This week, Rob Hahn from Texas metal band Overt Enemy takes over Music and Money. Originally founded as a Slayer tribute in 2013, the outfit has spent years honing their craft and growing their fanbase with original music. Read on to find out what has helped get Overt Enemy to the next level!
Tell our readers all about your band! Where are you from and when did you get started? What is your music like?
My name is Rob Hahn. I play guitar and do co/backup vocals for Overt Enemy. We are based in deep South Texas about 4 hours south of San Antonio on the border. We've all been playing together in various bands for almost 20 years now. Overt Enemy was formed in 2013 and I think I joined in 2016, but since we are all basically family I've been around since the beginning as a fan and helped record the bands first couple of original songs that were later re-recorded for our CD.
Our music is "Texas Modern Thrash" although if you listen you'll find a variety of influences from classic metal bands like Slayer, Sepultura, & Pantera to newer bands like Mastodon with a bit of extreme metal, doom and hardcore sprinkled in for flavor. If you like thrash, death, doom, hardcore or crossover you'll likely find something you'll like in our music.
What are your goals for your band?
We all have families and careers, so we are just trying to see how far we can push our music using all the current tools available while maintaining our work/life balance.
What do you do for a living?
I work for a Fortune 100 company in direct B2G tech sales and marketing.
How do you balance your work and personal life with the band?
That is easier said than done sometimes especially with the volume of work that a band has to do on the backend that has nothing to do with actual writing, rehearsal and performance. We do our best to divide up social media tasks, interviews, merch stuff etc but I handle a lot of it since I'm "the business guy" but it's definitely a team effort. We've been pretty good about maintaining a twice a week rehearsal schedule (pre-covid) and doing 1-3 gigs per month (pre-covid) which has allowed us to build our band without being away from family too much. We find that working with a routine that puts family first works well for us.
What do you consider to be the best investment you've made, music-wise?
Hands down the band analysis/business plan we purchased from Matt Bacon's Dropout Media. Matt Bacon, a.k.a. #BaconsBits is a consultant and took a look at everything that we were doing holistically and put together a comprehensive competitive analysis with immediate actionable steps and long term goals that we could leverage to help build our brand globally.... So now we are a band with a plan and a growing global fanbase. We've also invested consistently in ads on social media & purchased a few courses over the years to expand our "band business knowledge."
Aside from that, investing in PR has been very helpful as well. We work with two PR companies (Dewar PR & Metal Coffee) with different strategies for each and have had good results with both.
Lastly I love my Kemper amp :)
What's the worst or least helpful thing you've ever spent money on as a musician/band?
Probably Reverbnation to be honest. We paid for the annual membership and some ads. We track our ROI and analytics closely and didn't find much value in the paid service.
What kind of merch sells the best for your band? And what do you purchase most often as a music listener?
Merch quality is VERY important to us and we sell alot of t-shirts. We have probably around 10 different designs now and they are extremely comfortable so you have one for every day of the week. We sell a lot of CD's too believe it or not and we're very excited about our new vinyl which is available right now for pre-order at OvertEnemyStore.com
If you've been on tour, can you share some tour budgeting tips?
We've only toured regionally here in Texas on weekenders at this point, but since we do get paid to play live we learned early on that the most important thing is investing in your team. Hire someone to run your merch and pay them well since that is your biggest revenue source. We re-coup overhead costs for gas etc out of any guarantee/door proceeds and then split whatever is left with the actual band being a 5th member that way we have savings and are always investing back in the band. Merch money goes right back into the band 100% after paying our merch lord Matt (vocalist I Am Heir).
Which online music or social media platforms are most helpful to your band?
We've built a solid community on Facebook and hope to cross the 10k threshold by the end of this year. Youtube, Instagram and Twitter are growing slowly but surely since we started putting more time into those platforms but the majority of our target demographic are definitely on FB right now. We really don't mess with Ticktock and Snapchat much. Streaming wise we are on all the platforms but have the most traction on Apple Music, Amazon Music & Spotify.
What does "making it" mean to you, and what do you think a band needs to make it in 2020?
Our definition of success is certainly an evolving thing. We've crunched the numbers and definitely don't have any illusions about making a full time income or being "famous" or whatever although that would be unbelievably fantastic. We've found great satisfaction in achieving smaller measurable goals that we can personally have an impact on.
For example one of our first goals years ago was to get 1000 actual fans (not just our friends) on Facebook and get 50 people to buy a ticket to a live show. Then it was....let's record an EP and sell all the copies. After that it was let's see if we can get some reviews and press and get airplay on our local rock station and Liquid Metal. Now it's "let's put out a vinyl," "let's write another kickass record," and "let's sell out our home venue to 500 capacity (after covid)."
Basically we are always raising our own bar for various things and we celebrate every victory no matter how small whether it's a successful rehearsal, writing a song, positive fan feedback, media attention etc. We just got our test pressings in for our vinyl release...and that was a goal "put out a record". So every time we accomplish something we feel like we are "making it" in some fashion. Eventually the stack of all those small accomplishments gets pretty tall when you really stay humble and savor them.
As far as what it takes to make it in 2020? Honestly I don't think anyone really knows. People have ideas. They have plans. We certainly have our own ideas and plans, but aside from gigging live we are pretty much just working our business plan with some tweaks to accommodate for COVID. I think the main thing any band has to do is just put out songs they wanna hear themselves and focus on quality and integrity. The bar is so high now you really have to look at how the big bands & labels market themselves online and try to emulate those tactics because they know what they are doing. Best advice is figure out who your real fans are and find more people like them. Put out music you believe in and do all the extra stuff that is necessary nowadays and be thankful that you can do all this from your house.
Stay safe y'all, and check out our new CD/Vinyl Inception x Possession at overtenemystore.com!
Interview courtesy of Dewar PR.
To learn more about band finances, order Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials in paperback and ebook formats: https://amzn.to/3lCsFdq
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