Kick, Snare, Kick, Snare: Rewind, Reflect, Revise

In many ways, my third year at UC Irvine has been an immensely turbulent one. I’ve learned new things about myself and my goals for the future, as well the chance to interact with so many people in different capacities. With music, this has especially been the case.

Coming off a weekend of band practice, I’m more excited than ever to get back in the studio and get back on the stage with my friends, playing music we love. Because if I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that being in a band isn’t just about playing music and writing; it’s about forming bonds with bandmates that allow you to create the music you love and have fun doing so. Bands are like the second dysfunctional family we all didn’t know we needed.

This year has been one of new experiences in music as well. I’ve been in a band in the past as a vocalist (and a screamer, at that … I know what you’re thinking, though. And yes, there is a technique to it, and yes, it does take a lot of practice to do it right), and this year I took it upon myself to learn to sing through practicing with friends who can sing and lots of nights practicing alone in my room (which I’m sure my roommates appreciated). I’ve sung three different times now in front of people as part of a performance, and even though I’m still mediocre at best, it’s something I would have never in a million years pictured myself doing.

With a retrospective look at a year full of new experiences in unfamiliar settings, it also presents an interesting look at the future. My friends from home and I have come a long way from our start as 16-year-olds in a shed in our synth player’s backyard. Four years later, here we are again with a new and more mature mindset.

With that more mature mindset, we’ve decided that we’re going to do things right this time in terms of marketing ourselves and getting our music out to people. Too often, bands make the mistake of jumping the gun on creating their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, filling them with badly edited band “logos” and a shitty recording someone made with their iPhone of their band playing their songs in a garage.

Four years ago, that was us. But now, we know better. We’re writing five songs and perfecting them for a full setlist, which is also the appropriate length for an EP. We’re going to pick one of those songs (possibly two) and get them recorded properly. We’re going to take promo photos and make sure they’re done well. And then, with everything prepared, launch the social media campaign. It’s a reality in the world of promoting yourself that people will quickly lose interest if there’s hardly any content for them to check out, and we don’t want to make that mistake of losing people’s interest simply because we jumped the gun on putting up on content.

With that aside, I’m going to turn this article toward a recent experience where I had the chance to sit down with Stacy Clark, a local musician and winner of several Orange County Music Awards over the past few years. It was a free show at the Wahoo’s Fish Tacos at Fashion Island (sort of random, I know), and after her relatively brief set, we sat down to chat for a bit.

Without going into the details of every aspect of our conversation, it was a serious breath of fresh air to be able to talk with an established musician and learn about her experiences of moving from New York to Orange County and pursuing her musical career on the other side of the country. It reminded me that every musician has a different background that influences them in different ways and shapes their attitude and personality. What I sincerely appreciate about Stacy Clark is that we didn’t have to talk about music the entire time, and that it was like talking to a friend. We talked about college, soccer, her husband and how he looks like Andy Samberg (except cuter, according to Stacy).

With every story, I’m reminded that everyone has a completely different path to achieving what they set out to accomplish musically. Some get lucky, discovered at a young age like Justin Bieber or the boys in One Direction. People can say what they want about them and their music, but the reality is that they’re all ridiculously famous and living the dream that (almost) every aspiring musician hopes to achieve in their careers.

So, looking toward next year I’m more excited than ever for what the world of music holds. If everything pans out the way it should, it should be full of shows in Orange County and LA County, constantly writing new music in an effort to constantly improve our abilities and sound. Bands die when they don’t evolve — and it’s time we evolved.