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You and Your Brand

For those of you who follow me on Twitter (@SarahSchonert), you’ve probably run into some of my discussions about Brand, whether it’s during a chat, some random thoughts, or in my interactions with fellow musicians and UX pros. Usually during the chats or the wider conversations, someone will chime in with a quip about selling out, being too corporate, or similar. Here’s the thing… Brand is important for serious musicians. You might bristle at this idea. You might be thinking “that sounds so corporate and that just isn’t me,” but guess what? You shunning “the man” is part of your Brand.

For those of you who treat your music like a business, Brand is incredibly important. But if music is just a fun hobby then this post isn’t so much for you. That’s okay! Not everyone who is public about their art or music needs to take themselves so seriously. However, the moment you start considering music as a part of your income that you seek to grow, then you should consider your Brand and message.

So what do we even mean by Brand (which you’ll notice I almost always capitalize for better or for worse)? Brand is how you present yourself. It’s how you show up publicly through your art, your social media postings, your music, your web-page, on-stage, and pretty much any public sphere where you are your representing yourself as a musician. It’s not just about a logo or a color scheme. It’s not just about styling or genre. (It includes those things for sure, but they are minor pieces.) It’s how all of it fits together to create the you that you wish to present to the world. And to be “on-Brand” means to be consistent with the message that you intend to promote and personify publicly.

If you were shunning the idea of having a Brand you may be rolling your eyes at me, maybe you’ve stopped reading (so it’s kinda moot I guess), or maybe you are starting to accept now that a consistent message and how you show up isn’t really all that “corporate.” You might still need convincing though and that’s fine. So here we go!

Having a consistent message and showing up in a consistent manner does a few things for you.

  • Your fans know what to expect from you and may be more willing to buy before they hear that next album
  • Music professionals (reviewers, bloggers, interviewers, etc) will take you more seriously as they see effort and professionalism on your part and have a better idea of what you are about by visiting your website or social media pages
  • Your marketing and media material can be easily reused, reducing your own workload when you adopt new social media platforms, advertise gigs, announce events, and and coordinate release material
  • People can find and recognize you regardless of the platform and are secure in the knowledge that they’ve followed the correct account on social media

Even if your Brand consists of mystery and surprises (no one says you have to be boring), if there are some constants then there will be comfort and trust that you will deliver on your promises. I’m reasonably sure there is something about you that is somewhat consistent and that you want to reuse because it represents you quite well. Perhaps it is your artist name, type of artwork you typically choose, your logo, etc. You need a good idea of which of these things are unwavering and embrace them.

I also want to point out that part of your Brand is your attitude and your public voice. I know many artists that make certain causes or even politics part of their platform. They keep their messages consistent and take responsibility for their actions and words. It suits them. It’s part of them; and their audience isn’t too surprised when they post their views. Whether it’s supporting the ACLU, promoting the arts in grade schools, or an unwavering love of penguins, these messages are a part of you that you may have chosen to be continually public about in conjunction with your artistic self and is now part of your Brand.

Another piece of your Brand is also how you talk about yourself. What is your bi-line? How do you describe your act or music to others? Have you coined a new term to sell your sound? Or maybe instead you find yourself using different words each time and rewriting your bios and blurbs. Not being consistent in your own descriptions is confusing to anyone who wants to talk you up, write about you, etc. If you aren’t sure how you’d describe yourself, your music, your message, then how will anyone else?

It may not be overly obvious that you can change up your look and feel and still be on-Brand. Brands evolve and take on new advertising campaigns, slogans, etc and so can you. I change my website and social media images with each new album (that’s part of my Brand actually to do so) but I do it across the board. My logo stays constant. My music style and my description of myself is mostly the same (although it has evolved over the years as it should). My message has matured but ultimately is still on-Brand. And the more I learn about how I wish to show up in this world, the more cohesive my message becomes. Your Brand should grow and evolve with you over range of time, so don’t be afraid that embracing it will limit your growth in the future.

SariGirl #WEATNU Digital Magazine – November 2019

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The Best Artists of the 80’s – Pet Shop Boys

In 1984, the group’s pioneering piece of synth pop, entitled ‘West End Girls’ thought of as their very best.
The Pet Shop Boys’ dark track was influenced by hip hop music and a TS Elliot poem, describing the pressures of inner-city life.

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The Pet Shop Boys’ second UK hit, ‘It’s A Sin’, depicts their time at the Catholic St. Cuthbert’s
High School in Newcastle. The song was written in 15 minutes, and was intended as a camp joke, but people consciously took very serious. I remember hearing the song for the first time, “how powerful” I thought, it moved me, hearing the clarity in his voice and how serious this was to him. The interesting thing about the song was, the local parish priest in Newcastle delivered a sermon on it, reflecting how the Church changed from the promise of a ghastly hell to the message of love.

In 1987. The synth pop duo covered “Always on My Mind”, a TV special marking 10 years since the King passed away. They decided to release it as a single, and it became that year’s Christmas number one.

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Their ‘Actually’ album (What Have I Done to Deserve This?) track was accompanied by Dusty Springfield (60’s soul legend), and it was a number two hit in the UK and US, riding close behind Rick Astley and George Michael’s top spots.

In 1992, Derek Jarman asked them to perform at a charity event in Manchester. ‘Go West’
a disco hit was selected and later, the two decided to record it as a single, and it was a huge hit.

During the duo’s early years, they wrote ‘Opportunities’ describing “two losers” and it is based around the quote “Let’s make lots of money”. Somehow, it is written about himself as being intellectual and educated.

Neil Tennant said he imagined this song “Rent” as being about a kept woman, living in America.
The song also deals with a financially one-sided relationship, kept as a kind of secret..

The song, “Being Boring” came from the accusation after someone said the duo was being boring. The duo described it as “one of the best songs that we’ve written. It’s tells of our teenage years and how we moved to London, and I became successful and my friend became ill.”

‘Release’, the duo’s 2002 album gave them another top hit, despite it bizarre music video, showing mice running across tracks and eating discarded food at a Court Road Underground station, with only minimal shops of the duo. Never accuse them of being boring.

Their 1988 album, ‘Introspective’  produced this song influenced by Latin pop and also by the song ‘Elle est comme les etoiles’ by Desireless.

Jazzykat#WEATNU Digital Magazine
November 2019

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#WEATNU – the next Punk scene

‘punk-wave’ is a term that’s been on my mind for a good while now. “It’s a movement of punk, whereby a group of DIY electronic artists are taking the scene back and presenting their music to a flood of fans and causing the next punk scene, not one that comes from guitar but from synthesizers and the sheer human willpower to be heard. It is against, not for the current music industry. It is empowering artists and allowing them to be creative in all realms. Without hindrance, and without bias.”

When artists come together across the world naturally, then you know something grand is happening. This change is occurring on a virtual global level, and building each day. WEATNU took part in creating this change in August 2014. Without someone opening a door to the creativity of the future artist, a scene could not have been created. Without hindrances or corp rules, you find a beautiful thing happening. WEATNU being a new millennial punk movement, makes it tied to the Internet, but the first wave of punk came from the late 70s, fueled by rebellion toward your parents, anarchy and disregard to rules, including a protest against the music your parents pushed on you, anti-government, anti-propaganda and political issues. Punk was an aesthetic of its time, soon to be adopted by pop culture. Before the decade had ended, that culture became the norm for the music industry in a whole. Punk gave way to Post-punk, batcave, synthpop, New Wave,  Goth, Darkwave, and so on. I did not have the pleasure of taking part of that scene as I was too young in 1983 “though I remember the music well at 6 years of age.” But being the last of Gen-X I can say I’m proud that my mid 90s teenage years were some of the best the world of music has ever encountered. As punk started to fade by the late 90s so did the music that fueled it and another era was born. We are the New Underground screams of punk, with its anti-corp attitude. The idea of #WEATNU was born from the unfairness that every solo electronic and experimental artist faces everyday. It’s a statement, one that is filling the internet slowly with its idea. It came out of a time of big media and major music fads of 2014. Fighting against the very system that pushes down creativity but instead rolls out the next cookie cutter single or album that makes millions. During that time, independent musicians were silently screaming to be heard. It takes only one idea to create a fire in others.

Where do musicians go when they want to be heard? The Internet so #WEATNU being born from social media came to its fruition by 2016. Culture cannot flourish when ideas are hindered, where the socialist attitude in the music industry takes away the spirit of music itself. Punk being the attitude of WEATNU, certainly embraces its past history. Punk is not something that is created for a whim but for the sake of change. WEATNU was that change, it was that idea that had to be created or the DIY / Electronic artist may have been lost to a sea of noise. (This was no accident) Musicians have a vision, they form the next culture, commerical norms come from the Underground. This underground we have created, we have formed and developed comes only from the human spirit and need to be heard, to have their music for once noticed by a sea of like-minded music lovers, not people fed by the machine that feeds the many their endless major chord and assembly-line wonders. Pirate radio and college radio played the underground for many years, void of rules, and ridicule. The music lover is tired of hearing top 40, they are tired of hearing about the next fly-by-night pop facade; which includes poser electronic music. WEATNU appeared suddenly overnight to fight this problem we were all facing, a future of uncertainty for the DIY musician. Music lovers and artists need to belong to a culture, just like each genre of music must have its scene, the next punk movement is born, the next scene is here. It will not go away, it will only get larger everyday, because people want change and they want the music to live forever. Artists are tired of the need to find a greater outlet to be noticed, to be appreciated. The modern electronic and even solo artist does not live off of money, money is the old term for record labels from the 80s, that time is far gone. WEATNU is freedom itself and a chance once again to be part of something that matters, something that is anarchy. Burn your corp flags, break down the walls, bring down the house and pile in with your second-hand gear and synthesizers, this new culture is coming soon to your side of the Internet. The prediction is WEATNU will not only be the symbol it stands for but a staple of life for musicians in the years to come. We all needed this, We.. are the New Underground. We are all one!

Almark#WEATNU Digital Magazine

March 2016

 

 

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Streaming music and the indie artist

It’s now 2016 and a lot of stuff had to happen for us to get where we are. Streaming markets are now the #1 place to find music and pay the artist. Spotify is on top of things with Apple coming close behind. What use to be a way to pay the artist via buy and download through Bandcamp, including iTunes is now being overshadowed with the streaming market. The problem lies in if you are an artist and have little to no fan base, streaming audio does nothing for you as far as revenue is concerned.  Thanks to the digital market making it the normal thing to stream music and only stream, we are stuck with a true issue. The problem is simple, so many can stream, and be done with it. Even allowing someone to download ‘for free’ usually does not yield results. They will go to A: streaming site instead of B: streaming / buy platform. Artists can beat their heads against the wall and still nothing will change. We’re all facing this trying time. The economy is partly to blame and streaming music is fully to blame. Being in my late 30s I remember when CD’s were the way of life, go to the store, buy a 15 dollar CD, come home and hope the rest of the album is as good as its debut single. But that wasn’t always the case through. We’ve seen streaming sites come and go in the last 5 years. When does it end? Is it ever going to help the solo artist, the unknown musician who not only pays to have their music uploaded to be streamed but gets back less than 11 dollars a year from streaming payments? Is this the future of music?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find a way to better ourselves? The full feeling of glorification knowing that your music is being downloaded ‘for free’ for sale, whatever. This issue isn’t being ignored either, musicians across the world are speaking out about the streaming war, in how unfair payment we all get. WEATNU Records only sells through weatnu.com and Bandcamp, because of this. Is there a reason to do more? Not really but let’s not be so negative for a moment. Musicians only want one thing, exposure, we’ve gone so low as to say we don’t even want money but money would be a good thing, at least the artist then knows they are being appreciated. We’re in a checkmate these days thanks to the large labels and their near ownership of these streaming services. It was said that some of the biggest players in the music mainstream made only 1000 dollars from 1 million plays through Spotify. Solo artists aren’t just starving to be heard, they are dying… How much longer before many simply give up? If someone doesn’t do something about this, many musicians who you use to know outside the mainstream will eventually fade away. Perhaps in the future someone will do something about this truly unfair advantage that these large corporations have over us. Oddly, you pay to be played, on these services. The truth of the matter is, you get paid peanuts and really what’s the use of any artist paying for a service they get nothing in return? These aren’t new problems, but they are continuing to be a real uphill battle for all of us.

As streaming services continue to tighten their grip on the indie artist, the indie artist continues to lose more money. Seriously.. no one can make it on 11 dollars a year. Some if they are lucky and have a decent fan base will make about 100 dollars a year from streaming. I take you to these problems because a lot of people just aren’t talking about it. An artist needs to sell their music, that’s their worth. Even WEATNU Records suffers from this, and since the label does not utilize streaming services, we in a whole are not part of the bigger picture. Fans do not buy music these days, they don’t have to, as many have said. It’s become an ever increasing battle that people don’t even buy CD’s or Vinyl, unless you release music that everyone likes. These words are dark, they are not sugar coated but they are in fact truthful. What happens when the majority of these talented artists do not tour? They do not sell.. It’s been said that if you are a touring artist, then you can sell your CD’s and tapes at the venue, people buy and go home happy. This abyss we call the Internet is eating us whole. Do you think there is an answer to this ever increasing problem called streaming audio?
Fans can listen forever on Bandcamp but never have to pay one dime. The simple act of charity is just not there, yet the artist needs your dollar to buy more equipment or food.
Soundcloud is now the leading service to change their policy, starting this year they plan to charge. This is just one more nail in the coffin wouldn’t you say? The solo artist or unknown band simply writes music for the love of it, that itself is their livelihood, it’s their dream to release the next album. Thanks to the artists themselves and the passion of their creation, we can at least go on hearing their music, free or not. The show must go on.

Almark#WEATNU Digital Magazine – March 2016.

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DIY / Electronic culture

Culture is an important part to music, as it dictates the direction of future music generations. Groups of people form together to make micro-scenes, one side you have Vaporwave, the other you have experimental / avant-garde, Synthwave, Synthpop and Dreampop. We’re living in a time where we no longer need to be fed music to find what we like; instead we search on the net. Indie music has always been the entrance to the underground. But the underground is far larger than the mainstream. Punk, Electronica, Techno, DnB, IDM. Have all come from the underground scene. There is a paradigm shift happening now, the Internet, social media and musicians can now form as one to share, over-share and saturate the virtual music scene. A flood of musicians pour into groups, forums, facebook, twitter and of course Tumblr at every moment. WEATNU is part of that culture, instead of filling it with confusing noise, it is filling the music world with an identity and culture #WEATNU culture. After nearly two decades we are seeing what Electronic music is becoming. The DIY scene + Electronic, is bringing to our ears, for the first time soloists in droves. Many of us who are in our 30s grew up listening to Grunge music and then later we broke away to find something different, thus the Electronic / DIY community began in our homes, apt’s, bedrooms and garages. Artists have to find ways to share their art, and WEATNU took that opportunity in doing so. Solo Electronic music is the future of music itself. The idea of the band is now a guy/girl on stage with a monome, ableton live, laptop and a small MIDI Controller.

But culture also encompasses the vibe itself, the DIY musician or band is elevated off the ground through their own promotion. Twitter becomes the manager, Facebook becomes the way to show others what you do and the list goes on. DIY culture is important because it tells another side of music history. What was born from the Internet after the year 2000 was this culture and it’s here to stay. WEATNU continues to discover and bring forth the greatest of these artists, their voices are heard from a great distance through the talent they display; whereas other publications and radio might dismiss their existence.  WEATNU is a culture all its own. An audience of fans waiting to hear something new and unique. The community of listeners become the culture and WEATNU is slowly becoming a hidden part of pop culture itself. In time it will be noticed by more and the artists who are both band and solo alike will have a platform to stand on and show their music to the world.

But there is more to the world of Electronic than DIY solo artists. WEATNU progresses through its search of the hidden artist, now pushing its way into the dance community. Holding together the experimentalist, producer, composer and finally DJ. Such a movement of avid artists creates avid fans. With the likes of labels such-as WARP Records and Ninja Tune, WEATNU is just as important as not only a movement but a record label as well. Net-radio continues to play the artists 24/7. For every new act that the DIY scene discovers, the music world continues to progress. And unlike the world of the mainstream, underground culture is always changing, always trying new ideas. Never holding to one thing for too long. It’s a raw, uncharted world that a person could never completely wade through and find every piece of music ever created. The Internet has become that world, now with endless artists doing something somewhere in any part of the world. Culture itself through the pop craze, or pop culture has always shaped a generation. The 80’s generation was shaped by MTV and British Pop, which later became more corp driven and started to lose its way well into the 2000’s. Experimental culture is once again showing up in the world of music. But the artists of tomorrow, the pioneers who are the next Gary Numan will come through the doors of WEATNU, or have already, and one more important part of underground culture will be noted in the history of music.  These DIY artists are important to music and the scene itself. We are seeing a new punk era forming right before our eyes. Thanks to the greatness of modern technology, and the Internet’s social media. Pop culture creates itself, naturally and WEATNU takes in the acts that are unnoticed and talented.

Almark#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Dec 2015

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The Internet: A modern record store

I can remember a time sifting through a stack of vinyl in a local music store while being able to look outside and watch the cars go by. Some unknown indie rock song would play on the speaker system, hand picked by the owner of the store. The feeling of holding a new artist’s CD in my hands or looking through an assortment of tapes in their plastic packages, you know, “they were white colored hard plastic that the front desk had to open.” Asking the girl at the front of the store if they had a certain artist, and being led to a bin to dig for that album, usually on tape. These were the 90’s, a time where the independent record store was floating happily above water, and all the while the major labels were booming. There was balance, there was a want for a physical medium. The feeling of ownership was burning in your heart when you entered through the door and heard the bell ringing above your head. A time in the States that I remember well…

The small record store was truly independent. Over time this commodity we all took for granted started to fade by the change of the millennium. The Digital age: where a store no longer meant a place where you walked in and spoke to a warm human but where large corporations fed you what they wanted you to buy instead of a select hand-picked assortment of punk albums or local indie bands. Tower Records and other traditional record stores began to fade and the major retailers became the place to buy your favorite music. But the music store, was it dead yet? The Internet is now being noticed more by non-tech savvy music lovers, than just your average nerdy stereotype. Or kids who use to play MUD on their college terminals, instead of studying for their mid-terms. Napster appears three years later and changes all the rules, and a demand for quick download-able ‘free’ media was born.

Over time companies started to appear, websites would join in this moving trend and apple iTunes became the leader in the digital market. The rule of the album was no longer valid, as now a song equals a dollar. Then something happens, a company called Bandcamp joins the world of digital music by 2007 and brings forth that old warm feeling of the record store. You are now able to create your own storefront digitally, set your prices and make a profit, with 0 overhead. “Something of a dream to most in the 90s who might have needed a second mortgage to afford a small store to sell indie music.” DIY musicians flooded the online indie scene by the first decade of the 2000s. Then one by one other digital websites appear and thus begins the streaming war. But today people still love that feeling of ownership,  and that warm crackling sound of your favourite vinyl album. Even tapes never lost their mystery to the new listener.

By 2012 and onward the craze to ‘buy’ music starts up again. What use to feel like a dying thing is now a demand to own ‘something.’ Record Store Day opens in 2015 and the entire world is faced with a demand for vinyl production but years after this need ended. While all this was happening, WEATNU appears and starts to come to the surface to join the indie scene. Ignored and greatly talented electronic artists become selected like soldiers in an army to join the ranks with the best musicians in the world. Then their music is presented directly into the light for a niche world to meet a niche musician and history is made. The indie scene comes in different forms and everyone is talking DIY. The artist and fan meet on social media and finally once again, thanks to the Internet and the love of music, the record store returns. And it might not be a place where you can go and pick up the band you love or ask to have your white tape seal removed. But since the online record store is here, we can have that warm feeling again when we buy music from a new indie artist. But something big is happening around the world, people once again want to own a part of the artist, and thats a good thing.

Almark#WEATNU Digital Magazine

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Impressionism or Pop algorithm

Impressionism or Pop algorithm? The Internet is a canvas for 10’s of 1000’s of musicians. It’s a post-escapism of styles, feelings and people who don’t believe a career should be set in stone according to money. Their career is spent making music. Their payment comes from those who listen to the art they present. Much like the Beat generation of the 1950’s, and surrealist movements. Artists have always been deep thinkers, and art is still very much alive today. We’re living in a time where the musician is no longer just a musician but a painter, a sound engineer and field recorder; the world is their canvas… The electronic portraits we as musicians create are otherworldly. And it takes a certain audience to behold this type of music. Escapism isn’t made for the masses to marvel at. If the masses wanted to they would have beheld Salvador Dali in all his grandeur. Each sub-tone, freq sweep, or melody is another brush stroke. While they combine past Electro influences with their own creations. Continuing to invent new patterns of sound.

Electronic music is an endless world of new ideas, styles, feelings and hidden motives. It’s a place much like the Punk underground, where people were using their guitars to make a political statement. The speakers guitar was his or her voice. Electronic music is so deep and unexplainable, it could be that this is the new classical era or even punk, only we as composers are using everything at our disposal to create music. An avant-garde if you will. And much like the past composers, so there are now hidden artists encompassing the endless web. #WEATNU is a hidden world in a way, where only they who are seeking to show their strange artworks to the world find us. #WEATNU is growing into something of a cult following, a select group of people who love post-modern things stumble into our realm. They want to go beyond the limits. In the past people would rebel by listening to things that were above the mainstream.

Many of our parents might have rebelled by listening to Elvis instead of Bing Crosby, Punk instead of Classic rock, Post-punk instead of Disco or Techno instead of New Wave. #WEATNU is that post-escapism that is happening today. A virtual “electronic underground” of sorts. Different musicians on every continent. #WEATNU rebels against post-2000 Pop and EDM, but at the same time urges it to be more open-minded and less monotonous. Yet you might wonder, “Why would you want to rebel against Electronic Dance Music?” Because it’s mainstream, it’s a wall that suits the masses. A corp giant that has become too big. It’s a set of rules that dampens the soul of what Electronic was meant to be. It keeps the unknown electronic musician from doing what they wish, and they are forced to adhere to the formula that gets old fast to become known. The underground musician does not care about barriers, they do not base their beats on algorithms or how many people they can pack into an auditorium. The music comes from the human heart. Something that electronic music has always done, but the masses were too afraid to find it, or maybe they did not have a map to the unknown. #WEATNU is certainly an experiment. A means to present all experimental musicians, synthpop, and many other electronic styles with a way to be noticed. From dark ambient to field recording avant-garde musicians and even noise. The masses may be entranced in their EDM, but #WEATNU is certainly paying attention to its many artists who aren’t afraid to go beyond the norm. It’s become a staple for the unknown electronic artist to gain exposure and will continue in the years to come.

Almark#WEATNU Digital Magazine.

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EDM vs Electronic

Age gaps have always been trouble for any friendship or relationship, the further away someone is to another the less chance we have at getting them to understand or relate where we are coming from. History is lost between the genres and you end up with two completely different era’s and sides. #WEATNU has set out to end this confusion and present the history of Electronic music to the modern EDM youth, but when one side is confetti and loud music, the other side is dark lit clubs with soulful beats and aging DJ’s, along with their aging synthesizers and drum machines, then it becomes difficult. Enter the gap between two genres of music. One side the mainstream, the other the underground. The electronic music lover from the past 20 years is slowly approaching their 40’s, some started even younger and moving into their golden years. Early 20 somethings don’t have time to hear what the electronic sages are saying. But what we’re trying to do is present them with the ability to discover what electronic music is now, and how it’s just as strong today, if not stronger than it was 20, 30 years ago. Much of what we heard ‘back then’ is indeed underground.

When the EDM explosion hit about 2009, it appeared as if the entire world turned it’s head to this Swedish-based progressive trance/house anomaly, equipped with 90’s rave girls and kandi kids selling modern homemade go-go wear. It’s the modern version of Electronic, a place where the youth can go and relax, push themselves to the limit and just get crazy, prob more crazy than my 90’s generation ever was. When you have two sides trying to present each others music, this is where the trouble begins. A twenty year old college student doesn’t get what Boards of Canada is, or wants to, or better yet Underworld, Orbital or even Kraftwerk. 90’s rave culture was all about the music, the energy and yes, drugs. EDM is all about the festival, sometimes the music and yes drugs. Where these two cultures are now is very difficult for the other to notice or even relate. Try telling a 20 year old about the greatness and history of Electronic music and why their EDM is so popular, they will just ignore you and put on their Deadmau5 ears and go on. And yes EDM is here because of the great vibrant history of 30 years of Electronic music.

Something needs to be done to save our history of electronic music, preserve it. I personally miss the days of discovering new underground electronic genres such as DnB, Dub, Experimental, where your heart moved to the rhythm, it was soulful, it was magic. Being American and hearing a underground UK artist gave me a warm feeling. Today the endless array of billionaire titles in a super-saturated market gives EDM its luster. But all this time Electronic lovers who grew up to the classics, try to relate their story to the EDM generation, at how important the history is. It’s akin to talking to your teenager about tin cans and how you would make a telephone from them during the 90’s, then they reach for their iPhone and thumb a few words to their friend in the middle of your conversation. The beauty of #WEATNU is the variety of sub-genres we provide to the masses, if they would only listen. Our attempt is to present them with these modern underground musicians who simply want to share their experience with others, and do not care to adhere to the mold of EDM to be heard. These artists are shaping a new genre, and even without #WEATNU, this in time was bound to happen. Humans decide the fate of music, because everyone has tastes. Is Electronic better than EDM? Only the electronic lover can answer that. But between the genres, one is like oil and one is like water, and oil and water never mix.

Almark#WEATNU Digital Magazine

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80’s Superstars – The Thompson Twins

This British music group was formed in April, 1977 and initially were New Wave. They switched to a more mainstream Pop sound and were very popular in the mid-1980’s, scoring a string of hits in the United Kingdom, the United States, and around the globe.

The band was named after the two bumbling detectives in Herge’s comic strip, The Adventures of Tintin.. We know this extremely talented band as “The Thompson Twins.”
At various stages, the band had up to seven members though their best known incarnation was as a trio between 1982-86. Becoming a prominent act in the so-called Second British Invasion, the band performed at Live Aid where they were joined on stage by Madonna.

Early Days – In 1977 the line-up consisted of Tom Bailey on bass and vocals, Pete Dodd on guitar and vocals, John Roog on guitar, and Jon Podgorski (aka “Pod,”) on drums. Dodd and Roog met when they were both 13 years old. They arrived in London with very little money, and lived as squatters in Lillieshall Road, London. Allanah Currie, from Auckland, New Zealand lived in another squat in the same street, and it was there she met Tom Bailey. They lived in a ramshackle and run-down house and they found an illegal way of “borrowing” electricity from the house next door.

Bailey described them as “on the dole,” – unemployed back then, and they were living on very little, scavenging everything they could lay their hands on. He even said that the only instruments they had were bought, or had been stolen or borrowed. Pete Dodd managed to get a “council flat” close by. Their “roadie,” at the time was John Hade, he lived in the same house, and later became their manager.

Jon Podgorski decided to stay in the north, so the group auditioned several drummers at the Point Studio in Victoria, London. Andrew Edge joined them on drums for less than a year, and left the band to join Savage Progress, who later toured with the Thompson Twins as their support act on the 1984 UK tour.

The line-up by 1981 was Bailey, Dodd, Roog, Bell and two new members: former band roadie Joe Leeway on congas and percussion and Jane Shorter on saxophone.

This line-up recorded the first Thompson Twins album “A Product of. . .(Participation)“, documented in the film, “Listen to London” (1981). Allanah Currie, who had been with the band for years, played and sang on the first album, but was not a full member. After the first album, the band’s line-up shifted yet again. Saxophonist Jane Shorter left, percussionist Currie was made an official member, and bassist Matthew Seligman, a former member of The Soft Boys and The Fallout Club, joined. Bailey moved to keyboards and guitar in addition to serving as lead vocalist, with Leeway handling vocals on a few tracks. The band signed to Arista Records and released the album “Set”. Thomas Dolby played some keyboards on “Set” and on some live gigs, since Bailey had little experience with synthesizers before then. “Set” contained the single, “In the Name of Love”, sung and largely written by Bailey. It became a No. 1 dance club hit in the US, and an album entitled “In the Name of Love”, consisting mainly of tracks from “Set”, with two others from “A
Product of . . . (Participation) was released in the US to capitalize on the song’s popularity. It entered the US Billboard 200.

After the success of “In the Name of Love”, manager Hade convinced Bailey Leeway and Currie to downsize the Thompson Twins to three, in April, 1982. The other four members of the band were notified, they were paid 500 pounds and were allowed to keep their instruments and equipment in exchange for an agreement not to perform together under the name “Thompson Twins”. The remaining Thompson Twins went to the Bahamas where they recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau with the producer Alex Sadkin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6cn0mLJVZY

The band broke in the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1983 with “Lies” and “Love on your Side”, which became the band’s first UK Top 10 single. They then released their third album, “Quick Step and Side Kick” (it was called “Side Kicks” in the US), and peaked at Number 2 in the UK and was later certified platinum. Several singles followed, “We Are Detective” (another Top 10 UK hit) and “Watching” (UK#33). All three band members received songwriting credits, though the band publicly acknowledged Bailey as the songwriter, with Currie contributing lyrics and Leeway focusing on the stage show. During 1983, the band opened for The Police concert tour in the US.

“Hold Me Now”, was released in late 1983. The song was an international chart success, peaking at No. 4 in their native UK, where it became the band’s largest seller, earning a “Gold Disc”, and reached No. 3 in the US in the Spring of 1984 becoming their biggest US hit. The band’s new album, “Into the Gap”, was released in early 1984 and became one of the year’s biggest sellers, selling five million copies worldwide. It topped the US Albums Chart and was later certified double platinum there. Further hit singles from the album followed with “Doctor! Doctor! (UK No. 3) and “You Take Me Up” (UK No. 2 their highest UK singles chart placing and which earned a “Silver Disc”). Other singles included a new version of the album track “Sister of Mercy” (UK No. 11), and “The Gap” (though this was not released in the UK).

The band embarked on a world tour in support of the album, which had also made the US top ten. A brand new single, “Lay Your Hands On Me”, was released in the UK in late 1984 and reached No. 13 in the UK charts. Following this, the band parted company with their producer Alex Sadkin and opted to produce their new album, “Here’s To Future Days, by themselves in Paris.

However, in March 1985, while promoting their new single “Roll Over” and the forthcoming album, Bailey
collapsed in his London hotel room from nervous exhaustion. The “Roll Over” single was then canceled at the last minute and the new album postponed. Nile Rodgers was called in to rework the album with them and was eventually released in September, 1985, reaching the UK Top 5 and US Top 20, though failed to come close to the success of “Into The Gap”. Other singles that were made was “Don’t Mess With Doctor Dream” (UK No. 15), followed by “King For A Day” which peaked at No. 22 in the UK, but reached No. 8 on the US chart. Other singles included a new US version of “Lay Your Hands On Me” (US No. 6) and an unsuccessful cover of The Beatles’ 1968 hit “Revolution” which became the band’s first single to fail to make the UK Top 30 in three years.

The planned Summer 1985 tour of the UK (and a headlining appearance at the Glastonbury Festival) had to be canceled due to Bailey’s collapse from exhaustion (fans with tickets received a free live album as compensation), international dates were re-scheduled and the latter half of 1985 were sell out tours for the band in the US and Japan. A second planned tour of the UK in 1985 was also scrapped due to the promoter declaring bankruptcy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d991M9Ebq98

Leeway left the band in 1986, and the remaining duo of Bailey and Currie carried on making music for another seven years. 1987 saw the release of “Close to the Bone” and the single “Get That Love”, which climbed to No. 31 in the US but failed in the UK.

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – By Kathryn S

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