Press photo VK Interview 2006

The validity of virtual – A band member perspective

This virtual band – Is it real?”

What does it mean to be an exclusively online band?

There are probably as many answers to that as there are online bands currently online. πŸ˜€ But as always, I have my own take on it and and it is slightly troubled.

It is a normal thing these days – collaborations between individuals that do not, and may never, meet in real life. It’s getting easier and easier to pull it off. There are problems with it but in my case, the advantages are overwhelming. Without places like Kompoz.com I would not be on the path that I am. A member of a great band with a serious album release coming up.

But is it as valuable and “real” as a “normal” arrangement where things happen within a studio space, a garage, a basement, or at a gig in the local bar?

Well. Of course it is.

I say that with confidence because I know it is true. But do I say it with true feeling and belief?

I don’t know. And that bothers me.

Or maybe it bothers me more that I would love to jam in the studio with those I create music with and that is something that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. πŸ™‚

But back to the point; The validity of online bands.

When this phenomena started to appear, they were commonly called “Virtual” bands. And that has done quite a bit of harm in my perspective. The word “Virtual” means “Not real”. And if you don’t think words have power, then think again. Using those words in a sentence becomes a big hole that is hard to climb out of. Let’s just take this short conversation and see what is really going on:

What is said:
“Hey pal, I just joined a virtual band, I’m the guitar player. is that cool or what?”
What Pal is hearing:
“Hey Pal, I just joined a pretend band, where I pretend to be a rock star on the internet, where nothing is real, Is that cool or what?”

What Pal says:
“Yeah? Sounds like fun.”
What Pal is thinking:
“Yeah? You chatting on skype about guitar hero, hoping to get a record deal? Good luck with that!”

Yeah, I know. That sounds really bad. An maybe it’s not quite like that anymore. But moving away from the word “Virtual” hasn’t quite repaired the damage done. At least not for me.

But isn’t the issue more about my personal experience of always believing that music is a “hobby”? -hobby, another word that I wish I could delete from my vocabulary. Another powerful word that in my mind means; “Something that doesn’t matter.”

Yes. I think so. I believe my view is skewed toward the negative. So back to why I am so troubled and what I can do about it.

The trouble is a lack of confidence. This has no quick fix. But it is growing, and here’s how:

By doing what I love and worrying less about what other people think. slowly learning that what I do is okay. And that it has value. Slowly, but surely, I’m learning to say “This is my band, we are the bomb! Come check this!” With true feeling and belief. πŸ˜€

By not using that word at all. Instead of saying “Online band”, just say “band” Who would know the difference? Is there really a need to point out that we don’t tour, we don’t gig, and we’ve never met? Really? Because if I really probe at how I feel when I say I’m in an online band” vs “I’m in a band.” Now, I choose the latter.

By abolishing the word “hobby” in the studio. In all seriousness; Working ten hours a day without pay is work. And just because it is work I created myself because I love it, does that make it a hobby? Hell no. But isn’t that the crux of the matter? The definition of work Is “I do this, you give me money.” The work we do is different and the rewards are different. But that doesn’t make them less.

By moving forward.
The truth is that any band, online or not, actually doesn’t have a product to show until the work is done. Rare are the magical appearances of record company representatives offering a generous advance, promising fame and fortune. No. We do the work first, then we let it out, let it live, and hope for the best. And it’s still not free, still no paycheck. And that has to be fine.

And the simple truth is that it is! It has to be fine because the bottom line is: I do what i am, and I am what I do. And at the end of this page, after calling it out in the open, the word “virtual” has somehow lost part of its power. I still can’t say the word “hobby” without cringing, but I am like all the creations I’ve imagined and sometimes brought to life. A constant work in progress.

JennyK. From the Dungeon of curiosities and psychiatry – third padded cell on the left.

© Copyright 2016 JennyK, All rights Reserved. Written For: Studio Chaotic

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