Coming up as an early musician it was all about the instruments and the players in a band. We developed our skills and our theory which takes constant dedication to the craft. We transcribed difficult passages for the gig and to develop our voice. Loading heavy gear in and out of bars, hoping our last good instrument cable will hold out as we wiggle it into place.
But we began to see a drastic change. A change that had us scoffing at the lack of originality and the loops we saw as cheating. Then the reality overtook the elder whining and somewhere a saxophone hits the floor of an empty stage in an empty auditorium and the question is asked, “what’s the point?”
Many people do not understand why hip-hop and electronic music has moved so fast as if it is treated as just another artistic phenomenon. It is not. Everyone from the old music world knows the administrative difficulties in getting a band together, rehearsing, booking a show, advertising the show, playing the show, and finally … after sometimes years of developing together you book time at a studio and record an album. It’s an absolutely incredible amount of time and energy to barely push the needle forward.
This won’t be a boring history lesson I promise. We all know that those previous rubrics that were once in place are gone and the barrier to entry seems to be the tech you can fit into a small backpack and time. The band became the producer. The band became the samples from a VST. When the audience doesn’t demand musicians play the music with real instruments in real time, and the tech provides you every instrument and synth known to man that can fit into an external hard drive – it is the future. It is the world of fast, light, solo, authoritarian manifestations.
And I love it!! Besides, there’s no turning back. As someone who has always loved sounds and retreated from any group identity, I have always loved electronically based music. Synths, midi, and drum machines have always been fun tools. Maybe it’s because I’ve always considered myself as a songwriter first and foremost, and the integration of real musicianship along with the tech is where it’s really at. I finally get to hear what I want to hear faster. No more admin hurdles to deal with and because I’m leaning on myself, it makes me a better, more focused creator. And it’s cheaper. Every bandleader I know is way broke after paying for sessions and musicians and often times, you don’t get a better-quality recording. The future is the time for the writer, and the writer uses tech.