Photo: Katrín Björk
A couple of months ago we had a chat with the talented artist Echo Me about crowd funding, the use of social media and last but not least his second album. Before that he was one of the many artists to try out crowd funding to help fund the release of a forthcoming album. He succeeded and even exceeded the amount he needed. Since then things have been happening fast for the danish artist who since toured with Go Go Berlin in Germany. Unfortunately he had to postpone the release of his second album, so you can expect it to hit the shelves this spring!
How would you describe Echo Me to first time listeners?
When I named my project Echo Me, I had been playing a lot as a typical singer/songwriter around Denmark. I was very much in doubt as to what direction I wanted to take the music, when I was about to record my debut album. I contacted Noah Rosanes, who in many ways possessed qualities, which I was missing in myself. The starting point became, hence the name, to start from an end of song after song, to see where it would take us. I have played a lot of different music previously in my life, and you can hear that, when you put on my music. The most penetrating genres are, as I hear it, pop, rock and folk.
What can we expect of the album in terms of thoughts and soundreferences?
The basic idea with Echo Me was, and is, to keep options open and not make too many decisions in advance. That is why I also wanted to work with a new producer, and chose Sebastian Wolff, who is also the front man of Kellermensch.
The first days in the studio were booked without me ever having spoken to the man face to face, and therefore I had no way of knowing, how the album was going to sound.
I have focused a lot on the songwriting, and emphasizing that the songs should have a simpler expression, and more immediacy. That idea we brought to the production, and so the album has in many ways become more accessible, I think. Whereas I before felt that it would be the production that would save a song, I this time decided to ditch the songs that could not cope with a simple instrumentation. Put another way, the simplicity and nerve have been key to the process, which is clearly a result of our mutual love of artists like Neil Young.
What inspires you in your songwriting?
The main theme of my debut was mostly tragic love, and seeing it like that, it is now clear to see that my life has changed totally since then. Many of the songs came about in the wake of my travels after the debut. I resigned my apartment and went off with a hand truck, only with the necessary utensils, to be able to play anywhere anytime. I had managed to record my first album, and the question then was, what I would do with it. My next album “Towards the Sunset” is therefore much focused on travelling without a clear destination, but with the knowledge that you may well not reach that unclear destination, and the match has therefore been partially unsuccessful.
How did you come up with idea of crowdfunding?
I toured a lot with my first album, and therefore also sold a relatively big amount of copies of it, but like so many other companies, I was not able to get all of my investments back. I simply could not afford, nor get the opportunity to borrow money for my next album. And so I saw crowdfunding as an opportunity to move a portion of the sales to the other side of the recording. I knew there were people who were interested in buying the album, so if they could pre-order it through the campaign, I could get on with the next project.
Regarding incentives, what do you think you should focus on as a musician?
First and foremost, I think it is important that people get the product which origin they support. That, in addition to that, there are some extra gifts and various acquisitions, might get people to support with a little extra. Most people, in my campaign, chose to buy a CD or an LP, and I think the many options may confuse rather than assist.
Has the plan changed for your album because of the funding you got from your campaign?
The campaign ran for three months and ended August 31st. I received most of the money during the last week. I did not know how much I would receive, so I just threw myself into the project, and the entire album was recorded when the campaign was over, so it did not change that part of it. I actually do not know what I would have done if it had been a failure.
Do you have any advice to give new musicians who are considering the idea?
I think the important thing is that “customers” feel like they get something out of it. If the concept is going to be able to handle more and more bands doing such a campaign, I think that it should be seen more as a pre-sale. Most people have their own dreams and projects, which they want to live out, but do not have the energy to support musicians left and right. It is therefore extremely important that they, the ”customers”, feel like they get something extraordinary out of the money they invest.
How do you see the role of the social media, when it comes to new musicians?
The social media is undoubtedly essential for most new artists. Unless you have an actual breakthrough, and all the media writes about you at once, I have a feeling that it’s never really going to come to anything. Using Facebook, Twitter and other social media, you can gather publicity in one place, and from there, target the people you want. So when there is published an article about me somewhere, I believe the chance that it will make a difference is rather small, but when you can bring a lot of people together in one place, that just puts fuel to the fire, and makes people want to go to concerts, support a campaign or buy your album.
Which upcoming artist do you foresee a great future?
This is a difficult question, because when does a band stop being ’upcoming’? What is a great future? When they can live of it? Or when they get so and so many likes on Facebook, but are still forced to have a second income? There are plenty of bands out there that I think are amazing, but I do not believe they will exist in ten years.
If I should suggest an artist that is not mainstream, but who can potentially reach a wide audience and get a breakthrough, it would be Esben Svane. He has the sense and ability to challenge the listener, without turning them off, and to involve them, without playing to the lowest common denominator. Additionally, he is very self-reliant, which means he has low operating costs. In this way, he avoids some of the challenges that kill many bands.