Thursday, July 7, 2011

Now is Better than Before

So yeah I have decided these blog posts aren’t going to have the set lists and all the stuff I promised before. In the immortal words of Darth Vader “I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.” There is of course going to be updates about shows (even though I haven’t been saying much about them) and I will post any material that um… materializes. This is probably going to be more of my personal musings. Who knows maybe my colleagues in the band might take up the mantle and also write their own thoughts in relation to the band or music in general? For now you are stuck with me.
            Recently we have played a few shows and we have more coming up. As for the new EP we were at a bit of a standstill for a number of excuses (some of them are actually good ones). Right now we are just mixing it and we hope to be done by the latest Sunday.  We don’t have anything else other than the music right now. We are still working on things like packaging and artwork even the track list. That is all up in the air.  Anyone who watches us play regularly can tell what songs are going to be on it. I will tell you that “Foolish” and “I’m Gone” are not going to be on it. I’m not going to say much more because if I did I would be giving more of my opinion, my own personal speculation, or telling secrets I shouldn’t be.  I’m not much for secrets.
            What is not a secret is that I’m bored. When I’m bored I think of things. Right now I’m thinking about music. This is the blog of a band so it makes sense. I guess we are a ska band. It always bugged me when I read band interviews and bands would say they preferred to not to be categorized, “we are transcend genres.” That statement is way too confident for me to say. I would prefer to say that everyone in band listens to a variety of stuff and it comes out in the music we make. Just for convenience sake if someone asks me “So what kind of band are you in? Like rock?” I usually respond “We are a ska band.” Reactions vary from person to person but a common one I get is “What is ska?” This is one of my least favorite reactions because eventually it leads to a bad attempt at summarizing the history of ska it connections to other genres that spawned from it and the “waves” it has and continues to go through.
            The concept of waves is interesting because it seems that each wave of ska uses it as a way to align itself with the past giving a sign that “hey we’re all part of the same ocean”. I’m aware that bands don’t pick these titles. It is those who interpret their music that make up this separation (see chillwave). That being said the relation between the past and history has always sort of been there. Ska has always been saturated with covers. Even in the first wave (we are rewriting history) I’m pretty sure “I’m in the Mood for Love” had been around for a while before (I’m not doing research. I’m bored but I’m still lazy). The two tone bands also performed covers and were quick to adopt the fashion that sort of went with it. Third wave didn’t take to the suits but they sure loved to do a cover of something old and they liked the checkered pattern.  I know I’m stereotyping but to be honest I really don’t care because this isn’t the meat and potatoes of what I have to say. What I want to talk about is the present.
            Ska is in a coma. I’m not going to say ska is dead because it is a cliché to say that anything is dead because pop culture is constantly exhuming the dead bodies of old genre’s and trends (fashion is a zombie movie).  What wave are we in? Are we destined to be caught in a wave and to drown under the surf? I don’t know. Like I said placing bands into categories is a job put in the hands of listeners. Also it would be pretty presumptuous of me to say that we are going to bring “back” ska and that the third wave is over. Actually from what I see a lot of bands are still very interested in the third wave or sounding Jamaican or just sounding old. That is fine, but I think it is a mistake. Why must we walk on the shoulders of giants? Why must we do as the Romans do and steal their art from the Greeks? The Boss Beats are guilty of this too. Songs like “Love is Blind”, “Shadowman 9”, "Return to Spider Skull Island” and probably a few more are dripping in the leftovers of the past. I don’t apologize for these songs because I think there good songs. Even one of our “Newer” songs that I wrote “Cogs” is still influenced by the past. On the first things Zubin told me was it sound like the 80’s. What I think is different about the songs we are writing now is that we aren’t concerned with making it sounded like it was recorded in Studio 1 in 68. I want it to sound like I recorded it in a cave in 2011.  It’s a challenge to sound modern, and in some cases I can’t help but play that way (I could play a Gibson SG through a Marshall stack and the moment I try to solo it is still going to sound surf). I hope no one takes this as me criticizing the bands that work hard to play that sound. I honestly tip my hat at anyone that can do it right. That is their band and those are their goals. For me, my goal is to look at today. I want to create music that is here in the present.
            It’s easy to say that the old days were better, that the old days were the “best of times” but at the time they were “the worst of times”. Today is looked down upon. The past is held up high on a pedestal and the future is either dark or bright. Today is just beige and we aren’t going to see the brightness of the colors till we are old and grey and talking about the good ol’ days. In looking back about the past we forget the bad. What survives the erosion of time is usually the best that time had to offer. What artists should be creating is art that will represent the times they lived in not the times they wished they lived in. The Boss Beats are not the Romans (Yes I’m stereotyping Roman art). We are the Egyptians. If the pharaoh before builds a pyramid we are building a bigger pyramid. We are trying to kick old pharaoh’s pyramids ass. It’s going to be weird maybe it’s not going to even to be in the shape of a pyramid maybe it’s going to be a sphere or a cone. It’s going to have snakes with feathers and humming birds on fire (we sound more like the Aztecs). Maybe we are the Israelites escaping Egypt, tired of building the pyramids for the Pharaoh. We wish to break the bonds we have to the past and travel into the unknown land of milk and honey. I realize the irony in using an example from history and the Old Testament.
            A teacher was explaining to me once about the different types of sonnets. In the lecture she mentioned that how people writing in the different types are in “conversation” with the sonnets that preceded them. I look at most art in the same context. We are conversing with everyone working within our genre and sometimes outside of it. Just like in a real conversation it’s not going to go anywhere if you just repeat what somebody else said.
            We play Saturday all by ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. This is brilliant! So very clever, now lets see what else I might catch in my web of silk spirals. Thank you Will! We have produced Hip Hop Beats, Trap Beats, R&B Beats and Provide Free Beats, Royalty Free Music.