“So, what’s the next step?”
As the band sat in a coffee shop next to our management company’s offices we grilled our newly acquired mentor about the progression of our careers in the music biz. Dressed in a tshirt, jeans and casual suit jacket our manager leaned back in his chair with the air of a seasoned yoda ready to outline all his secrets to his (young?) apprentices. As eager as fox Cubs learning how to hunt we huddled together and didnt breathe so as to not miss a syllable that poured from his lips.
“Image.” He purred. “Now we have a marketable asset we need to create a marketable brand and story to go with it.”
The asset he referred to was the 3 track EP that we had spent the past 5 days recording. It sounded good. Totally different to our previous attempts to record ourselves in our own dark studio, these tracks were alive. Instead of being meticulously recorded with individual instruments to a rigid click track and equalised to near perfection, these recordings were done live. We simply hooked ourselves up to amps and played as a good live band should do. The sound was raw, energetic and encapsulated everything that this band is about – having a good time.
We had decided a year or so ago that the band should have a structured image. We have a strong name and logo and consequently the live image of the band should mirror it. So we had the idea of wearing suits on stage, not full on double breasted numbers but shirts, ties and the odd bowler hat. This worked well for the most part as people seemed to remember who we were and could easily spot us in photos. But, it never rang true with the sound of the band. People seemed to be confused, were we pretending to be part of the establishment or playing rock in order to rebel against it? I think we all felt that we needed something to link us together on stage but I’m not sure we cracked it.
“I don’t like the shirt & tie thing.” Announced our manager. And that’s what he’s for. At this point we don’t need fans & friends saying they like what we do, because if we go on stage dressed like chickens they’ll say they like it. We need someone to have an objective monetary position telling us where we’re going wrong.
“The music is live, the songs are real and you sound really passionate. But the look of the band isn’t real.”
We concluded that we are better off being real. Wearing clothes that are natural and projecting an image that doesn’t bullshit the audience. Because, the music doesn’t do that so why should we.
“I fucking love the songs though.”
Then he finished his coffee, got up and left.