MUSIC, THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, SOUND CITY’13 – LiveSquare: Concerts

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Wonderland! Ah such a cool place Alice is going into, sounds so er “wonderful”!    I thought as a kid watching the movie. Filled with the air of Fantasy, sights of disbelief, an adventure of a lifetime!

But as I delved deeper into the rabbit hole with Alice it became apparent that it too has it’s imperfections, it’s problems, it’s malice.

Musicland is such a wonderland that we all have perceived it to be through the looking glass. But in reality one doesn’t quite see the whole picture of what it is through it’s doors. The pillars it is built on just don’t happen as it is; it is to be constructed through hard work, through passion, through love.

On 22nd March we delved deeper into this rabbit hole with LiveSquare: Concerts.

The topics that were discussed are as follows:

1)    Live scene and Alternative spaces

2)    Music as a career

3)    Media and Music

4)    Financing Music

“To produce good music you need to have a good music infrastructure! “said Majedul Islam. “And having a career in music doesn’t only mean you need to be a musician only” he adds. Majedull is the band manager of Warfaze. Throughout his career Majedull is equally as responsible for the bands success as the musicians he portrays. In shadows, seldom in the limelight of fame. Such is the music infrastructure an unseen support to uphold the musical scene, without which the streets of the music community is a dark and cold underbelly of a concrete jungle, where it’s tough, a tough world.

“Musicians are like overgrown children” mentioned John from the band Black. They are sensitive people and require solitude to offspring their creativity, they don’t deserve the headache of the messy side of the process on top of that, which involves finding sponsors, record dealings, concert arrangements and such, for these you should assign a band manager, it’s to be their headache – says John.

Shafin Ahmed of Miles mentioned of his struggle during the 70’s where they had to pioneer the notion of a modern rock band in a Bangladeshi context.

“It’s most important to know who you are, be who you are, play what you love, how you like it and the rest follows, but you would never succeed if you choose to be the category that your predominantly not since you would be reaching out to the wrong set of audiences, if your music is really all that great you will be appreciated” – Shafin

“You have to first know if you want to make your band a big shot mainstream or keep it cool and small and develop being an underground, your music defines you not the other way around’

Andi Teichmann spoke of the German musical scene and how it found and developed it’s musical scene into an infrastructure.

After lunch we enrolled in the topic of Media and Music, comprising of panelists from the mainstream media sources such as Elita karim of the Daily Star representing the press media, Alif Allaudin, notable from the Music Buzz show in Ekkator, representing the Television as the media source, Sriya Sharbojaya of the Radio Shadhin representing the radio as the source of media.

The panelists discussed of the importance of a system in the music scene. “The importance of a system can’t be any more crucial as many musicians don’t even know of their music’s statistics as there isn’t a formal statistical system for record sales or which track is better received by the audience and which is not. And these are part of that series of “hiccups” every young musician has to stumble upon as they enter into the music world as there aren’t any guidelines, per se.“ says Elita

The music community here is a small and a compact one where everyone knows each other and most of them being friends every now and then everyone helps each other out, which is beautiful and a rarity in this dog eat dog world.

As for the questions part I had a question of my own for the panelists, I asked “What sort of recognition or importance does Blogs have on the context of mainstream media, much of which are represented by you guys here?”

The panelists assured that that it is the music journalists or reviewers that helps bring the system together, it’s quintessential! For the artists and the consumers they provide valuable info for.

“And as for blogs it’s growing and boy is it growing fast” – Tanim, a veteran music journalist who has been on the scene for ages and has seen all the who’s who, and what’s what. Most music lovers in our country falls into an age group which is predominantly internet based, in this Facebook era where information rules and “Shares” and “Likes” are the new currency, we in fact have an edge compared to the other mainstream medias represented by our fellow panelists. We are diversified and as smooth and stealthy as a Ninjas with switchblades!

The discussion ended and we came up to the next segment called Financing Music which spoke of the quintessential green notes, no money no honey.

At the end of the day music falls into as an industry, a chain of the media industry, and one which produces creativity through the movement of it’s gears. And in order to keep the wheels turning one can’t simply ignore the driving force of money. Yes there is a presence of the ever dreadful corporatism involved but the trick is to use this as an asset and not a liability in the business of creativity. To produce the fine blend without compromise. The segment spoke of the recent interest of corporate forces into the creative music industry and how this can turn into a win-win situation for both parties. Clever tricks such as product placement, efficient sponsorship and ingenious marketing or promotional techniques are the key elements.

Nafis Ahmed the brainchild behind Live Square, an alumni of IBA, spoke of the humble beginnings behind Live Square, now one of the biggest and most well-known of event management companies in Bangladesh. ”We didn’t have money to open up an office for live square, neither did we have money to even set up a website, however we were passionate in our work and we also cleverly utilize the full benefits of the recent Facebook boom in this country to our advantage” and the rest is as you know a legend. So as you see if you want to listen to your heart you also have to listen to your brain, and success, why wouldn’t there be any?

Music is a wonderland for many, foundationed by dreams, cemented into place by hopes, casted by the fiery flame of passion which lies deep within our heart….only to be evoked by the power of music. However this wonderland exists only in our dreams, in our thoughts, in our hearts. In reality we have to build such a wonderland. Live Square has seen this reality and they aspire to build such a factory. A factory whose wheels never go weary and creativity is not only produced, it is aspired.

Let this spirit arise in all of us who dares to dare a dream, who dares to follow the white rabbit. A spirit that slays the Jabberwocky.

Call us Mad Hatters if you will, this is Wonderland….

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