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Style over content?
Last Post 09 Sep 2004 07:10 AM by Dromed. 22 Replies.
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DromedUser is Offline
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Dromed

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09 Sep 2004 07:10 AM
    I went to see a few bands playing over the HWCHs weekend, and one band in particular were particularly disappointing - don't worry not going to name any names! They were a band that I'd heard loads about and when I finally got to see them, I suppose more out of wanting to see what all the fuss was about, I was amused to see it was more like an effort of a 'Face' photo shoot then anything else - this got me thinking...with the current trend in new wave/nouvelle vague bands that are all skinny ties and good hair, has style become more important then substance? I know the topic has been raised before, that fashion and music will forever go hand in hand (amen), and I love a band to make a bit of an effort and put some style and the occassional bit of glamour into the matter, but not if it's something to hide behind. It's unbelievable that a band can make a name for themselves based on image alone and people fall for it. Thoughts???? Do you think there is a lack of style or too much emphasis on style/image with Irish bands?
    mutchUser is Offline
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    09 Sep 2004 07:16 AM
    Think Neil Hannon gets it just right in fairness to him. Food for thought though, good point!
    KarlitoUser is Offline
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    09 Sep 2004 07:29 AM
    It's a good point, my brother know this band that are being hyped, not sure if it's the same band or not Dromed, but they were all made - or at least band decision - to wear a uniform - they were no longer aloud wear jeans or runners??? I thought this to be ridiculous because if your in a band it should be about the music, and obviously, as you said dromed, a bit of effort and maybe glamour, but to state that no jeans or what ever are allowed is not a good thing - I mean, because they don't wear jeans is not gonna make people listen to their music or buy more records, if they actually make one. I think if someone is that desperate to make it by having said uniform it's not worth it. I also realise that certain bands (The Hives) all dress the same way, but they have the music to back it up and certainly didn't start out that way.
    El DuderinoUser is Offline
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    El Duderino

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    09 Sep 2004 07:31 AM
    That's a very good point Dromed. I'm not sure how relevant it is on the Irish music scene, it's not something that I've noticed a whole lot anyway. It is increasingly the case with the big rock bands now a days. Take the Hives for example. They have one tune that they do to death however, this is somehow over looked 'cause the frontman has a vivid imagination and comes up with weird stories about the founding of the band etc. Then they get on stage with their matching suits and NME have a serious hard on for them. You're right in saying that the 2 are inextricably linked but at the moment style seems to be winning out slightly. But as David O'Leary would say, "eh, at the end of the day eh, it's all swings and roundabouts"
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    09 Sep 2004 07:51 AM
    I love a band to go to a bit of effort too, for example Chicks on Speed were great last time I saw them live. What they do isn't really your traditional gig, its as much performance art as it is "live" music (if a couple of girls singing along with a laptop can be considered live music). I'm actually a bit encouraged by the fact that we have a few shallow syle over substance bands, not that these are a good thing in itself, but are probably a reaction to the kind of artists that have dominated the scene for years (I think you're smart enough to figure out what I mean, mention no names for fear of incurring the wrath of the faithful ). Hopefully thiw will be a passing phase more bands will emerge that get the balance right. I think finding the right balance has to do with the motivation behind adopting an image, is it purely for your own benefit to look cool and get on magazine covers or does the audience get anything out of it? Take Neosupervital for example, he does adopt a slightly gimmicky image with the shades and the suit and stuff (and whats with the little bicycle?), but the purpose is that its all part of his thoroughly entertaining on stage persona. He also has the tunes to back it up, so I think he gets it right.
    GarUser is Offline
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    09 Sep 2004 08:13 AM
    Franz Ferdinand were all dressed in suits last night picking up the Mercury Music Prize. Does their new found image really make that much of a difference? Does it bring more professionalism to their image? I'd personally just pefer a band like The Zutons. They dress casual but it is still respectable enough, plus the sax player was looking well fit last night.
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    09 Sep 2004 08:19 AM
    Ah but the Zutons have their own quirky image too! The B-movie name and cover art (an image does not have to be purely just clothes) but thats great, it adds rather than detracts from the whole thing. Even Johnny Cash had his whole "Man in Black" thing going on, which did have more signifigance than just style if the song "man in black" is to be believed (feel free to step in here any time Jules ).
    KarlitoUser is Offline
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    09 Sep 2004 08:34 AM
    Personally I think a band or artist can go for "an image" without having to resort to a uniform. Prime example, Paul Weller, the modfather, in view one of the coolest dressers in the music biz, he always makes an effort always has done, but it's down to his own personal taste and never makes his backing band or whatever dress like him and say "you have to wear this, you must waer your hair like this" cause thats b****x. Do what you feel is what I say. As for Neosupervital, the dude is brilliant and just does what he wants, and doesn't fit into whatever "fashion" or style is in
    El DuderinoUser is Offline
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    09 Sep 2004 08:38 AM
    I think the main thing about gimmicks and images is authenticity. A band doesn't have to dress up in suits etc. to portray an image. It's when this image is hammed up to the nth degree and over takes the musical aspect that problems start to occur. Whether contrived or otherwise every band or performer has an image which is important to them. I generally don't like gimmicks (The Darkness in jump suits etc.). A good act shouldn't need gimmicks and ultimately if a band comes to rely on this it's not a good sign. So I guess what I'm saying is: Image - not a bad thing, necessary, Gimmicks -
    Rev JulesUser is Offline
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    09 Sep 2004 08:43 AM
    quote:
    Originally posted by El Duderino
    Take the Hives for example...Then they get on stage with their matching suits and NME have a serious hard on for them.
    The funny thing about The Hives and other bands is that their suit uniform is really just a throwback to the old 1950's showbands like Brendan Bowyar or the Nordic equivalent.
    kierryUser is Offline
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    09 Sep 2004 09:31 AM
    mainline, the urges, and things. three bands that are being 'groomed' to be signed. thing is, mainline look cool but have no personality or songs. the urges are nothing but a hollow look and the things are such a rip off that its frustrating. nothing to say they don't have talent, they all clearly do, but none of their music speaks as loudly as their respectives images.
    milkyUser is Offline
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    09 Sep 2004 09:46 AM
    well one prime example of not letting their style(which is very distinctive)get in their way of their music is the white stripes need i say anymore but i def would have to agree, at hwch2 there was so many people going around with their same haircuts trying to go for the look oh i jus got out of bed, i dnt care what i look like when really they have their hair cut in this "cool" way and spend hours grooming themselves,as for the their talent,it sometimes left alot to be desired, but other times it surprised me pleasantly so!
    LuceraUser is Offline
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    09 Sep 2004 10:47 AM
    You could say its part of the delivery, is'nt it? Your expectation from a polka dot dress might be Donna Summer tunes, but your excpectations from an Ann Summers outfit would be Lil Kim tunes. (Or maybe more...) Angus young's school uniform was initially worn for his own sake he felt more comfortable "becoming" the AC/DC angus that everyone expected. American rappers can be taken as an area where clothes are the thing that sets most of the lowest common denominators (50, diddy, the next big thing on mtv base or whatever for the next 6 months) apart. Not all dress like the roots or arrested development becuase they have radically different (and somewhat opposing) messages. But, agreeing with what the Duderino said above, its got to be a small part of the delivery as opposed to being the actual message being delivered.
    WickerUser is Offline
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    Wicker

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    09 Sep 2004 10:54 AM
    there are plenty of mediocre bands being hailed as "the next big thing" and methinks that if they were not being groomed by someone then they fall back from whence they came..... It's a sad state of affairs alright, as I too saw one of those supposedly next big things and was laughably disappointed by the lack of originality and style.... ...all bark and no bite
    Neil WhiteUser is Offline
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    Neil White

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    09 Sep 2004 12:28 PM
    I'm an artist currently nailing down plans for the launch of a debut album and single and I have consulted a wide range of people from all aspects of the industry. The most consistent piece of advice I've been recieving has been to focus on my image. Although the quality of my music will eventually have to shine through, it's become apparent to me that it wont be the deciding the factor in the outcome of my career. The bottom line is that promotion is the key to success, and the most effective promotional tool is an effective image. Image obviously refers to more than just what clothes you wear, it's about your attitude and just generally to give journalists and fans something different to talk about. I think Republic of Loose are a good example of this - they wear their retro tracksuit tops and runners but have a real 'in your face' attitude. No magazine or news rag wants to interview an ordinary guy in ordinary clothes who wants to talk about his beautiful music. They want someone who will criticise every other band and artist. They want someone who will stick ridiculous political viewpoints down your throat. They want save the whales, they want anti-Bush, they want a frontman pissing off a stage. They want something to write and talk about. But that's not style you may say - but it is - if bands are going for the more pristine look and boy next door charade, then they're effectively doing the same as Republic of Loose et al, they're just targeting a different audience. So the sad fact is that yes, style is on the up, but I think rather than it being Style over Content - it's Style to get your foot in the door, then the content takes over.
    DromedUser is Offline
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    Dromed

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    09 Sep 2004 12:41 PM
    I'm all on for putting some thought into an image - i lurvvved the way Roxy Music, in particular Brian Ferry, toyed with various images and styles, and that went across the board from Stage outfits to IMHO the best sleeve artwork. I think Franz Ferdinand look great and for a while thought they were all style and no substance, it put me right off until I eventually gave them a proper listen and I think I was a bit too quick to dismiss them for that reason - Image and style is an important part of presenting yourselves in a band, it gives the public something else to chew on while digesting your music. The same goes for those bands that make an effort to put on an interesting live show, with good visuals. Altogther it should go towards enhancing the music and leaving you feeling inspired as a punter. For some bands their image is an anti-image. I reckon Republic of Loose are somewhat like this, not to their detriment mind you. I don't think they need it and don't think they'd be comfortable with it. Their laid-back style is far more fitting in image and befits their music (in it's honest-to-jaysus-ness). The don't suffer for a lack of glamour as the 'show' they put on, by way of giving it loads, dancing and engaging the crowd, draws you in regardless. Talent will always outshine the fraudulent. Milky - I'd agree with you that the White Stripes don't let their style/image get in the way of the music, but they are a good example of a band that puts alot of thought into it - the red and white thing, good videos, even the whole boy/girl idea. I don't know about people walking around Dublin with contrived 'cool' hair...I think people aren't generally as contrived as they might come across. It drives me nuts that if anyone looks the slightest bit different in Dublin that get lamped for it. It's a testament to how influential image is when you see people copying haircuts/style of what turns them on...musically speaking of course! I suppose the test is will your music stand up alone, without all the other 'bulls**t' - if it can, then the 'bulls**t' becomes another dimension that can add to what you do. If it can't...well all the stylists in the world can't help you!
    DromedUser is Offline
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    09 Sep 2004 12:43 PM
    Touché on ROI Neil!!!
    El DuderinoUser is Offline
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    El Duderino

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    10 Sep 2004 05:33 AM
    ROL definitely give off the right vibes when it comes down to creating an image for themselves. The reason I bought their EP was the biog. they had on their web site. It was so cocky that I had to see what they really sounded like. I think 10 speed racer are a good example of how trying to project an image can be a burden that eventually buries you. The cover of their album has a naked woman on it, provocative I think you'll agree. However, the bands material never even approached bing provocative or bohemian
    clampsUser is Offline
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    11 Sep 2004 10:47 AM
    droomed quote "It drives me nuts that if anyone looks the slightest bit different in Dublin that get lamped for it" you've just contradicted your whole point here.......think before you type
    DromedUser is Offline
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    Dromed

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    13 Sep 2004 07:19 AM
    Sorry Clamps, I actually haven't contradicted my whole point. My point was about bands spending too much time worrying about their image/style and maybe not enough about their music, in other words too much style and not enough substance. My other point was in reference to a comment made my Milky about regular punters walking around with 'haircuts', which is entirely different. If you put yourself on stage people are going to take note of how you come across, musically, visually, whatever. A punter walking around with a 'haircut' has no bearing on music, or the gig in question. Think before I type....? It's Dromed, not droomed
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