“Sometimes the venue is small and sometimes it is not but at the end of the day it’s all about the music, the great people who come down to see the show and the fact that everybody who’s contributing to the tour must love what they do.”
“I remember that somebody once told me that they discovered my music only after two years on their random playlist – I took that as a compliment”
“Good music moves the body and the soul – it makes you feel happy or makes you feel sad – and that’s why I don’t let any music that I produce leave the room unless it moves me in some way.”
TELL ME WHAT YOU DRIVE AND I'LL TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE!
When that magic moment finally comes and you’re old enough to drive your first car – here in Switzerland it’s at 18 – you think that it’s pretty easy – but once you hit the road (and specially when the traffic is busy) you find out that you must take it easy and learn step by step to don’t cause an accident and eventually crash in what would be a short and lethal drive.
Quite similarly, I had to learn how to drive my business just like anyone else. Driving means learning the rules, understanding the engine and get used to the clutch, the gas pedals, the breaks and the steering wheel. To be a good driver means driving with your heart and your mind and taking it easy.
In the past decades, I experienced many changes in the music business. I was participating in castings for TV shows, wrote songs for me and for other artists, worked as live music engineer with good bands (and some less good ones). I’ve spent many hours reading books and manuals about sound engineering – trying to achieve the quality that is required to impress the people of the industry – me and my friends use to call them “the big players”.
Anyway…the time of the big players seems to be over and the area of the DIY (decide it yourself) blossoms out since a couple of years. It’s all about the hipsters, the DAW’s and the “I can handle everything myself” groove but the fact is that because now everybody can record anything anywhere and (because of the great technology) nothing sounds bad anymore – the internet and the cafes around the corner are full of artists who learned how to drive and run their business like one would drive a car.
The question now is the following:. “What kind of car are we driving?” since we – the artists – are all running on low budgets. Only a few very successful ones remain as relics from an era when stars were not yet old fashioned. Some of them were even able to gather enough fuel to keep driving their business until today and they were smart enough to hide some canisters in the backyard so they could enoy a risky ride on Sundays or on special occasions – with the hope to break even (if they run monetized YouTube campaigns or have a loyal crowd that is coming down to see the show and does never question the ticketing).
The truth is that there are thousands of artists and bands and only a few will make a living out of what they are. To be a musician – to be an artist – it’s not just choosing to do so because it is convenient or because the time is right to look cool with a music instrument – the truth is that true artists are living for the purpose of writing and performing music.
Now – tell me what happens if one knows how to drive the car but there’s no fuel for the tank? Exactly that is what is happening to the music industry. Musicians have the tools and experience but no matter what they will do – the money will simply not fill their pockets and they will end up doing something else.
Looking back in time, I am very proud to have had one of my songs recorded by a major artist and that this track made it to the Swiss Music charts. I’m also very proud that I could write a track for Lou Bega and the FIFA World Cup in Germany back in 2006 but I’m also very concerned…I’m concerned about the future – not only my future – but the future of every other recording artist in the world and about the future of the music industry – because nowadays it seems that music is cheaper than water and yet it requires a lifetime of effort to write a song and to record it – to perform it and to make people happy for the short moment of a show.
I’m a huge Star Trek fan and I was deeply moved by Leonard Nimoy’s death and by his tweet: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory”. Those words are so true and beautiful that they make me cry because they remind me that every moment that passes, I will need to fight for what I believe is worth living.
For me – that’s the music – it’s my passion. It is what gave me the strength to spend countless hours rehearsing and learning how to sing, how to play the keys, the drums, the guitar and even the bass – it’s that thing that makes me feel alive.
After almost two decades in the music business – when you have to pay the bills at the end of the month – I ask myself: “Why is there not enough fuel to fill the tank?!” The answer is pretty simple: because many people are willing to pay $8 for tap water in a posh restaurant with the argument that one needs to pay for the service but only a few are willing to spend money for direct purchases from artists -well…since the tank is almost emtpy, no artist will be able to drive anymore in the future and the world will become a silent place.
I never had the desire to drive expensive cars – the main purpose of a car in my oppinion is that it safely gets me from one location to the other. I’m currently driving a Renault Clio – black – and I love it – it does the job. The question is for how long? And the answer is: “As long as people are willing to spend money to fill the tank and pay for the music directly to the artist”.