Tuesday, February 2, 2010


At first I thought it may have been a seasonal thing, that maybe the unseasonably cold and rainy winter months were the reason Sydney’s thriving music scene was not gaining much of an audience and that as the year warmed the punting crowd would grow. Summer has hit yet the audience sizes for a lot of the lesser known acts are still in the single digits and I feel the only solution is a drastic makeover of current indie band marketing tactics.

To inspire and motivate people back in front of the stage I have a tastefully erotic proposition. To draw in crowds, rather than employing overused and vaguely ineffective promotional tactics, lets create something more than the music for the crowds to be attracted to, a visual element as well as the aural element. A lot of Sydney muso’s are attractive people, men and women, so why not utilise this and strip back these sex symbols literally, using tasteful semi-naked promotional pictures. I mean look at members from bands like Bridezilla, Cloud Control, The Jezabels, The Scare; they’re hot! I’d want to see these guys with their kit off (the women of course) and after seeing that I’d probably feel a little closer, a little more comfortable and a little more familiar with the groups. I’m not saying lets make X-rated porn or even full frontal nudity, just beautiful depictions of the female and male form which otherwise would have been inconceivable through your usual fully clothed standing-in-an-ally-looking-grim style band promo pic. Before you exhale in contempt of the idea and dismiss this story as lowbrow filth let me clarify – this is purely an advertising based ploy i.e. the proposed uncovered pictures would be used on band web pages, magazine stories and posters. I DON’T MEAN THE BANDS WOULD HENCE FORTH PLAY LIVE PERFORMANCES IN THEIR BIRTHDAY SUITS.

The problem isn’t that the music isn’t there or that the music isn’t good, because it’s outstanding, the problem is that many people aren’t interested in going out to a club and paying a small fee to be entertained by live bands. The greater problem from then of course is that if there’s no support for a band, the bands aren’t getting paid and after a while the usual case is that the band packs it in and the scale of the music scene slowly shrinks. For example, my two bands We Stole The Organ and Yellowbird have achieved regular high rotation on Fbi radio over the past several years yet close to half of the gigs we played over those years we weren’t paid.

Problems causing this issue include a number of shifts; live music crowds shifting to new small bars and clubs who prefer to employ DJs, economic decline and the subsequent tightening of belts and perhaps more importantly a lack of artistic inspiration and cultural movements.

To explain in greater detail what I’m talking about with this proposition lets take a look at your stereotypical band member. For starters whether they are actual geeks or they’re just dressing that way as part of their look, generally this will appear slightly androgynous or sexually unadventurous to say the least. So when these same timid geeks are seen without their stove pipe jeans and deceptive floral frocks to actually possess sensual female curves or rugged manly brawn, there’s no doubt people will be surprised and excited about their next opportunity to catch a glimpse of these talented undercover hotties. I’m not saying this hasn’t been done before, I mean I’m sure everyone’s had a quick perve of rolling stone’s in vogue pop star of the time’s naked-body-half-concealed-by-a-Fender-Strat at some stage. But these figures are presented as sex symbols from day one, it’s their whole promotional sales’ point, whereas for our standard indie rocker the focus of sex is a lot further down the list of sale’s agendas.

Now I’m sure there won’t be landslide support for this idea and there’ll be some tight-collar, A-sexual ‘don’t-exploit-sex’ types out there who’ll think this is surely some chauvinist, misogynist plot to objectify women/men, but I say let us celebrate human sexuality. The premise is that an extremely leftist idea can sometimes break the mould of a stifled culture, such as the hippie/beatnik movement of the 60s and 70s. From all accounts Surry Hills is supposed to be an eccentric quasi-bohemia on the brink of a 60s/70s style acid wave, so why not ride the wave, embrace peace, love, and nakedness and maybe somewhere along this wild rollercoaster ride we will experience sudden explosive blooms in live music audiences. This not only creates greater opportunity for current bands to survive and develop but also creates more opportunity for more bands to emerge and create greater competition between them, consequently raising the bar on the overall quality of consumer music.

I hope that in this approach artists would not be seen as sell outs but seen rather as modernizing dated approaches and perceptions. So in short, lets change the image from cute and understated to sexy and outgoing and get the small band support back on track.


Mat said...

I agree... I totally prefer going out to see hot bands, and if the weather's a bit iffy it can make the difference between going out or staying in. Add a bit of free love vibe and I'll be there. In a totally committed relationship way.

Acid Midget said...

Could we lump this idea into an art for art's sake argument?

No. Let's get undressed.

sb. said...

it's called megaporn - sounds like you need to use up some of your bandwidth limit.

but seriously...

most of these hipsters with guitars who claim to be in "bands" aren't all about the music. they work day jobs. and they care about their day jobs. they're too worried that their boss will drive past their nude poster in their fancy hybrid vehicle one day to ever get their kit off.

also, i disagree that there is *truly* great music coming out of sydney at the moment. if there was, then i'd personally find the time to go to more gigs.

9/10 acts these days are just a bunch of guys/girls who after watching the film Juno decided they could be "hip" or "indie" by playing guitars and citing Sonic Youth as an influence.

the problem with sydney is that it tries too hard.

and you are no witnessing the result.

sb. said...


ma fckr.