L-R/Top To Bottom : Set It Off, Crashing Broadway,
Kobra and The Lotus, Snowdonnya
People's views on music and its boundaries are no doubt changing. Whether it's a mainstream act or a lesser known artist, musicians are pushing the envelope more than ever and reaching out to other genres for inspiration. With people's minds being more open, I decided to get several artists' opinions on the topic.
Kobra Paige (Lead Vocalist of Kobra and the Lotus), Dan Clermont (Guitarist for Set It Off), Teejay Timms (Guitarist for Crashing Broadway), and vocalist Snowdonnya spoke to me about their feelings on labeling their music, artists' musical expansion, and what they hope fans take away from their own music.
Front Paige Metal News: As a fan of many genres of music, I know that I love hearing musicians who experiment with style and don't conform to a certain subgenre. As an artist, how do you feel about people trying to put labels on your music?
Snowdonnya: If you are a free spirit, there are no labels. I'd like to think that there are some of us still out there. Labels actually are part of the music business machinery. It gives the paper pushers (lawyers, music execs, managers) a guideline on how and where to put you. That's all! Frankly, I believe a real talent can do and does it all. Hard to put a label on conqueror!
Dan Clermont: I'm personally okay with people putting their own labels on our music, simply because our music affects people in all different ways and some favor certain nuances as opposed to others when hearing the complete product.
Teejay Timms: The first impression I get when someone labels our music in one specific genre is that he or she has not listened to the album in its entirety. We put forth a commanding effort in making sure that "The Words Crossed Out" covered a multitude of genres. We wanted to make sure there was something for everyone on the record, and I believe that we achieved that goal. Nobody in the band prefers just one genre of music, so we just write what comes to us and leave walls of genres out of the equation. It dissolves many limits of the writing process, and I recommend this for all bands!
Kobra: I'm actually not bothered by it because I think that music is so subjective and people should take from it what they want. If they hear something that is working for them and they title it a certain way, I feel it's not really a right to tell them it doesn't sound like that. I have a perception of what I think I'm creating, but as far as the taste of someone else goes, I don't know what they're hearing and what it sounds like to them. I actually don't care.
FPMN: It seems as though there are some current artists who are pushing the boundaries and reaching out to other genres for inspiration. How do you feel it's affecting the music industry?
Snowdonnya: I am insecure for the so called industry. Talent is always the leader.
Dan Clermont: I feel that it is the best thing happening to music right now. It's a huge challenge these days to be completely original and reaching out and incorporating genres outside your own is the best way to do that.
Kobra Paige: I think it's great. I think it's brilliant. I would go as far as saying it's necessary to evolve, to open your box and look to other genres. You don't even have to like it, but there is something to offer in every genre that you can learn from. I think it's necessary for evolution.
Teejay Timms: I believe the effect is a positive one. With the way the economy and music industry is today, having an artist who spans further than one genre lessens the risk that a record label has to take on them financially. With the cautious pretenses that are becoming of the industry of late, I believe that multi-genre artists will be more of a requirement than a privilege.
FPMN: Do you feel like people's minds are being opened to a more creative, artistic side of music?
Snowdonnya: When you play live, that is where artistry always lives. You command the attention of others; therefore they must be open. The focus is on you as a performer to create that doorway.
Dan Clermont: Absolutely! People are going to get bored hearing the same thing over and over, so keeping it fresh and mixing it up is completely necessary.
Kobra Paige: Yeah, I do. When I have conversations with people that are listening to a bunch of different things and are trying new things, I find it way easier to have a conversation with them because they don't have a wall up about the way something should be or a template for a song and thinking that that's the correct way for that to be. That's the definition of this genre. I don't really appreciate it when people block each other because who's to say what's right when it comes to art.
Teejay Timms: Absolutely! Take, for instance, bands such as Foster the People, Gotye, and Arcade Fire, just to name a few. The style of music they create is heavily on the indie side. It's my opinion that these bands would not have been successful 10 years ago with this same style. I believe people in general have gained a better understanding about what music is and, therefore, are able to appreciate the artistic value of the songs rather than the traditional "nod your head and sing along" type of song structure and point.
FPMN: What is the most important thing that you want your fans to know about your music?
Snowdonnya: That it takes you to a dimension beyond. Most importantly that it can set you free!
Dan Clermont: For us, the most important thing is that with every lyric, riff, and song, we are trying to tell a story and that it is completely honest and true for every single bit you hear. We want to make sure that listeners can relate to us, whether it be a struggle or a triumphant moment in our lives.
Kobra Paige: I want them to know that our music comes with great messages. If they pay attention to the lyrics, they'll find that, to me anyway, it's not very shallow. There are messages in the music.
Teejay Timms: The main thing our fans need to know about our music is that we will keep it coming. Sadly, a becoming trend in today's music business is bands who are here today and gone tomorrow. So many bands who seem prominent tend to fizzle out rather quickly. It's our main goal to never be that band. I hope and will try our absolute hardest to keep this going for at least the next 30 years!
What are your thoughts on this topic? Comment below!