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A question regarding individual identity vs. art.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Benjamin Strange, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Like many of us, I'm an artist that toils in obscurity, and will most likely continue to do so, but I'm finding myself increasingly in an odd place between needing recognition as an individual musician vs. my art. Here's the deal:

    I make weird music. I invent, research, and build microtonal instruments, and make ambient/experimental/industrial/metal noises. I've released 3 albums and 1 EP, and am working on my first microtonal metal album. I've released all of these under my own name, which is starting to create a bit of a dilemma. For the past several years, I've increasingly been getting calls as a bassist for hire, playing in all kinds of different bands: hip-hop, doom metal, blues, jazz, funk, etc. I've always felt that I've had to explain to people that my art that I create is not the sole representation of my musical abilities, and it's always been an awkward conversation. I feel like I'm having to justify my skills - just because I make weird microtonal music doesn't mean I can't play the blues, too. Most of the time this has worked out ok, but at a last minute gig last night with an artist I'd never played with, he said something that gave me pause. He said that after he booked me for the gig, he listed to some of my music, and got worried. Everything worked out great, and he loved my playing, but this makes me wonder how many gig calls I'm NOT getting because of my own individual art.

    So now I'm considering developing a separate moniker for my music, and promoting that as a separate entity (much like Trent Reznor vs. Nine Inch Nails, for example)., and changing the artist name on my previous releases. I'm mulling over the advantages and disadvantages, and I'd like to hear the opinions of random people on the internet (always a good source for consensus). What say you?
  2. Hi.

    Step into their shoes.

    Plain and simple IMHO.

    You are to them what they can find with a quick search. If they don't like what they find, they won't pursue the relationship any further.

    Whether that's a bad thing for either party involved, only time will tell ;).

    As long as the aliases, stage names or alternate "personalities" are made public, and the artsy side of the equation is clearly there, people willing to hire someone whos artistic direction isn't a single path will hire You.

    IF and this is a big if, people see the art being different (or strange ;)) just for the sake of being different, most will pass.
    The same goes if there's even a hint of the reason being a mental disorder.
    Not that artists are the sanest bunch of people out there :).

    IMHO/IME anyway.

  3. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    If you want work, never give them a reason not to hire you. As a compromise, how about a link of sound filed to the different styles of music you play so they can see that you actually can cover a wide range of material
  4. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I think you keep the name you have everything released under the same, and gig professionally under an alias.

    Bass Playin' Bob*, welcome to Talkbass.

    *or any other such moniker you choose to work under
  5. Here's what I would do:
    If you have a Soundcloud page (which I assume is what you're using to point people to), upload some stuff and tag it "blues" "Jazz" "Cover" "Fill-in" and tag your other stuff "Experimental" "Industrial" etc.

    Here's my soundcloud right now: https://soundcloud.com/dakota-potts

    If I wanted to get a job creating the title track for a video game, I'd send the song "Vacancy".

    If I wanted to do an energy drink commercial, I'd send the hard rock demo.

    Not everything you write has to be up on there. I'm uploading everything I'm marginally satisfied with, but in the future I see me having a lot of recordings and having to pick from each project/type of music,