Meg & Dia On Touring, Their New Release, And Growing Your Fanbase

January 19, 2012

Meg & Dia is a sister-led band that knows what it’s like to release music independently, as well as through a major label.  Since Dia Frampton, the band’s lead singer, made it to the final round of NBC’s “The Voice,” Meg & Dia has been gaining more fans and exploring where the music takes them.  Most recently it has taken them on a tour with country singer Blake Shelton, where the band is performing as “Dia Frampton.”  Read on as Meg Frampton (vocals, piano, guitar) discusses the tour, establishing a fanbase, and how they got the name for their new album “Be Careful, I Love You, Stay In Touch.”

Band Members: Dia Frampton (Vocals), Meg Frampton (Vocals/Piano/Guitar), Carlo Gimenez (Guitar), Nick Price (Drums/Percussion), Jonathan Snyder (Bass)

Without using the words “alternative,” “rock,” “folk,” or “singer/songwriter,” describe your sound.
We sound like young people trying to be old. We write about a lot of heavy subjects like death, suicide, and romantic love. We try to challenge ourselves instrumentally, and I hope in most cases the outcome is enjoyable, but I think that lately I believe that doing a simple thing well is better than doing a difficult thing without energy. We sound “rootsy,” “earthy,” “sad,” and “thoughtful.” I hope that to a lot of people we sound like “hope.”

I know you’re getting ready for a tour with Blake Shelton, and Meg and Dia will be performing as “Dia Frampton.” Will the tour focus primarily on Dia’s new solo album Red, or will you also be performing songs from the new Meg & Dia album, Be Careful, I Love You, Stay In Touch?
At all of the Blake Shelton shows we will only play music from Dia’s new record Red. At the Dia Frampton headlining shows we will throw in a couple “Meg and Dia” songs. I think that when we get asked this question, the underlying question is “Are you ok with the transition?” There, I made this interview tense! Ha ha. I actually would like to take this moment to say that being part of a musical group (in our case being part of a musical family), it’s just like life. There isn’t one straight path to get you to the end. There are stops, and reversals, and perhaps “other routes,” and when you find yourself going a different direction than expected, you learn how to enjoy yourself immensely, learn from the craziness that is life, and feel tremendous pride and inspiration by the others around you who have helped to forge your own path.

What was the inspiration for your brand new release, Be Careful, I Love You, Stay In Touch?
Those were some “extra” tracks that were “left over” from Cocoon. These tracks some of us loved more than the songs on Cocoon. The actual meaning of the EP title comes from one of our mother’s concerns before we left once again to go on the road. It signifies being excited and worried when someone you love is about to embark on a journey.

What led to the decision to release Be Careful I Love You Stay In Touch through TuneCore?
We really respect TuneCore for being a fantastic avenue to connect listeners to great music, and we were really excited to be part of it.

What has helped you establish your substantial fan base? Do you have any words of wisdom for artists looking to build their own fanbase?
The internet. MySpace, when MySpace was MySpace. Facebook. A lot of one-on-one crowd interaction at shows and via internet. Probably a lot of people won’t like this advice (even some people in Meg and Dia) but I get a lot of great marketing advice from some great books on the market today.

MySpace seems to have played a big part in your rise to popularity; it helped you gain fans and you were chosen as the official MySpace band on the Warped Tour 2006. What do you think about MySpace’s relevance today? Do you identify any social media platform for music as having the kind of impact that Myspace had at its height?
Sadly, although I believe Tom, the founder, is an incredible person and I really look up to him, Myspace is becoming less relevant in my opinion. It had its purpose, and for one reason or another that train has come and gone. I think Facebook is taking over quite nicely.

How crucial would you say it is for independent artists to tour? What do you see as the benefits and costs of touring?
I used to think it was a lot more crucial than I do now. Of course it is great to get your hands dirty and go and have a bunch of intimate shows across America to meet people, but I really think that the internet and connecting with people all across the globe is a fantastic benefit to an artist.

Meg & Dia have released records both independently and through Warner Bros. Records. Dia is currently signed to Universal Republic. How do the advantages of working independently versus working for a major label stack up against one another?
Well, I’ll tell ya one thing, I think TV exposure wins as far as gaining new fans. We’ve been touring for years the good old fashioned way and can’t come close to the number of new fans Dia has reached this year after only one season on “The Voice.”  Major labels are great for some things, and indie labels are great for some things. It’s the same as putting up your favorite mom and pop cafe next to a big chain like P.F. Changs. I love my favorite local sushi place back at home in Austin. They connect with their customers personally, and put so much attention to detail into every aspect of their restaurant, but at the same time I wouldn’t frown upon some lemon chicken from P.F. Changs.

I think that the decision to be on a major v.s. independent really depends on the individual artist’s situation and where that person or band expects to end up and how he or she wants to achieve that goal.

How important is it for independent artists to invest in professional studios, producers, and engineers, versus artists doing it themselves? Where does Meg & Dia’s recording process fall on the spectrum from DIY to hiring professionals?
We’ve done it both ways.  Again, there are advantages to both. You can have a professional, shimmery record if you go to a professional studio, and that’s great. It WILL sound professional. But, I think I’d opt for the “DIY” way, not because of actual sound quality per say, but mainly because you don’t feel any pressure from anyone else, you can take your time, and really come into your own element which is the best environment creatively.

Any idea what’s next?
Nope! But…that’s the exciting part right?

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*Interview with assistance from Will Daly*