We interview David Scott of The Kiffness. The chat revolves around his social media presence, taming goliath corporations, going viral and what effects if any this has on his music and how it is consumed or discovered.
What’s your favourite social media platform?
Probably Facebook, because my mom always likes and shares my pictures. If there’s a spelling mistake on my post, she’ll tell me to fix it so she can share it. I even got her to spell check this interview. Thanks mom.
What are the primary aims of your social media presence and how are these linked to The Kiffness brand?
I generally consider myself to be an absurdist, which means I believe that part of the human condition is to place importance on things that are essentially purposeless, and I try to portray that on social media through the use of satire. I find there is so much miffness in the world and I’ve found it can be quite overwhelmingly depressing, but using satire to express my dissatisfaction with the state of the world on an online platform has proven to be quite cathartic, or kiff if you will.
The Kiffness brand is synonymous with my outlook on life – I really couldn’t care less about fame as I find the concept of it totally mad, but the more I seem to not care, the more famous I become, which is pretty absurd in itself.
How often do you post to social media? Would you say there is any kind of schedule or golden-rule you try to stick to?
“A wise man speaks because he has something to say. A fool speaks because he has to say something. A wise man once said this. It wasn’t me – until now” – Dave
You’re very active and engaging with your fans on social media, do you have a team helping with the creation of your content and the management of your social profiles?
I couldn’t think of anything worse than employing someone else pretending to be me.
What was it like in 2010 when you used to get no likes on your content and only two people clicked attending on your Facebook events?
We all have to start somewhere. I’ve built my audience over a space of five years. A lot of my earlier posts have been a hit and miss, but I feel like I’ve reached a point where I have a feel for what ideas are worth sharing and what ideas suck and I have a basic formula that works for me now.
Fast Forward to 2016 and you’re getting one million views on your Pokemon Go cat video. What was that like and how’d you come up with the idea or concept?
When Pokemon Go exploded on the scene, I wanted to create something that would show how ridiculous augmented reality seems if it was simulated in real life. That’s when I got the idea to paint an egg into a Pokeball and threw it at my cat.
You were featured on the front page of a newspaper for your shaming of the skinny Woolworths mannequins. What’s the latest on that debacle?
Woolworths have released a rather flimsy statement saying that the mannequins were made to global specifications, but they’ll look into the matter on their next order – which basically translates to “well the rest of the world are making anorexic mannequins, so it’s not really our problem. But don’t worry, we might make changes in a few months/years/whenevz (but can’t make any promises)”.
Telkom even responded to one of your previous social media posts requesting that they stop using talking babies in their adverts. Will they ever use talking babies in ads again and which Goliath brand do you hope to David next?
So far, they seemed to have veered away from the talking baby ads, and I’ll be the first to admit that I quite like their new ads. I’m not sure who I’ll take on next – I normally wait until something evokes a strong emotion in me and when it does happen, I try to portray that feeling as best I can
You once posted an image with the caption, “Don’t let the distractions of the internet stop you from realising your potential as an artist”. Would you say that your social media behaviour is a distraction from realising your potential as a musician?
I don’t think musicians should necessarily limit themselves to only being musicians. We live in a day and age where you can have 5 different careers simultaneously. I feel like I am just someone who has a need to share my ideas with the world, and I just so happen to be a musician too. If I was spending my days watching cat videos, then I would say yes – that is a distraction. The fact that I am actively challenging the status quo by sharing my perspective on the world is far from a distraction, but part of what it means for me to be human. With this being said, I spend a lot of time in studio working hard at my craft, but if I’ve created a post that’s going viral – that can be distracting if I’m trying to finish a mix on a new single.
Have you seen a growth in the fans of your music as a result of the viral nature of some of your non-music related content? Does your social media presence benefit your music in anyway?
As soon as someone posts something as a means to some other end, you can smell it from a mile away and it smells of metaphorical dog poo. People have approached me to create viral content for their brand or their festival or whatever it is, but they don’t understand that I can’t create good content if it’s trying to sell something else. I post what’s on my mind for the sake of what’s on my mind and no other agenda. If someone comes to find my music through some post I made about mannequins, then I suppose that’s great – but it’s never my intention.
Ultimately I believe that if the music I’m making is good, it will sell itself. You can have the best social media page in the world but if your music sucks, nothing you post can hide how sucky your music is. You can’t polish a turd – well, you can. But all you’ll get is a shiny turd.
What’s your opinion on getting less engagement or interest on your music content that your other non-music related content?
Ultimately, people go on Facebook to be entertained and/or to connect on a personal level, so if I have something relating to my music that is either entertaining or engaging, I will post it. Some bands (including The Kiffness) used to get away with just posting photos of the crowds they play to, but ultimately I find that kind of content meaningless and self congratulatory.
Our latest single has received overwhelming support, but people forget that a production of that scale takes months of work behind the scenes and I will make a post about our music only when the music is ready. As for our gig schedule, we are super busy and there’s the temptation to share meaningless details of our tour life, but as I mentioned before I prefer to stay away from that kind of stuff.
What do you have to say to the haters?