From a ‘heart’-drive to FLAT EARTH – the complete exclusive interview

Flat Earth Crowd Funding Connects

But then it is a perfect bridge to my next question. “How is the crowd funding working and how did you come upon the idea?” – “To raise funds. It came kind of quick”, NIKLAS explains, “I mean we didn’t prepare for it. Like three days before we went to studio, we got this option. ‘Hei, you could do the crowd funding.‘ And: ‘Ok, let’s try it.‘ And I mean, when we started, we didn’t expect anything. And I mean, we have covered now at least half of our …. ” ANTTONI: “Studio expenses.” NIKLAS: “studio expenses with that. So I am happy.” ANTTONI: “And I had a big problem for me with that because I thought it sends the wrong kind of message.” I am surprised: “Because of what?” – “Because of the idea that I had on fund raising”, he continues, “It was that we’re asking for money. But instead we’re actually giving stuff.” NIKLAS whispers more: “Presale.”  ANTTONI: “Yeah, it’s a presale. We’re delivering.” NIKLAS: “And I mean it’s good for everybody, and for us especially. Some products, we know how much we need to make.” ANTTONI: “Here, we can be precise with the demand. It scratches everybody’s backs.” NIKLAS: “Yeah it’s good I mean even for the future like, ok, even if we have a label – I don’t know how it’s gonna go yet – but we might need tour support or whatever. We’re gonna go and do a tour then we can do another one.” ANTTONI: “And to see that people aren’t really afraid of the product. They have so much faith it’s gonna be something that they gonna enjoy anyways. They actually give money to have the product later on. I just love the idea of having that.” NIKLAS: “What they are gonna get, it’s anyway the first print of everything. So if there is a collector’s item – that’s it!” Why not!

“Yeah, indeed. And then of course, it is a brilliant way to get in touch with the audience at a very early stage.”  A most enthusiastically “Yes, yes!” comes from ANTTONI. “They identify with you guys and your music.” ANTTONI: “Yeah. They could actually be part of it.” NIKLAS: “Yeah, that’s what I’ve kept saying. If we did it just when the album comes out, we would have launched our social media stuff then we would have zero fans.” – “Exactly”, ANTTONI agrees and NIKLAS goes on: “So at least at that point we have, when it comes out, there is some fans.” ANTTONI: “Putting out a record when you have a distributor and everything, the record just goes out. Let’s talk about the physical copies. We talk about CDs. It goes to a shelf. People just buy them. You’re not connected in any way. It’s very disconnected in that sense. But this … I would love the people to know what the sound would be like. But we’re getting there in a couple of weeks but … Still to see that support it’s just like …” NIKLAS: “Yeah, I mean, it’s gonna be our fans.” ANTTONI: “Yeah. I would say those guys are crazy now who are doing the presale. They’re crazy but still they will be to it.”

“I would say the appreciativeness of the metal community. They have relied on your music – I look at Niklas – before and now they trust the product will be to their liking. And they simply want you to go on and support you in this.” NIKLAS: “Yeah, that’s cool.” – “So that’s about being part of the community”, I add. NIKLAS: “True and this way you get also … I know you can check that: now we have enough money to do the studio. And you could do it over a longer period and then you have enough and then, ok, we can do the next one. This was just for us like ‘do you want to do a fund raiser?’ now there were only three days before we went into the studio.” ANTTONI: “The studio was booked anyway.” – NIKLAS: “I mean we were prepared to pay everything from our own pockets. But then of course this helps because this isn’t cheap. But anything is good.” ANTTONI: “And plus having the idea that when you are selling records, or shirts or anything that way  y o u  are producing the goods. And  y o u  are also getting the money to do whatever you need to do with the money. Having the label in between would mean that somebody else would be just sitting down and laughing.”

We Love Our Street Teams!

“My other idea is that it must be really weird that there is nothing that these sponsor con see, hear, grasp besides the past which then is nothing you can touch either but only a memory, and still they are so in to it! Hello, you guys have street teams already?! Now that is a big compliment and evidence of faith in you.” NIKLAS: “It’s weird because I mean with Amorphis we didn’t have that. And we paid for somebody to do that. But these people pay for their own Facebook advertisements and stuff. And I don’t know what to think about it” – and for the first time ever I hear NIKLAS being uncertain, even struggling with what is going on in his mind this moment in an interview. “I never experienced this kind of thing.” ANTTONI: “I think it was this the 7th of February when I asked NIKLAS. Because I’m getting messages that: ‘what about some street teams?’ So I came asking to him like ‘What about street teams?’ And you said you read that somebody is doing this. And I asked ‘Can I do that?’ He gave me the permission and I started doing it. So I have been in contact with all the people that started street teams, have been going through me. And basically it’s been just navigating to a very skillful person. He is or she is putting a lot of people through him or her towards me and I’m just saying: ‘Go ahead!’ And It’s just been a lot.” NIKLAS:  “They post more than we do.”  ANTTONI: “Yeah and not to go too far from the actual question, this way of coming up with a new band is mind-blowing. I think anybody at least from this room as ever seen anything like this to have a surplus of what twelve or almost twenty street teams out there across the globe. Nobody’s heard a fucking note! So it really doesn’t make any sense. I can really say because I am really deep in working with them right now that it feels just like we’re buddies, internet buddies. I have never seen anyone we’re talking about when we meet whet stuff we will do here and there.” NIKLAS: “But it’s very cool you know. When the album comes out at least there are some people waiting for it.” ANTTONI: „ They are gonna help us so much, obviously.” NIKLAS: “Otherwise we will have try to prove when it’s out that the people go check it out. But now these people are ready. They are gonna listen to it. And they can’t wait.” ANTTONI: “They’re motivated. They’re actually doing stuff better than we do. You know the stuff we put out in our Instagram is way less good. The street teams are editing and putting out. It’s amazing.” NIKLAS: “Yeah, we love our street teams! But don’t fight on our Instagram.” A laughing: „It’s so… Yeah, don’t do that.” NIKLAS: “Fight on the streets!”

“So the question the comes quite natural from that is how important are social media nowadays?” ANTTONI: “Ever” NIKLAS: “It’s very important. ANTTONI: “Every importance.” NIKLAS: “I mean …”  ANTTONI: “That’s what it’s said.” – “Internet and social media, it’s”, NIKLAS explains, “… there is no place to buy magazines anymore. If you go to the supermarket, where I live, there is a couple of magazines about knitting. And then something else.” ANTTONI: “I think we’re privileged. I mean no one has heard a single note. And people are still happy. So that kind of creates the kind of bubble that whenever the music comes out, people can be like whatever. We just keep on doing the social media. Just enjoying being a street team for this band is that the music doesn’t really do much to me.” ANTTONI laughs, of course.

What If the Music Is Lesser?

How about the jobs in the band beyond the actual music, who is doing what?” NIKLAS: “Well Anttoni is dealing with the street teams” ANTTONI: “Yeah, but otherwise it’s been you.” NIKLAS: “Yeah, I did the active programming of that. But then Gas is still our social media boss.” – “I’m trying to steal that”, ANTTONI mentions. NIKLAS: “But he doesn’t have an account.” We all laugh and NIKLAS continues: “But he is very good at it. I mean everybody can share that stuff. It just comes out automatic.” ANTTONI: “I think we put ourselves in the mix. You and I we just have the tendency of being very concerned of what’s going out. So we are the ones on it”, ANTTONI says and NIKLAS: “So we have our staff. So while we were being in the studio a guy was editing, what we have done and later on we can start again.” ANTTONI: „And you were organizing it all.” NIKLAS: “Yeah. It’s been interesting and actually I found everybody within a few blocks from where I live.” ANTTONI: “Don’t be to humble about it.” I agree, “Yes, it actually sounds like a full-time job.” ANTTONI: ” Yeah!” NIKLAS: “It is.” ANTTONI: “Often, I try to think that the amount of hours you actually put into just checking that everything works, I mean, web-wise….” NIKLAS: “Yeah, it takes a lot of time. But I mean, I had a lot of time lately. I don’t mind it. And I can pretty much update everything from one place.” ANTTONI: “From my point of view, you know, let’s go back to kids starting bands. You can’t have that. You can’t have any of that. I would call it some sort of necessity. Almost genius. You need to have that to achieve audience nowadays. You just need to have that. Kids can’t have that. They need to have a killer song that’s gonna penetrate through everything. And well that messes up my mind!” he ends in a lower voice.

“But you’re not talking small your own music, do you?” I say with a blink. Interestingly it takes a couple of seconds but then ANTTONI says: “I am just concerned that what if the music is lesser? Important-wise? What if the music is the by-product?” NIKLAS: “yeah, well a lot of the business, it works like that. People make their money from everything else except the music.” ANTTONI: “And who are we to say that we care a lot about the music. Who are we to say that we put actually a lot into the music? That’s just …yeah, fucked up.” NIKLAS: „I mean, there are so many ways of doing it. This is still a very honest way of doing it. And there is a lot bull shit. And anyway the first idea was to get the songs out of my hard drive. Yeah?” – “H e a r t-drive” ANTTONI says pronouncing it carefully and underlining the term once more with the gesture of the hand-heart in front of his heart. NIKLAS: “That was the original idea, and everything else comes then.” ANTTONI: “And then all of a sudden Linde puts his  h e a r t  in and then I put my  h e a r t  and s o u l  into it and then like wuop? What happened? Those were just sketches? And then we have a product. But the thing is we can’t tell anyone how much there is to it. Because the system doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t work like you do a painting and tell people to really look at it, like ‘look deep into it! Appreciate the nuances.’ You can’t say that. Everything else is …”

Now We Have an Identity

“Yeah, but I think you need to have a master plan.”  NIKLAS: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s a thing I know.” I go on: “ … to achieve some kind of tension, make the people wait for the album to be launched.”  NIKLAS: “We’re doing this for so long so I know all the mistakes you can do. So it’s kind of avoiding mistakes you already did.” ANTTONI: “It’s mistake management.” NIKLAS: “So you have to time things right, it’s lot of stuff.” ANTTONI: “And I think the freedom that we have, at least now, is that we know the product is good. We mutually have realized that we have a good product.” NIKLAS: “And while we’re doing it by ourselves, you know, we can schedule it.” ANTTONI: “We can actually now demand what we wanna have done and when, you know.”

Niclas & Anthony – happily ever after! (2)

“So you pretty much enjoy the independence you have at the moment.” ANTTONI: “Absolutely. Because we have, perhaps not much of a doubt, but going into the studio we weren’t a band yet. We were a band in form but it wasn’t a band yet. And now it’s starting to become a band and now we have an identity. And we know what we sound like. And all of a sudden we can dictate our own terms. And we are looking for mutual partners to help us out.” NIKLAS has a bit impatiently tried to get into the discussion: “I mean we have got so far all by ourselves. Why don’t go all the way?” Interesting, I think and ask: “But I get it right, you still will take the album, once it is completed and check out options for a contract. But if this is not meeting your terms, you will go on without.” NIKLAS: “Yeah, well, we’re gonna see labels. But the master and stuff will be our property. Some kind of master dealer. Some kind of distribution dealer. Something like this.” – “Not meeting your term you go on without?” I ask and NIKLAS adds: “Because like nowadays physical copies don’t sell that much. Previously the point was to get a big label, so that you can get out all over the world in the same time but nowadays it’s all over the world in the same time anyway.” ANTTONI: “And we already have a very functioning distributer branch with the street teams. We already know that even we didn’t have a label, we could just put stuff out and it would penetrate the sites of the world that we wouldn’t as like Instagram users – we wouldn’t be able to do that! So we can’t lose!”

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From a ‘heart’-drive to FLAT EARTH – the complete exclusive interview

About The Author
- "It has always been this way!" - I heard this phrase too often and it became the best reason for me to make it (whatever it is) my own way.

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