When we first heard RoadkillSoda, we knew we’d stumbled upon something special. Their recent album, Sagrada, was an incredible blend of ’90s Alt Rock and Stoner Rock tendencies, and it was awesome enough that we nailed down an interview with the band.
Part of the band’s recent success is thanks to band manager Patricia Bîea. By night, Bîea is the ever-cool engine that keeps the band active on social media and plugged into the rest of the world, but by day, Bîea works in advertising. That’s good news for RoadkillSoda—because she applies everything she learned on the job right back into RoadkillSoda’s marketing.
We caught up with Bîea to talk about how she got involved with RoadkillSoda and to take a look at how bands can do a better job marketing themselves.
Monster Riff’s Interview With Patricia Bîea
Monster Riff: You’re the band manager for RoadkillSoda. How’d you get connected with them?
Patricia Bîea: I first heard about RoadkillSoda when a co-worker recommended them to me. She knew I was interested and passionate about Stoner and Psychedelic Rock, but I didn’t really know at that time that there were local bands in Romania playing this genre. So, I went to a RoadkillSoda concert and I really enjoyed their music from the first track.
Later on, we started hanging around after concerts and we became very good friends. Turned out we had a lot of things in common and a great chemistry… in basically anything we did together.
I work in advertising and at that time I was feeling the need to apply the skills I had acquired at my job in something I was really passionate about—music. And long story short, we started taking things more seriously and developed a professional relationship as well.
Monster Riff: What stood out about them to you when you first heard them?
Patricia Bîea: Well, first of all, I enjoyed the rawness of their music. A sort of visceral feeling. And the lyrics too. They were relatable, the songs are about peculiar states of mind and feelings—passionate love affairs, coping with the fact that you have a bad side, dealing with the ego, getting lost in nothingness. Very existential topics. And I loved that.
I remember I was getting sick of hearing the same bands that kinda sounded like Kyuss. And when I discovered RoadkillSoda, they also had this grungy vibe, and a little bit psychedelic, really cool solos (which I didn’t really enjoy before listening to Mihnea’s). The lead singer’s voice caught my attention too.
The first track I listened to was “Oven Sun,” which had a sort of oriental-psychedelic vibe to it, and it really got me hooked.
The funny thing is that after all these years and A LOT of RoadkillSoda concerts, I still enjoy every moment of them. I still dance in front of the stage like it’s the first time I’m hearing the song, I still get goosebumps when I hear my favorite songs. It’s a pretty nice feeling.
Monster Riff: In addition to being a band manager, you’re also a marketer. It’s tough out there for bands trying to market themselves. For bands who are just starting off or who haven’t snagged a label, marketing themselves can be extremely difficult. Let’s start big and bold: What’s the one best thing a band can do to market themselves?
Patricia Bîea: Honestly, the best thing a band can do is get someone else to do it for them. Even if it’s not a marketing specialist or whatever. Everyone can learn basic stuff about marketing a band. And then you get better by researching more.
I think it’s impossible to keep up with all the promo shit and all the changes in social media, as a band. Musicians should focus on the music. Sure, you can learn how to write good copy or promote an ad on Facebook. But there are tons of small things that take a lot of time and energy and it’s pretty tiresome for someone who just wants to put their music out there. I think it kills the whole vibe. It’s not enough to make the music and post it on YouTube anymore. You have to upload it on YouTube, Spotify, and all the other platforms, Bandcamp, then write posts for daily things, manage Instagram and Facebook accounts, write press releases, etc. And these are just a few examples.
Monster Riff: OK, now let’s pull back. As marketers, we could talk for days about how bands can better leverage platforms like Bandcamp, Spotify, Facebook, etc. What are some of the low-hanging fruit missed opportunities you see over and over again?
Patricia Bîea: Well, even though managing and having accounts on all of these platforms can be overwhelming for a band, especially for those who don’t have a person to manage all of them, I think that many bands fail to understand the importance of being present on all of the major platforms—both music-oriented ones or just social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. I know bands who don’t have an Instagram account, or others who refuse to post their music on Spotify. And I really get it in a way.
But I think that’s a mistake, marketing wise. You don’t have to be always active on all the platforms, but just being present on them is really important. Because bands have pretty different targets and fan bases—you can have a 14-year-old who enjoys your music, and also someone who is 45. And they don’t have the same digital pattern and they will not be present on the same platforms. I’m speaking in general terms. So, being present and all the platforms helps a band reach more people who can/will enjoy their music.
Monster Riff: Art and design are big factors in marketing and general appearances. Back when people went to record stores, that was one of the ways you found new music: You’d rummage through, find something intriguing, then hoped it was going to be good. Talk to me a little about why visual content is so important?
Patricia Bîea: Visual content is extremely important in my opinion. And it always was. Think of it this way: Usually, it’s the first contact the band has with the audience. Before actually getting to listen to the music or reading the lyrics or the song titles, or buying a record, people see a vinyl/CD cover. Or a YouTube thumbnail. Or something of the sort.
That’s the key moment when people decide whether to click or not on the link. Or to inspect the vinyl for more details. From then on, sure, the music carries the attention of the listener.
Now more than ever we are bombarded with information all the time. And our attention span is very low. We get very easily distracted. So, as a band, it’s important to stand out, to spark curiosity or intrigue people while they’re scrolling down in a news feed, with both the music and the visual content that comes with it.
Monster Riff: How does that apply to music videos?
Patricia Bîea: Visual arts…well, art in general, but especially visuals arts, they can be very, VERY subjective. And that applies to music videos as well. I personally think it’s important just to have music videos, to have a visual aid for the music.
Yeah, we all love quality shots, killer ideas and what not, but maybe I’ll also love a music video with a crappy quality because of the story line. Or the song.
Most of the time, great music videos require a production team, a writer, a good idea, equipment, locations, and so on. To sum it up in one word—budget. And not all bands have that luxury sometimes.
So, music videos are important, but if you don’t have a great one, it’s ok to just have any type of visual content for your songs.
Monster Riff: What value does a music video have in a post-MTV world? In your opinion, should bands commit to music videos for their singles?
Patricia Bîea: As I said earlier, I think music videos are important even in a post-MTV world because they add another layer to the song – the visual one. I’m sure it happened to everyone – you saw a video thumbnail and clicked on it just because…and you discovered a great song. Or better yet, a new band.
As for the music videos for singles, I think that this is a recipe that actually works. But it’s not a general rule. I’ve stumbled upon albums with no videos, albums with videos for all the songs, albums with short animations on a loop and so on.
So, basically, I think that releasing a video for a single is a good thing because you’ll get people’s attention. Especially the attention of those who don’t have the patience to listen to an entire album or those who see the same thumbnail for various songs and choose to skip them.
Monster Riff: In terms of marketing, what has worked well for RoadkillSoda?
Patricia Bîea: Meeting me. 😉 But jokes aside, I personally think that RoadkilISoda has a very unique flavor—the music travels through various styles, it explores different moods and feelings, the band members are charismatic, interesting people, and each of them has a different personality. No two peas in a pod here.
So, what I actually did is I tried to express all those things, and the way I see them and their music, in everything I do to promote the band—from copywriting to artwork and everything in between. It’s something personal.
I think that the best thing a band can do to market themselves better is to keep it honest when it comes to communication and expressing other things besides the music itself.
Every genre has it’s cliches—communication-wise, visual-wise, style-wise, and so on. And sure, it is a stereotype because it works. But I think that the best recipe is to combine those ‘’expected’’ things with the mood and personality of the band, of the band members. Beause that’s how you kick it up a notch. People are drawn to aspirational, untouchable things, but they also want things that seem familiar to them or things that spark empathy. Stuff that they can relate to.
So, finding the balance between what you are and who you are is very important. My two cents.
If you’d like to learn more about RoadkillSoda, check out their Bandcamp page.