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Dear Band: You are not unique.

9 Jul

“Our band does not conform to genres, so don’t put us in a box”
“We sound like unicorn farts and memories of World War 3”
“Unlike anything you’ve heard before…”

You’re a fucking moron if you actually think that you are THAT unique.

oh-god-who-am-iYes, this is a rant about bands who think that they are the first ones to ever try to be original in describing their sound. Read a few “upcoming” bands’ bios, and odds are you’ll find some wannabe creative drivel that simply ends up being a nonsensical waste of time.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get creative when describing your band. I would probably give a post-modern grunge jazz fusion band that sounds like unicorn farts and WW3 a listen. But that’s just it. It’s a post-modern grunge jazz fusion whatever band. I have at least a vague idea of where to place them. With relative certainty I can say that they will probably not sound like Kurt Darren. The space for this (admittedly mostly pretentious and/or silly) creativity, is in the “about” section of your bio. Not the genre description.

Why is this important?

Well, to get gigs, for starters. Booking agents, venues’ entertainment managers, festival organisers and all those nice people who give you gigs, don’t know who you are. They don’t know what you sound like, and they most certainly don’t have time to sit and go through all your friends’ cellphone videos of your performances to figure out where and when to book you. These organisers are your friends. They WANT to make sure that your band fits the general vibe of the event. If you’re a black metal band, booking you to open for Jan Blohm is probably not going to work out, even though your bio stated that your genre is “poetic interpretations of dark souls” (or some kak like that).

pooptatoSecondly, a proper attempt at indicating your genre is important for basic marketing purposes. Facebook (for instance) is more likely to suggest your page to fans of your (actual) genre if it correlates to genres of other bands that an individual might follow.

My rant is not only applicable to the little “genre” box on whichever platform you prefer posting your presence, but also to the “sounds like” bit. I know you don’t like hearing this, but odds are that you really aren’t the first to ever sound like you do. The easiest way for me to know what I let myself in for when booking you, is to reference more well-known acts. Even if you have to say  you sound something like the love-child that popped up after Ed Sheeran boned Elvis, that would at the very least give me some indication as to what to expect. Just make sure (and this is important) that you actually do sound like that. Remember, sounding LIKE someone does not make you any less creative. It simply means you share a genre, possibly some characteristics. If you say you sound like Flyleaf, but your only correlation is that you have a female vocalist in the mix, you’re an idiot.

There are more than 1200 different music genres. If that’s not enough for you, you can always hyphenate. 

If you have even read this far [drummers, if your bassist read this to you (laughs at obligatory overused muso-joke)], and you feel I’m a dick… well, you’re probably right.

At least you now know where to place me.
Can I say the same about you?

Music Genres

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…so, this weather we’re having

17 Jan

Why do people insist on talking about the weather?

More importantly, why do people insist on talking to me about the weather?

Just once, when assaulted with the mundane “nice weather we’re having, ‘eh?” line, I wish I could think of something original to say on the spot. Something better than “tell the weather channel, they give a shit”. Alas, I resort to jump into this conversation with vigour.
Why, do I do that?

 

People tell me it’s polite small talk. I say, if you want to make small talk, start chatting about midgets. It won’t be a long conversation, but it’s certainly better than uninformed opinions about cumulus nimbi and spots of rain on the lowveld.
Is nimbi even the plural of nimbus? Who knows.

It is in this inane, shallow cultural phenomenon however , that we find something so inexplicably deep and profound. It permeates to the core of society. It speaks of the need to belong, and the inherent fear of rejection.

You see, we would LIKE to be able to talk to anyone, but we need a common point of interest to build a conversation on. Thus, out of fear that the other person might not share your intense interest in the thermodynamic properties of your special breed of  duck, you resort to some or other safe topic. Like the weather, or how time flies. The latter being especially popular in the the weeks preceding major calendar events, such as Christmas, New Year’s or another ancient relative’s funeral.

 

 

If we are to believe Maslow and his hierarchy of needs, which I tend to do, the problem (and subsequently the solution) seems quite obvious. Any level on the pyramid is only as stable as the level below. A person who is afraid to express himself publicly, thus endangering his social acceptance/self actualization, inadvertently has issues with his/her self-esteem. To strengthen one’s self-esteem, you need to find security in your friends/family.

I therefore believe that if we are to root out nonsensical conversations about how “sunny the sun is on this sunny summer day”, we need to start giving our friends and family the platform to safely, without fear of rejection, express themselves freely while with us. This will give them the confidence to take this expression to the rest of the world. This confidence will help them reach heights unimaginable to people who don’t have that support structure. It will also, if we are to believe many surveys about what woman want in a guy (and vice versa) get them laid.

 

How do YOU treat your friends? Do you give them the safety net of free speech, or do you feel threatened by confidant people? If this is the case, maybe it is you who need to deal with some insecurities?



Sh!t Happens

10 Jan

I have not posted a new blogpost in the last few days, seeing as I was severely constipated and in severe pain.

Now, you might wonder why I am telling you this… I, to a certain extent am wondering the same thing. Would it not have been easier for me to simply shut up about being, well, shut up? It would certainly be more socially acceptable and polite not to talk about such things in public. Is it perhaps the faceless facet of the internet that robbed me of interpersonal skills and moral fibre, thus giving me the motivation to be entirely inappropriate without fear of face-to-face judgement?

Now, this is the point in the story where one of you would have to be so kind as to please raise your hand and make an insightful comment about how social acceptability is entirely dependent on culture, upbringing and the perception about taboos as portrayed by the media. Upon saying this, a few of your classmates will have to point out that it might as well be the other way round, with social acceptability dictating all the rest. I will, however, mostly agree with you.

The debate of what is socially appropriate and culturally acceptable, is a long and drawn out one. It is filled with inconsistencies, loopholes, exceptions and extremes. It touches on all subjects ranging from religion, swearing and sex through to drugs, public urination, cloning and corporal punishment.  I will therefore not endeavor to even touch further on the subject. Partially, because I cannot possibly say in this short blog what other, more educated thinkers, have already said. Also, because I really need to go to the toilet now.

My conclusion amidst this confusion, short and not so sweet, is this:

Some keep it in, others let it out, most are sensitive about it, but in the end… EVERYONE is full of shit. Deal with it.

 

Class dismissed.

 

 

 

 

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