By Hans Ebert
A friend of mine was telling me the other day that to get away from the divorce she’s going through, all she does is sleep. For hours that turn into day. The next day, a jockey friend- the type that rides horses, and these guys are so fit carbs scream in fear and disperse when they see them coming- was saying how he felt drained and had been sleeping for days. And then there’s me, who often think to myself, “Go out, or stay in?” and then answer the question by turning off the phone and going to sleep.
Fight or flee has become Sleep Hollow and more Hollow Sleep. It’s like some noire Disney movie that Tim Burton should direct. This sleep epidemic and the antithesis of sleep deprivation has, I think, everything to do with the fact that it’s fucking boring out there where often we mingle in the night of the living dead. People have become boring, television has become one big sleeping pill, and even discussing music, something that used to wake me up before I go go-ed and take me to where fools rush in and angels fear to tread, now has me nodding off.
The music executives running music companies today are as exciting as Ben Stein as the economics teacher in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” asking for, “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?”
Most are number crunchers brought in to cut costs and prop up sinking ships whereas the other half are guys hanging in there, hoping no one will notice that they’re being paid for actually doing nothing, while always, there will be those who have formed marriages of convenience to ensure that money is siphoned off into their secret bank accounts in Seychelles. Where does the music fit in? It doesn’t. No one cares. Music either fails or succeeds virally these days, and for a very short gasp of air on, let’s say, “The Voice”- entertaining enough television for an hour, but still a karaoke competition where the winners go nowhere- or, for reasons no one can understand, someone becomes a “YouTube sensation” because something has clicked with 14-year-olds. I’m starting to wanna go back to sleep when I think of all that while in the background, the television is on and I catch bibs and bobs of Priyanka Chopra trying to figure out which accent to use on the hugely overrated and just plain contrived “Quantico”. Hollywood or Bollywood? Bollywood or Hollywood? The woman should just dance to a Bhangra beat for the feeble cast of characters on this numbingly inane series.
Rant over and back to music, in the past few weeks, I’ve met up with a couple of music guys I once worked with who, today, are entrepreneurs with cliché riddled ideas, but with no funding. But, you’re polite and pretend to listen while wondering if the girlfriend has finished work and what she might be cooking for dinner. Sleeping with her has its moments, but, too often, I really hope she, too, goes away so I can sleep alone in my torn underwear and fart and belch as I please.
As for the two former colleagues I met, what laid me out on the chilling killing Michael Bloomfield floor was hearing about the good old days and all the good old boys that belonged in the good old days that were the good old days because CDs sold themselves if these were releases by name acts like Radiohead or Norah or Coldplay, and because the groupie in us got to “hang” and do some nasty shit with guys we’d put up on a pedestal and now couldn’t give a shit about. Damon Albarn? The guys from Blue? Jon Bon Jovi? Pharrell? Norah? Nah, the thrill is gone. “Hanging out” with celebs has worn out its welcome.
But, stop, hey, what’s that sound and what’s this music and what roles have “music executives” had to these songs and artists- Labrinth and the brilliant Ivory Hours from Toronto? Though still to wallow in the sadness of Adele’s “Hello”, if the absolutely gut wrenching honesty of the incredible “Jealous” by Labrinth is the song that makes her cry, well, I’ll join her and drown in my tears.
As for Ivory Hours, they’re one of the freshest new bands I’ve heard since Struts and The 1975. The melodies are strong, the lyrics are clever without trying to be too clever with some amazing videos.
Again, I ask, where and how do “music executives” fit into music they have had nothing to do with? Are we seeing an endangered species and, if so, where and how does a traditional “music company” come into play? And if they don’t, well, it’s starting to wake me up as we might be looking at a completely new playing field where those creating the music call all the shots and have total control of their art.
Control- and control must return to those bringing newness to the table. It’s like investors who come to you wanting your expertise, but with a dated business model comprising acquisitions and these days, acquisitions are fraught with legalese fandangos with no one really knowing who owns what and the legality of artist contracts. But if these investors trust you to create a completely new business model based on partnerships, for instance, now, that’s exciting. That’s something to wake up to and burst into Here Comes The Sun as opposed to returning to the Dark Side Of The Moon and becoming Syd Barrett.
What’s also waking me up from this bout of somnambulism is the almost overnight crackling creativity of ordinary folk like you and me- and with everything seen and heard being based on humour.
What was once a piss take or parody or satire has gone viral and technology has opened the online doors to some incredible ideas, where, whether Adele or Drake or Taylor Swift, there’s this opportunity via Vine or YouTube or wherever to take all the content out there and give it your own twist.
What this is doing is not making everything so damn serious and boring that it makes many of us go back to sleep as there’s bugger all of note happening in our waking hours.
In other words, all these memes etc have awoken the sleeping genie of goofiness inside us all and which we can carry with us in our addled heads and so, when dealing with all the tedious bores we come up against in our daily lives actually become more interesting because we make them more interesting through the new and more goofy ways we see them, thanks to our own meme world that no one else can inhabit.
Now, this might be the first signs of madness or it can be new ways of looking at sacred cows and taking them down a peg. Musically, it’s about having access to something of a creative playground where we can all come together and see what works in an informal setting. It’s where those owning content can pick and choose who they might wish to work with on other projects and see what comes out in the wash.