JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE: EYAL ON AMERICAN AUDIENCES VS. EUROPEAN AUDIENCES
You guys familiar with the phrase “Grass is greener?” Well, you should be. I think it’s human nature to get complacent and take for granted what we’ve got and think that what’s on the other side of the fence, or ocean, or job, or band, or girlfriend, or WHATEVER, is better and will make them happier. If they could just have “that” instead of “this,” then life would be better.
I’m thinking about this because I’m on tour in Europe right now. I love being on tour in Europe. I love being on tour in general. When on tour in the US, one of the questions I get asked constantly by friends or fans is whether or not the European audiences completely destroy the American audiences. People are living under the impression that Europe is some metal mecca and that you will instantly go over well here. Not the case. Also, over here people seem to think that America is the answer to your metal needs as a band, and if that they could just make it over there, then their answers would be solved. Also, not the case.
There are great shows here and there are great shows there. There are shitty shows here and there are shitty shows there. Keep in mind that the United States is basically the size of a continent. There are HUGE cultural differences from region to region, and the way that fans appreciate their metal, and what types of metal fans enjoy, varies greatly from place to place. The northeast does not respond to metal the way that the southeast does, the same way that audiences in Denmark will not respond to metal the way that audiences in Germany will. Granted, the United States is more uniform than Europe, but still, you can’t think of the United States as one giant people, because they are different from region to region. Same with Europe. When you are going on tour in Europe, you are hitting many different countries. All of them with their own cultural norms and quirks.
That said, the type of metal you play makes a HUGE difference. Things that got big in the US, like metalcore, haven’t really caught on in Europe quite the same way. Many bands that can pull in fifteen hundred people in the US will only pull in five hundred people on average in Europe in that scene. And the same is true on the other end. Power metal bands that will pull in thousands in Europe will only pull in hundreds in the US. Its not as simple as saying, “HELL YEAH, WE’RE GONNA TOUR EUROPE!!!” and expecting that you’re instantly going to be a hit. You have to work these markets just as hard as any other markets.
The only place in the world I’ve toured where the grass is actually greener is Japan. That is the perfect tour scenario. Besides that, it’s all the same. It changes from region to region. It’s easy to think of the US as a place where everything is exactly the same and forget that it’s a 3000 mile-wide country of 280 million people, the same way that its easy to think of Europe as just one big place known as “Europe.” When you actually start to pay attention to cultural differences from place to place, you realize that what you have to present to the world will be accepted differently in different places, because the people living there all have their own tastes. Some places will like you more than others. Some people will be more appreciative than others. Either way, it’s all work.
I’ve known this for awhile, but this tour definitely drives it home for me. No matter where you are, you have to make your mark and not expect that your mark will be made for you. It’s easy to think that there’s a place 5000 miles away, where people will instantly love what you do, but you get there and you realize that you need to win them over just like the people back home. Grass is never greener unless you tend to it yourself.
Anyone here got any thoughts on the matter?
Daath are touring Europe right now with Chimaira, Unearth and Throwdown. Visit their MySpace page for a complete list of tour dates.