Exclusive End User Interview: True Fans Artist Success Story
Enduser aka Lynn Standafer is a US based electronic music producer who is living the dream. As a full time musician in a super niche genre (breakcore) he is also THE perfect case study for a Musician with a small but hyper loyal fanbase of TRUE FANS.
Q: How big is your current fan base (over all social media profiles) and how much of them are hardcore, true fans that support you?
Right now it’s hard to say which sites are still relevant and who is active on those sites. i see that Facebook has over 14k, lastfm has 90k and and myspace (is that a thing still?) has 24k. i don’t really have a youtube channel and i sort of let things grow organically, i’ve had a presence on these sites for years. i’m sure there are spikes and you get some random people when a record is released and people are reminded of your existence. but overall i’d say most of the people who follow the page on Facebook have come in over the years and have been following the music as it comes out. so yeah i’d say at least half are true fans.
Q: When did you start making music and how long did it take you to go full time?
The electronic thing started back in the late 90s. when i’m touring i consider that to be my ‘full time’ mode of being a musician. mainly due to the fact that i don’t have time to do anything else and luckily when you’re doing a couple of gigs as week you can support yourself and not really require too much else. i started touring internationally in 2004 and have gone through phases with it really. when i’m at home working on a new record i’ll take on contract work for jingles, web & media development just to get some extra cash. i’ll put in about 10-15 hours a week but it’s enough to balance out the music stuff when i’m at home. this past year (and currently) i’m pretty much full time again music but when you take a break in touring you have to stay super motivated and write every day. it’s fun and very rewarding but in the end it’s not like some people may think. i’ve really had to simplify my life and be happy with my work and my creative output rather than physical things. my music is what brings me joy and a sense of fulfillment, definitely not al the shit you see on tv ? not only is that lifestyle not appealing to me, i couldn’t afford it if i wanted to!
End User: A real one man army show
Q: What do you think was the most important factor when it comes to really connecting to your fans?
I think honestly just keeping them informed about upcoming happenings on a regular basis along with replying to their personal messages / comments / inquiries. especially in a public forum, when other people see you are able to identify and have a rapport with people who are supporting your art - it means a lot and in turn they will interact with you themselves. like ‘oh he’s talking to everyone and they’re not stuck up elitist pricks… i can probably say something too and not be judged’. some electronic music forums online are full of people totally ripping on each other. it’s ridiculous. but when things are cool / relaxed it becomes a little community where eventually i (the artists) don’t feel like i’m the focal point / center of the discussion - rather i feel like i’m part of a little community that has a few different branches of which i’m a member of each. i share samples people can download and use them in their own songs, people write about music hardware of software as recommendations. it’s cool.
Q: You seem to have a natural talent when it comes to knowing and bonding with your fans. How do you know what to say when it comes to communicating with your fans?
Well in the end i’m just a massive fan of music myself. i still follow a lot of music that i grew up listening to. anything from metal to digital hardcore to hip hop. i’ve always been interested in watching artists evolve and grow. a lot of musicians that i’ve followed and enjoyed over the years have either changed pretty drastically or been involved in side projects that really took them outside of their comfort zones. this diversity was something that always seemed necessary to me as an artist. so i think i never really had a sense of boundaries in my work - and regardless if one album i put out is hard drum and bass and the next will be drones and downtempo percussion, i still call it end.user and feel that the listeners expect me to be diverse and they won’t judge me. this actually takes a huge weight off of my shoulders. i’m not really afraid of criticism as much as i used to be - because i’ve been all over the place in my output and people expect it! so since this wall doesn’t really exist i feel very open with my fans. and somehow it feels like the feedback i’ve gotten over the years has been very personal - where people will tell me how much the music has meant to them and helped them in some way. not everybody feels so strongly / has that deep connection but i think when people come to my music and stick around a bit & see the different sides - it says something about that person as well. i’m not a happy guy all the time, i’m not a sad guy all the time. but my music is representative of my moods and who i am. i can trust if anyone has listened and enjoyed a couple of records - they can relate to me on some level & i trust them in a way.
Q: Who are your typical fans and why do they love your music so much?
I’d say the typical fan is someone who has been introduced to my work through one of the more well known records - like bollywood breaks or some of the later ad noiseam stuff. for a while it was people from the breakcore scene but it seems that ad noiseam helped boost me out of that pigeonhole and exposed me to a broader audience. that audiences was rooted more in the industrial / goth scene and that’s probably 50% of my audience these days. on the surface my music doesn’t sound like a lot of other music this crowd listens to - but i think there’s an emotional layer of my music that they can relate to. sometimes it’s melody, sometimes it’s a vocal part. whatever it is i think it could be described as the spirit of the track. not all tracks are like this - as some are just balls-to-the-wall-smash-what’s-in-front-of-you tear outs. and even the industrial crowd likes some of that stuff because it’s similar to the power noise around. i should also mention that the typical fan is very open minded. not just regarding musical tastes but life in general. i can’t remember ever meeting someone who was a bad person who was into my music. they’ve all been very sweet, supportive and super appreciative. great people ?
Q: What do you think are the biggest mistakes musicians make when it comes to bonding with their fan base?
I’m not sure if it’s a mistake but i always hate it when people try to paint a picture of themselves doing something that is totally unrealistic / false. posing. i guess if you take hip hop artists who pose with cars and money etc - that sort of thing. but it’s not just happening on that level. you can see people from any music scene doing their own version of that. people posing, pretending they´re something they aren’t . i mean i like the idea that these artists represent a sense of ‘cool’ and have an almost mystical presence. but at the same time when you see someone who looks like they are more concerned with their image and spend so much time proving how special they are - it takes away from the music to me. i like seeing images of people performing on stage, interacting with the crowd, in the studio… even pictures of people having coffee or some beers after a show with fans. i like to see real people. not fake doll versions of artists who can’t be seen in the daylight ?
End user live show pictures
Q:What would be your tip to musicians in smaller genres who want to grow their fan base and find their true fans?
Don’t give up and don’t ever think you’re better than the people supporting your music. stick to your guns and don’t follow trends. learn how to take criticism and don’t react. everyone is entitled to their opinion. it’s what makes the world interesting ?
Q: Tell us a bit a about your lifestyle right now. Are you living your dream?
Right now i’m quite nomadic. i just got off of the spring tour in europe and have spent most of the summer traveling around - just spent a month in thailand and malaysia enjoying the weather & food. it’s a good place to spend down time as it’s very cheap and the scenery can’t be beat. i’m currently back in the states writing as much as i can for the next few weeks before i have a couple of festivals coming up. it’s weird that to me a ‘business trip’ has become flying halfway across the world for a few days and then coming back. i try as much to tie trips together but when there’s a month between two shows it’s hard to justify staying on the road & living out of hotels between. so i do a lot of bouncing around. my studio has become very mobile - where i’m just working off of a laptop, sound card, small midi keyboard and headphones. when i’m in a studio i’ll record any hardware that i may like and mix some tracks down on the monitors to send off to whoever needs them. by now i know people all over the world from my travels so i can always find a small studio to use, good bars & most importantly good company ?
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