We’ve been working on our album for a while now and as we get closer to the finishing line there are so many questions that you ask yourself. Is anyone going to like it other than us, will it be any good, will we be happy with it, was it worth it, will anyone buy it etc. I don’t actually think we’re in control of any of those things now. The main philosophy has always been “let’s make the best damn record that we possibly can – end of”
The music industry is changing all the time and it’s quite different to the state it was in when we were kids and first started buying music, learning to play them on our instrument, and falling in love with albums. As a band a lot more responsibility is on you now to turn up as the finished article with a product that’s ready to sell right away. Very few people in the industry want to take a punt on developing you, let alone give you a load of money to do it. One thing’s for sure, we’re not aiming for, or holding out for “the big record deal.” We’re going to have to do this ourselves, and this quite excites all of us…
Now, more than ever, you can reach more people via the Internet. We all know this, but when I was 11, and I decided I wanted my job to be “being in a band”, we didn’t have either the money or knowledge, or the faintest idea of how to make that happen. Now with the digital revolution in full swing and soon to release an album, we’re in a position to utilise it.
I was in the sitting in the park with a friend the other day and there were some kids playing football and listening to music on an iDock. The collection was so disjointed – Adele, late 90s UK Garage, Queen, Katy Perry, Drum ‘n’ Bass, some run-of-the-mill grime among other things. It’s great that they have exposure to so much different music, but I said to my friend “do you think they actually really appreciate any of the artists that they’re listening to?” It’s so easy to get hold of music once it’s in a digital form (mp3), legally or illegally, and I know people who just swap hard drives, download and then have more music that Paul Gambaccini, Johnnie Walker and Bob Harris combined. Here’s my big question…
Has the digital music form, and the way in which we obtain it, devalued music?
I asked everyone in the band the same question as our music will soon be released in digital format and so this affects us directly. My personal feeling is that yes it has, but we’ve got to embrace it. When I was in my early teens albums were expensive – up to £15 in some places – and I didn’t have loads of money, so each time you bought an album it was a big deal. It might be the only one you bought a long while, and so it had to be good, or you hoped it would be. Aged 12 or 13, me and some of my mates had heard about Live’s 1994 album “Throwing Copper.”
I bought it and I ended up immersing myself in it and loving it track by track, and then as an album. Sure you have some songs that you don’t like as much and your favourite track changes each week, but I fell in love with that album, and I still love it today. Seeing it performed live was mind-blowing. I think we live in a throwaway society now and if we have every song available to us for free, or if we just want the “hit song” by an artist you can have just that. The Kubricks all had different views.
Pete said, “it’s just evolution” and that it’s “nonsense” to think that you can’t still fall in love with an album just because it’s an mp3 album on your iPod. Marc echoed Pete’s sentiments and said, “I don’t think it makes a difference. People are still drawn to what they like.”
When asked if the mp3 format has devalued music, Jon replied, “Yes, completely. A great album is not just about great music. It’s about the artwork, the inner sleeve, the lyrics, the credits, the musicians - it’s experiencing the whole thing. For instance, Sgt Peppers, White Album, Ok Computer etc. Now you just download a song (at a lower sound quality than ever before) and it goes into your iTunes library. One of the best experiences you can have is to listen to a truly great album from start to finish, uninterrupted – the way it was intended. It’s bliss. Go and listen to ‘Born To Run’ (on a CD or vinyl) by Springsteen and you will see what I mean.”
Personally, I couldn’t have put it better. I was once set some homework which was to do this with the vinyl of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” I’m not a massive Floyd fan, but that was an awesome first-time experience.
Ultimately I think that if I was 13 now, I would have loved the fact that I could have had any style of music available to me at the touch of a button and I would have thoroughly taken advantage of it (as I did with my mum’s vinyl collection from her teenage years). I appreciate not everyone is the same, so then it comes down to the individual. Now that we, The Kubricks, are just about to release an album, I’m not so enthusiastic that our music could potentially be passed around for free, but it is inevitable if someone wants to do that. The songs on a band’s album are just a promotional tool now, and the days of making tons of money through record sales are long over, especially for a band like us. But we accept that and we’ll crack on. Digital recording has brought down recording costs and now you can make an album on a PC if you want, release it yourself on the Internet via Soundcloud for example, and promote it yourself. These are the artists we should be supporting as music lovers and album lovers of the 21st Century. Go and see these artists at small gigs, buy their t-shirt and maybe this way music can regain it’s value.