Female-fronted UK rock band Anavae knows that in order to grow, independent artists need to stick together. Their debut single under LAB Records, Storm Chaser, just hit stores, and they’ve already got more music in the works. We had the chance to talk to the band about using social media to keep their fans engaged (and get new ones!), why they chose to release their first record under the pay-what-you-want model, and where they’re headed.
Without using ‘conventional’ genre words, describe your sound.
We’re glad you asked that! It’s so hard to give a genre, as we love to play and experiment with different things. We’d say we are a female fronted mish-mash that aim to create sounds from the future, whether that be achieved through using sci-fi samples, synths or just slightly more unconventional musical techniques.
Your debut single under LAB Records, Storm Chaser just came out this week. What marketing/promotion have you done leading up to its release?
Prior to signing with LAB, pretty much our entire focus was online. With ‘Storm’ we’ve tried to continue that good work whilst branching out to print media, and in the past couple of weeks we’ve even received our first national radio play in the UK. We have a really dedicated fan base on Facebook, YouTube and our mailing list, so the biggest challenge is making sure they’re the first to know about everything.
You’ve developed an impressive social media following in your first year. Can you give some specific examples of what you did to achieve this?
We feel that a lot of it is from YouTube. We put a lot of effort into our cover videos, online presence and appearance, and our interaction with fans. We aim to make our YouTube channel a place people want to come back to every now and then.
We’ve done covers on YouTube to gain the attention of other artists’ fans, and we’ve also done a few collaborations for the same reason. Cross-promotion is a great thing when you’re starting out—don’t be afraid to work alongside other artists and help each other.
We like to use Twitter and Facebook to make fans feel that they can contact us at any time. This has actually helped us sell merch and records as fans have no qualms about asking us for more details about sizing, colours and that sort of thing. I guess it’s an informal customer services set-up!
We also try to make a lot of ‘like-to-win’ statuses to keep our audience engaged and interacting with us to improve traffic on the page, and obviously give something back to those fans who help spread our music. For Storm Chaser we actually put 600 fans names in the booklet to say thank-you to them for sharing our stuff on Facebook.
Also, proper punctuation and grammar are a big part of our online appearance. We have a few guidelines we stick by when posting text online so that there is a running theme and style to our presence. It costs nothing to be professional.
I heard that you used the pay-what-you-want model for your first record. How did that worked out?
That worked out amazingly well for us. At first we wanted to release the EP for free so that more and more people could (and would be willing to) hear it. But then we discovered Bandcamp’s pay-what-you-want model and gave that a go. The attention and feedback we got from this method went far beyond our expectations.
Do you own your own publishing? Or have you signed a pub-admin deal?
Right now we own all of our publishing. It’s something we’ve had a little interest in but having just signed a recording deal, we’re keen to see where the first half of this year takes us before committing to anything else.
What are your goals as a band, and how are you working toward those goals?
We’re very much looking forward to the Ourzone tour in April. Not only because it will be our first full UK tour, but also because we’ve been receiving such an amazing amount of messages from lovely people in the North of the country asking us to play in their hometowns! It’ll be great to play to a ton of new fans.
We’d love to continue getting opportunities like this and get the chance to explore and play in more and more places that we’ve never been to before. As with all bands, we’d love to travel the world and take our music to the U.S. and Asia.
What advice would you give to other independent artists?
Don’t underestimate the generosity and willingness to support from your fan base. The general consensus about the industry is that no one wants to pay for music anymore. This may be true for some, but we feel that more and more people are realizing how important it is to support the bands they love.
Also, and quite obviously, just create something you really, really love. Create in a way that makes you feel better. If it’s organic than that will come across and people will want to (hopefully) be a part of that.
So what’s next for Anavae?
We have our next EP written and ready to go, and we’re going back into the studio in the next couple of months to record it. We can’t wait to get it done as we feel such a strong bond toward these songs, even more so than with any of our previous material. We’ve also just begun writing for our album which we plan to release sometime in 2014.
But before all that we have Storm Chaser, and we can’t wait for our fans to hear it.