My passion for music revolves around helping people not only find and listen to great music, but to also help them create it themselves. I’m in the very fortunate position of being able to meet and speak with some of the best musical talent out in the world today; both brand new musicians and more established artists.
As a result of those conversations it became apparent that if you want to be successful and popular as a musician, then musical talent (while extremely important) also has to be accompanied by productionequipmentmarketingetc skills.
Today I start a new series of posts where I will be featuring truly talented artists (or bands), that are on various places down the path of their musical careers. I believe sharing my conversations with these artists will be extremely useful for those aspiring to follow similar musical paths, or who might be having similar difficulties or questions.
To start us off I was very fortunate to be able to get the chance to interview the members of Parable Fifteen, a great band out of South Africa. As you will see they have some great experience and credentials. They have amassed a good following of fans, played some impressive live performances, and gotten radio play.
Read the inspiring interview below and be sure to watch their new original acoustic video!
Parable Fifteen Background
Parable Fifteen is an Acoustic-Pop/Rock duo, consisting of two brothers, Marc Andrew Skarda & Bryce Breeds, who have essentially grown up in the music world, both in South Africa & abroad. The band’s name is derived from the definition of ‘PARABLE’ being, ‘stories with principles’, which essentially is what all their song-writing is about … life experiences. In line with this, they launched their ten track Album called ‘stories’ in October last year, with quite a number of tracks being play-listed on select radio stations around South Africa, and ‘Trust Me’ obtaining a high rotation status.
Their influences are Mumford & Sons, Goo Goo Dolls & Matchbox 20, while their original works are very much in line with Civil Wars, Train & The Lumineers.
They made quite an impact in South Africa in 2015 playing at venues such as ‘The Litchi Orchard, in Salt Rock’, ‘The Rock Music Bistro, in Umzumbe’, ‘M.I.T.H. in Hilton’ and ‘The Nedbank Green Mile at The 2015 Comrades Marathon’, to name but a few.
Their performance of ‘Beautiful Life’ at ‘Live the Venue’, brought the crowd to a standstill as the gig was held at the height of the Xenophobic riots in KwaZulu-Natal, and the audience related this song to these current affairs in Durban at the time. As well as getting decent press quotes on blogs and local publications, the band is averaging 60-100 people at local shows, with a little more than 3,100 fans over the different social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube & ReverbNation, as well 1000 + fan database email list.
At the beginning of 2016 they launched an ‘Acoustic Sessions’ Series on YouTube, with a Parable Fifteen original entitled ‘New Beginning’ launching the strategy into the New Year. They release a new video very 2nd Wednesday, with their latest release on the 24th February attracting over 1,000 views within the first 24 hours. I listed this latest video in my ‘Top 10 YouTube Original Songs February 2016’.
Parable Fifteen Interview
Which musicians inspired you to work on your music? When and why did you start making music?
“Over the years there have been a lot of musicians that have influenced what we do as a band. Both of us have been playing individually for more than ten years, so we have our own influences, but I would have to say country/folk artists like Keith Urban, Johnny Cash and Mumford & Sons.
Both of us started making music at a young age, around 11 or 12. In the beginning, we were just kind of having fun, not really thinking we were going to grow up to be musicians, but it absolutely became a core part of our Identity as human beings and a therapy in a way.”
You have put a lot of time into your YouTube channel. How has that advanced your career compared to more traditional efforts (such as playing live, working with labels, etc.)
“It definitely made us tighter as a band, because the visual aspect makes a big difference as opposed to recording in studio or writing a song. It also allows us to express ourselves in ways we never thought we would, in terms of taking other songs and rewriting them in our own style, in turn giving us complete creative freedom, which is not common working with record companies.
Live performances will always be an important part of our career, as this is where we visually get to see our fans enjoying our music & it gives us an opportunity to interact with our audiences. Having said that, YouTube has given us access to the world, without us leaving South Africa. Our dream is, one day we will have the privilege of performing to an international audience of fans we have gathered through our YouTube Channel”
Do you have any recording equipment that you swear by? What are the most important pieces of equipment in your studio? (Instruments, Microphones, SpeakersMonitors, Video Cameras, Software, …)
“Our studio is filled with a lot of weird and wonderful gear and traditionally we wouldn’t use dynamic microphones to record in studio. However, we have found that using both Focusrite preamps and Sennheiser E935 (Read my E935 Review Here) microphones give us a particularly clean live sound.”
Take me through the process of making a YouTube music video, from how you’re inspired through how you produce it.
“Inspiration starts with a song that we can identify with, on multiple levels, musically, lyrically, and the overall groove or vibe of the song. Parable Fifteen prides itself on an authentic acoustic and tight harmony soundscape. So naturally the first step is to make it “Parable Fifteen”, which we call pre-production. There is a lot of time spent stripping it down and finding the right key that works best for us.
Thereafter, in line with keeping things simplistic and authentic, producing the video is done simply with three cameras, usually one mid shot, and two tight shots, one on each band member.
We shoot with edit in mind, and are very particular about what shots we are going for to best capture the emotion of the song through the videos we create.”
If you ever get frustrated or stuck in the creative process, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing again?
“Both of us are pretty persistent people and if we set our minds on something we won’t let it go until we get it right, but often times the best thing to do is to take a break and do something completely different, like play Xbox, take a walk, or get some food. That usually gives us a fresh perspective, when we come back to finishing the song/idea.”
How much of your time is spent interacting with your audience and how important is that part to your success?
“I think its one of the most important parts. Ultimately, the fans keep us alive as a band. ‘Parable’s’ are effectively ‘stories with principles’, so in our live show, a fair amount of time is spent explaining songs and giving a background to where we are and what we were doing at that point in our career. Because our songs are always written with a principle behind them, crowd or fan interaction completes the puzzle of our entire live performance or album.
Our album, which we released at the end of 2015, is aptly called ‘stories’ ”
If you could look forward two years from now, what would you see that would make you feel like you’ve progressed as an artist?
“We have recently stepped into the YouTube community, which we initially didn’t know was as big as it is, and there are multiple opportunities to monetize and collaborate with other artists worldwide. An abundance of subscriptions, likes, views, and comments are ultimately the goal for every YouTube artist, for us, our goal is to hit 1 million views on one of our videos. But to start making money through YouTube advertising or any other avenue would be incredible.”
Check out Parable Fifteen’s YouTube channel here and be sure to give your support with a Like or Subscribe!
What can we look forward to seeing from you in the immediate future? Any big upcoming videos, shows, albums?
“The first single that we released to radio in South Africa, is called ‘rain on the ocean’, and we are excited to announce the release of the YouTube video!”
Other than that, we continue to release a YouTube Video, every second Wednesday to our ‘Acoustic Sessions Playlist’ as we set out to do at the beginning of the year.
We are always writing new material & already have a new song done & dusted towards a second album, which has been very well received by local audiences, so who knows perhaps the end of the year will see the release of a second album?!?!”
Any tips or tricks you want to share with people thinking about posting their first video?
“Content is king! We believe that the best way to build a career out of YouTube is to retain your audience, so make sure that what you put out is the best quality, and a song or cover that will best showcase what you are and what you believe. Once that’s done, Publish and repeat. (Lather, rinse, repeat) and don’t forget to have FUN!!!”
Anything else you want to say?
“Just a big thank you to Hear The Music, as well as our loyal fans and Incredible Team. We couldn’t do this without you! We truly are blessed!”
Thank you Parable Fifteen for agreeing to do this interview. I’m sure this will be a huge inspiration to all of the artists out there who are wanting to follow in a similar path.
If you haven’t already, then head to their YouTube Channel to give them some much deserved Likes, Subscribes, and Views. Follow them on Twitter to stay up-to-date with their goings-on, and check them out at Reverb Nation.
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Leave comments for Parable Fifteen below to let them know how much you like their music! Let’s see if we can get them to hop on a plane and play a tour outside of South Africa!