If you are a new band trying to make a name for yourselves how do you start ? The predominant school of thought seems to be that ever since Myspace enabled bands to self promote a few years back, exposure and engaging with your audience is everything. It is not enough these days to simply play a few live shows and put out the odd record. We live in an exposed age where audiences demand so much more from an artist and independent artists have to work hard at making it happen for themselves. Blogs such as Fresh On The Net and IndieLab provide a great resource for independent bands. A common theme on both blogs in developing a profile is on line exposure. As Fresh On The Net suggests “on line exposure is the new air play.”
Of course for every rule there is a rule breaker who also succeeds. One recent example is Breaking More Waves current favourite Hurts from Manchester, who have managed to sign a major label record deal and get significant exposure by simply filming one video, putting a song up on their Myspace and having never played a live show. Or at least that is how it appears to outside eyes.
Another band from the same town, also a Breaking More Waves favourite are Run Toto Run. Run Toto Run are very much following the exposure and engagement concept. Grabbing gigs wherever they can get them, uploading new songs then giving away them away in exchange for a new fans email address and using You Tube to show off demo versions are just some of the ways that Run Toto Run are engaging with their audience to build their profile. There may not be anything unique about their methods, but their timely and unusual cover version of Sleepyhead by Passion Pit, complete with fiddling and acoustic guitar playing animals (here) has now received nearly 90,000 views on You Tube. Prior to the internet such exposure for a relatively small band would have been virtually impossible. Now Run Toto Run are picking up gigs such as ones presented by BBC Radio’s Bethan Elfyn and with the likes of Manchester bands such as Delphic, Egyptian Hip Hop and Everything Everything getting significant exposure, Run Toto Run can capitalise on this new media attention on Manchester music makers. The group are already lined up for a festival in Manchester at the end of this month that sees some other growing profile bands playing.
So here’s an example of what Run Toto Run are doing, bringing you into their world, giving deeper access through the use of the internet. The video below is a demo version of a new song the band posted a couple of days back. The band dedicate the song to an unknown benefactor known only as Duncan who bestowed the band with a PA system, even though he has never met the band. See, the world has some nice people in it really. Fall Back shows how far Run Toto Run have evolved from their twee schoolyard folk of old, now delivering quirky, twitching, awkward sounding d-i-y electronica blessed with melodies and the engaging vocal of lead singer Rachael.