Molly Karloff Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (https://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
MK: Well, I guess the first thing is that we’re a hard rock band. For anyone that doesn’t know that would be the first thing to mention, just incase they’re not into rock of any kind! Ha! The more interesting question is always asking fans how they would describe us, because I’ve yet to hear anyone give the same kind of description. I think that makes it hard to deceive the band, but on the other hand it speaks to the uniqueness of our sound I guess. To sum our sound would be to mention big riffs, and catchy choruses I guess. Not every descriptive, but I don’t think it can be argues with! Haha!
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
MK: I first picked a guitar after a mate of mine played me Van Halen’s first album. I think I was about 12 or 13 at the time, and it completely blew me away. I’d always had penchant for songs with distorted guitar in, but this was a whole new level for me, and I needed to know how it was being done. The first thing I ever learned on guitar was the tapping section of ‘Eruption’ by Van Halen and actually got into my first band on the back of it. I guess the guys that heard me through I could play. Little did they know that was the ONLY thing I could play, and even basic chords were completely beyond me. I lasted less than half an hour in my first rehearsal with them before being kicked out of the band! Haha!
Since then, you could write a book about the up and downs and all that stuff over the years, but fast forward to Molly Karloff in Oxford and that’s where the bit that people are interested in starts. We’re all dotted around Oxfordshire, and make music because it stops me going crazy! I don’t really do it because I want to, but more because I need to. It’s just fortunate that wants and needs are aligned! Haha!
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
MK: Hmm, lots of things inspire music. I think mostly it’s stuff you’ve heard throughout your life that inspire music that you write, whether you realise it or not. For me it’s not a conscious thing where I’ve seen or heard something and decided to write. Music just pops into my head randomly, and usually at inconvenient times. I feel like I’m just copying what suddenly appears in my brain, rather that contriving something consciously. I can’t really say what inspired that, because it just happens, and I don’t really have any control over it.
The only part I do have my own conscious input into is the lyrics, but even then I’m already hearing the beginnings of vocal sounds in my head, the kind of vowel or consonant sounds that fit with the music I guess. I’m then crafting something around that. What I like to craft around that tends to be about something that’s unjust, some kind social issue that I have strong opinions on.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
MK: To be able to keep making music and have as many people hear it as possible. The longer I can keep doing that, and the more people that hear it and appreciate it the better. Pretty simple. That’s not too much to ask is it?
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
MK: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I guess every time you complete a new song or record something new, that’s a pretty proud moment. I’m not sure if anyone one moment stands out as the proudest though. Each time you play a gig to a bigger audience is another one, but I don’t think I have one single moment that I would say is a stand out ‘proudest moment’ in all honesty. Each moment is a step in a journey to me.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
MK: It’s still as hard as it’s ever been I think. If you’re producing music in your bedroom or home studio, there’s also the additional cost of equipment and software to do that, and the quality of most home studio recordings isn’t up to the production you’d achieve with a proper producer. For smaller artists, even a new record deal isn’t what it used to be. Label these days are just interested in taking a cut of royalties and doing nothing else. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part they become a hindrance, and so the artist is often better off taking control themselves.
Apart from the challenge in cutting through the noise, there’s the cost of doing that too. An artist will tend to be ignored if they want a track to get airplay on radio, but with proper PR you get a lot more traction. Obviously, you have to pay for that ’traction’, so there are challenges all around.
As a band, I think we’re doing better than most on the promotion front. We have a PR agency, we have a manger and booking agent, so we have people around us who have the connections and know what they’re doing that department. We’re artists no marketing people, so it’s always better to leave it to the professionals if you can afford to.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
MK: Our booking agent does that now. It’s a far cary from when we got started, with all the shady promoters just trying to milk new bands for everything they can get. We do have some tour dates coming up following the launch of our new album on 6th October, but if I told you the dates now, I’d have to kill you because they’re top secret! Haha!
There is a list of shows on our website, but we have a small show in a local bar where I live on 9th June, at ‘Also Known As’ in Banbury, and then the next coupe of dates are festivals at HRH in Leicester and DesTINAtion in Sheffield. Details all on our website and across social media.
Promotion of live shows tends to be done in conjunction with the promoter, but it’s largely social media-centric.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
MK: If the artist is compensated fairly for their music, then I have no problem with any format, whether it’s download or streaming. The problem isn’t the technology, but the business model. For 1,000 streams from Spotify, an artists can expect around £2.50 in royalties. You compare that with 1,000 CD sales and tell how that’s a fair way to compensate artists?
I think the law needs to change. It doesn’t happen in any other creative industry other than rock/pop music. You don’t get authors being paid £2.50 when 1,000 copies of their book are downloaded on Kindle. Even orchestras pay the original composer when they perform one of their works. To be honest, I think Spotify model is unsustainable for the majority of artists. You’ve got to be streaming millions of streams each month to even make a moderate income. Artists can’t afford to keep making music when they get so little back.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
MK: I listen to the grooves and riffs that Queens of The Stone Age put into their tracks and they always make me smile, but the one track that I still thinks is absolutely killer even years later is ’No One Loves Me and Neither Do I’ by Them Crooked Vultures, the super group of Josh Homme, John Paul Jones & Dave Grohl. The breakdown into the massive riff that kicks in around 2:45 is absolutely killer and I definitely wish I’d written that! Haha!
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
MK: I think I already mentioned it in my assessment of the whole streaming business model. It needs changing, and fast.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
MK: I’m constantly working on something, usually about two to three songs a time, just tweaking perfecting etc. Other than that, we’ve finished the album, that’s al ready to go, so we’re just in this pre-release phase of publicity and promotion. We have a couple more videos to shoot, and that’s about it. It’s not a case of ‘watch this space’ as we release what we’ve been working on for the past year or so.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
MK: Well, we’re all over social media. Just search for Molly Karlofff, or go to our website https://mollykarloff.co.uk
To be honest, just putting Molly Karloff into Google will get you everything you need.
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