Get Out of the Van: thelastplaceyoulook Celebrates a Huge 2012
Last time Rocks Off caught up with the guys in thelastplaceyoulook, they were trying to get a new van. Like any other automotive purchase, the van wasn't going to be cheap so they turned to Kickstarter. That turned out to be a smart, albeit controversial, choice.
Some $10,000 later, the band got their new ride and hit the road, all without lead singer Justin Nava having to shave off his trademark beard. (For a $10,000 pledge, he was willing to shave and mail it off.)
Flash-forward a few months to tonight, where the group finds themselves at Warehouse Live for what is their largest headlining show to date. Not only are they celebrating the holidays, not to mention the end of the world, but they're also celebrating their first new release in four years.
With new music and a black and white van dubbed "Cha-mu," 2012 has been quite the year for thelastplaceyoulook. Rocks Off talked with Nava about the year that was.
Rocks Off: Kickstarter is a hot-button issue in certain music circles. Having gone through the process, how did using the site work out for you?
Justin Nava: Kickstarter is great! The whole idea of D.I.Y. is not "stay broke" but "be a worthwhile artist that has made a difference with enough fans to have them willingly support you." We didn't hold a gun to anyone's head; if they cared about the band and wanted to help and had the means, they did.
We raised about $10,600, and all of that went to help with the down payment of our new van. We left town for a six-week tour with about a thousand bucks, so we had to earn every merch sale and every fan by busting our ass.
And it worked. We sold close to 1,800 CDs and about 300 shirts. Most importantly we made tons of fans everywhere we went. We know we were really fortunate to have it as our first major tour experience.
RO: Your fans funded your Kickstarter and your holiday show is your biggest to date. How do you keep the fanbase energized considering the fact you haven't had a new release in four years?
JN: Connection. Make an actual emotional connection with someone in their life, not a flash-in-the-pan single or en vogue genre. No matter what style you play, give your fans something they can take home and internalize. Talk to them. Friend'em on Facebook. Randomly ask them how their day was and mean it. I guess it's just being a human being.
Also, the level of production we bring to a show most bands don't bother to do on a local level. Between custom lighting we programmed ourselves, added props onstage, snow machines, cryo cannons, etc., we try to create lasting experiences that people will not forget.