Hard rock band Saliva debuts e-liquid line
By Alyssa Stahr
Photos by Steve Sergent Photography
More and more artists are stepping out from behind the microphone and diversifying into other industries, such as clothing lines, perfumes and even e-liquids. The Grammy Award-nominated hard rock band Saliva, known for hits like “Click Click Boom,” “Ladies and Gentlemen” and “Always,” have ventured into the world of e-liquids with their own signature line. Frontman Bobby Amaru and Korynne Hatcher of 7 Stone Management recently spoke with VAPE about how the line came about and what life on the road is like as a rock star.
VAPE: Bobby, you just joined Saliva in 2012. Can you talk about that process and what made you want to come on board to a pre-existing band?
Amaru: We had a mutual friend who is a lighting guy, and he used to work with Saliva back in the day. He lives about a mile from me, and they were looking for a singer, and he suggested me. They listened to my stuff that I had, and that was pretty much it; we clicked.
Hatcher: A seasoned drummer, Bobby Amaru stepped from behind the kit and took his place as the new frontman after original singer Josey Scott’s departure. Bobby has injected new life and energy into this heavy-hitting, five-piece band. With Bobby, they released their eighth and ninth studio albums and managed to not only keep the signature anthemic choruses that propelled them into stardom, but also push themselves into new territory with their writing and song style,enabling them to gain new fans while retaining the love and loyalty of the longtime listeners. They are currently in the mixing stages of their 10th studio album and hope to release it in early 2016.
VAPE: Can you give me a little taste of what the album you’re working on is going to be like?
Amaru: We’ve got almost the whole record done; we’re a couple songs away from being done, and it’s great, and it sounds awesome. We’re kind of taking our time with it. We want to do it right. Bands can kind of go at their own pace and take their time and be creative. Bands now … there’s a lot of bands like Metallica … will put out a record and not put one out for another five years. Slipknot’s another one. You have to go away and come back, and it’s almost refreshing. People are really like, “Oh I want to really hear that.” Everyone’s got an opinion. It’s always Hard rock band Saliva debuts e-liquid line
VAPE: Do you feel as a band or a celebrity that you have a certain responsibility to vapers/smokers at your shows?
Amaru: No; I think we met people that just don’t like it. They want to keep smoking. I think everyone’s got a choice. I think it’s a lot harder for people who have smoked their whole lives to quit. But, I see more and more people picking it up [vaping] every day. I’m not one to try to convince everyone to do something; that’s not why we did this. I think the awareness is necessary for sure, but we don’t want to make someone do something. I ask people what kind of flavors they are into. Everyone’s got something different. Our top three changes at every vape shop.
VAPE: Only Wayne [Swinny] and Paul [Crosby] vape, correct?
Amaru: They definitely vape more than I would, per se. More of our crew guys, our tour manager, sound guy, we got him off smoking cigarettes. That was kind of our thing; we wanted people to stop smoking on the bus. We got into the vaping thing when we knew it was becoming something that people were getting into, and vaping companies would come to us and bring us samples. One day they brought a whole bunch of stuff, and they were like, “Why don’t you do a line?” The Saliva name kinda worked with the vape thing. We kicked around ideas, and it’s going pretty well so far. I think it’s cool for bands. Yeah, you want to make music, and your fans want to buy music, and we’re not trying to make a dollar on it. It’s kind of refreshing and different to have something else to talk about. I’m enjoying going into vape stores and hearing people talk about stopping smoking. What do you do, anyway, when you’re on tour? You wait around during the day, so we go into a shop an hour or two a day and hang with them and be personal, and it goes a long way.
VAPE: Whose idea was it to start an e-liquid line?
Amaru: I’m the one who enforced it more and brought it to the band’s attention. I don’t want to take credit for it, though. I got it lined up, and Korynne got it lined up, and we had ideas. Then you tour, and you’re busy, and you go home and the last thing you want to do is anything Saliva related. It’s sad to say that, but I’m probably not the only one in a band that’s like that. In my off-time, I want to stay busy, and I’m always thinking of things. We put it in motion two months ago [as of press time], and it’s doing its thing. We don’t really want to attach it to the
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music part of it. We’re about to launch our new Saliva store, and we’ll have a link, but it’s not going to be next to our CD— here’s our juices too. We’re not going to force it on people.
Hatcher: This whole thing started while I was doing some PR work for Bobby. I handle the booking/PR for his solo stuff. 7 Stone Management is the entertainment company that I also work for; however, they do not have anything to do with the Saliva e-liquid line. The only people associated with the line are me, the band and Molecule Labs. Bobby was on an acoustic run with Kevin Martin from Candlebox for a weekend, and I was on the road with them. Saliva had previously worked with a promoter who was getting into the vape scene. He was working with some people to develop a line, and Saliva happened to be one of his clients. That deal fell through right around that time, and since I had already started a business relationship with Bobby and I knew the other guys, he asked me if I could help them find a new manufacturer, since they had some appearances lined up about two weeks away.
VAPE: Tell me about the signature e-liquid line.
Hatcher: They handpicked the flavors of Mint Chocolate, Vanilla Caramel, Strawberry Cheesecake, Grape Soda, Green Apple and Watermelon. There are three nicotine levels: 0 percent, 3 percent and 6 percent with a VG/PG percent of 70/30. Currently, we are looking at distribution, as we have had inquiries from all over the world from shops and lounges that would like to carry our line.
VAPE: How did you decide on the handpicked flavors?
Amaru: That was everybody who kind of had an idea on that and had input. It’s based on what people like. Wayne really likes grape stuff. Strawberry cheesecake was a no brainer, and I hit up a friend of mine who owns vape shops and I asked him, “What are your biggest sellers?” The song titles just go with it. Just seemed like a cool idea.
Hatcher: The band already had ideas with regard to flavors, but we all kind of brainstormed and came up with some ideas for Molecule and they made it happen!
VAPE: How did you decide on Molecule Labs for the manufacturing?
Hatcher: Molecule Labs, based in California, is the largest juice manufacturer in the country. I literally Googled manufacturers, frantically trying to find someone who could help us. I left messages and sent emails. A day later, I got a text from Mike Guasch, the owner of Molecule Labs, who said that someone had passed along my information and thought that he would be able to accommodate us. From there, we just started talking, and he was very excited at the prospect of a band releasing a line, as the only other band to do it was Gwar a while ago. He told me everything he could do, and I talked to the band and we agreed to go with them. They literally pulled everyone off of what they were doing in order for us to get labels, bottles and flavors done in time for the appearances, and we could not have been better taken care of. When all of this happened, the band formally asked me to come on board and handle everything associated with the line. As I mentioned, I have known them for a while and had been friends with Bobby already for a few years, in addition to doing work for him, so it just seemed like a perfect solution.
VAPE: There are so many juice lines out there. What makes yours different?
Amaru: [With a laugh.] Once you inhale one in you’re hooked for life. You’ll want nothing else but this liquid. Nah, I think every vape line and everyone in the industry should be for the same thing. It’s a billion dollar industry; I get that. There’s plenty to spread around, and all for the same cause: to get someone to stop smoking. We put out our line and do our thing. If people try it and like it, great. If they prefer another line, great. They are still not smoking.
VAPE: Tell me more about these nationwide shop visits.
Hatcher: The guys have been traveling on the road since March, and according to their tour schedule, have been visiting stores in the cities that they are playing in and talking about their line. They bring in product for people to sample and purchase, and of course, they always perform a song or two for their fans. We think that this is something that sets us apart, as it’s not only a way for people to learn about a new line and try it, but they also get to interact with fans and take pictures, which creates not only brand awareness, but is a fun time, as well!
Amaru: We usually do a song acoustically; we mingle, we hang out with everybody. We sign whatever they want and they bring in Saliva merch, and it’s an hour- to two-hour-long meet-and-greet. We’re not like, “sunglasses on, too cool to hang out,” or whatever. Shops always make us feel at home, and it’s really good and overwhelming.
VAPE: How do you decide which shops to visit when you’re on the road?
Amaru: Korynne handles all of that. We have no idea; we just know where we are playing at, and it’s easy to go into a shop. There’s 100 shops or more in every city. I don’t know how she picks them. I’ve noticed some of the stores that we’ve done, the people had multiple stores. She tries to go for those, I think.
Hatcher: I schedule appearances based on their tour schedule. I reach out to stores in every city they will be appearing in and talk to the owners about our brand, and tell them about the “Saliva Vaping Experience” and ask if they would be interested in taking part. So far they have done almost 20, and they have all been great! We have stores that have already asked us to come back. These appearances are a unique selling tool, as it allows the fans to interact with the band on a personal level. It not only promotes our brand but also familiarizes people with the band who may not have
known about them previously.
VAPE: What are some of your goals for the line?
Hatcher: We are currently looking at several distribution companies, trying to decide which one is best for our needs. Obviously, we have to go about things a little differently than your typical line, but I have been doing a lot of research so I can come up with the most effective marketing strategy for what we need. It’s been interesting, as I knew nothing about the vaping industry until all this started in mid-March of this year. Our goals are to get worldwide distribution, but we also want to make sure that our liquid is carried in high-quality stores, not just every shop on the corner. We are proud of the quality of our liquid and want to make sure that our brand is always considered as such.
For more information and to see if Saliva is coming to a store near you, visit http://www.salivavapejuice.com/.