D. Blais: Please introduce the band to our readers! Follow the Lemming: First off thank you Dominique for having us! Hey everyone, we are the alternative and pop-rock band Follow the Lemming from Vaughan, Canada! We have a tight knit team of artists including Christopher Minicucci (Lead Vocalist and Lead Guitarist), Joey DiPinto (Drums and Backing Vocals) Victor Biriukov (Rhythm Guitar and Vocals) and Vince Pileggi (Bassist and Keys). We come from a variety of backgrounds in music and thus the iconic original sound of Follow the Lemming was born! D. Blais: Who are some of the group’s biggest musical influences and why? Follow the Lemming: John Mayer is a huge influence on our music and ideas surrounding it. There is a lot of conversation about what is cool and what isn’t but his ideology is share what you truly love even if people aren’t into it - walk alone and gather a line behind you. There are subconscious truths written in his lyrics and he writes words that naturally come to mind when hearing a progression. His bluesy chill sound is something we resonate with and how he finds balance between the easy listening and high energy. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers have also had a huge impact on our style, personality and image. A lot of our songs have the nostalgic 2000’s pop-rock feel with our lead vocals, song direction and over-all tone while bridging easy listening music with some edge. Many have likened us as the love child of blink-182 and The 1975; edginess mixed with emotion and an attention to detail with sound structure. It’s this combination we strive to bring to our music - emotional and powerful mixes. D. Blais: How did the group learn music/ the music business? Follow the Lemming: We all grew up around music in one form or another and used it to express our ideas but we all started making music at different times and different ages. Joey for example was exposed early on to the process because his parents made music whereas Chris started about 4 years ago when he started writing lyrics and music to express his emotions. Victor makes music to express his ideas and find self empowerment and Vince writes melodies to that speak for him about plaguing ideas. As a band we are continuing to develop better ideas and techniques to continue this journey. Music has and will always be a passion for us and a medium to release stress and talk about our issues. Vince has been in many bands and has the experience the group relies on to mitigate and find the best way forward. He uses this experience to navigate solutions that have worked in the past while also calling up contacts in the music industry. Knowledge like this and his database of contacts has helped kickstart the band’s success. Victor has a great understanding of image and how bands market themselves to large crowds. Understanding stage presence, style, and eye catching shows and how they help bands reach goals is what Victor brings to Follow the Lemming. He is a big advocate in finding our own way and being original with our music and brand. Joey comes from a sales and marketing background and has been a key component to developing great strategies for FTL's yearly plans when approaching gigs, releasing of music and more. His action plans paired with his understanding of marketing help guide our rise in success. He is the backbone of the band on and off the kit. Chris studied mechanical engineering which gave him a strong foundation in problem solving and a background in sales also helped him develop his frontman mentality and charisma. Merging the sides of sales and engineering helps him lead Follow the Lemming while posing solutions and action plans to overcome obstacles. He also likes to spend his time watching youtube videos and reading blogs on the best methods to getting the sound out there and to improve as an Indie Artist. D. Blais: Does the band write it’s own music? Follow the Lemming: Yes! All music on Spotify and other streaming platforms is original music. Individually we work on ideas at home and then present them to the group when we meet up twice a week. We will also cover songs that fit our sound but focus most of our attention on developing original work. D. Blais: Have you joined a copyright society yet? (i.e. BMI, ASCAP, SOCAN, etc.) Follow the Lemming: We actually do not use copyright societies. As a Canadian Band our music is protected without having to use outside organizations. This makes it easier for us to focus on writing our music, planning our releases and playing local shows. D. Blais: Other than having access to money, what do you think are the biggest challenges for independent artists nowadays? Follow the Lemming: An aspect that challenges us finding the right places to have people listen to us. We are able to distribute our music online yet we know that proper placement of our music will allow wider audiences to hear us. As independent artists it can be hard to gain traction to get recognized for large Spotify playlists that help attract attention and gain quick exposure. We financially support ourselves and FTL with day jobs, but we make time to meet up twice a week to work on new music and rehearse for upcoming shows. We know our hard work pays off when we see people resonating with our music by dancing at our shows, singing our lyrics and sharing our music on social media. We love doing this and and we incredibly passionate about our music and were great friends as well.
D. Blais: Does the band handle the marketing itself? How? Follow the Lemming: All marketing is handled by ourselves. We like to be face-to-face with our audience and supporters and this allows us to save money through PR and also create great relationships with our audience and local artists that help support us. We use sponsored ads on different social media platforms to bring our music to an audience outside of our own personal pool and attract attention to shows, and we have friends, family and fans that share information about our shows and new content. We've reached out to our social media influencer contacts as well to share our content to a wider audience. For new releases we message people with our hyper-follow link that DistroKid supplies to ensure we are putting all our content within easy reach of our listeners and all in one place. We ask for their opinion and ask them to share and add it to playlists so more listeners can get a taste for our sound. It’s important as an Indie Artist to message people directly about the music and make personal connections because it shows you care about your music and your listeners. It is also important to make your music accessible. People's lives are busy so you need to give them an easy way to access your music - simply clicking a link that directly brings them to your social media or page on streaming sites does this. D. Blais: Does the band think music videos are still important today? Follow the Lemming: Absolutely. Music videos are the visual aspect of the music and give imagery to the sound. It helps paint a picture of what the music is conveying sonically. Sight and sound have always gone hand in hand as it helps transport the user to the space the artist is trying to create. A visual aid can also help to bring out things in the music and message that the audience may not at first hear. There have been many iconic music videos that have shaped the music industry and the artists within it. We are in the entertainment industry and watching a video is a great way to harness attention! We view music videos as a great way to engage people with the band with new content and fresh energy! It's a great way to spike those listens and build some hype as well! D. Blais: Does the band record everything from home? Follow the Lemming: When Chris started Follow the Lemming he knew that the music produced had to be of high quality; great businesses have great quality products, and for musicians the product is their music. Since the first EP “Sleepless", Follow the Lemming has gone to Savage Studio Recordings to meet with our studio engineer Chris Savage to record all our music in his at-home professional studio. Due to the polished tracks and close attention to the sonic image we have continued to record with Savage Studio Recordings including our most recent releases of "Rest" and "Sail on By".
We believe that if you invest in your music/ craft, people will in turn invest their time in you. D. Blais: What is the most important piece of equipment to the band and why? Follow the Lemming: Each team member loves their individual instrument BUT the most important piece of “music equipment” is our ear. As a musician and artist, knowing what sounds right and feels right is the absolute most important thing to creating magic and emotion. Every song we play together has to sound cohesive, feel great and have our signature sound of chill mixed with edginess. The gear and equipment comes second - sometimes we will exclude an instrument until we find it’s proper place in the music and have developed great songs originating from different instruments. D. Blais: What is success for you? Follow the Lemming: We have always said if we can impact even one person with our music then we’ve done our job. We are here to inspire, tell our story and find others that resonate with what our music is saying. We get to play amazing shows for people that resonate and love our music; that in and of itself is success to us. We’re not in this for the money, we’re here to speak truths. D. Blais: Do you prefer to work in the studio or perform in concert? Follow the Lemming: Each has its own benefit and own means. When in the studio we are able to try out some new creative ideas to enhance the sonic image of the music! On stage we come together as a team and play great shows with great energy! We love the balance of both places; one of creativity and the other of pure expression and enjoyment. There is nothing like being on stage and we look forward to all of our shows and use them to release great music and also have a great time together. It's a bonding experience and we work well together musically no matter what setting. Rehearsal is also a great time where we create some amazing music, have fun with it and relieve some stress. D. Blais: Which one of your songs are you the most proud of? Why? Follow the Lemming: Every song has a special place in our heart and they come from true experiences but "Rest" seems to have touched many people. It had an incredible response when it was released and generated a lot of attraction and great conversation. When the final mix of "Rest" was in front of us we knew we had something special. It’s a vibrant song that is still chill, with eye opening lyrics; on top of that “Rest” is catchy and fun to sing along with. “Rest” blew up immediately after it was released and our listeners have said it's iconic which is such a blessing to hear. We are also incredibly proud of what the song stands for in this time of pandemic and the image it portrays of us. It is bringing our community of listeners together and we have even had kids reach out to us wanting to learn instruments and make music of their own. That’s the stuff thats incredible to hear as a band, to realize we have inspired others to fill their quarantine time with music and expression. D. Blais: What are the next steps for Follow the Lemming? Follow the Lemming: We are always moving towards the next goal and looking for the next opportunity! Individually we have been writing lyrics and recording some song ideas. There are also plans to release some music videos in the near future for “Rest”, “Sail on By” and our future release “Crossroads”! Follow along on Spotify or Instagram if that’s something that interests you! We are also looking to play some energetic shows in the future at some larger venues in Toronto when social distancing regulations are lifted. We want to establish a name for ourselves in the music scene here and conquer our goals! The biggest priority is growth as individuals and artists. We love to expand ourselves and find our people out there! The band is always looking for people that might love our music that we haven’t already met or inspired yet! If you haven’t already given us a listen, you might be one of our people! Check us out and ‘follow along’, we’d love to have you along for this journey!