I saw this in an email sent to Murray last week, but I wasn’t sure if it was one of those velvet-rope, for your eyes only things or something else. What’s the protocol on stuff like that? Anyhow, David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars is an informative and practical take on the music industry from the artist’s point-of-view. The email I saw was, I think, a bit more detailed than what’s printed in Wired, but still it addresses many questions Murray and I have been asking ourselves lately. Where do we go from here?
Working on a new album always signals a new beginning and fresh start. This Dears record is no exception, and is like a new/old beginning, as we revisit our roots and the creation of a modernised orchestral pop-noir romantique (a style we pioneered six years ago). Without getting into too much of the complicated (and unnecessarily dramatic, which we’ll tell you about later) details, The Dears are at an incredible crossroads, and we’re trying to figure out whether to take the usual route, the road less travelled, or carve out our own, exotic path with a machete. It’s a sometimes trying place to be, one without security or definition, but that is grounded by an art of incredible calibre. We’ve made a career out of doing things our way, have acquired a reputation of being a “difficult” band to work with, and still it seems that whenever we take anyone else’s lead, things just fall apart.
Seeing as how we are neither an emerging artist, nor a megastar, Byrne’s suggestions must be adjusted slightly to accommodate The Dears. And it could go either way, because the pitfalls for a band like ours are not so easily defined. Its definitley refreshing to hear that there are other people on every level of the music biz that are willing to use their machetes to slice through this jungle.
3 Replies to “More on the Music Industry”
Oh, don’t confuse my cynicism for complacency. If anything, the darkness fuels me. I am definitely passionate about the next record, about the music, and about getting out there again. I think I just need to get on the road again. All this time at home is nice and everything but I’m just thinking too much…
I once heard someone call The Dears’ music “directionless” and The Arcade Fire “honest” in the same sentence. Whatever. Justin is right: what works for one group won’t necessarily for another.
You’ve been sounding very jaded by the biz for the past while, so go back to basics. Maybe do more local, smaller gigging again, like back in the beginning. Mix some new material into the setlist.
Frankly, I think you should listen to a shit load of Joy Division, early Human League (‘Reproduction’), and Lee Hazelwood for about a week, nonstop. Or maybe just dig out the albums/or books you were enjoying back when you recorded your first album.
Just get excited again!
One of the things that is exciting about music right now is all of the formulas are gone, or are well on their way to falling apart. There are alot of artists out trying new things, both on the music side and the business side and while some of the new things work and others don’t no new formulas are emerging – what works really well for one group completely fails for another. I think that artists more than ever before have to ask themselves ‘who am I/are we’ and ‘who is my/our audience’ and then do the math as best you can from there.
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