Alternative Sounds

Stop making excuses; Start making music

We all remember the first album that made us think “This is it!”. The kind of album that made us immediately seek out everything by that band or artist. Then we read a dozen interviews with them, found out who influenced them, and bought their albums too. Maybe we idly thought about forming our own band. But what stops us from actually doing it?

When you first get into music, it has the ability to drive you and make you feel part of something. You sit with headphones on, listening to an important album and wondering why not everybody is talking about this band.

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It’s been said, for example, that the first Velvet Underground album sold only 30,000 copies in its first five years. But everyone who bought it, the story goes, went and formed their own band. While that is certainly an exaggeration, it demonstrates the influence of great music.

We all remember the first album that made us think “This is it!”. The kind of album that made us immediately seek out everything by that band or artist. Then we read a dozen interviews with them, found out who influenced them, and bought their albums too. Maybe we idly thought about forming our own band. But what stops us from actually doing it?

  1. “I Can’t Play An Instrument!”

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This is a perfectly logical argument for not starting a band, and yet… The entire Punk movement came into being from teenagers going to gigs and wanting to be part of something. How technically proficient were they? Not very – but people still talk about the Pistols, the Stranglers and the Clash to this day.

Instead of letting an album persuade you to buy another album, why not let it talk you into buying a guitar. The bands you see on TV didn’t start out famous. Most of them didn’t start out very good at music either. To begin with, they went a very long way on passion and love of music. The rest either happens or doesn’t… but it’s fun finding out.

  1. “Why Would Anyone Be Interested?”
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With the exception of a lucky few artists, success doesn’t come pre-guaranteed. Kamikazee didn’t jump straight to arena gigs. Most of us who go to see bands can remember at least one occasion when the venue wasn’t packed. Sometimes a band will come off stage and be able to thank each fan individually.

The truth is, not everyone will be interested immediately. But when you’re a new band, you do have a potential audience in the form of underground listeners. Some people actively stop listening to an artist or band when they get mainstream success. So if you’re wondering why anyone would care about your band, remember that. You’re new and interesting to at least some people.

  1. “I Can’t Afford To Start A Band!”

A quick test for you: find every debut album by every band you love, and listen to it now. Do you hear the earnest desperation pouring from every note? There’s a reason for that. It’s the same reason a lot of fans don’t enjoy a band after they become successful. On each of those debut albums, the band really, really needed to make money. They were more or less penniless.

(Unless you own Paris Hilton’s debut album. She was comfortable.)

When most bands are starting out they have to scrape together and even borrow money just to pay for gear. If you can afford a Marshall DSL 15C Amp (read a review here) , then you’re in better shape than they were. The truth is, the first time we see a band on TV, we assume they are flying first class and living in penthouses. In reality, they’re living on toast and sleeping in a van.

  1. “Nobody I Know Likes The Same Music I Do!”
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There was an excuse for that kind of thinking thirty years ago. Many great band stories started when two kids at school got talking because each realized the other was into “weird” music. While their peers were listening to the equivalent of Justin Bieber, they were into prog rock or reggae.

Now, with the internet, it’s almost impossible to find a band only you like. And, let’s face it, you only need one other person to form a group.

It used to be the case that a three-person band was considered a very compact line-up. The White Stripes trampled all over that idea. Don’t have a bassist? No problem. Don’t know a guitarist? Hire a keyboard player. Can’t find a drummer? Look, anyone can drum. Another classic line about music goes that Ringo Starr wasn’t the best drummer in the world – he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles, as John Lennon once quipped.

You don’t need to be polished and brilliant; you just need to be into it. That’s enough.

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We believe that just because one is popular, doesn\'t mean it merits that popularity. There are many at the fringes also meriting attention, though do not have the means to means/know-how to be so. And so here we are, celebrating everything... artistic life from the fringes.

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