Last Friday I found myself at the Neurolux the last half of the night accompanied by my Defendu partner and an almost empty bar accompanied mostly by the employees and regulars. It was what I consider the ideal night for me at the Lux which is why I didn’t disagree with the thought of going. I knew there were a lot of people out of town for all the music festivities and the end of spring semester for school. Halfway into the evening there, a musician friend of mine approached me but I don’t rememeber what initiated the conversation. I’m 99% sure it started out with an update on the latest music project, that’s usually what happens. The conversation led into the complexity of creating music and creating the right group. The personalities, talent and goals all working together as one unit is what creates the group. An outsider looking in will never understand the madness behind the scenes unless they attempted to step in and discover it for themselves. I started this discussion with him when he was interested in my latest activities. It led into me discussing my frustration with people, mostly businesses who overlook the complexity of music and the business behind it. There have been a number of comments I receive from business professionals viewing music at the stage I’m actively involved in otherwise known as “underground” as “cute”. When I was talking to my friend about this I told him it’s frustrating to talk to people who fail to understand an industry and perceive they know it. Comments I would receive fall in the realm of “…music, that’s cute…”, “…we can have the bands you work with play for us so they get noticed and that will be an exchange for payment…”, “…you get to go out and party all the time, that’s not a real job…”.
We started discussing the complexity of the band/music side of things compared to the business. The business side of music is just as complex as creating the music but there are some many independent variables that affect the outcome. As a band you can isolate yourself and control the internal environment you work in but you still have to find the right mix in chemistry of talent and personalities. Being able to accomplish a band who can work together effectively and overcome the obstacles in getting recognized and compensated are two separate monsters that can’t be successfly achieved by the band only.
I found it rather interesting having this discussion with him because a few years ago when I heard his band for the first time at a house show, I pulled them aside one afternoon to have a meeting. I saw something in them that I knew was going to generate a lot of attention very quickly. Their chemistry was there. The members. The music. There was just one thing left and that was the fans. If they had the right fans around them who supported them as people and not as cool people from a band, they could make it, at least outside of Boise. When I met with them I expressed my concerns of them growing so fast and the possibility of them losing what they have right now, what is making them who they are because people pulling them in other directions. These people would be their fans or friends of other members of the band. They didn’t understand it at the time. I don’t blame them. They were in their zone. Their warm-up before their 15 minutes. They felt something coming but they didn’t see how fast it was coming and how fast it could just disappear too. I wanted them to understand some obstacles that may come up and so when they do they weren’t surprised and they could all point it out and look at it. I wanted them to be able to identify red flags. Well those red flags came up but when they were acknowledged they were ignored. The band dissolved faster than it was created. Today the two members who are still around from that band talk to me about the conversation we had in the beginning of the band’s career. They tell me stories along their short journey that happened and the red flags they were that I pointed out before they even happened. I’m just as disappointed as they are when they talk about where things went wrong because we all knew the potential they had, everything seemed to be there but the influence of others had a greater impact on them. There weren’t any walls to help them isolate themselves when they needed to take time to just be together as a band. There was the band and the fans. Nothing in between to help manage or gatekeeping which led to the fall of the band. The impact they had on people that turned them into fans.
That’s the reason I decided to go the direction I’m in, to help reach people with good music and so artists can have the opportunity to expand beyond what they can manage from a small to bigger level. Even though this band didn’t make it I know there are other opportunities the members have in other projects they are working in. They are never going to create the same chemistry they made before but the fans can never recreate the same show either. That’s what is so incredible about music but to call it “cute” or think that it isn’t worthy of compensation is beyond insulting but rather ignorant. There is going to be at least one band coming from Boise in the next few years who will be bringing some attention to not only the Boise music scene but the community in general. I would feel privileged to be a part of that journey whoever it is and at that time it won’t be so “cute” to those people but “hot”. Why? Because it will be popular by then and that’s when it’s “accepted”.
Everyday people look at the surface and fail to look beyond. There is more to a band than the show. I just want people to one day look beyond what they see and ask questions to understand.