I recently had the chance to interview the founder's of the music site Alter The Press. Check out the site! To check out the interview click READ MORE!
Your site just had its second anniversary. Could you tell me a little about how and why you started the site?
Jon Ableson: I started the site because I was sick of seeing so many amazing bands coming to the UK and not being given any given of the press coverage they deserve at all or if there was it would be the most ridiculous of interviews. It would literally break my heart seeing my favorite band come overseas not doing press or if they did do any press, it would consist of the most embarrassing/pointless questions.
The second reason was wanting to provide music fans the most up-to-date news, interviews, features etc for free. Why charge someone good money to read out-dated news (when getting to print) when you can read it online for free? Especially when as soon as something is announced, it'll be on ATP, ASAP.
Sean and I are just two guys who love music really. I love going to shows, speaking to new bands with something to say and finding out about new music.
Sean Reid: Yeah exactly. There's been countless times where I've seen a good band been given poor coverage in a magazine or on a website, then see the same magazine/site go overboard with some generic crap. I know people probably say that about our site, but each to their own.
For the second anniversary of the site, you gave away two free compilations. Can you tell me a little about the compilations? What goes into making them, how do you pick the track listing, and how do you select the artists that will appear?
At the end of 2008 I did some really poor podcasts for the site and I quickly decided not to do them again. However I liked the idea of giving away free music through the site, which then led to our first compilation ('Spring/Summer 2009'). We've now produced six compilations, all of which have been well received.
Each compilation takes a few months to come together. For the latest two compilations (ATP! 2010.03 and ATP! 2010.04), the original plan was to do just one 15-20 track compilation. However when we approached labels/bands etc, we ended up with some really good material. This resulted in us decided to the end the 2010 compilation series early and treat our readers to two compilations at once. A
Most of the artists picked are either bands we've covered and really liked and band's we've been offered and think are ideal for the compilations. Also all the compilations are in a way an extension of the site. All the bands we include are there to give readers, both new and old, a good impression of what our site is and what we cover.
With there being so many sites now available to music fans, what do you think sets your site apart from the others?
Jon Ableson: We thrive on bring readers new content first. For example, I was out covering Family Force 5 the other week, they make an announcement saying they were touring at Christmas, I messaged Sean straight away to post online and within the space of two minutes, people all over the world can find that out. God bless the internet.
Sean Reid: I'll admit it's really difficult to stand out from a crowd where there are dozens of sites like ours. I think the way we've developed the site over the last two years has worked out well. Sure, we post news, reviews and interviews on a regular basis, but we also try and produce different content. Good examples of this would be our compilations and our acoustic video sessions, which have proven to be a vital assets on our site. Personally I hope we develop more, original content in the future.
I like the title of your site, Alter The Press. I was curious as to how you settled with that title. Where did the inspiration come from?
Jon Ableson: Off the bat, it is not a dig at Alternative Press. A lot of people think that, but it's not. Sorry guys!
The name came from wanting to "alter"/change the way this genre of music press was being done. Going back to what I said earlier, just being sick of seeing my favorite bands being given such bad press coverage. When I want to read an interview with a band: I don't want to know the last time they got laid, I don't want to read about them getting drunk after a show and I don't particularly care what their favorite color is (no offense to any bands who I've interviewed before!). I want to read about the music. It was just genuinely shocking seeing bands being covered and not one question is even asked about their music.
Sean Reid: Like Jon said the name shows we're determined to show bands in a different light. In addition the name also shows the type of music we cover, alternative.
Since you just celebrated your second anniversary as a site, could you tell me one of your favorite things you have accomplished?
Jon Ableson: Two years already? It's crazy to think it's been that long already. I never thought we would be doing this well down the line. The one thing what keeps me going is being acknowledged. When your favorite bands are giving you words of praise, it's the best feeling in the world. When people come up to you saying they love the site, it makes it all worth while. We do this completely for free. Sean and I both hold down full-time jobs around ATP but we still manage to do this. A main accomplishment as well is have being blessed to of sat down with some of my idols and ask them questions that I want to hear as a fan. Also, I would have to say, definitely getting Sean Reid on board, definitely. He has transformed the site with his great reviews, features and commitment.
Sean Reid: Thanks Jon. Personally it feels like it has been more than two years and I'm sure Jon will agree with me when I say its transformed our lives. As for accomplishments, there is so many but I think the most important one is that we're still here. It's been a rough ride for us. About 9 months in we were questioning ourselves saying "Is this worth it?". At that point it had stopped being fun. Yeah its good interviewing and reviewing great bands and all that but we felt our work wasn't being appreciated enough. However we pulled thorough and we're very happy at where the site and how it has developed and where it is going.
What are the plans for the site in the future? Where do you see the site in the next couple of years?
Jon Ableson: Expanding really. We have a few ideas up our sleeves.
Sean Reid: Yep just expanding really. Like I said earlier, more original content will hopefully become an important factor on the site, as well more audio streams, videos, reviews, interviews etc.
I think you guys have an impressive exclusive content video section. Who has been one of your favorite video interviews/acoustic sessions? Do you prefer doing video interviews or written interviews?
Jon Ableson: Thank you and thank you Jamie and the Chasing Safety Media guys! My favorite sessions have been from fun., Circa Survive and The Get Up Kids but we've only been doing them since earlier this year. It blows my mind the amount of amazing bands we've had on board in the short space of time. I personally do not like video interviews. With written interviews, you can pick and choose what you want to read. If you don't like a question, you can skip quick to the next.
Sean Reid: I agree. I think video interviews are difficult to pull off but I don't understand why. However for us, the video sessions have been brilliant and the awesome guys at Chasing Safety are brilliant. They understand us, our site and they know what is happening in music right now. They share the same enthusiasm as us. My personal favourite sessions would be the Four Year Strong, New Found Glory, The Get Up Kids and Grown Ups' cover of "At Your Funeral" by Saves The Day.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start and operate his or her own website?
Jon Ableson: Don't steal our content! I'm kidding. Don't think you cannot do it. The internet is at your disposal. It's not costing you anything except you time.
Sean Reid: If you want to make your site last, be prepared to put some effort in and don't be too disheartened if no at first cares about your site. You're probably not the only one with an interview with band a, or with the "exclusive" news on band b. There's plenty of people doing the same exact thing, just be prepared to be patient and be confident. Some people do this as a hobby and that’s it. However I like to think this as more than just a hobby.
I guess that about wraps it up. Do you have any closing comments you would like to make?
Jon Ableson: Thank you to all of our readers! You guys are awesome. If you see me at a show, please say hi and please give me your feedback on what we should be/not doing. Thank you as well for doing this interview. It is the best feeling in the world knowing that people like you guys give a shit. Thank you.
Sean Reid: Thanks for doing this and taking interest in our site. Its little things like this, that make us realize we're appreciated and all our hard work was worthwhile. Thanks to all our readers, especially those who spread the good word and put us first against other sites. Keep visiting the site daily, you'll be awarded with some great content and maybe even more soon. Follow us on twitter, like us on facebook and all that stuff. Oh and like Jon said tell us what you think, we won't be mean if its bad (well I might haha). Thanks
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