As a musician, you have to cherish the times when you’re able to start a band from scratch. It’s a rare occasion when a group of people can come together and say “here’s what we want to do.” Instead, there’s almost always a frontman who will guide the direction of the band, or a couple core members with a rotating cast of other musicians.
We’re used to this type of setup, especially in today’s environment. It’s usually small groups or solo artists who gain success in the industry, and they’ll either bring a team of musicians and writers with them, or be assigned a team from a record label. It makes sense to do it this way — as a single or duo group, you’re more flexible to work with different musicians and writers, and create a consistent and effective sound/style.
But even for artists with a unique sound and a substantial following, the sustained flux of the entertainment industry has made it difficult to find success. There have been a lot of disruptions to the status quo in recent years, and every case has been an opportunity for companies to shore up the remaining viability of the industry, while taking power away from artists. Despite incredible innovations in technology and communication, artists are asked to give over control and profits to an ever-growing cast of contributors. You’ve got your managers, your agents, mixers and engineers, publishers, salespeople, accountants, producers; the list goes on and on — and the more people you add to the equation, the more ways the pie has to be divided.
Sure, all of those people fill arguably necessary roles in the business of making music, but time and time again I’m blown away by the breadth of resources supposedly needed to make an artist successful. The record industry is just pulling out from a rock-bottom point in annual revenue, but somehow its model has not become any more efficient to compensate. For me, it seems that the industry is holding on to a frail skeleton of how things used to work, and with one powerful push, things could topple over and start fresh in a way that changes everything in favor of the artist. That’s where Meadowhawks comes in.
The dream with Meadowhawks is that instead of relying on outside help for everything but our music, we do nearly everything in-house, with total control of our resources, our ambitions and our music. With our combined talents and the huge range of artist-friendly organizations and technology that has been built in recent years, I believe we have enough between the three of us to break the bounds of the traditional artist’s route to success.
In Ryan we have something that most artists only dream of, which is a stream of quality, owned, original music. Ryan is a prolific songwriter — he always has something new in the works and he’s always pushing himself to find new sounds.
With bringing Nick into the group, I think we’re realizing the potential for doing something truly different. A longtime freelance videographer and video artist, Nick possesses skills that most bands would need to ‘farm out’ to outside help. Nick is as invested in the group as the other two of us, so instead of producing and releasing videos on an as-needed basis, we can mess around with media projects that would be too risky and would take too much time and money for most other artists to attempt.
Lastly, of course there’s me. In the same way that it’s rare to have a videographer as a member of the group, I’d say it’s also rare to have someone like me, with both musical and hands-on business training. For most musicians trying to make a name for themselves, rarely is their focus on attaining the hardcore business experience you would get from say, going to business school or running an actual business. After all, most talented musicians don’t get into playing music for the money, so it’s hard to passionately focus on developing financial prowess. It just so happens that I was lucky enough to have both musical and business training, so where a lot of groups would have me as either a musician or a manager, I’m free to do both in Meadowhawks.
So that’s the dream, a trifecta of talents that could potentially do the work that most artists need covered by a dozen people, enabled by the recent wave of user-friendly technology and the dreams of three young misfits.
So what happens if it works? Best case scenario, we help to change the industry and pave the way for more artists to make their dreams of playing music come true. Along the way, we’re determined to make a mark in promoting environmental stewardship and preservation, using our music as a way to bring attention to issues facing the environment. And most importantly, it is our goal to write/perform music that helps to bring people together, create community and gives people something to hang onto during these turbulent times.
Worst case scenario, we spend a little too much time out in the woods filming silly videos and we revert to our original plan of developing a multi-national mobile pet grooming service. We’ll see.