Exploring Indie

by James Pew

Here is another excerpt from my book Studio Manifesto: Exploring the Possibilities of Indie. As always please leave your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading.

Looking at it from a technical point-of-view, the musician is like a musicologist. The word musicology “is used in narrow, broad and intermediate senses”. “In the intermediate sense of musicology, it includes all relevant cultures and a range of musical forms, styles, genres and traditions. In the broad sense, it includes all musically relevant disciplines and all manifestations of music in all cultures.” –Wikepedia

How often do musicians consider music in this broad sense? The disciplined musician sees music in a very broad sense concerning herself with the things described above and much more. This is an interdisciplinary conception of an indie artist’s role.

The point here is to not let your specialty become your excuse. As in I’m not a technician I’m a musician. You don’t have to be a technician to think like one. You don’t have to, and probably shouldn’t think like a technician all the time anyway. Consider it the ability to turn on and off various disciplines, modes, or points of view. Like uploading an essential bebop for soloists plugin or a guerrilla marketing theory patch, or maybe an understanding acoustics script, or some other upgrade to your minds internal operating system. This can be done by independent artistic or intellectual pursuit. Work away at new things in a process similar, although less intensive then the one applied in your specialty.

If the trumpeter has already uploaded Miles Davis 4.0 to his minds operating system, there is no reason to think he can’t take a couple days and install Photoshop 8.0 – considering the amount of Photoshop work that goes along with being an indie artist today.

I’ve seen musicians use their specialty as an excuse for a multitude of problems – He’s not an amp tech so therefore not responsible, or even aware, of any maintenance his amp may require. She’s not a web designer so therefore not responsible for the lack of design quality or the poor public interest in her web presence.

An IDIY artist takes responsibility for everything related to their brand, or at least for those things that are approximately within their control. When things go wrong she takes immediate responsibility, turns it into a learning experience and starts working on the solution. There is no need to waste time and energy complaining that your Photoshop guy didn’t deliver fliers in time for the show. The Photoshop guy is not the source of the problem and not within your power to control. However, your decision to work with that Photoshop guy is – there is your responsibility. It ends there so move on. The solution lies in making new arrangement’s for future Photoshop work – so get going!

The theme of fragmentation and specialism is an important one that will be explored in much more detail in the coming chapters of Studio Manifesto: Exploring the Possibilities of Indie. Marshall McLuhan showed us that specialism is a product of the mechanical age. An age when people held specialist positions or jobs. In the electric age (information age) there are no jobs, there are only roles. The work of man has shifted to the gathering of information (knowledge) used to fulfill the demands of role.

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