Long Island band Life as a Ghost has been working extremely hard to get to this point. Constantly reaching out to their fans at shows and through social media to grow their fan base themselves. All this work paved the path for their new album, Drifter, that is out now on Eulogy Records. Read on to hear about their beginning and advise on how your band can expand their fan base through social media.
Rob Marcacci: Could you guys introduce yourselves and what you do in the band?
My name is Nick Prainito and I sing in Life as a Ghost.
I’m Nick Viscovich and I play guitar.
RM: What inspired you to make a career out of music?
NP: When I was in high school a buddy of mine asked me if I wanted to sing for his band. And I thought I couldn’t really play guitar that well so that might work. I joined a high school band and did that. Since the first time I ever grabbed a microphone I knew this was something I wanted to do.
I had a lot of shit going on at home and this was the best way for me to get my emotion and anger out there. I hoped that one day I would be able to reach out to kids and they could understand what I’m saying and why I’m saying it. Finally now I am at a point where I made this a concept record about my life.
RM: What do you focus on in your lyrics?
NP: The name of the record is Drifter and it could mean a few different things. More so what it is about is not finding your place in life. Being torn between two things that are really important to you and not knowing where to go. That’s what I based this album on.
RM: When you were in high school did you have a plan of where you wanted your career in music to go?
NP: I didn’t. When I first started, music was just an escape for me. I was really good at hockey and that’s what my dad wanted me to do when I grew up. I could have been a professional hockey player but as soon as I found music I knew that wasn’t for me. I knew that I wanted to just be like all the other bands. I didn’t mean highly successful and making money. I meant getting out there and being able to show people what meant a lot to me could mean the same amount to them. I found something that made me feel like I was accepted.
RM: Who were some of your influences growing up?
NP: Growing up I had a weird mix of influences. As far as music, I was into a lot of emo music I guess. I was listening to Saves the Day, Dashboard Confessional, Page 99. It made me feel like I was connecting with something. That is what I wanted to do because those bands did that for me.
What else inspired me were things that I didn’t like. Things that people wanted me to be that I didn’t want to be. A hockey player for example. It’s kind of like not living up to expectations but exceeding different ones.
NV: Live out your own dreams instead of someone else’s. My biggest inspiration was what was inside of my heart.
RM: I could hear from your music some influences from Oh, Sleeper. What other influences would you say your guys have?
NP: Nick is definitely an Oh, Sleeper fan. That was the one thing about us. As far as most of the writing and ideas it has been mainly Nick. He would show me something on the guitar and I could keep the rhythm but I lucked out with this dude.
NV: I love music today. You hear people always say, “oh man music isn’t like it used to be.” You have to have an open mind. You have to hear music for what it is. I love bands like Oh, Sleeper. I love bands that some people think are stupid like Attack! Attack!. I have a different spin on it though. I try to put dark undertones into our music.
People need to realize that a lot of bands don’t sell out. They aren’t trying to disappoint their fans. When fans of bands like Underoath say they don’t like them anymore because Aaron Gillespie left. That’s stupid because their last album is amazing. Any band you hear now with the poppy choruses and screaming verses most likely copied that formula from They’re Always Chasing Safety. They were the one’s that originated that.
NP: I want kids at our shows to scream every lyric. And not because I think it’s cool they know every word but because they know my life. We’ve been those kids screaming our lungs out too.
RM: What steps did you take to sign with the label Eulogy Records?
NP: We ended up with this management company called Split Media. Our old bassist was a friend of a guy named Dan. And Dan was an intern there and told us that he wanted us to be his band. He gave us a packet with a five year plan and we stuck to it.
After putting out some demos, I knew that we had something. From day one we started to advertise our band on Myspace. We had our professional looking page up and a good recording of one of our songs. We came out looking and acting like we were big time. We never took on the rock star roll though because we are not. We will never be those people.
Back to Eulogy, we ended up shopping around with other labels but liked them the most. We like the deal with them too because it was for one record and then it was our choice to continue or not. Everything so far is working out great.
RM: With your experience so far with the label, do you think it’s important for bands starting out to get signed? What are the benefits?
NP: Yes and no. No because if your heart is in it and you want it bad enough, you can make it happen. DIY all the way. We are still a very DIY band. We have a simple, and when I say simple I mean 30 page, contract with Eulogy. They are very open-minded and that’s the main reason we went with them. They are giving us freedom.
I hate to pigeonhole all the Rise bands but ninety percent of them sound the same. Before these bands got signed they did not have that generic sound. Don’t get me wrong there are some great new bands getting signed on their label like Sharks. If you are going to get signed on a label just don’t conform to make your band have a certain sound. Don’t sacrifice the music your band is creating.
RM: How should people reach out to grab the attention of their targeted fan base?
NP: If you are a band like us, the music leads more towards the Attack! Attack! fan base. But we are doing it our own way.
I have come to the conclusion that you are the company you keep. If you want to be something that you see you can damn well be it. You have to know what you are going for. If you want to be in a band like Emmure, you have to dress like the people in the band. If you want that bad enough you have to show the people that we are the same so to say.
Also, play what you want to play how they want to hear it. I can already tell that there are people that see the same things we see. They feel our music and it’s not just,”oh the guitar player is sexy… the singer is sexy.” We are not the kind of people that think, “You aren’t cool enough to listen to us.”
Once or twice a month we will all sign on Stickam and just talk to our fans. Every time we sign on we are on the front page because we stay on for hours and people want to talk. If they are interested in our band and us then we will show them the same respect. That is another important key to get into your target market; respect the people that respect you.
RM: Along with Stickam, how do you guys use social media to benefit the growth of the band?
NP: It is the best thing in the world and reversely the worst thing in the world.
NV: Exactly. Back in the day, a band could make a myspace profile and get 8,000 friends and blow up. Nowadays, no one uses Myspace it’s mostly Facebook. As a band trying to promote themselves through social networks, it is kind of hard on Facebook. You cannot just go add people; you have to suggest the page to your friends. Then you have to go add 8,000 people and see if they will accept you. It is a huge hassle.
You have to be creative with it. We went on Stickam when we were recording for a week and got about 500 followers in the week we were up there. Pull them in and get them to listen to the music.
NP: We only have about 3,000 friends on Facebook now because it has only been up for four months now. Sometimes I will add people I met after shows and it would grow from there.
I told Nick that I didn’t want us to be a “Myspace buzz band” and that we would get signed before we started the social media attack. And it happened.
NV: Another viral marketing step we took is to make a video teaser for each song. For the first one we said for every 200 likes we would premiere the video. And we made that goal.
RM: What additional advice do you have for people making music their career?
NV: Don’t do it… Just kidding. If it is your dream then don’t let your parents tell you that you cannot become a touring guitar player. Don’t listen to your grandparents who say you should go to college to become a laywer because the money is good. That might be the life for someone else but if you believe in the bottom of your heart that you want to be in a band for the rest of your life, do it.
There are a lot of people I know that don’t live; they just exist. If you want to pursue music in your life no mater what whether its folk, ska, reggae, rap, do it. If you want to play the ukulele on the side of the road DO IT. You will be a drone if you live just like everyone else.
I have a 2 and half year old daughter and sometimes it is really hard to get by. But you know what, I’d rather be doing this and be happy than having all the money in the world. At the end of the day, if we get an interview or a tour confirmation I am 150 times happier and I know my daughter can tell. Life is about being happy and spreading happiness to everyone you know.
Purchase the physical copy of their new album, Drifter, here.
Purchase the digital download here.
Music video for Drifter: