Aug 24, 2006|
HK Magazine: What’s the point of World Battle of the Bands?
Andrew Featherstone: Well, for bands, it’s a way to get some attention, make contacts, win stuff, get aboard, get signed, make steps towards career growth. For me, it’s a way to find new acts for my label, work more with other markets, to establish my record label, travel the world, build my business and have fun in the process.
HK: How much do you make?
AF: Good question. Prior to the WBOB, when it was New Zealand only, I made some money, not a lot, but enough to run the event and inject into my label. Year one of WBOB (2004), I lost around NZ$60,000 (HK$300,000). In 2005, I lost at least NZ$120,000 - that’s over half a million of your dollars. Sounds bad put like that! 2006 is looking a bit better. Growth and more backing and investment are needed before we make any profit.
HK: Why do bands have such a hard time breaking out in Asia?
AF: I think it’s a few things. Firstly, it’s the thing all countries outside the US or the UK face; we’re all swimming against the tide that flows from London, New York and LA. Language is also an issue. I also think the multinational labels don’t put a lot of effort into the export of Asian artists. They seem to believe that, locally, there’s not much demand, apart from the safe bet - can’t go wrong – Cantopop path. Exporting a local, non Cantopop artist, well that’s even harder. Better to sell more “priority,” namely US acts, to everyone to please the shareholders. Plus, perhaps there’s a lack of export-thinking Asia-based indie labels, management companies, booking agencies.
HK: How have finalists done after the event?
AF: A few bands that have taken part have gone onto local success in their home countries. Jaggedy Ann was the first WBOB runner-up to internationally tour and release an album.
HK: Any inspirational advice for contestants?
AF: Be entertaining! It’s the entertainment business, after all, not just the music business. I’m not saying wear clown suits and jump around on trampolines, just have a show and make it as close to world class as you can. Work on the songs; make them the best they can be. Think, “What would a producer do?” Highlight the best parts, cut out the weak bits.