I’m still working my way, song-by-song, through a few thousands pieces of indie music and most of it is awful. That’s not true. Most of it is average which turns out to be monotonous and lame. The world has millions of musicians in it; average doesn’t cut it anymore. You either have to be really bad or really good to make it. Indie bands, since they lack the connections and money to make it as bad artists, usually aim to make it as a good band. Which is why I’m disappointed in the results.
So without further ado, here is my guide to telling if you are contributing to the noise by being in a crappy indie band.
- The easiest way to tell — by far — is if at some point in your musical career you’re holding an instrument or preparing to sing and you realize that you’re completely surrounded by crappy indie musicians. No, you aren’t the exception. No, your presence doesn’t make everyone else suck less.
- Your band has changed names 3 or more times in the last year.
- Your top song starts out with more than 15 seconds of “non-music.” This has become my goto litmus test for whether or not a song is any good. I’ve deleted dozens of songs that start with 15+ seconds of street noise or 15+ seconds of dialog from Casablanca. Usually it doesn’t even match the song thematically. Worse, it goes on for way too long. Once I figure out that it is going to be “one of those songs” I skip to somewhere in the middle just to see if it gets better, but it never does.
- You describe your band as “post-” something. Never before has an identifier been so meaningless. Yes, I know you are after other bands that you sound exactly alike. No, you are not reacting to them, you’re imitating. No, you aren’t good enough to pull it off. Some band, I won’t mention their name because you wouldn’t have heard of them anyway… Also, it has probably changed 3 or more times in the last year (see #2), identified themselves as “post-alternative.” They couldn’t settle on one meaningless identifier so they went with two. Their sound, by the way, was electronic. That’s what they should have identified themselves as.
- Your band name contains toilet humor. Really, guys? If your level of creativity is that of a middle schooler, odds are so is your level of musical ability. So far this has proven true.
- Your nicest friend describes your work as “interesting” while others use the term “unique” or “creative.” As in, “Well, it sure is… unique.”
I’m sure I’ll think of more, but if you need more evidence you’re probably beyond hope.