Interview – Dead Neanderthals

Dead Neanderthals are a unique saxophone & drum combo from Nijmegen, who inhabit the unchartered sonic terrain that exists somewhere between free jazz and grindcore. M3 spoke to the band about their view on music in the 21st century.

First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourselves, and what it is that you do?

We are Dead Neanderthals, a sax-drum duo from Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Check it out for yourself, it saves us a lot of writing and it saves you a lot of reading :)

What inspired you to start Dead Neanderthals? What are your own musical backgrounds?
We both listened to a lot of metal (all kinds), experimental music and punk and from there we just started the band with the intention to make stuff we really would like to hear ourselves.

What was the reasoning behind making some of your recent releases available for free or ‘pay-as-you-please’ download?
Well, we can’t (and don’t want to) pay the rent by selling our music. It’s just a hobby and the most important aspect of a hobby is that you enjoy it. It makes us happy that people across the globe are downloading and (hopefully) enjoying our music.

What benefits and/or disadvantages have arisen from this distribution method?
There’s one big benefit in distributing your music for free: you can reach a much bigger audience than when you’re just selling physical copies. Thousands of people have already downloaded our records through our Bandcamp and Grindcore Karaoke, while only a couple of hundred have actually bought physical records.

The biggest disadvantage are the costs: everything costs money. But like we said before: it’s a hobby and we’d rather spend our money on the band than on a stamp-collection.

On average, how many people would you say still pay for a release when given the option to download for free?
All our previous records can only be downloaded for free, and with the new one we started with the pay-what-you-want principle. Since it’s out for only two weeks now, we can’t really draw any conclusions yet, but up to now it seems that 1 in 5 people are paying for a download. It’s really awesome and we’re really thankful to the people paying for something that they can also get for free! Also there’s probably a big difference in motivation between these two kinds of people. A lot of people who just download probably wouldn’t put down money not knowing what they’d get, so the buying comes mostly from people who have checked us out and are really into what we do. I don’t know the figures but for a small niche band like us, there’s a lot of goodwill and a lot of willingness to support the investments we put in the band.

Would you say this method is a realistic possibility for the future of music distribution?
In short: yes!

A bit more elaborated: it will only work if people know that the money they donate will go directly to the band. If it will probably not work if big record companies will try to earn money this way.

What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
Basically that depends on the situation. We like owning vinyl, but that’s a bit different than vinyl being the preferred listening medium. You can do everything with only an MP3 but physically putting on a record also has it’s merits. Preferred is probably having the option to listen as you want in a particular moment.

Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
We haven’t got a clue!

Probably each has his/her own preferred way to enjoy music: some will listen to an album as a whole, while others only listen to one side of a tape or LP or a collection of MP3’s. The question is: does it matter? The artist probably thinks it does, the listener probably thinks it doesn’t…

What is your take on the current SOPA/ACTA controversy?
It’s too bad the focus has to be on how these bills get drafted (and by whom) and pushed through the political arena, not on trying to find a way to deal with the the issue of copyright in this day and age.

Finally, what does the future have in store for Dead Neanderthals?
We don’t know yet. We just released our new album Jazzhammer / Stormannsgalskap and we’re promoting it by playing some cool shows: first in the Netherlands, and afterwards hopefully also in other parts of Europe. If you’re reading this and you think you can help us out by arranging shows outside Holland: get in touch (deadneanderthals[at]gmail[dot]com)! Thanks!

Dead Neanderthals’s new record Jazzhammer / Stormannsgalskap is available now on vinyl and as ‘pay-as-you-please’ download through the band’s Bandcamp page. For more information you can visit their Facebook page, or catch them on tour this April at:

05/04/2012, Occii, Amsterdam (NL) w/ Drum Eyes(JP/UK/DE)
06/04/2012, 330Live, Den Haag (NL) w/ Neptune(USA)
11/04/2012, Poortgebouw, Rotterdam (NL) w/STAER(NO) and Child Abuse (USA)
14/04/2012, Vera Downstage, Groningen (NL)
20/04/2012, Muziekhuis Utrecht, Utrecht w/ the Galm Quartet

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About M3 Event

The music industry is rapidly changing. The internet has enabled widespread piracy, as well as a variety of new business and distribution models. We want to offer an engaged audience in and around the Euregion an opportunity to develop a coherent and detailed picture of the future of music distribution. On the 31st of May 2012 a music conference in Maastricht, consisting of oppositional debates, creative workshops and lectures, will provoke opportunities for intellectual stimulation, debate, as well as networking. We hope to utilise the skills and ideas of some of most forward thinking minds and operators in the industry in order to highlight some promising new ideas and areas which can be improved upon.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Interview and album stream | Dead Neanderthals

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