In which I ponder the album form and how it applies to The Mobius Project

You know, I’ve been sitting on about 8 or 10 songs for a while now, waiting for the right time and collaborative musicians to record them with in order to create an “album” of sorts.  I don’t have the money or time really to go at it all professional style, but I’ve had success enough with GarageBand and other home recording techniques that I’d be pleased to have an album’s worth of material simply recorded out of my living room or home practice space.  I’m not really in it for the glory, just to see my own projects come to fruition.  And now it’s time to start making decisions, because the Mobius Project is now together and ready to move forward with that material, or will be very soon anyway.  But the more I ponder this and explore what other bands have done, especially indie bands, I think I just need to record what I have as singles or small collections, and only put together an album if I have an ALBUM in the capitalized sense of the word.  And I don’t necessarily mean high concept, like Tommy from The Who or The Wall from Floyd, although I’m certainly open to that.  I just mean a collection of songs that was meant to be together from the start, and in which the length and format are utilized rather than a collection of singles or the modern pop format.  One influenced the next, or the collection was written all at once and represents a time period, or there is an underlying concept to all the songs (like MCR’s Welcome to the Black Parade).  I was especially influenced to make this decision while exploring the online radio website www.thesixtyone.com (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in exploring music…PS – you can use me (cuvintu) as a reference if you decide to sign up).  I found an amazing band called the Manchester Orchestra, and as I was reading their bio I was struck with how intentional the process of coming to each of their albums was.  I was reminded of how sad I feel about the breaking up of the album form due to the digital age, although I don’t mind people enjoying single songs or bands writing a song to be self-contained.  It’s an odd and opposing set of feelings.  I really feel that the album is coming full circle again.  Back in the days of Motown and Frank Sinatra, one or two songs were beautifully produced and made the main focus of an album, while the rest were b-sides, covers, and filler.  Now we’re getting back to that in a big way, because bands and artists only expect their big single or two to sell, and then they’re on to the next album.  It’s a slap-dash way to operate in my mind.  I believe if you’re going to focus on writing songs as self-contained units and not really focus on the album format, then you should do that for each song…it’s a more artistically and intellectually honest way to operate than to throw some filler at people for the sake of having 10 songs on your album.  But for me personally I don’t want to put together a collection of individual songs that large because, for me, once you start a continuum of songs in a row you begin a statement.  I think the 3-song EP or the single is a much better format for modern pop movement or songs that are little self-contained experiences.  I don’t understand why the Modern Pop Machine doesn’t just drop the 10-song disc and release EPs or singles.  They’d be cheaper to produce and you could get profit from each disc bought, therefor generating a lot more money.  ‘Cause we all know that the majority of their decisions are designed to fleece the fans of any given artist, and little else.  But I digress.  I think The Mobius Project will probably record our current material as singles or 3-song EP’s, and write albums as ALBUMS rather than slapping our set together as a collection for album purposes.  It would be interesting to release 4 or 5 song mini-albums in which 2 or 3 together make a statement, like a book trillogy but in musical format.  Hmmm…put that on the idea list with the visual essays.

Social Networking for the Modern Indie Band

Wow, the social networking required to start an indie band these days is kind of a daunting load.  This is a new topic near and dear to my heart.

The Mobius Project is the quintessential young band.  We are just starting out in the literal sense of the word.  And of course in our efforts to do this we have been trying to put our ear to the ground for effective ways to reach out to people.  One of the sources that has given us a ton to think about, as I’ve mentioned numerous times before, has been the CD Baby DIY Musician Podcast.  Another has been speaking directly to musicians that I already know, and a third has been to watch what the bands and musicians in our area are doing to reach out and keep in contact with their fan base.  Again and again social networking comes up in both suggestion, discussion, and observation. But the trouble isn’t that it’s out there.  The trouble is that it’s everywhere, and there’s a ton of it.  Some old and established, like e-mail lists, MySpace, blogs, and even Facebook to a degree, and some of it relatively new, like Twitter (which I’m not entirely sold on, but I’m giving a fair shake).  It’s a lot to keep up with!  I keep hearing that there are ways to coordinate some of this, like linking your Twitter and your Facebook status, but I’m not finding it.

I’m totally into the idea of doing all of this; I think it’s great for people who have a following and I want to have my fingers in all of it so that as we build one we’re already out there for people to follow.  And this is even more true because of the two-fold reason that The Mobius Project even exists: to play music and to meet people.  All this social networking puts me in touch with more music for inspiration and connection, and offers more outlets for my own music, than ever would have been possible before.  And of course it’s all about connecting with people, keeping up with people who are interested enough to keep up with you, which in turn offers even more opportunities to play music and connect with people, and so on.

I guess my purpose for writing this is to ask for help and suggestions.  I’d love to hear from bands or musicians who are using this stuff successfully to keep up with their bases, or even people who are just successful at using one of them for their personal reasons.  What works?  What doesn’t?  What are some tricks to maximize the effects while minimizing the impact it all has on your time to do what makes you a creative in the first place?

Hit me up with comment suggestions, or just follow us…either one is helpful!

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mobiusprojectband (band blog is here too)

Twitter: @mobiusproject

No band Facebook just yet…haven’t gotten there.

Or just keep coming back here to my personal blog to see what we’re up to next!