Today we have an exclusive interview with popular Philadelphia pop punk band Rivers Monroe. Signed to POC Records, the guys have built a large following within their home state and also nationally. Welcome to Independent Music Promotions. Tell us about Rivers Monroe and what you bring to the table.
Mike: Well, hopefully a lot. We are a five piece rock, pop, pop-punk band out of Philly. I’m Mike Monroe and I do lead vocals. We also have Doc whose with us on lead guitar, Mat Rivers plays keys and vocals, Kirby on bass and Dan on drums.
We’ve had a lot of good things happen in the past year including an East coast college tour sponsored by Coke. We’ve been played on a bunch of sports stations like Fox and Versus during Nascar events and the Stanley Cup Finals. Activision also chose us to be one of the main songs in NASCAR 2011 The Game which was released this past year.
Doc: Yea, we are all excited about this year too. We are just finishing the final touches on our album “Meteors” which is being worked on by four time Grammy winner Glenn Barrett at Morning Star Studios. We just played on the Fearless Friends Tour at the TLA and have a big show coming up at Radio 104.5’s Winter Jam with “Fun” and “A New Found Glory.” In the meantime we are looking to book a second tour to launch Q1/Q2 next year.
What do you feel are some of the ways that indie bands should adapt and change in today’s music industry? What qualities should a successful band have?
Doc: The music industry is very different as everyone can obviously see. When I started, personally, you know I had the dream of getting picked up by an A&R, flown to LA and signing a huge contract..boom. Instant Stardom. That doesn’t happen anymore. Initially, this is kind of depressing, any musician who says they don’t want that moment is lying, but it just doesn’t happen.
Instead, the record companies can’t/don’t offer contracts that really make sense…they are all 360’s. B… ninety percent of the bands they sign they just drop if they aren’t an instant hit… so that’s not the way to go. I think the tendency is to think of this as negative, as a loss of opportunity but once you get passed that you realize there is still a huge game out there, it’s just different.
Mike: Yea, there is more music being consumed than ever before and you just have to find that way to sustain yourself and take advantage of the way things work now. There is still plenty of demand for new, great music, you just need to find a way to leverage that to make a living.
Bottom line, we all love making music. We have 5 guys who want nothing more in life than to make music for a living. That’s the starting point. If you have good songs, a distinct image and a great live act opportunities will come. So we work hard at those things and fight our way through the rest…and we’ve had a lot of success!
What have you found works well for you as far as promotion goes?
Mike: Blood, sweat…
Mike: It’s all on you. No one is going to do it for you. It’s tempting, after working hard to write great songs and get really tight to say “We are awesome,” people should like us. If you’ve worked hard enough I guess this works a little, but there are so many great bands out there you really have to set yourself apart. Every show we try to go around and thank every fan for coming… shake their hand, remember their name, tell them we appreciate them.
We want them to know that we appreciate them and their support and that by becoming a fan they are becoming part of a family. That word of mouth spreads.
Doc: Tons of content too. We always want to stay fresh and give our “family” something new to interact with. Videos, pictures, surprise acoustic shows, visiting parties unannounced, twitter, facebook….everything. It’s got to be a story that people can emotionally attach to and feel a part of. We realize that our music isn’t just for us, it’s shared with everyone who listens.
Who in music today do you most admire most and why?
Mike: Anyone who wants it and doesn’t quit. A lot of people say you’ll never make it, time to get a real job… anyone musician who says to doubters “This is my real job.” We’ve all been at this since we were 18, different bands then but the same goal. I look to the people who are in their mid-late twenties, thirties, forties who still won’t give up. That’s gonna be me.
Doc: I mean we are all hoping it won’t take that long.
Mike: Oh yea, we definitely don’t want it to take that long, but if it has to it has to. This is what I do. This is what we do.
Do you have any advice for independent musicians who may feel disillusioned or discouraged at times?
Mike: Patience and resilience.
Doc: Tim Tebow!
Mike: Shut up.
Doc: Sorry, I’m a huge Bronco fan. But I mean it. Like Mike said, Patience and Resilience… we actually have those words tattooed on us between the full band. You will feel discouraged, that’s part of the game but take that feeling and force yourself to work hard.
At the end of the day, no one is going to do it for you. If you want it you can have it, you can make your own luck. We know as a band, if we don’t get to where we want to get, sure there is bad luck, but the responsibility will always be on us. You can look back at your last week, month, year, life whatever and say I could always have worked harder. I could have practiced five more minutes, I could have spent the hour I played video games promoting, I could have made contact with one more fan that night or maybe even 10.
Every day people waste tons of time hitting the snooze button, putting our feet up, watching TV whatever… that’s not a bad thing, but if you really want something you have to constantly be thinking, I can do more to make this happen and today I will.
Mike: You can make all the excuses in the world, but they aren’t really too much consolation when you are looking back at what you could have been.
How can music fans keep tabs on Rivers Monroe?
Doc: For those that both “like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter, they will be getting a special present very soon.
Mike: A very special present! So do it, now before you miss out!!