Interview/Success Story with Synchronice – 100k + followers
Please introduce yourself to those who don´t know you yet.
Hey! We’re James and Will. We’re brothers who have been writing and playing music together pretty much our entire lives and currently produce music as Synchronice.
Question: When did you start making music and what was the reason back then? Did your motivation to make music change over the years?
We both started at very young ages, probably around 1st or 2nd grade. It’s hard to say exactly what our initial motivations were but we had gotten really into early rock n’ roll like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and I remember asking our parents for instruments so we could play some of their songs. Both of our parents worked in the music industry and we’re third generation musicians on our dad’s side so that desire to play music probably comes from that. More recently, we feel like we have started writing music that’s really meaningful to us and have been fortunate enough to share those songs with people at concerts and online. Seeing other people react to what we’ve been creating is a big driver for us.
Question: Who are your biggest influences when it comes to your music? (Musical or non-musical) We listen to a wide range of artists and draw inspiration from many sources. Within electronic music, people like Porter Robinson and Madeon are very inspirational from a sheer creative standpoint. We’re also big fans of artists like Nick Murphy who sing a lot on their own productions. Outside of electronic music, we both listen to jazz and a variety of bands ranging from The 1975 to Opeth. I think our broad range of musical interests all comes back into our writing in one way or another, especially since we started incorporating more guitar and original vocals. We’re also really into the interplay between music and design that artists like Tycho, Odesza, and Lido bring to their work.
Question: Was there ever one point where you knew you had a breakthrough in terms of your career?
[Like a hit, a feature or something else were you just knew you had it made – even if just for one small step in your career. If yes, how long did it take you for your first break through? ] Not really. Even some of the larger things that happened for us are really just small steps on a longer journey. We’re always pushing ourselves so I don’t think we’ll ever really feel like we’ve made it somewhere and I think a lot of other artists we know feel a similar way. If we had to pick, our first sold out show in NYC, hearing Porter Robinson play some of our songs at Ultra, and watching our Imagine Dragons remix take off were all big moments.
Question: What was the biggest mistake you made when you started making music and what would be the number one tip you could give to a newcomer musician?
Focus on quality and don’t be afraid to take your time at first. We see a lot of new artists now who get very caught up in developing their brand and pushing out their first songs as quickly as possible. Brand is definitely important, as is releasing music at a consistent pace once you get going, but it’s much more valuable to take your time developing your production skills and writing style. For us personally, if we were to go back and start fresh we would have spent more time planning our long term path 1-2 years out. It’s very difficult to work towards undefined goals and that was a big lesson for us.
Question: You have a really impressive fan count. Can you tell our audience a bit about how it all started and how you got to where you are. How did you get your first 1000 fans? How did you grow after that?
Our first 1000 fans came slowly. We posted a lot on our personal Facebook pages back then and got some early blog coverage and small label releases, all of which helped get us close to 1000 early fans. After that, a lot of the social media growth has been driven by social gates on our free releases. Most artists are doing this now where fans like or follow their pages in exchange for a free song.
Question: You´re kind of big deal on Soundcloud. Can you give our readers any Sound Cloud specific tips on how to grow their fan base?
Haha well thanks. I don’t want to sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back so please take this as general advice. Releasing quality music on a consistent baseline is absolutely key to building a fanbase. If you’re just starting out, focus on building your catalog and releasing free songs. Once you have a steady stream of releases lined up, you can focus on maximizing play counts. Collaborating with other artists and working with labels, YouTube channels, blogs, and other promotional outlets are great places to start for getting more ears listening to your music. Pairing those free releases with fan gates for the download will grow your audience naturally overtime.
Question: You seem to have a great relationship with your fans. You have great engagement (likes,shares and comments on your channels) on social media and your fans seem to really love you. Any advice on building a relationship with your fans as a musician?
That’s something we really try to focus on and I think building that relationship with fans is one of the most valuable things we can do as musicians. At the end of the day, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without their support. For artists who want to build those fan relationships, find your voice early on and stick to it. For us, we wanted to put our personalities at the front of our posts and responses and keep our conversations very down to earth. You may decide you want to take on an alter-ego or personality or even go anonymous as many successful artists have done over the last few years. I personally think the anonymous artist movement has hit its peak but the key is to pick the style that works best for you and stick with it. That will allow you to view all your interactions through that stylistic lens and, overtime, your interactions will become your brand and your voice. It doesn’t need to be forced either. We’re genuinely excited to talk with our fans so the rest comes naturally.
Question: How much of your success do you personally attribute to luck vs skill and following a strategy. [Did you follow a strategy or use tactics that our readership can emulate for their own career? We’ve found that many very skilled, talented musicians have trouble with success in their careers so if you chose skill please elaborate on that part and what you think makes you more successful compared to other talented musicians. ]
I think the luck vs. skill debate is a bit of a false dichotomy. At least for us, it’s the two in combination that have moved things forward and produced results. We’ve probably put in thousands if not tens of thousands of hours at this point working on production, writing, learning instruments, creating artwork, and practicing for shows. At the same time, we’ve had some lucky opportunities, like getting stems for “Radioactive,” that have done big things for our careers. Without all of the preparation in building our skill set though we wouldn’t have been able to make the most of those opportunities when they came along. So one can’t fully exist without the other. I do agree that there are plenty of incredibly talented musicians who don’t get the recognition they should be getting. For that group, they’re probably being held back by an uneven balance in their skill set. Unfortunately, it’s not enough anymore to just be a skilled musician. You also need to be marketing savvy and understand the way the industry works and how to work within that system or find a team who can handle that for you. At the end of the day though, a lucky break won’t help if you haven’t put in the hours to fully seize it.
Question: If you think about one insight you had that really helped your career what would it be? Make the music you want to make, seek out the fans who truly love what you’re creating, and treat those people like they’re your best friends.
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