?
Jesse Leach: We're trying to figure that out ourselves.
Derek Kerswill: This is the first time in the history of the business that nobody knows where stuff's going.
Jesse Leach: We talk to people at labels, they're all in the same boat. Nobody can really figure out what's going on. People who were selling millions are selling thousands. People who were selling thousands are selling less than that. That's where we are right now. There's very few working bands that are feeling very successful. I think everybody's feeling it right now.
Derek Kerswill: I have always been the business side of whatever band I'm in. We have management and booking and stuff, but I'm still the liaison between the guys and them, and I started doing all the booking and management, and I've done that for every band I've ever been in. So I feel like I have pulse on a lot more than the guys might because I've dealt with the business side. And I always knew what was coming next in terms of what was blowing up musically, what was blowing up format-wise, what was blowing up web-wise on any level. And ask these guys, I have been pounding my head, I can't sleep sometimes 'cause I want to be on the forefront of something modern. I have a couple cool ideas I presented, but I'm not sure that they're gonna be a sure-shot approach. But it's definitely unconventional. The bottom line is stuff's liquid right now. MP3s and YouTube are right there at any moment. It's not a tangible product. It's a liquid. It's just there, and it's gonna keep flowing. Stuff's only going to become more available. So now, how do you generate income? And, I just feel like kids are so ADD these days 'cause they're fed so much information and they have so many options with frickin' MySpace and all that crap that they're inundated. They can't concentrate on their favorite bands anymore.
Jesse Leach: Or they just get an iPod filled with singles. So to go see a band live, why would they bother?
Derek Kerswill: When they have one song from that band that their friend sent them on instant messenger for free. Or, "Hey, I'm gonna go to iTunes and listen to 30 seconds of every one of these songs. I liked that one, that one and that one." "Things Fall Apart", that is an epic song.
Jesse Leach: Another thing we're realizing is that we wrote an album. We didn't go out and go, "Oh, this is our single." This industry right now is so single-oriented. Everyone's attention span has shortened, and most singles now are, what, three-minutes-something long. Go back 10 years before that, you could have a five-minute simple. It happened. STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, TOOL, case in point — creative bands that were able to make it, and now that's a shot in the dark if you're able to do that. Now you're faced with bands like NICKELBACK, where that stuff is so formulated and so precise and so calculated that you lose the natural energy of rock n' roll there, man. It's a commercial.
Derek Kerswill: Did you ever hear the NICKELBACK mash-up? It's two of their songs playing simultaneously and it's the exact same frickin' song.
Jesse Leach: Yeah, you put the headphones on, the chorus kicks same exact time, same melody.
Derek Kerswill: Same tempo, same everything. It's a travesty, man. I love being underground, but Jesse and I have families.
Jesse Leach: I moved back home with my parents. I just couldn't afford to live on my own, which I don't regret, but it shows you that you've got to be willing to make sacrifices as a band on the road to do this, and I think underground bands have to do it for years before they can get anything. For us, we came out being like, "Yeah, we're gonna do this!" And there were some good tours and some not so good tours. So you've just gotta keep rolling with it, I guess. But yeah, we've got to figure out how to make some kind of a living off of this 'cause it's been pretty tough. [laughs]
Read the entire interview at Live-Metal.net.