D. Blais: Please introduce yourself to our readers?
Suave Marthyrs: Hey there, we are Suave Martyrs; an indie psych band based in Manchester.
D. Blais: Who is your biggest musical influence and why?
Suave Marthyrs: I’m not sure that we can pin it down to one influence because we have such diverse music tastes between us. Some of our bigger influences include The Rolling Stones, Joy Division, The Dandy Warhols, The Clash and Jimi Hendrix but we are also heavily influenced by funk and groove, which comes across in our rhythm section. We think it’s important to listen music from a variety of genres, old and new, and during our songwriting process we are never focussed on fitting our tracks into specific genres.
D. Blais: How did you learn music and music business?
Suave Marthyrs: A lot of DIY and learning on the job in all honesty. Our drummer studied music at university and our guitarist Sam currently works in PR which has come in handy, but besides that it has been a big learning curve. Whenever we come across something that we’re not sure about we’ve asked friends in the business for advise or done some research on the internet. Also watching endless documentaries of other bands and their rise to success can be pretty educational. We all have much more of an idea of how to make a band work now than we did a year ago!
D. Blais: What do you suggest to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Suave Marthyrs: Make sure you love your music and believe in the band. This is the most important thing and it has definitely helped us along the way. Without passion for the band and its music then the process of making it is going to become far harder and much more tiring. Not everything about being in a band is rock and roll, and if you want to do it seriously then you have to put the time and the effort in. Its much easier to maintain that work ethic if you love the product you’re pushing!
D. Blais: Do you have a manager?
Suave Marthyrs: Not really. We have had help with some of the managerial aspects in the past, but never a set manager. We don’t think that this has held us back so far because all of us are active members of the band and we all have our own role to play and jobs to do. With the occasional reminder everything does get done this way. We also have fortnightly “meetings” where we delegate the jobs that need doing so we try to fulfil the managers role between the 5 of us.
D. Blais: What do you think are the biggest challenges for independent artists nowadays?
Suave Marthyrs: For us it has been finance. Studio time is expensive and we don’t like to hold back on the shows! Any money that we do make gets invested back into the band, but with rent on our rehearsal room, instruments, travel, studio time, PR, photographers, marketing, social media etc we are all loosing money.
You have to be passionate about your music otherwise you are not going to want to invest in it, which until you get signed is very necessary.
D. Blais: What means do you take in order to establish your marketing activities?
Suave Marthyrs: Social media is absolutely crucial these days. Making sure that you keep snapping photos and videos as you rehearse, record and perform is such a good habit to get into to help with marketing. Social media is all about content and posting good content regularly is harder than you think! Branding is more important than it’s ever been because there’s so much competition.
D. Blais: Do you think spending money into producing music videos is still a good investment? Why?
Suave Marthyrs: It’s not a bad one, but it isn’t one that we have made yet. It’s near the top our list but lower down than studio time and merchandise. Until you have music released that you’re happy with it’s more important to focus on recording time. We are currently in the studio and are feeling much more confident about these releases than for any of our other singles. So if the mixing process runs smoothly then a video is what we will be focusing on next. But whether we spend lots of money on it is another question. One of the great things about technology is that it is far easier to take the DIY approach now than it has been in the past, which is definitely a solid option for a band without a big income such as ourselves.
D. Blais: How many hours per week/month do you spend on rehearsing all together?
Suave Marthyrs: As a band we try to rehearse twice a week for a couple of hours each time but when we have shows coming up we often add full day rehearsals onto that as well. I think on average maybe 5 hours a week. However as individual performers it’s crucial to practise everyday. Our drummer is always checking that we’ve done our daily half hour minimum!
D. Blais: What achievement are you most proud of?
Suave Marthyrs: A couple of gigs do spring to mind, the first being our first headline show which was hosted by Scruff of the Neck at Jimmy’s, Manchester. There was a real buzz leading up to and during that gig and we managed to sell it out in 24 hours! In more recent times a real landmark for us was our self promoted headline show at Royal Park Cellars, Leeds. This was our second “Suave Martyrs Presents” and was just so much fun because the crowd really got into it. Also this was our first show with our new vocalists Brad so there was a real excitement there.
D. Blais: What was the process of choosing your band name? Can you explain what the meaning is for you?
Suave Marthyrs: The band name came from our original members Ben and Stu. “Looking cool whilst fighting for the cause, allowing a little piece of you to die and go into each piece of music we make.”
D. Blais: Is it difficult for an indie band to find some live gigs in Manchester? Do you work with a specific booking agent?
Suave Marthyrs: Not if you are happy to take the leap and put your name out there! We don’t work with a specific booking agent but have just started conversations with many promoters, venues and bands. Theres so many bands out there all trying to make it and you’ll be surprised how much you can help each other out with gig swaps! Also making sure you stick around after playing to support the event goes a long way with being asked back somewhere.
It’s much easier to find gigs when you’re easy to work with.
D. Blais: Does your music play regularly on the radio? Which station?
Suave Marthyrs: We have had very regular radio plays on a variety of internet radio stations from all over the world and then some less frequent plays on a few local radio’s to manchester including Bolton FM, Fab radio and XS Manchester. We’re hoping with our new releases to make the step towards national radio, particularly Radio 6.
D. Blais: What are your future music business goals?
Suave Marthyrs: I think the dream is to be full time. Not for the money but so that we can make music without the shackles and chains of our normal jobs! Our next main goal is to be signed which we’re working towards with our new releases and some pretty in depth DIY marketing plans!