How solo artists turned rock music upside down – Kerrang!


How many people does it take to create a song? Four ? Five? New, in the case of Slipknot? Throughout history, ever since our ancestors in the caves started beating rocks together and discovered that it sounded good, making music has often been a common experience – whether you watch orchestras create grand symphonies. , or the traditional quartet creating catchy tops. . Back then, if rock or metal were your bag, chances are most of your record collection would have been the work of bands rather than soloists. The setup of singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer – beyond variations featuring rhythm guitarists, keyboardists and unclean singers – has long been our bread and butter.

However, in recent years there has been something of a drastic change. Although the concept of the singular rock star was never entirely alien (Avril Lavigne broke into the mainstream almost 20 years ago with its Let Go debut), the dominance that groups have exerted on the genre perhaps more strongly than any other may begin to crumble. More and more solo artists are bursting onto the scene, often requisitioning the kind of notoriety and mainstream attention that any hungry young band would dream of.

YUNGBLUD headlining London 5,000-capacity oh2 Academy Brixton with only one album to its name. Like it or not, Machine Gun Kelly has released one of the most talked about LPs in 2020 with Tickets To My Downfall, and has hardly made the headlines since. People like Ghostemane and his grandson have blurred the lines between rock and roll and SoundCloud rap. KennyHoopla, WILLOW and NOAHFINNCE are starting to make huge waves. Indeed, the presence of these artists, with their production methods and fresh new ideas, informed and altered the shape of the rock in 2021 in a truly radical way.

But why is this change happening? One of the most important factors is undoubtedly the technology. You don’t have to go to a rehearsal room with people to rock music 2021”, Asserts Joe Mulherin, better known as the star of emo-rap Nothing, Nowhere. You don’t need to lug around huge guitar amps and drums. All you need is a laptop. It no longer seems obligatory to call on friends to form a band, who may not have the same commitment and ambition to take music seriously. Indeed, it is not uncommon for us rock fans – especially as we grow up – not to know anyone who enjoys our favorite genres. When you can be your own group like a decent laptop and the right interface allows, it is no longer necessary to scour the internet to find like-minded people.

There will be weird purists who step up their noses and start mourning the death of real instruments ”. In reality, however, this way of making music doesn’t threaten the existence of the meaty riffs and thundering drums we all know and love. Most of these new solo stars play instruments, mostly guitar. However, the ability to play music on a laptop in a bedroom is empowering and accessible, even democratizing, as it eliminates the costs of hiring a professional studio to record. Rock has always held its place. DIY ethos close to his chest, and maybe making music like this is just another way of channeling those ideals, although it has evolved over time.

It has also evolved and shaped the sound of the music that this new generation of rock stars produces. While guitars are no less present, the ability to add rhythms or electronics has allowed these musicians to cut the boundaries of the genre, creating sounds that transcend a certain scene or demographic. I rarely meet someone who listens to only one type of music, ”continues Joe. I think everyone is listening to everything now. In the age of streaming, it’s easier than ever to expand your musical tastes as much as you can imagine, and, in turn, today’s creatives are making music for a growing audience. more open-minded. That makes it all the more refreshing for a scene sometimes stereotypical for being elitist.

While this accessibility has attracted more avid followers of solo artists (just look at the enthusiasm of the YUNGBLUD‘s Black Hearts Club), the industry saw them as enticing proposals for other reasons as well. I think people can relate better to or relate to a person’s story, ”says Jordan Benjamin, also known as the grandson. I think the story of the four-piece band has been told a bunch of times.

Even with industry cynicism aside, it’s hard to deny that we care about the personalities of the people who make the songs we love as much as their music itself, and the marketing staff behind the scenes. takes advantage of it. There is also a financial incentive: the music of a solo artist is cheaper to produce than that of a full band, and sometimes they can be a safer investment for other reasons. I know a&R and record companies are wondering [when signing new artists]: Will this group ever implode? Is there a ton of volatility? Is there drug addiction? Is the leader hot-headed and could he ever get himself canceled? ‘ », Explains the grandson. With solo artists, there are a few less variables to consider.

What could the future of rock look like, then, with more solo artists on stage? Countless names have proven that going it alone is doable and profitable, and they may well become role models for future generations of DIY rock stars in the bedroom.

It’s entirely possible that an influx of these musicians is a positive byproduct of, well, the last year and a half. Cassyette certainly thinks so: People have been able to be really creative over the last couple of years because we’ve been locked in, unable to do anything, ”she says. Before confinement, the music was getting a little dry for my taste. Now there are so many great people coming and now I am discovering new music all the time. I feel like I’m adding more to my playlist now than I’ve ever done.

Promo Cassyette 2021

I think in the short term we will definitely see more solo artists, ”agrees the grandson. That said, the phenomenon is unlikely to kill bands completely, and there’s a good chance that there are as many musicians who will want to make music with their friends in a more traditional format as those who want to push back. limits and go solo.

When everyone’s a solo artist, someone [else] will raise your middle finger and go out with a group of six musicians, ”he continues. And then it’s going to be the cool, exciting thing that everyone is trying to emulate until another solo artist comes along. I don’t think there is just one way to do it, but there are a million reasons for being a solo artist.

Posted on November 30, 2021 at 3:00 p.m.

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