Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No more indie for you

Tris McCall kicked off a great discussion over on his blog, Stompbox, sometime last week. I remember the first time I saw the Deli rag, I had just moved to Greenpoint, and picked it up. "Who could the hottest NYC bands be? Clearly I must overthrow them all!" So, wanting to know the enemy I picked it up, and quickly trashed it when I saw that, like this year, somehow all these signed and popular acts are considered "underground" and "indie" -- which to many of us should mean independent.

Tris gives the Deli a very humourous skewering, so go read it, and join in the comments, but I wanted to just pull out to my own space here a bit to give room to another idea. 

Tris is asking us all to join him in retiring the word "indie," to simply refrain from using it since it is at this point utterly devoid of meaning. In the comments I wrote that long ago I had stopped referring to my band as "indie," because it connotes no genre specific notion (that I wanted to be associated with) and people don't take it to mean independent.

But I have a replacement. Not for blurred genre nonsense, no, but when I need to refer to myself, my band, my operation(s) as being actually independent, I almost always use "DIY." I do the same for other people's bands, for music and art spaces (like 143 Christopher Columbus and Silent Barn). Nobody ever mistakes "DIY" as a vague reference to college rock. And honestly the genre associations that come to my mind with DIY are fucking hard core and I like it that way. But let's do this right. We're talking about independence from the machine here, we're not talking about a sound. If you want to talk about sound, then really talk about it. Use your noodle and all them neat words you've got.

So, won't you join Tris McCall in refraining from using the word indie, and won't you join me, William Patrick Gray, in using DIY whenever you want describe a truly independent operation?

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