Back in 2011, The rise of The Yogscast shook YouTube. The team's work with Minecraft earned them a stint as the biggest channel in the UK.
Every YouTube Tom, Dick and Harry wanted the Yogscast prefix. Amateur creators in droves were making videos of themselves playing Minecraft and hoping for the call. However, the company didn't open its doors to just anyone with a webcam and a dream.
Matthew 'Caff' Meredith was no exception to this. He admits to also making cringy Minecraft videos in an attempt to become a part of the Yogscast family. He also assures us that those videos absolutely didn't work.
Nevertheless, in 2016, Caff formally became a part of The Yogscast. The last creators to join and work directly from YogTowers prior to that were the Hat Films trio way back in 2012.
We caught up with Caff to chat about his journey on YouTube, and what it was about his content that spurred The Yogs to bring on a new recruit in to the office for the first time in four years.
InfluencerUpdate.biz: Talk us through your YouTube and Twitch channels. What do you do and how long have you been doing it?
Caff: My name's Caff, I make content for the internet and then people watch that content sometimes. I have a couple of different channels - my main one is The Caffcast which is my YouTube and Twitch based content. I've been doing that for over five years now. I've been doing Twitch for two.
I also daily daily YouTube and Twitch content over on my AMSR channel - The ASMRCast, which I've been doing for about three years through YouTube and one year on Twitch.
Did you face any struggles setting up your channel?
Back when I started The Caffast, YouTube actually worked which was nice. But I didn't really face any struggles with setting that up. This was before we had all the issues with payment thresholds and partner thesholds. I set up The Caffcast when I was at university doing a degree in Zoology, just to try and learn a new skill.
By the end of my first year of uni I was able to turn YouTube into a full time job. It took about a year and three months for me to turn Youtube in to a full time job.
But no, I didn't really have any issues when I started because I didn't really expect anything to come from it. I started a channel because I wanted to learn how to edit videos and I thought that would be a good skill to have.
And again with the ASMR channel, I started that when not many people were covering it, so I was quite lucky to be one of the first YouTubers to start doing it.
I did some really cringey video applications to join The Yogscast and I don't recommend anyone ever do that.
How did joining The Yogscast help your content?
Being a part of The Yogscast helped me along a lot. I think I was the first hire on the creator side there since Hat Films joined back in 2012. I got a nice boost of around 10,000 subs just off the back of doing some main channel content with the Yogs.
Even before I joined, I'd done some really cringey video applications to join The Yogscast where I'd play a Minecraft video and talk about why I'd be a good fit for the company, and I don't recommend anyone ever do that - it didn't work.
What happened originally was that I ended up becoming friends with Kim (Nanosounds) through a brand deal project that we did together which was for Maker, back when they and Polaris where still around. I was part of Maker and it just so happened that Kim and I were working on the same deal.
We played Brawlhalla together but the project never actually aired, so you can't even find that now. Off the back of that, I make some content with Kim, we did a series called Nano's Village which went really well, and things went from there.
Again I went in there with no expectations. I think people assume that as soon as you're part of the Yogscast you suddenly appear on every single video they make and you're getting millions of views. It's much more hands off than that.
Everyone is responsible for their own content, everyone is their own creator and has their own brand. It was more of a way to get in to a position where I'm working with like minded people in an office rather than just making videos from my bedroom.
It's great to have a group of people that know exactly what I'm going through and know all about the problems I have, because we all face the same thing.
Not everyone is going to be morally unambiguous if there's a way to bring money in.
What do you think it means to BE an influencer? Do you think you have a certain responsibility to stand up for the right things, even if you don’t feel qualified to?
I'd say influencers do have a responsibility and I think its perhaps not something they take as seriously as they should. It's a two folded question; I think firstly it's important for creators and influencers to recognise the brands they're selling. It's easy to recommend something that could be shady, or it looks really good on the outside but it's not as good and then I have to take responsibility.
At the same time, its important for viewers to realise that they're watching sponsored content and creators are being paid to say things. Not everyone is going to be morally unambiguous if there's a way to bring money in. YouTube is struggling, people are going to need brand deals.
However, its important that influencers can be trusted and they shouldn't just try and sell everything they can. Viewers should take things with a pinch of salt. Transparency is important.
What are your personal highlights of your career so far?
I feel like we're in a really interesting transitional phase right now. It feels like the dawning of a new age as cheesy as that sounds.
While YouTube is having issues all over the place, Twitch is rising rapidly and streaming companies in general are getting bigger. We're in a golden age right now where creators have the choice between YouTube and/or streaming, and Twitch works a lot better for some creators out there.
But in terms of highlights of my career, I think getting paid to go to a theme park in Spain was a great one. I got sent out to Porta Ventura with some other creators to make some promotional content and everything was really nice.
I've had some great opportunities to present Stageshows as a creator; one example being I hosted the main stage for Twitch at EGX. That kicked off my desire to do more camera work and more live shows.
There's so many moments. Every day is so different and we're always doing different stuff. Going from talking to a camera all day to attending conventions and talking to real fans all day is a really special thing. When you're super burned out from talking and editing and feeling disheartened, speaking to people really highlights that your work does make a difference to people's lives.
What advice would you give to people looking to start a channel?
The best advice that I can give is to not pigeon hole yourself in to a platform. Diversify. The biggest platform today will not be the biggest platform tomorrow. Things are always evolving and changing - which is great because it opens up new opportunities for people all the time.
But its important to stay mindful of what it is you want to do. If you want to be a Minecraft YouTuber than great, do your thing. But if you want to spend time getting involved with content creation, consider Mixer, or Caffeine, or Twitch. Try everything. It might be that the best place for you to thrive is a platform you haven't even heard of yet.