Greetings NMKR community! Yes, that's right, we are now NMKR! If you missed the news, you can read all about it here. Speaking of new, we have a very special feature for you this month. This is for the music lovers! We caught up with Billy Martin, for the iconic band Good Charlotte who been very busy lately. If you're a fan of their music, then you're going to LOVE the Occult Archives. Let's dive in!
NMKR: Let’s start off the big question; Can you tell us why you chose Cardano? What is it about this blockchain that convinced you it was the place to launch your NFT project?
Billy: I love Cardano because it gives people who are new to NFTs a realistic entry point to start a collection. The average buyer who is still on the fence about NFTs is going to appreciate the gas fees and be more likely to support a new project. Cardano’s commitment to environmental awareness compared to many other blockchains is also a big factor. I am a member of the band Good Charlotte and we did a collab release with Clay Nation in late 2021. That was my first experience setting up a wallet and minting, so I kind of learned about crypto in general with Cardano first.
NMKR: How big is your team and what are the key roles? Do you have in-house artists/designers?
Billy: As far as the creative side goes, I am a one man team. I hand drew all the artwork for the project as well as writing and producing the soundtrack that accompanies the art. I have been working as a freelance illustrator for over 15 years and have been lucky enough to draw for companies like Marvel, Disney, Nickelodeon and more. I created the Discord myself, and I run the social media as well. I recently brought on an amazing Discord Mod, Jpipo86, who has been so great!
NMKR: When and where did you hear about NMKR Studio for the first time, and what were the reasons that attracted you to the platform?
Billy: One of my band mates, Joel Madden, actually suggested them to me. He had been heavily researching Cardano before the Clay Nation collab. He knew I was starting up my own project but was still new to the process. He connected me with Patrick and I explained my ideas to him. I had gotten about 80% of the way finished to mint but I was afraid I had made some errors somewhere along the way. When I saw how easy NMKR was making it for new users, I felt so relieved!
NMKR: So, you’ve chosen NMKR Studio, fantastic! Please explain what your NFT project is all about! What are the utility, rarities and the USPs?
Billy: My project is called the Occult Archives. The concept is you working for a fictional organization named 0CCV7T searching for supernatural creatures. You are using the blockchain to securely show your paranormal findings where no one can cover them up. Each time you mint it’s as if you are adding your monster discovery to the archives. The project is releasing in small batches of 1000, one faction at a time. The first chapter we released is Vampires, which is sold out. The next chapter will be Werewolves. Each NFT you mint comes with an MP3 theme song based on the monster you caught. There are multiples of each so you can collect a full set, but of course there are color variants and 1:1’s scattered throughout the collection as well!
NMKR: The whole idea; the detailing in the artwork and the addition of music is all quite incredible! We take our hats off to you! You truly are multi-talented. How long has this been an idea in your head, and where did the name come from?
Billy: The idea really started spiraling as I went along. At first I was going to release just one vampire and one vampire hunter. A really small collection, some people would get good, some would get evil. Then I started to think bigger and wanted to add more characters. I really wanted to have some kind of niche idea that connected it to the blockchain. That’s when I thought of the 0CCV7T organization and how the blockchain could be added into the story. I started on the first drawing in Sept. of 2021 and had most of it all ready to go by December that year.
NMKR: Tell us about your experiences in using NMKR Studio. What was the platform like to work with in practice? Did you have any challenges when building the framework?
Billy: The biggest challenges I had were really my lack of knowledge. Some terms were confusing to me and I spent a lot of time researching so I could understand. I was worried about the metadata and the policy ID. Once I realized how easy the program made those things, I knew I was at the right place.
NMKR: Which front-end functions and back-end infrastructure for dealing with customer payments did you implement and why?
Billy: At first, we just had wallet integration and a manual address you could send to. Recently, we have implemented the credit card fiat payment, which I think is so great. A large number of people who were interested in my project are fans of my band or other art projects I have done. Some of them want to support the project but it's all new to them and they didn't even know how to buy crypto. So this is a great feature for newcomers!
NMKR: We are so happy to hear that from you! Lowering the barrier to entry for crypto newbies is a huge focus and we’re very proud of NMKR Pay.
NMKR: Can you articulate how you formulated the user interface and experience of your website and why you decided on this final design and functionality?
Billy: I was lucky enough to have the NMKR team build my site for me. I drew up a home screen image and gave them a little direction as to how I wanted the page to look and they did an amazing job! They made it so some of the music from the project can be streamed directly from the site while you are browsing and reading about the project.
NMKR: How do you feel about your launch? Is there anything you would do differently next time?
Billy: I would do so much differently, haha! I kind of dove in head first and was learning as I went along. I was relying more on the quality of the art being the selling point of the project. I still believe that I am bringing a high level of professional artistry to Cardano and I always want that to be the focus of my project! However, I’ve learned the importance of rarity and rank within the project. I didn't have an established community before I launched either. I do now and I feel confident about the future.
NMKR: What’s next for your project? How do you envision the evolution of your NFTs?
Billy: We just did a small 100 piece companion collection that featured a 3D version of one of the vampires from the original chapter. I worked with an amazing artist who comes from the video game world, he goes by @cryptoclonez on Twitter. That one sold out in 3 hours!
Next up we are preparing the werewolves release! It will be the same size collection as the vampires but will include a ton more variants and rare pieces. I don’t like to make promises I can't keep but I would love to see this project develop into an IP. I have plans to make a short comic book with some of these characters. I work in film and animation, so I know how expensive and time consuming it is, but I definitely have dreams of seeing these characters come to life in that way!
NMKR: We know we can speak for everyone when we say that Occult Archives in film and animation is something we would love to see! The vision can only become a reality with the help of the fans and the community!
NMKR: Any final words of advice for the readers who may be planning their own NFT launch?
Billy: Take your time and do it right! You need to deliver the best product you can. At the time I released this very few, if any people were incorporating music into their NFTs. I knew this was an angle that would make this project unique. Find your niche, and figure out what makes your project different from all the rest. I’m seeing the same projects come out over and over with no originality and it's going to create a boring and stale market. Deliver something special!
NMKR: This is a space where only the bold and brave can triumph. In Billy Martin we have a true pioneer and he leads by example. So those of you who also have dreams of creating something unique, or have the plans and need to execute, we have the team to help and support your vision. Thank you so much Billy, it’s been a pleasure to work with you to bring something truly unique to this space. We can’t wait for the Werewolves!