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Jake Paul on overcoming the hurdles and pitfalls of the music business

There are many things I do to overcome hurdles and pitfalls…
I learned to be assertive up front when it comes to the “deal” of playing at a venue. I also learned to figure out if I’m in this music biz for the right reasons. I enjoy music, period. Getting paid is nice too, but when I used to book our shows solely for money, I found that the money wasn’t enough of an incentive at our level. In other words, we had band members saying that we need to make X amount of $ in order to keep going with our music plan. So I got us into the best venues in our area (Hard Rock Cafe Chicago, Summerfest 3 years in a row, Potawatomi Casino, popular bars and clubs) and we got paid well. But those same band members who complained about $ eventually left the band, despite making more money. We learned the hard way about to differentiate between who was a “musician” and who was just someone who played an instrument.

Music business…
I feel the business can be challenging and overwhelming when I let it affect my creativity, so I keep a watchful eye out for those feelings. I’m always swinging between a balance of music, art, and business. So I go in streaks, if you will: I’ll create, design, and then promote. When I get tired of promoting, I create. When I get tired of creating, I design. When I get tired of designing, I promote. One seems to feed into the other so I never really feel too overwhelmed, I just follow “the trail” that grabs my focus and attention. Music is my passion and there is a million and one things I can do that is music related so I always find something really cool to get into, which keeps me going.

Pros and Cons of the Music Industry…
Pros include playing music live is a reward in and of itself. I enjoy the set-up (sound system, amps, instruments, etc) and I enjoy managing my website, merch, and music.
The cons include dealing with grumpy venue owners, getting paid is sometimes a hassle, band members flake out sometimes, managing other people kind of sucks, and late nights take their toll eventually.

 

To overcome most of our hurdles, I can sum up two main things:
1) I had to become a better musician myself
2) I had to become a stronger leader; as much as I wanted a “democracy” in the band, I found that in my experience, people wanted me to lead (which also means to take responsibility of the things that go on behind the scenes with booking, managing, promoting, finances, etc). It’s a lot to handle.

Social media…
I like that I can connect with people around the world.

Singles vs an album…
I’ve only released albums thus far but I think in the future I’ll try releasing a single first.
Talk about the differences in your marketing strategy to support your preference. As an indie artist and a do-it-yourself-er, I find it challenging to put the energy and resources needed to release a music properly in terms of promotion and advertising. And although I’m putting alot into it, I know I’m still not doing it properly and thoroughly. So for me to release a single, and then repeat the process over again to release the entire album has been appealing to me in the past. But when I recording the next batch of new music, I’m going to release a single first and focus on properly promoting it…then I’ll figure out a strategy to release the entire album.

It started with my mother’s unsolved murder…
I was young when it happened (nine years old) and didn’t know how to or have the capability to deal with and process childhood trauma. I intuitively used music as my outlet. I’ve been writing songs and playing music ever since.

 

Hollow
is about the story of my mother’s unsolved murder. Her boyfriend at the time shot her, but was never convicted because the crime scene had been “messed up.” From my understanding (after reading the 84 page police report as an adult), the police couldn’t prove it was him who shot first because my uncle arrived on the scene before the police did, saw what had happened, and took the gun and fired it into the wall next to the guy (the boyfriend). The forensic evidence showed that she (my mother) was shot point blank in the chest and then the guy shot himself in the stomach. He lived. She did not. We recorded it in Milwaukee’s Studio Z without practicing it much. The first version(s) of the song were pretty raw, as you can see on this YouTube Video.

We went into the studio to record a demo and ended up recording an entire album. The studio engineer came out of the post-production room and said, “Wait, did I just hear that you guys are going to record an entire album now?” We recorded our first album, “The Jailbreak” almost entirely in that session (but obviously had to come back for post-production work and a couple re-recorded tracks).https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hollow/id1021810336?i=1021810350

Our latest album, “Urbanize It”…
is a mix of songs that we re-composed, re-arranged, and added the female vocal of a reggae singer, “The Urban Empress” to. We have always been a “fun” and “party” band, but many of the songs that came out of me were kind of dark…which wasn’t what I was expecting. On the album Urbanize It, I was aiming for a happier and lighter vibe, with the exception of a couple ballads in between. The #1 goal of this album was to create music that we can live with and other people can relate to and enjoy. I was afraid of how people would respond to “Hollow” because it’s about a loved one who died unexpectedly. Low and behold though, that has been the song that has people have connecting with us the most. My overall vibe can be summed up like this: life is about going with the flow and being open to the possibilities. I would never wish bad things on anyone, but when bad things occur you have two options: dwell as a victim or create something positive out of it.

I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin…
home of Summerfest! The music scene is great if you like hard rock cover bands. There is a large buzz in the area around the time of Summerfest. But for the remainder of the year it seems like cover bands prosper, which I don’t necessarily like because we’ve played over 200 shows in the area and it seems like we get “pushed” into doing more cover songs than originals.

The lakefront is where it’s at in the summer time. There is live music, tiki hut bars, lots of volleyball, great trails to hike, and a really cool art museum. Miller Park (home of the Milwaukee Brewers) is a blast too! Tailgaiting is a huge party, which usually is more fun than watching the Brewers. We have several great music venues too including Shank Hall, The Rave/Eagles Ballroom, Turner Hall, The Riverside, and a ton of smaller bars/clubs to enjoy live music at. The Cactus Club seems to be the most popular place where most indie bands play.

I love to snowboard. I also love to edit videos, design T shirts, and other graphics.

 I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…

Bob Dylan – I’m pretty sure he’s the reason I picked up the guitar in the first place. It would be cool to tell him that in person.

Music Trends…
Yes I do because I’m not current or trendy. I’m getting older and I have a great day job. So the need and desire to be current and trendy has faded away (thank God). Now I play music because it’s my passion and I don’t have to rely on people coming to shows or buying merchandise. Now I can focus on being a better musician and if people like what I’m doing, great! And if they don’t, great!

I am most afraid of…spiders.

My personal definition of success is.. being able to do what I enjoy. Period.

I am most proud of a time in my band’s early days when…
we won a battle of the bands contest and got to play on Summerfest’s largest stage (at that time), The Harley Stage. I visualized the event before it happened and low and behold, it happened! We sold $800 in merchandise in 1 hour! We were on cloud 9, got treated like VIP, and had a great time playing there!

My over all goal for my life & career is…
to put out a timeless album that people truly enjoy!

3 Ways that I challenge myself…
1) I get up every morning (even on the weekends) between 4 and 4:30am to work on music related stuff. It moves me forward by making me persistent and consistent.

2) I challenge myself be subscribing to countless “music experts” and reading their blogs and watching their videos. It moves me forward towards my goal by hearing many different perspectives on the music biz.

3) I challenge myself by building a home studio with Logic Pro Recording Software because I’m most creative when I’m alone. In a professional studio, I get wrapped up in trying to be as efficient as possible (time is money!) so I feel like I sacrifice some creativity there. But in my own studio I don’t have that issue. This moves me toward my goal of making excellent music!

Social media links & website:

Website: http://www.jakepaul.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jakepaulmusic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaketheanamoly
Reverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/jakepaulmusic
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/jakepaulmusic
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jake-paul-15
Music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrrtKmJKU1A&index=4&list=PLCHWiRRCZDcDLNVpo-uHVAnwBgvyFHHz3
Soundcloud link: https://soundcloud.com/jake-paul-15/hollow-1

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