Friday, September 1, 2017

Artist Spotlight - Atman

Artist/Band: Atman
Current Project (S): Lord of New England, Silent Hill
Twitter: (@atmvn)

1.) What made you want to get into the music business in the first place? Did anyone influence you to do music? If so, who? Influences? Role Models?

What triggered my interest in the music business was a combination of my love for production, writing, and listening to a great soundscape. My influences span from James Yancey (J Dilla) & Andre 3000 to Frederic Chopin. I've always been a fanatic for a particular, great sound that can stand the test of time. My role models start with my parents, and my father was also a musician for a period of time after moving to this country from Zaire.

2.) Unfortunately the music industry is full of talented individuals who just don't get any recognition for their talent and/or work. What do you plan to do to make sure you stand out and get noticed?

I don't plan to rest on my talent alone as my means to success. It's critical to work as consistently and thoroughly as you are talented, and I really take that perspective to the heart of my music. I focus on maintaining a unique and deliberate sound in everything I touch and putting a significant amount of time into my craft. This helps make my music stand out in a crowded market or dialogue.

3.) Would you rather be on a major label or would you rather stay independent? Why or why not?

Independent. I strongly feel that major labels have played a significant role in the distilling of music as an art form, while consolidating the opportunities for exposure to only a select few. By the time an artist could expose themselves on their own in the music industry, there became little financial incentive in doing so. It's led to free and mediocre artistry being ubiquitous. I feel that major labels have played a large role in making this paradigm worse throughout the years. This, among the other negative effects of a major label, such as advances and 360 deals, has led me to appreciate being an Independent artist. 

4.) Do you think that the traditional music industry model as we know it is dead? Why or why not?

I wouldn't say the traditional music industry model is dead, but I would say that major labels are interested in monopolizing any model for the music industry much like they've done with traditional record labels, payola, streaming, and using gatekeepers to expose artists, regardless of how it affects the art form long term. There needs to be an opposing force that is artist-centric and discovery-centric, and not record label profit-centric. Major labels have made a lot of money turning artists into disposable products at the expense of music as an art. Some Independent artists have even fed into this paradigm. That's what should die, but not the models themselves.

5.) How do you think the internet and social media affected the music industry and how musicians are able to market themselves?

The internet is a magnificent invention. It allows artists and independent groups to expose themselves in a way that could only be achieved in the past by using music industry gatekeepers. Unfortunately, piracy has also done a number on the ability to market or promote your music while still maintaining a reasonable inflow of revenue. It's also creating an interesting challenge and opportunity for new artists to take more control of the industry they participate in. I'd say the internet and social media are net-positive for artists marketing themselves.

6.) What is the most difficult thing you've had to endure in life and has that had any effect on your path to becoming a musician?

Going to college and working full-time has made it difficult, but not impossible, to allocate enough resources and time to the craft that I love the most. Up until this year, it's been a trade-off, but not one that has affected the music. It has, however, affect my ability to promote and market my music adequately and to my approval.

7.) Artists who try to make music for the general public and make more money are usually seen as "sell-outs." Do you see it that way and if so, what do plan to do to make sure you make music that is true to your brand and make a good living at the same time without having to "sell out"?

Of course not. There is a lot more that takes place when an artist is selling out than simply wanting to be successful and sell records. All musicians want to reach the general public and sell records, we want what we do to be self-sustainable and exposed to the largest amount of people. My plan is to be consistent, honest, and true-to-self with everything that I produce, from the music and live shows, to the promotional material and branding that comes along with it. A large piece of this puzzle is not depending on my music for my livelihood or day-to-day activities, and placing a significant portion of my personality into everything I create.

8.) When you do music, what would you like your listeners to get out of your music?

I want listeners to get the simultaneous breadth and depth of what I transfer from my mind and into the soundscape. I treat all of my songs as a conversation, and I'm speaking with you, not at you. If listeners get that piece of my art, I feel that I'm breaching into the realm of a successful artist.

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