Social stars: Local band gets a boost from social media

App+State+students+Jake+Fain%2C+Ben+Burrows%2C+Aaron+Huntley+and+Forrest+Britt+pose+for+a+band+photo.+Their+band%2C+Dropping+Plates%2C+used+social+media+to+gain+listeners+while+the+pandemic+kept+them+from+performing+live.+

Courtesy of Dropping Plates

App State students Jake Fain, Ben Burrows, Aaron Huntley and Forrest Britt pose for a band photo. Their band, Dropping Plates, used social media to gain listeners while the pandemic kept them from performing live.

Jaclyn Bartlett, A&C Reporter

For one Boone band, social media is more than keeping up with the latest TikTok trend. It’s a tool for reaching an audience during a time when live performances are nearly nonexistent.

Due to COVID limiting the opportunity for live performances, Local band Dropping Plates turned to platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and TikTok to share their music, with one TikTok reaching over 60,000 views.

App State students Jake Fain, Ben Burrows, Aaron Huntley and Forrest Britt started the band Dropping Plates last year after childhood friends and guitarists Fain and Burrows posted an ad on Facebook, looking for a drummer and bass player for their band. When roommates Huntley and Britt saw the ad, they got in contact and have been playing with them ever since. 

They describe themselves as a jam band with a mix of genres from groove to jazz and psychedelic rock.  

“My favorite thing about the band is we all have similar music tastes, but none of us listen to the same stuff,” Fain said. “So, we end up with all of these different things attributing to our sound.”

Their variety of inspiration and distinct sound is one reason behind their band name.

“This one time, this guy asked me accusingly why our name was stupid, and I was like, ‘well, think about it, man. When you hear a plate drop, you know that sound immediately,’” Britt said.

Last year they played in several locations such as Noble Kava and Black Cat, but they didn’t have the chance to do many shows before the pandemic hit, and they had to cancel their upcoming performances.

Wanting to continue working together on their music, they decided to use this free time to record their album, “Family Dinner.” But, because they had nowhere to play the songs, they turned to social media to gain an audience.

They began filming and uploading music videos to YouTube with help from Burrow’s childhood friend, Britton Sear. Sear currently lives in Los Angeles, where he works as a videographer, photographer, graphics designer and actor. Sear feels that music videos are a great way to spread their music, especially now.

“I think now more than ever it’s more important because there’s no live shows,” Sear said. “These music videos are how they get their image out there, get their name out there, get their music out there.”

Sear also helps them promote content on Instagram, including clips from their songs and music videos, graphics and advertisements for their t-shirts, which Sear also designed.

The band meets every Tuesday — including Sear, who joins them via FaceTime — to discuss what they are currently working on, whether that be new music, possible places to play or promotional ideas. 

Fain said they sometimes plan out an Instagram posting schedule when they are releasing something new. For their single, “Wave”, they first posted an image of the single cover, followed by a video of them playing one of their older songs a couple days later. 

Because the band hadn’t posted a video of them playing live in a while, it brought attention to their profile, meaning more people were aware of their upcoming single. 

They continued this process over the next few weeks, posting pictures of the band and snippets of the song, so by the time the single came out, people were invested and ready to listen to it, Fain explained.

The work they put into their Instagram pays off. Fain said they gain around 20 new followers after every post, and since March of last year, they went from having roughly 200 followers to nearly 1,000, despite not doing a single show.

The band also uses TikTok to gain a following. They joined TikTok because it’s become such a large platform recently, but found that promotional and planned out content like they post on Instagram doesn’t work in that format.

 Instead, they use TikTok to show more of their personalities, posting whatever they want based on what they find funny or entertaining. One TikTok referencing the Grateful Dead, one of their inspirations, got over 60,000 views.

“With TikTok and their Instagram, you kind of get this more intimate look into their style of comedy and who they are, what they do, and how they interact with each other,” Sear said. “I think that’s really important because you get your audience emotionally connected to you, and then they’ll want to listen to the next album, they’ll want to watch the next music video because they care.”

Although they have accomplished a lot online over this past year, the band members are ready to start performing live again.

“We’ve got plans, and we’re really excited to get out there and play,” said Huntley. That’s our biggest thing. We’re so ready to get out there and play again.”

Despite the emphasis on their media presence, their passion for music is the true driving force behind it all.

“We just want to be as genuine as possible, and we just want to connect with people in any way that we can because connection is really hard right now,” Fain said. “We really hope that that’s resonating with people and that people continue to enjoy our stuff because we really enjoy doing it.”