chrisgilbey

Music Project

In Convergence, Social Media on January 30, 2011 at 3:36 pm
Left to right: Steve Kilbey, Marty Willson-Pip...

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Over the last couple of months I have been developing a new music project.

It’s hard to say where an idea starts… But during the last year, let’s just say that the planets came into alignment and the ideas started flowing.

So 15 years after leaving the music industry, I signed a band. Several people have said to me, “are you sure this is going to be the next big thing?”. My answer is that when I first saw AC/DC I thought that they were a good band, but not the next big thing. When I saw InXs, I thought that they were a good band with good songs. When I saw Noiseworks I thought…  You get the picture? You see an act, and you hear the songs and you think that you see potential. That is the magic ingredient – “potential”.

The rest is as much about the people as it is about the act.

In the case of AC/DC you would have to say that the one magic ingredient that the band had, was George. George Young, the brother of Angus and Malcolm, who apparently sits in Portugal these days and manages the brand, was the real visionary in that band. And he wasn’t even in the band. But he had been to the mountain, and he knew how the business worked. And he was patient, and calm and methodical about the execution of the strategy….

With InXs I would have to say that the talent and charisma of Michael Hutchence was the X factor in the band. But at the same time, the absolute hunger for success that Chris Murphy, their manager, had, was a key part of getting them there. That and the band’s trust in his judgment.  Judgment has to be a big factor too. As is trust.

So in signing a band trust has to go two ways.

My accountant, Mike Newcombe, asked me why on earth I had gone back into music when I told him that I had signed a band. I gave him a few reasons, and then said to him that the band features the two daughters of Peter Koppes, the guitarist from The Church, who I signed back in the last 1970’s. He then said to me, “Ah, now I understand why you signed them. Its family. You believe that the daughters of someone you trust will have the same amount of respect as the father does. Fair enough. I get it”. He was right. That is a good part of the reason.

I think that it goes further than that though. The trust that has to be implicit in developing an act is also about the band having trust in the strategy that I develop on their behalf. And in a world where technology is enabling us to do things in a quite different way to what has gone before, it is critical for an act to be living that reality and not some past fantasy of how the world – and the music business – works.

So the band is developing a much bigger vision than they had when we first met.

The vision is now about a total immersion of band and audience into a collaborative creative process, where band and audience merge to enable a level of creation that has never before been experienced. Of course we are still very much as the starting gate here, and time will tell where it leads. But the convergence of both inexpensive recording technologies together with telecommunications means that the audience can become deeply involved in the process. It also means that the band can reach out and understand more deeply what the emotional triggers are for its audience and then respond to them…

Doing this in the context of the 4 minute pop song will be an interesting journey. But you have to find a place to start and then get on with it, in my opinion.

So the bottom line:

In a week and a half the band will go into the studio with Rick Will producing. We will come out of that with somewhere between 3 and 5 tracks, and these will be mixed as music stems so that we can then provide the online community with the ability to remix them. We are going to do the same with video.

I have briefed Jason Kemp to build the web site. And next I have to start working with a film producer to start developing the concepts for documentary film on the process that I hope will go into production almost immediately.

The goal though…. is to create success without any involvement from the traditional record companies.  To give the music away, and to still generate money for the band. At the same time to generate money – and benefits – for philanthropic causes. In other words to turn the pre-existing model on its head.

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