Hello and welcome to the second blogger spotlight of September. The holiday through our posting schedule for a loop, so those of you hoping for a new advice column will have to wait until next Thursday to get your fill. Still, there is a lot young bands can learn from the content the young lady in this column has to offer, so we advise you stick around and learn from one of pop punk community’s biggest tastemakers.
If you have a site or writer you would like to see highlighted in a future installment of this series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story.
Tumblr has made it incredibly simple for anyone with an interest in music and the ability to string words together into passable sentences to launch their own digital music zine. This ease of entry has not been lost on young writers, and in the years since the micro-blogging company launched a number of heavily influential sites has risen from its community. Former highlighted site PropertyOfZack is one such entity, and in today’s column we’re going to look at another blog that is fast-becoming a staple of the alternative music scene.
Devin Beaudoin is the creative Canadian mind behind the Fuck Yeah Pop Punk, a Tumblr-based destination that has been growing almost too fast to measure since its launch in 2010. The name may seem a bit abrasive to those unfamiliar with Tumblr’s community, but it’s actually a rather typical name for a blog celebrating a specific subculture. There are (often multiple) Fuck Yeah sites for everything from cats, to dogs, Wes Anderson, and even modernism.
The mission of FYPP has always been to promote the best of the pop punk community, and over time the site has needed to evolve in order to meet the increasing demand for original content from their readers. This need to change and the way it has been handled is what originally attracted us to FYPP for a feature, and in our discussion with Devin we gained some great insight into the challenges facing young blogs today. You can read about her journey below.
If you want to learn more about Devin’s work and stay current with everything pop punk, do yourself a favor and bookmark Fuck Yeah Pop Punk. Additional questions or comments can be left at the end of this post.
H: For those unaware, please state your name, the site you work for, and your role at said site:
DB: Hi! I’m Devin Beaudoin, and I’m the Founder/Creator of FuckYeahPopPunk.com.
H: Everyone has to start somewhere, so where would you say your love affair with music began?
DB: I would have to say from my mom. Growing up, my mom always had the radio on in the house, or she was playing music on our gigantic stereo in the living room from her collection of CDs. She started taking me to concerts and music festivals early on in my life, whether it be folk music festivals or gigantic pop music tours. I just completely fell in love with music, the community, everything.
H: Do you recall the first album you bought with your own money? Do you still own that recording today?
DB: I think the first album I bought with my own money was blink-182’s self-titled record. (I’m 21. I was 11 when that album came out, give me a break!) It’s still one of my favourite records of all time, and I still have it somewhere. But since the dawn of the computer age, all of my music is now housed in my iTunes library.
H: As far as writing goes, who are your biggest inspirations?
DB: I don’t think FYPP would be written the way it is today if it weren’t for the teams at AbsolutePunk.net and PropertyOfZack.com. They’re two of the front-runners in the music news website world, and I really admire both teams.
H: Where does your interest in entertainment writing come from?
DB: When I was about 13, I started picking up Alternative Press magazines and reading them front to back, all of the reviews, even if they were bands I didn’t necessarily like or know about. I always liked reading all of the “AP Recommends” articles and finding out about new bands.
H: Okay, onto the good stuff. When did you launch your site?
DB: I launched it back in January of 2010.
H: You are the first ‘Fuck Yeah’ site to be featured on this series, and as far as I know one of the first to ever give creating an actual zine a shot. At what point did you realize your site was destined to be more than the average Tumblr page?
DB: I’ve never done an actual zine, but I think it would be cool to do something in print at some point. I don’t really know when I first realized it and I don’t really think of it that way. I never thought that anyone would even care what an 18 year old girl had to say about pop punk or take my suggestions on bands or anything like that when I started the blog. It still blows me away to this day. My sister and brother-in-law brought to my attention that it was growing a lot more than the average Tumblr page about a year after I made it. As a gift, they purchased my domain for me that year.
H: Do you think FYPP would exist without Tumblr?
DB: Probably. I bounced from blog site to blog site, creating and abandoning blogs because I got bored of the sites (Blogspot, Xanga, etc). So if it weren’t Tumblr, it probably would have been another blogging site. If it did exist, it wouldn’t be called FYPP. The Fuck Yeah aspect of it came from the popularity of Fuck Yeah _____ blogs on Tumblr.
H: Anyone familiar with the Tumblrverse (I think that’s a word now, right?) knows that ‘fuck yeah’ sites are a common occurrence. As you have developed, do you ever wonder if having ‘Fuck’ in your name does or will eventually hold you back?
DB: You know, this has come up in conversation between my boyfriend (who also edits the blog) and I many times. We’ve talked about changing it so many times. I’ve seen a name change go well for friends of mine, who’ve changed the names of their websites, such as xEasycorex going to More Than Sound Collective. Things may change, but for now, we’re sticking with our current name.
H: Pop punk has become a trendy genre to be apart of in recent years, both from a band and blogger perspective. What is it about the content offered on FYPP that separates your content from that of your competitors?
DB: Out of the bloggers who do relatively the same style of blogging that I do, I feel like we stick to our genre. We are Fuck Yeah Pop Punk, not Fuck Yeah Pop Punk, Hardcore, Metalcore, Indie Rock, and so on. I also feel that we post quality over quantity, especially with the suggestions. I want my readers to trust that I put time and effort into the suggestions, genuinely listen to them, and decide whether I think other people would like them. You wouldn’t tell your best friend to check out a band you thought was awful, would you?
H: Speaking of content, your writing style on your site has evolved over time. What do you look for when searching for news and other features to run on the site?
DB: I typically look for bands who obviously fit the pop punk genre, as well as the relativity to what people have been interested in. Just because Soupy tweeted that he watched Wrestlemania, doesn’t mean I have to post about it.
H: How many contributors work on FYPP? What are your requirements for aspiring team members?
DB: As of right now, there are 4 main people who contribute to the blog. I do all of the news posting, suggestions, features and interviews. Mitchell, who is our editor, makes sure there is a consistency in layout and the way we post. Michael and Audrey are my two main reviewers, and I love them for it. Plus, we also have Damo who writes for us on the side of his job at Heavy Magazine in Australia. If you’re looking to write for FYPP, I’m typically always looking for reviewers and photographers. All I ask of a reviewer is to have basic English and grammar skills and have a genuine drive and love for music. It also doesn’t hurt to be okay with deadlines. As for photographers, I’m just looking for talent, and someone who lives near a city where a lot of shows come through.
H: You feature a number of young acts on your site. Where do you turn when you’re looking for new music?
DB: 95% of the time I find them from my email inbox. I usually get 10 – 20 per day, so there are always a lot to choose from. The other 5%, I may stumble upon through Facebook or something like that.
H: Some have said the rise of social media in recent years has lessened the need for critics. Do you agree?
DB: No, I really don’t, but that might just be the kind of the person that I am. I always like to trust the opinions of people who have been writing for a career rather than Billy-Bob who just logged into his Twitter account to complain about it.
H: I’m sure you have a lot of submissions from unsigned bands looking for exposure. What advice would you offer young talent to help them stand out from the competition?
DB: Professionalism goes a long way with me. What sets bands apart are well thought out e-mails, with info, a small bio, what you’re up to, and links to your respective sites (ie. Facebook, Bandcamp, MySpace).
H: What is the biggest mistake you see artists make when promoting themselves?
DB: Bands who try to be, or compare themselves to, bands that are already popular. I feel this is something that has gone on since the dawn of the music industry. If a band is already successful with a unique sound, don’t try and copy it. Find your own unique sound, but don’t over-label yourself and push yourself into a niche. Surf-pop-punk-indie-rock doesn’t define you; you just end up getting lost in the sub-genre.
H: When it comes to receiving music for review and feature consideration, which services do you prefer and why?
DB: I always prefer to have a download link. That way, I can download it, put it on my phone or iPod and take it on the go with me or drive with it in the car. You can always tell if you love an album if it makes you want to blare it in your car with the windows down.
H: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
DB: The politics that come about with mega-labels.
H: Before we let you go, can you tell us a bit about what you have planned in the months ahead?
DB: We are really hoping to get some more merch printed, including t-shirts. Maybe something else fun like coffee mugs or koozies. Other than that, just expanding, reaching out and connecting with our readers. We’ll also continue to be a top quality pop punk website that you guys know and love.