One band is a collective endeavour, two bands make a scene.
Full Show Notes: https://www.thejaymo.net/2022/03/19/301-2211-collective-endeavours/
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Creating, making, and doing has been on my mind a lot this week.
Growing up as a teenager from the age of 14ish, being in a band and making music with others was probably the single most important thing in my life. It’s who I was, its what I was doing, and most importantly resulted in who I became.
A band, or The Band is a collective endeavour.
The individual is fully subsumed by and into the wider project. It is with other people that other things become possible. A decade ago now, I gave a talk at Lima Zulu called: ‘More Amps, Less Angst: Everything I Know About Community I Learnt From DIT Hardcore Punk’.
The talk title More Amps, Less Angst is lifted from a track title by Margate two piece Kind Eyes.
Its sentiment encapsulates the attitude of a DIY hardcore punk rock scene perfectly.
One band is a collective endeavour, two bands make a scene.
Just as 4 people in a band make collective noise making possible. A scene provides structure and potential to make other things a reality. Scenes create all sorts of other things. DIY collectives coming together putting on shows, zines spring up and the scene has its own media. People lend equipment, time and energy, others start record labels and so on and so on. It takes a village as it were.
My current band is recording next month, I’m stoked. If Slow Sad English Country Music is your thing, you’ll have to come and see us play over the summer. It was a shame, this week that band practice on Monday got cancelled due to covid. 3 down, one more to go.
Anyways, I joined the band in winter 2019 just before the pandemic began. Within the first couple of weeks of rehearsals I realised that I was experiencing something. A sense of satisfaction or perhaps fulfilment that comes from collective creativity.
I hadn’t been in a band proper since 2011. Going to band practice regularly was satisfying a deep emotional social groove. Ticking a mental check box, or, filling a creative hole in my life I hadn’t realised was going unfulfilled.. Going to a freezing cold, dark, carpet lined room to hang out and make a big noise in the company of 3 other people, completes my life in a very natural way. It is apparently in my nature to enjoy and want to do things with others. I wonder if this is why, in my professional life, I was drawn towards project management and later Operations and organisation design.
But there is also something about the immidiacy of making music with other people, live, in a room that is important to the way that I think. Dare I say, about the way my soul is structured.
You pick up an instrument, plug it in, put your finger to the fretboard and it makes a noise. All the noises are then up to you. What and when you make those noises are also up to you in the context of others. I love it. It is deeply satisfying, and also terrifying. Playing in this slow sad band, means there is a lot of open sonic space. If you fuck up there isn’t much room to hide – everyone else knows it.
But we all know and trust each other, it’s a reciprocal. Besides, we are there to practise, to make a song better together. What we aren’t there to do is to judge one another. So who cares. Creating music together. Is what it’s all about.
Furtherfield – in my opinion, the most important Arts institution in London. Have, since 2006 because they are legends been running a project called DIWO.
Do It With Others
It extended the DIY Do-It-Yourself ethos of early net art, punk & Situationism, towards a more collaborative approach, using the Internet as an experimental artistic medium and distribution system to foment grass-roots creativity. Even before it was defined it underpinned everything Furtherfield has ever done.
This sentiment has also recently been echoed by kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler with the idea of the Metalabel. Strickler is calling for a revivification of the indie label.
To understand what a metalabel is, it helps to first reconsider what a label is. Record and fashion labels use the actual word “label,” but publishing houses, art galleries, filmmakers, and other collectives are all examples of a category we might call “culture labels” — entities that exist to fund, distribute, and promote culture of one kind or another.
They go on to argue that the so-called Creator Economy is creativity in single-player mode. Every creator for themselves.
Whereas a collective endeavour, whether it be a label, in fashion, publishing, music, or whatever is creativity in multiplayer mode.
Which brings me back to the beginning.
I’ve been thinking about creating, making, and doing. Writing, recording and editing a personal podcast every week by myself is by definition single player.
Whilst I may have levelled up my own skill set making the video version of the podcast – filming myself recording the audio etc might have boxed me in a little bit. As a result I worry I may have reached some kind of a wall.
I reckon I could make an episode of this show a week till the end of time. It’s definitely creatively sustainable. But as it stands right now definitely not monetarily sustainable.
I feel like I need a leg up, a boost to see over the wall I’ve arrived at after 170+ episodes. I’d like to collab with folks to figure out where things could or should go from here.
So this is an open invitation.
Drop me a line via the contact form and let’s make something cool together.
The script above is the original script written for the episode. It may differ from what ended up in the edit.
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