Artizan: A Power Supernova Part II

Thursday, 30th April 2015

Dead Rhetoric: You’ve voiced displeasure on Facebook regarding their post reaching policy as you gather likes and who actually gets to see your updates on a regular basis. With all the instant platforms available at everyone’s fingertips, how do you make the biggest impact without succumbing to the ‘pay to gain ground’ game?

Tammeus: Yeah, that’s getting worse and worse, it really is. For example, when I make a post on our Facebook page, as an administrator I can see how many people are shown that. It continues to diminish, and it’s all about the money of course – they are a multi-billion dollar company of course. As soon as they went public with having a stock, everything changed. They have to be more profitable so it’s all about advertising, you have to pay to play. It’s frustrating, because we sit there with 30,000 plus fans on Facebook that we worked really hard for and maybe 2-3 years ago a lot of them would see the post. I know this is the same for most other bands as well- if I make a post of something important, a new promo video and only 400 people see it out of 30,000, yeah that’s frustrating. I’ve voiced that a little bit, I know that the fans are there and when I see reviews come out, we have a good body of work and you just wish you could get it in the front of every one of those people. A majority of people don’t even have a clue it’s coming out, or heard the samples, just because they don’t know. I don’t know how we are going to be able to overcome this.

We used to be able to go to the record store, radio stations, (there were) a plethora of magazines that used to cater to metal music when you went into your local supermarket. We had RIP, Metal Maniacs… what do we have in the United States now? Decibel and maybe Revolver. We put a full page ad in Decibel, my 14 year old son designed that. That’s another thing that we took on ourselves, financially, to create exposure. I am a firm believer that if you are going to do things, do them big. Do whatever it takes and as big as you can, as you only have one shot at it. I believe in the product, it came out phenomenal. Now it’s a matter of putting it out in front of as many people as we can, people like you who put out reviews, interviews, it’s all we can really do aside from playing as many shows as we can… which is not always easy to do. In the day and age we are in now, bands like Fates Warning, Saxon, and Iron Maiden – they wouldn’t have made millions of dollars and had the fan base they do with the internet. They are fortunate they had the record store base, radio, and other things that gave them exposure. What are we really going to do? Unless people start buying albums, a lot of these bands are going to go away, they just can’t afford to do it anymore.

Dead Rhetoric: And like you as an older metal head, I miss the record store experience, checking out albums, talking about the genre with other fans, the discovery aspect…it’s not the same online.

Tammeus: Yeah. We are so oversaturated with stuff. You sit there and someone might see something on YouTube and they thought it would be interesting. The average length of an average YouTube video watched is something like a minute and a half. Most people don’t spend the time to listen to a whole song or watch the video clip because they have their phone there and they are texting people, they have Twitter, other videos… it’s all there at your fingertips but I wonder about the real amount of dedicated time is put in to each thing that is available. Going back to the albums (in the old days), you may get just one album. You savored that for not an hour or a day – maybe you would savor it for months. So now… there is so much available, people don’t even savor things…they start saying, ‘what’s next?’. You can’t keep up, you put all this energy, money and commitment for a lot of the bands… they have different members in different states, it’s a huge process. You throw your baby into the world and sometimes after 2-3 weeks you are history. It’s a challenge to keep the hype and buzz growing and do that correctly. I think Saxon is in a great situation, they have a great catalog and they also were in that era when people bought albums in stores, they have that huge well to pull from. These kids think we are making all this money and that all we have to do is just tour. It takes money though to make money, if you are going to make money at all… and we have families, insurance, and a limited amount of vacation time. It’s like the old Matt Barlow thing, that’s why he left Iced Earth because of the financial aspect of the way things are now and he has a family, he’s older with 2 sons and limited vacation time. He’s doing well with Ashes of Ares, and we are in that realm now. You always hope this miracle is going to happen and Iron Maiden is going to notice you and the reality is…that’s pretty rare.

Dead Rhetoric: Performing in a niche style of power/progressive metal, the internet community bands together in ways other factions never experience. Where do you see the state of the movement currently, are there possibilities for future headliners of a Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, or possibly Dream Theater level?

Tammeus: As far as big arenas and things like that? I don’t think that could ever be possible in this era. You look at Queensrÿche now, the official lineup with Todd LaTorre fronting the band – he’s a great guy and friend of mine. If you really look at what they are doing they are being very selective because they have to about where they are playing. They are playing some casinos and different venues like that, wherever the money is. There was a heyday when we had those tours with bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden can still do it of course. It’s even a challenge for Judas Priest these days to fill an arena with their show these days. Why is that? I don’t really know…it makes me sick to my stomach when they decide to release album sales numbers for the first week. Fates Warning sold 1,800 albums in the first week and people act like that’s a big deal. That’s nothing, 20 years ago that would have been 40,000 or 50,000. It’s the state of the industry now, and we have group together and it’s partially why ProgPower developed.

I am fortunate to be only 5 hours away from Atlanta, GA and I was actually a sponsor for a couple of years. I sponsored Delain when they were there and Sanctuary when they played a couple of years ago. You have to group these bands together to pull in almost 1,000 people, it’s an intimate setting there. You have Nightwish, Delain, and Sabaton touring together soon – and Sabaton is doing well because they have been touring constantly. That is a perfect example of a band that is self-sustaining now because they were able to make all these sacrifices early on, garner that fan base, and they can release an album now, go on tour and headline. When you have 4 or 5 or 6 people involved with the logistics, there is a lot of sacrifice that has to take place from point A to point Z, individualistic aspects of family and finances that go in there. It’s a huge understanding, but that’s where we would love to be in another album or two to be self-sustaining, or go on tours to co-headline with a band like Fates Warning, that would be awesome.

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