As you know, we often interview Figment bands here on blog.  It’s a great way to get to know more about the band and allows the player who created the band to really flesh them out.  What we haven’t done yet is turn the spotlight on the the actual creator themselves, and that’s why we’ve decided to start a new featured called Player Profiles.  In Player Profiles we’ll talk to the actual Figment players to see where their inspiration comes from, what tools they use to create and market their bands, and what they like/dislike on Figment.

When we discussed what Figment player should kick off this new feature, all of us here at Figment immediately thought of frizbee!  For those of you who aren’t familiar with frizbee, he’s the mastermind behind bands like Eccentric Arcade, Coxswain Insignia, Mac & Cheese and Tucker Jackson among others and the recent winner of our Figment Children’s Album Contest.  For those of you who are familiar with him, we wanted to give you some more insight into how he creates and markets his bands.  Whether it’s his constantly updated and detailed band descriptions, his incredible album cover design work or his pioneering use of Twitter, YouTube and the web to promote his bands, frizbee always sets the bar higher with each new band or album.  His friendly, humble, collaborative but competitive nature has made him a popular player on the site, and in our opinion the perfect person to kick off our player profiles.  So without further adieu, we give you our conversation with frizbee.

Figment News:  Tell us a little about yourself.

frizbee:  Well, I’m 24, about to turn 25 next month. I’m originally from California and lived between there and Hawaii from about the time I was 6. My family uprooted to Oahu, Hawaii permanently when I was 14, and I lived there for about 5 years before moving to Wisconsin to be with my then girlfriend who is now my wife of 3 years. I’m a music fanatic and a severe Photoshop junkie. I’m currently a student of Graphic Design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

FN:  How did you find Figment?

frizbee:  I actually discovered Figment through this thing on Flickr called the CD Cover Meme Pool. I don’t even remember how I happened across that in the first place, but it quickly became an obsession. It was a place where you could play the CD Cover Meme game, and share the covers that you created with everyone else in the group. Sadly, the pool is no longer around. But shortly before it’s disappearance, somebody had posted a link to Figment in the discussion board. Initially I was intrigued at the concept, so I checked it out. After I took the virtual tours, I was instantly hooked.

FN:  You’ve mentioned in comment posts on Figment News that you’ve always dreamed of being a rock star.  Any reason why you never tried to be one?

frizbee:  I have actually attempted rock stardom in the past, but unfortunately it didn’t pan out. When I was about 16, I was hired on as a singer for this band that this kid was putting together. I had never really met the guy, but a friend of mine had met him and told him about how I wanted to be in a band, and suggested me. I never even really auditioned, it just sort of happened. I was more than willing to give it a go, but the kid had some serious grandiose delusions about overnight success, and everybody got real sick of it real quick. We had a few practice sessions, one of which was actually productive and turned out something decent, and then we quickly disbanded. Beyond that, I’ve just never had the time or known the right people to attempt the dream again. I still hope that it may happen someday.

FN:  You’ve really created quite a roster of bands on Figment.  Are your bands inspired by any real bands or are they more figments of bands you would have liked to have formed yourself?

frizbee: My bands, like all bands really, are most certainly inspired by other bands. But I never create a band with the sole intention of it becoming a carbon copy of an existing band. And all of the bands I create are extensions of my musical tastes and styles. That’s what is so great about Figment; you can create every band you’ve ever dreamed of creating. Eccentric Arcade is my rock, that is the band that I dream of one day having. I never stop coming up with new ideas for EA. I have plans for EA that go so far into the future it’s scary. Sometimes I wish I did more with some of my other bands like Coxswain Insignia or Neutron Emission, but I don’t ever want to produce something just for the hell of it. When the time is right, it will happen. I have bands that have yet to be brought to life on Figment simply because it’s just not their time yet. I knew I was going to create Solomon X. Lambert for several months before it actually happened.

FN:  Who are your inspirations?

frizbee:  Wow, that is the question to end all questions, isn’t it? Man, where do I even start? Musically? I like everything, I really do. I’m not ashamed to admit that I have an incredibly eclectic musical palette. Queen is my favorite band and has been ever since I was a kid, but KoRn is a very very close second. I love ICP and Twiztid, but I also love stuff like Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. And I’m not afraid to admit that I own every Spice Girls album. You gotta have variety! As far as who inspires me from a design aspect? That’s a bit of a trickier question. Mainly because I never really know who designs anything. I see things that inspire me everyday, but it’s not like everything has the designer’s name slapped across it, so it’s hard to pin stuff like that down.

FN:  With each of your bands you seem to have created a lot of depth to their back stories and their overall visual image.  What advice do you have to share with your fellow Figment players regarding the best way to go about creating a band on Figment?

frizbee:  The biggest problem that I see with a lot of users on Figment is that there are too many cooks in the kitchen. This is especially a reoccurring problem I’ve been seeing with new users. Everybody wants to join the site and immediately start creating band after band after band. Which isn’t necessarily a band thing. Hell, I’ve got about 6 or 7 bands myself. But you have to pace yourself. If you create 5 bands right from the get go and release your allotted number of albums for the band on the first day, you’re just pumping stuff out for the hell of it. There’s no creativity, it’s just mass produced. Treat your band(s) on Figment like you would treat any real band. You’ve got to put in the time. You don’t throw a bunch of people together, hit the stage and become the next big thing right away. People want to know who you are, where you come from, what you’re trying to say with your music. You gotta market your band. When I see a band and the band description is just “We play metal!”, that immediately turns me off. I want to know about the band, I want it to feel real. You don’t have to be overly detailed or develop some extensive back story, but for me it’s gotta be more than “We’re a band. Jeff plays bass, Frank plays drums, Chuck plays guitar. We rock hard!” I also think that the album artwork and the song titles are of extreme importance.

FN:  Your album covers are really well done.  What tools do you use to create them?

frizbee:  I’m all about Photoshop. Almost all of the album covers I’ve created have been created in Photoshop (PS). I say almost all of them only because there was a short stint when I was forced to use Gimp in place of Photoshop. The first Eccentric Arcade album, the first Coxswain Insignia album, and the first Neutron Emission album covers were created long ago with PS on an older computer that died before I discovered Figment. Up until the Xenophilia Live album, everything was created using Gimp, as it was my only source of image editing on my computer at the time. I have since then upgraded to PS once again because it is required for my schooling. I’m so happy to have it back. Gimp works all right in a pinch, but it’s no substitute.

FN:  I understand you’re taking graphic design courses?  What’s that like, and has Figment helped prepare you for these courses?

frizbee:  That’s true. I’m in my first year at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh; I’m going for my bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. It’s been a dream of mine for a very long time to be a graphic designer, so it’s awesome to finally be on the path to achieving that dream. So far everything has been going great. As with any school I don’t always love my classes or my teachers, but that’s just part of the game. I don’t know if Figment has helped prepare me for school, but school has certainly helped prepare me for Figment. The more I learn, the better my album covers get.

FN:  How do you promote your bands once they’ve released an album?  Any pointers on what to do and what not to do?

frizbee:  For the most part, I tend to let the albums speak for themselves. I’ll announce it in the news section of the band’s page, and the Eccentric Arcade Twitter page is a great source of promotion. But I generally tend to just release it into the wild and let it run free. I feel that if it’s meant to do well, it will do well. Sometimes the success of an album can shock you. I’ve released some things that I think stand a chance of doing really well that completely bomb, but when you get the ones that blow up…that’s an awesome feeling. For new Figment users, I would advise that you promote your band(s) moderately, but don’t go overboard. You don’t want to oversell yourself. If you start hounding people to listen to your band or by their new album, that’s just going to turn people off.

FN:  It takes time to build and maintain a fan base for a band on Figment.  What is the most effective way to do this on a sustained basis?

frizbee:  Like the real music industry, it seems like a little gimmick goes a long way. If you look at the top four Top Bands on Figment, they’re gimmick bands. Everybody loves a gimmick, but I think people rely a bit too much on it. In my opinion, the best way to build a long lasting fan base is to be original. That’s why bands like !? and Fait Accompli are so great and have such a dedicated fan base. I get excited when I see that !? comes out with a new album, or when I see that Gnome is in the studio because they bring originality with every single release.

FN:  With Eccentric Arcade you’ve not only promoted the band on Figment, but also on YouTube (through a video podcast), on Twitter and with their own website.  Why go to such lengths to promote a fake band?

frizbee:  Why not? When I first decided to start the Eccentric Arcade Twitter page, I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be. I was honestly a bit worried about it in the beginning. I didn’t want people to think “Ok, this guy has taken it one step too far.” But I felt that Figment was the place where you could take that extra step, and live that rock star dream that you’ve always wanted without being judged. So I decided to take it one step further and spread the word beyond just Figment. Now I have Jimmy Eat World following Eccentric Arcade on Twitter. How ridiculous is that!? And the YouTube channel was something that just seemed natural. I figured if I was going to go to these lengths to make the idea of Eccentric Arcade as real as possible, people needed a face and a voice to put to everything. If you’re gonna do it, do it big!

FN:  What does it take for you to fan a band?  Buy/listen to their album?

frizbee:  A great album cover is a guarantee to catch my attention. I’ve bought a few albums just because I thought the artwork was awesome. But you’ve gotta have the whole package. If the band doesn’t feel real, I’m not going for it. There are a lot of bands that I think try too hard, and I do think there’s an overabundance of metal bands on Figment. But if you’ve got a clear identity, good songs and good artwork, you’ll catch my eye.

FN:  Any other players who you’d like to laud for their work?

frizbee:  Oh, of course. overground is awesome, one of the best players in the game, in my opinion. Not only is Fait Accompli amazing, but the side project O’Blivion was the first band I ever became a fan of on Figment. I’ve done a lot of great work with him on the Xenophilia Tour and the Eccentric Arcade/Fait Accompli hybrid, Nom de Guerre. letswasteanafternoon is another great player. He’s the guy responsible for !?, another one of my favorite acts on Figment. I’d love to collaborate with him in the future. And theHoseman is something words can’t even describe. That guy has copious amounts of genius overflowing out of his ears. Not only is Zandergriff Miggs and the Parliament of Owls one of the biggest bands on Figment, but he’s the brains behind Prime! That was a groundbreaking moment for Figment. Prime! took it to an entirely new level with being the first rock opera on Figment. It had a huge cast made up of all these amazing players in the Figment world, an incredibly rich and detailed plot. It still blows my mind. It was an honor to be a part of that, and I would absolutely love to work with theHoseman again in the future.

FN:  What is the band and/or album you’ve formed/released that you are the most proud of?

frizbee:  Hands down, Eccentric Arcade. Eccentric Arcade will always be the band that is first and foremost for me. Even when I’m working on new projects for my other bands, I’m still thinking of new things for EA. I’d have to say that the album I’m most proud of is EA’s latest album, “Dropping Knowledge”. That album was in the forefront of my mind for a long time. I came up with that album title when I was, like, 12. And not only did the album do well, but the single for “Jar Full of Hearts” is EA’s most successful single to date.

FN:  What would you like to see added to Figment in the way of features, improvements, etc?

frizbee:  I’m interested to see when/if/how the feature to be able to take your band on tour works. It’s something that has been listed as “under review” on the Feedback for a while. That could be very interesting. I do also really like the idea of the ability to set a release date for an album, and have it automatically release on the set date. Just set it and forget it!

FN:  If someone asked you why you play Figment what would you tell them?

frizbee:  I would tell them that I don’t play Figment, I live Figment. I do anything and everything I can to make everything I do on Figment as real as I can. Figment is where we get to be the rock stars we used to/still do dream about being, so why not go all out?

4 Responses to “Figment Player Profile – frizbee”

  1. TMTYTF Says:

    Great interview. So are there not going to be any more band interviews? And what’s the deal with Heavyweights and podcasts, will we see any of those anytime soon?

  2. TMTYTF Says:

    By the way, I think frizbee has a really good idea of a set release date for Figment albums. Set a date, and let it do the rest of the work.

  3. theHoseman Says:

    Loved this interview. Frizbee & I joined Figment around the same time and from the get-go I have been in awe of his work. It was cool to get a little view inside his head. His phenomenal cover art, ingenious backstories and crazy cool song titles make him a true leader on Figment. Just trying to keep up with his creativity has definitely helped improve my skills.

    Frizbee…Keep up the great work! You’re one of a handful on Figment who truly inspire me.

  4. frizbee Says:

    Wow, thanks a lot, Hoseman. It’s incredibly flattering to know that I inspire you. I always just try to do things that I’m proud of and hope that other people enjoy it as well. It’s nice to know that not only do other people enjoy my work, but that they see it as an inspiration. Thank you so much. I will keep trying to do bigger and better things and outdo myself with each new band/album. Thanks again, Hoseman! And thanks to Eric for choosing me to be the first subject of Player Profiles!

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