This week we have another European contribution to the Music and Money series: Italian melodic metal band Reality Grey. For fans of Soilwork, Scar Symmetry, Lamb of God, and Unearth, this outfit's new album Beneath the Crown is coming out on May 7th. Guitarist and vocalist Anto Addabo tells us what's going on with this long-running band.
Anto, 4th from left
Tell our readers all about your band! Where are you from and when did you get started? What is your music like?
Hi, Anto speaking (lead guitar/clean vocals). I founded the band along with our bass player Alex and our vocalist Tommy back in 2004. We all are based in the southeastern tip of Italy in a region called Puglia. We have a very nice metal scene here. Our music has evolved significantly in all these years, but our key feature has been the same. Our music can be brutal yet melodic and groovy.
What are your goals for your band?
Of course, we want to get heard as much as possible and play around as much as possible. We’ve always been ambitious, in the good way I mean. Work hard, try different things be proactive -- but at the same time be humble about yourself and keep your feet well into the ground.
What do you do for a living?
I work as a translator/interpreter, and I work as a guitarist for some companies around the world.
How do you balance your work and personal life with the band?
Well, it’s very demanding. We have the band since 2004 so I spent almost half of my life with it, and so it’s for the other members. It’s something that we have in our life since we were kids, it’s hard to imagine how it would be without it. We just do what we have to do, we don’t think about it that much in terms of “do I have the time for it?”. We just do whatever we need for the band to evolve, it’s like eating or breathing, you don’t think about it you just do it. :)
What do you consider to be the best investment you've made, music-wise?
This is a very good question. I think the band itself is the best investment. We always refuel and reinvest the money we earn in music in the band. I honestly think that if we didn’t have this rule the band would not be around today. It shows the commitment we have between us.
What's the worst or least helpful thing you've ever spent money on as a musician/band?
I don’t recall a situation when we were like, “We will never do that again.” Well... Maybe there’s one thing. In 2005 we recorded our first album, Darkest Days Are Yet To Come, in a nice studio -- but the studio guy was totally unreliable because he just didn’t care about us. We recorded the album literally “live” because he didn’t have time, but we didn’t know any better ahaha. We didn’t know that we could record one by one, with a click track, etc. We were like “Well, he knows what he’s doing, what do we know?”
Then he disappeared for months, we never got to the mixing of the album. We ended up quitting the studio, we got the recorded tracks back, but half of them were missing. We ended up re-recording half of the album in another studio after months and paying him less than half of what we agreed. The album has that “live feel” and shows 5 angry kids playing angry music; it put us on the map back then with hundreds of thousands of plays on myspace (rip) but he was just ripping us off. So in a way, we didn’t lose money but we wasted a lot of time.
What kind of merch sells the best for your band? And what do you purchase most often as a music listener?
T-shirts for sure are what’s sells the most for the band. For our last record “Define Redemption” we decided to do some white t-shirts and they were the top-selling item in our merch store! We’re thinking of expanding our merch items for sure. I also like buying t-shirts at concerts.
If you've been on tour, can you share some tour budgeting tips?
Sure, you’ll be lucky if you break even if you’re not a major band ahaha If you’re a guitar player, go digital profiling. In Reality Grey we all use MOOER Audio products, a real lifesaver. You can carry a complete setup in a 20cm pedalboard. It saves space and money when you travel, especially if you’re flying. Get everything in a backpack, oversize and overweight are two words you don’t want to hear in an airport check-in :D
Which online music or social media platforms are most helpful to your band?
Facebook and Instagram lately, although we’re still noobs on IG. We were able to grow a decent following on FB but now it seems that all is happening on Instagram, and with the algorithms changing every week it’s difficult to adapt. We try to post regularly and be active on all fronts.
What does "making it" mean to you, and what do you think a band needs to make it in today's musical landscape?
Well, this can have different points of view. Making it for us would be touring regularly and do this as a full-time job. Again the band is something we have since we were kids; almost everybody who puts up a band wants to do it like a full-time job one day. With this pandemic going on, you’re lucky if you still got the band together. Just keep on doing things, promote, write new material, keep the band alive.
Stayin' alive, stayin' alive.... That's the best we can do these days, amirite?? Connect with Reality Grey at the links below:
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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