Creators talking shop: indie in the digital age
Chris Chu, Jonathan Chu and Julian Harmon originally formed indie rock band POP ETC as The Morning Benders in Berkeley, CA in 2005. They’re now based in Brooklyn.
We asked Chris Chu, lead singer of the band, about the evolution of their musicianship over the 10 years and how tools like SoundCloud have enabled them to continue growing fan base.
How does SoundCloud let you to share your music with old fans who knew you as The Morning Benders and today, as POP ETC?
It’s the easiest and quickest way to get music to people directly. It’s really important to us to have as close a relationship with our fans as possible, and it helps us cultivate that.
How has SoundCloud allowed you to change and grow, both from a business perspective and an creative one?
It’s given us a lot of freedom to just make more music. We frequently put up alternate versions of songs on SoundCloud because it’s a fast moving platform that allows for that, and people go to it seeking that.
How does your fan base support your releases on SoundCloud?
The feedback is really great. People really like the site and as a result they like to share songs from it, which helps bands like us a lot.
Has your sound changed over the years? If so, how? As you all grow as individuals, how do you process the changes that come about when creating together?
Yes, it’s changed a lot! It’s pretty important for us to always try something new. Listening to our music over the years, I think that’s pretty easy to hear. We’re always changing and trying new things as individuals and as a band. If we aren’t doing something that is exciting to all three of us, I think people will be able to hear and feel that. We never want that to happen.
How do you think the way people consume music is changing compared to how maybe you’ve grown up with it?
It seems people listen to more artists, but for less time. I grew up buying vinyl and CDs and listening to full albums. People listen more to single songs now. We’ll see that reflected in our SoundCloud numbers, people will replay a song hundreds of times… which is AWESOME.
What changes do you predict for the future of the music business?
Oh I have no idea anymore. As long as there is good music out there, and there always will be, people will be buying music, in some shape or form, and supporting artists.
How has SoundCloud played a role in your career?
It’s hard to quantify, but I know that A LOT of people have heard us through SoundCloud. Its definitely had a big impact.
What are your next goals and steps that we should look forward to in the coming months?
We have our new album Souvenir coming out on the 29th. We’ll be touring a bunch around the release and into this year, and we’ll definitely continue making new music.
Any tips for creators just getting started?
Just make whatever you want. If it’s heartfelt, people will gravitate towards what you are doing.