World music meets progressive metal with Virginia outfit Shumaun -- a trio who takes their music seriously but still has a blast making it. Check out what bassist Jose Mora has to say about the band's investments and goals....
Tell our readers all about your band! Where are you from and when did you get started? What is your music like?
The name of our band is Shumaun. We’re a progressive rock band based out of Northern Virginia. Woodbridge, VA if you want to be more specific since that’s where we rehearse and record. Shumaun initially started as a solo project of our lead singer/guitarist Farhad. It eventually became a full band in 2014.
Hmm, what is our music like? Honestly, there’s been many a time I’ve been stumped by this question. We have such diverse musical influences that our music is hard to describe. I’d say take a rock band and blend it with elements of progressive rock and metal. Add a generous layer of catchy vocal melodies then sprinkle it with world music instruments and flavors. Mix it all and what you get is Shumaun.
What are your goals for your band?
To become millionaire rock stars of course! In the meantime, we want to promote our new album Memories & Intuition. This is our third record as a band and we’re very excited to share it with the world. The pandemic really put a hold on everything and caused countless delays during the recording of the album. We finally finished it and we’re proud of how it turned out. I think our fans both old and new will really dig the album. Hopefully, things continue to get better and we can book shows and maybe a short tour in support of the album. Beyond that I’d say continue making music. We really love what we do. It can be a labor of love at times but it’s an amazing feeling when the audience connects with our music. That makes it all worth it.
What do you do for a living?
Unfortunately, I’m not yet a millionaire rock star so I do have a daytime job. I work as a computer technician.
How do you balance your work and personal life with the band?
Work is Monday thru Friday so anything music-related such as rehearsals and recording is scheduled after work. I play in a cover band as well so shows for both bands are booked in advance to manage scheduling. I love playing live and having a steady stream of shows keeps me in “playing shape” if you will. Outside the band, there’s personal life of course so whenever there’s free time I get away from it all to keep my sanity. I think the key is to find that balance. My bandmates are also my friends so any conflicts that could potentially arise are easily resolved.
What do you consider to be the best investment you've made, music-wise?
As a bass player, I’d say high quality gear has been an investment for me. It pays for itself in the long run in many ways. The lightweight bass cabinets they make now are game changers for sure. In my younger days, I used to haul around a 4x10 cabinet that weighed like 120lbs. It was a two-man operation getting that thing up and downstairs, or even in and out of my car. As I get older these lightweight cabs are a blessing… and they sound fantastic. There are venues we play where the stage is so small you’re practically in a corner, so having a rig that’s nice and compact is crucial. A good wireless system is also a smart purchase. Cables are great and I still use them but the freedom you get onstage from the wireless is fantastic. If you’re a working musician, having quality gear is invaluable and makes your job so much easier.
What's the worst or least helpful thing you've ever spent money on as a band?
Let’s just say that if you’re going to get a wireless system, make sure to get a good one!
What kind of merch sells the best for your band? And what do you purchase most often as a music listener?
I think t-shirts do well at our shows, followed by CDs. As a music listener, I purchase CDs the most. I also buy lots of Blu-rays of concerts from bands I love. After a show, I usually pick up a t-shirt from the band I’m seeing. If you’re a music listener, a good set of headphones is a must.
If you've been on tour, can you share some tour budgeting tips?
I think some commonsense rules apply. Book hotels and eat meals that are within your budget and buy groceries to save even more. Plan things at each city accordingly to maximize your time and money. Buy snacks in bulk. Be nice to everyone you meet like promoters, sound guys, venue staff etc. Be especially nice to the fans… they are the ones buying your merch. Use money from merch sales to buy more snacks, and possibly beer.
Which online music or social media platforms are most helpful to your band?
I would say Facebook has been very helpful. We get the most engagement and feedback on there. YouTube has been great as well so people can “see” what we are about. Having a good old-fashioned website is also important as you are a Google search away from anyone wanting to look you up.
What does "making it" mean to you, and what do you think a band needs to make it in 2020?
For me to “make it” would mean I can live off music alone. It’d be nice to be able to quit my day job and live a decent comfortable life just making music and touring to an audience who likes our music as much as we do. We are far from making it, so we all still have day jobs. As I said, it's a labor of love for us. We love playing live and creating original music, so we’ll do it as long as we can.
Memories and Intuition was released on September 10, 2021. Connect with Shumaun and purchase the album on their website.
To learn more about budgeting, band finances, and more, order Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials in paperback and ebook formats: https://amzn.to/3lCsFdq