This past week I did an interview with a famous band I’ve been following since I was in high school – I used to sing along to their songs and even went to two of their gigs while at university. I met with them to glean insights on the show they were doing and hopefully write something positive with regard to a band I so admired, for a time. The interview was a monumental let down. It’s hard to play down great expectations when PR campaigns use shiny buzz words to hype the value of a product to no end. Alas, I walked away wondering “what was that?”. The band was patronizing and condescending. I had to tell my editor that I couldn’t write anything positive although I didn’t want to write a negative review either – their show wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exceptionally great. Thus it left only the little I gained (or lost) from the interview and a vanilla like review being neither here nor there.
In my experience of being both a musician and a music fan, the chances of me crossing the paths of people I’ve only heard on recording or seen on TV are very good. I’ve learnt that you should never meet your heroes – nine times out of ten they will let you down. It’s happened more than just this one occasion in many different settings, where I ended up feeling embarrassed on the artist’s behalf for something they may have said or done during an exchange that could’ve garnered positive results for all parties, all round. It’s no wonder that when you’ve reached a certain measure of public success, people assume that ‘you’ve changed’.
Just yesterday I had an exchange with someone who opened our conversation with, “Josh, how’s the music going? Having all night parties in limousines yet?” You can’t blame people for following the prevailing idea that perceived success automatically dictates an air of greatness, as well all the vices that go with it. But then you meet what you perceive as great and realise it’s all smoke and mirrors.
On the flip side, many artists whose work isn’t deemed ‘top 40’ hustle in obscurity despite tremendous heart, skill and craftsmanship. These people can’t afford the hype, yet many deserve it. About two months ago I wrote a positive review about a world music show comprising precisely the characteristics I just mentioned and the bandleader was floored that I ‘got’ it:
“You have no idea how much it means to me to not only get a positive review for a project that means so much to me, but more importantly, a detailed and articulate review which clearly show you “get” it! I am forever in your debt.”
To say I’m flabbergasted by the contrast of these two experiences is an understatement. But it’s taught me a great deal about the difference between perceived value and intrinsic value – that just because you think something is great, doesn’t mean it comprises all the components required to make something great. Your hero may be an icon, but he can still be a chop.
THE FRUIT BASKET
Nice Beard Studios and I have partnered up to present the first in a series of events called the Office Block Concerts, where a performance happens inside an office space. This first one called ‘The Fruit Basket‘ came out of building a performance art music show in the nontraditional space.
Basically, you take the nontraditional space (the office) + the nontraditional artist (me) + a nontraditional concept (the Fruit Basket) and mix it together.
So, what’s so nontraditional about the Fruit Basket?
The Fruit Basket is a performance art event that encourages the audience to co-engineer the show’s narrative from start to finish. With the choice of 12 songs, 12 genres and 12 interactive elements that get audience members involved in the action, the Fruit Basket aims to redefine the way listeners interact with music. Simplified, the audience chooses the song, the genre, and the interactive element from out of 3 baskets and we see how the performance unfolds. 12 x 3 = 36 fruits.
Mix all that with our high energy, off-the-wall theatricality, and you get promo videos that look this.
Audiences are encouraged to leave their inhibitions at home for this one.
Venue: Nice Beard Studios, 4 Perfecta Rd, Paarden Eiland
Date: 30 September 2017
Cost: R120 online (Quicket)
I guess this is what makes artists so irritating – we seem to know and play with power without really wanting it. – Rodney Place.