Interview with Ian Mosley by Bart Jan van der Vorst
Interview with Mark Kelly by Ed Sander
Photos © Jeroen Bos
Before the Utrecht gig DPRP editor Bart Jan van der Vorst had a brief chat Ian Mosley about the new Marillion album Marbles and the start of the tour. The day before former DPRP editor and still regular contributor Ed Sander had interviewed Mark Kelly for an article on Marillion's marketing and business approach. The article will appear in the September issue of Tijdschrift voor Marketing and was written on behalf of Failsafe Database Marketing.
As the Ian Mosley interview was somewhat short in itself, and the full text of the Mark Kelly interview will not appear in the marketing article, we decided tie add the two together here on DPRP
A Marbles Collector
Bart Jan van der Vorst: Were you any good at playing Marbles as a kid?
Ian Mosley: I was OK, but I used to collect them, not play with them. I used to think they were a precious thing to have, but apart from that I never really played it.
Have you picked it up again since the promotion for the new album started?
(laughs) No, but I've managed to get some glamorous marbles from people though. If I'd had those as a kid they'd be worth a lot of money
The single You're Gone has been pretty successful thanks to the efforts of your fans. Could you give your reaction, how this happened, how you slipped through under the radar...
Yeah we really did. It really is down to the fanbase actually saying "right we're actually gonna do this, we'll go out and buy..." I don't know what it is like in Holland, but in England you had three formats and they bought multiple copies of each format. It is an amazing achievement, as you said, we got in under the radar and I've had e-mails from major record companies and major manager saying it is incredible that we did it. And with a little help! It really were our fans.
Ever since our fans sponsored our American tour a few years ago, that's when it all started and it's been growing ever since. It's a great feeling knowing that we can do it without the help of any major record company. And we said that with the pre-order album that any profit would be put back into a fund with which we would try and promote the band and raise our profile and it happened. In England now people know that Marillion hasn't split up ten years ago, we've achieved it.
Yes, I don't know if you've heard it, but you were actually on the front page of the largest Dutch newspaper
We were on the Telegraaf weren't we? That is great, I saw that when we came in to do the Top of the Pops shoot the other day and someone showed me the Telegraaf and I know the Telegraaf is a big paper. I'd imagine the record industry is probably quite worried at the moment. But we're in a very fortunate position having such a loyal fanbase, whereas a lot of bands haven't got that. Especially bands starting up it's difficult. It's easy for us to say you don't need a record company, you don't need this, you don't need that, but bands just starting out they need help until they get their own fanbase. Unfortunately a lot of bands will sign their music away for years [with record companies]
I noticed that there were more pre-orders for Marbles than there had been for Anoraknophobia.
I'm not sure how many more... About a thousand more I think.
It's great that the people have bought it and put their faith in us and trusted us really, it is a lot of money. I don't know if someone said to me "We're gonna make an album and it costs £ 30" I'd go "well, that's a lot of money and do I know you're not going to take the money and do a rubbish album, not care and then go off an buy a Ferrari or something".
So yeah it's fantastic that they're trusting us. But we do care! And I think probably after Anoraknophobia people realised that we were serious. But you never know when you have a blank canvas and you're writing an album, you never know how it's gonna turn out, but everyone seems very positive about this album. Which I think is really good...
We did miss a couple of deadlines and it was one of those decisions where you say "Well, we could put on two or three tracks that aren't quite finished yet, or that could have been better" and we've made the decision to know that it's gotta be good. No matter how long it takes.
A lot of it was down to Dave Meegan really, sitting down and listening to everything. Plus there were a couple of tracks that some of the sections were really good while some other sections weren't so good or needed more development. And we thought rather than just putting on stuff that we think could be really really good and it is a shame just to let it go half-produced and half-arranged.
But the end of it we were probably only two or three weeks out. So I know last week or the week before we got a handful of e-mails of people that hadn't received their album yet. I know that two weeks ago the last batch was posted out, but out of 13,000 some that either go missing or.. but... but yeah, we were two or three weeks late and therefore they were posted a little later.
So the missing songs, will these appear on the next album?
Yeah, hopefully. Or part of them will. It's just that you never know, that's the thing, a track could be a favourite at the beginning of recording and it could end up being not so good at the ending. It's just that you never know, a track that I really like is called The Damage, but when it first appeared I didn't like it and thought "oh, it's not gonna do anything". But then we started working on it and it is fun to play for me.
During the writing of the music for the album, how much are you, as a drummer, actually involved in the process?
Well, Marillion is very much a band when we write we all just go into a room and play. No one person will come in and say "I have this idea and it goes like this and you play this, you play this". It never works like that. Which sometimes is why it takes forever. But the whole process is quite organic I suppose. All five of us in a room and we just jam and we record all of those jams and we jam for months and months and months. And then we listen to all the recordings and we might take one minute from every hour, saying "that sounds really good, we keep that" and we compile all of that. And then we sit down and listen to all the bit and say "ok, let's pick out the favourites and then we're gonna work on this piece and this piece and this piece" and Steve Hogarth might say that "oh, for the lyric, it might suit this piece of music". It all comes together like that. It is very much a band effort
Would you say you're drumming has changed through the years?
Well, it's changed since Holidays in Eden really, which is very 'eighties' and big reverb and all. I think it's with Dave Meegan, he tends to record my drums really naturally, I quite like that. He just records the drumkit how it sounds and he records it really well. Though he does put on a couple of nice reverbs here and there. But yeah, it probably has changed a little bit from that eighties sound
And your style?
Well, the music has changed, I just adapt my style to the music and make sure it all flows.
You've started using a lot more drumcomputers and loops through the years
Well, not me! (laughs)
That's what I wanted to ask, when, and where and how do you decide in a song "ok, let's not play drums here, but add a drumloop"
Well I think it works the way we use it, it works. Like we did with Afraid Of Sunlight, I really like the way it sets of an atmosphere at the beginning, but when I come in it stops. We did it on Anoraknophobiawith 21st Century, and Quartz, where it just sets off the initial vibe and I think it's great. And on this album we're doing it with Fantastic Place and that stops halfway through, and with You're Gone...
You're Gone I'm not quite sure about that, I don't quite like it myself. The loop goes through the whole thing and that's the first time we've done that really. It's OK, because it works with that particular song, but I wouldn't want it to be like that all the time. And if it was like that with every song, like with some bands it is with every song, you know, I just couldn't do that, it would be like being caged, I like to be able to play.
So obviously it's not you who programs those tracks then
No, on Anoraknophobia Steve Rothery brought in a thing. And we just jammed along with it, like we often did when someone had a loop of something, not necessarily a drum-loop. Just anything to set an atmosphere and I play along with it. So we're not sitting down and go like "ok, not this drum pattern and now that". I mean I used to program stupid stuff, in the early days for B-sides, I used to program stuff, like a song called Tux On. I programmed that drum part, but that was just for a bit of fun.
The other thing we do is the sequencer stuff, like Between You And Me, you know, that goes all the way through the song. But that isn't a loop, what that is is that it is triggered every few bars, so it can go faster or slower, if you mess about with it. So to keep in it time Mark just presses on the one of each bar, so that works then. So it's not restricting. Otherwise it would be boring if it would all be programmed, I've seen bands where the first two or three number you think "oh, that's great, that's perfect" and after fourth number it's "oh, allright" and then number five is just as perfect again. And I like it when it's a bit dangerous...
And how was the first night live, was it dangerous?
No it was great! There were a few technical problems here and there... There were a few balanced problems on stage..
I noticed at the gig yesterday that at this tour you are doing a new formula: two sets?
Yeah, we're still trying it out really. It should work, but I don't quite like coming off and then talking about the gig and then five minutes later go back on again. It's like doing another gig. I'd rather actually do the whole thing in one hit. So I don't know, it's still early days...
It is the type of gigs that most 'older', aging bands do. You probably don't want to be written off as that
No, it felt a bit strange
I call it the Pink Floyd Formula
Yeah, that's right, they used to go out and have a curry in between sets!
But I wouldn't know how else to do it really. Because we have to change over some of the computer stuff. If it was possible just to do the Marbles section and then just carry straight on, I think that would be good.
Well, it's a bit like the Brave tour
Well, with the Brave tour, we used to play the whole Brave album and after that it was just a completely different atmosphere (laughs)
Though I imagine it would be really difficult for people who haven't heard the album. For me, if I'm going to see a band I'd like to be familiar with all the material. Like anybody, if you're going to see one of your favourite bands and then they play a full hour of material you don't know, that's... that's hard work.
I also noticed that this tour you play quite a few songs that you haven't played in a while
Yeah well that's actually down to the internet as well. We just asked 'what you want to hear?' and some people said oh I suppose you're gonna do Afraid Of Sunlight and The Great Escape and King and all these songs you've played so often. And they said no, we wanna hear some other stuff. You know, I don't know if it's better or not...
We've got other tracks that are called 'floaters' but they're not floaters at the moment because they need rehearsing. And I think that would be the ideal thing in the end. And I think the set might be too long at the moment. Well over two hours. the set we did in England this weekend actually was too long. People have said to me that they felt the set was just too long.
Is that fans actually telling you? You're playing too long? I can't believe that.
Yeah, well, when I go to a concert I like.. I think an hour and a half for a set is enough, and then maybe 15 minutes of encores. And that's enough for me, unless it's... I went to see Bruce Springsteen once, he played for three hours, but he was actually OK. You know, he was good. Cause every number was... but yeah, two hours is really enough for me. More than two hours at a concert... but it depends, it really depends, if there's no curfew and the audience is up for it, and we are up for it, then we've been known to play anything we know. And they're great fun too, when it happens.
But the setlist, it's really just the fans that decided this time. Under The Sun is a song that there were lots of requests for.
It's not really one of my favourite tracks at all, but if that's what they've asked for. And Surf Babe, that too, people wanted to hear it. That is a fun number
So how does it work when you decide the set before the tour. Do each of the members go "oh I'd like to play this and this" and then you just tick off anything that the rest vote against?
It really is like that, we vote. We usually just make a list of stuff and go "oh yeah yes, yes, no, yes that one".
Usually it takes a week of concerts really for everyone to see how it is feeling, is the set working or isn't it. And probably three or four more concerts and then we might change it a bit. But if the majority is working, like you said the Marbles set that seems to work.
If you've got thirteen albums it's a massive back catalogue to choose from and some of the decisions are up to Mark, what he can program at the time. Before every tour it always takes forever to program the keyboards, which is strange because we've been doing it a long time. But Mark always decides to buy a new system just before we go on tour.
But we didn't really want to play any of the really really old stuff.
So are there any of your favourite songs that got voted against this year?
No not really. Well, The Great Escape I always liked, King is always one of those numbers that always works. There was rumour of doing Slainte Mhath, which is one of my old-old favourites and that might still make an appearance. That would be nice.
What else, Easter is always a great track, but people have heard it played forever, but I just love the guitarsolo in Easter. I just think it is a great arrangement and it always plays itself. Even on a bad night it sounds good.
A Marbles Analyst
Ed Sander: Could you give me your view on the current music industry business?
Mark Kelly: Well, I'm sure, as most people will know the industry is in a bot of a crisis because of falling sales, which is
attributed to people downloading music on the Internet for free. I'm sure that's true in most countries actually. I know Britain had a record year last year, the year before last year I think actually. But generally yes, CD sales are plummeting and people are just not buying them.
For us it's not such a major problem at the moment but for most record labels it is a big problem and also for retailers. They're really struggling, aren't they? I think the downloading of music isn't entirely to blame. You know, the way the music business has gone over the last 10 or 15 years or so has contributed to that. You know, the way they do business, the stuff they promote and the acts that they sign have served to undermine them. You know, Pop Idols and all that sort of stuff destroys the people's faith in what's being put out by record companies and so people are less likely to go out and buy an album or a single just because they've read it's good or because it's in the charts.
I'm not sure where it's going to lead. I know they are all frantically trying to find ways of stopping people downloading music or making the music - software if you like - pirate proof. The super audio CDs are a new format that at the moment is unbreakable. But it doesn't stop me from copying it to analogue and uploading it to the Internet. But there's added value there in the sense that the quality is so good, especially if you put it in 5.1 and all the rest of it. And lots of albums are being remixed or remastered.
But we didn't do what we did to try and stop people from pirating our music and uploading our music to the Internet. The idea of selling the stuff in advance does serve that purpose because obviously people have bought it and nobody can copy it because nobody has got it yet. In that way it has worked to our advantage but that wasn't the reason for doing it. The reason we did that was to get out of the cycle of having a record contract, go to the record company, borrow money effectively at a terrible price, because the price you pay is having a terrible royalty rate with your work being in the hands of the record company and them owning our records forever or for a very long time, certainly in the case of EMI. All those old albums we did with EMI, they own them forever. We will never get them back. So we thought that was too high a price to pay to a company who were effectively just behaving like a bank in them lending us money. Of course going to a bank is not the answer either. As a rock and roll band if you're going to a bank and say 'we want to record an album, lend us a hundred thousand pounds', they'll just go ...
Bugger off !
Yeah. You know, "where's the security". So that wasn't really an option. So that was sort of what lead me to thinking after the Tour Fund, which I'm sure you know about, that it would be possible for us to maybe ask the fans if they would pay for the album in advance. And that's what sort of got the ball rolling. I didn't know what the reaction would be and nobody in the band knew what the reaction would be. We had worries of whether or not people would think we were somehow operating like a charity, asking people to give us donations or handouts. That wasn't what we were thinking. It was more like we were asking people to have faith in us and buy the album in advance, not knowing necessarily when they will receive it. But it would be within a year. And we thought that if we could get six or seven thousand people to say 'yes' then we could just about do it. But as it turned out the first time around that it was nearly thirteen thousand. This time around, despite the fact that the price was more than double, there was nearly fifteen thousand! I'm sure that there are reasons for that. One is that we've done it before and people knew that we would be good to our word and we did offer good value for money. And the fact that we explained to people why we were charging so much for the album this time made a difference to some people. I think for most ... For others it would be a case of they didn't want to miss out on what they might get from the advance copy because it's going to be better than what you would get in the shops. And it's worked out pretty well because we've managed to clear about 300.000 pounds profit which we would than spend, or are in the process of spending on marketing, advertising, promotion and various promotional activities. You can see the benefit of that already. The fact that we managed to get the chart thing going, we've had lots of coverage in the press. One of the things we did with some of the money is to run a competition on the Internet called musicalmystery.com. We sat round and tried to think of ways of spending the money. One option would have been to say okay, we can spend it on advertising or we can take radio adverts or even television adverts, but the money would go very quickly. And we wouldn't necessarily know whether it would have been of any use. So we tried to think of ways to get tangible results that we could measure and also ways of growing the database. The musical mystery quiz was a good way of doing that. We had thousands of people playing that game that were not Marillion fans, that we had not details for until they started playing and we got an e-mail address. Of course at the end of it all, all these people now know who Marillion are and what they sound like and some of them will continue ... In fact we know for a fact because we've read what they have written about on forums and all the rest of it. Saying: "I have no idea who this band is but the guitarist sounds great, who is it?", or "now I've heard it I'd like to go out and buy the album". It served its purpose. We don't know yet how many thousands of people will come to us and buy CDs as a result of the competition but there will be quite a few I think.
You're able to measure that; how many people were joining the musical mystery website and will be buying the album?
Yes, because we've got the database of e-mail addresses, so we'll know if they then subsequently buy from us that's how they came to us. Obviously there are all the people who joined the musical mystery thing after we told them. But there's a date. We know after that day people who joined were more likely to be Marillion fans. Before that date it was quite a few thousand that weren't. One of the things we always tried to do since we started the whole Internet thing was to collect data on our fans. Nothing sinister, just who they were and such. One of the turning points for us was out last album with Castle. I suggested we called it marillion.com because we wanted people to know that we had a website. Although quite a few people knew, there were a lot of Marillion fans who were buying our albums who had no idea that we had a website, no idea that there was a Marillion mailinglist and all those things. So, that was a way of blatantly marketing it by calling the album marillion.com. And the other thing that we did, which of course I'm sure you know as well, actually in the artwork of the album was the mailback thing were you could get a free CD. Again it was just about collecting data. I think by the time we had maybe 15.000 people on the database at that point we've now got nearly 50.000. 47.000 I think it is at the moment. And those Crash Course CDs that we continue to do, we've sent out thousands of those. First of all they write to us and ask for a Crash Course CD, we enter them on the database and know that they never had any contact with us before, we send them a Crash Course CD and of course we flag their record to show they have received one. So, they are flagged up as being Crash Course people. Two weeks later they'll come back and order 200 pounds worth of stuff. Loads of CDs or four DVDs or whatever. You can see that they like this and they won't just buy one CD, they'll buy the whole catalogue. I think we calculated we only need one in ten Crash Course CDs to convert into a sale for it to pay for itself. And it's done that. We get about a 10% take-up rate. So that's really successful and I've been thinking of ways to push it further. The thing is, you can't just go out on the street and hand them out to people because there's no interest from the person that gets given the CD. What you need is for them to ask for it. Maybe go into concerts of band who's music maybe somehow compatible to Marillion and have people say "have you heard of Marillion, do you like them, would you like to listen to them?" People will either go yeah or no, but at least it gives them an option.
Obviously if somebody reads the article and is interested in the band they still have to make the effort of going to our website and actually requesting one which is enough for us to think they will listen to it if we send them. I think it's our biggest strength and also our biggest problem in a sense, that we know that people listen to the music even if they never heard it before and there'll be a good conversion rate as you call it. They'll go "I like this, I never thought Marillion sounded like this" or whatever. But we also got that certain amount of resistance to the name Marillion from a lot of people who will go "oh Marillion, sure, heavy metal" or "Fish" or "Kayleigh" or whatever it might be. So, we have to break down that sort of barrier that we've got. It's not true of everybody but certainly the people of our age group it's true because they will have heard of the name maybe, but not heard the music. They think they know what it is, but have no idea of it. So the Crash Course CDs are a great way of doing that.
The thing is, we're not incredibly fast at responding to requests for Crash Course CDs. In fact we usually send them out every three months, so they'll build up and then we'll send them, however many thousand we've had. So I think on the website it says that the next shipment will be in May or Jan or whatever, so at least these people know when to expect it.
After EMI the band worked with Castle for a couple of years.
Yeah, for three albums.
After that the band decided to do it all themselves.
It was a gradual process. First of all leaving EMI was ... It was a bit of a ... we were disillusioned with them, they ... I mean it seems ludicrous now if you think that we had a sales base of over 300.000 albums when we left, that they let us go. You know, with the potential to sell that many albums. Clearly it wasn't enough for a major label because they work on putting out a small number of acts but obviously selling millions of albums of each, which is unfortunate if you're a new band or a band like us that has middle sales but not good enough for a company like EMI. But a company like Castle they're sort of filling that gap in the market. They don't sign brand new acts; they sign established acts with a reasonable sales base. Somewhere in the range of say 50.000 to 200.000 or 300.000 sales per album. But they exploit the band and the fan base, because what they do is, they are not interested in building the band's career, they're interested in maximising the profit in whatever sales that band can achieve. That requires them to not spend too much money on marketing and promotion, but to maximise what they can get out of the fan base that already exists. So it's just targeting the fan base. Of course we didn't realise that, we thought, leaving EMI, a big company that doesn't really care or isn't interested in us because we've been with them for too long, to a small company like Castle, we thought we'd get a bit more of personal attention and a bit more effort. But as it turned out they were just ... rubbish.
Worse than EMI?
Yeah, much worse. At least EMI's got a fantastic distribution, so you know that when they put a record out it's everywhere. Castle's distribution was sketchy to say the least. They had various distribution deals with different companies in different countries. They would be constantly double-crossing one company or another. Or cross imports, say they have a deal in Holland and sell it to a company in Germany and they'd be cross-importing it to Holland and upsetting that company. When we joined all this sort of stuff was going on and then they got into various financial crises's when the company was going into liquidation and be bought out. Take over bids. And eventually Sanctuary bought them. At the time we were managed by Sanctuary and luckily we hadn't signed a deal with them because we weren't happy with the way things were going. So when they bought Castle we decided that enough was enough. We didn't want to resign to Castle / Sanctuary. It just wouldn't be right for us. We just felt that the band and the fans were being exploited. And effectively we were disappearing because there was no profile for the band. There was no money being spend on raising the band's profile or trying to increase sales. It's a bit of a disheartening period these three albums, because each album we'd spend a year writing and recording and album and putting it out with all this expectation and finding it sells just about the same as the last one. Or just a little bit less usually. It was only then that we did the advance sales and we took control over our own destiny really. In the meantime we got rid of our manager, our agent, our promoters. And every step we took to become more independent and to do things ourselves resulted in better results. We'd realise that these people who we'd been paying all this money to all these years were doing a half-hearted job. Like this tour. Lucy booked most of these dates, we've been totally in control of what's going on with all the advertising, all the promotion and most of them are pretty much sold out. In terms of where we play, it hasn't changed really because we know are market. We know where the gigs are; we know what the best places to play are. They're still the same venues.
So you know, it's been a bit of an eye-opening process for us where we've come from allowing people to handle all of our business affairs for so many years to gradually taking it all over ourselves and it's been good. So far we haven't made any terrible mistakes.
I can imagine that if you take all of that work on yourselves you need to add a certain amount of staff to your own organisation as well?
Yeah, we started of with just the band and Stuart who runs the studio for us, but now we've got six people working full-time for us. We are still trying to be a band and make music and that's an important job for the five of us to do. But the business side does take up more and more of our time. We sort of divide up our energies. I suppose three quarters of the time will be spend making music for most of us. Ian does all the financial stuff, all the accounts and everything and he does put a lot of work into that, so that does take up a lot of his time. We sort of find time to do both really. The worst thing is that the business side tends to encroach on the music making side so that when we get together to make music we end up talking about business for two or three hours. That can be a bit of a problem. So we have to try to sort of divide the day up.
But in the end, if you add everything up, do you still think that you're better off than in the old days of working for a label?
Much better. And we've only just begun. The potential is there for us to do even more still. This is the first time that we are the record company. The deal we did with EMI - although they did the distribution - it was really that they were the record company, we did the advance sales effectively and they did everything else. This time, we're the record company: we're manufacturing the CDs, we're paying for all the promotion, all the advertising; the whole thing is in our hands. Absolute, and our distributors and that's it. We're supplying them with finished products and they are putting it out in the shops. Obviously the margins that we make per unit is five or six times what we would have made under a good record deal. Obviously that money than has to be spend. A lot of it is spend. Every time we do a promo trip like we flew up to Holland to do Top of the Pops a few days ago, everything has to be paid for by us. Whereas in the old days the record company would have paid for everything. But I think it's more satisfying to know that, although we are spending our own money, it is our money. You don't feel like you're at the mercy of some record company. At the end of the day we probably sold at least six, seven or eight … maybe ten million albums when we were with EMI and they must have made 30 or 40 million pounds. Between us we'd be lucky if we made 3 or 4 million over that 12-year period. And they would have used a lot of that money to invest in new acts. That's the way it works. No money was being reinvested into Marillion; it was all going into 'the next big thing'. And a lot of those next big things would have been complete failures, so a lot of money would have been wasted. As long as you're an established act who's got a fan base doing everything yourself actually is a better way of doing things really, if you are the artist.
But you need to have a strong fan base like Marillion to be able to do this?
Exactly, and I can't stress that enough. People do ask us 'what would you advise new band to do? Should they sign a record deal or do what you do?'. It's difficult to get started on this. You do need to have some sort of audience. But if you're going out gigging, then at least you should start collecting data. That's the number one priority because it doesn't really cost you anything to do it and it can save the band.
Well, especially if you have the possibility to communicate through the Internet. I mean, it doesn't cost you anything.
Exactly. In the old days we didn't have that. We used to send out newsletters and fanclub magazines and all that sort of thing but that was very expensive. I mean, we do do occasional postal mail-outs because they result in more sales. You know, you send somebody an order form and people respond to that differently than when they would get something through the Internet. It does have its place but to do a postal mail-out to 30.000 people is fantastically expensive. You have to know that it's worthwhile.
Sony Playstation told me that the cost to AOL to recruit new people for AOL is about £ 180 per person because of the amount of stuff. You know, they send CDs out and such. That's their cost of getting a new person to join AOL. Ridiculous. If we had that sort of budget we had everybody in the world listening to Marillion.
Most of the companies make the mistake of putting all their money in acquisition but they don't do anything to retain these customers.
Well, that's really crucial yeah. Because out of those customers that we've got we know that there's probably a core of maybe five or six thousand people that buy 80% of the stuff. So they're the ones we should be keeping happy. We do make a big effort to try. There's the problem of resolving it and do things quickly and keep people happy. You know, they're keeping us happy. They're keeping us making music, which is what we want to do. It is really quite satisfying to be able to do it all ourselves, like last week getting into the charts in the UK. Even though we didn't get playlisted. Even though we only got a few radio plays. It was a real ... We've had a lot of resistance over the years and people were genuinely surprised that Marillion fans were so keen they were able to making that happen. And it makes people stop and take a second look at us and have some respect, thinking "if people are so much into this band what is it that makes them so special?"
I heard that there were even bigger plans for a second single.
I wouldn't say 'bigger' plans. We are going to do a second single and it will probably be Don't Hurt Yourself. But we really feel that with the first one we 'softened' the radio stations a bit and the market. People who wouldn't have thought Marillion would have a top 10 hit in 2004 are probably going to be looking at the second single when it comes out to see what happens. We just hope it will translate into some radio play and some new fans getting into the band. The UK sales for this week on the single were about three or four thousand. But those three or four thousand people will not be Marillion fans because they would have bought it in the first week. So considering how little radio play we got I think that's the result. And even if one thousand of those people become fans that would have been worthwhile. I mean, it wasn't us who did it, it was the fans going out and buying all three formats that made it happen.
Is that also the thought behind the e-teams and street teams to use fans as ambassadors?
The thing is, they want to do it. Their volunteering to do it was just great. They're the best representatives we can have in a sense because if somebody's enthusiastic about what you're doing then it rubs of when people see that. If we paid people to do that it wouldn't have the same result I think. Apart from the fact that it would cost a hell of a lot more money that we'd have got to spend. So it's a very economical way for us of marketing the band. We just need to think of ways of actually rewarding the people that do these things. We've got some ideas and we have done things in the past. I'm sure they would do it anyway but it's nice to say "thank you" in some way. I think it's important that people realise we appreciate what they are doing. I'm not sure how much effect the street teams have had yet. It's quite early days. But it will be interesting to see how it develops.
Marbles on DPRP: