Image credit: Kieran Webber
During our ‘DIY Till We Die’ article series we chatted to an array of independent artists, one thing that stood clear was that it allowed them total creative freedom.
Recently, throughout our ‘DIY Till We Die’ article series we interviewed a variety of independent artists from across the world. It was an insightful project that helped us gain a wider knowledge of just what life is like as an independent artist, there were of course lots of advantages and disadvantages. Today we want to focus on the main reason why a lot of artists decide to operate independently and dissect each of the aforementioned artist’s answers regarding this.
The recurring answer was having control of one’s art and creativity. “Complete creative control”, Isaiah of Jack Swing explains is one of the main reasons his band operates independently, continuing: “By operating independently we can make sure that things get done exactly the way we want them to, on our timeline, with no interference.”
Isaiah adds: “While working independently we get to decide completely how we want to present ourselves. This allows us to make every piece of our content the exact piece of art that we want it to be. Whether it’s a photo on Instagram or a video that we create for promotion each is an opportunity to create a unique piece of art exactly the way we envision.”
This is something mirrored by psych-garage rock outfit Magick Mountain, as they explain: “I think it’s pushed us to do what we think is right for this band, whether that’s sonically, aesthetically, or even how many vinyls we think we should get pressed / what a ‘marketing campaign’ looks like for us, without compromise.”
One thing that Lins of Magick Mountain says strikes a chord and is maybe an element a lot of artists forget to reconsider – “We’ve managed the release we now don’t owe any money to anyone and have retained all the rights while still being happy with what we’ve put out.” Total control from top to bottom whilst remaining in control of the masters and rights, something that is incredibly valuable and important. Not to mention, only possible to retain as an independent artist.
Bristol-based artist Milo Gore explains this point further: “These songs always meant so much to me, and I wanted to be able to create something deeply personal. I think it also adds to the journey, ya know?? Doing things DIY, I feel you really get to live the experience.” Having that connection to your music, to your fans and, your journey helps create something genuine. Real music by real musicians for real music fans.
Independent artists also benefit from being able to branch into as many genres as they like, again due to the creative freedom. As Rory of Brighton-based School Disco puts it: “If you want to make freak-out-post-black-metal-shoegaze-folk as a DIY artist no one is gonna tell you not to. You have complete creative control.”
Although going down the DIY road as an independent artist can be a tough one, it is certainly one that allows artists to reap the rewards of creativity, individuality, and integrity. You control every aspect of the music, advertising, and much more. And in today’s world, where the internet has made life easier for an independent artist to exist, you have a wide range of tools to use to help you be successful.