For a long time I did my own thing whilst craving some form of acceptance as a musician. I worried about whether the music was ‘good’; trying to hear it through other people’s ears instead of just making it because I enjoyed the process. Now, I find the process of making more important; I care less about who’s going to like it and just put it out there. That’s not to say I don’t care about my audience, I do…..but having an audience (small, or ‘niche’, in my case) kind of happened by accident. However, I probably have spent too much time and effort worrying about whether people will actually like the music and occasionally trying to make it fit.
It appears that most of my audience are musicians also. So, the music has become a kind of meeting place and an exchange: of good-will, of ideas, of collaboration, of encouragement. And several of my collaborations and remixes have come about through having bought/downloaded other artists’ music because I liked it (naturally), or having my music owned by them.
So what? You may ask.
Well, I’ve had a few changes of heart and mind in the last year or so. As Dementio13, I actively sought promotion through social media, radio, podcasts, etc. It helped build an audience which was never huge, but was steady and slowly growing. To my great surprise, people actually seemed to like the music; which still does mystify me. But the identity and music, for me, had become a bit of a drudge; ideas were stale, except for the several collaborations I did which brought in somebody else’s creative input and helped boost my own. Hence a change of identity for my music. Out with D13 and in with The Night Programme. To be honest, the music hasn’t changed that much. However, my working practises have…..and my creative outlook too. I’m now not so concerned about promotional stuff; though, I guess, I am engaging in a form of self-promotion now as I type this. And, as day-job demands are great, I need to focus my energies more usefully, music-wise.
I have felt a need to compartmentalise things. My music as D13 is fairly varied….spanning between electro and acid, through drum & bass, via krautrock and radiophonics, to found-sounds, drones and ambience. That’s a broad church and it reflects my sometimes scattergun approach to my music. As The Night Programme I’ve tried to narrow things down a bit…as I said, compartmentalise. However, I want to take this further.
I’ve watched two musicians whose work I admire greatly change their respective musical identities and diversify their output. Steve Kelly (Macerator, Douglas Deep and Manfred Hamil) and Ash Cooke (Pulco, Chow Mwng, Recordiau Prin) have both focused on creating different identities for their various eclectic styles. I’ve done the same over the years but never quite stuck with it…always returning to D13 as a default. So now, I need a separation from Dementio13. Not total, as I’ll still come back to this identity for collaborations and remixes, but I’ll be focusing on various different guises.
Ash Cooke posted a great little article on his Dukes Of Scuba Facebook page the other day. One which really chimed with me and which kind of sums up what I’ve just been self-indulgently droning about for the last few paragraphs. Give it a read to see what I mean (also contains footage of an interesting seminar with great guest speaker Simon Reynolds). Without really realising it, and being instilled with post-punk and DIY attitudes since my teens, I am what could be described as a ‘subscriber of the No Audience Underground ethos. And it’s liberating……not being concerned with what is popular or being accepted, or even being heard. I feel like the shackles are off.
I’ll still be releasing subscriber-only stuff on Dementio13.com, but my new home is here. I set this Bandcamp account up a while ago, as I was going to release Diebenkorn and Wint & Kidd music through it, but it never went public and I ended up releasing the music through Dementio13.com anyway (it’s still there for subscribers only). Semblance Recordings is where I am now: it’ll have no Twitter, no Facebook page, it’ll be free/pwyw as usual, some alter-egos, maybe some guests; all Night Programme stuff will be released through here. It feels good to make a new start and start a new journey…….with, or without, an audience. Like throwing a random record in a skip; the music will just exist; whether it’s found or not doesn’t matter.