We recently spoke with Magic Punches, a Portland-based duo who recently self-released their first EP, Brightly Colored Tapes.
Ray Goforth: Thanks so much for joining us. This is Bobby from Magic Punches and this is the next segment in the artist interview series for our blog. So the first question I have for you representing Magic Punches is what is your relationship with our company? I heard about Magic Punches through Jen Quinonez, an audio engineer here and I thought it was really interesting how the band started working with us and what the result has been.
Bobby Seus: Yeah, it has been a very exciting relationship for us. We wrote, produced, and recorded our first record ourselves and having done that, our expectations of the professional community finding it were fairly low, even though we were really proud of our work. We did a lot of online promotion for it ourselves, but we didn’t really know what to expect in terms of the outcome. We received an email from Jen Quinonez through our band website email and we really didn’t know much about the company at the time but we did a little research and found out that this was a pretty exciting opportunity for us so we developed this relationship through contact with Jen. Thus far it’s been very, very exciting, some of the most exciting stuff to happen to me and Lee (Barbara) in our music career thus far.
RG: I think that’s what we really love about this company, is that we give the artists an opportunity not just to get paid but also to get played and heard by millions of people on a daily basis. That’s something we really, really love to do and it inspires us on a daily basis.
BS: Yeah, the outcome has been really exciting. We have been getting emails from people all over and we’ve seen sales of our recordings go up all over the world which is really exciting. Like I said, stuff we had always hoped for but not necessarily expected so quickly and I think the company has got a lot to do with that, so I’m really appreciative of that and obviously very excited about continuing to work with you in the future.
RG: Can you tell us about the decision to release and promote the record yourself? We find that really interesting.
BS: We didn’t really have a choice. Lee and I have been playing music together for about ten years now, since high school, and we’ve been in and out of several different projects together, and with this one, we were in kind of different places when it started. Lee was finishing up school and I had just moved up to Portland and we located in Portland. I had purchased a bunch of recording equipment in the hopes of recording our own music and we produced the record ourselves in the course of about a year. It took a long time because we were working also at the same time and just kind of getting into the studio when we could and doing it all ourselves. We played all of the instruments ourselves and wrote all of the songs and the arrangements ourselves, so we wore a lot of hats in the process of making the recording. Then the release, we talked about shopping it around for labels and stuff but we had a hard time finding those resources. So we had the option of either sitting on the record for a while and putting something together or just putting it out there. We started by giving it to our friends and then made a website and just put it out there to see what would happen. For a while it was really cool, we got a lot of positive feedback, but it was what you would expect of an indie release and it was a pretty slow momentum. Actually, our connection with the company is what has been speeding everything up, which is really nice. Lee and I aren’t adverse to record labels, but in this case, like I said, it was more of “release it or don’t,” so we just did it ourselves.
RG: Very cool. So, my next next question is, and I think you kind of answered it, but if you could just elaborate a little bit: I just wanted to know if you saw any movement with your record after it was placed with us.
BS: Yeah, absolutely. One of our songs, “Love Song for a Foreign Exchange Student,” which was one of the first tunes recorded for the Brightly Colored Tapes EP, got picked up for the Hollister playlist in April and that placement of that song totally changed the sales numbers of our record completely. I mean, we saw a big spike, certainly in downloads of that song, but also of other songs and just the record in general. I think that, like I said, if you looked at the timeline of how things were kind of going for us that has almost everything to do with the shift in momentum. The moment people started hearing that song in those stores, then we started moving units, which is really cool.
RG: Awesome! As you know, we are a huge fan of the EP, we think it’s great and I was just actually on your website earlier today and it is really great, as well, and so we are big fans.
BS: Well, thank you very much!
RG: So, I have to ask you a silly question, of course! Can you tell us what your favorite guilty pleasure song of the moment is?
BS: My favorite guilty pleasure song of the moment? You know, I am kind of a big fan of “F You” or “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green. I like that song a lot. I know that it’s gotten overplayed and it’s certainly got some mixed reviews from different people, but as far as fun pop tunes go, I kind of like that song.
RG: Also, can you tell us about… What’s up with the name “Magic Punches?” Where does that come from?
BS: (laughing) It’s a reference to Mike Tyson’s “Punch-out!!,” which is an old Nintendo game that I was playing a lot at the time that we named the group. It’s a reference to a really, really old video game and we just liked the combination of those two words. It’s a line that one of the characters in the game says at one point and we liked the way that it sounded so we took it.
RG: Totally random. So do you guys have any plans to go on tour?
BS: Yeah, we would love to go on tour. Similarly like the record label, we’ve found that we have to kind of scour for touring opportunities but that is definitely one of the top priorities on our list for the next few months, putting together a tour for the fall. There’s a lot of places that we’d like to play and we’ve both toured before in other bands and it’s something we love doing. It can be tough out there trying to be an independent band trying to find opportunities to play shows that don’t end up costing you money, but we are excited about the possibility of playing all over once the chance comes up.
RG: We’re excited, too, and we’ll definitely be following your website and your upcoming tour as well. We want to thank you so much for talking to us and we really appreciate your time, Bobby. Thanks so much!
BS: Thank you very much for having us!
– Submitted by Ray Goforth, Interactive