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Old 11-24-2010, 04:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Musician Statements

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Mine is, when musicians say they don't care what other people think of their music, do you believe them? Or do you think it's just a front, a pretence that says “I don't care because caring about what other people think is weak and a sign of insecurity, etc”. Doesn't the whole indifference attitude stem from rebel culture anyway?

I would posit, that the majority of musicians who take up playing an instrument or join a band, usually do so out of a basic desire to be liked by others. Self-expression stems from the very human desire to be liked on some level. We all seek acceptance, and we hate rejection. Now, it doesn't mean musicians all want to be rock stars, showered with adulation but all surely possess a basic desire to be liked by (certain) people, right? Most musicians do want to be liked by other people, and have their music enjoyed by others (even the smallest number of people) much like we all do in other areas of our lives.

I'm not denying that playing music can be a huge source of fun (it is fun), but why do you think musicians perceive it as fun? The reason humans like music at all in the first place, is because it played a pivotal function in our evolution; a vehicle for social bonding, mating, etc. Seriously, think of music back in primitive times; it was tribal drums and rhythms, it was about group solidarity and bringing people together. Fitting-in with the group and being liked by others was very important to people back then if you wanted to benefit from the group.

Even if you just play by yourself, in your bedroom/basement and tell noone you're a musician, you still enjoy music because the human brain is hardwired to find pleasure in musical patterns, organised sound and the opportunity to be creative. But it is hardwired this way for reasons that had to do with being liked by others, for mating purposes, etc.

So anyways, back to the question, whether bands really mean it when they say, they don't care what people think. Does that apply to people who like the band, or just people who don't like the band? Because if you're going to say you don't care what people think, you'd have to include everyone in this, no?

“We don't care what people think, we play for ourselves” ... yet, we still read reviews and take pride in the fact that people do enjoy our music....

Doesn't that betray their position of claiming to not care what people think?
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Old 11-24-2010, 09:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I am a pretty poor singer songwriter so here's my two pence. From a songwriting perspective, I write for myself and I genuinely don't care whether other people like it or not. Obviously I hope that people do like it but in the final analysis, it's a personal thing.
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You seem to overlook the artwork aspect. You don't seem to think that people join or start bands because they love music, and it has inspired them to create it for themselves.
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Old 11-25-2010, 03:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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your statement seems very rooted in the idea that all musicians do is compose songs for validation. this is flawed.

then again you seem more concerned with debating the semantics of 'i don't care' and whether or not that applies to you if you're already on the same side of whatever object it is that the speaker does not care about. discussing anything like this is why people hate hipsters.



personally my favourite musician's statement is "When you hear music, after it's over, it's gone, in the air. You can never capture it again." - Eric Dolphy.

those words are truth to me. real music is about expression, it's about reflecting your love of life through sound in the moment because it's the only one that's ever really happening, to forget about your wants and needs, to lose sight of the world around you, to strip your soul bare and let light flow through you. that is music.

everything else is just songs.
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Old 11-25-2010, 04:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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But practically everything humans do is done with other people in mind. We are social primates after all.

If you really didn’t care what other people thought about you, why not take the bus into town wearing a dressing gown and slippers? Why shave, or gel/style your hair? If you really don’t care what other people think, I mean, you wouldn’t give a hoot, right? But people do act certain ways because they want to stand out and fit in at the same time. We all care what certain people think of us.

I don’t see how writing music suddenly escapes these rules. Now, if you are keeping your music private and not playing it to anyone, then OK, that’s an exception (in a minority I’d imagine). But then again, people often write with an imaginary audience in mind. They are writing music based on what people have enjoyed in the past, as a reference group.

So, to me, it just seems a bit redundant saying “we write music for ourselves”. Well of course you do, but that doesn’t mean you’re indifferent to outside critics and negative opinions.

I agree with mr dave, that the level of “not caring” can get a bit semantic. When a band says they don’t care about what the critics say, they may just mean they don’t take it to heart, or get obsessed about it. But it’s funny, some of them never articulate it that way, they just say “We don’t give a **** what those hacks say”.

Can any of you demonstrate how musicians who perform music publicly are not seeking validation? How is my assumption flawed?

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Originally Posted by Pedestrian View Post
You seem to overlook the artwork aspect. You don't seem to think that people join or start bands because they love music, and it has inspired them to create it for themselves.
Yes, but why do they love and enjoy music? Go deeper.

For instance: your brain, what you perceive as nice/fun/enjoying, evolved that way because doing those things had an evolutionary advantage.

Why does sex feel great? Because engaging in that behaviour typically leads to the passing on of genes (that’s what it's designed for).

Why do sugary and fatty foods taste good? Because sugars and fatty foods were very scarce back on the savannah and were in high demand.

If people enjoy music and being creative, these are not things that exist in a vacuum. There are reasons why we enjoy them, and they are almost always social in nature.

Even if an artist was releasing music anonymously, that sense of inner fulfilment at being able to deliver something that other people enjoy is being driven by a need to be liked by other people. You don't have to be visible, but inside you know what they liked was made by you; you caused that feeling and derive pleasure from such.
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Old 11-25-2010, 08:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think it's more "I only care about people who care about my music as I make it, the others can **** off" than anything. Of course musicians care what other people thing, but it's more of a way of claiming that a musician is making music as it is, and should be appreciated as it is, not conformed for mass palpablity(IE. I'm making music that I like, and if you like it, it's your option, but I'm not changing it to be that way).
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