I previously tried to do something similar to this on our forum which didn’t reap many rewards so I have decided to give this a go as a blog on our website.
So what’s the purpose of this? I figured that it would be an interesting insight for people to read the thoughts and opinions of someone in a little known underground Metal band, how that effects life and what the situations we find ourselves in, while trying to be as honest about it as possible. My philosophy has always been tell the truth, even when we have been advised not to, and certainly our old management didn’t feel the same way I did. We were advised by them to let people believe we were making a living from the band, and that we were genuine rock stars so that people would feel we were above them and thus buy our material. The very suggestion of misleading people in such a way, or having such a low opinion for music fans and their intelligence is totally alien to me and thus why I feel this blog might be a good thing to do, to be different from the rest.
So what’s been happening with me in my personal life? Well not to get into too much detail I have dealt with a sudden and unexpected relationship split that’s left me feeling a little alone and abandoned so I have been coming to terms with this. I have also struggled with my work, having recently received a suspension and months prior had my hours decreased on top of losing the other jobs I was doing so my income right now is pretty low. Amazingly I am on nearly half I was when I was 21 (I am now 30!) yet my expenditure along with everyone else has doubled since then! It all makes for a challenge on top of the band that’s for sure.
I have been desperately learning how to drive on top of work and the band. I have been learning for a number of years now, and by all means can drive I just never passed the theory or practical tests due to time and money. I will hopefully complete and pass both tests this year and that will make life easier. Another issue I have had for two years is a shoulder problem which means I have been in some pain with that. I have had a few hospital trips and I now know its fixable (after being advised I may have to stop playing guitar) and I have been cleared to lift items once again. It’s improved no end since I started rehabilitation and hopefully this will also clear up soon enough.
In terms of the band as ever we have been extremely busy and had to deal with a number of situations. Ant left the band at the start of the year, so we are back to being a four piece with the line up now consisting of myself, Chris who’s nearly been with me for 4 years now, Saxon who joined in 2014 and Stephen who started half way through last year. I have to say the current line-up has worked extremely hard on what will be our third album and I am really impressed with how we are working as a team. The songs that Chris, Sax and Steve have come up with so far have been brilliant, and yesterday the three of them were busying working on new demos for a number of those tracks which we have also been road testing as part of our current live set. The demos are they produced sounded top notch and I am really pleased with how to project is going and the work they have put into Kaine.
Now for the downside. It’s never simple in music, we have had some label offers which we have taken seriously, and a number of other offers in other areas which if put together could have been potentially very good for Kaine. However, as ever, one side has outright refused to work with the other and its back to square one. The truth is, although having the support of a label would be nice, unless it’s one of the bigger ones then there’s very little point in signing. I am still responsible for finding the money for the recordings (which is always in the several thousands). A label will generally take upwards of 75% of the income from that album (often without paying for the recording and providing no advance) which means for us to break even on the record costs wise we would have to sell 90% more records then we would do if we self-released which puts the number of sales required in their thousands, an almost impossible task for a band our size. We know from The Waystone (which is close to breaking even) we can make back what we put in on the next record if we self-release, so unless an extremely good offer comes forward we are likely to stay put.
The way our band works, regardless of me being the founding member I always split any income we receive by as many members we have in the band. Everyone in Kaine is an equal and everyone gets a say in everything from image presentation to the song writing. I often have to loan the guys in the band for items such as amps, vehicles and the costs of recording which they pay back to me in monthly instalments or I take it from their % of the record sale income so they pay me back as and when they can.
Our mind-set is to work hard and whatever happens keep trying, and on that basis I had contacted potential management companies on top of labels at the end of last year but there seemed to be little interest in anyone taking us on. Management issues aside, it’s our ambition to venture out into Europe at some-point. We are already testing ourselves as a headline touring act in Scotland later this year to see if we can’t achieve any success out there on our own. The overall aim is to try and make the band pay us enough just too basically survive on so we can give up our day jobs and do this full time, but as many will tell you as an originals band (and a Metal one) this is extremely hard. I made the effort to write to hundreds of venues/promoters at the end of last year about booking us for 2016 and this resulted in just one response!
We had a tour offer “buy-on” earlier this year also. Now for those who don’t know what a buy-on is, these are mostly for tours done by the big to medium sized bands (but sometimes one off shows and festival slots too) to help them cover their costs and make a living on the road. Labels will often pay out to send their acts on the road with a known band, which they do to gain them exposure in front of what should be a potential audience. The tour offer was the Udo/Anvil European Tour as the support, and the cost to us would have been upwards of £30,000 which is simply beyond our means. This didn’t cover any transport, food or accommodation and we wouldn’t be paid anything for the shows themselves. Venues of certain sizes take a cut of the merch sales too, which would mean even if we had the money to buy on we would have to write it off as a loss. It’s disappointing that we haven’t been able to tour again since 2014 but it just hasn’t been financially viable for the band to do so.
Festival wise we also put ourselves forward to a number of small and medium one’s in the UK and Europe and again we were turned down for these. This cements just how fortunate we were to be given the opportunity to play Wildfire Festival in Scotland last year, because we may never get an opportunity like that again and is still probably my favourite ever gig with Kaine.
The bottom line is its extremely hard work trying to make a go of being in a band, Kaine has been going for 7 years now and we are really trying to break the next level. Everything we have achieved as an underground band has been purely through hard work, and hard work alone. Only the very lucky get that break from a label willing to invest the time and money in building a band and whatever happens we will survive as a DIY band with a strong, personal following and if that’s all we ever achieve we can be proud of that because it’s still a huge achievement in my eyes.
Finally, we were also up for a number of awards at the end of last year after we were successfully nominated with your support for Best British Band, Best Singer and Best Performance at the TBFM Awards. Sadly we didn’t win any of these as after the nomination stage TBFM itself picks the winners, giving all but two of the awards (I think!) to Reign of Fury.
Until next time,