There are two issues for me. One lies at the heart of how people who write and create music are motivated, and the other issue is how people use music as a status symbol.
So I’ll start with the musician and his or her motivations for making music.
If you make music or write songs, in my opinion it doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s good enough or other people don’t think it’s good enough. What matters is that the music comes from honest expression. I’ve heard responses such as ‘Who are you to judge what’s real and honest expression and what’s not’ Well let me clear that up for you. What I mean by real and honest is – not built around what everybody else will think or what the world wants to hear at that moment. If you base your music around what everyone else likes and your just making a sound that’s already popular or that’s current and more likely to make you be seen as cool or famous then your in it for a pathetic reason, your phoney, your music is offensive to people who can tell the difference and you should either give up or start again.
There are cross overs obviously and it’s not all plain black and white as with anything. A lot of bands and artists have been truly great and original and come out with a sound that defines an era because they were influenced by other bands doing a similar thing in their home town and simply had the talent to take it to another level. I understand the nature of influence and it’s importance in progression but I’m not taking aim at people who are excited and influenced by a sound and then go on to develop their own sound from there. I’m taking aim at the artists and bands who latch onto a sound because it’s already taken off, get dressed up in all the right clothes and make all the right sounds, learn the moves, allow their music to be shaped and manipulated to sound as commercial as possible whilst all along telling themselves they’re still real because they’ve worked harder than everybody else, they’re still holding a guitar and singing about love or some other very real emotion meanwhile ultimately taking part in the sickening nauseating demise of mainstream music by becoming one of the single most crucial components of the industrial disease just so they can get played on the fucking JOKE that is Radio 1. Well let me tell you, whatever your singing about, it’s been so sickeningly saturated in today’s modern standard of what commercial music should sound like, that any meaning in there has been comically obscured by the giant barcode branded into your head. If you hear pretty much ANYTHING on Radio 1 then that band has had a price waved over their head to degrade their music and have taken it with both hands, beady eyes and a gleaming smile across their face at the prospect of fame and fortune. Too many people nowadays have made themselves ignorant to the reality of the concept of selling out. It’s becoming uncool to use the term ‘selling out’. I was once called a hippy who was out of touch by a bunch of furiously wanking scenesters for saying an artist had sold out. Anyway…
Some bands have nothing truly valuable in the first place (musically speaking) to flog off in the name of fame and fortune. Other bands and artists start off with less grand and greedy intention and eventually let the ever swelling audiences, growing royalty cheques and adoring fans, compel them to appeal to MORE and MORE FANS! FAN CLUBS! FAN TEAMS! FANS FANS FANS, WE LOVE OUR FANS AND THEY LOVE US…. They talk about being fundamentally changed by the experience of standing in front of thousands of people shouting back their lyrics and decide that this is to be the new high ground from which they express themselves. In other words they believe their own hype and ultimately have no real connection with the thing that made their audience love them in the first place though by that time they’ve tapped into the kind of unquestioning fandom that doesn’t really warrant a soul. And that neatly brings us to the audience’s part in all of this which I’ll talk about in part 2.
You know who you are philistines!