by MATT BACON >
One of the key things to understand about the music industry is how much of it driven by passionate people who just want to create something that doesn’t suck. I mean, this is fairly obvious on the artist level, there are countless artists out there who put their all into their music and try to find ways to make it work. They aren’t trying to make money they are just trying to be reasonable and grown – developing their music into something far greater and at times transcendent. That’s not what I want to talk about though everyone reading this article understands why music is important but what we don’t have is an understanding of why people who spend the time in order to create resources, book shows and help out the scene. There are folks out there who give all of their time and money because they have this selfsame passion, and it’s a truly exciting thing to get to be a part of. I think that’s almost as attractive as the music in a lot of ways. But why does it happen?
I think it’s important to realize first and foremost that a lot of people who give up ridiculous personal and financial resources for the scene are doing it because they see something that is quite frankly a little bit noble. The thing is – I kind of have to agree with them in a lot of ways. What you are doing as a, for example, local promoter, is taking on a lot of work for very little money with the conviction that you are going to be giving other people a good night out and that they will connect with what you are doing. It’s not about the personal success there, in many cases with underground music it’s being done for the community. There’s no other reason to do it. No one in their right mind would lose as much money on shows as promoters routinely do and yet they keep on doing it because they love it and because they feel an obligation to the community, a community which seems powerful no matter what type of underground music we’re talking about.
So why do so many people connect with the underground music community?
Well at the end of the day I think that for countless people, myself included the underground music saved our lives. It gave us friends in a time when we had none and gave us a space in which we could participate, contribute and grow things in a meaningful and tangible way. This rush, this freedom that we got when we were young often turns into a lifelong thing that is simply impossible to escape from. Sure it can give you a lot of anxiety and sure it can give you the sorts of gray hairs you just don’t want to think about, but this is the same community that people now that they can rely on no matter what. I’ve had a theory for a long time that a lot of people get the same thing out of music that they get out of church, it gives them somewhere to go where they can feel like a part of something greater and that that selfsame thing can lead to the transcendence we all fundamentally need.
What does this mean for you though?
It simply means that there are resources out there, people who want to participate and who want to work with you on creating something greater and which will help to generate a future that is going to charm and mesmerize. There is a future out there for all of us to expand what we are doing and to build towards something that can’t help but to grow for all of us. Well I mean – it doesn’t have too. There’s every possibility that its going to blow up in your face if you decide to put your passion on the line and it could even hurt your cities scene if you really fuck up, but this is a risk that we all need to take. It’s a risk that we need to take because without it then there would be nothing, and if there was nothing then it would mean that this whole thing was for naught and we’re just fucked from back to front and first to last. We have an obligation to fight against that to create a better future.
Yet here’s the thing – if you want to get anywhere in music then you are going to need to suck it up and do this sort of thing. Everyone who has a career in the industry, at least a career that means something, had to spend a whole helluva lot of time paying their dues and figuring out ho things actually work. While you might get lucky and have someone help you learn some of these things odds are that you’re going to take quite a few hard hits as you try to develop and you’re going to have to suffer quite a bit as you try to come to terms with the fact that not all of the industry is booze and glory. In fact if you skyrocket to the top and don’t do any of the requisite work then people aren’t going to respect you, because we all have memories of having had to slug it out and try to find something that made sense so not everything sucked.
When it comes down to it none of this would exist without passion and community and if you’re unwilling to tap into that or respect that then you’re going to have a hard time. Not only are you going to have a hard time but you’re not going to get anywhere because you’re not actively contributing. Again – there are countless articles out there about musicians needing to pay dues, and the ones who don’t get that are assholes. However, there are also countless industry people who want everything handed to them, and if you can’t accept that and move on then you’re going to be facing a clusterfuck every day of the week.