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Janie Porche (of the Bound Stems) Interview

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

The Bound Stems are a Chicago-based band that bum-rushed internet outlets through a variety of contemporary grassroots promotional methods, which ultimately served to support the band through non-traditional means. Without completely excluding mainstream outlets members of the band each contributed to contacting a large number or internet outlets which resulted in a variety of high publicity profiles on sites such as Stereogum and Daytrotter. In this discussion singer Janie Porche discusses the band’s decision to use new media marketing as opposed to traditional print media, internet hype, and what to expect from a Bound Stems live show.

Internet hype typically contributes to developing a different illustration of a band than what truly exists. With the recent contributions to this hype surrounding the Bound Stems from the likes of Daytrotter, Stereogum and Pitchfork what thoughts would you like to reinforce in peoples minds before they start calling you the next Tapes n’ Tapes?

Janie Porche: I think “internet hype” is a new name for an old, wonderful thing. In the 80s and 90s people were making fanzines, and mix tapes, and mailing them all over the country in support of bands that they enjoyed and wanted to see succeed. Fans wrote to record labels and actually bought singles. The internet is a faster way of communicating these same ideas; people trying to support something that they care about.

Additionally, bands on small record labels often can’t get records in every store in the country – so when we show up in, say, Lincoln, Nebraska and someone in the audience is humming along to a song they found online, there’s nothing more we can ask for. Also, I think Daytrotter is doing something really amazing. They’re no hype, those guys love their stuff. Also, we love grapes n’ grapes. N’ crepes.

As you have taken to promoting via the internet, how do you feel that doing so supports the band compared to doing so through print media outlets? I suppose the question could be asked, as well, how beneficial to truly breaking a band is the internet compared to print media?

Janie Porche: Bloggers ultimately have the choice whether or not to post about the band, and that’s what seems so important about the whole thing. We could find money and make a print advertisement where we’re all standing in a weird pose next to baby animals, but that doesn’t mean that anyone likes the music: it means that we paid enough for that ad. Some of the more popular blogs get hundreds of CDs per week to review and potentially post about, and there’s no editor or marketing manager saying who should get reviewed. It’s organic: if you like the record, post about it. We’ll appreciate it. If you don’t like the record, that’s fine too, there are plenty more in the next stack.

Magazines ARE beautiful and glossy. But the latest thing that really bugs is when they show a musician, say Thom Yorke, and then there’s a whole article dissecting his “denim preferences” and suggesting where to shop for “Thom’s Look”. Sick. Let’s show Thom’s gear. Let’s dissect his amplifier preferences instead.

How does having the band’s base in Chicago compare to calling some place such as NY home? Is it easier or harder to garner attention?

Janie Porche: Chicago has been good to us, and we hope that we’re making her proud. But as your previous questions indicate, we’re often most accessible in a digital space. People in Austin or Seattle can find our songs, email us, check our tour dates, and send us drawings.

If you had to describe your music to those who had never heard the band before, what would you tell them?

Janie Porche: I would tell them to listen to it more than twice. Our music is full of layers, both in the live performance and on our recordings; no one is ever standing still. We’re making lots of sounds, and it takes a few investigations to separate them, select favorites, listen for them again, hum them later. You might not have ever heard music like this – we hadn’t either.

The band’s MySpace page lists Zeppelin as an influence. Are there any modern bands that have directly contributed to the band’s sound?

Janie Porche: All of the Teen Wolf movies, as well as Wolf Parade, Wolfmother, Wolf Eyes, Dances with Wolves, WolfHawk, WULFMART, and Werewolves in London.

What can be expected when seeing the Bound Stems live?

Janie Porche: When things are going well we smile a lot. When equipment breaks, we play very, very fast.

If the band had one final show to play, who would you most like to share the stage with?

Janie Porche: The Plastic Constellations, Spoon, and Maritime.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]