Icarus Witch – Welcome Back to CrueltyThursday, 1st November 2018
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe the Pittsburgh metal scene today? Does it surprise you the types of metal that receive more support than others – and how some promoters decide to have tour opportunities skip the city and go for the Cleveland, Ohio market which is 90 minutes away?
Myers: (laughs). I can’t really speak to the promoters side of it, the agents side. Especially if you are bringing in a band from another country, you have a limited amount of time to make the smartest decisions for your client. You want to go to the markets where they are probably going to get more exposure and a lot of time the hope is that a certain amount of their fanbase will drive to a place like Cleveland or nearby to see them. With that said, I honestly think that the Pittsburgh scene is pretty healthy- at least it’s as healthy or healthier than I’ve seen it in years. I’ve gone out to quite a few underground metal shows in the past year and there’s a lot of new faces out there that weren’t around when we started this band fifteen years ago. A lot of new bands bringing some energy to the scene, new clubs that are popping up. I can’t say anything bad about that- it’s just as good as it has been in years. I’m pleasantly surprised at the amount of metal that our city is producing, and the support that a lot of these bands are getting.
Dead Rhetoric: Can you discuss your day job with The Content Factory – and how you see the evolution of social media content, algorithms, and how individuals as well as businesses can benefit the most from curating what they want to enhance their lives for the better?
Myers: Oh man- that’s a left field question. I don’t really want to talk too much about The Content Factory – but what I will say. Going back to the conversation about it being harder to sustain yourself financially on the road. When I realized early on that a) it costs a lot of money to tour and b) most of the people that have day jobs would have to take vacation or quit their jobs when they would go out on a lengthy tour, I realized that was not optimal. I was looking for a way to be able to still make money in the downtime on tour- which there is a lot of. Touring is like 23 hours of waiting for an hour of time on stage. That’s when I started doing social media management, content writing, PR, things of that nature for The Content Factory, because the owner Kari DePhillips had set up this company that was encouraging of people to be remote workers. No centralized office, everybody that works for this company works remotely from a different part of the country. She encourages the work-cation lifestyle.
That’s how I got into social media/digital marketing as a default. Now I’ve been with this company doing this for eight years, I’ve seen how things like social media marketing and PR can really make or break a lot of companies. If it’s not done professionally and correctly, you can really miss out on a lot of opportunities to grow your business. It’s funny because my background is in music publicity. I was a publicist for Century Media, I did A+R for Cleopatra, my background was always in the music side of things. I just applied that to whatever clients the Content Factory was working with, and in the process of doing that I learned a lot more professional techniques for marketing which I could then go back and implement for our band. It came back full circle in that regard.
Dead Rhetoric: In my world, what I see some bands failing to understand about social media is that they need to include the community in the process, instead of always being in sales mode…
Myers: You are absolutely right. I teach courses on social media marketing and PR, and that’s one of the things I always express to my students. Social media, the number one mistake I see businesses make on social media is it’s not about you, it’s about them. So many companies will go out and look at social media as a platform almost like a free advertising site. That’s a huge part of it – but you are not going to really earn yourself any favors in Facebook’s algorithm by using that approach.
You need to offer- whether it’s music or widgets- look at it from your audience’s perspective. Before you press send or publish on any social post and put your message out there, re-read it from the perspective of your audience. Does it sound salesy to you? Does it sound like a spammer? If the answer is yes, you should be able to re-word it and re-work it from the audience perspective and create things that add value. Whether that is open and transparent conversation for your followers, or some sort of value in the form of tips or advice. Here’s some behind the scenes footage that you might find entertaining. Once I stopped trying to use social media as a sales tool, I found it a lot more enjoyable. I use our social media as a means to engage with people that enjoy our music, and music like ours. If you concentrate on quality content, then the sales will come naturally.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you see the importance of music now compared to your earlier days in bands and working behind the scenes for record labels? Are there things left on your bucket list to accomplish or places to see/play that you would like to achieve with Icarus Witch?
Myers: Funny enough, I was talking to Quinn about this a couple of hours ago. He was texting me as he was getting ready to board an airplane from Las Vegas to come back to Pittsburgh. He just performed with Paul Stanley from Kiss last night, and he said, ‘bucket list is getting a lot smaller, bro’ (laughs). We had a good laugh about it. It doesn’t get much more iconic than Kiss, Rock and Roll Over was a game changing album for the both of us. That was the album that got me started on this path, for better or worse. Kiss is sort of like the Beatles for our generation, they’ve inspired more bands to get into rock. We’ve been fortunate enough to open for Black Sabbath, the little things that would count as big victories along the way. We are passionate about this, the bucket list is getting a little smaller. We will always find some carrot to dangle to get us to the next goal.
Right now we are in a pretty good place because we are not writing music with any delusions of becoming the next big thing, or selling x amount of records. We are writing from our souls for ourselves and for those other people that are attracted to this particular underground genre of ours.
Dead Rhetoric: Being a staunch supporter of the Pittsburgh Penguins, where do you see their season going – are they always one of the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup by year’s end?
Myers: (laughs). Well, you have to think anytime you have Sidney (Crosby) and Geno (Malkin) and Matt Murray and Phil Kessel on your team, you are in the conversation for another cup. It’s strange being the old veteran team now- we have guys in their 30’s which is ancient by NHL standards. I’d say their chances are good, they came out strong on opening night and beat the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. We got a little retribution as they ended our season unceremoniously last year. I like our chances, this is was the first time in 3-4 years where we’ve had a chance to rest for a month in the summer.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the agenda for Icarus Witch over the next year? Has work already begun in terms of songwriting for the next album, so that the listeners will not wait another six years for the follow-up?
Myers: Yes, actually. We have started… it’s not that we started the next album so much as we never stopped writing. At a certain point we had to cap things and say we’ve got ten solid songs here that are cohesive, or it would have taken us another five years and we still wouldn’t have put an album out. We hammered down to perfect this. Once you get into that flow of songwriting, and it was flowing pretty well for us – you never want to just stop that because you’ve got a deadline on a project. We’ve got a lot of songs being developed behind the scenes that will just continue to develop as we are promoting this album.
I gave up trying to make predictions on things, because I never would have predicted that six years would go by- and for some that’s a lifetime in the music business. I can say that we have some really good songs that are already in the process of being written, so that if people take to this new album and like what they are hearing, they will be very happy with the stuff that comes next. I’d rather do EP’s – I think it’s easier to write a smaller group of songs and put them out. It’s hard to sell that concept to record labels who prefer to have a full album. If I had my say, there would be a new EP by next year. I’d love to shift to a model of releasing five songs a year for the rest of my life, but that’s probably not going to happen. We’ve never done a concept album, but maybe do a concept EP. I think the listening behaviors have changed.
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