Gianni Cash Of ¡Mayday! Talks Being Independent [SM Exclusive]

Jul 4 2011

While our country celebrates its independence on the Fourth Of July, Strange Music celebrates its own accomplishments as the leader in independent music. Shunned by major labels and industry executives, Strange Music blazed its own trail on the independent scene, and now sits among the major record labels as they wonder how it was done. As the newest addition to Strange Music, ¡Mayday! understands the integrity behind staying independent. Bassist Gianni Cash took some time to speak with us regarding the importance of independent music and how it compares to major record label standards. In a very revealing interview, Gianni Cash lays it all out, and shares his views on Strange Music’s independent hustle.

What does it mean to be an independent artist?

You dictate your own, sort of path, and you create your own lane in this music industry. Tech N9ne is a clear example of that. We kind of follow in his footsteps. From when we were rocking shows in Miami, we kind of had the same kind of formula of doing things. Obviously Tech N9ne’s formula was at a much bigger scale than ours, obviously, but we kind of had the same plan. You kind of dictate your own path man, you do your own shit. Were kind of do it yourselfers, you know. A lot of the times you don’t really have people that have input, unless you work with specific people, like when we’re doing our videos and shit like that. But it’s mostly us, we try to keep it within the camp. We have a very distinct vision of what we want to do, and what we want to sound like. We like to do it ourselves, and we really like that about Tech, you know. It’s kind of very similar to what Tech is doing, so it kind of works for us that Strange saw some shit in ¡Mayday! .

What freedoms do you have that a major label artist might not?

That vision man, the sound. A lot of people dictate, you know, how you go about doing a song or ideas about a song. They won’t put your shit out, you know. I think art is very important, and it goes right back to the artist. It’s not a business man doing the thinking behind it, I think it’s definitely up to the artist. That’s where the art gets lost. It’s more of a business kind of thing for the major label artist. You know, there’s a very low percentage of major artists doing their own type of shit. That’s the Lil Waynes, the Kanye Wests, the Jay-Zs, and they have that power, but if you’re not up there with them, you’re going to have to take some criticism from the label. Then again man, it totally depends. You can go back and forth, there’s pros and cons, you know. That’s kind of like a tough a question. I’m diplomatic about shit like that. You have people that are in the industry that are cool as fuck, like Dave Weiner and Richie Abbott. Those guys have been in the industry for years, and they know what’s up.

How important is it to be 100% in control of your work?

It’s very important man, you’re putting your name on the line. People buy your shit because they dig what you’re making. It’s very important man.

Are there any drawbacks? Do you ever wish you had the major label support?

Yeah, I mean the thing is we’re just coming into the situation and we’re blessed. I see this thing blowing up man, for us and Strange man. Tech N9ne is only going to get bigger. So, I feel like Strange Music is such a dope thing. The formula that they have is incredible to me man. Travis is a fucking mastermind man. I think Travis is going to get to that major level, but keep it independent. He’s doing it by himself, and he knows how to do it. He’s actually taking people from the industry and bringing them in. So, he’s using that as leverage to be above all these fucking labels, all the majors and shit. He’s reaching out and these people see it because they know that the fucking majors are so fucked bro. Labels don’t exist anymore, you know what I’m saying, majors is what I’m saying. They exist, but at a very low percentage. There’s a very low percentage of artists really doing their shit in the majors.

After the setbacks, the sacrifices, and the constant grind, is it all worth staying independent?

Man, I don’t know. I mean, I would say yeah man. Even though we’re independent, I feel like I’m in a major with Strange because they’re so dope. The whole movement. I’m such a happy person, the ¡Mayday! crew is so happy because it’s so dope. We’ve been dealing with majors man and they don’t know shit. We were being shopped, we went to New York, and these labels had no idea what the fuck to do with us. They saw potential, but they’re like “Man, we can’t really do anything. These guys are a six piece band and it’s really tough for us to put you on tour.” Then here comes fucking Strange,“ Yeah we’ll put you on tour”, and we’re on tour like right off of the contract and shit, how dope is that dude? We’re fortunate to be on a label that understands the touring game man, and being out there and being exposed to the fans, and finding that niche market, and going to the little towns. That’s all grind man, that’s all going to help us get bigger. So, in a way it is, it’s really dope being independent or being a major, it really depends who you’re with. Again, it’s really hard to answer that question because imagine us being known already. Let’s say we had a record contract with an independent in Miami and our buzz was big. But then we get released or whatever, shit doesn’t work out for that label. Then we get picked up by a major that sees the potential, they just have the funds to actually push us. At the end, it’s a very similar gray area, you know. For us to go the extra, I guess, just blow up in general. It’s gonna take dude, independent…independent, it’s definitely the way to go.