What does the band seek to accomplish this time around? Are we in it for our art? Tempting though it would indeed be to declare our mission now as driven by artistic ideals I must ask, is there even such a thing in this modern world perpetuated by mass media and consumerism?
Be that as my springboard then in this humble attempt at intelligent discourse.
In this age of information made ubiquitous with global mass media and the internet, and the overwhelming pervasiveness of the modern consumer society that even Karl Marx would not have imagined in spite of his genius and voluminous writings, where do we, as a band and as an indie artist - from a country whose only claim to fame is having had a First Lady with an infamous penchant for designer shoes - stand?
Is our existence mere happenstance in a series of random events, or philosophically ordained as an important artistic endeavor, no matter how miniscule our contribution in the small pond accidentally labeled 'indie', which is only part of the bigger ocean that is contemporary music?
To put my question in simpler terms, are we in it for fame and fortune, or are we in it for the art? Are we in it for money or for artistic recognition? Are we driven by the need to gain or the need to give?
Don't ask me why I pose such soul-searching, mind-boggling questions now, and no, I'm not on anything. Although I did just drink coffee to try and settle my stomach, don't ask me to explain. Sometimes, what I do is beyond logical explanation. Like the one time I drove north for no reason other than I didn't feel like going home just yet only to turn back after almost 20 kilometers realizing I just had enough gas left to get me home.
Speaking of trips, is our band thing just a fancy trip or a noble artistic endeavor? Looking back when I took this ‘joyride’, I only joined the band upon Ian's invitation. Just like that. I never really put much thought into it. My choice for lunch at the fast-food drive-through took more effort and time actually. I just thought at that time that being in a band would be such a cool thing. There, I said it. I had no musical inclinations towards bands and electric guitars then. Like I said before, I was into other things which, had I pursued, probably would have had me ending up in the hills with an AK-47 slung over my back instead of onstage with a stratocaster. I would have made a bad revolutionary anyway, I think. I might even have ended up a rebel in a rebel movement. But that's the past.
Speaking of history, in the Middle Ages, artists survived on the purse strings of wealthy patrons. To capture the fancy of a wealthy and supportive patron meant an artist could continue working on his art and be recognized and respected as an important member of society. The alternative was to cut off your left ear (or was it Van Gogh's right), send it to a whore and die poor. Of course, I am guilty of blatant oversimplification. Caffeine does make you want to get to the point rather quickly. My delightful discovery for the day, me not being a coffee person. Oh but enough about the brew.
My point being, in the end, art serves to please others as much as it serves the creator. Art satiates the tastes of the patron as much as the needs of the artist. For to what end would Franz Kafka's writings have achieved if, following his dying request, his unpublished works were all burned? Would not art, or music, be pointless if there be none to appreciate it?
In today's world of consumerism and overwhelming information, the modern-day equivalent of the art patron would be the modern music fan. To get more is to get a wealthier patron. A collective mass of patrons that will buy your CD's and watch your gigs and, indirectly, pay for the studio time, the band's collective talent, vices, and everything else in between. I dare say it’s the same wretched (or blessed) arrangement just blown into massive proportions.
Mass art in the age of mass-consumerism and mass media. I wonder if this is what Depeche Mode thought of when they coined Music for the Masses? Which leads me to ask, is that such a bad thing? I dare surmise the corruption comes in the act of pleasing more the patron than oneself, a temptation each artist tries to ward off throughout his productive career. But if in keeping to one's honest and self-fulfilling art, one finds the fancy of a 'mass' patron, or in rebel-speak, a mass base, is that not the righteous reason for one's art? I feel this is where our band must strive to keep its balance: music that is, well, honest and self-fulfilling.
To earn patronage like in the days of old and to be recognized and respected as an important member of society. I hold that in that is our band's survival and, at the same time, our fulfillment. One is making a living, the other, living.