On a recent Friday, we had the pleasure of co-hosting an event. People enjoyed hearing the innovative sound of Hanegi Koen and they had fun jumping around and singing to their favorite Foo Fighters songs performed by Endless Nameless. Old friends caught up with each other; new friends were made. It took place at Cream – a cool spot in Shimokitazawa. The bands and the local hang-out spot could make some money. All in all, a fun night!
However, what stood out the most was the pure dedication and passion for music of the musicians (as it was agreed it wasn’t meant to be a big money-making event).
Before they could put their energy into a stage performance of a lengthy set of time, they first had to get there early, set up gear, and do soundcheck. It was clear they enjoyed themselves on stage and the crowd was thoroughly entertained. Obviously, all that didn’t just happen by chance. So much had already been invested before that show happened.
For a while now we have experienced the degradation of music in general. At the same time, rock music, which is usually written and performed by bands, is just not that popular anymore. Mainstream music these days is predominantly solo artists; many with ghostwriters.
Of course, technology has made it easier to make music by yourself but simply put: being musician or being in a band is hard work.
Not only do musicians need years to become proficient, they often need to spend hours practicing with a band (and pay for that), which they have to be able to arrange around their work/life schedules. In the case of regular bands, the members also need to click, musically and personally. Just because you have all the necessary musicians doesn’t mean you will be Led Zeppelin.
The writers also need to be creative enough to write decent music. This is a separate talent in its own right which can’t be overlooked. Otherwise, you will have the same song over and over as we see with pop music.
Once all that is done, musicians are not guaranteed a show. Without a manager, they need to get bookings and promote themselves. They often need to record material as well. That’s more money and time. Again, everything needs to work with their schedules. In most cases, at least at the local level, musicians have part-time jobs or full careers. They may also have a partner or family. Money and time can only be divided in so many ways and making it all work can be a daunting task.
With that said, it is like magic when you see musicians play on stage. It is a natural high allowing you to step outside of yourself. It’s an irreplaceable experience.
Yet, whether it’s a proper band, a solo artist with a backing band, or a jam session, so much needs to be invested before that performance can happen.
Well then what’s the point of writing this?
I’m sure many reading this know these things, but many others have never been in a band before and don’t know all of the demands. In the end, we should all appreciate musicians first of all. It’s an amazing skill. Next, we should appreciate how much work is needed for them to play shows and we should be thankful for the passion and determination of those artists. Parents, do the next generation a favor and raise musicians. Finally, most importantly, we must support the artists in whatever way we can. Go see them live, buy their merch, pay for their music, support them on social media, spread the word. Otherwise, we will be trying to survive in a world of Mad Max Martin.
This Thursday 5/26 Tokyo’s own international metalcore band Ask I Fall is playing at Ruby Room. Free show! Every Thursday is Berlin Party and we will do our best to showcase and support musicians and bands as much as we can.