Selton is one of my favorite Brazillian-Italian bands.
We met and partied with these dudes on our International Book Tour stop in Milan, Italy.
Wow. It’s already been almost two months we were there. Time flies.
Daniel, Selton’s drummer and a key player in helping us get published in Italy, took some time to answer a few questions about life as an indie band in Italy. He actually heard about us on Twitter and showed the book to Selton’s producer, Tommaso Colliva, who helped get the publishing deal for us.
1. Selton is a Brazilian based out of Milan, Italy that started out as a busking act, got signed to a label, and then reinvented itself as an independent act. Can you describe the challenges and opportunities you have as an Independent artist in Italy?
We started the band covering Beatles songs on the streets of Barcelona. We’ve known each other from school back in Brazil but we all met by chance. For two years we were just having fun- living from coins, smiles and cd sales (demo recordings). An Italian MTV producer saw us on the streets and brought us to Milan where we recorded our first album covering Italian songs from the 60’s. After this album we had very big exposure in Italy. TV shows, Major press, show cases… But the record label decided not to record another album and then we found ourselves as an independent band away from home after two years in Italy.
That situation was challenging. We didn’t know what to do but we started trying different ideas searching for a direction. The bigest difficulty we had was to find an identity. It’s a continuos process that we are still developing. We feel our selfs as a very hybrid band, we are Brazilians living in Milan singing in english, italian and portuguese. It’s hard sometimes to have a clear message, but It’s very important. Even if your message is to be messy.
Being independent means to invest in your self and to work a lot. It’s amazing to be free to take the directions you think are better for you. It might be hard not to have lots of money to produce your ideas, but today, good ideas don’t necessarily cost a lot. It may be very time consuming though.
Today we have a structure that allows us to keep investing in our band. We collaborate with our ex label (Istituto Barlumen), with the producer (Tommaso Colliva) and we have a Label/Booking agency (Antistar).
2. You have a solid online presence. Where are people discovering your band the most? Facebook, YouTube, Twitter?
Youtube. We try to make new videos every month, it’s the best way to connect to new fans. We have good feedback on twitter as well. We find Facebook a good way to stay in touch with our fans and inform our news. Although, it’s important to keep it as a two way channel and not only a tool to inform the fans, but to interact with them.
3. You discovered The New Rockstar Philosophy on Twitter which helped start the process of us getting published in Italy (thanks for that again btw). How has Selton used Twitter to expand their fan base or stay in touch with fans?
We try to answer and develop content along with our followers, but we are still learning the possibilities on twitter. Tt’s a very useful tool and we want to use it more. Your book was a very nice find and it’s helping us out.
4. You’ve made two professional videos with the help of friends for cheap. Can you give any advice to a band to do the same by networking with filmmakers?
Networking is very important. Having good relationships with people around your profession may be useful. We were lucky to find friends that believed in us and wanted to collaborate. Of course, if you are working with a low budget and with friends helping you out, you have to be open-minded to accept new ideas and not only yours.
5. While in Italy, you told me the importance of having a day for band therapy where you all vent your feelings. Can you explain that further for our readers?
We are a family.
And beyond the fact that we work together- we are sharing our lives. It’s important to understand what we are feeling to keep harmony in the group. Small things can get in the way and it’s good to clear them up. If I don’t know what my friends are going through we might not understand ourselves while working together. Our harmony represents good songs, good vibe on tour, good concerts. We think the audience can see when things are not going well. Our condition it’s very particular. We’ve been away from home for almost seven years now. We became not only a band, but a family. We need to take care of that.
6. What does the future hold for Selton?
We are recording our next album, spreading our music to other countries besides Italy, and playing more regularly in Brazil. We are also working on a remix, new episodes of our Selton TV series on youtube, a new single for spring time, and a new video.
Lots of fun and work!
There you have it folks. Being an indie band in Italy is not soo different from being an Indie band in the U.S. There are certain opportunities and disadvantages wherever you are, but work and focused effort will show results regardless if you’re from Milan or Kansas.
Enjoy this tasty Selton jam. Ricardo, the singer in this song, told me the title “Anima Leggera” translates in English to “light soul” . It fits the vibe of the song perfectly.