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Sunday, 11 September 2011

Get it off your chest.

Over the last week some cracks have appeared in the Ayrshire music scene and in some cases it has descended into blatant personal digs at people.
It's uncalled for, but it isn't any real surprise.
This is just the point that every local scene reaches all over the world.
There is a groundswell of talent, and from that healthy, and unhealthy, competition arises. It's all part of the ebb and flow, and as the years past you can chart it regardless of where you are geographically located.
It's not really a localised issue.
The difference from place to place is how it is dealt with.
So I'm going to outline some thoughts on the matter and then within the comments others can feel free to exercise their right to voice an opinion.
Due to the recent amount of anonymous posts being made I will however only be allowing those with a name to be given space on the blog.
If anyone has a problem with logging in to make a comment then feel free to do it within the anonymous option, but close the comment with your name.

Okay here we go.
First things first.
There is no free pass in music.
You can be the best guitarist in a hundred mile radius, but if you are playing in a band with a crap bassist, a drummer who can only keep a beat going while having a wank, and a singer that couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, then it wont matter.
Or your uncle may have the contacts to secure you high profile support slots, but if an audience doesn't get what you are doing then tough.
That's as far as you are going.
You could also be in the best prog rock band that we have seen on these shores in the last decade, but if drum and bass is what is grabbing the majorities attention then unfortunately it just isn't your day.
Much of being in a band has little to do with talent or even lack of talent, but more so being in the right place at the right time.
Deal with it.
Once band members can accept that then they may be able to have a healthier approach to what they do.
So if you are in the position of thinking that locally everyone is against you, and no one is willing to give you a leg up then consider all the angles.
Are you as good as you think? Are you in a band who has one or two members who are holding you back? Do you bring anything to the party that anyone else wants?
Maybe the lack of offers to join in on collective projects isn't down to anyone considering that you have a lack of talent. It could just be that your skills aren't fitting in with what someone else wants right at that given moment.
Or instead - and this is what I think is happening just now - you could let bitterness into your heart and put down your lack of success to shadowy Machiavellian plots being carried out by unknown individuals whose whole aim in life is to belittle your efforts and sabotage your progress in life.
If some people could manage to take a step back and look at life from out-with the little bubble they have created then maybe they could see that for the crap it is.
The lack of forward motion could be down to many, many, many things.
I've seen terrible - in my opinion - acts make a splash, and I've seen bands and performers play magical life affirming sets and no one has really given them the credit for it, and they certainly haven't increased there profile or made it off the back of these performances either.
What can be done about that?
Well you can either buckle down and keep playing because you want to, or you can just give up.
The choice is down to the individual.
I can appreciate that sometimes it is frustrating, and it is difficult to equate a great deal of effort resulting in meagre returns, but that's life.
What I would like to see is the talent in Ayrshire continuing to move forward, and if this includes you then great, and if it doesn't then at least accept it with good grace.
The bottom line is that it doesn't mean you are better or worse than anyone else as that is just subjective.
It just means that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that is something that is out-with the control of everyone else.
Especially those who are doing well.
So no real need to spew bitter bile at them.

I hope that this can be taken in the spirit it is intended and some good will come of it. So please consider any comments before making them.


  1. Make the most of the good times and learn from the bad ones, and most of all never take it for granted even when playing to an empty pub in a town where nobody knows you, the most important thing I have learned is dont chase tour dreams just go with it and enjoy the social life and new friends that come with this music thing its a good time

  2. That's the way to go. It's not about setting dreams aside, but accepting that the achievement of them isn't a right. Keep working at it, enjoy it and in the end regardless of how much success is accrued it will have been an enjoyable experience. No one should pin their hopes on something that they have no control over.

  3. I think the scene is also lacking in variety.
    And in my honest opinion, 95% of the bands sound exactly the same.You see bands and you can't differentiate the first from the last.
    From what I've seen no band grabs you and shakes you about and after it your like 'what the fuck did I just witness' (in a good way).
    And I also think this is another reason why people are not supporting the scene.
    They are bored.
    The biggest band in Ayrshire right now offers absolutely nothing new, innovative or exiting to the scene.
    It's really worrying and I don't know if it can get out of the rut it is in.

  4. I think that comes down to the subjective matter of taste Cass, but I would agree that we seem to have plenty of imaginative solo acts, but few bands as you have described.

  5. I'll add that I don't thinkthat the general apathy towards local bands and artists playing is down to an audience being bored with them.
    You have to go and see them before you can make that call and more often enough no one is.
    You look at your workmates. I bet they are roughly the same as mine.
    They go clubbing, or to see high profile acts in large venues and don't have one inkling about what is going on anywhere else.

  6. I respectfully disagree, in that I think a lot of groups and individuals like the Girobabies, Coco Bryce, Colin Hunter, Tragic O'Hara, Ross Gilchrist, Cal Wiseman and others all offer something completely different and interesting. I think all of these people are ploughing away doing their own thing and I doubt any of these would instigate any discussion of "competition". For them, there IS no competition because nobody's doing the same thing. Without wishing to self publicise, I don't think anyone's doing what we're doing either. I don't really know where the cracks have formed etc, but I do know that we can all do much better if we work together rather than against one another. If you're feeling your band is underexposed, put on the gig yourself and pick the lineup. Just my view

  7. I must admit, I can be at fault fault for thinking the world or some unknown force, Should take the blame for the fact that my position/career/whatever, In music has not progressed.

    I understand that certain artists and bands, get a leg up and it's no their fault. If an opportunity presents itself, take it.
    But it's hard not to be bothered by it, especially if they are guff!

    I have made my peace with the level of my career , never exceeding that far beyond my bedroom. But I still do get anxious about it and want to more. For a personal gain.

    But why do we need this gain? Suppose it's different reasons for all of us and that is why people act differently to failings ( whatever levels they are)

  8. I must agree that the Ayrshire Music scene is in a healthy state at the moment with some great acts and good wee venues coupled with the likes of The Darvel Music Festival and Live at Troon.I'm afraid that any scene breeds bitching and backstabbing,it comes with the territory, which was even the case back in the 80's when I started although we did not have computers to hide behind.I think it's a real shame that someone like Mainy who puts his heart and soul into his gigs and his blog,has been targetted like this.Is he meant to like every band or artist he sees at every gig he attends?Some acts I like,Mainy doesn't and vice versa,but it's not something we are going to fall out about.If you are in a band or a solo act you have to take the rough with the smooth you can't possibly expect everyone to like you that's just not feasible.Just go out and ENJOY playing,writing,gigging etc and just see what comes along and if you don't enjoy it then whats the point.

  9. Ayrshire has a fantastic scene at the moment. If people don't like me (and Lord knows I've given plenty of reason for them not to) that's fine.

    Whether it be an office or a small music scene folk are always going to bitch about others, no point dwelling on it. Fuck the cunts - the rest of you make it a pleasure to visit Kilmarnock. That's some feat.

  10. It is my belief that jealousy, bitterness and resentment of other musicians and bands is one bad bad thing. Why would anybody waste their emotional energy on hating on other people or bands? What is the point? Why transmit negative energy to other people, its selfish! There are many many many brilliant musicians in Ayrshire, we have so many talents here all in one place, it's fantastic it really is. I'm hearing new music and bands, and hearing for the first time of bands who have been on the go for a long long time and it's great, I love it, I love music I really do.

    I think its far healthier when people are respectful of each other rather than sniping at them. I like some music more than I like other music but that's no grounding to be horrible about people or negative towards people, what's the point?! Whether its an attempt to create controversy or it's just plain jealousy, what's the point? Where does it get that person? Nowhere. Rather than putting heart and soul into bitching about other people why not just get on with making music and living life? It doesn't do anybody any good whatsoever to put people down, what's the point in that? Isn't it better to be respectful of other musicians, even if you think their music is the worst fucking thing you've heard in your life? So what! :) Each to their own, we are all doing our own thing and everyone brings their own thing, their own style, songs, personality, you name it.

    Ayrshire, the west of Scotland, Scotland as a whole, the music industry is pretty small all in all, most people doing the rounds whether by playing gigs or promoting them will end up meeting the majority of other people involved in music before long. Why would anybody with a serious intent or desire on making a career fort themselves, any career, by insulting their peers? It stinks bad. We are all music fans, we all have our tastes and different things inspire us and opinions will vary greatly. That's our right and we are entitled to it. But dissing other people is simply unprofessional and a bit childish. If people put their energies into working hard at their music rather than slagging other people off then they might find that more positive things happen for them. Attitude is important. A positive one is quite helpful!

    What I would say is that there is loads of great musicians in Ayrshire but a multitude of them don't promote themselves well enough. Through lack of confidence or through lack of ambition I don't know. If you want to make something happen in life then you will. You can sit about wishing for things or you can get out there and make something happen and slagging other people off is hardly going to do anyone any good. It's a bit like being back at school for christ sakes!

  11. (cont)
    Singing is my heart and soul, I love doing it, it makes me feel good, so that's why I do it. I have no time or notion for slagging anybody off. I'm too fucking busy! I've had loads of great things happen for me over the past 16 months, it's been fucking brilliant and I'm really enjoying myself. But I have no manager, no publicist, no agent, no family connections in the music industry, and do you know what, I don't need any of them. All I need in music is me, I'm the one who makes my music and sings therefore it's my responsibility to do with it what I will. I think if bands or singers feel they aren't getting opportunities then they should make them. Make.It.Happen. Nobody is going to come along and make it happen for you. Nobody. The last 16 months have been great, very positive and I've worked at making things happen, for myself, by myself. I have met a lot of really nice musicians and singers and bands over that time, brilliantly talented people. The number of talented musicians and bands in Ayrshire is absolutely huge.

    Rather than people sniping at each other I would suggest people at least being respectful of one another and thinking and acting positively. That way they might move faster towards their goals whatever they may be as opposed to letting negativity get to them. If someone wants to makes a success of something then they should work like fuck.

    I knew a band, now defunct, who had a family member with pretty good connections in the music industry I would imagine. The band could play, the singer could sing. They weren't doing anything new musically, it wasn't exciting. They had some great support slots with much more established and popular bands for a while. They didn't really go anywhere and the support slots and music industry connections didn't exactly make them millionaires. Of course there is a degree of nepotism in the music industry, just like there is in any industry, but it's certainly not going to ensure a long and fantastic career in music. Music fans like what they like and you can't guarantee success just by being related to someone or someone knowing some one else.

    With the access musicians have to great recording gear now and the internet, the greatest marketing tool ever invented, there is more scope and platform for musicians getting their music out there, to an international audience for fuck sakes. Why anyone would publicly moan about their own lack of perceived success and slag other musicians off is beyond me. If you love playing music play music. If you want to make a career out of it then work like fuck, then work some more. If you want to gain the respect of your peers then treat them well. If you want to have people see you bitching and moaning about things then go for it but it's hardly cool as it. People should get on with their shit rather than spewing negativity at other musicians, bands, anyone in music. What is the fucking point. Think and act positive and play your fucking heart out and stop moaning and start doing things for yourself would be my words to anyone who might feel things aren't happening.

    Read online music blogs, listen to new music radio shows, find opportunities to get involved in through other people, the music blogs, do research, get yourself involved and get out there. But don't moan about other musicians on the internet who haven't done anything to you, it just makes you look unprofessional and fickle.

    Positivity all the way.

  12. Music, particularly in local scenes, is always going to be an emotive matter. It's a bit like arseholes and opinions - everyone has one. Though I would say that having a violent or disruptive opinion is not grounds for voicing your negativity. I'm only now sauntering back into the music scene in Kilmarnock to do some charity fundraising gigs and I already know that eyebrows and fists are being raised. I have resigned myself to the fact that you can't please all the people all the time. There are loads of great people on the local scene. There is a fine plethora of talent but also a lot of proactive and enthusiastic individuals like the lads at Jollys, Mainy, MFM, Stumpy, David Bell, etc. who continue to promote and support these artists by promoting and reviewing shows. There are also a lot of hearty lads and lassies who attend almost every show mouthing the lyrics to unsigned songs as they bop on the spot. All these folk make up the life blood of our local music scene. It will always exist, it may wax and wane, but it will always be there. Unfortunately so will all the bitter and twisted individuals who run down their fellow artists and ' rival ' promoters or get a bit miffed at a bad, but usually honest review. I for one am glad that the MFM lads put ourselves out their to recieve this flak because if we never endured then we wouldn't have provided our local artists with as much support, raised any money for charity and we would have done all those dancing, smiling souls out of so many great nights out. I fully support anyone who does anything positive for local music. I particularly respect Mainy because he is so consistent, balanced and forthright in his views and actions. He also looks great in hats.

  13. Thanks Willie.
    You now know that you have opened yourself up to being accused of being part of some clique due to your sycophantic support of myself and others in Ayrshire who do 'stuff'. :)
    In all serious though I do think we have a good live music scene in Ayrshire that is broadly positive.
    We have a wealth of talent and a solid amount of people wading in to support them by organizing gigs and getting involved in the promotional side of things.
    What people who consider themselves on the outside don't see is what goes on in the background.
    All the effort made on a daily basis.
    It would be nice if all the hard work was rewarded with a more solid turn out at gigs.