An Interview with JD Eicher & The Goodnights

JD Eicher & The Goodnights
You can usually tell when an artist or a band takes themselves seriously…because it shows, not only in how they perform, but also in how they represent themselves.  JD Eicher & The Goodnights fit the profile.  They’re a pop/rock group with members based out of Youngstown, Ohio and and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I’ve had a chance to split a few shows with them in the last few months and had a good feeling this post would show up sooner than later.

Frontman JD Eicher took the time to answer a few questions about about what it takes to be an independent, the pros and cons of joining NACA,  day-to-day responsibilities, and social networking.

1.) How long have JD Eicher & The Goodnights been together?
We’re into our third year of playing together.  I started out as a solo act two years prior to our forming.

2.) Several months back, Grassrootsy  did a write-up on what it takes to start a band. What do you feel is the biggest challenge when it comes to maintaining a band? And do you guys split up responsibilities?
Probably the biggest challenge is making stuff work with everyone’s schedule.  For example, we’ve never been able to lock in a definite rehearsal time.  We pretty much go week by week.

As far as responsibilities go, being an independent band can get surprisingly overwhelming very quickly.  There are a lot of responsibilities that seem to pass under the radar until you’re actually doing this full-time.  Our full band is a five-piece, so we do try to spread out some of the work, but it’s hard to always keep everything going.  For example, I’m kind of the stand-in “manager” for the time being, and I handle most correspondence, planning, and large-scale booking.   Dan is our graphic designer and does a lot of booking as well. And Ryan manages the mailing list, which can get pretty time-consuming.  Obviously it’s more involved than that, but you get the idea

3.) Your website is extremely well done, not to mention your merch setup at shows.  Grassrootsy talks alot about Image. Do you feel that people (fans and bookers) take you more seriously because you take yourself seriously?
Definitely.  It’s unfortunate that image plays such a big role, but it does.  We certainly invested some time and money into our merch selection and set-up, and a professional-looking website is really important.  Branding is imperative for original artists, and these elements certainly play a role.

This is a good time to plug our keyboardist, Dan Prokop, who designed our website!  In addition to playing in the band, he is also a freelance designer, and he’s always looking for clients:; 412-874-6979.  This business is all about networking, right?

4.) What do you think is the single most important thing an artist should do to promote themselves better?
Tough one. Not sure that there is just one thing, so I’m gonna cheat on this answer and say that the single most important thing an artist can do for promotion is to embrace all the tools available.  Have a Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, mailing list, profile, etc.  Push your stuff to local media, hang up flyers where you’re playing, etc.  Gone are the days when a popular Myspace was all you needed.  You never know where you’re next fan is coming from, so you really can’t afford to put all your eggs in one basket.
Have multiple baskets.

5.) I know that you’ve tried NACA before. Indie artists often have reservations about joining NACA because its a huge financial investment. Give us your honest thoughts on joining NACA and attending a conference.
I do think it’s a valuable resource for artists, but it is a huge, up-front investment…and by the time you’re done, it costs way more than you originally thought it would.  That being said, there are musicians that make their entire living from NACA bookings, and that is possible – it seems like it takes a few years to really get rolling, though.  Colleges also seem to favor solo-acoustic pop artists.  Solo acts are less-expensive, and pop acts are more universal by definition.  It’s also important to be a showcasing artist in order to lock in a large number of gigs.  The artists who perform at NACA always do better because the students get to see/hear them.  It’s not impossible to book if you don’t showcase, though.

All this being said, I think NACA is a useful tool.  A lot of artists complain about the money and politics behind it all, and that may all be true, but it’s one of the few opportunities where you can get face time with hundreds of talent buyers at one time. I just finished my last conference, and it looks like I will be able to make back the money I spent and maybe net a small profit, but I won’t know for sure until I’ve locked up my pending gigs.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

6.) JD, you’re a full-time musician. Tell us what your day-to-day is like.
Incredible.  I’m usually wind-surfing, buying guitars, or hanging out with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Not. It’s actually incredibly mundane   I spend most of my time in front of a spreadsheet managing contacts and calling venues.  I feel like I’m more of an accountant than a musician sometimes, but it’s worth it.  I do it all because I love to write and play music.  It’s just really important to stay on top of things, so whether I’m booking like a maniac or answering interview questions for an awesome blog, I’m always investing a full workday.  My hope is that, eventually, something will give.  For those few hours on stage each week, it all makes sense.

JD Eicher & The Goodnights Online:


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2 Comments on “An Interview with JD Eicher & The Goodnights”

  1. […] videos (or other content) that students want to pass on to their friends. I happen to think JD Eicher does a really good job with this.  Check out one of the many videos in his “Tour […]

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