Balancing Art & Industry: A Conversation With Microwave

Photo by: Cameron Flaisch

Photo by: Cameron Flaisch


“Every little Bit Of Effort Contributes To The End Result" -  Microwave

The music

The music business

And the music industry

To find success, you must:

Love the first, learn the second, and most importantly, outsmart the third!

As an artist, the first one comes without hesitation. Your art is your passion, and music is an extension of your collective souls.

The other two? Well, that’s a different story.

More often than not, young artists find themselves struggling to find a balance between art & industry. The music may be the most important of these three aspects, since the other two cannot exist without it. But proper business planning & strategy is essential to the growth & development of your art and your brand.

A few weeks ago, I spent my time at Wrecking Ball at the iconic Masquerade in Atlanta. Between sets & 16oz PBR’s, I spoke to both signed & local artists about the business developments of their band. At the helm of these questions was the overarching theme of the balance of art & business.

I had the opportunity to speak with rising Punk/Emo act Microwave. Cutting their teeth in the Atlanta punk scene, Microwave developed their unique branding by maintaining their roots while expanding their awareness throughout the southeast and beyond. The band is now signed with punk stalwarts Side-One-Dummy and will be releasing their second full-length release later this month. The band offered an honest perspective of balancing the band & the business...and they had *ahem* much love to share. 

“DIY Booking is one of the hardest things ever. Our bassist, Tyler, was way more persistent than we had been in the past about getting us on shows, but even then it’s still a grind,” Said vocalist Nathan Hardy.

It gets harder once the shows are booked.

It’s fun to drink and hang out with your friends, but a lot of those dates you’re playing to only 10 people and traveling costs a lot of money out of pocket. You have to be willing to accept that,” Said Microwave singer Nathan Hardy. “The main benefit is almost just for people to see that you’re touring, and that it lets people know you’re serious about what you do.”

Even when the devil has his way, Microwave stresses that  solidarity is their greatest strength.

“The low points have always been together and we’ve always been able to bring each other back up together. We’ve been in the trenches a long time and knew that things would be back up if things ever got shitty, we just had to believe it,” Said bassist Tyler Hill.

While the band does agree that Tyler & Nathan handle a larger share of business decisions & strategies for Microwave, the band succinctly agrees that all decisions and tasks are divided fairly by the end of the day, and that nothing moves forward unless every member is on the same page.

“Ty & Nate enjoy doing the stuff on the business end, so I try not to stomp on that because they’re doing a great job and I don’t need to be meddling with something that’s already going well, “ Said guitarist Wes Swanson.”

“When it all comes down to it though we’re all contributing in our own way to further the band, we all show up to practice, we all contribute to the music and we all make business decisions together before moving forward. It just happens that some people send more emails than others,” Swanson added.

While stressing the importance of business growth, the band further emphasized that continued musical & relationship growth is just as, if not more important as developing the fiscal strategies of a band.

“Being able to separate business & art has become a lot easier now that we have our team behind us. While it’s ultimately up to us to decide the direction of the band having the input from our team over at Side-One-Dummy has allowed us to have a different perspective and help us create music in a relaxed mindset,“ Said Hill.

The point Microwave drives home though, is to never, ever, forget about your art.

“No matter what you do, you have to keep filling out to your catalogue and stay busy. If you think you can skate by with a handful of good songs and focus more on things like touring, being social and so on that needs to change. The main reason you’re in a band is to write music and you can’t forget that,” Said Hardy.

“Every little bit of effort, no matter how successful or not, contributes to the end result. We live and die together as a team,” Microwave stressed in unison.”

Microwave will be releasing their sophomore LP, “Much Love” Out September 30th, and will be out on tour with All Get Out & Gates this fall.