The best lessons from Vice’s ‘A-to-Z Guide to Making Your Indie Band Not Suck in 2014’

Photo of unknown band via Vice

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or many years now Vice has been offering unsolicited wisdom on how to be, but they’ve truly outdone themselves with their latest directive aimed at dudes in indie rock bands. The publication’s An A-to-Z Guide to Making Your Indie Band Not Suck in 2014, ripped from the digital pages of its Guide to Making 2014 Better Than 2013, is 26 bullet points of unmitigated brilliance. As they explain in the opener, this isn’t for the wealth of creative musicians out there doing rad new shit, this is for the stale white dudes slinging heard-it-before guitar rock.

We recommend printing it out and taking it into the shitter for some prime lunchtime restroom reading, but in case you’re strapped for time, here are our five favorite entries, regarding things that are dear to us, including nudity and post-punk.

Let’s dig in…

A is for Anarchy: In all creative enterprise there is no authority greater than yourself. The second you start fad chasing you are dead in the water artistically. Plus, unless you’re extremely lucky, it won’t do you any commercial favours either. For example, if your new unsigned band has a triangle in its name as a replacement for the letter A, instead why not form a new band that dresses in giant turd costumes, wears hats made out of plastic dog shits from the joke shop and rename yourself Faecal Fred and the Fucking Turd Hats? You will literally have loads more chance of getting signed/getting an audience than you will by chasing after 2009’s lamest and most insubstantial trend. Think for yourself – it doesn’t cost anything.

H is for Heroin: Do you know how old Charlie Watts was before he got stuck into the horse? Seventy-six. So until you’ve got several million in the bank and your lead singer is such a colossal bellend that murder or a crippling opiates addiction are the only coping strategies you have left – stay away from the fucking skag.

N is for Naked: As an experiment, you and the rest of your band should spend an entire night naked in a room which is empty apart from beanbags, a pack of cards, a riding crop with a feather taped to the end and a bag of ketamine. You will learn a lot about one another.

P is for Post-Punk: The most important thing when it comes to heavily mined scenes from the past is to take inspiration from the spirit, not the sound. If you’re in a band in 2014 that sounds exactly like The Slits, PiL or Joy Division then you have spectacularly failed to grasp what was special about the post-punk movement. If, on the other hand, you are in a guitar band but also listening to the latest dance music coming from black America, the UK underground, MENA countries and Jamaica – while reacting in visceral style to your immediate environment and drawing ideas from the bleeding edge of contemporary underground literature, art, cinema and philosophy – then you might be on to something.

Y is for Y-Chromosome: Why aren’t there any girls in your group? Serious question.

For real. The girls own music right now. And rightfully so.



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