The thoughts and ideas behind this post have been prominent in my mind for about a month, it’s only now that I’ve finally found the time to sit down and work out what I want to say and how best to put it into words.
Music is a wonderful and fascinating thing, it can change our moods within an instant, it can help heal our pain, remind us of enjoyable moments in our lives and soundtrack our morning commutes when all you want to do is ignore everyone around you. If it wasn’t for music, I think a lot of us would struggle with certain aspects of our lives, so to think that such a simple thing can have such a gargantuan effect on people really is incredible.
The music industry can be somewhat different. We’re all in this for the same reason, because we live and breathe music and we’ll do anything to make it a better place for both the musicians and the fans. Many of you who know me will be aware of my struggle over the past few years to find my place within the industry, getting people to believe in my work and finding my feet on a path to success. It’s not easy and there are a lot of demons hiding amongst big companies who have little care for the underdogs. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about, as much as the industry makes me curse and shake my fists in the air, there is a part of it which is so important, that keeps the fuel in my fire and which deserves a lot more recognition.
More importantly so, the community within the alternative music scene. It’s always been there, ever since I ventured into the realm of music journalism five years ago, but it feels like over the past twelve months it’s been more active, more caring and one of the only things that has kept some people going. 2016 seems to have so far been riddled with intense political changes, devastating wars and death after celebrity death. I live amongst a generation of twenty-something’s who are all struggling to make ends meet, working themselves into the ground and trying to cope with severe anxiety and depression problems. Despite all of this however, we’ve all stuck by each other and been there to comfort when somebody close needs it the most. I’ve never known such a vast and widespread group of people to all come so close together to help and encourage others, even if they barely know them, and that is something very special.
For the past few years I’ve had a solid group of female friends, all whom I’ve met either via the internet or through the work I do. It’s a known fact I’ve never gotten on with girls all that well, but this bunch are some of the most hardworking, inspirational and caring souls I’ve ever known, and they also know how to sink a jagerbomb or four. If one of us is having a bad day, we’ll all swoop in with words of encouragement, tips on how to cope with stress, and the “shall we go to the pub?” comments. I’ll be honest, it’s their successes in life which have often left me in an emotional state in my bedroom wondering when it’d be ‘my turn’, but at the same time the pride I feel for them all is astronomical and I am honoured to call them all my friends. Quite frankly, I’m not entirely sure where I’d be now if it wasn’t for all their support during the shit times.
Festival season is always an ideal time to be reminded of the huge amount of support we all have within this industry, it’s a time to catch up with people who you just don’t get to see enough and as you’re screaming and running up to each other, it’s that moment that you realise how much they mean to you. It’s the bumping into bands who you interviewed that one time, but who still remember you and are just as excited to see you as you are them. It’s jumping around by a stage, all singing terribly along to a band you love. It’s realising that people are genuinely interested in hearing how things are going and them complimenting the shit out of you, whether it’s good news or bad news. It’s the sense of unity that can be felt with everyone, and that even though we’re all fighting our demons we’ll help fight each others as well.
I’ve recently noticed that feeling of unity being more prominent than before, due to the incredibly sad passing of Architects guitarist Tom Searle. Despite growing up in Brighton, my path never crossed with the band, but I have many friends who hold him close to their hearts. Reading everyone’s personal sentiments has been just as heart warming as it has been heartbreaking and having had many conversations with people in all different areas of the industry, there’s not a single person who hasn’t been affected by it. What each person has said though is what has mattered, how it’s brought them closer to friends they’d grown distant from, encouraged all of us to open up and tell people we love them and ridding of all the horrible negativity surrounding the music scene. Though it is sad a death had to give us all a wake up call, it’s the kick we all needed to remind us of how lucky we are, and what a special community we are part of.
To everyone I’ve met, all the friends I’ve made and all the people I’m yet to be acquainted with, thank you for making an at times dismal industry so much more loveable. When you go to work tomorrow, or when you next see your friends, tell them how much they mean to you, mend that friendship that somehow got broken and make time for the good thing’s in life. Because you never know when you won’t have any time left.
If you’d like to donate to Tom Searle’s JustGiving page, which is raising money for the Martlet’s Hospice in Hove, you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thomassearle