A Bands-Eye View: How do musicians find their place in the technological wonderland?

And so Celebrity Big Brother begins its annual celebration of mediocrity once again; raking, like a trusty old farmer’s plough, through the soil and undergrowth of society’s celeb-obsessed consciousness. Another year, another list of (allegedly) famous faces, another drop in ratings, right? Wrong. This year marks the very last ever Celebrity Big Brother and I for one can’t help but feel like it truly is the end of an era. That’s not to say it’s an era that I will particularly miss, but it is the end of an era nonetheless. The age of celebrity has sprung up upon us at an unprecedented rate over the last decade, the fire of its pounding engine fuelled by the technological revolution which has transformed the way in which society operates in almost every facet of modern living. If not tweeting about Jordan’s latest lovechild, your average child of the noughties is facebooking a friend about a text they had sent in response to an email about a myspace comment that had all been instigated by that interesting tweet regarding the aforementioned celebrity offspring.

And it’s not just the ways in which we correspond with each other either, the sheer number of “friends” we claim to have has skyrocketed. Who would have thought before the advent of social networking, that we would be counting our “friends” in the hundreds, and nervously comparing with others to try in vain to get a grasp on our standing in the big, wide, technological metropolis of the internet?

 There is, of course, a school of thought that says that we still have exactly the same amount of friends we have always had, but that we now also have a thousand different ways to get in touch with people that we haven’t seen since school and never really liked anyway, but of course, the man with a million facebook friends would no doubt have something to say about that.

With the brand new, technological wonderland as its foundations, there really was no stopping the rise and rise of celeb-zilla. The public could not get enough of it and, as a result, a select few were able to make millions out of having only one discernable talent (I use the term very loosely) which was, of course, the talent of stupidity.

This juxtaposition of fame and foolishness to me, begs the question “where does a band as ours find its place in this sociological climate?”. We crave fame and success and yet claim to reject the ideals and standards of modern celebrity culture. We would never dream of buying heat magazine but are still happy to paste pictures of ourselves on a stage onto every cyber-platform or soapbox the internet can afford us. The key, I think, is to fully embrace the modern age whilst still observing, respecting and taking influence from the things that made you want to play music in the first place. It was Keith Moon that made me want to play the drums, not “rock band” for the xbox, and a real great live performance, for me, will always outshine the same show released 6 months later on DVD.

And yet, without the trappings of the modern world, our audience would be more than halved – one glance through our myspace last night brought fans from across the world into my life and what’s more, the same technology brought the music we make into the living rooms of those same beautiful people. I think that, when drawing influence, it is important to listen to your heroes of the past, as well as having time for your contemporaries and peers. The pioneering recording techniques of bands such as the Beatles have made possible the kinds of overdubs and effects that are now an integral part of the production of the music we make, and it is that same kind of visionary driving force that is pushing forward the musical boundaries of tomorrow. Will we be up there with the best of ‘em, making music that people still want to listen to? Well I certainly think so (or else what’s the point?) but it is ultimately up to you to decide.

At the end of the day, for us, as with any other band, it is the fans that make difference. It is so important to remember the oft-forgotten fact that the fans are far more powerful and important than the band themselves; without an audience, you ain’t really got much of a band! Having said that, I do believe that great music will always shine through, and music lovers tend to have a damn good ear for it – bands and fans probably have quite a lot in common.

If you dig it, then you dig it – and we love you for it

Tom x


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