Remember my review for VATTICA‘s latest single Broken Glass? I was really impressed by their talent along with an original rock sound. I had a chat with the band songwriter, guitarist, and lead vocalist Alexander Millar to know more about their success.
• Since 2013 and you have achieved a lot, impressive! LA is one of the most active and competitive music scenes, how did you manage to find your live path back then?
We just played everywhere and anywhere. We took every show we could that made any kind of sense. Also, a lot has changed in LA since then, the clubs on the strip were much more approachable for independent artists. Now it almost solely pays to play, or preset tour packages.
• In two years you were able to sign your first label deal. What’s the difference between working with a record label and working independently?
A label has access to resources (money and connections, basically) that are often nearly impossible to acquire as an independent artist. However, just because you’re signed to a label doesn’t mean you get access to their resources, the label has to decide to use them on you, regardless of what your contract states. Often those decisions are in the hands of people who have their own agendas, and it varies hard to have any agency in that situation unless you’re already an established major artist. Working independently means that you have complete creative freedom, which is great, but there’s only so far you can get in terms of upwards mobility without gaining access to those closed-loop networks in some form or another, and/or by hitting the lottery and going viral.
• Although you’ve got an original alternative sound still there’s classic hard rock flavor. Am I right?
Sure! I’m influenced by everything I listen to, so there is definitely some Queen in there!
• You mentioned that ‘Broken Glass’ is about surviving, what topic exactly does the song discussed from any other survival track?
Broken Glass is about not giving in to depression and self-doubt, about not falling apart when everything seems bleakest. It’s about reimagining and finding yourself, and choosing not to give up.
• Orchestration is one of the most common blends with rock music, but aren’t you considering adding other elements for your music in the future?
Alex: I mean, I usually write full orchestration for my songs. Broken Glass has a full string, brass, and woodwind section. But yes I’m always looking for new sounds if that’s what you’re asking.
• Finally, tell me more about your promotional plans in 2021 especially since the live scene isn’t active enough recently.
Alex: It’s challenging, that’s for sure, especially for indie artists. The pandemic hit everyone hard, including my band, and I’m a solo artist now. As far as touring goes, as everything opens back up all the venues will give priority to huge acts to make as much money as possible (which is understandable), so it’s going to be even more competitive than ever to secure the booking as an unknown. The majority of my promotion is online, mostly organic. I’ve had some of my TikTok videos hit the explore page, which really helps. Something that helps me mentally is the fact that social/streaming numbers aren’t the sole indicator of quality, but rather money and exposure. It’s really demoralizing when you put your entire being into creating a song and do all the right steps to submit it to Spotify playlists only to have it gain just a few thousand streams because the only real way to get on one of their major playlists is to have a label pay, or have a direct personal connection, despite what all their artist-friendly PR says. I suppose Broken Glass is about that too; choosing to believe in yourself despite the overwhelming odds against you.