“We’re bigger now than we’ve ever been,” Corelia band guitarist Chris Dower says, “even though we haven’t played shows in a while. We’ve been growing our fan base online.” Corelia is an as-yet unsigned progressive metal band that looms large on social media (61,813 Facebook likes) but is otherwise unknown in San Diego. With only one venue that books original metal acts, Corelia guitarist Chris Dower explains that’s probably because hometown consumers of live music expect otherwise.
“Down here, the majority of people go to hear reggae. I don’t think a metal band can make it here,” he tells the Reader at an Oceanside café. “We wouldn’t be who we are if we had to depend on San Diego.”
So far, it hasn’t mattered.
“We’re more of an online band, than a touring band,” adds drummer Clayton Pratt.
“Actually,” says Ryan Devlin, Corelia’s vocalist, “I think we have more fans in India.”
Thus far, Corelia has released two EPs — Nostalgia and Nostalgia (Instrumentals and Extras). They are expected to finish and release their debut full-length this year with front money from an Indiegogo.com pledge drive that doubled up from the band’s initial asking to $30,000.
Corelia, “The Sound of Glaciers Moving” (live in the studio)
But doesn’t the notion of being an online band violate the performance tradition? “It’s not a black-and-white situation,” Pratt explains. “It depends on the band. Some bands need to get out and play a lot of shows. But the way our fan base started, it’s been because of our recordings.”
“We got some demos together,” Dower explains of the early days, “and we released them online.”
“We were definitely born on the internet,” Devlin says. “And it’s been our resource for marketing. We go all the way back to MySpace,” he says, and then Dower corrects him.
“No — it wasn’t even MySpace. In the beginning, we went on, like, guitar-player forums. And they had these ‘promote your band’ features.” So Corelia did just that, and from those humble beginnings, Dower says word-of-mouth spread.
But did all that virtual love translate to actual ticket and merch sales? “Ninety percent of the people who came to our shows, they came from online,” Dower says of the period when Corelia toured. “We had a healthy fan base that came out and saw us.”
Pratt: “We frequented forums for metal fans as well, not just for other musicians. And later, we posted on MySpace. That was the first step for a new artist to share their music. Facebook wasn’t the popular place for bands yet. And then right when Corelia was starting to catch on, that’s when MySpace went in the toilet. Facebook came up, and some of the other social-media sites did, too, like Instagram. We’re not so much on Twitter.”