|A few months ago I
posted an advertisement on MP3.com looking for bands wanting to further their exposure by
linking on our site. The response was overwhelming and was a major part of the kick-start
to our site.
One of the bands that I not only did a lot of self-promotion via MP3's message boards, but
had an impressive return in the "Pay for Play" feature was an English band
calling themselves "Silverman".
Consisting of founders Martin Silverman and Anna Dennis, they add an array of studio
artists contributing their skills to bring Silverman's sound to a zenith and allow Anna
Dennis' angelic voice to pierce through.
As our first UK band, it was a bit of a challenge to arrange the time difference for a
live chat, but Martin pulled a late nite, allowing us to have a great interview. Here is
what he had to say:
<HotBands> Let's start with the beginning. Tell me about the band members...and how
you found each other, etc.
<Silverman> Essentially there's only Anna and myself. Prior to this, I was in a band
called Nilon Bombers. We had Big chart success in Japan with a song called
Superstar...Japan has radio charts like in the US, but the band broke up.
<HotBands> So after your band broke up...and how long ago was that?...where did you
<Silverman> The Nilon Bombers broke up in '97. We started auditioniong new singers
when Drew quit (original singer) you know the story.
<HotBands> Anna responded to an ad?
<Silverman> We saw her in a bar doing an acuostic set. We'd auditioned a guy who was
a little too rock, but he recommended her so we (Gareth, an old friend and guitar player
in the Nilon Bombers, and I) went to see her.
<HotBands> Who writes the music for Silverman?
<Silverman> Anna and myself
<HotBands> Do both of you play instruments in the group?
<Silverman> yes Anna plays acoustic guitar and I drum
<HotBands> I'm listening to the songs at your MP3.com site and I hear a lot of other things in there. Do you
have session players that you contract?
<Silverman> We bring in friends. On the early stuff we used a lot of loops and
samples. No contract session players...Only favours. There's been quite a number of people
contribute musically to the songs on MP3.com. We had a falling out with the guy who
produced some of our stuff. He wanted control and I'm insistent that that Anna and myself
direct proceedings to meet our vision.
<HotBands> So, your producer/engineer (i'm guessing here) wanted to have a different
sound, and you took control of it? How many songs/albums did he engineer? (how many CD's
do you have?)
<Silverman> He was technically and musically gifted, but he didn't understand where
we were coming from, or more importantly where we wanted to go. It was a battle. We did 4
songs with him and we have 2 CD's and one in the making.
<HotBands> I see that to-date, you've made $3293 from MP3.com in playback
earnings...does that count CD sales too?
<Silverman> No, it doesn't count CD sales. That's for the "Pay for Play".
MP3 has become a very competitive place since pfp was introduced. We were flown to LA to
pick up best music award at the world's first ever Internet film and music festival.
<HotBands> So how long did it take to accumulate the dough, and how does it compare
with profits from CD sales online...either thru your homepage or the MP3.com page (do you
have your own homepage?)
<Silverman> We only sell CDs through MP3.com
<HotBands> Why is that?
<Silverman> It's low stress
<HotBands> It's a great place for artists to get their act together for promotion
<Silverman> Absolutely! It made us really focused...given us a framework.
<HotBands> Was it difficult getting paid by Mp3.com? What was your biggest check?
<Silverman> Not at all. Cheques quarterly. The last check was the
biggest...About $1500. Some artists earn a fortune but I think it's actually quite rare to
earn anything at all so we're very pleased.
<HotBands> I think a lot of it...in fact MOST of it depends upon how well you
promote your website and yourself. One of the great quotes is "the only difference
between a great band and a successful band is how they are marketed."
<Silverman><Silverman> Yes, to a certain extent. Judging by the quality of
some of the material at the top of the charts I agree. I'd much rather start off by being
great then work on it from there.
<HotBands> How would you classify your music?
<Silverman> Explorations in emotion. Moments of feeling and thought exploded into a
<HotBands> The songs seem to be more poetry influenced. Soft rock?
<Silverman> We love words; especially good ones in a good order! I wouldn't consider
us soft rock. Soft rock sounds to formularic. We try to break our ideas. We try to take an
idea to it's non obvious conclusion .
<HotBands> I'm listening to the songs as we are having this chat. Anna's voice
really is amazing. Voice of an angel.
<Silverman> Can't buy it, can't practice it; either you have it or you don't. Anna
has the best voice i've ever heard. It's incredibly musical
<HotBands> Do you perform live much, or are you more of a studio band?
<Silverman> Live, we've only played 3 shows
<HotBands> How were you received?
<Silverman> Very well. There's a review at www.rock-city.co.uk . We tend to play
very quietly. There's enormous power in restraint and tension. We relieve only once or
twice in the set. We draw people in the same as the recordings...not deliver it on a
plate. We leave room for people to apply their own imaginations and interpretations
<HotBands> Time is a Blade has got to be one of my favorites. I remember that from
the first review of Silverman.
<Silverman> It's a beautiful song. It was recorded in our friends bedroom.
<HotBands> What type of pursuit of record deals, or promotion have you done outside
of your own promotion?
<Silverman> Very little. I didn't want to get into the mind set of feeling that we
have to second guess A&R..it's a dangerous slope, and I've been there before. The
internet offers us a way of developing without necessarily having to get involved with all
of that. I'm disappointed with the lack of acknowledgement from the 'industry' regarding
our success on the net. I am a pragmatist and won't be a martyr to the internet. We do
need a relationship with somebody that will take us forward. Other than vast amounts of
money to really get the show on the road, I think about what we could really do with
quality management. Someone who could add to the team. Perhaps we've been too optimistc
about the value of net success. We said we are going to make an album with a label next
<HotBands> You still may...next year isn't
<Silverman> No we will, we've agreed to (in principle) recording in Feb with release
in April or May
<HotBands> Are you doing it thru your own label?
<Silverman> No, an Indie in Manchester UK
<HotBands> Has Mp3 music opened doors for you as far as performing live, or is this
an avenue you are even pursuing?
<Silverman> Our success story has opened doors more than anything. The real work
will start next year to promote the album. By then Anna and will have finished our college
committments and have more time to focus on music.
<HotBands> Where do you go to school?
<Silverman> Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education. I'm majoring in
information technology and Anna in Landscape Architecture.
<HotBands> How many years have you and Anna been involved with music? Have you both
been involved with music since childhood, or is this a recent blooming of something
<Silverman> We've both been involved with music since childhood, although my
chilhood was a lot longer ago than Anna's
<HotBands> Your music is.... man...what word am I looking for? no... I'm thinking
along the lines of intellectual, but that's not exactly what I mean.
<Silverman> Thoght provoking I hope! Communicative too.
<HotBands> Definitely that. The music isn't what I would call "dance
music" but something more for your head.
<Silverman> Yes...you can't please all the people all the time...you have to focus
and play to your strengths so you can define yourself. I think we've done pretty well at
<HotBands> So in Feb, you are starting to record your 3rd CD and will be releasing
it in April or May. Will this also be released thru Mp3.com so you don't have to fork out
bucks for production costs?
<Silverman> Yes...MP3 and Napster! LOL
<HotBands> It seems that the record labels are trying to buy up (or put out of
business) anything successful as far as internet music goes.
<Silverman> Same as it ever was. Nothing has really changed. Is there anything
successful? Feel free is the key.
<HotBands> In wrapping up, is there anything that you'd like to see happen as far as
your own music?
<Silverman> I'd love for as many people to hear us a possible...that's all we can
<HotBands> Any last words of encouragement to the masses looking to get some dough
on the net? You've done tremendously well with your successes at MP3.com.
<Silverman> If you think making music will make you rich it does...though not
<HotBands> Thanks Martin! Great quote! Thanks for the interview!!
<Silverman>You're very welcome! Nice to meet you, and thanks for your support :-)
We look forward to Silverman's next CD to be released in the Spring. To Find out
more about the band, visit their MP3.com site at http://www.mp3.com/silverman,
or their official homepage at http://www.silverman.org.uk