A Musician I know entered our Studio a few weeks ago to obtain some advice on some software we use. While playing through the Music he had brought with him, I noticed that his Songs, though Very Well Produced, Energetic & Engaging, were Extremely Dated. His Drum Programming, Keyboard Patches, Quantization and approach to Sequencing matched his age perfectly, but not This Decade.
Knowing that his Intention was to soon release this Music to a Specific Genre, I fought (and won) the urge to give advice that had not been asked for. When he left, I began having a Conversation with Myself (you should try it sometime) on the Merits of Releasing his Music “As Is” or Redoing Everything to Make it More Contemporary.
I Argued Both Sides of the Art VS Commerce Debate. EntreMusicians daily walk a very thin tightrope of Maintaining Each, even when One may be Sacrificed at times for the Longterm Benefit of the other. But for Some Reason, this Self Induced Discourse was Different and I admit, my own age was to blame.
I Am a Bonafide Child of the Mid 60’s & 70’s. I remember the first Recorded Drum machines, the Robotic Stiffness of Kraftwerk and Soul Sonic Force’s “Planet Rock” to the many artists like the great Jeff Lorber (who ruined my life, ask him), Stevie, Herbie & Prince who were eagerly adept at Melting Genre & Technology because they absolutely kept the Art First.
Not All Records Sold.
Herbie’s “Dis is da Drum” VS “Future Shock” (which contained the monster hit ‘Rockit‘)
Stevie’s “Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants” VS “Songs in The Key of Life” (which Lori & I recently saw Live!)
Prince’s “Around The World in a Day” VS iconic “Purple Reign”
Ironically, from a Purely Musician’s Perspective, Each Work was Equally Exceptional, but only one of the two made the Artist significant moola. Various circumstances may have contributed to the Lack of Sales, including the Timing of the Release, Record Company Promotion, Management, Tour Support, Radio Politics and so forth. But for the Indie EMs who Begin Most Projects without any of these benefits, it’s critical that he/she think through the Real Possibility of Not Eating or Making Music that is Honest & Most Meaningful to Their Spirit First & Foremost, irregardless of the public’s taste (or lack thereof).
One of George Duke’s best statements before he left us was that early on he refused to make music to please the popular frontier of Radio & Record Company whims; that he was pleasing his own Soul first. B.B. King said he wouldn’t be satistfied until he heard ‘that sound’ in his head and would live his life trying to acheive it. In both of these instances, they kept searching and we kept listening.
So after going Back & Forth and around the proverbial, I made up my own mind to ccontinue charting my own artistic course while rmaining on the tightrope. In fact, SounDoctrine has been and I’ll be releasing music which clearly shows our choices.
What side do you come down on?