Interview with Valentine KLIPFEL, founder of What Happened To Your Band? PR and Webzine
Hey guys! If you’ve noticed some awesome bands getting reviewed here, they recently have come from a French PR service called “What Happened To Your Band?” The founder and owner is a lovely woman by the name of Valentine KLIPFEL (Klp) and we decided to do a little interview here so you 1) can know more about her PR agency and 2) give you insight as a musician into getting picked up by a PR firm. She’s super cool and I think you’ll enjoy reading this! –Derek
Derek: So can you tell me about What Happened To Your Band? What are the goals of your PR agency and Webzine?
Val: Hi Derek, sure thing. Thanks for having me! What Happened to your Band? is a webzine and PR agency that I created in 2015, after working with many bands (friends) like Mary has a Gun or Time to Fly (French Pop-Punk bands). All these years helping them being more known worldwide just made me want to start my own project. WHTYB started as a webzine and I recently added a PR service to it.
The main goal of the project is to help bands develop their visibility and notoriety, whether they are known or not, through reviews, interviews and news articles in different countries. I really, really, want to create proximity with the bands I am working with by offering them attractive and most importantly, affordable services adapted to their needs!
I also want to maintain a link with these bands, become their friend and travel all around the world to see them live, exchange our knowledge on the music industry… This adventure is clearly give and take!
Derek: What led you to the PR field? Did you formally study it?
Val: Several things are at the origin of this choice. I recently graduated with a Master 2 degree in Marketing and Communication. I’ve been studying both areas for the past 8 years so I guess developing a PR service was sort of obvious…
I also wanted to develop a PR service because it reminded me of the work I was doing for my friends when I was younger. What a great time! Haha. I was literally spending hours, sometimes at night, promoting them and it was awesome. You feel so happy when a media agrees on publishing something about the band you’re working for. The webzine is working really well, but it wasn’t enough for me, and this is why I decided to develop the project further and launch a PR service.
Derek: What is the selection process for who gets on your list of bands for promotion? What can a band do if they want to get in contact with you?
Val: Whether we’re talking about the webzine or the PR service, I don’t really have a process of selection as long as the band fits into the type of music I target (Pop-Punk, Punk-Rock, Alternative…). I love working with bands that are devoted, present on social networks and love sharing news with their fans. If they have nothing to share except a demo, I won’t promote them because there’s nothing to say about it. It’s great when a band has at least three or four songs to listen to.
I am open to any other style of music as long as it’s around Punk and Rock. So even if a band is doing melodic hardcore or whatever, I will still check it out and determine if I can promote it or not through the PR service. One thing is sure: I will be 100% honest with the band if I don’t enjoy their music, because I don’t see why I would promote a band I don’t “like,” it just doesn’t make sense.
I always do my best to satisfy everyone, especially through the webzine. If I’m not a huge fan of the band but still think that they deserve recognition for the work they’ve put into their material, I will write an interview instead of a review, for example.
If a band wants to get in touch with me, he can contact me directly on Facebook: Valentine KLP ; hit me up on WHTYB’s page: What Happened to your Band? or simply email whtyb.webzine[at]gmail[dot]com for the webzine and whtyb.pr[at]gmail[dot]com for the PR service ! You guys can find more info on the official website: www.whtybpress.com 🙂
Derek: How do you determine what websites are best for the bands you promote? For instance, what drew you to my website? 🙂
Val: I spend a lot of time finding new media to contact. I don’t mind if they only have 100 “fans” on their Facebook page, because we all started at the bottom! Maybe one day, these media will be more known and that’s why I think people shouldn’t focus on huge magazines or webzines. You have to try everything!
When I’m looking for new contacts, I focus on the style of music they are featuring and I also check if they are on social networks or not. I also take time to read a few reviews and interviews they have published in order to see what the magazine likes in a band. It sometimes helps me finding a specific writer instead of contacting the general email address of the magazine.
What drew me to your website…! I guess it was the style of your reviews. You are really honest and your opinion, whether it’s positive or not, is always good to take. If I were in a band, I would like to have constructive criticism to help me move forward and improve 🙂
Derek: Is What Happened To Your Band something you wish to see expand into a full PR firm, or do you want to keep it in a more DIY setting like you have it now?
Val: Excellent question! I’m working full time in the marketing service of a company, so What Happened to your Band? is currently a side project. I always have my phone on me to reply to my emails, to the bands and partners, I use my free time to write reviews, do interviews… It’s not always easy but I have the satisfaction of knowing that I manage everything all by myself.
I live day by day and the current situation is alright for me… at least, for now. But you know how it is… you always have to aim higher so maybe one day, What Happened to your Band? will expand into a big PR firm and I will add new writers to the project. That’d be great! 🙂
Derek: I’m into pretty much every style of punk as a listener and musician, especially since I grew up in Southern California at a time where skate punk was really popular. I notice that pop-punk is the major focus of WHTYB. What is it specifically about that genre that makes you focus on it over other punk styles like ska punk or hardcore punk?
Val: That’s such a hard question! Man, I don’t even know how to explain it. I just grew up listening to bands such as Blink-182, Sum 41, All Time Low and I guess they have really influenced me throughout my whole life. I’m still listening to them nowadays… I just bought Sum 41 and Green Day’s new albums and I can’t wait to receive my package ahah. This is the main reason why I mainly focus on that genre, but I’m not closed to other styles of music. I always take time to listen to all the submissions I receive, even if it’s hardcore. I’m not into this type of music but you can always be surprised… It has already happened!
If your band offers some great Pop-Punk riffs, catchy verses/chorus… you have approximately a 99% chance of being featured on What Happened to your Band?
Derek: As I’ve noticed, you get bands from all different parts of the world working with What Happened To Your Band. Where are you noticing the most activity in terms of the punk scene globally, namely which countries?
Val: Yes, I absolutely love working with bands overseas. It’s just amazing to discover their culture and get to learn more about the pop-punk / punk-rock scene in their country. I’ve been featuring and working with a lot of Italian bands lately (my friends Trash’N’Clean, Jackers, Stereo Age) and I think that this country is awesome. Most of these bands begin to grow and their level is really good. I really hope that I’ll get the opportunity to visit them one day and see what they are offering live because they are the nicest and most devoted people ever. It’s a pleasure to work with them.
It’s actually hard to only mention a few countries, but I would say that the Pop-Punk scene is very present in England (You Know the Drill, River Jumpers…), Australia (Kids in Control, Stansbury…), Italy (Trash’N’Clean, Jackers…), Canada (Story Untold, We Were Sharks…) and the USA (Wayside Story, The Weekend Classic…). But of course, we also have good bands in France that should actually be more known!
Derek: As a native of France, would you say that the punk scene is strong in your country?
Val: We have good Pop-Punk and Punk-Rock bands (Ice Cold Shot, Summer Lake Heroes, Bare Teeth, The Shapers…) unfortunately, the scene is not as developed as in other countries like Italy or England. We have a lack of infrastructure, especially in certain regions. I’d say that the scene is ten times better in Paris or in the South of France. Fortunately, we have a lot of webzines or small and independent radio stations to relay information and that’s great!
I think no matter what country we live in, a band has to cross borders and go play in neighboring countries to increase his awareness. I know that it’s not simple and it requires costs, but a band that does not move to play shows cannot succeed.
Derek: Outside of the groups you represent on WHTYB, who are some of your favorite pop-punk groups right now?
Val: My favorite bands are a mix between the ones I was listening to when I was younger and the new up-and-coming bands that are clearly expanding at the moment.
Right now, I’m really into Sum 41, Story Untold, ROAM, Busted, Yellowcard, Fountains of Wayne and Something Corporate. But I have to admit that I also listen to old rock bands such as Scorpions, Def Leppard, Europe, Rainbow or Kansas… 🙂
Derek: Anything else you would like to say before we conclude this interview?
Val: Well, I wanted to thank all the bands I had the pleasure of featuring through the webzine since the beginning of WHTYB, and the bands I had the pleasure of working with through the PR service. I met some incredible people and I don’t intend to stop here!
I am currently working on another side project with my friend Jordan from KROD Records. We plan on launching a physical and digital magazine next year. Jordan has been a great friend for the past few years and I’m really excited about this project. We’re currently working on it with a few other people but things look great and I can’t wait to have a copy of the first issue in my hands!
I also wanted to thank you for featuring the bands I’m submitting, taking time to review their music. It really means a lot to them, and to me. Thank you for taking time to do this interview with me, I really appreciate your support and I look forward to working with you again real soon! x – Val