Screaming at the Wall

Here’s some advice to everyone in the whole wide world who loves music:  Release a CD independently, either a physical one or even a digital release.  Put countless hours into it (aka “when you aren’t at your regular job or trying to have a life”), agonizing over the details, the art, the sounds, and put it out.  Go through hours of self-doubt, “Is this good enough?” moments, and emails to people whose help you’ll inevitably need to get the word out.  Go through all the marketing, tenuous promo writing, submission of info to labels, distro houses, and whathaveyou.  Go through the budgeting and rebudgeting and re-rebudgeting to make sure you’ll still have a house or car after you put it out there and it recoups dick because some disrespectful douchetard waving his “I’m big on the internet!” dick got it and put it up on a torrent.

Because if you haven’t done that, don’t fucking tell anyone, especially someone you MAY BARELY KNOW, how to do it.


The amount of “helpful ideas” artists receive from (often well meaning, but) completely ignorant parties is astounding.  I know a guy that runs a club here in Madison, and the amount of “helpful ideas” he has received over the last decade plus of running it could fill the Grand Canyon.

And you know what, 99.9% of them are from people who have never run a club, have one perspective (“I LOVE HOUSE MUSIC SO MORE HOUSE NIGHTS!!!”), don’t understand a SINGLE cost of running the business, and ironically rarely bring out new people to experience the place and get into it like they are.

So, yeah, he doesn’t really listen.  And mind you, this is solely my interpretation of the situation from knowing him and actually working on things in said club. And yes, he occasionally listens to me, because I’m brilliant and shit.

There are so few jobs that people are ready to offer up completely uneducated advice on than anything involving a more subjective business like a club or the arts, where a myriad of reasons can explain why or why not it does well.  To give a slight twist on an old saying- I don’t come to where you work and tell you how to improve your cocksucking technique as I’m not a professional cocksucker (or even amateur– I pulled a hamstring early on and had to drop out of the local league).

I’m not saying suggestions aren’t helpful– hell, I’ve used a few great suggestions that people have given from friends who know me and how my mind works (or stalls), but all I’m saying is that you should strongly consider shutting the hell up before you suggest or criticize something.  Yes, you have a mind and maybe went to college or a DeVry Institute for blacksmithing or some shit, but it doesn’t MEAN YOUR OPINION IS VALID OR EDUCATED.

I know, you may be saying “well Matt this is the DIGITAL AGE and it’s the INTERNET and blahblahblah I love Grey’s Anatomy…”  You know what? It doesn’t make the point any less true, and hiding behind a username doesn’t give your words any more weight than sending an anonymous letter to someone.  I stopped visiting a lot of forums for music that I used to promote on due to the absolute wealth of moronic ideas on there that frankly end up annoying me more than amusing me.  The most common (for industrial forums) is “THIS IS WHY THE SCENE HAS BEEN DYING!”

Okay, let’s address this, as it’s probably been said SINCE THROBBING GRISTLE PUT OUT THEIR FIRST FUCKING RECORD.  The “scene” isn’t dying.  Hell, the “scene” doesn’t actually exist if you want to get right down to it.  YOU’RE EITHER GETTING OLD OR GETTING INTO OTHER MUSIC THAT NOW APPEALS TO YOU.

Why do I know this?  I’m ACTUALLY in the “business” of music, if only on a small,  independent level.  I know what labels are doing and I actually read things about the business to try and understand why things are the way they are.  I know what a lot of people are listening to “in the scene”, even if I am often listening to other stuff myself.

In other words, just because something died INSIDE YOU doesn’t mean IT’S “DEAD” EVERYWHERE.

For instance, I used to love reading comic books.  I stopped for several reasons, but that doesn’t mean “The Comic Scene Is Dead”.  It simply means “I have to spend money on other stuff like dogfood and beer.”

Got it?

So please, I implore you, ONLY listen to people who actually have experience in the area.  This goes for ANY field.  Nobody’s giving random advice to brain surgeons that should be taken seriously, so don’t take (or give) advice if you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.



15 responses to “Screaming at the Wall

  1. Hoinh approved.

    The main issue with these people is that they dwell too much on the whole idea of “industrial music” yet they won’t do anything to help it but bitch. If they hate where it’s going, move on and go listen to your old Godflesh records. Nobody wants to hear them whine how everything’s 4/4 or full of over-compressed snare drums. Fucking elitists.

    • I have no problem with people thinking they can help or suggesting things overall, but it’s always from such a freakin’ myopic perspective 90% of the time that it completely invalidates anything that could be construed as a DECENT idea.

      And yeah, elitists can eat my dick. I should actually thank them in some ways– many of my best ideas were devised solely to piss them off:)

  2. WELL SAID THAT MAN!!!! :-)

    I actually write reviews and I’d STILL NEVER try and tell a musician what to do as I’m not a musician!! I’m proud that I’ve ALWAYS written constructive reviews, it’s a personal opinion not the word of LAW!! I also work for a label, I might have an opinion, but until I can write music I ain’t got the right to blast someone’s output and even then I just wouldn’t …..
    Some people are so up themselves it’s unreal …. you just keep doing what you do because there’ll always people that pull that kind of shit and do you know what? ….. it’s usually because they wish they were you :-)

    Kat xx

  3. “The “scene” isn’t dying. Hell, the “scene” doesn’t actually exist if you want to get right down to it. YOU’RE EITHER GETTING OLD OR GETTING INTO OTHER MUSIC THAT NOW APPEALS TO YOU.”

    Truer words have never been written.
    I have been saying the same thing for years now… the “scene” doesn’t change, its just that we get older, balder, fatter and more “adult”. We start to view things from a different perspective, even if we don’t like to admit it.
    Nothing has actually changed or became radically different… just the way we perceive it has.
    I have noticed that more often than not, the ones making the most noise about “supporting/saving the scene” are the ones who now refer to the 20-somethings as “kids”.
    The only thing that’s changed is them.
    They got older.
    These promoters for scene salvation are usually in the late 30s to early 40s age range (like me, though I don’t feel a compelling need to save a “dying scene”).
    They are trying to desperately hold on to some sliver of youth, that memory of their past… THAT is the “scene” they are so desperately trying to save.

    • Hmm, I strongly agree with much of what you say, and all of the sentiment, but I also disagree with some of it, though it may just be a restating/reframing of the same base idea.

      I would say that the scene IS changing, and the reason old-timers say the scene is dying is because they don’t like the changes. They don’t like the new music because it’s not exactly the same as what they liked 20 years ago, and they don’t like the new “kids” in the scene because they aren’t them.

      But of course it’s the periodic infusion of new kids that keep the scene going. I remember when it was the new NIN fans that either rejuvenated the scene, or were killing it, depending on your point of few. Then it was the Mansonites. Now it seems to be the Combi/Psyclon 9/Terror EBM kids that “are the problem”.

      I always welcomed the new kids, because they were the ones that kept the scene going, and because in most cases, once they were introduced to the scene they developed a better taste in music… ;-)

    • Of course, the converse could be equally true – a scene isn’t alive just because it *hasn’t* died inside you, either.

      I’m feeling deep today.

  4. Hahaha. Oh man. I just thought the same just 3h ago when I got a lengthy, well-meaning email about how shit my Dirtygrrrls video is. And how I am great, but soiling my “art” with juvenile run-of-the-mill videos like that.

    You got it right in your rant there! :D

  5. RhimBirthdayMassacre

    Love it.
    I appreciate helpful ideas…but not rudeness from people who want you to be something you’re not.

    • Totally. I think most suggestions are well-meaning, but at the same time generally ill-informed.

      Pleasure to make your acquaintance and congrats on the Virgin thang, btw:)

  6. i have been sending you ideas ofr years, though they have all been bad, and designed specifically to make you fail.

    but on a serious note, the good thing is, as a label, we never get any sort of random “advice” like this. Never do i walk in on a monday morning to 10 emails stating OMG YOU SHOULD SIGN [insert name here] TEHY WOULD SELL MILLIONZ!!!!!”

  7. oh, and now get back to work, all of you. my yacht that runs on the sweat and tears of musicians isnt going to pay for itself.

  8. Well spoken, but there is one thing I’d like to point out:

    Some times (often) the guy running a club doesn’t know how to do it most effectively.

    Some times (often) the guy putting out an album doesn’t how to do it most effectively.

    Fact: I’ve never tried putting out an album. I know a lot of people who have, and I know label people. But that doesn’t make me ANY more or less qualified to give advice on the subject.
    Fact: I’ve never tried running a club. I’ve participated in putting tons of club nights, as well as some festivals together, and a bunch of other public events. But that doesn’t, well it doesn’t qualify me to give advice on more than certain subjects.

    However, there are many other things I might excel at, which many artists or promoters may or may not have any clue about. I’m well spoken (in my own language anyway), I know a lot about how to reach different audiences, and I actually work PROFESSIONALLY with sales and promotions 8 hours a day, so even if I have never released an industrial album on an indie label, there will always be stuff on which I can provide genuine helpful ideas. And this goes for a lot of other people as well.

    Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that the majority of people who open their mouth anywhere on the internet, don’t know anything about the subject they are commenting on.

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