For many of those who love music, it’s
their life, not just a job or a hobby. Unfortunately it’s often a thankless task. Sometimes it means lugging heavy equipment
around after hours of driving (not to mention practice) only to be told that by some unfriendly venue manager that you can’t
play because you’ve not brought enough people- it actually happens, and it just about sums things up.
Musicians often have temperaments best described as artistic, sometimes
egotistical, sometimes ultra sensitive and sometimes manic-depressive. Again, the bullies and rip off-merchants so common
in the world of entertainment often fight them amongst themselves for “fun” and profit.
Those who actually get on in such an environment tend to be the
most hard-nosed and tenacious, and often nasty, as opposed to the more imaginative, creative, just plain fun or otherwise
Music industry figures
have been quick to decry the loss of sales due to internet “piracy”. However, since the invention of the radio
and tape recorder, fans have always taped off the radio, copied their friends LPs and so forth. It’s actually paid off
for many acts, with publicity generating further sales of genuine media and concert tickets. Oddly, record labels have been
known to pay radio and TV to play their records- it’s rather hypocritical that those on the receiving end of this payola
aren’t considered “pirates” whilst kids at home are!
But the real issue is that whilst it’s never been an easy life for a musical artist,
the modern commercial environment has become one at odds with such artistic achievement. In effect, the music industry has
scared off both musicians and genuine fans.
Premiership football might be a million pound business, but it wouldn’t be possible without the Sunday leagues
and the kick-abouts in school playgrounds, the fans of small local teams who stand and cheer through rain and snow etc. It’s
this enthusiasm that generates both the talent on the pitch and the ticket sales at the turnstiles at the top.
There’s a time and place for money, accountants
and lawyers- but just as such don’t kick the ball themselves, they are peripheral to the world of
music but in the modern scene have assumed centre stage. So much so, that musicians are often driven to squabble over money
that doesn’t exist and copyrights to music that has not been sold or otherwise licensed- suing for their share of nothing!
Our aim as a music production/rehearsal facility,
social club and record label is to return creativity and friendship to a cold and clinical scene. Internet sites like Tribe
Of Noise, CCmixter.org and Indaba have created online virtual collaboration spaces fostering a huge amount of respect amongst
their users. From a professional point of view, there is nothing stopping work created in this way, provided all involved
give their permission from being exploited commercially. From an artistic and technical one, the material created in this
manner is approaching and even exceeding the quality and diversity offered by the major commercial labels.
We feel that a “bricks and mortar” development of this
scene is a logical and necessary step in a brave new music scene bringing back humanity and harmony to a culture that has
lost a lot of it’s soul. In the world of the arts, a “scene” can exist without an “industry”
, but the reverse is not true. If there’s going to be a way forward for musicians to have the possibility of making
a living from their work, first we have to give them the ability to play at all. At present, many are discouraged by the unpleasant
attitudes often found surrounding modern music.
One aim is to provide the features not found in the typical bedroom producer’s or home studio setup- the ability
to record a complete live band and loud acoustic instruments such as drums, this being linked in to the online collaboration
website systems mentioned.
streamlined recording process forms a part of this- for instance drums and amplification permanently in place and connected
to multi-tracking equipment. Thus a band could rehearse, perform or jam and have the results recorded with minimal setup time.
The idea would be to create as much as a “plug in and go” experience as possible, all of which
can improve the creative flow. Due to use of internet file-sharing, bands could mix and overdub in their
own studios, or invite other musicians from around the world to join in.
We intend to form a “house band” of local musicians to provide backing
to soloists and also perform session work on music recorded at this studio or online- providing a money making opportunity
for commercial projects too. Sampling can be made use of, for instance allowing a drummer and bassist to create loops for
rappers and so forth. There’s a healthy market for copyright-cleared sounds of this nature, similarly for film and TV
incidental music etc.
simple and streamlined nature of this project does not require hugely expensive equipment, and facility costs could be provided
easily afforded by the many low income and disabled players, with the possibility of cheap or free jam sessions that again
could be used as a basis for online collaboration.
One of the best things about CCmixter has been its popularity amongst female artists, which in our local scene is
sadly lacking- there’s also been a mixture of language and culture- to return to the previous example marrying a rap
group to a rock group etc. All of this could be expanded with the real world facility’s creation of a local scene to
compliment the online one.