Exclusive interview with Aaron Bonus of Westland and premiere of the “Steady Now” music video. Plus a major contest announcement from Westland!

Eric- Hey Aaron, how are you doing today?

Aaron- I am doing great, thanks for asking

E- Today you are releasing your new music for your new single, “Steady Now” (featured below). What was the experience like making this video and what is the story that is being told in the music video/song?

A- I always enjoy the process of taking a vision and trying bringing it to life. So making this video was a lot of fun. The video and song are talking about destroying ones ego. specifically mine. Everyone has an ego. It protects you when you are scared, lifts you when you are weak, but it will strangle the life out of you if it’s not kept controlled. This song is the bullet I used to kill mine.

E- Westland has gone through a lot of changes and you just finished recording a new EP that has quite a different sound to your older tracks. Can you walk us through why the changes within the band as well as the change in sound?

A- If we are going to the beginning, then we should start with Carlo. Carlo was actually kicked out of the country for a while because he only had a student visa. He left school when we started touring a lot. After that we never really had a full-time drummer, just people who were filling in. Ryan, was asked to leave after numerous arguments over new musical direction and tons of missed rehearsals. Lastly, Jeff and Jon left last year during the holidays do try something new. Touring endlessly can have a major strain on one’s heart and mind. I must admit, there was times I took each and every one of those amazing people for granite. I have done so much growing up, inside and out. That is really what most of this EP is about. As far as the “new sound” goes, I have never denied in any interview that I felt like “don’t take it personal” was a complete misinterpretation of my true writing style and ability. So though different. You can’t say I didn’t warn you lol.

E- Who would you compare your new sound to?

A- Hmm, that’s a good question. I didn’t have a handful of bands in mind when writing this EP. So to be honest, I think it might be better to tell me what you think it sounds like. I can say it is certainly more mature, edgy, alternative, and dark.

E- Today you are also announcing a very special contest. Can you tell us a bit about it and what we need to do to be a part of it?

A- Sure. The contest is, if you invite all your Facebook friends to check out the “steady now” music video as well as invite them to like the band page. You will be entered into a contest where we will give one grand prize of flying to your house and performing for you and your friends. You must take screen shots for proof, it must be both to qualify, and the screen shots must be sent to our management at fivealivemgmt@gmail.com

E- When does the contest end?

A- The contest will end on Jan 8th 2013, the same day the ep is released.

E- Is there anything special you get for pre-ordering the EP?

A- Yes. Exclusively through Merch Now we are doing a pre-order package that includes: one signed poster, one exclusive T-shirt, and one hard copy EP with one extra track that will not be available on iTunes or anywhere else. It will go on sale in December 1st and we are only making 300 total available packages.

E- I have listened to all the tracks and they sound great. I think your fans are in for quite a surprise.

A- Thank you very much. Perhaps but I also think most of our early fans are now 2 to 3 years older. Which puts them right on track to be ready for the differences on the new EP.

E- How bout we catch up again the day of the release, sound good?

A- That would be great!

E-Looking forward to speaking again and getting some more info out to your fans. Next time I think we should get fan questions! What do you think?

A- I would love that!

E- Sounds good buddy. Thanks for the time.

A- Thank you

Live Concert vs. Online Concert

By: Eric Haftel

Imagine going home after a long day of work, opening your laptop and watching a free, live concert while you lie in bed. This is a new reality to many fans of bands out there.

This reality is because, in the wake of the economy bands are having a harder time going out and playing as many shows and tours as they used to. It used to be that when you’re in a band, you’re touring or you’re in the studio. Now bands need to take time off and raise the funds to go back out on the road, and when they are out on the road, there are fewer fans who come out. Not only are the bands strapped for cash but the fans that want to go now have to pick and choose when to spend the few extra dollars they have. Because of this, bands have found another way to still play for their fans but also save up cash; playing through a video screen online.
With websites such as Ustreamand Stickam bands now have the opportunity to do live performances while spending no money at all. Even better, not only do bands get to play live songs to fans, they can also  speak with their fans online.

Stickam describes itself as, “the pioneers of the live interactive web broadcasting space and home to the largest live community online.”
According to Ustream’s site, “Ustream’s mission is to bring people together around shared interests for amazing live, interactive experiences that build and maintain relationships.”
Between the two sites, there are over 10 million registered users and they get over 15 million unique visitors a month.
While there are some obvious positives to this new technique of performance, there are also some negatives that bands are debating over.
Dave Melillo
Dave Melillo who is a solo artist and has done various tours in his career is adamant that online performances are the wave of not only the future but also the present.
Every Monday I do a stickam chat and I get 2,000 people every Monday. For me to play in front of 2,000 people on a tour it would take me probably like three weeks. I’m comfortable, it’s cost friendly for both sides and it’s fun. I’m a big believer in social networking and that’s where peoples attention is,” Melillo said.
Shaun Soho
Shaun Soho who is the lead singer of the Universal Record signed band, Crash Midnight also has some positive thoughts but knows of the negative side as well.
“I’d say the biggest difference between true live and live online is you lose the interaction with the audience. Live online has more in common with a music video.
It’s great promo and great to bring a band’s live performance environment to the attention of fans but it’s less of an experience. For Crash Midnight, we’ve always focused any videos we did on the live band performance rather than any grandiose story line, so something with ustream or a music video would be pretty similar from our side.”
Soho went on to say that, “A live performance is just a different animal, so I don’t know if you can really compare them in that sense. I’d say it’s a good tool just like a music video is a good tool.  It’s a little less produced in one-way than a music video is, but it’s definitely not comparable to actually being in the venue from my perspective”

Bo, who plays bass in Soho’s band, had this to say: “I look at online concerts kind of like phone sex …it’s good enough for some people, but I prefer the real thing.”

Aaron Bonus
Aaron Bonus who is the lead singer of a nationally touring band named Westland has used this new way of reaching fans as well and has found there to be both negative and positive.
I’ve only used ustream to date, but as in everything there are positives and negatives. The positives are people are more willing to watch you from there home and it doesn’t cost money for travel, or a ticket.  It’s how you capture what we call the lazy fan. The ones that are unwilling to do more then view all online things dealing with your band and never come see you live at a club. So online through ustream or youtube you might have thousands from the same city that tune in or view what you post but are only playing to a hundred kids when you show up in there city at a club.”
Bonus went on to say, “The negatives are the personal connection is gone, as a artist you can’t make money on merchandise or for performance to support yourself. I think not seeing your favorite band in person, at an arm length away is kind of sad. In my mind I wouldn’t be who I was if I didn’t go see bands live. However, the fact is its just another great tool, like many others making playing music more affordable, and allowing a stronger reach across more territory in a short time span.”
While the clear cut positive is the availability to anyone and the cost effectiveness, fans and bands lose that sense of intimacy and excitement of a live event. More then likely this will be something that will evolve but don’t expect to stop seeing tours in your area. If you have a choice, see it live!

Article can also be found here

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