In the last 2 years, Tipps für Wilhelm spent a lot of time in an old horse stable, recording their 2nd album Put Your Head On My Shoulders. They managed to create a diverse sound – wide and deep, accompanied by romantic, sometimes gloomy lyrics.
We had the chance to chat with the Berlin based indie-pop band about release strategies in the streaming-age, how to stick out from the crowd and much more. Read on!
Tell us about the beginning of “Tipps für Wilhelm”. How did you guys start out and what was your biggest influence back then.
This was around 2011. Guillermo, our singer, wanted to start a band with our former bass player. At the same time, our drummer Ruud just moved to Berlin and was looking for a band via an ad in a local city magazine. They met for a first rehearsal, ended up drinking beer instead and the rest is history! Soon after our first release Hornissen our current bass player Thomas joined us and things took flight from there. We all shared a similar musical background, strongly based on 90s /early 00s alternative music but otherwise varying from sixties soul to 90s German hip hop. Guillermo has also been strongly influenced by German songwriters like Grönemeyer and Rio Reiser.
When you look back to your first release. In regards of how you produce and release music, what would you say changed the most since then?
When we released “Hornissen“, Spotify was already important but not yet the major player it is now. It was still normal to release an entire album and people would still buy CDs, although this was already on the decline.
Now, it seems it’s less about the album and more about releasing stand-alone singles, gain attraction and streams and then maybe release a full album afterwards. Also, putting out videos for almost every song on an album is no longer limited to the Beyoncés of this world, it’s something even smaller bands do nowadays.
We are somewhere in the middle, acknowledging the fact that is important to release great singles and artful videos but also still determined to release a coherent album that takes you on a journey, like the ‘old’ days.
How big is the team that you’re working with?
We still do most of the things ourselves. But we have a small group of dedicated friends who help us with booking, video productions and artwork. For our latest album Put Your Head on My Shoulders we also chose to work with Motor Entertainment. They mostly provide us with services related to distribution and promotion.
What are the biggest challenges you face as artists in the digital age?
The biggest challenge probably is getting noticed. There are so many great artists out there and it’s relatively easy to put your music online nowadays. Which is very cool but also makes it more difficult to stick out from the crowd.
We were lucky to gain some traction on Spotify with our latest album. This is where our cooperation with Motor, and distributing partner Believe Digital, worked well for us. But still, the most important thing is to go out there and play concerts, make connections and get your music heard. It’s what we love and want do more. Our next goal: a club tour and playing some nice summer festivals.
How do you feel about the evolution of digital music streaming services?
It’s a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps us to obtain a bigger audience than before. Especially with our second album, we managed to grow our online audience significantly. We got added to some editorial Spotify playlists and generated a lot of streams. On the other hand, we don’t earn a lot of money with those streaming services. In the end, it’s just a very good and necessary promotion tool. And we do see more people coming to our concerts who discovered us on Spotify. So it does pay off.
How important are data insights for your decision making?
We could definitely do more with that. Services like Spotify do provide tons of data. So of course we look at cities where they play our music or see which radio stations like us. This is helpful in planning a tour. But there’s more we could do in terms of promotion and distribution.1 one already already liked this, but everybody needs a friend, so give us a <3