The word “Indie” has been bandied about quite a lot recently.
What the hell does this mean if it just stops and starts with some bands trashing about onstage?
Wasn’t this all part of Grunge?
What does “Indie” mean today?
Going at it in a DIY way?
Being “anti-music company”?
Radiohead were signed to a major and no one gave two fucks if they were “Indie” or Mork and Mindy
Nanu, nanu, babies.
They were and are a great “Alternative Rock” band – all these silly labels - went against the grain, and produced some great music under EMI.
It was only after music execs Tony Wadsworth left the company along with Keith Wozencroft, who had signed up the band, that they decided to leave and do their own DIY thing.
Thom Yorke was happy as Larry and as happy as Thom Yorke can be whilst “Waddy” and Wozencroft were there.
When Guy Hands and his Terra Firm private equity goons stomped in, took over EMI and let go of Wadsworth and Wozencroft, Radiohead left.
It all comes down to people chemistry – and business – the business of music.
Going back in time, look at the “Indie” artists signed to majors – Pink Floyd, Bowie, Bob Marley, Dylan, Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, Doors.
Like the yard, the list goes on forever.
The KEY point is that once upon a time, music companies were run by real music guys – Jac Holzman, Ahmet Ertegun, Bhaskar Menon, Chris Blackwell …
The great Chris Blackwell is as relevant today as he was when he signed Marley, King Crimson, U2 and set up Island Records.
“The key is to sign people who are good in the first place.”
Yes, Mr. Blackwell, sir!
This sudden almost pretentiousness and preciousness, especially in Hong Kong and other Asian countries where one almost feels “owed”, or believes that to be an “Indie” artist, one must “suffer for my art” and be so “cool” as to be unnoticed is, at least to me, complete and utter bullshit. And that having a hit is taboo to this artificial coolness.
One makes music so that it can be heard by the most number of people.
Like Radiohead, like anything produced by Damon Albarn and others, if this music is not turned into “musical mutants” by music executives butting in, what’s the big deal?
One is making music on their own terms- and supported by their recording company.
Sadly, somewhere, somehow, a Them and Us chasm has happened – and I can guess where and how.
First of all music companies started to bullshit artists into signing “worldwide deals.”
Sorry, but unless you were/are from the UK or the US, there was and is no “worldwide deal.”
In the small market like Denmark where there are some of THE best young bands, Sony Music Denmark signs up nearly every worthwhile artist to one of these “worldwide deals.”
The artists think they’ve finally made it.
They have not.
The record is made, it reaches offices outside of Denmark and is seldom heard by anyone except the PA who opens the mail.
There are always “global priorities” to focus on- a directive from Head Office.
So, a great band like, for instance, Mew from Denmark, or Veto from the same country and also signed to Sony “Worldwide”, goes a-begging.
Signed to a “worldwide deal” and, if lucky, they might play Indonesia – which they did a few years ago.
Then came the horrible time when music companies brought in accountants lawyers and started talking about “360 Degree deals” and the vague legalities of the online world and who and what one owned and how Music Publishing “worked” everything became grey, and things fell apart.
You think I have not been screwed by those cretins at Warner Chappell- inChina?
And here’s where this “Indie” spirit must be harnessed and made to understand the bare necessities of life.
Gigging is fine though venues are hard to find.
Finding fans along the way? Great.
And then what?
At least in Hong Kong, one can gig, have a full-time job and say one is an “Indie artist” despite pushing thirty or forty and living with one’s folks.
But isn’t this an oxymoron?
How “Indie” are you and how “DIY” are you if you’re beholden to the sympathy of strangers?
Reference: Make It In Music
Go outside and smell the 2011/2012 Teen Spirit and listen and compare one’s musical self to what I call the “real” Indie bands in the UK, in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the US.
Asian bands comparing themselves with other Asian bands is stupid.
Being the biggest garoupa in the smallest pond is even more stupid.
I keep hearing this word “Indie”, but I don’t see ANYTHING which takes this Indie SPIRIT beyond the music.
Aren’t “Indie” musicians meant to make “statements” through their music?
Screw writing another turgid love song.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE THROUGH YOUR MUSIC.
SHOW HOW INDEPENDENT YOU RELLY ARE.
DON’T HIDE BEHIND THIS VENEER OF BEING “INDIE” AND WHICH, TO MANY, IS AN EXCUSE TO DO BUGGER ALL.
Wait and see: As when Dylan wrote “Blowing In the Wind,” “Masters Of War”, “The Times They Are A-Changin’”, “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” etc, a new form of a Protest Movement has already started.
A musical voice.
Let’s never forgot Cui Jian and his anthem – “Nothing To My Name”- for what happened at Tiananmen Square.
We are living in a world of greed, corrupt politicians and world leaders who recite off teleprompters.
Here’s what I say: Grow some balls and write about them and TRY and right all the wrongs of the world through your music.
Bring about real change and not all that fawning crap will I am and, sad to say, Dave Stewart wrote for Obama.
That was, as we would have once said, Selling Out.
Or jumping on the same tired bandwagon.
Plus it was a really shitty song.
What’s needed is that same pissed off, We-Can-Do-It and shove-everything-up-yer-bums-type of music which came from The Who, The Clash, Sex Pistols, hell, The Beatles, Lennon, Hendrix, Dylan, The Kinks, Neil Young.
Where is today’s “My Generation”?
Or today’s “Revolution”?
Or “Power To The People”?
Or “Woman Is A Nigger Of The World”?
“Indie” has become pixie dust music for fairies.
It has no bite and it’s become insular and incestuous and too damn precious.
“Indie” is a SPIRIT, ferkrying out loud.
It is a MOVEMENT.
MAKE IT MOVE!