The Hard R



The Hard R with Dallas Coyle
For my last blog, I decided to do a question and answer session with “The Hard R.” I thought I was going to get a couple of questions, but the amount that came in were pretty mind-blowing. The cool thing is you have real questions about the business, and I think I can shed some light on certain things. I never said I’m an expert but I can use my experiences to shed light on some of these questions. As far as my boy Sven asking about Coyle Media, I’ll break it down for you.

I moved to Florida in 2005 and didn’t have a job. I was leaving for tour in about three months, so getting a regular job was out of the question. So, I did some MySpace blasts down there offering consultation. And it helped pay my bills. The great thing was I actually had information that helped other people. The way it worked was I sat in on bands rehearsals and critiqued their songs and tried to get them to focus. Just like we did from Determination to Gone Forever. Most of the bands broke up I think, so I saved them a lot of money by showing them the harsh realities of writing original music. It ain’t easy.

Now, I do consultations (very rarely) a bit differently. I do over-the-phone consults and I do ‘in-person’ consultation. I feel I’ve helped all of the bands that have come to me, and I always tell them there’s no reason to come to me twice. If you don’t get it now, you never will. I never guarantee getting people signed cause I don’t have a record label. Also, most labels are on signing freezes because of the economy. So Sven, open your mouth for eating and close it for listening. I assume you’re a pretty hefty fella.

Post your questions in the comments section for the next blog!

On to the questions.


“Dallas I was in a band for a long time (more of a rock band then metal band) and we received local radio air play and had good support at local shows. However, for whatever reasons we couldn’t get anything going outside of Philadelphia and couldn’t figure out how to start getting on any tours. No one wanted to book us because we didn’t have a draw in there area and if we did get a show even if they liked our music it would be hard to get another gig because we couldn’t bring a ton of people.

My question is mainly how did you start the process of moving from local band to successful touring band? How were you able to make that transition and what steps did you take along the way.”

This is a weird question, O’Connor. You’re comparing apples and oranges. Back when we got signed, music was in a much different place than it is now. The internet wasn’t flourishing the way it is now. The way we got signed was kind of the dream way you get signed. We went into the studio to record our first album, which cost 6K. The producer (Steve Evetts) and the guy who mastered (Alan Douches) said they thought Century Media would like it.  A week later we got a call and six months after that we were signing contracts. This is kind of how it happens in metal. It’s mostly about the music as much as most would think it isn’t. The most interesting thing about your question is you saying you were in more of a rock band than a metal band.

This is where apples and oranges come in. The rock scene is much different than the metal scene. For us, we played over 150 shows before we got signed, and that was playing on the weekends mostly. We had a small, cult fanbase because of the new sound we had. For your band, being rock, it’s a different kind of hustle. As a rock band you want to sign to a major, not an independent. Independent labels suck for rock, because rock music has a much broader base which means you need more money to promote. My advice to you would’ve been to do a three song demo, make a video for your catchiest song, and start doing showcases for major labels. Rock bands don’t break, for the most part, because of an underground scene. Not these days. Airplay is good as well but the rock scene isn’t fanatic like metal heads so ground roots promotion is trickier. For rock, the package is important so I would’ve focused on making catchy songs and hoping you clicked with an A&R rep.


“So what do you think of this new genre called Bro-Core?”

I have no idea what it is. It should be called Bromance-Core cause it sounds gay as shit.


“Sorta out there, but do you think so many smaller, maybe not ‘underground’ but lesser-known bands that break up do so because of the difficulty in signing to a label, due to the seeming preference of labels to sign ‘safe bands’ that are following in current trends? There have been a lot of small bands that do one or two albums, either as something like a demo release without having any signed label, or one or two albums on a tiny label, and it sort of seems like the lack of backing capital (that I’d assume a larger label could provide, for bigger tours, more promotion, etc) was what killed the band, not the content or actual musical ability of the band. Are a lot of those smaller bands that could have the prospective chance to sign on a big label wary of doing so because of the possibility that the label might start leaning on them to do specific things, musically?”

I think bands break up because of personality clashes more so than not having success signing to a record label. To do music in any way is very hard. Think about it. If you’re on a label and you do a record, two years of your life are gone. With the latest GF album, I just couldn’t commit two more years of my life. All the way back a year ago I was dreading the record cycle for Earthsblood. For a band to break up after two records might mean they can’t endure the third record. People change. Relationships become brittle. Its like being married to four people. It’s pressure. I say it all the time. If you can’t get signed to a label then you need to write better music. Blame yourself before you blame others. Only major labels will lean on you to write different music. They have enough power and money to shelve your record if they don’t like it. Independents don’t have that sort of cash flow. I think any band that has the chance to sign to a major should do it. If you back away from a major deal your shooting yourself in the foot. To sum it up, bands break up because they are sick of each other or the business.


“Do you still play guitar while you are hanging at home?”

I’m still writing music but I don’t pick up the guitar much. I’m more like a jazz musician. I like to hold off on playing till inspiration hits me. I have a demo right now for a new project but it’s under wraps. For now.


“If K.F.C. stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken, why do they play sweet home Alabama on the commercials?”

Because the South is incestuous.  That’s all I got. :)


“What are some of the ways you went about seeking sponsorships so that you didn’t have to pay for guitars/amps/accessories/clothes?”

Tour, tour, tour. We got our ESP sponsorship because we were playing every weekend. Sponsorships are about promotion. They give you free shit so you can get their shit out there. We became popular enough where we had tons of sponsorships. Play a lot of fucking shows then call up the companies on your own (they hate management), and ask for an artist deal which is usually cost prices. Once you’re on tour year round, up the ante to “free nigga, free!”

Have a good week you fuckin’ crazy bastids!


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