So you're in a band: You've got your drummer, your bass player, a guitarist who shreds, and a singer. You're ready to go play your first Tuesday night gig at Double Door, right?
Well, sure, if you want to join the legions of other bands all working from the same basic building blocks of rock & roll and doing little more than retracing the same steps as a million other bands before you, but if you were to, you know, think outside of the box a little, imagine the rabid response from the world-at-large hungry for something new in their daily sonic diet.
But what constitutes "outside the box" at this point in the game? It's 2015, for crying out loud. Everything's been done, every crazy combination of genres has already been attempted. There is no new ground, right?
If you agree with this. your best bet is probably to form a cover band, but if you disagree with that statement even just a little bit, then you just might be our only shining hope.
Imagine Kate Bush, full of hope and inspired by something deep within her soul to create something, anything.with which to share her creativity with the world. She could have fallen back on conventional expectations, auditioned for band after band, gotten turned down left and right for not "fitting in", and eventually giving up out of frustration. Thankfully, she did no such thing.
Instead, she practiced karate and dance, all the while working on her music and searching for her voice. Even after her early demo tape found its way to Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd, who then financed a proper three-song demo that led to her signing with EMI, she invested her sizable advance on interpretive dance and mime lessons.
See, Kate was thinking outside the box and, well, it's safe to say that she knew what she was doing, even back then at the age of 16.
And then there's Gary Numan who, after releasing two rather conventional-sounding singles with Tubeway Army, including the above tune "That's Too Bad", found his voice within the keys of a
Minimoog Synthesizer that happened to be in the studio where they were recording. This, combined with his already fully-formed dystopian lyrical themes, gave him the identity and sound for which he is still known today.
Did we also mention he was one of the first musicians to embrace the power of commercials in promoting his music? Thanks to his contribution to a Lee Cooper jeans ad in 1978, Tubeway Army's next single, "Are Friends 'Electric'?" went to #1 in the UK.
In 1980, he would take his solo single "Cars" to #9, becoming the first synth-based artist to hit the Top 10 in the States.
Mind you, neither Kate Bush nor Gary Numan reinvented the wheel, or worked with completely non-conventional instrumentation, but their sonic palettes were uniquely their own and showed a remarkable flair for individuality that is sadly missing in music today.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to NOT blend in. The argument that everything has already been done, and been done to death at that, is a fair one, but they were also saying that long before either Bush or Numan came along, so the possibility for defying the odds is possible, even now. By finding the instrumentation and voice that is unique to you, no matter how unconventional it may seem at first, so that when your music is heard among the din of the thousands of other bands all fighting to be heard, yours will be the sound that rises above.