The Gravemind frontman is adding a new feather to his cap with a self-help YouTube series, under the name BandBuffNPC.
[PC: Electrum Photography]
Gravemind aren’t the biggest metal band in Australia, but they aren’t a small-fry act; each new tour and release saw the Tasmanian born-and-bred, Melbourne-based group climb the Australian heavy hierarchy as more people took notice. From the earlier days of ‘The Hateful One‘ and ‘The Deathgate‘ EPs to the success of the ‘Lifelike‘ single and the band’s highly-praised debut LP, ‘Conduit‘ (2019), which reached #30 on the ARIA charts, they’re a rising name in deathcore and metalcore circles.
Gravemind’s earnest nature, musical honesty, songwriting craft and ingenuity is why I always have time for them. That, and them writing dope tracks. Let’s see the tally. A slick comic-book music video before it was cool? Check. Unique pre-orders and sick album boxsets that sold out quick-smart? Done. Just starting to rack up sold-out headliners shows before Covid struck? You betcha. Performing well-received live sets at festivals like Unify Gathering, Good Things, and Invasion Fest? Tick! Also having sick riffs? TICK!
The band’s vocalist, lyricist and manager, Dylan Gillies-Parsons – who also operates as an affiliate with their record label, Greyscale, for graphic design and marketing – has spent his time during lockdown and isolation working on creating a platform to share what he’s humbly learned in the music industry over the last eight years of playing in bands to help pay it forward. Enter his YouTube channel, BandBuffNPC. Honestly, I’m extremely biased towards these guys; I’ve covered Gravemind extensively and positively over the last four years. So it’s no surprise that we’re happy to team up with Dylan to help give his latest endeavour an added push with an early-look at the first installment of his “Foundations for a Successful Band” series.
Previously on his channel, you’d only find two wicked vocal covers of the DOOM OST’s: ‘BFG Division‘ from the decentish 2016 reboot and ‘The Only Thing They Fear Is You‘ from this year’s excellent sequel, Eternal. (The Patreon page for BandBuffNPC has it’s membership ranks named after the difficulty settings from DOOM; I’m Too Young To Die, Hurt Me Plenty, Ultra-Violence, and Nightmare. If you’re going to use a gimmick, you might as well go balls deep with it!) Now his platform is growing, as the vocalist is setting his sights for weekly video release, covering an array of topics – how to target ads properly, applying for government art grants, managing a band, the use of a label, and so on.
Unlike most other “self-help” industries being scams and creepily taking advantage of vulnerable people, this is wholesome self-help content for budding musicians to maybe learn from, mixing and matching the advice offered for what could work for their own bands. But I’ll let Dylan explain it best in his own words:
“Put simply, BandBuffNPC is a platform for me to deliver self-help based content to musicians in the industry who are just starting out, or even looking to release their second album. I know what it’s like to come from absolute zero, playing to no-one in small local pubs, to then playing festivals with thousands in attendance, and I truly believe I have a lot of fantastic information that can help a lot of aspiring musicians out there”.
“I wanted to give back a lot of what I had learnt from some really incredible people in the industry. I wanted to take all the lessons I had gathered from the many years of trials and tribulations, and present my knowledge in a way that might help like minded others. This is a series for people who want to take their band seriously, who thrive off being the one that takes control of what they can, and pushing themselves and their dreams to the absolute limits.”
“I have a half dozen episodes shot, that cover a range of topics like ‘does my band actually need a label?’, ‘how to manage a band’, opening with a foundations series that I think every single musician would benefit from. I plan to use my channel to release weekly videos that cover a broad spectrum of topics, and I’m also offering some extra assistance and rewards to those who are willing to support me on Patreon. I’m very excited to begin this new endeavour, and can’t wait to meet all the like minded, hard working people out there, who just want the best for their bands”.
As the vocalist mentions in this first video, these tips and advice probably won’t aid you if your band is on the level of a Northlane, a Polaris, or even a Parkway Drive. This series is all for those smaller bands who are recently formed or who are starting to gain some kind of traction, but feel like they’re stuck in option paralysis with how to next build their band and expand their music. For as the title of the video suggests, it’s all about the foundations.
One key thing Dylan highlights in it, one that is absolutely crucial in my eyes, is to fully love the music that you write and play. If you don’t sweat your own band, why the fuck should anyone else? At the end of the day, it’s your name and face attached to the music you write and release, and it’s you who has to perform it, so you’d best make damn sure you’re into it and love what you’re making. It may seem like an obvious thing, but that’s what his intention is for this series; to offer advice to those who haven’t quite wrapped their heads around these perspectives.
Check out the first part below, and watch out for more content dropping from the channel this Wednesday, November 24th when it officially launches!