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IHM #fromtheroad Interviews Vol 1: The Lighthouse and the Whaler

Posted By : IHM, Posted On : September 27, 2013

#fromtheroad is an interview series featuring indiehitmaker artists. In this edition, we talk to Cleveland’s own The Lighthouse and the Whaler, who completed a nationwide tour with Neulore that spanned the month of July. In this new indiehitmaker #fromtheroad interview, they discuss the challenges of connecting with different audiences, selling merchandise, and how to handle adversity on the road.  

indiehitmaker: What was your best and worst moments on the road, and your best & worst shows of the tour?

The Lighthouse and the Whaler: We’ll start with the worst moment. This may be just the worst moment for myself and not for the entire band, but nonetheless it was a tough situation. Somewhere between playing in Boston and Philadelphia a good portion of my gear decided to just not work. My mandolin needed a joint resoldered, my beloved ehx delay pedal flat out broke, and my power supply began to drop my signal at random moments. It was a lot to take in with no time to work on fixing it. Especially since I didn’t quite know where all the problems were. I thought my amp was dying on me at first. These types of things leave you very uneasy. I recovered though. Many thanks to my band members and our friends in the band Neulore who let me borrow some gear for a couple shows.

The worst show for us this tour unfortunately took place in York, PA. Within our first song of the set Michael broke a guitar string. It made for a strange moment with the audience that left us kind of feeling off for the rest of the set. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal. However, life sometimes can throw you a curve that might be familiar, but you still can’t quite line the bat up with the ball. It’s just how it goes. I’m sure it didn’t appear as bad as we as musicians always think it goes. We definitely bounced back for the next set of pitches.

On every tour we like to say just meeting people and seeing friends in other cities is really the best part of the tour. (and it with out a doubt is!) On this tour it is hard to define a single one best moment. However, our night in Atlanta stands out the most to me. In Atlanta we have a family we always stay with. It’s begun to feel like a second home in a way. Always very relaxing to be there and great people to socialize with. We also got to sleep in the day after our show, and our amazing host made us Crepes in the morning. Crepes are awesome!

The best show was probably Washington DC. We felt we played well, and a good crowd came out for us that was singing our songs back to us. It was a good night! (Also some good friends showed up as well!)

IHM: What are some important lessons you learned about yourselves and your band while on tour?

TLATW: We have been on a lot of tours, but there are always lessons to be learned. I think this tour we learned a little bit more how to be a better headliner. It’s something you really have to do to learn. We have done really well as openers for many tours, but this time around we had to find a way to make our show more entertaining. If anything just discovering the difference in authority between the two will be key for any future success we hope to have.


IHM: How did you change as a band from the first show to the last show?

TLATW: A new tour can mean new challenges or just old challenges brought back to life again. Getting a new set together, playing new songs, and trusting each other can always take a little settling. Having several shows under your belt always helps reinforce the future shows. By the end of the tour we felt stronger and tighter and more confident in our set. We always get to know each other a little better too. Which means our confidence and trust in each other grows as well. This is always a good thing.

IHM: How was the venue reporting experience and working with indiehitmaker?

TLATW: It has truly been great! It is a simple process to get the sales reported, and Indiehitmaker representatives seem always to be very helpful and informative for each tour. Thank you for working with us and making it easy to get the sales tracked!

IHM:What percentage of your tour gross came from music and merchandise sales?

TLATW: About half of our gross income came from music and merchandise sales.

IHM: Talk about the growth of the live show over the period of the tour – what new ideas did you implement?

What worked? What did you discover on your own?

TLATW: Over the period of this tour we added an old song called “White Days” randomly to the end of our set. We didn’t plan on playing it, but it ended up sticking and we played it almost every night after the first. It seemed to be received well.

We also, dropped a song for the sake of transitioning. In our band, we switch instruments between songs a lot, but we have been trying to keep Michael (our lead vocalist) on guitar as much as possible. That way he can stay in one place and address the crowd without having to focus on a new piece of gear or instrument in front of him. The song we cut was one where he played piano. This just helped our transitions run smoother.

I also cut stage diving out of our set. Too much pain after the second show. JK man.

IHM: Which shows did you click with the audience? Did you find that shows where you clicked with the audience resulted in more music and merchandise sales that night? What was the difference between a successful show and an off night?

TLATW: Washington DC, Atlanta, St. Louis, Boston, Chicago…are standouts. Typically I would say yes, sales do improve when you pull off a really solid show. However, this is not always the case. We connected with the audience in Boston and performed well, but the sales didn’t necessarily indicate that. Why? Probably because of a simple error in market display. The area for merch was quite aways from the stage and also not near the doors. The best place for merch is near the exit or in a spot easily viewed from the stage. Venues need to always make a merch spot in these ideal locations (especially if they want to take a cut from the sales), but they don’t always do.

IHM: Who typically sells the merch at your live shows?

TLATW: We all take turns. We don’t necessarily have a specific merch person. We just make sure one of us is always back there after a show.

IHM: Do you do have meet and greets, sign merch, etc. at shows?

TLATW: After each show we always hang around to sign autographs if people want them and just talk with people hanging around. Occasionally fans will bring us cookies, brownies, or snicker bars. We personally love when this happens.

IHM: Is going on another tour in your immediate plans? What are some things you’d do differently planning that tour?

TLATW: Our lead singer, Michael, just had his first child so we are taking a little time off for family and for writing a new album at home in Cleveland. However, we will be back on the road very soon. As far as doing things differently I think we just plan on continuing to find ways to make our show more exciting as well as playing professionally. More specifically we are all very excited to perform more new material in the next tour!

IHM: Any stories?

TLATW: On the road to New York City, we found ourselves naturally in a large traffic jam. At one stop in the jam. We strolled past a vehicle not moving. Looking into the window, we saw a man passed out at the wheel. I immediately jumped into my red cross training mode of thought and thought this guy is unconscious from heat exhaustion and could die. I seriously thought we were gonna have to report a death. But after Matt jumped out of the van and knocked on his window, he awoke looking embarrassed and quickly drove up to the cars ahead of him. We all sort of chuckled about the incident for a while.

Check out The Lighthouse and the Whaler’s official website and Facebook page for future tour information.

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