Aug 11, 2008

The changes in point of view

Have you ever felt that your point of view was not being understood? Have you ever felt that you are bad at convincing people about something technically right but it just escapes your skill level? Have you ever felt like you way of thinking is so unique that nobody else will relate to it? Welcome to the club. In my alter-career of music, this happens daily.

I'll give you some examples. During the initial phases of our recording, there were many times when I was possessed by my wanting to edit some very obvious errors as soon as we recorded the cut. I felt very strongly that we shouldn't sit back and wait until the last phases ie. during mixing and editing to correct this. But every time, I was snubbed and almost insulted by my band members on this point. The reason - we can do it later and our engineer is tired. He needs to take a break after a recording session.

Initially I felt that they were not getting my point. Then I understood that they thought that I was, as usual, in their view, being just insistent on a point in a unshakeable manner to be ridiculous. Obviously, I felt bad. Today, as I'm getting ready to go to the studio, it feels 'nice' in a dirty way to know that the band's point of view has changed as now 'we' feel that we should insist on getting these changes done despite the tiredness levels etc.

Then it came to some of the suggestions done by the engineer about our arrangements. We didn't have a producer for our album and we ourselsves were to be deciding at crucial junctures. Most of our 10 songs in the album had been written and arranged long before and we were very happy with what we had. Believe it or not, just a frown from the engineer was enough for inciting a wave of guilt within the band about that part/arrangement. There wouldn't be a the slightest bit of hesitation before conceding to the suggestion made by the engineer.

Most of the times, I was stubborn and confident of the parts being good in the way they were. All of the times, I was the criminal. I still feel bad about this and in the course of the recording, decided to curtail my opposition just because I thought it was getting conflictive. Of course, Vinokur has had a lot of part to play as a mentor. But now, the band feels that what we feel is right should be pushed. We wrote our music and we should demand what we feel for.

Finally, there is a lot of differences within the band about what to play for our gigs. Here the problem is two-pronged 1) About playing our softer, mellower songs to a college crowd 2) About selecting some popular Bollywood/IndiPop/IndiRock songs as cover songs.

I am very bull-headed about the first point. The softer songs are in my opinion, a part of our music which needs the as much promotion as the others. I believe that being a professional band, it's important to play the music that we believed in while writing the songs. The argument against this is that the tone-deaf college crowd (I don't understand this term though) will only root to those faster, peppier tunes and will boo a band which plays some toned-down, soulful songs. They seem to believe that once this happens, our professional career as a band will also go down.

My point of view is that we should play what we want. This I say on the belief of knowing that our song-writing is strong. There are people who are bound to like a certain type of songs. Why wouldn't you want to play such songs to these people, even if they were the minority? The collective point of view is that such songs still are not good for college crowds but only for private audiences.

On the point of selecting songs to cover, I firmly believe songs shouldn't be banal. They should be good enough for us to be respectful of the music. The song-writing and lyrics should fit in some criteria. Come whatever may, we change the song and play it a different style as would all artists who cover other people's songs; to provid their interpretation of the song. But again, I wouldn't want to play popular Bollywood tracks like 'Pappu Can't Dance' etc. The band believes that this is the only way that we can get the crowd excited enough to sing along.

With almost all such songs I feel disappointed that we are doing such songs. The only way that such songs will make sense is if we make a satire out of playing them by changing lyrics and showing that we think lowly of such mediocre bull-shit of such stuff coming out from Bollywood. Most of the times, because of the music and because I feel that I'm being a road-block in the band's quest to move forward, I agree and slowly get used to the traumatic process.

After elaborating all this, I feel that I'm still 'wrong' in most practical senses. That's not because of something that I feel deep inside but because of what people have made me feel. Don't you think that we should me more confident of ourselves and play good music?


flygye12 said...

a) u *are* stubborn horse and *that* is a fact !
b)ur friends have the 'chalta hai' attitude which is the undoing of all indian projects
c)so college crowd *is* ur main audience hein?
d) really why would they want to do bollywood music...ur idea about changin lyrics etc is good.
e) ur band members dont seem to believe in ur music as much as u seem to.

Kris Bass said...

@ Fly, we all know that. But is that 'good' or 'bad'? Or even better, is it mostly 'good' or mostly 'bad'?

Well, not really. Our audience is the young India. Not just colleges.

Bollywood music because they think that it will get the crowd's attention.

Well, they believe in the music. But they don't believe that our music will be interesting enough.

Prash said...

Have you ever felt that your point of view was not being understood? Have you ever felt that you are bad at convincing people about something technically right but it just escapes your skill level? Have you ever felt like you way of thinking is so unique that nobody else will relate to it

Oh ya, totally !

I firmly believe songs shouldn't be banal. They should be good enough for us to be respectful of the music

Agree 100%

On the other hand, what you call good music might be a bad (or average) music for the the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure...You have to be confident, yes ! (so easily I say many times I lacked self-confidence!)

The problems you face is what we face when we 'work in group' ! ! ! Bonne chance

Kris Bass said...

Well, I would like to make it clear that while making or listening to music, my band mates never compromise. But I guess they want to make sure that they grab the attention of the college crowd. Guess I'm old for the band!

Prash said...

This is what I gather from your post and comments:

They want to popular(an easy way to reach that level, if possible) and you are looking for the quality of the music as you are more dedicated to music than popularity.

Anonymous said...

I spent the nite at my friends place and we just didn’t seem to understand each other.
V are still at loggerheads and I don’t know why we are forever debating these days! U feel so helpless and wronged sometimes, especially when ur best friend fails to understand your POV.

So many creative heads getting together for a music band- conflicts r inevitable and u cant escape tht..but I agree Kris- the peppier and groovier the music, the more the motivation and enthu frm college audiences (if tht’s ur main target group). U need to set the mood and play accordingly I feel..

“Why wouldn't you want to play such songs to these people, even if they were the minority?”
do u wish to only cater to this 'minority' Or rather have a larger group cheering and going ballistic even if it means not playing wht u want to. 'Pappu' is a hugeeeee hit and I think u shud cash in on the jaane tu rage! This is wht I personally feel..obviously u understand better!

But I guess u cant please everyone at all times..the pvt audiences, college crowds etc etc

Anonymous said...

Hate to say it but Indian audiences are relatively low on appreciation for something that those around them don't appreciate. And those in turn, rely on others' opinion. Bollywood trash is established, hence everyone approves.

What you want to play is something melodious. One of you has to go into the audience, pretend you've never heard the song before, and then determine whether it sounds good or not. Most of the people out there haven't heard your music before, and would find to appreciate something that one has to listen to several tens of times to like. I have, occasionally, heard a band playing a song that's new to me, and liked it immensely. Then I'm told that it's a pre-existing hit. The point here is that it was a good song, so even though I haven't heard it before, I liked it. That's what you want to try aiming at.

Yes, mix an old hit here and there. Why bollywood? You guys are a Hindi band? Female lead?

Anonymous said...

As for their not listening to you, here's what you can do.

If they don't listen to you when you voice your opinion, absent yourself from the mixing sessions when they are smashing their heads over what they could've done earlier.
Clearly, you care enough to get it done right, but if they don't, there's only some degree to which you can beat yourself over it. Beyond that, you shouldn't really care too much.

I know that will be hard, but you have to make that your stand. You as it is have enough on your plate... use that extra time for something else... some study, maybe?

sanju ayyar said...

@ur reply on shobhaa de's post.

dude, i am sayin that the quality of sport you see on dd sports is so appaling that we label it as comedy. how come you expect such guys to win. we have a gold in shooting, well, thats another ting. but the point is, where is the money to promote sports. my objective of asking you to see dd sports was to see it and feel pity about the quality of training provided, which results in the quality of our sportsmen. u saw the funny side of it, which everyone else does and has a good laugh about. as far as music goers, you guys must be doing a great job but a little patience would surely help.

Anonymous said...

Yes, i have this. Just now, tried so hard to make my point but failed.
Am miserable now. :(

pepe M. said...

getting the concensus amongst the group could really be a blot to the ego...wish the other members should have at least tried 'listening' to your contribution...

its alright dude...just be patient

Kris Bass said...

@ Swats: I agree that we face such situations in our lives. But I think I'm very passionate about music. I care about my music than about how I dress and look. And I do care about how I dress and look.

You know Swats, my POV is like this. Why not play a song or two for the minority as well. Thereby, we win both groups.

@ Unsungpsalm: I agree with the Bollywood trash. Even thought we cannot technically go out and listen to the song from when we are actually playing it, we have our faithful friends who do this job. They seem to be happy with our songs.

Why Bollywood? - Because they are raging hits. And we are a hindi band and we have a very masculine male lead! ;)

@ Sanju: I agree with you on the coaching and funding (lack of both) affecting our athletes's performance. Thanks for supporting our band.

@ BloggingKnight: I didn't really undersatand you. But I understand your misery.

@ Pepe: Well, the problem's with me I guess. I have lots of ego and I simply can't understand their point of view. I'm trying to be patient, but I'm failing miserably.