Please welcome our bassist Jake. It’s his turn to write a blog.
Most of what follows, unfortunately, happened.
Date: Anytime someone finds out you’re in a band.
Venue: The street, work, gig, bathroom… anywhere.
Crowd: The inquisitive bastard in front of you.
Oh no. It’s happened again. Will it ever end? No. Never.
A new person has found out that you’re in a band. They’re curious, which is great. Yay. You can promote the band, maybe this person is a fan-to-be, a super-fan-to-be, maybe they own a record label… dear gods of punk maybe this is Mr Epitaph himself.
Whoever they are, they’ve asked you THE question. Now there are many questions musicians might hate… Will you play my kid’s birthday? What’s the money like? Can you play something by Taylor Swift? (yes, but that’s not the point) How about you play for exposure? Who wins in a fight between Lemmy and God? (Trick question, Lemmy is God)
No. This one is worse.
“What do you play?”
No, wait… we don’t play shit. Well sometimes we do, bad gigs happen. I play a bass. No, that’s not what you want either. You want genre. You want me, in a short sentence, to sum up my music. I’m not about to drop amp right now, produce the rest of the band out of the wormhole in my wallet (that’s why it’s on a chain, dangerous stuff) and rip through a taster set. No, you want me to explain our sound in an easy to digest way that will allow you to decide whether you want to hear it or not.
I don’t blame you. There is a vast amount of music out there, how on earth will you know what to drip onto your eardrums like sweet, sweet poison if you don’t at least have a guiding light? Genre is your guiding light.
Except it’s mostly bollocks.
Genres have been divided, subdivided, re-imagined, re-worked, been through multiple waves, been back to their roots, been cross-pollinated, hybridised, bastardised and melded until the question barely means anything above the base line. Worse still, our understanding can vary wildly… the nuances of musical genre are mind-splittingly deep.
But wait! There’s another problem! I’m a musician! I don’t want you to think I’m derivative, I want to tantalise you, sell you the mystery of my art. I can’t just say…
Who cares? Plus, what kind? Post? Pop? Pre? Papier mache?
“Well, we play kind of a Neo-Rock/Punk-Dissonance with Vibing-Bluegrass-Jazz harmonies.”
Now you’re intrigued aren’t you? You’ve only heard some of those words before and rarely strung together in that order… maybe you’re hooked, or maybe I’ve gone too far… the eternal struggle. Now I just sound like a jerk and the moment between you asking the question and me answering has become an infinity. So I answer in the best way I can…
Image by Veronique Debord-Lazaro via Flickr