Friends

Written by Rikard.

 

There are some bands, some bands that just are incredibly fortunate. Not only that, but they're also quite cheesy. And rare. And perhaps quite slick.

It's the kind of band that some wish for, some don't.

Enough clues? It's the 'friends' band. You know some of them. Perhaps you've been in one. Or are in one. It's the kind of band that is often formed when the members are about 14-15. Often they've known each other since they were toddlers. And if they succeed and makes it for a 25-year career, often makes at least two quotes per interview for a "We've been together, all five of us, since the start, man. We're the closest of friends. The closest, man!".

And never a lineup change. Ever.

Friendship and band - and metal - is almost always closely connected to one another. Usually, it's with your friends you start your first band. Luckily, you're roughly on the same musical level at that point, and if there's one lad that, to put it plainly, sucks, well, his big brother drives a Harley, he offers kebab on the Saturday jam sessions, so it's fine. And from thereon, the band drags you through all the clichés. Not the sleepover in the tour bus, but the unsteady first shows, the occasional Göteborg-groupies, but also the rudimentary words to describe it afterwards: That nothing tests friendship like having a band, that you get to know each other down to the core of the core. That you create strong bonds that will last forever.

And for someone driving that race for 10+ years now, it's as true as it is. But only for the ones actually *in* the band. If you leave - you leave. You're out. Of course, this has a logistic perspective - One of the reasons that all that talk rings kind of true - that you form deep bonds, you get to know each other - is that, well, it's half-hard NOT TO when you see each other three times a week, spend countless late nights with your instruments, figuring out as how to steal the latest Acacia Strain breakdown without anyone noticing and perhaps has a testosterone-infused fight over that Göteborg-chick. You just grow close. Not only that, you learn to accept and respect one another as individuals, despite your difference in whatever Iron Maiden drummer makes the funniest face while introing 'Where Eagles Dare'.

But when you're younger, more emotional and perhaps more pretentious, a break up just hits you hard. And it's followed by another abundance of clichés - "how could you?", "We've known each other since we were toddlers!", "I thought we were friends! You've ruined everything! Who are we going to find now".

And when you grow older, it almost becomes too much on the other side: "That's fine, man!", "If you feel that way, I guess, there's nothing else we can do.." "It's cool. I respect that you follow your heart. We'll find someone new!".

But it's interesting how a break-up, sometimes, just seem to render that night when you promised one another that "We'll stay this way forever, man!" a black and white joke. There's logistics here, too - It's HARD to maintain contact with someone who rehearses, records, writes and runs a business like there' s no tomorrow. (There isn't.) But no matter if it's the teenage break, with shattered feelings and an angst-filled doorbell tour throughout Hökarängen, or the mature one, with hearty handshakes and a happy Bandfinder ad the day later, it's interesting to note how radically the leavers, sometimes, seem to fall out of line with those so-called bonds. And how the new guy just becomes the Best Friend Ever with a friendship depository of 10 seconds, not 10 years. It really makes both the leaver and the newcomer wonder: Are we friends? Or colleagues? And what is the difference?

GOING POSTAL IN INDIA

Written by Rikard.


In India 2014 If anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the theory that may or may not go under the name of the "blue ocean strategy" (from now on, let's say it is) - congratulations, you may learn something new even this dull day!

The blue ocean strategy is when a company, or another kind of sales-aiming (or publicity-aiming) entity - like a band -  seeks it's success not in the red ocean, where it came from, where all it's competitors and friends also came from, and where they all dwell, but the blue. The blue ocean is the place where one's (in this case, metal music) products and arts is much less heard of, constituted and consumed than in the red one. In other words, the place where one might fish for success if one finds the constant competitivity of the red ocean tiring.

You've probably nailed the metaphor by now. The red ocean if course Sweden, the place with more bands than audience. (More about it in, er, almost every previous post of this blog) The blue ocean being places and lands where it's more audience than bands.

Like, for example, India.

Well, we had to find out, didn't we? So after a few phone calls, mails and handshakes, Lunkan Music & Media took us via MetamorphiK Productions to two fully packed arenas in Hyderabad and Silchar.

GOING POSTAL IN RUSSIA

Written by Rikard.

 

There's a quote to be found somewhere on the internet, one made by a smart Industrialist british man with a fancy wig and a perhaps less fancy tooth rig speaking of 20th and 21st century globalization. A quote so accurate that it borders on fortune-telling: speaking of the equally scary and fascinating facts we relish today about Coca-Cola being the most recognizeable word in the world after "Hi", the cutting-edge technologist skylines of post-2000's Seoul, and the fact that you can find a McDonald's, fresh, alive and working in both Libya, Sri Lanka and Perth.

It's a fitting quote for this blog. Because what did we find amidst the endless, frozen, minus 30 plains of Kurgan if not a very familiar, curved yellow M?

So we're back from our first headlining tour, spanning over 9 dates in 11 Russian and Russian/Siberian cities. And while we're not stupid - globalization was a central theme in high school after all - it was hard not to cough up even a little dose of surprise juice when you after 22 hours of train riding arrive at a place so far off that "far off is a mighty understatement" is a mighty understatement, only to be welcomed by hardcore semi-hipster teens with smartphones, Twitter accounts and fast coffee, beside a Saab and Mazda-populated street, a top notch computer store and a certain shady hamburger restaurant.

But Is It Art

Written by Rikard.

And onwards they go, towards that very specific jar of jelly beans, taking one, two, tree handfuls of sugar-coated stardom to skim down that particular, sore throat.

Art? Really? Is that stupid nut-head of a band blogger planning to go THERE?

Yes he is. But don't worry, it will perhaps be a tad smoother that one could expect.

One of the slightly sadder use of art is that of a tool which smarter people may use to elevate themselves over the masses. This boils down to the general assumption that art is 'nice'. It's packed with cultural validation down to the very syllable.

Now, the idea for this blog post comes from two very interesting persons giving their respective perspective upon the matter. Firstly, Steven (Wilson, Porcupine Tree mastermind and notorious nostalgic) said that the difference between an artist and an entertainer is that an artist is selfish: that making music, paintings, writing a book, whatever, is something that the artist does for himself (or herself, but I'm sticking to patriarchal norm here because I'm lazy) and himself only - the creative process is the ultimate goal here, not sales, not praise, not recognition, nothing. Whilst an entertainer makes it's 'art' - that you may or may not label 'products' - with the audience in mind. Will they like it? Here, the sales, the praise, the recognition is much more key value.

DMC Firewall is developed by Dean Marshall Consultancy Ltd