This has nothing to do with Indy 4, surprisingly, it is just something I need to get off my chest and figure out. Dictionary.com defines the word “indie” like so:
1. (of pop groups) not affiliated with a major recording company
With that in mind, can someone define what it means to be “indie” today. The music world seems to be tossing this term around the way Javier Bardem’s character in No Country For Old Men tosses bodies. It is just so common for bands of different backgrounds, non-radio friendly, artistic musicians are being called. Yet, with all of that said and the definition above, there are few bands who can rightfully call themselves “indie.” Take for instance my boys in Fire Flies, they have been kicking around the music scene for a few years now and are not looking to make a profit, but are looking to get their music out. Irish rockers The Frames have been around for over a decade, have six albums under their belt and have never gone to a major label because they do not want their art tampered with. Maybe with a major these bands can and would get more exposure, but for them DIY and staying with independent labels seems to work. Now take for instance the Arcade Fire, a band I love and admire, who are probably the biggest “indie” band in the world right now (with the exception of Radiohead, who just left EMI last fall).
Granted the music world is much different today than it has ever been. Much different I am sure from when The Wonders sighned to PlayTone records in That Thing You Do. Due to myspace and the fall of big record companies, getting music out there is not as difficult as it once was, getting attention is a diverse situation. Though as diverse as the situation is today for musicians, "indie," does not seem to classify much. Arcade Fire I am sure have had offers left and right from the majors, but refuse to join the band wagon. These bands are just some examples. In many cases it is the punk thing to do, but many bands today are not making and living by the old punk code of DIY. Nevertheless, these artistic bands are emerging and “alternative” is coming back in a huge way.
Now take for instance, Badly Drawn Boy, a singer songwriter from the U.K. who I also adore. His lyrics are passionate, his music full of life, and he is known as a “indie” artist. The catch---he is signed to EMI, one of the biggest labels of all time, a label that boasted The Beatles, Coldplay and the recently departed Radiohead. Another artist, Beck, cannot be considered "indie," at all in my opinon, people call him that, I don't know why. I respct the guy, love his music, but he has been with the major's since the begining. I am not saying that going to a major label is a bad thing either, in many ways it helps certain artists. After the Grey Album, DJ Danger Mouse was able to link up with Cee-Lo to form Gnarls Barkly and created one of the most brillant albums Atlantic Records has released in years. So in some cases, majors do work.
I just cant figure out how this term can be tossed around so loosley. Remember pop sensation Hanson? Well guess what kind of music they are making now, yep, you got it! “Indie.” I have herd what they are making now, it is country fused folk. It is almost as if any band coming out of Brooklyn or have decided to leave the mainstream world are considered to be this term. Although this term does not define the type of music they are making, but how they are selling it.
What you need to understand and what I am trying to figure out is, “indie,” is not a genre, it is a label choice and lifestyle to a certain respect. The term, what everyone is looking for is alternative. As dictionary.com defines this word:
1. Allowing or necessitating a choice between two or more things.
a. Existing outside traditional or established institutions or systems: an alternative lifestyle.
b. Espousing or reflecting values that are different from those of the establishment
or mainstream: an alternative newspaper; alternative greeting cards.
If anyone could further my argument, pose one themselves or just shed more light to my mystery I would greatly appreciate it. Leave comments and enjoy. I hope this got you thinking.