From the roaring thunder of distortion and heart-piercing fuzz of début single ‘Whoever’, October Drift unforgettably barraged into our playlists and ran kicking and screaming into our hearts. The foursome have since completed their first UK tour and continue to race forward with heavy hearts and soaring atmospherics into what seems like a very bright future.
We sat down with the band to get to know them better, and discuss everything October Drift related – from the hand crafted merch all the way to their brilliant use of viral marketing. Read the first part of our exclusive chat with October Drift.
You’ve taken quite a DIY approach to every aspect of the band – from the bespoke vinyl to the hand crafted merch. Why did you decide to take this route in particularly?
October Drift: “First of all thank you for noticing the vinyl and limited edition aspect to what we are doing. It’s good to see it being recognised.
The time and effort we are putting into what we do, whether it be the time we spend creating this hand made merch to the time we spend rehearsing our live set is all for anyone out there who takes the time and spends their money to come to our gigs.
It might sound cliche but we want to be the band that we would want to go and see, and we want our merch and vinyl to be the exact same style, the kind of things that we would want to buy ourselves.
We’re definitely not in this band to do anything lazily or half hearted. We want to do the very best we possibly can for everyone who likes us and our music, and we’ll always be the same. Our music is really important to us, but without people coming to the shows and liking what we do it’s all for nothing.
Our followers already seem to be into what we’re doing and we get a real motivation from that, to keep doing things as well as we possibly can. We will never stop working as hard as we can.”
It’s great to come across a band that cares about giving back to their fans, and not just sticking to the run-of-the-mill ethos of churning out generic merch.
“Cheers and we agree. We’ll always try and do something a little different and special for anyone coming to see us.
The time and effort we put into preparing the vinyls or handmade art is more than worth it when we get the feedback from people who come and get our merch. Hopefully there will be some real collectors items in amongst it all for them.”
For a band to still remain a little ambiguous in the current climate is quite rare. What’s the reason behind the mystery – the reluctance to stay away from social media and mainly rely on good old-fashioned word of mouth?
“Firstly we’re not doing anything to be mysterious as such.
We don’t want to be seen as a band who are being obnoxious or disrespectful in any way but we simply think that the social media side of being in a band is a bit overdone by the bands themselves sometimes.
To have bands telling you what they had for tea, or what colour socks the drummer is wearing that day all seems forced.
Similarly, to say that John is 27 years old and plays bass and we got our band name from walking down a street and seeing a photo on a wall (we didn’t by the way) seems a tired thing to talk about too.
If you have nothing to say, then say nothing is our motto on this one.
There’s a huge pressure on bands to ‘engage’ with their fans which is fine to a degree, and there’s a realisation that bands need momentum from stats like Facebook likes or Soundcloud views to get accepted by ‘industry’, but when a band starts to become a social media machine instead of just an incredible live band then the message kind of gets lost.
I think that word of mouth is underestimated too. Let’s remember that most bands people get into are through recommendation on the quality of the music or live show than the overexposed social media postings and we’d much rather have the music fans recommending us any day of the week.
There’s also a belief that a band can’t succeed without having a Facebook page, or an active Twitter account, and that may be totally true, and social media may be the future, but right now it’s not for us at all.
We just want to focus on people liking our live show, appreciating our hand made artwork and vinyls, and just getting into the actual band’s music rather than anything else.
There’s also a case of supply and demand. Often you see bands that offer so much supply (they drop out all their music, they post photos every day, they post details about what they’re dong daily) it outstrips the actual demand for it.
Things like that soon become tired to the average person who has numerous bands on their newsfeed all doing the same thing.
Everything with this band is about creating a demand for what we do so we’ll put everything into every show we do, we’ll meet every single fan who wants to meet us after shows, and we’ll stay until the last one has left the venue.
At the end of the day we’d rather invest our time in spending time face to face with our followers, and spending time creating our artwork and rehearsing our live show.
We rehearse our live set on stages during the day and go through the set over and over, so we can tweak and refine everything so it’s as good as we can make it. We totally believe in our live show, and hopefully anyone who sees us will agree that we put everything into it.”
Do you think it’s important for bands to step back from the spotlight and just let the music do the talking?
“A band who says that can be accused of being arrogant these days and that’s a sign of how expected it is for every single band to all be the same and how it’s expected that you splash your photos, behind the scenes videos and hand over all the details of your band all over social media or in the press.
At the end of the day we’re in a band to play live, for anyone who wants to come and see us, and the live show and the music is certainly our priority.
We’re just getting started with this project and we’d rather people press play on our YouTube channel or Soundcloud and enjoy what we do than have to make a post on Facebook every day or continually tweet content out to the world that nobody really wants to hear.
It all comes back to supply and demand. We’re a new band with one track, one press shot, and one video out, so right now there’s not going to be a huge swathe of people wanting to know all the ins and outs of our day to day lives.
Many new bands operate their bands like they’re in U2 or Coldplay, where they’ll be tweeting stuff like ‘Manchester you were great.. See you next time’ and then you look and there’s literally no reaction to it at all.
It’s like bands have this trodden path that they all feel they should go down that every other band has gone and done before them, and it’s simply not true.
Do what you want to do, and what feels right to you and your band, and not what you see every other band doing.
If bands want to be in people’s faces all the time that’s up to them and in some cases it works well, but for us personally it’s just not something we are interested in really, and we’d rather make music than spend our days being slaves to a social media feed.
We have a mailing list on our website (www.octoberdrift.co.uk) that we communicate with our fans on, but even then it’s only rarely that we send out emails and only when we have anything interesting to say.
People have busy lives, they’re hammered by everyone else and this huge wall of noise on facebook, twitter, emails, text messages, radio, tv etc and we don’t want to add to all that noise ourselves. We would rather sit back and grow the band by putting on shows that means people come back, and bring friends with them.”
As a new band it can be difficult at times to gain recognition, when there are millions of other bands also trying to do the same thing. Especially making music in the digital age, where you’re one of the many trying to get your music out into the world and noticed. How do you try to counterbalance this and raise awareness of your music?
“It all comes down to what you want in terms of recognition.
The number one absolute main priority for us is enjoying what we do and being proud of the music we make, and knowing that we put on the best shows that we can. I think anything after that is great.
We have a great team around us and this allows us to spend almost all our time in our studio recording music. We’ll let everyone else shout out about us if they want to and we genuinely really appreciate every time someone recommends us, plays us, or comes to see us.
If we get recognised for what we do then great, but the band itself aren’t going to spend any amount of time on it. We’ll let everyone else do that for us if they want to.
We have people around us who approach radio stations with our music, or approach magazines and blogs to see if there’s any interest in mentioning what we do and that’s great, but ultimately we want people to come and see us, or listen to our music and recommend us to their friends. That’s the true measure of how good you are.”
OCTOBER DRIFT MAY TOUR