Beat is powered by Vocal creators. You support Maddie Christy by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Beat is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

Bands, Brands, and Family

How I Feel So at Home in an Ever-Changing Industry

Our Band - All Smiles in Wonderland 

It’s quite clear that music has always amazed me… and really, I can’t put my finger on why. It sounds strange because music is always around us. We are constantly consuming other people’s creativity which is a huge part of our society and culture. I understand that there are a lot of psychological reasons as to why people react differently to music and of course it differs from person to person. Why is it that some people like funk over punk or jazz over metal? There surely is an obvious answer—there could be a deeper meaning. But I am going to take the time to talk about the genre and culture I am directly involved in and why I feel at home there.

I am in a band and recently, we have had to think about how we will market ourselves as a brand and this has proved tougher than expected. Originally, I hated the idea of refining and defining ourselves to a specific genre because then we may feel as though we have less creative freedom or feel bound by our own words written upon ourselves. Would we be trying to create music using a checklist of things we think we need to please other people or sound like another band? What if that dampens our spirits and creative outputs?

Slowly, I am coming around to the idea that having some kind of label is important. This day and age, everyone is affirming their worth on social media and so image, aesthetic, and style are all very prominent things in today’s society. There is a category for anything; people are in constant need to fit in even if that is by stating they don’t tolerate any labels… so why would it be such a bad thing to use this to our advantage? I warm to the idea of being involved in something—a scene, a culture, a movement. Even as a consumer, I feel I am a part of this.

"Emo," "Midwest Emo," "Post Hard-core," "Alt Rock," "Indie Rock"… These are all terms that have been in the air that I have been inhaling for the past three years or so. Before that, I had grown up in a household where music was bountiful but different. In the morning before school, my mum would blast The Chris Evans Breakfast Show or Jo Wiley’s evening show from the night before. Then, as we cooked together, we would select a CD from the dresser and sing along all evening. Nina Simone, Keane, Norah Jones, and Coldplay. But the pivotal moment for me was when Mum took me to Wembley to see Gwen Stefani when I was seven-years-old. Of course, Mum knew her from the "No Doubt" days and now that I am older, I appreciate that music more but back then, Gwen was a hero of mine and tiny little me had no idea that this would be the first of many live music experiences.

As the years went by, Mum introduced me to even more bands that I continue to listen to on the daily. Bands like The Libertines, The Strokes, and Radiohead. As much as these bands played a huge part in my childhood, they have traveled with me as I have grown up and progressed in my musical adventures. I can see a difference in the way my mum and I respond to the music. She likes the catchy melodies and moving lyrics and while I agree, I am inspired from another angle. The story behind the band, what they represent, and their image. Not to mention the production, guitar tones, and clever songwriting that goes behind (almost) every track.

Move forward to college when I began studying music full time. I was ready to open my mind to a whole new aspect of music—anything I could do to improve my skill and become even more immersed in the industry. Although this was overwhelming at times, I was always being introduced to new artists and bands. I was learning how to produce my own music which had such a huge impact on the way I viewed other people’s music. To this day, I cannot listen to a track without picking apart every detail in the mix. Sometimes, I find this very frustrating because it takes away the spirit of listening with young, unwise ears. But then again, it can also fuel a fire of excitement and energy when I hear something that makes me tick. That feeling of elation will always be important to me. I want to be made to think and analyse. Only then can I enjoy what I hear.

Towards the end of college and throughout the summer of 2017, I felt as though I had become enlightened through a genre of music that had always sat in my subconscious. Whilst overcoming some of life’s hardest times, I traveled back in time to 2005 and reignited my adoration for My Chemical Romance and Green Day. Alongside that, I found bands like Neck Deep, Creeper, and Microwave (I could list many more). I would spend all of my wages traveling from gig to gig ensuring that I took every opportunity I could to experience the feeling of seeing bands like those live. When you look towards this culture, there is so much inclusivity. Everyone comes together and loses their minds for a couple of hours and there is no better feeling than that. When the bass frequencies make your hair shake, when the kick drum thumps you in the chest and the melodies fill your skin with goosebumps… that’s when you know you feel electric and alive.

The venues feel like home, a safe place full of respect and excitement. I am lucky enough to be involved in the industry as a consumer and a creator and therefore, I am slowly getting to know people when I am out and about at these venues. There is nothing more heartwarming than being in a city away from home and hearing someone call your name across the venue because they have the same love for this band and you have a mutual connection.

The emo/pop-punk/post hard-core (enter other interlinking genres) never fails to amaze me in terms of respect and attitude. A lot of the time it can get bad press because it can come across as preachy and/or depressing. Perhaps that solemn attitude will spark rowdy, negative behaviour but I can assure you, it is the exact opposite. The crowds know and respect the rules. People respect each other. If someone falls in a pit, you pick them up. If someone faints, you get them to the front. You mosh with grace, don’t just punch someone in the face. And if the band starts to preach, it is always for a good cause and for something they believe in. It is never violent or filled with hatred. It’s always fuelled by hope and if they can radiate that on to an (impressionable) crowd with eloquence, then let it be. I am proud to say I am a part of this scene as a fan and as one-fifth of my band. It feels like a family… where no subject is taboo or shameful. There are stories to be shared through aggressive guitar, harsh vocals, and insane melodies. I am excited to see what the future holds because it may not be 2005, but this is all still very relevant. Maybe more so now than ever.

So, we will brand our band because I think we would fit neatly into this family. More because of our message and writing style and personally because of what music means to me.

Get a taste of these bands...

My Top Live Shows (of These Genres):

  1. Lower Than Atlantis - Brixton Academy
  2. Creeper, Microwave - Southampton's 1865, (Creeper only) Bristol, Trinity Church, Reading 2018
  3. Boston Manor, Wallflower, Microwave, Drug Church - Bristol, Thekla
  4. Beartooth - Reading Festival 2018
  5. Lower Than Atlantis, Milk Teeth - Southampton's Engine Rooms
  6. Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes - Reading Festival 2018 & 2018, All Points East 2018, London
  7. Black Foxes - Bristol, Thekla, Reading Festival 2018
  8. Milk Teeth - Reading Festival 2016 & 2018
  9. Fort Hope - Teddy Rocks Festival 2017
  10. Gospel Youth - Teddy Rocks Festival

There are so many more I have not added to this list/ am yet to see!

Now Reading
Bands, Brands, and Family
Read Next
Review: 'Some Rap Songs' by Earl Sweatshirt