These days it takes more than just good songs to progress in the music industry. This feature offers a short interview with the winner of 'Cloudcorner' - a feature that shortlists our favourite songs submitted via Soundcloud. 'Lessons from Cloudcorner' offers to do just as it says: offering unique advice and insight from an unsigned band.

Being the consummate professional that I am I tried to ignore the odd name of The Palace Flophouse but clearly I failed. Luckily the Illinois band creates some of the most enjoyable folk-pop music I’ve heard of late; full of witty, direct lyrics and melody their music easily makes me forget their unusual name.

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Tell us a little about yourselves and your influences?

Bradley Bergstrand: The Palace Flophouse started as a solo project for me that slowly and without intension turned itself into a band. The current lineup has been active for about a year and a half and I mark that as when the band really found its stride.

Gretchen Bergstrand: It’s pretty neat that we all have very different personal taste in music. So each one of us brings a different influence, and I think it gives us a unique sound. A lot of the songs start out with Bradley and/or me and I never quite know what they’re gonna turn into with the full band. It’s always a really fun, interesting, and pleasant surprise!

What's the best and worst part of being in a band?

Bradley: The best part of being in a band, for me, is definitely the writing process. Playing shows is a close second. As far as the worst, I think it’s coping with the vulnerability of constant self-promotion.

Gretchen: Plus, promoting takes a lot of time. It’s rewarding, but sometimes we think about other really fun creative things we could be doing while we’re doing necessary, menial, time-consuming tasks like printing flyers. A good live show makes all the hard work pay off. It’s worth it when you gain a fan, and having the support of friends and fellow musicians is really great, too.

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What advice would you offer a band starting out?

Bradley: Don’t rush the recording process. As anxious as you might be, you’re gonna have a lot more fun pushing something you’re really proud of. Same goes for the writing process. Also, promotion goes a long way. It might feel condescending and like it goes against some of the reason you started playing music in the first place, but just remind yourself that you have something to say, and this is how you get people to listen to it.

Gretchen: So as unpleasant as it may seem at times, it’s good for your music.

Bradley: But don’t forget that the music is the point. One more thing: don’t overlook the importance of being a part of a music scene and supporting your local scene. When it thrives, you can thrive.

How do you feel the current music climate can either hinder or help up and coming bands?

Gretchen: Music is very accessible because of the internet. But it’s a bit flawed because now people download individual songs. It makes it harder for a band to gain real fans, because so many people will just listen to a song or two and not even think about the songs being part of an album. So it is bittersweet.

Bradley: In most ways, it’s awesome, because bands that 15 years ago might have been completely dismissed can find their niche of fans and have a global reach. But for us as consumers, I think we have access to so much that we no longer become invested in the music we hear. I know for me it’s harder to fully explore albums than it was when I was paying $10 for a CD I couldn’t get anywhere else. It’s overwhelming and overstimulating. If a new band doesn’t immediately grab someone, it’s hard for them to give it a chance… despite the fact that we all know of at least one album or artist we love that took us a few listens to warm up to.

Gretchen: Yeah, everything is so fast-paced; with “instantness” and mobile technology, we’re constantly on the go, and now our treatment of art is not much different. You get your quick fix and move on. Of course, there are still people out there who have the loyal, “punk” community mentality… it just seems to be getting harder to find. They’re a rare gem.

Where would you like to see Palace Flophouse in a year?

Bradley: Working on new material. Still doing what we love doing, and with any luck, doing it for a larger audience.

Gretchen: I hope we can play out more nationally. And we’ll definitely be working on a new project.

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You can check the band out at http://www.myspace.com/tpfsounds/

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