Es ist wieder an der Zeit, die Seiten zu wechseln. Heute schildert Erik Widman, Frontmann von Love In October, sehr ausführlich sein Leben als Musiker. Seid mir bitte nicht böse, aber ich habe den Text nicht übersetzt, da ich ihn so wie er ist wunderbar finde. Viel Spaß bei diesem sehr interessanten Einblick!
Erik (Love in October):
The Long Winding Road
When you hear a song that you like, a picture is painted in your mind. You close your eyes, and you’re taken to a different world painted by the artist and for a moment you are released from the stresses and troubles in your life. Musicians are the gatekeepers to a part of your imagination that you can’t reach on your own. It is not surprising that, for this reason, musicians are portrayed as “super-humans” by the media much like superstar athletes or movie stars. Although the life of a musician is a mysterious one, it is often glamorized by our imaginations. This is especially true for “indie artists” such as me. The purpose of this article is to share what it is like to be an indie artist in America and give reason to why we create music.
I have loved music for as long as I can remember. My first memories of music are of my childhood in Sweden sitting in my parents’ living room spinning circles in a large brown leather chair while listening to Beethoven. As I got older I started playing various instruments and dreamed of creating and performing my own music someday. Today I play in Love in October, an indie rock band from Chicago, USA. The band is nearing its third year of existence and, in that time, released two EPs and a full-length album. We are truly an “indie band” having released our albums independently and created a working business model to avoid having to sign to a label and be able to retain all of our creative rights. I would self-classify us as a “medium” indie rock band, not too big and not too small. We personally don’t make money off our music, but we make enough money from our music for it to sustain itself so we can keep making records.
Our new self-titled EP is coming out next week and many of you will hear songs from it and hopefully like it. The album was created, like any modern indie record, by tracking the drums in a big studio and then tracking the rest of the instrumentation ourselves. It was then mixed by Jon Drew (Tokyo Police Club) in Toronto and mastered in Omaha, Nebraska. Modern recording has truly become an international orchestration with the advancement of recording technology. We are releasing the EP digitally and on vinyl and will be touring to support it.
We typically tour for about two weeks at a time across the US Midwest and East coast. Many of the shows vary in size and success. It is always extremely difficult to play a show on Monday or Tuesday no matter what city you are in. We typically never make money on these shows. During a tour we lose money on some shows, make a little on some shows, and then usually have one large show during the tour that covers the losses. The major expense is fuel for our car (we travel in a large SUV towing a trailer with our equipment). Last summer when fuel was averaging $4.50/gallon we were forced to shorten our summer tour. It became impossible for bands like us to travel.
When on tour we have come up with various money saving strategies. We often stay with friends and sleep on their floors. If a friend isn’t available in the city in which we’re playing we announce at a show that we have no place to stay and a stranger will usually take us in for the night. This has resulted in some pretty weird and unusual stories from the road, but we’ve found from traveling the country is that despite the many differences between people, most of them are extremely friendly and giving. We usually get out of a show at 2:30AM and travel to the place that we’re staying and sleep for about 4-5 hours. Then we get up, if we’re lucky get offered breakfast, take a photo with the hosts, and we are back on the road. For us it becomes a blur doing this so many nights in a row and it seems like everything is a dream, but for a fan it becomes a memory for life. This is one of the best things about playing music: getting to meet people and peak into their lives and then move on.
We then drive anywhere from 5-8 hours to the next city. Usually we get lost, but when we finally figure out where the venue is we load in our gear. Hopefully the sound guy is nice (most of the time he is not) and will give us a sound check. After the sound check we will go and try to find something to eat. Eating well is one of the hardest things to do on the road. There is often not a lot of time to eat, and we usually only get to eat one meal a day. We try to bring with us our own sandwiches as often as possible. Not only is it cost effective, but it’s much healthier than McDonald’s. Fast Food is horrible when touring, so we try to avoid that as much as possible. We then wait around for a few hours and watch the other bands play. Sometimes they’re good, most of the time not, but it’s always great to find a good band that you enjoy. Sometimes we get lucky. Then we get on stage and play our hearts out for 45 minutes. After the show we load up, sign some autographs, collect payment from the venue (this varies greatly from venue to venue and some of them really screw us badly….but that’s another story) and hope we have a place to sleep that night. Then we wake up the next day and do it all over again and hope that we’ll have a good show that night. During a tour we’ll play about 75% good shows and 25% bad shows to small audiences.
After a while your body starts breaking down from doing this; that’s why we try to do it in two week bursts. During the tour we often try to do interviews with press, blogs, and TV. We are usually so tired that we don’t make sense most of the time. It’s also annoying to be asked the same questions by everybody, so it’s nice when a reporter has done his/her homework and throws in some interesting questions. After the tour we’re all exhausted, but we have to return to our “other lives”. Most of us in the band have other jobs (I don’t) that we need to get back to in order to pay rent.
So after reading all of this you might think to yourself that it seems like a lot of work to be in a band and make music…and you are right. It is a lot of work. So why do we do it? Because it is what we do…music is like breathing to us. We don’t think about it, we just do it because we have to. We would be lost without it.
I’d like to thank everybody who listens to our music. It’s a dream come true for us to be able to do what we love. There is nothing better than getting an email from across the world from somebody who tells you how much they love your music. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Infos zu Love In October:
Was soll das hier? Wir sitzen auf der einen Seite. Wir hören Musik umsonst, bei Streaming-Anbietern wie last.fm, Spotify, roccatune. Wir kaufen die ein oder andere Platte oder bezahlen für einen Download. Wir gehen auf Konzerte, kaufen Merchandise-Artikel und bezeichnen uns als Fans. Wir lesen Blogs, wir kennen die Hype Maschine und diverse Onlinemagazine. Und, wenn wir ehrlich sind, dann laden wir auch das eine oder ander Musikstück illegal herunter. Das ist unsere Seite.
Und auf der anderen Seite sitzen die Musiker. Denn die Musikindustrie ist genau genommen nur der Vermittler. Sicherlich ein wichtiger Vermittler, der eine Menge falscher Entscheidungen getroffen hat und trifft, und den man mitunter auch verachten kann. Aber auf der anderen Seite sitzt meines Erachtens der Künstler. Und dessen Meinung zur aktuellen Lage der Industrie geht in meinen Augen sehr oft einfach unter. Dabei wäre es doch gerade interessant zu erfahren, wie Musiker heutzutage leben, womit sie ihr Geld verdienen, wieviel Herzblut mit jedem nicht verkauften Album verloren geht, wie anstrengend das dauernde Touren ist, woher das Durchhaltevermögen kommt, warum man sich das überhaupt antut.
Und aus diesem Grund möchte ich die Musiker fragen. Ich bitte ausgesuchte Künstler, auf meinem Blog ihre Meinung kundzutun. Ihre Meinung zu Fans, zu illegalen Downloads, zu ihrem Arbeitsumfeld, ihrer Lebenssituation, der Musikindustrie, dem Musikerdasein. Dabei sind sie in Form und Inhalt völlig frei. Ob das nun ein kurzes Statement ist oder ein Kurzroman, ich mache keine Vorgaben.