We all heard it when we were kids. Over and over again. “Don’t compare yourself to others, just be yourself!” And yet, few of us thought “Oh! Yourself! Wow! It’s that easy??”
That’s because they were all wrong.
You have to compare yourself to others to know who the hell yourself is. How else would you know? Short, fat, funny, generous, grumpy, hot tempered.. it’s all relative, right?
Same goes for an artist. Did you know that kids with guitars are still playing “Stairway To Heaven” and “Little Wing”? Same tunes we were all playing when we first started. After all these years, how could they not have found anything new? Well, maybe the point is to play the same old tunes. Guitarists find their own special style in the way they play that intro to “Little Wing”. Singers find the unique sound of their voice by the way their “Hello” stands out.
We all start off wanting to be like someone else. We compare ourselves and first we find only imperfections. But slowly, slowly we find something likeably in the way we can’t seem to resemble anyone else. (Orren, lead vocal, acoustic guitar, banjo)
Billy Momo enjoys a whole lot of support from our parents. They turn up at gigs, buy too many T-shirts and share everything we do on social media. This is a bad thing.
It’s not bad parenting at all. On the contrary, it says a lot about our parents ability to adjust and support us no matter what we do. They’re just the way fans should be. Interactive and interested.
It does however say something less flattering about us as a band.
In my opinion, a signinicant part of all music innovation comes from the young man and womans urge to piss their parents off. Some of the greatest innovaters of our time are proof. What might Jimi Hendrix’ care takers have had to say when he started making his guitar sound like a monster? What was the one most important characteristic of early Beatles? Why do rappers say “fuck”, support violence and drugs? How many people know Pussy Riot by who they pissed off and how many people could actually hum one of their songs? Listen to any significant music genre at an early stage and tell me these kids’ parents were fine with this!
So, just as it’s an important part of growing up, revolting against your parents is a crucial part of innovating sounds. It goes hand in hand, really. You can’t stay out till too late, forget to take out the trash and refuse to put your feet down from the coffee table all the time. You need a weapon. And the weapon needs you. If it weren’t for teenage revolts, music might still sound like Blind Willie Nelson. Which is great music of course, but we like to have the options, right?
So, what to do? We are clearly not pissing our parents off as we should. In fact, I’m not sure we’re pissing anybody off. The reason probably being that we are now parents ourselves, most of us. Somehow, in the moment we first held our little ones, the switch was pulled. We are now designed to be pissed of and confused about the strange and very annoying things our kids are doing. Hopefully, though – and I’m pretty convinced that’s the case – we did piss them off when we were younger and by doing that, planted a seed to innovation which we do now reap. (Orren: lead vocal, acoustic guitar, banjo)
As musicians/songwriters/producers/music video directors/artists/photographers (and now even bloggers) like us, there’s a whole lot of extra work to be done, free of charge.
At gigs, we’re roadies and drivers as well as musicians. At video shoots, we’re actors as well as directors and photographers, and so on.
If only we didn’t love it so much, we might learn how to charge for the extra hours.
One of the things I know I should not do for free is daydreaming. In fact, I believe anybody in a creative line of business should charge for their daydreams by the hour. It is probably the most productive part of your day.
You’re doing all the things you’re supposed to do according to all of the inspirational Ted talks you’ve ever seen. You’re setting goals completely without limitations, visualising them, making them feel real in your mind. You’re pumping fuel into your creative process and you’re reminding yourself of what it is that drives you to work hard.
I almost never daydream without result. There’s always at least one new idea to work with once I get back to reality. And the ideas are real, totally doable most of the time and ready to go. One of the most common ways for me to write a song – I daydream about a stage, a venue or a festival I want to perform at and suddenly, in the middle of the fantasy, I discover that the song we’re playing has not been written yet.
When I build my home studio – in Barba’s new house, this summer – I’m getting a daydream room. (There may be an argument to be won here, with Barba’s daughter, but hey! She’s seven. How hard can it be?)
A nice enough sofa so you’re comfortable without falling asleep and pictures of the nicest stages and studios in the world. That room alone will write us the next album! (Orren: lead vocal, acoustic guitar, banjo)
Billy has been licking his wounds after having to cancel no less than three shows in February, due to lead singer’s pneumonia.
Billy does not normally cancel shows. Three shows are more than we have cancelled in our career so far, put together. Anyway, we’re now all back on our feet and we’re preparing two days of video shoot this weekend. As usual, we are shooting it in the middle of nowhere and we’ll be lucky if there is even electricity, so we need to come well prepared.
We’re basically doing a classic saloon fight, in a church. It’s a small and very old church and it’s beautiful. Perfect setting for a good fight! So, we’ll need to pack a thermos of coffee, a camera and some baseball bats I guess. The day after, Barba will be tied up from top to toe and Orren will be on a chair, hanging off a cliff. Keep a look out in the near future for “Following Me Following You” and “Say You’re Sorry” music videos! (Orren: lead vocal, acoustic guitar, banjo)
Here you will find the juicy stuff, the embroidery and the behind the scenes material. Our inner thoughts, the struggles and cheerful moments as hard working artists. The deeper, inner side of our beloved creature Billy Momo. (Orren)