Michael Franti has been around for a minute.
54-year-old Northern California native debuted for the first time music As part of the noise-rocking rock-racentires in the mid-1980s Beatnigs michael franti. In the early 90s, he moved to the seminal political hip-hop organization Disposable Hieros of Hipofracy.
But it was his next and final project – the band Spearhead – that brought out all his influences, making more Significant airplay on radio and MTV And a following which has been permanent for over a quarter century.
Today, Spearhead remains a melting pot for melting pot in everything from Franti’s rap and punk to jazz and dance reggae, emphasizing melody and uplift, along with the singer-songwriter’s evolving spirituality is. As well as to open their decision in 2011 Spirits Bali Yoga Retreat Hotel With longtime creative and business associate Carla Swanson.
Michael Franti took the Mid-Livestream from his Bali hotel this summer.
Nine years later, Atmashraya is still in business, and Franti is very much in demand as an artist. But, he Universal epidemic Created immediate challenges for both sources of income. (His wife, Sarah Agah Franti, is an entrepreneur by herself, while helping to drive self-government Selling custom jewelry.) Naturally, he tried to address both by launching a series of pay-entry, livestream virtual concerts from affinity assets, Next to which Happens on 19 September.
A high-profile white cap flexing embossed with the words “Stay Human” across all profiles (a popular spearhead and a nod to one 2019 documentary The same name) and otherwise torn down by a simple indoor palm plant and acoustic guitar, Franti connected with us via Zoom Video on a recent, warm August night from Bali, where he was joined by his family and soul staff Is wandering with michael franti.
Over the course of a half-hour of conversation, they considered calling for the kind of chemistry they are accustomed to from far away places packed to fans with brass stacks and payrolls keeping the doors of the sport open. But people, and what they learned from everyone. In those years as an independent musician that helped him navigate current circumstances.
You have a very unchanging spirit, but has this circumstance challenged you, even for you?
When I started earning a living in music, I said to myself, “I’m not going to spend my money on idiots like cars and jewelry and clothes.” I will invest my money in things that can give me money in future. And so I built this hotel here in Bali.
Little did I factor in the global epidemic. I have optimism in the sense that when the music comes back, it is a sign that everything is back. And when people will be able to travel around the world, it will also be a sign that everything is back, so I am hopeful for the future for michael franti.
We are starting to see some small glimpses of light in the hotel business, but we really have to see what we do. It has been a lesson of being creative and agile and not sitting around going, “Hi I am”, but saying, “What is the best we can do to get out of this situation?”
Did you draw anything from your earlier DIY ethos, as how did you handle all this?
I came here [to Bali] In 2007, and I bought a piece of land, and there was an old Indonesian house with a squatter toilet on it, and it was in this banana farm. And I was like, “We’re going to build a yoga hotel.” [Laughs.] I know that at least.
You know, there are 20,000 people in the world who love yoga as much as I do and would love to come here at some point in their lives and just practice yoga. And so it is initiated. We built five rooms and then eight more, now we are two restaurants with 32 rooms and four different yoga studios.
People said, “Did you have an investor who helped you?” And I was like, “Yes, I had the best investors anyone could ever get: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Nightly Diet Club. ” [Laughs] At one point I had a $ 350,000 loan debt, and I just told myself that there was a magic number that I needed to make every month on tour. And then for three years, I went out on the road and paid those credit cards. This is how the DIY soul stays in me.
The same is the case with music.
It is not just six months of challenging, but 16 years in music. We used to make CDs or records of these pieces of plastic or vinyl, and we used to sell those things, and we would go on tour to promote that bit of plastic that we were selling. Then when the downloading came, all of those sales were down, and we really had to find a way to make a living by touring, and CDs and music became like calling cards to support the tour.
And then iTunes came in, and you were able to make a little money there, but it was like, you can make a CD on sale. And then when Spotify came in and other streaming platforms, it was like, “Oh, we’re making every game point-zero-zero-zero-zero-one.” So we had to find new ways to engage our audience, and now with this epidemic, we had to find out: how do we make a living by virtually presenting our knowledge, our soul, our voice, and our music? It was a challenge for michael franti.
Was there any self-doubt about whether people would be tempted by the livestream concert?
There was a lot of vein and uncertainty, because I had seen so many artists, involved myself, stepped in and doing all this free stuff online, and I was like, “Well, nobody would sit in front of their computer. Why pay for it? ” You can do this anytime. And I told my wife and I told my manager at the time, “We’re not just competing against other bands.
We’re competing against cat videos, pornography, news, social media. ” [Laughs.] We’re combating everything on the internet to get people’s attention and to do something that’s the opposite, at least on the surface, of what I normally do in concerts, which is: it’s really I’m gutted, you’re touching my sweat and I’m touching your sweat [experience]. And we’re at Red Rocks with 10,000 people.
Playing two different games.
There is basketball and there is volleyball, and the ball is the same size, and you are trying to do something with a team, but they are really different things. If you are trying to play basketball with the rules of volleyball, you will be disappointed and fail forever, on the contrary. But if you just change the rules and you say, “Oh, there is a little dot on the screen, and I’m focusing on that dot, then how can we make it that is a good thing for someone in their living room Super-catchy thing, watching it on this little thing? “And so we got the idea,” Let’s let the audience see for ourselves.
But then we also have a zoom room that’s available to the first 500 fans that Buy tickets, and then we put their images on the screen so that they can see each other and I can see them, and now it becomes this interactive thing like a concert. We just put it in the livestream Started trying ways to make it as attractive as we can make it.
Are you eager to return to a normal tour, or it might be good to schedule the time with a break where you do these livestreams?
I think the cat bag is out, like don’t go back to selling CDs. This does not mean that we will not tour. We will tour, and every band in the world will tour. It just means that this is the new way that we found ourselves going to be a part of our lives from now on, and that’s a good thing.
When I first got started in music, michael franti used to get affectionate mail letters from fans, and I could probably give a dozen replies throughout the year. Then the email came in, and michael franti could reply maybe one hundred and one years.
Then social media came, and now all of a sudden michael franti communicating with people in real time and reaching hundreds of thousands of people with each post. Being able to livestream has gone a step further. One word is community. This is the most important thing that michael franti have learned in any business.
Anytime someone is delivering any product or service, it is about identifying who you are and what you have, and then keep yourself inside as much as possible. You just have to reach the people who dig what you do.
But as someone running two businesses, how do you account for the employees and crew who have come to trust you?
When the coronovirus hit and we realized that we were not going to make any income as musicians, we had to figure out how we would stop the bleeding. We applied for a PPP loan. We did all the work we could to keep salaried employees near us. And then with Our nonprofit, We had to do different things.
Here at the hotel, we had to keep people at quarter-time, but we did not leave anyone. Now they are back up to 50 percent. But this is fraught with concern for me, because although I am a precursor to the band, each layer of the business has a whole team of dozens of people who make a living from what we do on stage, and it’s tough. I never thought that it would come to this.
Given that your wife runs her own business, are you coping with broadcasting the wagons as a family that is against all of you?
We’ve done it ourselves for so long that it didn’t like, “Oh shit.” We had a day when we used to cry together as a family, and then it was, “You know what we’re going to do? We’re gonna come out swinging. We’re better coming out first. Than we are going to make this hotel even better, so let’s just go after it. ”And I think that being a musician prepared us for it and made us hard for it.
I spent time one night at Richard Weitz’s “Quarantunes”. He is a Hollywood agent at WME, and invited me to join this zoom conference he was doing every Friday night. And I went there, and he had a bunch of incredible artists who were singing, and people were watching an unstable video of someone who had no microphone for three and a half hours.
When during the last six months it finally clicked that everything you were trying to improve to survive was working?
And I was like, “If people sit for three and a half hours to do this, if I can do it technically a little better, people will probably pay to buy tickets if it was at a reasonable price for their families to be an artist.” To enjoy the concert they usually went to see on the tour. ”
And we put it out, and our fans responded like that, and that’s really to move me and my wife the way our fans have taken it. Not just the financial aspect of it, but simply that they feel a sense of community there – that they want to support each other and support us as a huge family of thousands of people who love music And are concerned about the planet and want to help each other through this challenging time.
Originally posted on September 16, 2020 @ 9:30 pm