This is the continuation of our earlier post on the Nigerian Rock Compilation album. We sat down with John Nova of Xcentric NuMedia to discuss the recent release of the Nigerian Rock Compilation album. The 18-track album features the likes of Clay, 1LastAutograph, Plus234, The RisingRain and John himself who is XTsamurai. Be sure to read that first post HERE. This one is more focused on Nigerian Rock music…
The Interview Part 2:
Iced O of AudioInferno: Any new music from you on the horizon?
John Nova of Xcentric NuMedia: (Laughs) Ok, let me stop talking as John from Xcentric NuMedia and talk as XTsamurai the Musician. Yes, I have new material, about three songs, which have not been pushed out there. I am also in the studio working on new songs and one of these is a collaboration with a very talented Nigerian musician – and you will have to keep your eyes and ears peeled to get more information on that. I am also aware Clay has a new song out, Komos and 1LastAutograph are working on some new materials and I know the others also have good stuff in the works. I’ve got to say that these guys work very hard.
AudioInferno: You are already becoming a veteran in the Nigerian Rock scene. What do you envision for it in the coming year, 2017?
John: Veteran? (laughs) You’re too kind. Well, we’re in the middle of a recession and I guess that could affect a lot of things. For a genre that is hardly mainstream, it might be more difficult to get paid shows. On the flip side, it may be harder for anyone to get as many paid shows as was the case in the past. So, maybe people will focus on the doing the music they love as opposite to trying to “blow” – and maybe artistes that do not churn out dancehall or ‘afro hip hop’ or ‘afro pop’ as they get a better chance at appealing to a wider audience. Truth be told, apart from the recession, people are tired of songs that sound the same. The industry is in a state of flux at the moment and anything is possible.
What I think is very possible is that Nigerian Rock artists evolve from focusing on the art to also focusing on the music business. Things like branding, uniqueness, a message, alliances and building a base then become very important. In addition, once we can get a decent following in a consistent manner, I am confident that more brands and businesses will be more interested and offer some backing to the genre. We just need to get one or two Rock musicians endorsed and pushing something for a big brand or business, and then more people will start to listen and pay attention to the genre. It’s a matter of time.
AudioInferno: What can be done to improve the scene and get more musicians involved in rock? What about the fans, too?
John: Hmmm… Another good question. Rock music is generally more expensive because you need to play with a band – and sometimes, you need to provide the band some incentive that translates to cost. And how do you cover cost when you’re don’t have a large following or are not getting as much money in comparison to other genres?
Well, you’ve got to get creative and innovate when you don’t have a lot of money. To improve the scene without breaking the bank, we as Rock musicians will need to focus on building a base and that requires more aggression in creating material, getting material out in live shows and social media and doing this consistently. It requires effort but there are fairly inexpensive ways to do this. It also makes sense to have a clear measure for progress as artistes eg I want to have X number of fans by mid year 2017. I want to have performed X number of shows by the end of year 2017. I want to approach x number of companies, churn out X number of materials and sell X number of songs.
Partnerships are also important. Think Linkin Park and Jay Z. Maybe there should be more collaborations so people who know other mainstream artistes get to know about your work – and they may just like it. Maybe artistes can also engage brands and say, I have this fan base, can we do something together? The worst thing they’ll say is “no” or they may say no and give reasons why, which will be great feedback. They may even say Yes, which will be awesome. Finally, with the digital age, don’t focus on only the Nigerian market. The internet makes a big world available to us Rock Musicians.
How do we get more musicians involved? Well, if the current crop of Rock Musicians are seen as successful, I think many others will “come out of the closet” and jump into the fray as well.
Fans? I know we Nigerians like free stuff. (laughs) Who doesn’t? We all do, BUT, if we say we like a genre, let’s also support it. We pay money to watch a movie, buy CDs in traffic and download ringback tunes. When it comes to Rock Music, if we say we like the genre, then fans can turn up for shows live and re-share social media posts and tell a friend. We can do this together.
AudioInferno: I hear you about there needing to be more support by the Nigerian rock fans. What can be done to engage these fans besides the usual “attend shows and share on social media?”
John: Other ways to engage people will be mass media, but again, that is pricey. However, we are sure that we will get there since we have started out on the journey.
AudioInferno: You mention collaborations with other mainstream genres but what about within the Rock community? We think it would be awesome to have XTsamurai and The Rising Rain on a track or 1LastAutograph with Bemsar. I know you can only speak for yourself, so any plans to make collaborations with other bands?
John: Well said. I will be doing collaborations with other artistes within the Rock community and I think we will see more of these in the future. So it might be XTsamurai and 1LastAutograph, or XTsamurai and Clay or XTsamurai and…. anything is possible. There are a few collaborative tracks on the album, so I guess one can say that is a preview of what is possible or what is going to play out.
AudioInferno: We notice a lack of videos from our Naija rock bands. Rock bands don’t need particularly expensive complicated videos. Why do you think there’s so few videos?
John: Hmmm. Couple of things. First, it comes down to the objective, budget and reach of the artiste. You can do a cheap video, but you find that there are some TV stations or media houses that have definite specifications for a video, inclusive of quality along with other parameters that do not come cheap. That is often out of the reach of many Rock artistes, at least, for now.
However, on the flip side, you do have a good point. It is possible to shoot a fairly cost-effective video, be creative with locations, costumes, cameras, etc and have an end-product that is catchy – even memorable – and which can be shared on a lot of platforms. One step at a time; we will definitely get there…
Well, that’s’ it for the interview. Thanks to John for answering the questions in as much detail as he did.
Remember to go out to the various stores and buy the album. We need to support our local rock scene if we want to see it grow. And that begins by showing that it can be profitable. So go out there and buy! Again, the currently available locations are:
- Laterna Venture, 13 Oko Awo, Victoria Island, Opposite Eko Hotel.
- The HUB 1st Floor, The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki
- Bobogiri House, 7,9 Maitama Sule, Ikoyi, Lagos.
We shall keep you updated as more stores are added.
Support your local bands and rock on \m/