Often , we’re asked what music inspires us. Like, what bands we like and aim to craft our music after. Sure, there are tons of bands and artists that we love, aim to sound/be like, or draw our inspiration from. But I’ll tell ya, what really inspires me isn’t so much who or what influences us, but how those people influence and inspire us. So what? Let me explain.
What really inspires and fascinates us as a band is the proliferation of the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) attitude and spirit -Bands, Musicians, and Artists who are creating, marketing, and distributing their art on their own, by their own means without the help of major label support or financial backing. The DIY attitude and method isn’t a new concept or practice. I would say that DIY is old school. Back then, it’s where bands, musicians and other artists had to start- Independent recording labels, underground zines, word-of-mouth promotion, and hand-to-hand distribution- all ran and/or supported by ultra tight knit, intimate, local music scenes. Back in the day though, musicians would ultimately create enough buzz around those scenes, that they’d get the attention of major music labels and get signed, and ultimately famous.
In the 1990’s and 2000’s, the DIY success stories died down and were replaced by big label pop acts, picked from their scenes like ripe fruit from a tree. It seemed as though nothing went on in music without the involvement of major music labels. Sure, there were “indie” music labels, but even these were usually subsidiaries of major labels.
Fast forward a few years and the scene is totally different. Now, propelled by advances in technology and social networking, as well as more affordable and accessible methods to record themselves, musicians are now able to make their own music and release it on their own to a much wider audience than ever before. Many musicians are getting heard, getting seen, and getting noticed without major label backing than ever before. One act that really inspires and influences me are Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Hip-Hop artists from Seattle, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have done it all themselves, without the help of any major label or financing. They have crafted their art, recorded their own music and videos, and have brought it to a wide audience, with much success- their new album, “The Heist” was #1 on iTunes recently. While some artists are taking advantage of the new generation of DIY technologies and methods to get noticed by major labels, Ryan Lewis and Macklemore are using them to sustain their careers, all while keeping creative control of their art-very inspiring! You can watch a video which explains it all a little better than I can, below.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are just one example, there are many others out there. What’s important and inspiring, is that in the music “industry,” success is no longer created, nor defined by major labels. Musicians are returning to the old-school DIY methods and attitudes to make their own music and careers and to make them much more rewarding.
So what do you think? Is the new-school DIY attitude just a phase? Or is it a viable way for musicians to get noticed and ultimately have a successful career? Leave a comment below!