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The 90's versus now...
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threesymbol
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#1
14th March 2013
Old 14th March 2013
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The 90's versus now...

Michael,

First off welcome and thank you!!! I am a 90's child, the music in the 90's has so much foundation in everything I do. With that being said, you really helped shape the sound of the 90's with Soundgarden, Hole, The Verve Pipe...

Besides the industry, do you feel like there was something present (or missing) in the 90's that really shaped the production of music? If so could you elaborate on your opinions of the sounds of the 90's and the sounds now?

Thank you again!
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16th March 2013
Old 16th March 2013
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Michael Beinhorn
 
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In a word- yup. For me, it's not so much the sounds as it is the mentality which has changed. I do think people working in music were more openminded and able to express their ideas more clearly. This is also because there was a music industry which- mercenary as it has always been- still supported individuality and artistry (to some extent and then, primarily in artists where originality was the clear source of their ability to generate revenue). That all changed when the record companies started losing revenue and began holding everyone else in the world but themselves responsible for the problem.

The way people make music now compared to then is far more systematic. Everything is done absed on a genre or a preconception of what an imaginary member of an imaginary demographic will want to hear.*

In popular music, there has always been a need to follow others- trends that bands with no identity of their own got behind in order to be successful. I recall meeting one fledgling band who were trying be Alice in Chains- grungy, shirtless with dyed dreadlocks. Speaking with them, they were very articulate, ambitious and polite- the whole presentation was a facade. Two years later, they cleaned up, slicked thier hair back, started playing pop songs, got signed and had a short run of hits.

Now, the recording industry is only interested in people who reinforce the stereotypes which are universally believed by them to generate success- even if that success is imagined or illusory. They are concerned more with appearances than they are with substance. This mentality provides very little wiggle room for people who are actually trying to be creative- and simply be themselves.*

Although it is perceived exclusively this way now, music is not simply a commodity. Twenty years ago, popular music was also looked upon as being a product- but it was a product which was better if it was special and unique. Back then, for every band which came out with a groundbreaking record, there were thousands everywhere who tried to emulate that sound to the letter.*

The problem now is that there are no groundbreaking records for those less original artists to emulate. This is due in no small part to the record companies putting all their emphasis on imitation rather than originality because they only want what is familiar to them- not foreign.*
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threesymbol
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#3
16th March 2013
Old 16th March 2013
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I really wish this could be solved. I appreciate your time answering our questions.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus
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16th March 2013
Old 16th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fexurbis View Post
In a word- yup. For me, it's not so much the sounds as it is the mentality which has changed. I do think people working in music were more openminded and able to express their ideas more clearly. This is also because there was a music industry which- mercenary as it has always been- still supported individuality and artistry (to some extent and then, primarily in artists where originality was the clear source of their ability to generate revenue). That all changed when the record companies started losing revenue and began holding everyone else in the world but themselves responsible for the problem.

The way people make music now compared to then is far more systematic. Everything is done absed on a genre or a preconception of what an imaginary member of an imaginary demographic will want to hear.*

In popular music, there has always been a need to follow others- trends that bands with no identity of their own got behind in order to be successful. I recall meeting one fledgling band who were trying be Alice in Chains- grungy, shirtless with dyed dreadlocks. Speaking with them, they were very articulate, ambitious and polite- the whole presentation was a facade. Two years later, they cleaned up, slicked thier hair back, started playing pop songs, got signed and had a short run of hits.

Now, the recording industry is only interested in people who reinforce the stereotypes which are universally believed by them to generate success- even if that success is imagined or illusory. They are concerned more with appearances than they are with substance. This mentality provides very little wiggle room for people who are actually trying to be creative- and simply be themselves.*

Although it is perceived exclusively this way now, music is not simply a commodity. Twenty years ago, popular music was also looked upon as being a product- but it was a product which was better if it was special and unique. Back then, for every band which came out with a groundbreaking record, there were thousands everywhere who tried to emulate that sound to the letter.*

The problem now is that there are no groundbreaking records for those less original artists to emulate. This is due in no small part to the record companies putting all their emphasis on imitation rather than originality because they only want what is familiar to them- not foreign.*
word
#5
17th March 2013
Old 17th March 2013
  #5
Michael Beinhorn
 
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[QUOTE=threesymbol;8850535]I really wish this could be solved. I appreciate your time answering our questions.


I think there is a solution and it's as simple as it's irrational. Keep working and trusting your process and don't believe in all the hype or propaganda you hear from outside. Stay focussed on whatever has brought you to this point- depend on your talent, recognize the impulse you have to please others and when this impulse is interfering with your creativity.*

Nothing in the recording industry is going to change on its own because the prevailing formula/perception is completely entrenched. The reason why things have gotten this bad isn't because the industry has found the magic formula which transmutes music into cash- it's because the entire industry is in a state of mortal terror as a result of their business falling to pieces.

When people are scared, they tend to act irrationally. This mentality of fear has trickled down from all the scared record company executives who are acting irrationally to the rest of us who want to make art and make a living at the same time. Because they're scared and behaving irrationally, they're causing the rest of us to follow suit.*

I feel the only thing that I can do- instead of trying to change anyone else's mind or hoping that they'll understand things that make total sense to me- is to change my perception about my work- why and how I'm doing it. I can't change anyone else's mind about anything- I can only present my own point of view- in this case, letting my work speak for itself.

The truth is, not everyone is able to sustain a business- let alone make a lot of money- having a studio, producing records, engineering, etc, even in the best of times. Darwinism exists in every field of endeavor- it's always been this way and rightfully so. Not everyone is bult to succeed doing what they love

If someone is going to fail or succeed at what they've devoted themselves to- they have the right to do so standing up instead of on their knees.*
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#6
18th March 2013
Old 18th March 2013
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That explains a lot.

If the music industry is going bonkers and excluding true artists, does that mean that "independent" musicians, who aren't terrified of failure, and thus can exercise full creativity, will eventually inherit the spotlight?
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18th March 2013
Old 18th March 2013
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Thank you sir for telling it like it is !

I have known this for many years and have heard the same mantra repeated by a number of industry insiders. Even before the industry took the cataclysmic nosedive the suits were already interfering in the creative process of artists/bands because they thought they knew what audiences out there wanted to hear. IME they have been wrong 99.999% of the time, and by the mid 90s the industry was already well on its' way into the unfathomable abyss due to the arrogance of the utterly clueless suits.

The only hope at this point for anything groundbreaking to happen in the recording arts will be from dedicated DIYers who are willing to risk everything for the passion of the art itself. Until then the art of turd polishing will continue to advance, and the nostalgia tours of old rock stars (who haven't written a decent song in 30 years) will grow unabated until the sick, emaciated cow of what is left of "The Industry" gets milked to the last fetid drop.
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18th March 2013
Old 18th March 2013
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So you're saying it's more important to be a leader instead of a follower now than ever before. I agree.
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#9
19th March 2013
Old 19th March 2013
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Art and money have never really gotten along well. Though there are some exceptions, I think as a whole, money tends to turn the focus away from what's really important. There are too many people in the music business who are into it for the wrong reasons, be it money, fame, identity... all reasons that have nothing to do with the purity of artistic expression.
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19th March 2013
Old 19th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691 View Post
I have known this for many years and have heard the same mantra repeated by a number of industry insiders. Even before the industry took the cataclysmic nosedive the suits were already interfering in the creative process of artists/bands because they thought they knew what audiences out there wanted to hear. IME they have been wrong 99.999% of the time, and by the mid 90s the industry was already well on its' way into the unfathomable abyss due to the arrogance of the utterly clueless suits.
Well, sadly this has always been prevalent. Judas Priest released Rocka Rolla in the mid 70's. It was a decent album, but the best songs were cut by the label's producer. One 10 minute epic was included as a 2 minute instrumental.

The next album JP had a say in the producers and released the songs cut from the first album and made what was arguably their best album ever - Sad Wings of Destiny.

That kind of label control has always existed.
#11
19th March 2013
Old 19th March 2013
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The ending of this thread hammers some very specific reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoreRec View Post
From the thread Comparing The Mixes: Nirvana 'In Utero' [Scott Litt Mixes vs. Steve Albini Mixes] [HD on 8th Feb 2013

...there used to be a funnel for releasing the music and that let it reach everyone. The flood gates are wide open now. There are more good bands than ever before, but they're all getting to smaller and smaller audiences. I actually think it's very improbable we'll have a breakthrough, mass-head-turning revolution again. There are just too many ways to release it.
#12
19th March 2013
Old 19th March 2013
  #12
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[QUOTE=fexurbis;8853871]
Quote:
Originally Posted by threesymbol View Post
I really wish this could be solved. I appreciate your time answering our questions.


I think there is a solution and it's as simple as it's irrational. Keep working and trusting your process and don't believe in all the hype or propaganda you hear from outside. Stay focussed on whatever has brought you to this point- depend on your talent, recognize the impulse you have to please others and when this impulse is interfering with your creativity.*

Nothing in the recording industry is going to change on its own because the prevailing formula/perception is completely entrenched. The reason why things have gotten this bad isn't because the industry has found the magic formula which transmutes music into cash- it's because the entire industry is in a state of mortal terror as a result of their business falling to pieces.

When people are scared, they tend to act irrationally. This mentality of fear has trickled down from all the scared record company executives who are acting irrationally to the rest of us who want to make art and make a living at the same time. Because they're scared and behaving irrationally, they're causing the rest of us to follow suit.*

I feel the only thing that I can do- instead of trying to change anyone else's mind or hoping that they'll understand things that make total sense to me- is to change my perception about my work- why and how I'm doing it. I can't change anyone else's mind about anything- I can only present my own point of view- in this case, letting my work speak for itself.
This is very refreshing to hear and quite punk rock ...essentially, the very core of a pioneer- or, what it means to be human- a real human who has negative reactions to poisons to his health.
And myself, i think this is the key to real "happiness" is being true to one's self and examining motivations. I believe much of what we subconsciously sense presently, in a global sense, is a change in what things like work, family and success mean- now that everything has been had, done and done over again. It's like the nuclear arms race in the 80's. One day we wake up and say "Wha Tha Fuh?"
There are so many things that fit into this conversation, such as a culture of fear and anxiety about the future, emphasis on material acquisition rather than developing self and fixed ideas that no longer serve a purpose.
And if art imitates life, the conversation, perhaps like the current industry, is not presented in major media, but in the garages, basements and small gatherings of "average people", where they begin to redefine and have a genuine experience again, instead of one that is prefabricated and researched in the cause of making profit. Just because it is not covered in press does not make it any less relevant- and i am proposing even more relevant.
Some people say "there is too much music" now, but i think there is no such thing. I think the problem they are referring to is that big fish are not in control and making money from all the busy-ness. And that must be the real value of work, not necessarily if it is has economic or even value to a society- but at the very base, it keeps one busy and with this, healthy.

Many are realizing the illusion- the lie- isn't necessarily created by the Powers That Be, or some invisible suited men in large buildings- it is the illusion one tells one's self that with lots of money, fame and followers happiness doth make. The truth is, happiness makes success. It's an inside job. The only ones that have escaped it are the ones who died trying.

Thank you for speaking the truth.
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