Music Tutorials

Hiding In Plain Sight – The Lure of Safety

I have spoken to this subject many times through other articles & videos. But in the last few days I have had a few situations where I have watched people retreat from the opportunity to do something different and unique so they could try their best to do the most average thing they could – in hope it was going to bring them approval & success.

How wise is that? I say not at all. It is the complete opposite of wise.

Here is a response I got when I suggested that the person could make their track stand out better by delivering more than just drums & bass:

Actually, for this track, I am still just trying to match the current standard of Trance, so standing out is not a priority for me. I guess blending in is what I am hoping to achieve.

My response was:

How many Hits blend in? 😉

Oddly, I didn’t hear anymore from him!

This is the thing: EDM and Pop in general is, to a great extent, novelty driven. You need to catch people’s attention by standing out. Sometimes that can simply be by:

  • having a broader vocal range: Roy Orbison, Christmakeitstop Agonyera
  • having a funny tone: George Jones, Billy Fields
  • wearing funny clothes: Boy George, Hayzee Fantayzee
  • being crude: Sex Pistols, Moley Cyrus
  • being annoying: Black Lace “Agadoo”, Los del Rio “Macarena”

Of course in most of those cases, there was solid material to back it up, for at least one song anyway. But if the act hadn’t found a way to emphasize something about themselves and their material, would you have any success Googling them today? N fucking O. It was standing out that gave them a win.

Look So Fine, Feel So Low

If I were your average Blogger I’d just post some meme about being your unique spiritual self and the universe would give you an avocado sandwich. I ain’t that guy as those things, while they are correct, don’t help in the slightest. Telling a depressed person to turn that frown upside-down helped no one ever (except maybe the short-term ego of the teller).

Bait Ball
Bait Ball

Let’s look at fish as an example of what happens:

Fish swim in very elegant patterns when they are just schooling about. But if they get too frightened, they lose all common sense and simply rush into the same point at once. This is called a Bait Ball.

What each fish is doing is trying to minimize its time on the outside of the ball where it might get noticed & chomped. Being visible increases your chances of being a target.

Seems sensible enough to cower if you are surrounded by sharks who are looking to eat you. Actually not great for the fish as they mostly ALL get eaten, when if they scattered in all directions, very few would get chomped as little fishes are hard to catch in the open.

Now of course I do understand because there are sharks in the waters around every enterprise. And they are all on Facebook (posting garbage). Some of these are your competitors, but really most are actually paper tigers. They’d like you to be afeared of them, they will even tell you how much of a competitor for you they are based on some rant that appears technical but is garbage. Ignore them. If you check their profile, you’ll find they maybe did one thing 5 years ago, got scared, and now spend every day rubbishing others.

Are you using that fish logic to snooker yourself? I think my correspondent above has put himself into that Bait Ball place. He asked for critique on his track then said that while he was appreciative of my ideas, he could dismiss them all seeing he was trying to hide in the middle. Will that lead to success?

I ain’t arf glad its Friday night, I get my fish & chips tonight

While fish are not the brightest there is one other thing we can learn from them from our elevated position (we’ve been to the moon): while there are sharks, there are still plenty of fish. The overall odds are that fish survive, there is enough food for them, they get to meet a girl fish and make more fishes. Therefore…

There is no sense in being scared of what you can’t control
(real sharks)
Control what you can

(your thinking)

In Rock & Roll, the bands that change the world are the ones that stand out. Adam Ant stood out. Duran Duran did too. Spice Girls stood out (altho how they didn’t fall over in those shoes). Dio did too because I read Henry Rollins saying that any record collection had to have at least one Dio record. I fixed that and Rollins is so right. KISS stood out (maybe they went to the same deportment school as the Spice Girls).

KISS
KISS

KISS are a great example as they weren’t the best band in the land by a long shot. Yet they started every show telling us that they were the “Hottest Band In The Land”. They set the standard for themselves and delivered. Steely Dan were a far better band but KISS were a great time, every time. KISS made more great Friday nights for people than most acts ever have. They didn’t do that by hiding behind Peter Frampton.

My nervous buddy doesn’t have to put on heels, makeup, and stick his tongue out to get noticed. There are are other ways.

Chances are those ways are already there in his soul. He is just afraid that if he put them out there, some shark would bite em off – tell him he was wrong, a loser, etc. Sadly that will happen – not because it should but because it is the world we have made (and hopefully unmake soon). Ok so KISS have had a lot of negative things said about them too but you know what, at the end they can always say we rocked am all and no one can say otherwise.

Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Ramones, The Clash, Kraftwerk, Christopher Cross, Kate Bush, Eurythmics, Pet Shop Boys, Venom, Enya, The KLF, Enigma

I take it you have heard of most of these. You should have. They all made it because they deliberately didn’t hide in the middle of the ball of fish and try to blend in. They stood right out and they are super easy to Google.

Here’s some Dio for ya. Oddly enough he had the same thing to say.

Myself I have had the very same thing with being concerned about fully sharing my Tarot Reading business because I have a few Facebook friends who are biblical and they might be offended. Really! Yes, what if this upset them? You know what? I already had some random sending me a comment that I was on the highway to hell. Thanks, but if you can’t give me a Bible verse then I can’t take you seriously. If they are upset, that is their thing, not mine. If they unfriend me it is their thing not mine. If I want to get my job done, I have to do my job and let people know I am here to help.

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