Saturday 16 July 2011
Dylan Jones: 'The lack of music on television and the small size of CDs makes it hard for bands to market their image'
Twin Atlantic's "Free" is the impassioned sound of young Glasgow – fast, furious and repeatedly championed by Kerrang! magazine. The band have been around since 2007, playing festivals, getting sticky on YouTube, touring the US, and making the sort of baby pop metal that goes down well at uni. But until "Free" (the title track of their first proper album, two years on from the critically acclaimed mini-album Vivarium) they had yet to come up with a hook that might hint at immortality. As they use so much that has gone before them (their line-up, the genre, the form itself), these days groups like this – and it has to be said that there are many groups like this – find it difficult to get the traction they need.
The big stumbling block here is equity, and the difficult in building it. The problems are manifold. Even when they have 360 deals, record companies don't invest in groups like they use to. The lack of music on television, advertisements, and the small size of CDs, makes it hard for bands to market their image. Talking of CDs, we all know that no one is buying them anymore. Because of this, artists need to go out on the road more to raise funds, which means that the market is swamped with too many acts going out too often (and newer acts finding it difficult to fill the schedule gaps). Music doesn't play the role it once did as a formative teenage experience. Everything is now immediate and consumed instantly, and career arcs now last weeks not months. Oh, and the stuff itself: there will always be those who can write songs and come up with marketing gimmicks and costumes, but we really are talking about the law of diminishing returns here. It's no good simply saying you'll play festivals, as there are now far too many of them. And for some time now, being in a band has been a career choice rather than a vocation. Finally, you can't put your arms around a download.
Twin Atlantic are attempting to stave off the inevitable by sticking to their roots, refusing to opt for mid-Atlantic vocals and instead sing in a pronounced Scottish accent. It may sound inconsequential, but could prove to be anything but.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'
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