Friday, May 22, 2009

The Unique Chicago Music Industry

There's a great article about this here:

The Chicago music scene is uniquely Chicago's because here, artists aren't pursuing record deals or publishing contracts. They're pursuing independent, entrepreneurial success. Artists in Chicago expect full creative license, and assume all of the risks that assure that license. But they don't always do so knowingly. For most bands in Chicago, the DIY way is the only way they know - it's the way they grew up with, the way they saw their friends in bands pursue, and the thought of pursuing a "record deal" is, in their minds, quite honestly, a foreign, make-believe concept.

Somehow, Chicago has, thus far, escaped the fate of L.A., New York, and Nashville. But is it for the better? I think the verdict is still out on that, and we'll have to make our own assessments, based on the quality of music that Chicago produces in *our* prime - what kind of music *we* produce.


What do you think?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just Because You Can

Alright. So I've been thinking. (Maybe that's a bad thing.)

So there is a *ton* of music out there these days. More than there ever has been? Yeah. For sure. Why? Simple: access. To what? Technology. Everyone has a computer. And nearly every computer is powerful enough to run an audio recording program like Pro Tools, Live, Record, Cubase, Logic, Nuendo, Acid...

So I've asked myself something: is any of it any good? And if the answer is yes, how do we wade through the three feet deep, thousand mile wide swamp of mediocrity to find the real gems? Or maybe a better question to ask, from my perspective, is how does a band rise above the festering marshland to a status of known and beloved? I have two insights.

1. Because of the ubiquity of social networking websites and the internet, in general, the internet alone is not enough to make loyal fans. True fans come by true relationship: fan-band interaction. Granted, this can happen online, but it doesn't happen naturally, or even easily. True fans also come to your shows, where fan-band interaction is obvious.

2. In order to succeed, a band has to remain true to its own sound. The bottom line is, there are a hundred indie bands out there that sound like any one, major label band: Mute Math or The New Pornographers or Cartel or even John Mayer. The difference is not in the music a band puts out, but in the people who have a financial interest in their success. And that's okay.

Bottom line: a band can never, ever be so proud as to think that they have a unique, amazing sound that everyone should (and will) enjoy. And, never be jealous of another artist's successes.  If you've ever seen Fight Club, "You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake." You're just like every other band out there - some working harder than others.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A New Band to Check Out

After you check out the recordings from my new album, Glimmer, check out these guys: Pretty excellent stuff going on there. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they come up with down the road here. Some serious Jars of Clay influence, really good songwriting, great guitar sounds, good production, but probably a bit over-tweaked in the studio. Check 'em out. They're one of the best new bands I've heard in a while. By the way, Alex Mrackovich and I were in youth group together, but he was a few years younger than me.