Last night Tyler and I had the pleasure of working with our good friend Joel Rakes. Joel came over, we ate dinner, and then we worked for a good 2-3 hours on fine tuning the songs that he’ll be using when he records his EP in Nashville next week. Let me be the first to tell you (if you haven’t been told all ready), you are going to want to buy this EP. Seriously. Joel is one of those musicians who you can’t really label. He plays acoustically driven music, but he throws in banjos and other fun stringed instruments. I guess if I had to classify his music I would call it “folk,” but he wouldn’t fit in with a bunch of true Appalachian hillbillies (my kin), so don’t get any ideas. One of Joel’s best features as a musician is his ability to create distinct, beautiful melody lines. You should really just check his stuff out.
So Joel and I actually have a long (well for my age long) history as friends and it was making me laugh a little last night to think about it. When we were 13ish we tried to start a band with two of our friends, and I can actually remember our first (and probably only) song writing session in our friend Ben Stein’s basement. We wrote some song about a web. That’s all I can remember. And it was probably terrible. Anyway, last night I couldn’t help but smile at the fact that now we’re all actually pursuing this music thing for real. When I was 13 I never would have thought that 9 years later I’d be sitting in Ty and my living room (I mean I’d hadn’t even met Ty) working on songs with Joel. I’m really glad that we’re still connected.
So the title of this post has to do with the fact that Tyler and I always joke about not being “real” artists. What does it mean to be a “real” artist, you ask? Well, there are a few things stereotypical about indie artists, a kind of “indie artist mold” if you will, that Tyler and I never seem to fit. Here’s what I mean:
Indie artists typically (and I realize I’m making sweeping generalizations here):
-wear dark clothes–with males wearing jeans that can be described as “tight,” and t-shirts that either are vintage or could pass as being extremely old and worn, even if they’re brand new. The new low cut v-neck for guys is popular now too.
-have funky hair do’s. the “faux hawk” comes to mind, or some kind of sweeping bang that covers one eye.-wear dirty, worn out chucks or some equivalent sneaker. (I actually do own a pair.)
-males: wear some form of headgear. (no, not the type you wear as a 14 year old with braces). a fidora, sweatband, etc will do.
-even if an indie artist’s eyesight is 20/20, he/she might consider wearing stylish glasses just to add a little flare and complete the image.
-somehow, many male indie artists frequently forget to shave.
Anyway, although Tyler and I have some quirks (i.e. Tyler never wears shoes and I have a slight color problem and can’t seem to match my clothes without help), we don’t really fit the indie artist profile. Ah, well. You can’t win ’em all.
But to get to the point. Last night, when Ty, Joel, and I had our little song writing session, I felt like a real artist. And it wasn’t because I was dressed up just right or made myself look any different from anyone else, it was because we–Ty, Joel, and I–were participating in a part of what we were created to do. It doesn’t get much better than that. Not to mention the songs sound great.
In other news, I hope to see some of you tomorrow night @7 at Starbucks on Main Street, Newark!