Sunday, 25 December 2011

Now, THAT is what I call GIVING!

This week is kind of a little addendum to the past couple of pieces. It is really just a small thing, but it is a small thing that COULD have a HUGE IMPACT on getting people out to shows, making people aware of releases, and generally promoting the music scene.

Basically, I would like to see people 'sharing', 'retweeting', and any other simple click to pass info along methods available through whatever social media we use.

I have a few friends that run labels or are in bands, and I try to share and retweet every event, release, or other activity they post. It only takes a couple of seconds and it helps them out. It also helps that I too am sometimes involved in the stuff or planning on attending the events, but even if I am not I try to spread the word because these folks are doing something I believe in and want to support.

Now, this is actually kind of a new thing I have started doing, but it makes ALL KINDS OF SENSE TO ME! What doesn't make sense to me is when bands don't pass on the promotional material they are given in this manner. DO YOU NOT WANT PEOPLE TO SUPPORT WHAT YOU ARE DOING?!?!?! An example is I know of a label putting out a compilation that is bound to be amazing. The label has gone to great lengths to get amazing artwork, build a great website for the release, and make other Internet promotional material. Yet, MOST of the artists on the compilation can't even bother to click the SHARE/RETWEET buttons when the label puts the stuff up! Confusing, isn't it?

You don't need to spend all day doing these things and you definitely don't need to spend all day scouring the infinite posts out there, but if you happen to see a post from a band, label, or artist that you like or support, why not take those few seconds to pass the information along to the people YOU know who might not otherwise be hip? Think of it like a NEW COMMON COURTESY, like holding a door for someone. Maybe the building of the community won't be televised, but rather POSTED!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Breaking Myth #4: United we stand!

Totally! We fully support the three other bands that sound exactly like our super-micro-sub-genre... RESPECT!

The Dead Kennedys nailed it in one little line in the middle of a rather long song way back in 1986. The song is Chickenshit Conformist from the Bedtime For Democracy album. What is this brilliant line, you ask? "UNITY IS BULLSHIT!" 25 years ago they were making a very profound statement about what had become of a scene that had so much potential when it started, but the sentiment still stands.

The whole concept of unity might seem like a good idea on the face of it, but the reality is that unless EVERYONE UNITES then it is just another way of describing SEPARATISM. Okay, here's the thing, 'genres' are meant to be descriptive tools for helping people have some kind of idea what a band or piece of music sounds like. Yet, somehow, 'genres' have become quasi-religio-militant factions. (here is a link to the Webster's dictionary definition of genre. Notice it says category not creed! [here's the definition of creed if you need it])

I, personally, find this kind of thing abhorrent in general, but in music, I find it bewilderingly repugnant. Why someone would put themselves into some little limited box is beyond me. Others try to put us into little boxes all the time, why would we do it to ourselves? Especially on an island (Cyprus, remember?) with a limited number of bands and fans to go around!

If the five or six anarcho-death-folk bands (okay, I made that up, but the point remains) on the island only ever play with, support, and listen to each other then there is probably not going to be a lot of opportunity for them to not only expand and improve their music, but to reach new potential fans and get more shows. Okay, granted this is an extreme example, but it stands true even on a grander scale.

What makes people/bands think that only a certain 'TYPE' of person will or should be allowed to like their music? Okay, maybe you want to discourage trouble makers from attending your shows, but do you want to discourage them from purchasing your stuff? Now, I am not talking about trying to avoid associations with groups that stand morally or ideologically against you. That is also a completely different subject that, if people want my opinion or advice on how to deal with it, I will be happy to discuss it.

Taking this idea to the next logical step, why would bands NOT want to play with bands that have different styles, and hence crowds, than them? Okay, you could argue, as a band, that you don't want to play with "other types" of bands because that would "keep our fans away". Really? I doubt that. I bet that there are actually bands that DO FIT into your specific style and genre that YOUR FANS don't actually like. Now, here is the thing...

People, including YOUR FANS, are capable of making decisions for themselves and taking actions based upon those decisions. Therefore, they can, and often do, just that; they go outside of the venue during the sets of the bands that don't appeal to them regardless of said bands 'genre'. So, I don't buy the above argument.

That actually leads to another problem that I will just touch upon here. That is that bands bring their friends to see JUST their set at a gig. I hear bands complain about other bands friends while not noticing that their friends do the same thing! Now, this is potentially a subject worthy of it's own rant, but for the purposes of this rant, it might just be that your/their friends don't want to sit through 3 or 4 bands that sound an awful lot alike. Maybe if there was a little more diversity and variety (the SPICE OF LIFE!) people would spend more time inside the venues enjoying the bands (and a few more reasonably priced drinks) rather than hanging around outside talking about the football and drinking the cheap beer from the shop across the street. Just sayin'!

I think that the idea of SETTING YOURSELF APART has gotten confused. Yes, bands should be unique and have something special that sets them apart and makes people want their work. And yes, being REALLY GREAT at a specific STYLE of music is one way to do that. However, unifying with other bands in a 'genre' that is unaccepting of other 'genres' and chastising or even HATING those who do not follow your rules is tantamount to musical racism. I know that seems harsh, but the truth is.

Rather than being a member of some anarcho-death-folk faction, why not be a member of the music/art community that happens to play anarcho-death-folk music? If more bands, venues, and promoters were able to forget about the silly style clumping limitations that have taken control, we might just be able to get THE ENTIRE music community to start working together for the common good. 

Yes, I DO HAVE A DREAM of more shows with more people having more fun and inspiring each other to make more music that is good and potentially more interesting. THAT is what these writings are REALLY all about!


Next time... Oh, let's ALL wait and see...