So I thought it would be a nice idea to elaborate a bit on the various ideas behind the EP, since I think they’re kind of interesting. And besides, the whole point of having a band blog is to talk about this stuff. With most bands you have to rely on interviews to hear all the interesting background, and then you have to rely on the interviewer asking the right questions, and the band being able to answer the right questions on the spot, without falling back to prepared responses. Lonesome Monsters are different.
We’ll start with the format of the release(s). This was basically dictated by the fact that we released the EP on my record label: Giant Bear Tracks.
I started Giant Bear Tracks because it was pretty obvious to me that the way people make, listen to, and find out about music has changed drastically since the internet came of age. These days it’s so easy to make, distribute and sell music, that really, you’ve got to wonder why we need record labels at all? In so many ways they’re just an unnecessary middleman.
Giant Bear Tracks is a response to this dilemna. It’s an attempt to keep the good parts of what record labels used to represent (the curatorial aspect, grouping similar artists around a common goal) while rejecting the unnecessary parts (burdensome contracts, big advances that have to be paid off, the need to make money*). Giant Bear Tracks is meant to be a place where interesting people make interesting things. Specifically, a place where people create art that is deliberately tailored to the particular medium it was made in.
Getting to the point; as far as Giant Bear Tracks is concerned, a CD-R is a different medium to an mp3. You Have to Swing the Bat is a physical thing – it comes in a booklet made out of recycled paper and card, with their own texture and weight. The idea is that you’ll listen to it differently to how you listen to Atomsk. The fact that it’s a physical object will create a different set of associations in your head as opposed to the bandcamp version. Atomsk is something you might have running in a tab while you do something else. You Have to Swing the Bat is (hopefully) something you’ll deliberately sit down and listen to, at least once.
This is why there are two separate versions of the EP – they’re both attempts to create something that makes sense for the particular medium they exist in. Tbh, I’m not sure how well this approach really suits Lonesome Monsters. For the future it would probably make more sense to keep the band separate from Giant Bear Tracks, and do more traditional releases Amanda Palmer-style, sans label.
* – The label’s predicated on the basis that even if it makes no money in a year, the only real expenses are website costs. i.e. I could easily keep it going by putting in about £50 of my own money each year. That’s something I’m happy to do.