Thursday, 7 April 2011

But heres the thing....(no, its not "proper prog")

My music is niche, but, BUT many 1000's of people have downloaded/torrented/shared and paid for my album. Hundreds of thousands of people have heard it on the radio in America and thousands of people have read about it in magazines. Hundreds of bloggers, hundreds of podcasters.

That's weird isn't it?

One of those "proper prog" types said the other day that he couldn't see a market for my music. This is wrong, I make a living from this music. People do buy my records and tell their friends about it (and I'm very grateful they do).

My audience tends to be a mixture of Post Rock/Prog/Acoustic Musicians/Guitarists/Social Media people who have followed my story and people who are just interested in new music. A lovely cross section of people.

I know its not proper prog, I've no interest in doing that - I do have a healthy respect for that scene and I love a lot of the classic records (massive King Crimson/Floyd fan). The "proper prog" guys are the same people who would have complained that King Crimson Red wasn't "proper Crimson" because it didn't sound like the first album, they don't like change and fear it. Sure prog is still short for progressive?

Most prog fans are open minded and it's largely a bloody lovely community, my stuff crosses over between Post Rock and Prog (apparently) so its not clear always who the audience are but I'm really pleased about how my music has been accepted. I don't think of it as any genre but I think it reflects my influences - Radiohead, King Crimson, The Smiths, Husker Du, Carcass, Mahavishnu Orchestra etc. As played on a acoustic guitar without vocals but with a sampler.

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His point was Ghost was too polite, but it isn't - I don't think - it's not a safe record, it's not a rewrite of Porcupine Tree/Genesis like the bands those guys like. Surely it's better to try and do something new? And if it doesn't "rock" like a "proper" band surely that's interesting?

I want to make edgy records, just not in an obvious way. I want people to discover the layers in the music, make records with depth. I know a lot of people don't like my stuff but there is most certainly an audience for it, it's just a case of working out how big that audience is, it's already bigger than I thought it was.   When you make records in your kitchen you don't expect hundreds of thousands of people to hear it!

I'm really proud of Ghost, I'm making another record at the moment which some people will love and some will hate (and this seems to polarise as you become better known).

I couldn't make this record without the support of my listeners. I'm really passionate about this music, it's very, very important to me.

And if you fancy downloading my album and helping me to make another album it would be hugely appreciated.....

14 comments:

Brian Dade said...

As you know, Matt...my shows tend to be prog-based.. but your 'Album Munchie' special show was extremely well received, and I've heard a couple of other djs on AiiRadio playing your music since.
It don't much care for 'genres'..if it sounds good to me, and I think my listeners might like it, I'll play it.
I grew up with classic rock, and prog in particular...and that music has a special place in my heart...but I'm keen to discover new progressive(in the edgy, move forward sense)music..and get it out to the listeners.
Keep on keeping on..!

Oli said...

I think anyone who complained that Ghost is tame was really just complaining that it's made with an acoustic guitar: there are parts of it that are downright heavy to my ears. Music that is 'proper' to any genre is generic music: I think you should take the comment as an endorsement!

Sid Smith said...

Hello Matt,
purists, like zealots of any kind,are blinkered creatures who are best avoided. I have no idea of what constitutes prog or Prog, nor do I have any interest in defining it. I kind of leave it up to my ears and things really follow from there. You're right to keep following your muse regardless of genre or whether it might fit into someone else's proscriptive definition. That's what real artists do.

Tinyfish said...

If a bunch of people love you, and a bunch of people hate you, then you are doing something right :-)

Nick Tann said...

Fuck em Matt...

Pierre Massé said...

Ditto Nick's comment :)

Matt Stevens said...

"purists, like zealots of any kind,are blinkered creatures who are best avoided"Totally agree Sid :)

Brian, thanks man :)

"Music that is 'proper' to any genre is generic music:" Agree massively Oli

And

"If a bunch of people love you, and a bunch of people hate you, then you are doing something right :-)" cheers Mr T :)

Nick and Pierre - thanks guys - F' em indeed :)

Dementio13 said...

Great post. As the 'industry changes, attitudes to listening, and particularly to genre, must change too. Your music spans genres, in fact despite its influences, I would never have categorised it as being "prog-rock". Music now *is* eclectic, and varied, and rich; as your's is. The purists have to either get used to it, or just leave it alone. Having a narrow definition of what is 'good' or valid is their prerogative, but it doesn't have to define your music.

Tim (Kalyr) said...

As a friend of mine wisely said, genre definitions should be shared tools, not weapons of conflict.

I can't see the point of aggressively policing genre boundaries - especially when all the really interesting music happens in the fuzzy places where genres intersect.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of "edgy" are you considering some vocals?

Matt Stevens said...

Vocals will happen - the new album is done so not on that one but after that yeah - to be honest its time to a reset with my music....

David said...

You can't pretend any longer, Matt - I've decoded the backwards half-speed cover versions of Genesis and Yes classics that you've put throughout Ghost! You are Mr. Prog!

Matt Stevens said...

hahahha - I was always going to come out in the end :)

James Beaudreau said...

Awesome post Matt. I love the straight-shooting message, and Ghost is a great album.

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