gigmit: When and why did you reach the decision to make your own music?
Sugarpunch: Back in 2001, when I was 16, I had a nu metal (what else?) band and when that didn't work out, I started looking into music production. I had no idea what I'd need to make my own music so I started experimenting and learning different software, like Cubase. One thing led to another and since 2012 I've been performing with and producing for bigger names in the industry. I have two bands as well, Anderland and Sugarpunch.
gigmit: How do you see yourself? Would you say you’re more like professionals, semi professionals or rather hobby musicians?
Sugarpunch: Some of my productions go to well established artists, some music I do for fun, some for my bands together with other producers. I guess I fit in all of those? It's hard to categorise because there are very few artists today who can afford to focus only on their music and nothing else - I'm certainly not one of them. I don't consider myself a successful or good musician. I'm not really good on any one instrument, but I do enjoy playing the bass a lot.
gigmit: Small clubs, big festivals - where do you feel comfortable about doing music?
Sugarpunch: The best shows I've played were on smaller venues from 500-5000 people. I prefer these because you are not too far away from the audience and you can feed off their energy. The big shows are great too but sometimes you feel isolated from the audience - they are so far away, you can't see their faces. I did perform in front of the Brandenburger Tor at new years eve, that was a lot of fun!
gigmit: How do you reach promoters (out of gigmit)? How do you research and whereby do you get contacts?
Sugarpunch: We have a few contacts for booking Anderland, mostly in the Trier - Luxembourg - Saarbrücken area. For Sugarpunch, based in Berlin, we rely solely on gigmit.
gigmit: You’ve already played many gigs. How do you get so many bookings?
Sugarpunch: Our genre with Sugarpunch is at this weird intersection of neo-soul/hip-hop/funk and pop making it easy to digest and is "in" right now. It is important to have a well-defined genre but one should not make the mistake of being too specific. We did that in the beginning by using glitch-hop, which is what our original genre was 3 years ago, but people didn't know what it was and it was limiting our reach. We apply to all the shows we think we can play even if the genre is not fitting exactly. We went to the Culture Container here in Berlin and did a live concert video. We make sure we have a new release at least every 6 months on a label. We collaborate with other artists, enter remix contests. To be honest if I had more time we could do much more.
gigmit: What would you say attracts artists to such platforms as gigmit? And how and where does gigmit help you out?
Sugarpunch: gigmit is amazing. It allows artists to reach out to promoters and get shows which is normally really difficult.
gigmit: Is there any special gig you got through gigmit (for that you’re really grateful)?
Sugarpunch: Yes, we are playing a show next year in Hanover at the TEK Summer Festival. This is a game show with eSports and LAN-games and live acts. Can't wait to get on that stage!
gigmit: What would you recommend to other musicians? Do you have any tips and tricks?
- Check your genres. For Sugarpunch the breakthrough came only when I changed our genre. I noticed that there were only very few hiphop gigs but quite a lot soul / jazz events. Because our music can be considered soul / jazz, adding these genres opened the doors to many more gigs to apply to.
- Build your profile so that when promoters look at your application they will be convinced that having you perform will make their event better. Make sure your music sounds as good as it can, have band photos made properly, make a music video that looks good. Spend some money on your project, invest in yourself.
- Be humble. Making and performing music is a competitive, high stakes sport. No one has time for your shit.
gigmit: If you had the chance to change something in the music industry, what would you do?
Sugarpunch: Music has become a commodity. Maybe I'd not let Spotify stream music for free, I don't think it's healthy in the long run. The focus is on quantity instead of quality and the consumers are the real victims in the end. On the other hand vinyl has come back and I love it.