Cameron Gorham and Alecia Gates make up the singer/songwriting duo London Has Fallen out of Peoria, Illinois. Recently, they sat down with us to answer some questions on the state of the indie music industry, according to independent artists. The duo just released their full-length album Fracture and will be touring the US in 2015. You can find them at www.londonhasfallen.com.
What is music to you?
Alecia: Music is a way to not only express yourself, but a way to tell your story. It’s a way to turn your experiences, whether they be good or bad, into something beautiful that can help other people who are going through the same things. Music can be empowering, emotional, uplifting, beautiful, tragic… it’s one of the most versatile things out there.
Cameron: Music to me is a reflection, a picture, or a way to express something that’s impossible. Great music has something people can relate to, something people can understand, and something that everyone can think about. Music is a way for people to let things out, and a way for people to unite. It’s this kind of therapy that you just can’t get anywhere else.
Where do you see the music industry heading in five years?
Alecia: I see the indie scene becoming the top dog. The underground scene is going to continue to get bigger and bigger, but the music industry is constantly changing, so who knows?
Cameron: It’s really no secret that the old industry is dead. Looking to the future, however, I see the whole “Indie” thing continuing to go strong. Indie labels tend to have this “by musicians, for musicians” philosophy and that helps to create these great grassroots campaigns and marketing tactics that money just can’t buy. The best labels make it “cool” to like the label, and the best bands make it “cool” to support these types of underground efforts. Eventually, the “Indie Bubble” will burst, but that’s probably a while away.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Alecia: Well, anymore you’re not selling talent, you’re selling yourself, the idea of who you are that is most of the time not accurate. I wish people would focus more on appreciating someone’s talent, rather than idolizing a made-up version of someone. Image is everything these days and that just doesn’t feel right… it should be about the passion and talent behind the music.
Cameron: Exactly… talent. I think it’s awesome that anyone with a couple hundred dollars can make a record… but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. There’s this massive cloud of white noise that this has created, and it’s nearly impossible to get yourself out there when you’re first starting out as a band. Labels tend to really focus on the look and branding of an artist, and not really if they are making great music. It sucks, because music needs to matter. That’s why, in time, most of these “stars” are forgotten. There’s a lot of this emotionless and half-hearted way of doing things and I just don’t understand why that gets anywhere. Musicians need to focus on making music that makes you feel or think, and not just releasing the same thing with a different package.
When it comes to the music business, name one band/artist that you think is “doing it right?”
Alecia: This might sound weird but…Taylor Swift. She knows how to play the game that is the music business. People give her crap all the time, but you can’t say she hasn’t made a name for herself. The crazy thing is that she continues to outdo herself. She gives the people what they want and it shows. She is basically a brand, an image that people want to obtain. They want to be like her and that’s part of what sells records.
Cameron: I would have to say any of the indie bands out there that make a profit. Thriving in the modern industry is tough, but not impossible. Honestly, any band that can get through the day without pulling their hair out has my respect!
What’s the biggest challenge emerging musicians face in the music business?
Alecia: The biggest challenge is money. Music really is a business above all because you need to invest money to make money. It takes years before you start making any income as an artist. You barely make enough to live off of. Luckily I have support from my family and they help out when I need them, but if we didn’t have someone to help us out at first financially, there is almost no way that we could have gotten this far so quickly.
Cameron: There’s a lot of challenges anymore…venues don’t like to pay, there isn’t much emphasis on quality music, promotion is crazy-hard, and money is hard to come by. The biggest challenge in my opinion though has to be getting your band heard initially and building a fanbase. It’s hard to break through that giant ball of noise since anyone can make a record anymore, and you just have to strive to do things differently.