What is the measure of a promising young band by today’s standards? 100,000 social media impressions? 1 million youtube followers? 50 appearances on DIY podcasts?
Whilst industry answers appear to change weekly, the reality for today’s upstarts seems to lie somewhere in between having the ability to write and record material, demonstrate that people are listening to that material, and having sufficient material to play live shows.
Am I imagining things or is this still really 1984? Was the American hardcore punk diy paradigm the last standard for young, un-manufactured, bands? Write your own material, self-promote your band and get-in-the-van?
And if that still is the paradigm, then where does that leave the bands themselves? At least hardcore bands could live in hope that they’d be signed to a label and that their work would pay off; both financially and artistically. The chances of that happening today appear less likely.
So what does that mean for musicians? If the days really are darker, and the chances of reward fewer, is that producing a different type of rock star? A one less focused on a rock and roll career – but instead on the music they make? Does the measure of a young band today focus more on the music than ever before. The means rather than the ends?
Non of this is suggesting that the hardcore bands had career goals and cash in mind; rather that there was more of a potential for mainstream success when labels had more and were willing to invest in younger bands.
With these thoughts in mind, it was heart-warming to watch ‘A Festival, a Parade’ on Friday. Four young guys playing with their heart and soul for the love of music and for the enjoyment of creating sounds together. The fact that they looked like a combined Housemartins-meets Oasis- meets RHCP should be ignored; these guys played for the right reasons. Best of luck to them.