LA-based rock quartet Dommin first made waves when they released their debut album, Love is Gone, on Roadrunner in 2010. However, despite successful touring stints and ardent support from a rapidly-growing fan base, Roadrunner dropped their contract and put them in limbo for their second album. After spending a couple of years getting back on their feet, Dommin initiated a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign that supported the recording and release of their second album, Rise, which came out on June 23rd. The band was invited to play on Saturday, August 8th, at the 17th anniversary show for Bar Sinister in Los Angeles. The following day, vocalist/guitarist Kristofer Dommin and keyboardist Konstantine X sat down with us to talk about the process of Rise, how they recovered from the sudden termination of their contract, and what it means to have one of the most devoted groups of fans in all of modern rock.
First of all, how was the show last night?
Kris: I thought it was incredible!
Konstantine: Yeah, we had a blast. We were blown away by the presence again. Every single time we have a show, there’s always that small doubt in our mind, especially after a long hiatus, about who’s still interested and who’s going to show up. But when you get that crowd cheering for you and singing along, it lifts up your heart and reminds you why you’re doing it.
Kris: I would say that, just looking inwardly at ourselves, I had such a good vibe, and I felt really comfortable and relaxed. My voice was stronger than it’s ever been, and we were really tight. I guess I had really low expectations for us, and I was just impressed with ourselves within the band and how well everybody did. It was awesome.
You mentioned the long hiatus. This was your first show since late 2013. It’s definitely been a long time between live performances. Was there a lot of preparation for this show as a result?
Kris: Three rehearsals?
Konstantine: Yeah, we practiced three days. It was kind of like riding a bike.
Kris: We kind of keep up amongst ourselves a little bit. Like, I’ll get together with Konstantine and we’ll work on stuff, or when we got together to do the photo shoots for this record. Basically we got together at our rehearsal studio and just did the photo shoots there. So we get a little bit of practice in here and there to make sure. Even if there aren’t shows, we’ll still find reasons to get together and play music.
You were invited to play the show because of your history with Bar Sinister. That’s a big accolade to get a personal invite from a venue like that.
Kris: Yeah, we played there even before Cameron was in the band, years and years ago. They’ve been around for seventeen years, and this band’s been playing in some form since 2000. I mean, it’s changed and it wasn’t always called Dommin. I would say our official forming of Dommin was probably 2006, but even prior to that, we were playing at Bar Sinister. So it’s been a long time that we’ve had that relationship with them, to where they’ve always wanted us to come back.
Konstantine: I found it really interesting. They introduced us, and they had the host who was managing the event mention that we’d played there a few years back. But ever since, everyone has been asking for us to come back and saying, “When are you going to have Dommin back?” To hear that was kind of cool because, you know, you play a place, then you leave and you never really think about your impact. But then knowing you did [make an impact] was cool.
Kris: It has such a built-in scene that just go there, and that’s their Saturday night every week. I guess they were asking for us to come back for a long time.
Konstantine: On a separate note, that was such a great night for more than just being able to play for people. We also had great bands that we were playing with, and we enjoyed the entire time there. It was really pleasurable, you know, really nice people. Tina [Guo], the cellist, is really awesome. And then the other band, Ginger V, I guess is a patron band for Bar Sinister, because they started there and they play there once a month. They were really cool. Everyone was very nice, and it was a great time to play. It was a great show to come back from the break.
That’s great to hear. You mentioned making an impact and not being sure who wants you back. I imagine you had the same thoughts about the PledgeMusic campaign that happened for Rise. What was your reaction to seeing that go through the roof like it did?
Kris: That was pretty crazy. I had no idea. I didn’t even think we would come anywhere near that, honestly. People thought that we went on a hiatus, but we never actually went on a hiatus. We were forced to try to put our shit back together. We didn’t announce, “We’re going on a hiatus now.” We’ve just been trying to pick ourselves back up this whole time. So, there’s always that reaction of, “Oh, I thought you guys had broken up” or “I thought you guys went on hiatus.” I’ve tried my best to keep people informed with what I knew I could say at the time and that wouldn’t be too much insider baseball. Not many people know or care about the intricacies of the behind-the-scenes stuff. So there wasn’t a lot I could say for a long time. But when you have a lot of people that just think you don’t exist anymore, and then to have this PledgeMusic campaign and they’re all about you, was really touching and humbling. Sometimes when you’re in your own headspace or living your own life, you wonder if anyone cares. Then when you do stuff like that campaign, you’re like, “Oh, people do care!” And that’s the greatest feeling in the world.
Konstantine: I think everyone was just taken aback. Huge success, as far as I’m concerned. It stumbled us a little bit, because we weren’t sure what to expect. We wanted to do right by the fans, put the music out there that they’ve been waiting for and that we’ve been teasing for so long, and let them know that we do still exist. But we didn’t go into it expecting to have a success and to have options on the table at this point. So we’re like, “Wait, we have some options. What are we going to do with it?”
I believe the final total was something like twelve times the amount of your initial goal?
Kris: It was eleven times.
That’s amazing. I’ve seen some successful crowdfunding campaigns before, but this one was one of the most successful that I’ve ever seen. With Rise being fully funded by the fans, do you think you’ll ever go back to a label, or will you stick with the crowdfunding model?
Kris: I would consider it. I feel like I have a much better perspective on things now. I certainly will do things differently. I’m not just like, “Oh, labels are evil and bad.” Some of them can certainly do bad things and not treat you like a human being, but to me, every option is open. Every door is open to whatever possibilities might be there. We just have to make sure that we do our part to make sure that we don’t make the same mistakes twice, and that we stay vigilant to what we’re signing up for. Exit clauses and things like that are very important. Most of the time, when you’re dealing with contracts, you’ve got lawyers talking to lawyers, and our experience isn’t the first time experiencing this. We’ve been through the horror story that’s been told countless times. So you’d think that people would be looking out for that kind of stuff, but there was really none of that in there. We were basically screwed by the ambiguity in the contracts. Going back to your question, though, we’re open to record labels, and we’re open to doing this on our own. The world is entirely open, and that’s what we got together today to try and figure out. We played the show last night, and Cameron has to head back up to San Francisco. But before he left, we got together to try and wrap our heads around what’s next for us.
Konstantine: I was thinking about it earlier, and it’s kind of like how relationships go. When you’re a band and you’re entering into a contract with a record label, it’s like you have a girlfriend or a marriage, to a lesser degree. You’re entering into this relationship and you’re excited about it. When you’re young and you become interested in girls, you can’t wait to have a girlfriend. You might get burned a lot of times, but every single time you go to another relationship, you try to learn from your previous mistakes or what happened previously, and you look out for those red flags. So we had that first bad girlfriend, you know?
Kris: Broke our hearts, man! [laughs]
On a more positive note, tell me about the writing and recording process for Rise. This album was in the works for about two years before recording started. Did you go into this with any specific goals of what you wanted to create?
Kris: The overall idea and the direction was thought about beforehand, long beforehand. I remember when we were first setting out to do this whole thing, even prior to signing with Roadrunner for the first record, we had the idea of it being like chapters in a book. The first chapter was about this relationship and being broken-hearted, and then the second chapter was going to be about building yourself back up and getting stronger, coming out of it, and the third one was going to be about getting ready to love again. We had those basic, vague ideas, and not for it to be a concept album, but just for it to go somewhere and to have some progress, not to do the same thing over and over again. I hate repeating old stuff. Granted, some of my favorite bands put out the same record over and over again, and that’s great. For me personally, I just never wanted to do that. I always wanted to change and evolve and do something different. I like so many different kinds of music, and to limit myself to one aesthetic was sort of like building my own prison. I think that happens a lot of times. So for this record, we knew that we wanted it to be probably the most aggressive Dommin record, in terms of guitar sound and having a rock vibe. We had songs like “The Quiet Man”, for example. I knew that this song would never come out on a future record. If it does, it’ll probably sound like how we did it on the Rare EP, where we did an acoustic version of it. That’s probably what it would sound like in the future, but if we want it to sound like this, it has to go on this record or else it won’t make sense in the future. We knew that we had this aggressive, empowered strength that we wanted in our approach to the album.
Konstantine: I think that’s the foundation. There’s a blueprint, there’s a path, there’s an idea, and it’s there when it’s good, and then you can have other ideas that pop up in between. So I think that happens to be one that started to work out in our favor. The songs formed around that and it made sense. We had plenty of other ideas that came in and out, but that one stuck.
It showed through in both the lyrics and the music. This album is close to almost being a metal record, in having a lot more aggression. I’ve listened to “These New Demons” a ton of times since the record came out because of that heaviness.
Kris: That one is one of the closest to my heart, favorite songs that I’ve done. That wasn’t going to make the record, though, when we were with Roadrunner. That got cut initially. That’s the thing – there have been changes since we started the record process. “My Reality”, for example, did not sound like that. I re-recorded the whole thing from home to get that sound. “These New Demons”, I re-recorded the entire thing from home and added it after all that stuff. There were songs that were going to be included that didn’t get included, but there were also songs that got cut and are now on there. And I feel like it’s a much more cohesive record than it initially was going to be, when we were on Roadrunner. I’m glad you dig it!
Given that there’s the idea of creating chapters in a novel, as you said, do you have any ideas about what the next record will sound like compared to the first two?
Kris: There was a song that we put out called “Desire”, about a year or two ago. Our plan is to have that on the next record. I think, generally, my personal intention in the moment – it could change, but at the moment – is to have a sexier, more romantic, kind of love-themed record. I think it’s going to be more tender overall. It’s not going to be big, heavy, or aggressive. It’s going to probably be closer to Love is Gone than to Rise. I’ve seen some of the reactions from the fans to Rise who have said, “There’s no darkness on this record.” And I’m like, “Yeah, there’s not supposed to be.” There are songs like “These New Demons” and “Falling Into Ashes” that bridge the gap between the old record and the new record, and there will always be those bridges between Love is Gone and the third record, as well as between Rise and the third record, because we’re the same band. But I think, overall, as a general sort of direction, it’s going to be a bit softer, more romantic kind of record.
So Rise has been out for about a month now. What’s the plan for the next few months?
Kris: Well, we’ve been toying with those ideas for the past month, and the possibility of just using the pledge money to do the next record. But I think what we came away with today is, we waited so long to do this record and put so much energy and anticipation into it. I think it would not be fair to us, to the fans, or to the music to just be like, “Okay, that was that. On to the next thing.” We want to at least give this a little bit of a push. So I think, over the next six months, we’re going to try to get ourselves a good agent that can get us on some good tours. We’re also going to try to push some of this to radio and see what we can do with it. We’ll see what happens, see if anything catches. You’ll see some more video clips and things like that. We’re just going to try and do something with Rise before we jump into the next thing.
Konstantine: But there are certainly things lined up. There is a next thing.
Kris: I think our plan is to maybe start thinking about the next record in another six months to a year, maybe, while we’re doing things for Rise. But we want to give Rise its due, for sure.
What would be your ideal scenario for a tour? Is there anyone you’d want to tour with that you haven’t toured with before, or maybe bands you’d like to reunite with?
Kris: Personally, I feel like this record lends itself to more of a rock and roll vibe. I know this is way more mainstream than we’ll ever be able to get, but I would love to go out with Queens of the Stone Age or Foo Fighters, or something along those lines. I think that sort of tour would not only be huge, and huge for us because we’d be playing in front of a massive amount of people every night, but in terms of references to bands that people would know, I think that sort of direction of bands would be good. Real bands that really rock live.
Konstantine: Some obscure picks that I’ll throw into the mix, that may be idealistic, and I’ve said this a few times – I’m a huge fan of The Smashing Pumpkins, and I love most of the albums they’ve come out with. That’s a tour that I’d be thrilled about personally.
Kris: Well I wouldn’t call that obscure. [laughs]
Konstantine: But, another one that is kind of obscure, and I said obscure for this one – Lana Del Rey. I would love to go on tour with Lana Del Rey.
Kris: That might make sense on the third record. You think it would make sense on this record?
Konstantine: I think it could, with the original album, because we’re still going to play music from Love is Gone.
Kris: Oh yeah, last night, we played almost all songs from Love is Gone except for “Rise”, and we did a cover of Duran Duran’s “Save a Prayer”.
Konstantine: But I think that music from Love is Gone can work well with Lana Del Rey, and we could introduce a few new songs. And then it does prep us for the next record, which those fans will be great with. So yeah, I think Lana Del Rey is great, and I like her music. That would be my obscure pick.
Kris: That’s still not obscure. [laughs] She’s pretty well-known.
Konstantine: But I think it’s obscure for fans to think of us going on tour with her.
Kris: Oh, I see what you mean, like, out of left field.
Well you guys did put up a cover of her as a choice on the website poll you did. So maybe you could perform her music on tour.
Kris: Well, Type O won that poll. So I still have to do “Love You to Death”.
Konstantine: But, maybe we will do a Lana Del Rey cover.
Kris: Yeah, we still have a third cover we have to do that’s up to the band.
Konstantine: So we have to decide that.
Kris: We did one that was chosen by the person that pledged for it, one that was voted on by fans which was Type O, and a third one which is largely going to be up to us.
Konstantine: Lana Del Rey was the second-highest voted-for song, so maybe we should just do that one.
Talking about set lists changing for tours, though, have you guys considered that now based on the new album? You’ve toured with so many different types of rock groups in the past – The Birthday Massacre, the 69 Eyes, lots of other different styles of rock.
Kris: On the later tours, we didn’t have to do that so much. But I remember our first couple of tours were with Combichrist and Wednesday 13. That was before our record came out, so it didn’t really matter because nobody knew the songs. But I remember when we toured with Combichrist, we did a song called “The Last Time”, which was almost like rockabilly. We did a lot of really aggressive stuff because our slow, big, epic songs didn’t really connect with people that just wanted to hear massive drums and screaming.
Konstantine: We do cater the music to who we tour with, to some degree.
Kris: We think about who we’re touring with when we adjust the set. Even last night, with the cover we were doing of Duran Duran. We slow the song down from what it originally is, so it’s maybe too slow for if we got a tour with a band like Queens of the Stone Age. But for last night, that crowd, and that environment, it was perfect.
Has that ever caused problems, where you’ve tried to put certain things in the set and the crowd just isn’t feeling it?
Kris: Some of it just has to do with the order of things. When we were adjusting the set for this show, we were originally having “Rise” right after “Without End”, but they’re the same kind of song, in terms of the chorus being this epic, half-time thing. Having those two in a row could maybe make people start looking around and having conversations. [laughs] You have to make it so that it’s interesting throughout the whole thing, and tailor it so that it’s a bit like a journey with highs and lows.
Konstantine: We’ve had those times where we’ve put “Making the Most” right next to “I Still Lost”, and we notice the lull in the crowd where they think it’s dragging or it’s slow. They can tolerate one slow song here, and then you pick back up and maybe throw in another slow song before it ends, and then end with some big crescendo. Those were things we learned on tour – watching the crowd reaction when certain songs are next to each other, and then adjusting it for the next day if we see a little bit of yawning going on.
We’ve talked about how the campaign generated such a huge response, and social media has gone crazy wanting you guys to come back. How does it feel to know that you’ve inspired such incredible devotion and love from your fans, especially only on two records?
Kris: For me, it’s the best part of the whole thing. I can only speak for myself, but when I’m making songs, I do it for myself first and foremost. If I decided tomorrow that I didn’t want to play anymore, I would still make music, because it’s something that I love. I like the process of putting a song down and creating it. The PledgeMusic campaign made me feel almost an obligation to these people that care. It touches me so much that they care about what I’m doing. Who doesn’t like to be appreciated? So the fact that someone I don’t know, or someone I’ve only met a couple of times, cares that much to the point that they’re still asking, “Hey, what’s going on? How are you doing?” I’ve had people that, based on the songs I’ve put out, have asked me, “Hey, are you okay?” They’re genuinely concerned, like it’s a personal thing. They know that I’m putting my heart into my music, and it’s touching them in a real, person-to-person connection sort of way. It makes me feel obligated, and it’s a good thing. Some people think of obligations are some sort of bad thing. But it’s a good duty to be able to be thinking, “I owe something to more than just my selfish little self that likes to write songs.” There’s people that I’ve connected with, and I’ve made people care about what I’m doing, and I owe them something. The fact that I owe them something means the world to me, and the fact that they care means just as much. It literally is my favorite part of this thing we do.
Konstantine: I think the fans have been a big part. In the beginning, when I joined the band, there were a handful of fans, but it wasn’t a fan thing, it was a heart thing. When the band grew, and we toured, and we gained those fans, the fans became a big part of why we do this. They are so dedicated and so strong. They felt a lot of the music we played, and it impacted them. Even last night, I had someone tell me, “You know, ‘Closure’ has been such an influence on my life. I’ve been able to overcome hardships and turn my life around because of that song.” That kind of stuff touches us. And the music video for “Closure” and all the submissions we got – people were throwing their hearts at us as much as we were throwing our hearts into the music.
Kris: It’s truly priceless, it really is. I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this before, but, I co-wrote the song “Remember” with my friend Lucas. It was at a time when we were both coming out of bad relationships, and it was more about this love that we wanted to have as opposed to what we had. I remember getting an email, and I’ve tried everything to find it, because it was one of the most touching emails I’ve ever received. It was from this guy whose fiancée or wife had died, and he said that it was their song. He said he listens to that song and just thinks about his wife, who he hopes is in heaven smiling down on him while he listens to that song. That’s heavy, man. I just made a song, and it makes someone feel and connects him to the love of his life that way, and even after death, is this connection to this person. Me saying thank you just doesn’t seem like enough, because that right there makes me well up. It’s touching. I feel stupid because I feel like I can’t even talk about it. That has to be one of the coolest reasons I’ve ever done music.
Konstantine: I was feeling down about music not too long ago, because I’m busy, I had to get a job and work to maintain my lifestyle…
Kris: Which is like Mercedes and hookers and coke. [everyone laughs] Gotta start getting a job if I want to do all that stuff! Just kidding…
Konstantine: But I went without music for quite awhile. I needed to dust off my keyboard, and it started impacting me. I started questioning, “What if this isn’t what I’m meant to do? What if I’m just not good at it?”
Kris: I’ve asked myself that so many times.
Konstantine: Then I had a friend tell me, “Dude, ‘Dark Holiday.’ You are a part of that, and that music is out there. I’m going to live my life not being able to make something like ‘Dark Holiday,’ and I’ll just dream of being able to make something as cool as ‘Dark Holiday.'” This is their opinion, in their head, but they said to me, “You’ve already made it. You’ve already done something completely awesome. You can quit now and you can live the rest of your life knowing you were part of something amazing. You can only go up from here.” And I decided, “You talked me up. I can do this again. Let’s do this. Let’s make another epic song. Let’s do another epic album. Let’s do something that impacts these people’s lives all over again.”
Kris: It’s crazy man, you just get overwhelmed. And I think that’s sort of what “These New Demons” touches on a little bit. Whether it’s in a relationship or it’s things you go through, there are these things that happen to you that make you all of a sudden really question yourself. And all of a sudden, you start to have these doubts and these insecurities in you, and that’s what the demons are. They’re these things that you didn’t have before, and all of a sudden, because this girl or this boy or whoever broke up with you because of an issue or they made something out of something that wasn’t even there – all of a sudden, you have this thing that you live with. When we went through this whole thing with Roadrunner, we all sort of went through that. It’s been so hard to get back on our feet and go through all this. I know I went through this, big time, thinking about fans that came to shows and left saying, “I came here for the headliner, but I’m leaving as a fan of you.” And I’m thinking, “Well, the fans are saying we’re good, but maybe we’re just not that good. If we were, we wouldn’t be in this situation, but here we are.” It starts to make you question – “Maybe I suck. Maybe we got a shot, maybe I suck, and maybe we’re just not meant to do this, and we should be doing something else.” Maybe God, life, whatever had it in the plans that we were meant to experience that but then not do it anymore. I’m a big believer in fate, to an extent, not that we’re robots or that we don’t have control, but that life moves you in a certain direction. It starts to create that sort of demon inside you and that self-doubt. But then I get those emails like the one I mentioned, and then I get pissed. I say to myself, “How dare I let anyone tell me when I’m done? Because I didn’t decide to be done!” I would in that moment, in the throes of what felt like defeat at the time, like when you’re on the ground and someone has you in a headlock and you say you’re done. But none of us, in this case, decided to be done. We have so much music. I can’t tell you how many times I thought that we should just put all of the demos on the Internet. I just wanted that stuff out there. Screw being precious and making records – does anyone care about records anymore? I just wanted the music out there. Konstantine knows, we went through the songs the other day.
Konstantine: There’s a bank vault full of music, and they’re all great songs. And we wonder when we’re going to have time to put it all out there, because if we’re doing eleven or twelve songs per album, with some bonus songs here and there, we have music to last us until we’re 80. [laughs]
If you do an album every month for the rest of your lives, maybe you’ll get it done!
Kris: You know, if you do ten songs on every record – and we didn’t plan on having five years between Love is Gone and Rise – but even at a year or two years in between, we have so many songs that we want to get out. We didn’t want to be done, we didn’t want to be finished. And that’s kind of what Rise is all about – we’re doing this because we wanted to do it, and no one is going to tell us otherwise. Just because the A&R at a record label decided that we weren’t quite his cup of tea, all of a sudden we’re done doing what we love? No, screw that. I’m far from done. I may not do it in the same way that I did it before, or through the same avenues. Maybe with a label, maybe without a label, maybe putting out a song a month, maybe putting out an album a year – whatever it is, I’m not done making music. I think it’s really easy to let yourself fall into that sort of defeat when you’re down and out, and you tap out to it. For us, we’re going to decide when we’re done.
Konstantine: It sucks, because every time you touch an instrument, you come up with music, and you think, “Goddamn, I got another song.” [laughs]
You mentioned the video for “Closure”, which, by all accounts, was one of the most special moments for the fan community. Do you have any plans to do anything else like that in the future now that Rise is out?
Konstantine: I feel like an opportunity was there until Roadrunner cut our contract. We had a dedicated street promotions group among our fans known as The 33, and it was going strong, it was going well. But they were without the ability to do anything. There was no goal, there was nothing to work for. Once Roadrunner decided to cut ties, and we didn’t have a new album or anything to promote, they had nothing to go on, and it kind of fizzled. Here was this strong army that we had grown, a grassroots group where everyone was dedicated and people around the world were ready to help promote this band and get something out of it. They were going to get something special and experience something unique that not a lot of bands, or maybe any bands, have done to that extent. The 33 grew because we saw that Roadrunner’s street team at the time wasn’t given any directions or guidelines on what they were supposed to do. Who knows if they even cared about the band? Meanwhile, there were these people that care, that want to see the band succeed, that want to be a part of it, and that already are very much a part of it because of how much they’ve dedicated to the band. I saw a better way to street team, in my opinion, and a better way to include everyone in the growth and success. And then the contract just got cut, and that was the nail in the coffin. We couldn’t do anything at that point, we just had to wait.
Kris: I don’t want to go too far from where your question was, but you mentioned getting the fans involved. There was an original intention to do something far beyond just promoting a rock band. We were basically talking about creating a movement of people that would just be out there doing good things, almost charitable works and creating a community where people were just helping each other out. Whether it was networking or jobs, whether it was donations, anything really – it had nothing really to do with the band, it was just about the connections that people could make. Fans bonded over the band, and somehow the band was a conduit to connect with people from all over the world, to where you had people from the UK coming to visit the United States and they would have a friend to go places with and to stay with. It was about building friendships and relationships and connections, and within that it ended up being professional partnerships and people working together. We were working to do something bigger than just the band.
Konstantine: And eventually, we wanted to get into helping each other professionally, because the fans were helping our career. We wanted to open up that avenue to where the fans would have the same connections that we do, through the entire fan base, that might be able to help their individual careers. For instance, we have a fan named Lexi who is a professional artist, and if you needed art done for any reason, you were connected to Lexi and you could get your art done by her and use that avenue to get it accomplished.
Kris: We were wanting to create something much bigger. It was related to the band, but the whole point of it was to do something much broader than what the band is. It was really about people connecting, for all sorts of reasons. In some cases, it was just people meeting their significant other. So in terms of getting the fans involved, we did consider doing something for Rise, and we may still do it for the promotional stuff. We were thinking of asking people to send us tweets or pictures of their personal Rise trailer, like things that they rose above in their lives to create more awareness. That’s something we may still do – we talked about it before we put out Rise, but the way things worked with the pledge campaign and the timing of things, it sort of felt rushed and we didn’t have time to set that up properly. But we may still do that. He [Konstantine] also has a great idea of how to get fans really involved in the business side of the band.
Konstantine: Yeah, I’m working on the foundations of that, so hopefully I’ll be able to come out and talk about it in a little bit. Dommin will be my testbed.
Kris: But it goes beyond Dommin. We’ll see how it goes. But yeah, having the fans involved – and sometimes I feel funny calling them fans – I say fans because that’s just a word we use to describe people that like the music. It’s more of a community of friends and people that care.
Konstantine: Community is the key word. We’ve tried to form that community of people to help each other. And we saw it work. I’ve seen plenty of people that have had business opportunities come to them through it.
Kris: We just wanted a way to organize that so that it was actually a thing. And who knows what it could grow into? We’ll keep our hopes high for that, in terms of maybe still being able to make something happen with that. It all depends on what we can do, because obviously, the bigger we get and the more resources we have, the easier it is for us to set stuff like that up. Otherwise, all of our focus just ends up being on us. That’s something I always felt uncomfortable with, and it relates to your earlier question about fans being touched by the music. Even when we were on tour, it all starts to feel like a selfish endeavor, because it all becomes about me, and my songs, and my shows, and my this and that, me me me. Until all of a sudden, having something beyond the band to focus on really was fulfilling in a really cool way. It felt like I was doing something that mattered much more.
You talked about the international fans, and you’ve done touring in Europe and Australia before. What are your plans for getting back to the international locations?
Konstantine: We were discussing this earlier and trying to figure out where to focus our attention. It’s easier to focus it in the US because we live here, and the fans here have a leg up on the fans elsewhere because it’s hard for them to travel out here all the time. We have had fans travel from overseas, and that blows our minds. However, based on what we’ve learned from touring, and what we’ve seen through the tours, we had a great reception in the UK. I mean, we had a great reception everywhere, but in the UK particularly because of the size. You have to get into the business side of things and think about where the money is best spent. In the UK, you can tour all of the UK and there is such an impact that the UK has over the music industry. You can tour the UK in such a small amount of time. We still have connections in the press there, we have our video being played over there, and we have radio that tries to pick us up. Our foot is in the door in so many aspects in the UK, whereas here, we’re still struggling to put our foot in a door or trying to look for the door. Maybe in Germany, we don’t have a door to approach, and in Australia, we were so new that we only toured it once, where in the UK we toured…maybe three times?
Kris: We did two tours plus the festival. And we did a press tour too.
Konstantine: So there was just so much going on in the UK, and I still see things from the UK that makes me think our dollar goes further. If we were to invest in a radio campaign, playing in the UK might be cheaper overall and easier to get across the whole UK market. And then doing another promo campaign, touring all of the UK, playing for radio stations, the magazine articles – we’ve got a connection, we’ve got a foundation there.
Kris: So when we figure out what to do with this pledge stuff, we’re sort of debating about domestic attention as opposed to attention in the UK or Australia. Certainly there are plans to do stuff internationally because we had great responses. When we played in Amsterdam, that was one of the best shows we’ve ever done. I’d never felt like a Backstreet Boy before that. [laughs]
That really speaks to the differences in the music industries of the US and of other countries, though.
Kris: Absolutely, and you know, here in the US, there just isn’t a lot for rock. There are starting to be more and more festivals than there ever used to be. I remember awhile back, it was Ozzfest and Warped Tour. But now there are more festivals that are local in certain cities, not touring festivals. There’s one in Maine, there’s one in Minnesota – basically every state, they each have their own big rock festivals. So I think it’s changing a little bit because they’re learning from the model of Download, Rock am Ring, Rock im Park, and others that happen in the UK and Europe. But overall, in terms of attention and radio and that sort of thing, rock doesn’t get much here. But it does get some attention in Europe. There is an avenue. It’s not you’re just constantly something underground. So we want to try to really make an impact. That’s what we’ve been debating just today, with the band, about where are we putting our focus. We have more fans overall here in the US than anywhere else in the world, but they’re so spread out and fragmented. It’s so hard to try and really do something significant. It’s almost like you have to just focus on LA and New York, and then everywhere else just picks it up. It’s going to be a learning process, but we are definitely going to bring some focus to the international community.
Do you have any final words for the fans that are waiting patiently to see you again?
Konstantine: We miss everyone, and we have nothing but the greatest intention of making it work, and coming back out so that you can meet us again, see us again, and experience a show again, the way that it was and should be.
Kris: Then hopefully we’ll just continue to grow from this point on, having learned from all the mistakes prior. However this ends up working out going forward – it may be a slow start, and it’s not like we’re doing things traditionally at the moment, but we’re going to get there, I believe. It’s just going to take a hot minute. Our full intention is to get back out there to everyone. We’re doing this ourselves, we don’t have a team of people organizing this stuff for us.
Konstantine: And let me just clarify for some of those fans that were really dedicated and jumped on the cause early – the cause was never meant to be a competition of what fan was the best or could do the most. It was always about the community. There was never an expectation. You’re all great fans, and you support us very well through the kind words, the sharing, and connecting us to future fans. So come join this community and be a part of something, where we can all gain from it and all experience something together.