October 19, 2012

Millennial Music: Phone Interview With Electric Guest

Electric Guest Phone Interview | Saratoga Springs Concerts | Saratoga Millennial
Electric Guest talks about their fans, social media, and
their upcoming show at Upstate Concert Hall
As we reported last Wednesday, Saratoga Millennial recently had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Matt Compton, one of the founding members of today's hit alternative/indie rock band, "Electric Guest."

Matt Compton (drums) and Asa Taccone (vocals/instrumentals) are headed to Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park this Tuesday, and tickets are still on sale.

As a preview for the upcoming show, listen and find out how the band has used social media to connect with their fans, why performing at a smaller venue is more fun than a festival, and what surprises the band has in store for fans on Tuesday!

Complete transcript of the interview:

JC: Your most popular song, as far as radio play, is currently “Head That I Hold.” It’s a cool, upbeat tune that’s fresh and separates itself really from any other song on alternative or indie rock stations today.

However, it’s also a very different type of song as far as style is concerned, from the rest of the songs on “Mondo,” certainly compared to “Trouble Man” or “American Daydream.”

Knowing that the upbeat tempo of “Head That I Hold” is what has initially gained traction for the band, does that lead to something greater?

Do you think you will pivot your style to match this specific form, what’s really the future direction of Electric Guest as far as, obviously being successful, but also maintaining that sense of originality that brought you to the main stage?

Electric Guest: Well, I think that song is a good example of the rest of the album because it is, it does mash a lot of genres, and I think that when we’re making that first record, that was something that I don’t think we were necessarily going to do, but it just kinda ending up happening.

I think that we will definitely continue on the second album, we definitely, um, Asa and I kinda pull from different references, you know kinda being influenced by different music and, having two different backgrounds musically. But we both started writing stuff for the new album, I think probably early this next year, in 2013 we are going to try to go to the studio and record some stuff.

JC: So my next question is about social media and its role or influence in your career. You guys have a Youtube channel that has over 4.5 million views, a Facebook fan page with over 40,000 likes, and about 6,500 followers on your Twitter account.

Do you think your relationship with your fans is stronger because of these forms of social media? How does it fit in with the goals and future of Electric Guest?

Electric Guest: Well, I think that it definitely has helped us for sure. I mean, I would say that and radio are kinda the two big things that helped us.

We want to, we actually just filmed a video of us doing a cover of a song called, “Honeybus” it’s actually a group called, “Honeybus” and the songs called, “Be Thou By My Side.” We’re trying to do more stuff, more videos to put up onto Youtube channel now, or tour stuff or whatever, because it’s important to kind of, do that.

JC: Yea, I know for a lot of bands, especially ones who aren’t on that main brink of being completely mainstream, it’s been a phenomenal source, ever since the days of Myspace being really popular, kind of trumping Facebook.

It’s just been an excellent opportunity to connect with people who, may otherwise never have the opportunity to reach you.

Electric Guest: Yea, totally!

JC: Now, as far as your show Tuesday in Clifton Park, your show at Upstate [Concert] Hall is certainly a smaller venue in size compared to other music venues in New York’s capital district.

For the fans, Upstate [Concert] Hall is an excellent opportunity to see their favorite bands in an intimate setting, where they can pretty much stand anywhere and still be relatively close to you.

Does the same thing apply for you as a performing artist? Do you prefer smaller venues where you can see all of your fans before you, or does the excitement of performing in an arena in front of thousands of people trump that form of intimacy?

Electric Guest: I prefer the intimacy personally. I mean, we’ve had to do both this summer, we play a lot of big festivals and stuff, but I think there’s always more of a connection when the venues are a little bit smaller and you can, like you said, see everyone.

One of my favorite clubs in the whole country is The Troubadour, it isn’t that big, it’s in L.A. and it’s not that big, but you can really see everyone in the audience and wherever you are in the audience, if you’re going to see a band, you can always get a very good view.

I think that just adds to much more to the experience and feeling what an artist is actually about. The sound being a little more contained always helps too. At a certain level you get to festivals and it’s kinda like, for me when I’m watching bands, I just get a little taken out and will want to meander around the festival for a little bit, just because, I don’t know, those four walls aren’t around you, keeping you locked in and focused.

JC: Yea, I’ve been to many, many different types of festivals and obviously, I grew up a mile down from Upstate [Concert] Hall so comparing the two, in a large field like at Bonaroo, it kinda becomes background noise after a while where you’re really focusing in on the setting before you, rather than just the band.

JC: One of the more well known things about Saratoga County, is its connection and relationship with the arts. From the performing arts to its music scene, there is a tremendous amount of diversity as far as the variety of genres and styles of music that are played in local venues and radio stations alike.

One of the radio stations that carries your music in Saratoga County is WEQX, an independent alternative rock station that has been around now for almost three decades. Other communities, even as large as Boston, MA have actually lost almost all of their alternative and indie rock stations.

What does the independent music scene mean to you as a fan of music, and as a band that has fallen into the alternative, indie rock genre?

Electric Guest: Well for us, I think one of the first people to ever play our music was KCRW in Los Angeles, which is a smaller radio station. I listen to them when I’m home and it’s crazy how much, personally how much that helped us.

You know, any bands that I’ve been in the past, have never really, radio’s never really done a lot. This is actually the first time that people are like, “I heard you guys on the radio.” It’s kinda like a dying thing that happens now, most everything is like what you were saying earlier about Youtube, Soundcloud they have, or something else.

So it’s really cool that people are, it seems like people are still investing in radio, whether it be something small like that or Sirius or something crazy big or they just pay a subscription or something. But I think it’s definitely helped us tremendously, especially because the first songs they played was crazy that they played “Touble Man,” which is the longest song on the album and that’s the one they chose to play.

JC: That’s interesting, going off that point there. You said that you were in many other bands prior to Electric Guest where you didn’t really have any radio air play, is that different for you?

I mean, obviously there’s something about performing in front of hundreds, if not thousand of people over a tour, and everyone coming up to you who you don’t necessarily know, has it been somewhat of a culture shock actually hearing yourself on the radio, or is it just the same as any other day?

Electric Guest:
It’s definitely been a little bit of a culture shock. We were just in France a couple of weeks ago and doing like a week and a half in France.

It was crazy to walk into a gas station and hear our song play, which is like the most common of places that, I never thought I would hear my band on the radio.

I think it’s also been surprise too, the amount of different kinds of people who; it was originally like… When I was growing up, it was like, if you are in a punk band then punk people would go see your band play, and if you were an indie rock, you had indie rock crowds.

This is like, the first time that the crowd has been extremely diverse, everything from indie rock people to full-on 50-year-old adults, it’s been everywhere.

JC: Now one of the videos that you have on Youtube, Asa talks about how you guys took five and half years to create your first album.

Adam Durtiz of The Counting Crows has said before that as an music artist, you have your whole life to write your first album and five minutes to write your second. Now that you have written and released your first album, do you think that the time you invested in it has paid off, are you feeling the pressure of staying relevant, or are you enjoying the time being and letting yourself absorb this phenomenal experience?

Electric Guest: I think it’s been a little bit of both honestly. We are a little crazy when we go home, in the studio working on something so we have been able to work a little bit, since we’ve been traveling, but I think we are definitely feeling like we need a solid break from touring to actually focus on writing.

It takes you a little bit of time when you get home to decompress and get into that frame of mind. You’re definitely right, we already have a lot written for a second album which is good, but we just want to be able to spend a chunk of time, and honestly not feel pressure.

I feel like most of it now I everyone pressuring you to put out stuff. Get out for the next one ya know, I think if you just don’t listen to that and are like, work on the music and make it solid, then hopefully that pressure kind of is gone. You’re not fearful of what you’re putting out, which is definitely the most important thing for us.

I think we want to make the second album just as good, if not better than the first.

JC: I’ve interviewed many bands coming off of their first album’s success and they always say something along the lines of, the pressure to immediately release something, obviously on behalf of the record label, but you lose that sense of yourself when you push yourself or when you rush yourself, so that’s excellent to hear from you.

JC: My last question is, your EP “Holiday” is set to be released this Monday, a day before your show in Clifton Park. What can your fans in Saratoga County expect for Tuesday’s show?

Will there be new hits added to the tour? Anything that will be exclusive to that specific venue?

Electric Guest: We wrote “Holiday” for this tour that we are going to be playing there, and that’s a new one. We have been trying to learn a couple other ones, hopefully we will have it together by then, but definitely “Holiday” is going to be a new one that we’re adding to our show.

It’s gonna be cool, I like that venue actually, I think it’s great!
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