Looks like I touched a nerve with my reblogging yesterday and the comments I made about the list and the music on it - and that’s OK. I stand by my comments and I think that leads into a whole other discussion about how wizard rock is perceived by fans in 2012 vs. let’s say, 2007. The aspect of production values is something that’s come up time and time again when it comes to bands and their popularity/appeal and I definitely think it’s something worth talking about.
I think two points need to be made clear from the get-go here:
1) I always liked better production values FOR MY OWN MUSIC. Why? Because that’s how I heard it in my head when I was writing the songs. I *wanted* to have walls of guitars and booming drums, because my inner Billy Corgan was with me the entire time I was writing Crisis songs. That certainly doesn’t mean I don’t like wrock that’s just a vocalist and a guitar, or a vocalist and a piano, or whatever. I taught myself how to craft songs in that way via trial and error, reading voraciously online about production techniques and values, and using free or very low cost software (not cracked Waves plugs, that’s for damn sure), staying up until 2am trying different things. And if a musician is happy laying down one acoustic guitar track and 1 vocal and considering their song complete, then more power to ‘em. If that was their vision for THEIR song, then mission accomplished.
2) We all like what we like - that’s human of us. I’d never tell someone “sorry, you can’t like that” because how assholish is that? VERY. But by the same token I completely understand that someone who normally listens to rap music is probably going to be drawn more to MC Kreacher than they are Voldemort. Someone who only listens to modern pop music may not like early Harry and the Potters. Again - completely understandable.
OK, now that that’s out of the way!
Wizard rock started out very lo-fi and DIY/indie and has always (for the most part) maintained that aesthetic. It’s all about doing it for yourself, being happy with what you’ve created, and if others like it, then that’s awesome. I don’t think anyone seriously said “hey I want to get famous so I’m going to start a wrock band”… at least not in the beginning, anyways. Now with iTunes and YouTube “fame”, it might be a different story. But everything I listened to when I first learned about wrock was all about having fun and just creating something that others could relate to and enjoy.
Well said, Russ. A couple thoughts: Firstly, going back to that original mix, maybe this is just a personal thing, but I would NEVER but Hank Green or Starkid or whatever on an “Introduction” wrock mixtape. For me a very important part of what wrock is is the community that surrounds it, and while there’s lots of people outside the community making good HP music (lots of peeps on youtube, Steve Goodie, and that one guy that makes Irish ballads about cats), I wouldn’t use them to introduce people to the community.
Secondly, a bit of an off-topic point, but I do have to disagree with you when you say people who like rap will be drawn to MC Kreacher. I know you were just using it as an example, it just so happens that that example leads me to something that’s been bouncing around in my mind for awhile. I think of all the genres represented in wizard rock, rap is the one that is least likely to get converts from people who like the same genre outside of wizard rock.
Now, I LOVE MC Kreacher, don’t get me wrong - his EP was one of my favorite things to come out of the WR EP of the Month Club (which I still hold up as the greatest thing to happen to wizard rock, ever, and its passing has been greatly mourned) - but it’s hard for people who are into more… I hate to use the word “legitimate”, but… rap to listen to stuff like the Kreach or most nerdcore. And this is something that’s more unique to how rap functions as a genre - the emphasis on “flow” is IMMENSE, and while for wizard stuff MC Kreacher’s flow is fine, it definitely beats the hell out of Big Whompy, it just doesn’t hold up in a broader inspection, whereas melodies crafted by the likes of HMS Wolfstar and The Weasel King hold up quite well.
Melodies, while not easy to write, are easier to learn how to make, than flow is to learn how to spit. Heck, Luna’s Ceiling, despite being virtually ignored by the wrock fandom, has done fairly well in their “muggle” genre of dark electronic music, or however you would specifically classify it. Electronic music is almost as bad as metal when it comes to silly nomenclature. In fact, Luna’s Ceiling may very well be tied with MoM, and to a lesser extent, HatP for doing well in the mugglesphere, which is kind of hilarious given that no one listens to them in the wizardsphere.
Anyway, that was just a bunch of stuff I’ve been thinking about, and that sentence in the original post was the impetus for me to vomit words all over the screen. Otherwise, I completely agree with you. I have always been able to look past recording issues if there’s something brilliant buried in the song. For example, one of my favorite wrock songs EVER is Bella’s Love’s “Aragog Tonight”. The recording on that whole album is kind of abysmal, and the guy’s voice is NOT very good at all, and that’s putting it nicely. But I will be DAMNED if that song does not kick ass, and it’s just some dude in his room with a crappy mic and a fairly decent acoustic guitar. But that song is catchy as all hell, immensely fun to sing along to, and that guitar riff right at the end is one of my favorite musical moments in all of wizard rock.
…Again, not sure what that was supposed to accomplish, but hey! WORDS!Source: creeveycrisis