People often ask us “why do you make music?”. It’s a question that crops up more often than you would think but the answer isn’t always easy to explain. What makes musicians do what they do is difficult to explain to people who aren’t musicians, it’s an answer usually shrouded with idioms like “it’s all about the music” or “it’s all about being on the road”. This is made all the more difficult when you’re in a band because the answers can be different from one member to the next.
For us, as a band, the answer lies in the past, from times when we were alive but not yet conscious enough to know that the times we were living in were to shape our futures and the answer comes from another mans lips, the words that forged us as musicians. When discussing how Joy Division became one of the most iconic bands of the Manchester era, Tony Wilson once famously said “The other bands were on stage because they wanted to be rock stars. These four were on stage because they had no fucking choice.” That sentence right there is the reason why we make music.
The truth of the matter is that being in a band these days is tougher than it ever has been, there is so much music out there and what sells can often come down to what is trending on Instagram as opposed to what tune is hot on Radio 1. These are crazy times we’re living in! Then there is the financial costs of being a musician, getting to gigs, hotels, equipment, studios, clothes, and of course the beer tab. There comes a cost to wanting to do the music, especially when you’re trying to match the quality of your idols, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, New Order, Joy Division. You find yourself sat with your band mates wistfully throwing out names of producers you’d like to work with and before you know it, you’re booked into record with them and selling your prized possessions to pay for the recording.
“Do you do it for the money?” that would be a no (see above). “Do you make music because you get a buzz out of playing live?” of course but that’s not the only reason. Each of us are compelled to make, create and push our talents to new boundaries, none of us are bound by the traditional view of being a “rock star”, we just know that being in The Malthusian Trap is about something more. We make music because we feel like we have “no fucking choice.”
For us being a musician is about having an experience that few others will ever have, giving a bit of yourself back to the world in the hope that you will touch people in a way that might make them stop and think, or better still get up and dance. It’s the expectation that your next gig could be the best (or worst), it’s about knowing every service station on the M5 intimately, it’s about spending time with people who you could equally smother with a pillow on account of their snoring one minute to knowing that when your on stage playing your tunes you’re a unit, one person in multiple bodies. It’s about being a cheesy bastard when explaining to people why you make music and being pretentious in the same breath.
But perhaps even more importantly than all of that, it’s YOU, the listener, that makes all of it matter. Maybe you right here, now, are the reason why we have “no fucking choice.” Because if you weren’t here, reading these words, listening to our tracks then maybe we’d be off doing something much less interesting with our lives.
In the pursuit of what we do, as a band, as musicians we can be sometimes focus too much on the destination, when that happens we have a saying we knock about…”the journey is the destination.”
Here’s to hoping that you are part of that journey.
If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone of that journey, click here to listen to our most recent EP, ‘Palpitations’.
Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter.