Interview: October Drift

If you’ve not heard of October Drift yet, then you’ve probably spent too much time with your head buried in Facebook pages and not enough time browsing the various music platforms which have discovered the reverb-soaked, fuzzy guitar-led raucous sound that the four-piece serve up. The strategy is a simple one: focus on the music and the rest will follow. And so far it’s paid off, packing out venues across the UK and releasing debut singles ‘Whoever’, ‘Lost’ and ‘You Are, You Are’ to plenty of avail. With a new single in the pipeline and their latest tour heading to Corporation in October, we collared the shadowy bunch for an interview.

You’ve managed to sell out UK tours despite being shrouded in mystery to some extent. Does this completely undermine the focus on social media interaction for bands today?
Yes, we think it does. Every band nowadays is told that they have to constantly be in people’s faces on Facebook and Twitter, updating them about every aspect of their band. This just isn’t true. I think there’s a big misconception with some bands, where they feel they have to constantly post in order to seem active from an outsiders perspective, leading to people’s news feeds being continuously clogged up with no real ‘news’ updates. The problem is that it’s a catch 22 and it’s a difficult situation for bands to be in. Do they only post newsworthy posts and seem inactive, or do they constantly post statuses about nothing? Promoters, radio producers, record labels etc., all use Facebook likes and Twitter followers as a way of gauging how ‘big’ your band is. As a result of this the focus for bands is now on getting as many people to like their page as possible. But how many of those people are actually fans of your band? How many of them engage with posts, or post about you on their page, or come down to your shows? People still tell us that we need to get social media, but at this point in time we just don’t feel it’s necessary. We’d rather spend our time focusing on writing and creating the best work we can.

In that case, what do you believe is the most important aspect for a band to focus on in order to develop an audience?
The songs you write and the content you put out are without a doubt the foundation that every band should be built on. You could execute the best marketing idea in the world, but if the music and the content is second rate, then it’ll do nothing for you. As a band we are obsessive about every aspect of this, from our song writing and recording, right the way through to how the photos we put out are edited. We’ve spent a week recording a song before, only to scrap it and start again because we felt it was 1bpm too slow. It can become a bit tedious at times and I’m sure that there has been many occasions when we’ve all wanted to kill each other because someone has gone all ‘as good as it gets’ on a certain aspect of the song. But in the end we believe its meticulous scrutiny like this that helps our songs reach their full potential.
Finally, we think it’s important to get to know the people who are into your band. Anyone who is taking the time to buy our music, or come down to a show, is so important to us. Without them we might as well go and get full time jobs now. We make sure that after a show we stay and chat to anyone who wants to. We’re on first name terms with a lot of our fans and go out for drinks with them after shows. For us, it’s all about making people feel like they are part of something.

In a sense, I suppose the relationship becomes a bit more ‘real’ and personal when the only interaction people have with the band is either live or through music…
Yes, definitely. We don’t want to have to throw our band in people’s faces online in order to make them become a fan. We think it’s a much more authentic relationship if someone gets into your band just because they like the music.

Your tour has taken you all over the UK. Have you discovered any mad little venues which surprised you?
Kraak Galleries in Manchester was a little gem! For a band like us who are somewhat in the shadows, when 200 tickets get sold for a show and only about a quarter of the people going have any idea where the venue is, it already gets us excited. There are no signs for the venue anywhere and the entrance is down a tiny alleyway in a random back street in Manchester. There was a real underground vibe to it – which we love.

The masked dude(s) from the videos – who is he?
We definitely can’t tell you that! All I’ll say is that it’s more than one person.

Your gigs have received rave write-ups, with many commending the atmosphere and intensity throughout. What are the key factors to a strong live show?
Different elements work for different bands. We’ve seen shows where the artist has played about five songs and spent the rest of the show joking around with the audience and it’s worked amazingly. If we tried throwing out some knock knock jokes between tracks, however, it would completely ruin the show. I think the best thing you can do as a band is play to your strengths. If bantering with the audience doesn’t work for your type of show, then find something that does. Our singer says almost nothing between songs, but we do other things to fill the gaps. There’s nothing worse than the awkward silence between tracks when everyone’s waiting for the singer to say something of interest, whilst the guitarist tunes up.

How is the autumn shaping up for the band? Any big plans?
We’re going on a twelve-date tour which starts in London on Oct 7 and finishes with our Corporation show in November. We can’t wait to get started with it. Playing live is what we love to do and being able to do this many dates is a real bonus for us. With the way things look at the moment, we’re expecting a few of the shows to sell out in the next few days/weeks, which just makes us all the more impatient to get going!

Most importantly, WHEN’S THE NEXT RELEASE? Or do us one better and give us an EP, eh, lads?
Our new single, ‘Robots’, is out on November 13 and will be released on limited edition vinyl and cd. No EP just yet! We’ve gotta keep you guys wanting more!

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