Some thoughts on the indie music scene

Friendly Timo
Friendly Timo

I write my blog posts to share my personal experience with my music and career developments for people who follow me, and also for my peers in the industry.  This entry is written for the latter, but hopefully will be interesting to others who follow me.

The release of my debut EP, arisTotal, has now been done and I’ve engaged in a campaign to promote it around the media and all over the internet (with help of Starwing Digital, and Ginger Vine Promotions in Finland.)  It has been an interesting and even humbling experience to get to know the current circumstances of this rather tough and unforgiving marketplace for many of us!

I set out my goals to be very simple, realistic and straightforward: I simply wanted to let people in the marketplace know about my existence. I think this is everything these days, and delving into the matter revealed to me the entirety of it: there is enormous over saturation of all kinds of music that is being pushed 24/7 to almost every single media, and they are having an extremely hard time to filter through all of it to make heads or tails of it all. There’s a whole lot of good music out there too; an enormous amount of talent and great ideas waiting to be heard, or even get the exposure they deserve. This proves to be a major challenge in this marketplace.

But no, the purpose of this post is not to bitch and moan about the situation of this marketplace for indie music, or the challenges that all of us newcomers face to get our thing heard and recognized. I write about this because, as I’ve been doing my grassroots work at Twitter (I am new to Twitter …at 2019!), I’ve seen a lot of my fellow colleagues struggling with this issue. Some being very inpatient or sad about not getting their name out, and some overly aggressive with their promotion. While most of you are doing a great job managing yourself, I can’t help but to reflect on these thoughts and take a deeper look into what the hell are we doing anyway. Why the hell are we even doing this music thing for?

So, Timo, what the hell are we doing?

I could provide some keys to be comfortable with your musical career by first answering this question: why do you even want to write and publish music? If it’s money you’re after, I’m sorry to say this, but our world is filled with a lot more lucrative opportunities to make money than the music business. It really is a fool’s task to get rich with it starting from the bottom up. So much work and time and uncertainty is involved to make this a viable reason, provided that you still hold an ability to view the your world from a sane and reasonable perspective.

Is it the recognition of yourself as a person, fame and attention you’re after? I would argue that this kind of path is full of disappointments and guaranteed to leave you feeling hollow and incomplete, with plenty of insecurities about how you perceive yourself. Many of you are after this singular goal, never entertaining a question of why you seek validation through others. Surely if you are comfortable being yourself, you must also believe in yourself and know yourself enough to believe in yourself? Of course all of our actions are ultimately based on an imbalance between what we are and what we want to become, but seeking fame, recognition, and attention might be the ultimate appearance of this imbalance and ones crisis of identity. I don’t think it would be a healthy path to pursue, or at minimum, not rewarding or fulfilling. To be fair, this is simply my opinion based on the way I view the world.

How I tend to look at it is that there are people involved in this field who are there to either receive or to provide. Receivers are expecting attention, gratification, fame and fortune. They are typically very impatient, envious of each others successes, competitive, and often end up being outright hostile to one another. Then we have the providers, who have the right attitude, in my opinion. These folks have a totally different mindset that is geared toward real and dynamic success. They work hard simply to share their work with others, and they are genuinely interested in the works of others. They share the music and projects of others, support them, and work together for the joy of expressing themselves in their respectful communities.

However, this alone does not complete the equation of surviving in the music industry. When you have your mindset right about what you’re doing and why, you also have to have the ability to persist and keep on doing your thing for years and years, even when you’re not getting much attention or recognition for your work. There are many musical acts that have been absolute nobodies for almost a decade before breaking deeper into public consciousness. This perseverance is what it takes to make your name. Meanwhile, let’s just not worry about it too much, and let’s have a blast doing what we love. Music for the music’s sake. It’s all about the feels, sharing, caring and having fun with it with one another.

Of course, I speak on the authority of myself only and I admit my thoughts and advice should be taken with that in mind, but I still want to share this with you in hopes it would possibly help you on your journey as an artist, to help you push through without needlessly torturing yourself with these negative feelings. You are not alone.  Additionally, networking–on and off of social media–is a vital key to success for indie artists and musicians.

 

The Fair Attempts now on Bandcamp

Starwing Digital
Starwing Digital

The Fair Attempts arisTotal EP is now available on Bandcamp at
https://thefairattempts.bandcamp.com/releases  

You can stream all the tracks and easily share them on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, or embed a track directly on your website.  You can purchase the EP for yourself or as a gift for someone else, at the same price as all other stores and platforms where the EP is sold.

If you feel the music is worth more, or you want to support The Fair Attempts with a donation, you can increase the sale price of the EP when you add it to your cart on the Bandcamp website.

The stories behind the arisTotal EP

Starwing Digital
Starwing Digital

A decade of unbearable hardships and almost complete isolation from society enabled Friendly Timo to imagine a dystopian future in which all of human civilization has fallen into a living hell, created by themselves and with their own good intentions. Mechanical, bureaucratic, social and internalized control systems keep everyone in a state of helpless compliance.

Friendly Timo said he relates to the quote by C.S. Lewis, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Each song in the arisTotal EP by The Fair Attempts relates to an aspect of the future human condition. “Blowback” expresses the point of view of the control mechanisms personified. “Bad Battery” relates to society’s complete disregard of individual struggles, with a satisfied feeling of having solved the problems already. The song “arisTotal” is very straightforward about self censoring ones thoughts and feelings because they are given no place in society. “A Day of Concern” is much more complex, as it expresses several concepts simultaneously—of course there’s a strong influence from Friendly Timo’s battle with the health care system for fair treatment of his wife’s illness, but it is also about the ways individuals self-medicate in order to cope with their own personal hell. “Catwalk” returns to the perspective of the callous and inhumane controller above it all.

When asked why he created an EP for his debut release, as opposed to a full LP, he explains, “Making an EP has always felt most natural for me. I feel I have an easy time to combine a cohesive artistic theme and soundscape, without running a risk of repeating myself. It was my goal as a composer and producer of this EP to avoid forcing these songs to fit in any standardized, premade mold, doing the same song five times over. Rather, I wanted to preserve the richness of the creative process behind each song, that comes when you are doing music purely on its own terms as it flows.”

About the music he makes, Friendly Timo stated, “It may be that reaching far beyond 30’s in my life, I simply can’t afford to be afraid of being myself and let it show.”  It would seem that’s excellent advice for us all, regardless of how many years we’ve gone through–and survived–this thing we call life.

arisTotal EP is available in a few short hours

Starwing Digital
Starwing Digital

In less than twelve hours, the debut EP of The Fair Attempts, arisTotal, will be released!  This has been an exciting time for Starwing Digital as well, because this is also our first collection release.  All songs from the EP will be available for listening on this site, and you will also find the lyrics published here.

During the last two weeks, many new listeners discovered The Fair Attempts for the first time, with the release of the single, Bad Battery.  It was a pleasure to read the reviews, and we want to share a special review written by Mika Roth at Desibeli.net.  The review is written in Finnish and Google translates it very incorrectly, so for English readers we have a translation.

“One name is revealed behind the name “The Fair Attempts”: a founding member of the Tampere – based “The Cyan Velvet Project,” who is now known as Friendly Timo. Where TCVP was all about forging industrial metal, The Fair Attempts belongs purely to the synth/electro/EBM tribe where dance-ability is everything.

“Bad Battery tells about a fight against a terrible disease. An unwinnable fight that is ever consuming, destructive and crushing, but what you cannot escape either. Life is valuable, even the little crumbs of it. From within all the misery, pain and sadness has risen at least one excellent song that knows how to bring the German industrial sound and American synthwave to the same meeting point. It would be easy to blow everyone away with a ton of guitars at the chorus, but the approach to Bad Battery has been realized to keep it minimalist enough, which is outright genius.”

You can read the original text here.

It is important to The Fair Attempts that listeners each interpret the songs for themselves–and hopefully find a meaning that resonates with them on a personal level–however, if you wish to learn about the ideas and stories that inspired the songs, come back to this blog tomorrow!