One thing about the UK’s music scene is that it’s always electrifying and bumping. With the prevalence of electronic dance music (EDM) and more lively club hits, the UK’s music industry was booming, up and until COVID-19 of course.
Last year, the value of Britain’s live music sector hit a record of 1.1 billion pounds, as fans rushed to see artists including Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, and Sam Smith, contributing to the industry’s overall contribution to the UK economy—estimating a total value of 5.2 billion pounds as of 2018.
However, since the global coronavirus pandemic has continued to infect industry after industry, its direction in the coming months as we begin to close out the hell that’s been 2020, will define the UK for a generation. With local artists like ‘Electric’ maintaining popularity and keeping fans glued to positivity and spark, despite the perilous times that COVID-19 has left us in, allows us to have the strength to maintain the democracy, civility, and truth we all hold dear.
We spoke with Henrik Michelsen of Electric, the other half to the UK electronic duo, reveals his secrets on how his personal brand stays alive alongside band member, Edvard Erfjord, especially as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the entertainment industry.
The duo’s name “Electric” sparks creativity. While Michelsen and Erfjord have previously shared how the name came to be, we wanted to know why it resonated well them as artists.
“You could say as a stretch that it rhymes with our names, Ed & Henrik, ha! We didn’t put too much thought into it. It came about in a conversation over dinner and it stuck.”
How Personal and Commercial Branding Has Become More Relevant in Our Digitized Age
Whether or not there was much thought behind the name Electric, it still sends shockwaves of creativity throughout the group’s fanbase. But how has the notion of personal and commercial branding become more relevant over the years, as music’s digitization has become more sophisticated?
“More than ever, anything is a brand today,” Michelsen reaffirmed. “It’s definitely exciting that the tools to brand yourself have been democratized. An individual can relatively easily create, build, and manage their own platform and reach out to their fans directly. I think it defines modern music and the type of artists that thrive to a degree, as the business pays close attention to what engages fans. That in turn can decide what acts are signed and focused on.”
Every artist has their favorite toys and equipment. With all the audio equipment Michelsen has, he shared that he doesn’t have any particular brand affiliation.
“While I’ve been supported by Sennheiser, who sponsored me with a scholarship while I went to university, I don’t really have any brand affiliation,” Michelsen confessed. “Sennheiser has a great team and have helped me out in several turns in my career. They also own Neumann, which have produced some of the best microphones I’ve ever used. To this day, I still use the TLM103 I received from them ages ago. Also, check out the Roland Juno, it’s a dream machine.”
Michelsen went on to describe Sennheiser as “true and precise,” but that “they also have character.”
Child Rearing Your Personal Brand
In the legal world, intellectual property in its various forms (copyright, patent, and trademark) must be nurtured, like a child, and maintained daily. Failure to maintain and manage your IP could cost you more than just money—but your brand’s literal identity.
No different for artists like Michelsen, the greatest challenge he identifies is “deciding how much of my work to share. I think people still appreciate a certain amount of mystery, and it’s worthwhile to think about what to share and what not to share with fans, so they can fill in the blanks themselves, creating their own story.”
And he has a point. When an artist shares “too much,” by the time the final product comes out, the mystery and excitement is already lost, as the sound has been out in the public domain for too long, so to speak. As my generation frequently complains, “the radio killed that one.”
As for other artists Michelsen has worked with and observed, he admits that those who are “watering down your brand by posting too much” when those posts “aren’t properly focused on your brand, can be a pitfall.”
Take Me Home
Bringing our conversation full circle of where Michelsen and Erfjord first started their journey together at Liverpool’s Institute for Performing arts, we were curious on how relevant the university has remained in their lives, if at all.
“I’ve been back to LIPA since my graduation, and even held a seminar there on music production and careers,” he says. “I use the knowledge I learned there every day. The university introduced me to logic, teaching me the ins and outs of the technical aspect of music production, while showing me the art of it. It was a great place to learn.”