Long Live the 2000s! The Jackals Are Among Us And The Koniac Net Part II - Homegrown

Long Live the 2000s! The Jackals Are Among Us And The Koniac Net Part II

In Part I of this interview (read here) Gaffer Wolf set the stage for a deeper probing into David's possibly 'xenocentric' treatment of Indian audiences. Read on to find out how the story unfolds.II. The Audience

When you started your cover band Voice for Slogans, did you feel like an Indian audience wasn’t ready for your music? How do you promote The Koniac Net to them now?
No man, I mean, I wasn’t ready myself. I hadn’t even recorded an album! I had only done demos and given it out to like 300 people within my friends and family. In my head, I never wanted to release an album for commercial purposes. It was just something personal and it made me relate to the music I love more. Now I’ve got a tag for it. I’ve been promoting The Koniac Net here as an ‘indie’ band because we ARE an indie-slash-alternative band. That’s why when people from NH7, GQ and all these publications approached me; I made sure the interviewers also knew about the music I was making. I wanted them to channel my music to people who were truly fans of indie music.
Did your stint at Chesky Records & Manhattan Production Music help you develop a business model towards marketing your music?
I wouldn’t say so. I started from scratch man. I had no idea how I was going to get this music out. But since I had spent so much time in the States and since I knew that people from there and Europe loved indie music, I knew that’s where I wanted to go first. So that’s where I started: I just sat down and researched about radio stations in the States, England, Germany, Australia and Sweden like crazy. When I put One Last Monsoon out, I must have written to at least a thousand radio stations.
I’ve noticed the traction you’ve been getting in other countries from your posts on Facebook.
Oh no, you don’t understand man; let me SHOW you exactly what I mean. It’s still ongoing. This list here, these are all the radio stations that I’ve categorized, and then below that are all the blogs I’ve written to. The ones in orange are ones that have written back or have featured my music, but as you can see here with the ones in red, there are still a shitload that haven’t. Most of them just don’t want to have anything to do with indie music or their sites are down. It’s a difficult process and it’s easy to get dissuaded because out of 15 radio stations, maybe one will write back. But it has been worth it so far to meet so many bloggers and radio personalities who really connect with my music. My first station was one in Denmark and it was something else when they got my songs on rotation!
There’s a lot of names here. Do you have any particular criterion for picking a radio station to play your music?
Research man. I do a lot of research. I haven’t had a proper job in the past year and a half. I’ve been holed up here at home because I don’t give myself a choice. I’m fortunate enough to be able to make music. You have to really reach out there and keep in touch. Even with all my fans, every single person who’s liked my page on Facebook or checked my songs out on ReverbNation, I’ve always written back to them personally (Note: I followed David from a fake twitter account and he replied within 15 minutes to thank me and ask how I’ve heard of the band). It takes a hell of a lot of time but you just have to go with that gut feeling. I’ve never had a business or any economic background with it.
That's quite the process, and the inevitable question, why start an Indian band and promote it internationally first?
For very obvious reasons man. Look at most of the Indian bands here: most of them are stuck here and they don’t go anywhere from here. I hate to say it, and I don’t want to sound like an asshole or anything but it’s true. To be fair, when I started trying to put this all together like 4 or 5 years ago, music was still not huge in India – I’m talking about venues, labels, festivals, it’s become quite a big thing now. I started with that mindset of not wasting any time, plugging my music to people who didn’t want to hear it. You’ve probably noticed it too, but you go to a show here and most of the people that are there are friends and family. There are very few NEW people because the masses here don’t want to go out and discover something new. They want a big name and they want to hear that they’re playing at a big venue. Moreover, I wanted to get my music out internationally because that’s where my music was appreciated first. I did well in New York, even though it was just those three shows, we got to play at CBGBs man! So obviously I had that confidence that there’s at least a little potential for us to be an international band. And I mean I grew up on the music coming out of all these countries too, so I feel like I have to give back.
But now you’ve played shows at the blueFROG and a great spot at The NH7 Weekender. You’re admitting there are people here that get this music. Are you going to completely abandon this audience?
Oh no, I’m not saying that they’re not good enough or people don’t get the music enough, it’s just that there aren’t enough people to truly promote an album here. If I’m just playing live then it’s fine, but I have to think of it from my point of view: as an artist, if I want to get my album heard by a bigger audience that get my music, I have to get it heard everywhere. If India had a flourishing audience or the numbers start to grow then I would gladly just spend all my time promoting my music here. Right now, whether I like it or not, it’s still 75 percent friends and family.
Be that as it may, you’ve still gotten great reviews from the 25%, but as an experiment, what if it were the other way around: what if some people in India didn’t like your music because it wasn’t up to their standards? How would you respond to that?
It’s completely normal. Everyone has a different point of view so and I’ve gotten bad reviews too. I had a review by this guy in Bangalore who said that the first album is extremely inconsistent. It really depressed me at the time and sort of had me questioning myself: what if I’m doing it the wrong way? But then I went back to the music, that’s how I deal with it. I listened to a bunch of indie albums that I’m truly inspired by and so many of them are so inconsistent. I mean, not even to defend myself here, but you have bands like The Drums where each song on the album sounds exactly the same and then you have other artists like Ben Harper - he does slow stuff, rock stuff, slide stuff and blues and every song is just on another trip. Hell, look at Lenny Kravitz! So I don’t take it personally because everyone has a different opinion, me included. So far I’ve been fortunate enough to know that most of the indie/alternative radio stations, some of them who don’t even like rock, like my music and that’s a major compliment. Theres’s even people from the frikkin’ North and Gujrat that have messaged me to say things like they’ve seen my music video on Vh1 and it’s the best compliment to know that people who’ve never met – who’ll never know if I’m an asshole or whatever - like the music I’m making for the music alone. I’m happiest when I know my fellow Indians love indie music.
Don’t you feel that playing more shows here would help you get more people in India to appreciate this music, as opposed to just fleeing because of the numbers?
I don’t want to play too many shows here because it’ll get repetitive. Don’t get me wrong at all; we DO have a decent amount of fans here who show up just for the music, and we love them. This last show at blueFROG especially, we practised hard towards putting on a good performance because we knew there’d be new people coming out to see us. And I DO want to play more gigs in Bombay. Even when I do this EP launch, I’m definitely doing it in Bombay. This is my city man, this is my home! But my main goal is to branch out, to in fact, holistically get more people to hear my music as an artist, be it India or abroad. I have a plan for that too. I still want to play Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, and then I want to go to the North East. Only when we reach that level, is when I feel like we can play internationally. We’re by all means a new band and I don’t think we’re ready for the world yet, until we finish what we set out to do here first.
With such a large audience in mind, what’s the best way to get your music out, well, obviously taking the Internet for granted?
There are so many ways to do it but it all costs a little bit of money in the end. I put whatever money I had saved up from the States into this. You have to find the right company to handle your music. For me, I use CD Baby, because that’s where I used to discover new music at one point and they had a pretty decent package. I released through them and they put One Last Monsoon on iTunes and all, but the thing is they don’t do too many promotions. On the way, I’ve learnt about a lot of companies: one of them, which I’m kind of working for right now, is called MusicNotez and they’re based in Florida. (ref: www.muzicnotez.com). But they’ve been promoting my music a lot and basically they were like, “Listen man, you have good taste in music, you’re doing well and you’re doing it on yourself so why don’t you work for us, like bring Indian bands to our attention. Again I’m not much of a promoter and I’m not as confident as I should be but soon I’ll be trying to get Indian bands involved. Especially bands that I think are really fantastic like Sky Rabbit, Peter Cat Recording Co. and Modern Mafia.
You wouldn’t consider taking a label?
I’m still experimenting with that. Right now — just three days back actually — I signed to a company called Qinetic. They’re going to take us on and start promoting our music and hopefully get us shows in Asia, or Europe if we’re lucky. But it’s not an exclusive deal, so I don’t imagine they would promote our band that hard. I really have my eyes on France, because some of the best labels are coming out of there that house bands like Two Door Cinema Club and Phoenix. Or maybe, the UK, US or Germany too, because I know if we score a really solid deal in these countries, then we’re ok, and they’ll do everything in their power to get us shows everywhere.

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