Phil Slander discusses Facebook click farm culture, online hangouts for music promotion, performing for a fanbase on other side of world and more.
Phil Slander is born and raised in Kent by musical family. He started producing music in 2013; his music is heavily influenced by 80's and 90's electronica and both analogue and cutting edge tech. His current projects include Sono Ondo and Phil Slander (@soapssounds) and MenosDos (@menos_dos_official)
The new album Perception Coast is produced by Phil and engineered, edited, spliced, re-sampled, arranged and realised by Sono Ondo. Each track develops and explores similar source material within a variety of different popular dance music sub genres.
What inspires you to be a musician?
I know I have something to communicate to others; Anything and everything is possible, you can recover and take control, this doesn't have to be how we have to be...
What is the best part about being a musician?
When I feel a certain chord deep in my being and the hairs rise up on my arms and neck and I shiver with awe, and wonder at the masters of our craft, be it Prodigy, Prokofiev or Pink Floyd. That is what I'm aiming for, to recreate this reaction in my listeners.
What is your favourite venue for gigs?
Floating stage in front of an ancient castle with awesome sound and light show and people picnicking and being free!
What is the biggest challenge you have as a musician today?
Anyone can make a digital record these days and that's great because we need more music in the world, but to be a pioneer in this field, now that takes a lot more time, trial and effort and patience.
Do you think the industry is changing for the better?
It's the music business - 50% Music 50% Business. It's the jungle it's always been although the battlefield has moved to the digital realm, where the self-made artist in theory has the same chance as the major players, and there are a whole new set of Gatekeepers.
I'm glad Facebook are removing "Likes" in Australia. I think that will remove the dark underside of social marketing; click farms, buying likes, pay for playlist consideration - the former being highly damaging to the environment.
Although social media is the current way to get your product in front of potential fans, it can be confusing. I have tried to streamline my workflow and provide entertainment to people who really enjoy it with me.
Online hangouts and the possibilities of performing live to a group of fans on the other side of the world is amazing though!
There are an alarming number of festivals all over the world each year, I only hope that their organisers have sustainability in mind and not just a great lineup.
What are the three tools you could not live without?
My mind, my Leatherman and a smart phone.
Are there any new apps you have discovered and would like to recommend to other musicians?
Dropbox and We Transfer have been essential to me in remote working. Use which ever file sharing system you're happy with and always keep several back ups. I'm experimenting with Maschine 3; for me it's like learning a new instrument. We often start ideas on iMaschine and finish them on the hardware controller. I've used Anchor to interview other great musicians and there might be a spot on internet radio in the future.
How do you find opportunities to gig?
Here in Palma, I get to know the promotor, fixer or bar manager and get my friends to book tables or have fun at the bar. I also attend music industry functions where I try to meet more like-minded people in the industry. I also have a Gigmit profile that I'm growing all the time...
What are your fondest musical memories? Eg. In your house? In your neighbourhood or town?
Dancing with my sis at Grandma's house in Erith to either of her two cassettes; Best of Bill Haley or Abba Gold.
Starting the mosh with my brother-in-law at the Rocket From the Crypt gig in Camden.
Raving with a crew at Black Sheep at Vauxhall Arches.
How do you reach your fans?
They might be people who I befriend and then take an interest in their lives and they in mine. Humphrey from the Daily Bulletin helps me promote each new release. Direct messaging, word of mouth and meet and greets after shows.
What is it that compels you to publish music?
To leave a lasting imprint of my musical persona inside the digital world. I also enjoy the hustle and multi-tasking required!
What are your thoughts on streaming services?
I agree with those who suggest it might be better that an artist should be paid directly by the fan although this would be complicated to roll out. As far as data and accessibility go Spotify is right on it. There are more platforms emerging all the time. This should work in artists favour.
What is something you wish you had known sooner?
Only invest what you can afford to lose. Any profit made from your music should go right back in to your business. A coffee with the right person can make or break your career!
Are you actively looking for record labels? Do you think it could be a good option?
I don't know. Id have to meet someone who really likes what I'm about and we'd have to share a similar world view. Hopefully there will be a time for that!
How do you balance your music with other passions - partner, children, job?
With difficulty. As I'm a DIY musician, all tasks fall to me. Sometimes I can't even explain to my friends the ends or motives that move me and my music making. My son enjoys listening to my latest jams and when my wife says she likes something, doesn't happen very often, that is my ultimate yardstick!
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