Why I think every band should film a music documentary …
Not believing the hype? Is there a certain band, or several, that a lot of people seem to obsess over or adore but you just cant see why? Like, you may know they’re not terrible and yes you may be able to agree they’re talented, but they kind of just don’t do it for you? You just standby the fact that they are OK. Well, here’s my theory and I want you to test it. The image of the band that popped into your mind when you read that second line, watch a documentary on them. If they’re not quite big enough to have gained a film crew yet then watch interviews or some backstage clips. Watch footage on them. Go and read about their story, how they got started and the individuals in the band. Learn about how they came to be…then go away and listen to their music again, I guarantee you will hear it differently.
Unfortunately sometimes it’s not purely about the music of a band, I mean, it should be but sometimes its not. Sometimes it’s their image, the message they are trying to put across, their opinions, how releavent they are or were to society at that particular point in time. Often it can be the comedic aspect of a band which draws us in and the comerardery that comes along with them.
The way I see it, there are two types of great bands in the world. Type A: The ones that create iconic music with legendary riffs and poignant lyrics. Whether you are 16 or 65 or the band is old or new, you will have instant adoration. These are the ones that when we listened to their music for the first time we immediately had to know more about them – we went out of our way to learn about the musicians in the band because their music had struck a personal chord with us. Type B: The ones that create great music with clever lyrics and you enjoy their song(s) but they don’t quite have that emotive pull. They are on your playlist but you wouldn’t pay £100 to go see them live. These are the ones I urge you to watch a music doc on. If they’re new, follow their YouTube channel or Instagram lives.
Does that mean the music of Type B is not strong enough on its own? I know many would argue that great music should naturally make us feel a certain way without us having to put time and effort into researching the artist. But that’s not what I’m trying to say. You see, it’s not about letting these artists grow on us, it’s about understanding the substance behind their music. It’s about attaching denotation to the lyrics and feeling their personality through their sound.
Take The Jam, for example. Amazing band, catchy songs. But, unless you were British growing up in the 80s, are a millennial mod or a Billy Elliot enthusiast, then you may not be fixated on them. However, when you start to look at the fact that they rose up through the punk movement (a fascinating phenomena in history that I could get completely side tracked on, but I’ll refrain) and used it as a platform before moving into their own true sound. Then, if you take into consideration that Weller was just a mere 18 years of age when he was writing songs with sophistication and depth, ones with political and socio ecomonic value too, WHILST generating a mod revival AND being undeniably influential to a very working class audience. If you see snippets of footage of the buzz they created around that time and see how they motivated and inspired young people, sparking their interests in films, books, music and art, educating them, then no, you have not allowed them to grow on you. You have in fact attached context and meaning to something already great that allows you to understand it is infact genius.
That’s just one example though; you could use this with many bands as well as artists across a multiplex of genres and levels of fame. Sometimes you do have to also set snobbery and a vendetta towards a certain music genre aside to really appreciate an artist that you don’t quite “get”, even though masses seem to. Please note this theory comes with a warning label. You may start looking at the intricacies of an artist that you’re remotely interested in and in fact realise they are a complete tool. Sorry in advance.