By Rhys Stevenson
Global Metal Apocalypse was speaking to one of our Dutch acquaintances about Metal music in The Netherlands, now he firmly believes that it is suffering and declining. We therefore decided to take the time out to speak to Kees Hermeling about this concern and ask him how the Dutch Metal scene has or has not changed over the last few decades or so. Therefore all opinions expressed are solely on behalf of Kees Hermeling and does not represent GMA's views.
Currently the Dutch Metal scene is feeling a backlash, besides the major bands who tour the country such as Delain, Within Temptation, Hail Of Bullets, Vanderbuyst, Epica, After Forever etc, it is not that big anymore and this is seen through the lack of metal pubs or bars, this lead us on to what improvements he thinks could be made in order to resolve this matter and improve the output of Dutch unsigned and underground Metal bands and projects.
Naturally he drags up his previous comment about the lack of pubs and bars offering metal nights, so he firmly believes that they should have at least metal nights to help bolster the local bands expansion and also to give the Dutch metalheads a place to congregate, enjoy live music and drink beer. Furthermore he feels that there needs to be more Metal stores for metalheads to purchase equipment, gear and related items within the metal music-sphere.
On a more political note and in specific the European Union, he believes that this unity has caused more good than bad as he has noticed that since joining a crisis has arisen and is still there, taxes shot up and as a result bars and pubs had to close due to a lack of sufficient funds to pay off the taxes as well as the suppliers and lease for the buildings used. This leads us to the question of whether the Euro has benefited the Dutch Metal scene or has it royally screwed it over.
With respect to equipment, it has become more expensive since we dropped the Dutch Guilder and adopted the Euro, in fact goods have doubled in price, thus increasing band's costs unintentionally and thus making it harder for some unsigned bands to make music, purchase equipment, hire out studio's and play at bars / pubs; because of them closing down, therefore it is evident that the Euro has knocked the Dutch Metal scene on it's knees and is now begging for mercy, so where does this leave the unsigned bands?
There are only a few unsigned bands that are currently doing well for themselves, and even most of these are of the Hardcore music genre. Could it be that because one music genre sets off a trend that every other musician has to jump on the bandwagon and go with what is cool? Well it certainly seems to be the case here, either that or Hardcore is being used as a vehicle to express dissatisfaction and anger towards the Dutch government and European Union. So what of the scene on a local level?
Well Arnhem according to Kees is practically dead aside from venues the Willemeen and the Luxor, who occasionally have metal nights (once a month), in comparison to the nation's capital, Amsterdam is pretty much alive if you know where to look, thus questioning whether it is the lesser cities and towns that are left scraping the barrel to keep the metal scenes alive, could this mean that there is a gradual shift towards major cities reaping in the bands? Could metal actually itself be dying?
He adds that if he wants to go buy a metal shirt, he has to go to Nijmegen, this resonates with his statement earlier about having more metal stores open, it definitely seems that the Dutch Metal scene is waning slightly, for how long is one question and how serious can this get is another. One thing is for sure, this proves once again that supporting your local bands is vital for the scenes existence.
Another post from the archives as similar to the Canadian post, except we emailed the Singapore Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and in turn they forwarded our email to the National Arts Council. From which our question regarding how the Singaporean governmental officials support Heavy Metal music. Naturally their response was somewhat generic, however here it is below:
Words by Ms Elaine Ng, Director, Sector Development, Performing Arts, National Arts Council
"At the National Arts Council, we work directly with artists and various partners in promoting the arts, and in developing a sustainable environment that enables the arts to entertain, enrich and inspire.
Our support for musicians also covers various stages of their career as well, from students and amateurs, to semi-professionals and professionals. We consciously try to grow and support musicians through these different stages of development:
Where youth are concerned, NAC organizes Noise Singapore - a youth arts platform to increase engagement of young talents in the areas of art, design, photography and music. Notably, Noise includes The Music Mentorship programme, a special programme where budding contemporary music groups/artists are mentored by experienced industry professionals over a 10-week period. These young musicians will then take the stage to perform at a weekend-long showcase.”
Digging this out from the GMA archives, a few years ago we sent some questions to the Department of Canadian Heritage, asking them how their nations views Metal music. Here we have their response, we thank Tim Warmington (Media Relations Advisor) for helping us out with this.
How does Canada view the mainstream / underground rock and metal music scene?
The Government of Canada encourages the creation, production and distribution of a variety of genres of music, including rock and metal, as this important cultural industry is essential to our communities, our identity, and our economy. Music in Canada generates nearly $3 billion every year in economic activity from sound recordings, concerts, commercial radio and performing rights.
Does Canada encourage youth to learn an instrument?
In 2011, the Government of Canada introduced the Children's Arts Tax Credit to encourage learning in a prescribed program of artistic, cultural, recreational or developmental activity. For more information on the Children's Arts Tax Credit visit this website: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/bdgt/2011/qa01-eng.html
Does Canada support rock/metal bands?
The Canada Music Fund is the Government of Canada's main support program for the music industry. It is administered in part by the Department of Canadian Heritage and by private sector organizations: FACTOR for the English-language music market and Music action for the French-language market. The objectives of the Canada Music Fund are:
In recent years, the Canada Music Fund has helped support on average about 450 album production projects and over 1000 marketing, touring and showcasing initiatives annually. Projects in the rock and metal genres are eligible for funding. For more information on the Canada Music Fund click here:
Further on from the post made earlier under the 'interviews' sub-section, I had further responses from other bands across the globe and so I now I share the various responses given, we start off in the Asian country of Vietnam.
Response is from Tiến Trịnh Hồng of Symphonic Metal band Ban Nhạc Đông Đô
Down under called, they want there kangaroo's back, or was that the didgeridoo? Either which Axe Cane from Western Australia gave their opinion on the question. The response can be viewed below.
Heading back to Europe and Bulgarian metal band Impade were more than happy to give their thoughts, the video can be viewed below:
Moving further west and I stumbled across my home land of England (a bit corny), so from here I got responses from bands like Aonia, Hollow Demise, The Summa In Verse and later on Arise.
Heading across the channel France was the next destination to gain an answer(s) from the question, this came courtesy from Noein and Elders Tale and can be viewed below
After leaving France, I visited Germany to gather ideas on the question and so Norphobia and Captain Zorx spoke up and answered the question. Which is found below.
Leaving Europe altogether I went to India to found out their thoughts, and so this was the response:
Automobiles, lorries, buses and other modes of road transport, are those that we see on our roads on a day-by-day basis, well at least the majority of us do. Now have you ever wondered what they could be used for instead of just being driven around and also being blasted apart by metal music on the CD player? Well we have the solution. What if the various modes of road transport were actually representing Heavy Metal genres? Sounds bizarre doesn't it? Well with each vehicle we have rated it out of 10 under our own 'Horn Rating' scale which grades the vehicle based on it's level of Metalhead attitude and is as follows (don't take the grading seriously, unless stated):
0-2 - Poseur
3-4 - Gentle Headbang
5-6 - Crowdsurf
7-8 - Moshpit
9-10 - Wall of Death
N.B. Not all the songs relate to the genre aforementioned as it became too complicated in picking a song with the greatest level of aptness in correlation to the vehicle in hand.
We also did not include any lorries or motorbikes simply because we could not think of any that would befit the metal music genres; if you do have any ideas we can add then feel free to suggest them.
AVANT GARDE METAL
Vehicle: Ariel Atom
Horn (\m/) Rating: 6/10
It seems that Formula 1 has just became road-legal (discounting the Monaco and Singapore race tracks per se)? Welcoming into the limelight is the Ariel Atom, this is a card that is produced at a rate of 100 per year and therefore is another made-by-hand car. With an acceleration rate of 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 2.89 seconds, it is the 3rd fastest car in terms of 0-60 mph acceleration. Furthermore it is one vehicle that really stands out as an experiment, especially with the knowledge that it was first built at Coventry University and then ended up having a unique exoskeleton body fitted to it. Coincidentally Avant Garde relates to experimenting, however the song of choice comes from the Melodic Death Metal style. Scar Symmetry's 'Deviate From The Form' would best work here as Ariel deviated from the basic car shape form and characteristics.
Vehicle: Nissan 350Z 2-door
Horn (\m/) Rating: 4/10
Death Metal is uniquely represented in the automobile world, because the Nissan 350Z 2-door has over the years been causing havoc in the USA, mainly due to the fact it is a major contributor to car death-related accidents. Here we quote that "143 deaths per million registrations were Nissan 350Z drivers. So how befitting is it that this car should represent the Death Metal music genre, regardless of it speaking for itself. Now as for the song of choice that would be played to represent this vehicle, it would have to be 'The Final Front' by Hail of Bullets because of the negativity surrounding this metallic four-wheeled coffin. Moreover it could be argued this model was a nail in the coffin for Nissan, it doesn't even look remotely good-looking.
Vehicle: Land Rover Defender
Horn (\m/) Rating: 4/10
Can you classify mud as a form of sludge or not? Of course you can, therefore representing Sludge Metal is the Land Rover Defender, highly recognizable as a favorite off-road vehicle amongst the farming communities due to it's brilliance at dealing with off-road conditions and the amount of times it is driven around with mud splattered along the sides (almost nostalgic for those Emmerdale fans). As for the song, we feel that the song to represent this countryside monster would have to be any song by Milking The Goatmachine, purely because of the evident farm-pun within the band name. Oh hell, go on and milk that goat till it runs dry fellow metalheads and prep yourself to perform 'Heavy Metal Farmer' at the same time. But why the low score? Well it does not pass itself off as anything remotely wicked looking.
SPEED METAL & POWER METAL
Vehicle: Koenigsegg One:1
Horn (\m/) Rating: 10/10
As luxury generally comes in pairs usually (money and the status symbol pair per se), Speed Metal and Power Metal would best suit the new Koenigsegg One:1 which was unveiled this year at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. With a top speed of 273 mph (which is faster than a Bugatti Veyron) and harboring a 5.0 liter twin-turbo V8 engine delivering 1140bhp, you would not want to blink twice at this monster unless you want to evidently miss it. The power and speed are certainly there and so this is one aspect that proves itself as worthy of being represented this way in the metal music world. As for the song, we have decided to pick one of Sweden's notable exports Sonic Syndicate, their song "Beauty & The Beast" would go well with this car as it has beauty and sounds like a beast. Oh and they are made by hand....
Well 'Hello Kitty'. Canada's Pop Punk icon Avril Lavigne has unveiled her latest music video to mixed reception, some even stepping over the line through indirect accusations.
After reading through articles on various online outlets talking about the new music video, it's laughable to think that they perceive this is racist, considering the Japanese (see her twitter posts further below) don't seem to be complaining about it, yet the non-Japanese media are and so what does this say about them then? Well clearly they are having trouble in understanding the Japanese culture. Yet what about the backing dancers? Come on now, so what if they look identical - if that is considered racist, then crikey you might as well kill off all of the orcs in the Lord of The Rings trilogy, because surely racism does not exist in Middle Earth (yet can anyone recall any character actually being purported by a non-white person? No? Oh oops)? It just seems to be the case that anyone will complain about anything without thinking outside the box, stop being narrow minded and broaden you mind out.
Speaking of the back-up dancers, what about the number of dancers we see in other music videos such as Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' - surely they aren't his 'accessories' as this is what Australian blog 'The Two Chairs' lumbered Avril Lavigne with; accessories you wear or own, so 'The Two Chairs' must have a problem with understanding the meaning of 'accessories', unless there's something we don't know... moreover you could take any pop music video and pick out how the dancers all look the same, whether dressed the same way, wearing the same clothes, are of the same race, how is this racist?
So what if you cannot produce the accent completely upon pronouncing foreign words? It just seems rather stupid to disgrace Avril Lavigne with this because of the stark differences between the Japanese and Canadian accents; has anyone tried switching accents every second? It's not exactly the easiest of techniques, especially when you're singing - no wonder Rammstein have never left the German language. Has anyone actually thought that spending a substantial amount of time such as two or more years in one place, will enable the accent switch to perfect itself more? Flying between more than two countries a year will have an affect on your accent.
Take the line 'like a fat kid on smarties', sure this lyric is a little naughty but I'm fat myself and I laughed this off, oh and the funny thing is smarties come in various colors and this ties in nicely with the kawaii of the music video and indeed the well known Hello Kitty brand.
Isn't it ironic though? If you had only one race or one nationality in any form of media it's considered racist, yet because this music video has some level of diversity, people still call it racist? If it was racist, then surely the crew and indeed the backing dancers would have probably spoke out about it and would not have gone ahead with the production (has anyone else thought that?) of the music video.
If anyone has actually indulged into the Visual Kei music scene, the Hello Kitty brand and Japanese culture, they will understand how vibrant it is and how taboo's are off in this country. Just like Baby metal (see our article here), they take the internationally recognized music styles and make it into their own, now come on if music is to progress then innovation must be allowed to happen, so if people are going to complain about something vastly different to the basic music being played worldwide, music would almost certainly die a slow death.
Back to Avril Lavigne, you have to admire how The Huffington Post point their finger towards her, yet it is the director who maintains the whole production of the music video, here The Huffington Post feels that "(Avril) Lavigne is by no means "embracing" Japanese culture. She is using it as her jester", how they can say that is beyond ridiculous, if it was set out to poke fun at the culture then the production would most likely never have happened, because the team would have not found it funny and surely that does not take too much to figure out?
Furthermore The Huffington Post have made a mistake on their part, the video has not been removed (check it here), so much for exaggeration. Oh and since Hello Kitty is already an established brand, then they must have given her and her team the right to use their brand as the song and end up producing media (like the music video) around it. Now if it was racist, sexist or down right offensive in any way, then they would have most likely not allowed this to be published.
With more pressing issues going on in the world that media outlets could remark upon, we have them moaning and belittling a harmless song and a brilliant artist, crikey this might just make the Sid Vicious a martyr and Johnny Rotten a potential martyr.
Say what you like, but we send our support to Avril Lavigne! You rock grrrl \m/
What is this? 3 Japanese teenage girls acting cute and delinquently singing in the style of J-pop or the hit 'Gangnam Style' and dancing to Symphonic Death Metal as the music backdrop.
Don't get me wrong I think this trio are going to blow up internationally just like Psy's 'Gangnam Style' and of course the infamous 'Harlem shake', but what makes this band so different is there Visual Kei appearance, not many Japanese Metal bands in this style actually break out in such high velocity. Only a few notable bands like D'espairsRay, Dir En Gray, Crossfaith and X-Japan have made it overseas; some bands like L'Arc En Ciel and Antic Cafe follow in behind.
Another great thing to admire about this band is the evidential use of the Japanese language, such a beautiful language and is generally preferred by most Visual Kei-influenced bands in Japan.
Having only been around four years and just this year released their debut self-titled album, we could see this band taking the world by storm within the next decade, surpassing some of the metal greats such as Iron Maiden, we may be wrong, but if they carry on with the sterling effort demonstrated thus far, who would argue against us?
Their self-titled sold 37,463 copies during it's first week - that for a debut is pretty good owing to the level of international recognition they have, that is - Japanese music in general is not well acknowledged in the general Western music scope, it is not played on the radio and thus does not get picked up by the wider audience, however recently Metal Hammer (UK) picked up on these girls and did an article on them (latest issue April 2014), however here you can find that they have contradicted themselves. Boy were they wrong.
Maybe they did not see what we see, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However if Babymetal do happen to blow up considerably in the future, you read it here first that we put our penny's worth down that they will.
They were quick to praise Nik Kai (USA), we sense a contradiction here.
It might be that you would need to understand that in Japan, taboo's are totally OFF.
It must be good as the album itself clocked up no.1 on both the UK and US iTunes Metal charts, as well as Japan's Oricon Daily Chart. It also peaked at number 4 on the U.S. Billboard Heatseekers chart as well as 187 on the Billboard 200.
Global Metal Apocalypse therefore puts Babymetal as 'April's band to watch'.
Having heard about the ongoing debate and struggles faced in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, the question of joining the E.U. or not has certainly turned for the worst. With deaths now being reported, is the Eastern European nation falling on it's knees or will this turn out to be an unintended civil war?
What of the Ukrainian metal scene? Surely that must face a threat from all angles, from gig cancellations to threat of losing lives at the highest extreme. But of course in this time we must send our support to our brothers and sisters in The Ukraine, so that they never give up hope and of course come to some sort of agreement that will end this violent conflict.
GMA spoke to a Ukrainian musician who we have known about their band for sometime, for socio-political and moral reasons we will not name the person in question as we do not want to risk their safety, but we thank them for their time to speak to us.
This is what the musician had to say:
"It is sad to say that The Ukraine is now undoubtedly facing a civil war breaking out. The thing is, the police are supporting the Mafia Government and will as a result integrate with the hired bandits and end up killing protesters.
Already there are so many victims, and because of the unequal forces it will be a brutal struggle and fight. Naturally this will provoke social rest, but it is a fact that the Ukrainian society is divided and this includes the musicians too. See we live in the Ukrainian part, however the pro-Russian part of the population hate us.
In my honest opinion I would not be surprised if in the near future or so, our country will split into two halves, more over it is possible that not only will concerts end, but our normal lives will end too and as such in principle, we will live in accordance to martial law.
It is sad to say that with such circumstances, it is difficult to predict anything. None of us know what sort of country we will wake up to tomorrow, would it not be a state of emergency, for example. I would advise against bands who want to play here, because of the violence that is happening.
I am of course in utter shock, as well as the rest of my countrymen are, music for us has been shifted to the background because of this highly difficult time we're going through".
So a post that was uploaded today by Classic Rock contributor Scott Rowley centers around the topic of whether rock music is a dead music style, having read the article and deemed some points of significant truth, there are some points that are evidently and so misconstrued in context, that it clearly does not fully answer whether rock is dead or not.
Ok sure we can acknowledge album sales are decreasing (most likely becomes of downloads), festivals feature headliners that are from the days gone by (and in fact when we interviewed Pete Dee of Kremated he said that he would rather see festivals support unsigned talent i.e. Bloodstock metal to the masses than go to a festival to see Megadeth come out on zimmer frames), but we cannot totally agree that the music industry is faltering (as we show later)
'Empty spaces - what are we living for?
Abandoned places - I guess we know the score..
On and on!
Does anybody know what we are looking for?'
The Show Must Go On, Queen
Let's face it rock is facing a revival through various means and whilst to some it seems to be a dying music genre, it is in fact simply reawakening out of hibernation. Sure the media tends to whitewash the outlets with pop music and in doing so shoves some rock music aside, but like everything in life the significance of this still remains.
According to Earl Sheridan, late of Earl Sheridan and the Housebreakers, now president of the Rock 'n' Roll Appreciation Society, "contrary to press reports, rock 'n' roll is not dead. Rock 'n' roll is the only true music. It is alive, and here to stay". (Source: The Guardian)
There are numerous culprits at play and so lets look at two of these culprits that are keeping rock music hidden in the dark and not reinvigorating or investing into tomorrow's music. Let's have a look at these culprits in detail:
You cannot escape the clutches this time, you download music illegally or through iTunes and so you forgo the CD. Excellent, that is exactly what is causing the music industry to collapse! Let's take a look, say the CD you want is £7.99 in HMV, £7.99 iTunes download and oh you found a second hand copy online for 99p (p&p at £1.99), automatically as humans you want to opt for the cheaper option - download illegally - but through buying it is second hand. But the problem here is the profit allocaion, let me explain: £7.99 is the CD in your hand, that CD went through numerous processes to get into your hands, all accruing costs and subsequently decreasing in profit maximisation per entity, confused yet? Simple: HMV store < HMV regional warehouse < HMV national warehouse < UK distributor (Plastichead) < Record Label < Band. That's 6 exchangements and through that process the profit made depletes as it goes from shop floor to band, meaning the band receive the little amounts. Solution? Buy direct from the label, distributor or band themselves - bypasses those milestones and this means the money received is greater. But also supporting local unsigned talent, we cannot stress the importance of this anymore! Sod your excuse that you have no money, £3 is hardly worth milling over, get a loan from family or organize a friend to buy a ticket and pay them later.
Record labels rely on your purchases, give them the money for them to reinvest in their rosters activities, it's a cycle and you are an important part of it.
'Time passes by, nothing is changing,
A frustrating mind kind'
Digital Structure, Breach The Void
Technology is the corruption behind the world, let's face it we now live in an Orwellian society dogged by the mass surveillance of Governments, police and another other internet user and in fact the old methods of life are dying out.
We could go on and on, the truth of the matter is as technology changes, so does everything else and thus whilst rock appears to be in a decline, it is ironically facing a shift towards more internet based marketing and mass distributing. With that though comes a price, the moral ethical choice of going digital or physical within the context of music consumption.
Whilst we live in a digital era, sometimes it is best to back to basics and what I fear is that someday the whole technological world will be hit with a reality, a smack in the face signalling its imminent death. Because sooner or later, all avenues will be explored and all possibilities algorithmically calculated and finalized.
Whilst Classic Rock believe that rock music is facing its past, we believe somewhat the opposite is happening. Hear us out:
Classic Rock: "If you were a teenager in the 70s or 80s, you had a couple of decades of rock history to get your head around. Teenagers now have 50 years of music to delve into via Spotify, plus new sounds to discover every day".
GMA: Well ok we admit spotify is enabling the potential for delving back into rock music history to occur, the only thing that they misjudged here was that not everyone is entirely computer literate (handicapped people per se), furthermore what if some aren't familiar with spotify? What if some live in countries where downloads are monitored? What if people don't have internet?
Classic Rock: "The respect given to the bands of the past is so great (and mounting) that new bands are on a hiding to nothing: how can you compete with that?"
GMA: Sure the older bands are the classics, they will garner respect that modern bands tend not to receive, but that is purely down to the fact that some unsigned bands are either too slacking in their approach, have the talent but people are not taking interest, the media outlets focus more on older bands than newer bands, what about the bands back then who started it all off and today's bands who start off new genres? Same principle, different reason.
Classic Rock: "Now it’s the consumer that drives it, so music will go wherever the consumer demands that it goes. We will not have another punk, or another acid house, or another Britpop. That’s a fact".
GMA: For sure the consumer is the one who dictates what sales are recorded and thus what albums make the charts, but punk made a revival did it not? As long as people listen to the music, then there will be the same music coming out from different bands and artists, so we feel what Classic Rock have said is not 100% true, clearly. We'd love to know their thoughts.
"Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?"
Thank You For The Music, ABBA
Music is meant to be celebrated, it will never die collectively and as far as rock is concerned it certainly is not dying, it is simply not as strong as it was once but certainly not dying.
We agree that 'Web sellers like eBay and Amazon connecting us with previously hard-to-find rarities. And great new music everywhere' because this evidently true, but even sites like last.fm, YouTube and the Metal Archives give us new bands to check out, so there is a constant stream of new and old music waiting to be listened to.
Modern day bands can now harness the power of technology to their own benefits, they no longer have to follow the trends laid out by magazines, nor do they have to get signed to be big, it helps for sure but the overall gist of being successful is to work and play hard. Do something that different that sets you out from the crowd and you're aiming for the highest mountains, do an album that sounds like bands X, Y and Z to a tee, then you're staring into an abyss.
We disagree that society is wholly shifting from mass culture to individualistic cultures, some people still prefer to listen to bands covered by the magazines and they won't deviate, others prefer to search new music according to their tastes. But with this newer freedom of choice comes one issue, when will the time come when we dictate to bands and artists what songs we want, when will we be in the studio with them making sure our next purchase is what we want before it's even gone for pressing.
We do agree the digital world is the way forward, but we also disagree that is the main focal point of the next few decades, because the old traditions won't ever die, not whilst CD's exist in used and new forms. Moreover we disagree that the future will have less big bands, however ironically we agree that without supporting the unsigned and smaller bands, these wont ferment into bigger bands, simple as.
We agree with the following passage:
"Realistic doesn’t necessarily mean unsuccessful. Quality tends to rise to the top. Even as the influence of traditional media channels wanes, human nature means that we want to like the same things..... There might be little room in the new world order for hype, but we’re more connected than ever before, and we want to share. We’re music nuts. Turning people on to good music is what we do. All we need is the good music".
However, some good quality bands aren't making it to the top irrespective of hype generated, this is mainly because the media outlets here do not take notice of bands in Indonesia per se, meaning how can UK music fans listen to said bands? But we do accept sharing music is the key to keeping rock music alive, meaning the salient point we feel is that rock music is not dying, it is simply lingering and waiting to reemerge with a new army of bands to take the musical battle fields.
Challenging this article (www.classicrockmagazine.com/blog/is-this-the-end-of-rock/)
Being in a band is more than just being able to string a few notes together and linking that up with lyrics-cum-poetry and drumming sequences, not everyone can understand the true concept and meaning of being in a band.
Moreover, some bands do understand what it means to be in a band, but ironically not one that actually deserves attention. It's not the music that is the problem (or maybe it is, who knows?), it is more to do with numerous decisions undertaken by them that places a banner over their head saying "doomed to fail", what with already Metalcore clearly going beyond saturation point and local scenes fluctuating in fan support, the last thing the music scene needs is a thorn stuck up it's ass, that being unsigned bands who need to come back down to planet earth.
With that in mind comes five top reasons (in no specific order) why unsigned bands get it wrong, reasons that hinder their success or simply cause them to shut down after a few months to one or two years with only one near-credible release out, just to say "I was in a band".
1. Flash descriptions on Social Media.
So ok your band has a social media presence, you're on Facebook, Myspace, Reverbnation and various other sites. Therefore you have the need to write a description about your band and your ultimate aim is to become successful, but hang on a minute you only have 300 likes and a handful of followers / listeners, and you're writing things like "up and coming"? This is one major cliche unsigned bands should avoid like the plague. You are not up and coming until you start receiving a massive buzz in your area, please keep it realistic. Also trying to convince people your shows are "kick ass" or "brutal" is asking for trouble, simply because these are your own words and do not originate from your fans, therefore ask your fans for their opinions and then draw a consensus on what has been said: if they say you're 'rubbish', 'untalented' or similar expressions, then go back to square one and think what you are doing wrong, don't just kick the can in and shut the band down. Information sells, therefore make it 100% legit and not 100% superficial.
2. Conflicts with other unsigned bands
Look just because the other bands in your area have rich parents, or you fell out with them and their subsequent band-members and / or fans, does not mean you should start kicking up s*** about one another, you're just as much a part of the music scene as the other bands and so therefore by constructively working together to develop the scene into a musical factory; diving into the Taylorist 'scientific management' theory here, you begin to establish connections that you might later need to rely on. As a band you might not like other musicians as people, but they are after exactly what you want too, that is to be successful. You know, when rock bands started arising in the early days, there was little conflict between them because they wanted to establish the genre, that said Metal Music is the only rock genre not to have died. As the cliche goes, "If you can't beat them, join them".
3. Expecting too much to happen
Here is another cliche, "give and you shall receive". Bands who are in the mindset that everyone owes them the pathway to being famous are living in cuckoo land. You have to work your way up to the top, by showing work ethic to a professional level, you're more than likely to garner attention than some other band who has the attitude of "we have a release out, review it for us", "we want to play London, give us a gig or book us", "we want to play Wembley, oh wait...", the fact of the matter is that in order to gain success and become known, you have to work for it in order to earn it. Don't expect everyone in the music industry to lay down the red carpet for a band consisting of four, five or more schmucks just because you have played in your capital city by supporting another local-ish unsigned band. Tour the UK and maybe Europe, hook up with bands touring near you e.g. signed bands, get their PR and booking agents details and utmost attention that you would want to open up their gig for them, they may decline but you can only ask - they may even take your details down for future consideration.
4. Made up genres and songs sound copied
Being in a band is about innovation, challenging the rule book of music and setting yourself up to be different from every other unsigned band who seems to want to nick a riff here and there or just cannot be bothered to think for themselves. "We are different, we make our own music" is a statement that is highly overused, be honest with yourself, what exactly sets your band apart from other unsigned bands? Look at these signed bands and think what have they done differently? Motionless In White, ChthoniC, Apocalyptica, Black Veil Brides, Within Temptation, Nightwish, etc... well if you haven't worked it out and you're in a band, then you have been caught out. Distance yourself from your musical influences as much as possible, whilst retaining the best bits you like about them, you may now think that's a contradiction, but it's even more contradictory when people detect a riff that is used by a known band, you will be caught out; this applies to all elements of the song. Oh and made up genres? That's the music journalists job. Heck we're considering to acknowledge "Winter Metal" as a legit umbrella term.
What on earth is djent? It's Technical Prog Metal. See? And who came up with djent? Meshuggah.
Need we say more?
5. Fan control and bands buggering off
So you have been asked to play a gig, that's great no? You have just finished your set and then say bye-bye, or you stand outside until your set comes up and then go in the venue to play, or you turn up late (which is even worse). Promoters get pissed off by all of these and we don't blame them. If you were invited to a business meeting at work, you wouldn't turn up sloshed with your tie in your mouth and you weeing your pants, nor would you turn up to a gig stoned or drunk. You wouldn't either leave the meeting early (unless of course your missus is giving birth, or an emergency arises) would you? The same applies for a gig (unless a major emergency arises as stated), furthermore make sure you haven't got anything else booked that day or if you are getting transport make sure it's adequate. Promoters tend to time shows in accordance with public transport, so there is little excuse to bugger off early. Oh and tell your fans they are just as bad, this makes certain people laugh because those fans who pay anything from £3 to £20 to see a band (in general), and then bugger off afterwards, either because they have a poor excuse like they were only their to see their mates band (so what? They aren't bloody Iron Maiden nor Asking Alexandria!!!) or they don't care about the other bands, not only is it a waste of YOUR money but then why persist on moaning about supporting the scene when you f*** off (bands and fans this applies to) after your mates band just finished their set? Some promoters have said they will not allow anyone back in once paid admission, we think this is a damn good idea (smokers will have a cornered area). Don't moan about the scene if you're one of those who does this.
Just to reiterate the above, if you have to leave due to transport issues e.g. last train of the day, then that is totally acceptable (I think we've all been there), or if you have an early start the next morning at unearthly hours e.g. meetings at 9am that require transport, we have daily jobs or education of some sort so that can also be plausible. Credit goes to our reader Louise Yardley for pointing this out (we hadn't thought of this).
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