This installment of Music and Money is brought to us by Toronto hard rockers Motion Device! Bassist/keyboardist Andrea Menoudakis and guitarist Josh Marrocco tell us about the band's goals as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic...
Tell our readers all about your band! Where are you from and when did you get started? What is your music like?
ANDREA: Motion Device is an independent hard rock band from Toronto, Canada. We started off posting covers of rock and metal songs on YouTube about a decade ago. Our popularity started to grow as we gained more and more subscribers on our channel. Eventually, we decided to break away from the covers and we began writing our own songs and lucky for us our fan base really enjoyed our original material. Thanks to our fans we’ve managed to run quite a few successful crowd-funding campaigns which has brought us to our fourth studio album which was released late last year – MDIV.
JOSH: I don’t believe Motion Device fits into any one specific genre, nor as a band do we think it should. We create music that has inspired us to play and perform for others and we have never really written music to fit any specific genre or style. If I had to pick a genre that closely represents the type of music we create, I’d say we play melodic/progressive hard rock.
What are your goals for your band?
JOSH: I think the driving ongoing goals for Motion Device are progression and exposure. Everything we do, everything we write, needs to be better than anything we’ve done before – at least in our minds. That was one of the biggest factors when creating the latest album, to create something bigger and better than any of our previous releases. Exposure is also very important to us and striving to reach a bigger audience. We want to find those individuals that our music speaks to.
ANDREA: The main goal for the band is to write music for a living. We want to continue creating music for both ourselves and our fans and hopefully, one day perform live again when this pandemic is under control.
What do you do for a living?
JOSH: My main source of income has been from electrical work for the last several years. I have always enjoyed hands-on labor and construction, although music has given me the opportunity to express my creativity and live less of a black and white lifestyle like the one I find in my workplace.
ANDREA: I work at an afterschool math and reading program for kids. I’ve been working there full-time for over five years now. I really enjoy working with kids of all ages, but working full-time as a musician is where I want to be.
How do you balance your work and personal life with the band?
ANDREA: During the day I’m at work teaching children and when I come home I work on music the majority of the time. Weekends give me more time to focus on the band’s material. I also started my own YouTube channel in 2020 so I’ll be focusing even more of my time on music in 2021 and beyond.
What do you consider to be the best investment you've made, music-wise?
JOSH: The most valuable investment I’ve ever made music-wise is my time. There is no piece of equipment that can be purchased that will make you any better of a player than just sitting down with your instrument and playing.
What's the worst or least helpful thing you've ever spent money on as a musician/band?
JOSH: A music store in Toronto has a huge used gear sale every year and one year I decided to go check it out. After digging around for a bit I found a Boss Tremolo pedal at a price too good to be true. Turns out it was too good to be true because the pedal couldn’t be turned off when it was plugged in – the tremolo function was going all the time. So I had a choice to make: either stop using the pedal and accept the fact I wasted my money, or devote the rest of my musical career to playing ‘Bang Bang’ from Kill Bill.
What kind of merch sells the best for your band? And what do you purchase most often as a music listener?
ANDREA: Hard copy CDs are our biggest sellers. T-shirts and hoodies also do pretty well. The obvious thing I purchase most as a music listener is… music. Yes, I actually do purchase CDs and music online but I’ve also grown quite accustomed to streaming music as well. It’s so nice to be able to find anything you want at any given time on Spotify and just press play.
If you've been on tour, can you share some tour budgeting tips?
ANDREA: We’ve only been on one real ‘tour’ and it was only three cities in the U.S. in support of our Wide Awake album. The biggest budgeting tip I can give any independent artist or band out there is to launch a crowd-funding campaign! You never know unless you try. Lucky for us our fans really wanted to see us perform on that tour so they donated everything we needed to pull it off. We make the music and our fans do the rest… we really are fortunate.
Which online music or social media platforms are most helpful to your band?
ANDREA: YouTube is the main platform that helps us gain fans. Facebook and Twitter have also helped – we find most of the fans on those platforms consist of older generation rockers and metalheads. Moving forward we’re really looking to grow our fan base on Instagram because we need to grab the attention of younger music fans.
What does "making it" mean to you, and what do you think a band needs to make it in 2021?
JOSH: The meaning of ‘making it’ to me is likely different than most people. If I wake up every day happy, enjoying what I do and doing what I love then I’ve made it. There’s no amount of money that defines when I’ve made it. Rather, if I can have a comfortable life and live that life creating music then I’ve made it.
In 2021 bands have a bigger role in music than just worrying about individually making it. Musicians and bands in 2021 need to focus on the repair and regrowth of our industry which came to a halt over this past year. When it’s safe to do so, plan shows and reconnect with devoted fans to bring back live music in 2021.
ANDREA: Making it to me means being able to write, create and perform music for a living. Having others enjoy our music as much as we love making it. Nowadays, many people rely on their phones and social media for their day-to-day entertainment, so growing a larger following on social media and putting in as much time as you can on playing and creating music is essential for a band to keep everyone’s spirit lifted in order to get back to living a better life again – for everyone.
Connect with Motion Device at the links below:
CD purchases: https://motiondevice.net/buy-motion-device-iv-cd
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
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