Humdrum by Scenery

March 28, 2013, at 04:24:26 PM

Hello all!

I'm going to start using this blog more. I really am! I've been doing a lot of writing so I will probably be doing a few posts on the finer points I've learned. 

In the meantime, I noticed that I haven't posted about my band's new album, Humdrum.

I'm in an electronic music group named Scenery. We have been around since 2009 and this is our fourth album. You can listen and download here. It was released in the In Rainbows model of "name your own price" (including free).

Scenery is an interesting group because all of the members are full-fledged producers in their own right. We have a system: every song is owned by one person. All of the members contribute what they can to the songs but the owner has the final say in the end result. This makes our music eclectic and diverse. Aron loves post-rock and shoegaze music and that shines through in his song, Godish. Zach loves clean production and mellow, melodic music; Mirage is his baby. Seth loves big beats and epic sounds; opener, Years of Gold, was obviously his project.

The result we shoot for are albums that are assembled a bit like Abbey Road. Different genres and sounds are stitched together into something that is cohesive--we hope, at least.

For Humdrum, we came up with a concept of songs about memories, nostalgia and dreams. A small manifesto was written at the beginning of the writing and recording process with creeds such as: "Don't be afraid to get personal" and "Let the music breath; space is OK". I think it is the best thing we have done. I hope you agree. Below is links to all of the websites and social media Scenery is involved with.

Scenery's Website

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Electronic Musicians: Promote Your Town

April 11, 2013, at 03:22:02 PM

Electronic music is a unique genre. An artist like Burial can sit in his house, fiddle with Sound Forge, create a masterpiece of emotion and nuance, and release it out to the world without ever showing his face. I doubt he’s rich off of his music, but if you know electronic music you’ve heard of Burial.

Recording and composing have become dirt cheap. Money and resources are not part of the equation anymore; one only needs talent.

It comes as no surprise that electronic artists have global aspirations; the goal is distant but not unachievable. In reality, though, most artists’ work will never see the outside of their Facebook and Twitter circles. They forget one rule. It’s a rule any rock, punk or country band knows by heart: Conquer your own town first.

Selfless Promotion

I read a blog article recently by Marcus Taylor from The Musician’s Guide on Music Clout the other day--Why it Pays to Replace Self-Promotion with Selflessness. He touts the advantages of becoming genuine and gaining credibility by talking about other artists you love. This is great advice.

The key here is that you are being selfless. That means that you are not expecting anything in return. You’re talking about things you love because you really love them. You are building up a tangible social karma by being positive and encouraging.

Think about the town or city you live in; there are probably things you love about it and things you hate. Think about the things you love: that coffee shop you go to several times a week, that bar that knows your favorite drink, your favorite music venue, the best falafel place in town. Think about your favorite local blog, the black and white ‘zine you always read, and local band you love seeing live.

Talk about these places. Mention them on Twitter, link to them from your Facebook Page, write a blog post about one of them. It literally costs you nothing to do this. The time it takes is measured in seconds or minutes. The people you are promoting will love you and the people that follow you will respect you.

Your Town is Looking for You

Go to Soundcloud and type in a genre name. You’ll receive countless hits (Really, countless. Soundcloud stops counting at 500+). Now type in a genre name and the town you live in: much more manageable. There is simply too much music being made for a no-name act to have a chance at being noticed on a global scale.

People want to know you. They want local artists to make it big so they can say they knew them when they were small. Here in Phoenix, nearly everyone I know that has been here for years has a Jimmy Eat World story. They’ll tell you about seeing them play in a cramped storage unit or Modified Arts. Your own town is rooting for you to succeed. They just need to know about you.

Promote your town: events that you’re going to, businesses that you frequent and bands you love. Tell people about the little record shop where you buy your vinyl or the local soap that you buy. Get involved with groups and attend community meetings. Go to music shows and art openings.

The Best Validation

One time, a Mexican blog wrote a little review of Scenery’s music that I had to use Google to translate. I thought that was pretty cool because I have no idea how they found us. I still have one memory that won’t be topped, though.

I was sitting in a restaurant in the small Arizona town I grew up in. It was 2005. I was in a band that had just released an album on CD. A young woman came up to me and asked if I was in The Green Revolution. Yup, I was. She told me that the last track on the album meant so much to her and had gotten her through a hard time. This wasn’t a nameless person a thousand miles away. This wasn’t another play count on Myspace (2005, remember). This wasn’t a blog post from a stranger in a different country. This was a flesh and blood person from my hometown that was affected by my music.

Winning over your town is the best validation. Hearing your song come on at your favorite coffee shop or having a local blog interview you is what makes it worth it. Win over your town by promoting it. Be positive and helpful. Social karma always finds a way to repay. 

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