Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sound Check Retrospective

Something I've been wanting to do for awhile on the site is to post a Sound Check Retrospective of the past year. "But, Fr!" you say. "The time for retrospectives is over! We are one full month into 2012!" To which I casually reply:

Since when do they make rules for retrospectives? Everything that's happened is in our past- so why wait until December to properly chronicle it? Besides, I joined Fake Plastic Tunes in April 2011, did my first Sound Check in May, and I really don't want to wait three more months to do a commemorative retrospective. So the nostalgia police can take me away- guilty as charged. On we go.

As I mentioned before, I did my first Sound Check in May of last year. And from May onward, all of my interviews had one thing in common- the final question-

"Any advice to up-and-coming artists struggling to make it in the oversaturated 21st century music industry?"

So in the spirit of the new Play it Forward columns featured on FPT, let's take a glimpse and see what advice our favorite artists had for us.

"I’m not sure if we know any good tricks or secrets or advice yet. We’re still really fresh fish in the pond ourselves. Be yourself, have something real and honest to present, and figure out a way to get people interested, and be connected to the internet. Or something like that."

- Team Me, 5/26/11

"Don't google yourself."

- Brilliant Colors, 6/4/2011

"It's always a bit weird for a band in our position to offer advice...Probably better off to say a tip where one can learn from our mistakes. The music industry continues to change, but I think there's one principal that always remains the same. Don't over saturate your own market, go out on the road as far as you can as often as you can.
Paul: Update your maps."

- Readymade Breakup, 6/7/2011

"Be creative, new, exciting, loud, silent, screamish, abstract, a workaholic, extravert…well, unique would sum it up. And be out there."

- Sander Kleinenberg, 6/8/2011

"To be patient and don't upload any shit just because is free."

- Strausz, 6/9/2011

"Please make sure you do your research before the interview... at the moment we're not convinced you are capable of doing it, but that might change. To even suggest that Alec Empire fears 'advancement of artistic expression' (while his discography couldn't be more diverse and proves the exact opposite) doesn't really make you come across as a writer who is qualified enough for the task."

- Atari Teenage Riot, 6/14/2011 (on why I'm not qualified enough in music to write a negative review of Atari Teenage Riot- a little off-topic, but had to include these guys)

"I guess I'd say keep working, writing, and creating. To quote prof. Gail Sher, "If writing is your practice, then the only way to fail is not to write.""

- Arrange, 6/18/2011

"Stay true to what you really wanna create! Tell your story no matter what it is... Follow your heart, there lies your passion!"

- The Glitch Mob, 6/22/2011

"Don’t be afraid to try anything. Be honest with people and yourself. I think it’s pretty understood that if you want things to happen, you have to do it. You can’t just sit around and wait for it to happen. If you want to release something, say “Look, I’m releasing this.” Surrounding yourself with positive people, you’re going to get positive results. It’s pretty understood I guess. I’m pretty shocked still about how I got to where I am now. It just happened really fast and it’s not really a familiar career path. The way I got here is the most common way, through the internet. And that is still weird to me."

- Toro Y Moi, 6/24/2011

"What music industry?"

- The Demos, 7/5/2011

"I say save your money. There is no reason to invest a lot of money in your music, at least until you make it to a place where you can afford it. You can do everything yourself. Just find friends that are good at different aspects of the industry and go from there."

- Elemental Zazen, 7/18/2011

"Be honest with yourself. Create what you want to see. Be a force. Hack the planet."

- Pictureplane, 8/4/2011

"We don't really know if one should get involved with the music industry nowadays ... We still believe in good music, music with a soul ... This kind of music will always find its way to people, no matter how ... Our advise - don't follow any trends, do what you want to do. Always question yourself if you want to do music because you want to become famous and successful in the music industry or if you just want to do good music. It's a big difference ..."

- Modeselektor, 8/8/2011

"Don't expect to make any money for a long time."

- Reptar, 8/11/2011

"Don't think of it as struggling and you'll be just fine."

- Braids, 8/22/2011

"Try to find another job because it’s very hard now. It’s not the best job on earth right now."

- M83, 8/24/2011

"My advice is to keep recording. If it’s music that you’re into and songwriting, just write as many songs as you can because it’s through that process that you really start to do your own thing and create your own sound. I think it takes a long time to do that, so be patient. I think the power of the Internet has leveled the playing field a bit. You don’t have to have a lot of money to put into promotion or anything. If the song is good, there are chances you can put it in front of people with the Internet. And if it’s good enough, it will rise to the top. So be patient and work hard."

- Washed Out, 8/29/2011

"Just make the record you want to listen to. Everything else will follow."

- The Antlers, 9/13/2011

"If you want to be famous, be a bloody tv presenter. Don't make a record. This girl once approached me and asked me how i got to front a band and what process i went through to do it. Well, i did it by accident and because i had something to say. I actually felt quite uncomfortable with the idea. I think the challenges make it interesting. Otherwise i would have married a rich man and put my feet up. Spent my days riding horses."

- Anika, 9/16/2011

"Hm, just the obvious one: first make music and then you can think of the industry, not the other way around."

- The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble, 9/22/2011

"Don't compromise any of your artistic integrity. Do what you do, and if people start listening, that's great. Don't get a day job if you don't want to. If you have a fall back plan, you will end up falling back on it."

- Real Estate, 9/26/2011

"Go to New York."

- Grimes, 9/28/2011

"Don't worry about being sucessful. Just make music that you like and if you genuinely achieve that, somebody else will like it too."

- Battles, 10/11/2011

"Don’t think you have to move to a big city to do it. Just work your ass off and believe in your music. Do what you have to do."

- Phantogram, 11/7/2011

"One- I’d say to not expect to get paid at first- and to be okay with it. Be okay with being broke for awhile. If you want to make money, go do something else. And two- work at it. I see a lot of bands worrying about all the other things- merch and touring and all that. And I agree that those are important things- but you’ve got to spend time writing and that’s number one. Write, write, write. Because the rest of it is simple. The rest of it- you can read a book to figure out how to do the other stuff. Don’t rush into trying to become successful soon because it’s not about that. It’s a great thing when people become successful soon, but it’s rare. Do it because you’re an artist and that’s it."

- Other Lives, 12/1/2011

Thanks to all the artists who participated in the 2011 Sound Checks. Here's to 2012- where we hope to get Claire Boucher of Grimes and Sarah Barthel of Phantogram to take part in a televised debate regarding their conflicting advice.

We'll see.

- Fr. Jones

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