Everybody has a dream. No, not the dream where you have a horseface and Joe Strummer is complementing your mane, the other one. The dream in which you get to wake up every morning and do what you love to do. The phrase "going to work" doesn’t exist in your vocabulary. For many young men this dream involves making a living fashioning custom made rocking chairs out of driftwood to sell to rich old grandpas. For others, like guitarist Matt Park, the dream centers around being in a band and storming the world with a sound.
It’s a dream he’s living since forming Empire Affair with a few friends in 2011. Based in Bournemouth, the new wave revival-style band has released three albums and plays gigs throughout the UK. Says Matt:
"I have always had a love of music and have been playing the guitar since I was 12. I had been in bands previously, but before I started Empire Affair, I was performing as a solo musician. I enjoyed it, but when you are travelling the country on your own, it can get quite lonely. Plus there is only so much you can do with one instrument. Musically you can’t have the same impact as a full band, particularly when on stage."
Custom website + .co.uk domain = pro image online
But how does a man and his band get their music out there for the world to hear? In the modern world the answer isn't benzedrine, it's the Internet. Now, every band has a Facebook page, or a Twitter account, or a bandcamp, or all three — something that has their name on it, but really isn't theirs. Matt realized this very early on: "At first we were using social media to share information about upcoming gigs, but I soon realised we needed something more professional." And it doesn’t hurt that he also works in digital marketing.
A few months after forming Empire Affair Matt called GoDaddy and purchased a .co.uk domain to give his band a memorable website address, plus hosting for a website. "We built the site ourselves and uploaded it to the hosting – it was really straightforward,” Matt says. “GoDaddy provides really helpful tutorials, which allow us to make changes when and where we want."
Score. But why is this important to the success of the band? It comes down to strong, consistent branding — from the stage to the web — and standing out from the literally hundreds of thousands of unsigned bands online. Yes, and Matt knew this. He understands that it’s key to have a unique place online where band members and their fans can document and share in the Empire Affair evolution.
"A band’s website is fundamental to its success and how it is perceived. Fans of our music expect us to have a place where they can find out when we’re playing, listen to tracks, watch videos, buy merchandise and engage with the band. The site also helps us to secure gigs, as promoters can find out about the band before they book us. They also know if they do book us, we are able to promote the gig and their venue on our website."
With more than a little hard work, and maybe just a bit of natural born talent, the band continues to gain exposure. Empire Affair has plans to tour Ireland this year, and will also play at the after-party for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds when they play the O2.