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Masters In France: world domination part one

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Bethan Elfyn Bethan Elfyn | 07:58 UK time, Wednesday, 11 January 2012

As you can probably see now from the myriad of 'new sound' lists in all the mags, radio shows, and on this here blog, January is a great time for new bands to make a bit of a splash.

Masters In France

Masters In France

Most of the work, however, has already been done during the previous year, and in order to get some support for your band it is vital to do so in a consistent way. After rehearsals, recording, playing local gigs, there is always the desire for world domination. Yet how do you go about the baby steps towards getting some good gigs, some radio play, some print or blog reviews and all the rest?

I caught up with one of the hardest working, most determined bands I know, who against all the odds of being quite isolated in their north-west-Wales location, have knocked on doors and made a few friends in the music industry in a short period of time. As well as catching up with Masters In France to talk about their new single, I thought I'd pick their brains about how they've gone about setting up a label, organising gigs around the UK, and other advice they might have for brand new bands starting out.

Hi Masters In France! Good to hear you have a new single and tour sorted. It's a good start to the year, so tell me about the new single.

"It's called Fall Down and it was recorded at Studio Ferlas where we've recorded all of our material so far. The track is really open to interpretation - we don't like to tell people what our tracks are about, it spoils the fun of listening to new music!

"It's another single that we'll be self-releasing on Bone Dry Records. Our fans won't have to pay for the single, but will need to tweet a link to the track or post it on Facebook to gain access to the download. This will be launched via our new website in February."

You're a hard working band, so how do you delegate promotional work within the band?

"It was a one-man operation when we started but we soon realised it was too much for one person, so Ed and myself (Math) do most of the super cool stuff like send emails, make phones calls and organise all the promo material for press and radio."

What's been a big help for you when it comes to organising your own tour and gigs?

"Booking gigs and tours is by far the hardest thing to do, and when you're based in north west Wales it makes it even harder. Finding good venues and promoters can be like finding a needle in a haystack. But when you start picking up a few radio plays, gigs and reviews locally, the ball starts rolling and it gradually becomes easier."

You also run your own record label. Since you started, what sorts of things have you learned about?

"All the things like writing, recording and rehearsals comes naturally, it makes sense to do those things. What took us a while to figure out was how to send demos (wavs, mp3s, bitrates and so on) which social sites to use, how to get our music on the radio and to press. It probably took a year or so for us to figure it out properly.

"The best thing about DIY, though, is that you can do things as you want them, and it's very fulfilling when you make new fans, play a brilliant gig, or sell a few CDs, because you know that you did it off your own back. It also gives you the confidence to go and do it with other projects."

What would you like to improve on, and what do you wish was different in terms of your experience of the music industry?

"A few things irritate me about the music industry, but the one thing that gets me the most is illegal downloads. Generally it affects everyone involved in the music industry, it devalues the product and makes it a lot harder for new bands.

"I'd like to see the government clamp down on it. I've been thinking a lot about inventing a self-destruct computer that blows up when you illegally download music! When people looted shops during the riots they were punished, and rightly so. But when millions of tracks have been illegally downloaded over the years it's sad to see that no serious action has been taken.

"I can't see anyone getting away with picking up a few free paintings from the Tate, so why should it be any different with music?"

What should a new band concentrate on first if they wanted to follow in your footsteps? What aspect of self promotion and organisation is the most important?

"Both are equally important for a young band that's starting out. Getting a record together, playing a few local shows and getting your friends involved is a great place to start. If it's something that you want to make a living out of then I'd recommend spending some time looking at what record labels do, and a getting a feel of how to go about it.

"If you have a quirky idea for promoting a single that might generate some interest in the band, go for it. There's no rule book! You probably won't have the budget that labels have either, so you'll have to work harder at being as good, creative and organised as the labels that have been established for years."

What do Masters In France have in store for the rest of the year?

"We've got two tours, in February and April, and we've been talking to people about recording our début album. Hopefully a festi-full summer and we'll take it from there."

What was the highlight of 2011 that will have to be trumped this year?

"I think being playlisted on Radio One and playing the Cardiff Big Weekend was up there, we didn't really expect it! Getting the album recorded and ready for release will trump it all though."

Which bands and musicians are you listening to right now?

"We all listen to loads of different artists and could spend all day talking about them, but I've been listening a lot to Radiohead's The King Of Limbs recently. I've seen a lot of bad reviews but it's a great album! It gets better every time you listen to it. They played a lot of it on the Park stage at Glastonbury this year, and I can't wait to see them tour it."

Remind me of your web links for all Masters In France's activity.

"You can find us on YouTube, Twitter, Soundcloud, and our own website which is launching in February. Meanwhile, Bone Dry Records is a lo-fi affair over at Facebook."

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