I’ve never written a follow-up to any of my Editor’s Notes before, but I felt like it was important to do so with “A shticky situation.” I think one of the most important things about writing—and music writing in particular—is that it helps to start a dialogue. And a dialogue needs to be back-and-forth.
What I have to say isn’t a representation of Discorder as a whole. People seem to be clumping my opinion with that of the magazine and that’s completely inaccurate. Discorder is a whole collective and it’s a real discredit to everyone else who works on the magazine to say that my thoughts are Discorder’s. I think it’s important to remember that when generalizing the magazine because of something I’ve written.
I pitched “A shticky situation” back at the beginning of June when I thought about how I probably wouldn’t try to see the Flaming Lips at Pemberton this summer. I thought it was interesting how I still liked the band’s music but I had little interest in their show, since I knew—for the most part—what to expect from it. B.A. was another example that came to mind and so I named those two acts in my pitch, which is what the artist based his illustration off of.
I’m not waging a war on B.A. by mentioning him twice in two weeks. I only caught the last act of the Hangover Breakfast at Sled Island and decided to include B.A. in my recap for that day. Most of my Note had been written before I left for Sled and it’s a coincidence that both were on the website one after the other.
Of all the feedback I’ve received, the comment that stood out the most was from Paul Lawton, who I actually had the chance to interview last year for Discorder just after the Slagging Off incident. For the tl;dr generation, here’s something that Lawton said that stuck with me: “The music industry is fucked right now and no one knows how to fix it. It just keeps getting worse and worse … I believe that this [keeping quiet about criticism] is damaging Canadian music. Instead of pretending that you don’t exist, I’m going to let you know and confront this head on.”
I can’t pretend to know enough about the music industry to agree/disagree, but I think that open criticism is a fantastic thing. Writers at Discorder have faced flack before for giving non-glowing reviews and while I don’t want people to be mean-spirited, I encourage writers to be constructively critical. I am 100 per cent about supporting the music community, both in Vancouver and beyond, and I think part of that is being honest.
Having an opinion has never been about the attention or clicks on a website. It’s about starting a discussion and seeing what people think. Since the Note’s release I’ve had some great conversations about the importance of a band’s performances in relation to their music and it’s nice to see people talking about it. I agree that there’s a difference between having a style and having a shtick, but I think they feed into each other.
Contrary to what most of you probably think, I actually like B.A.’s music. And like I said before, I used to love going to his shows too. Whenever I’ve had to explain B.A.’s show to someone who’s never seen it and I talk about the things I don’t find amusing anymore, they usually respond with a “That sounds awesome!” or something along those lines. People love B.A. shows and I get that, but they’re not for me anymore.
B.A., we both do things that are open to criticism and that’s great and bad. It means people are going to tell me I’m a shitty writer/editor and I can think about reasons why I might or might not be; it means people are going to not like your music/show and you can shoot a snot rocket at them at the next performance. But the great part about it is that we’re going to keep doing our thing regardless of either the praise or the hate because it’s what we’re passionate about.
I know I won’t be at your show the next time you come to Vancouver, but I also know plenty of others who will be—that’s the beauty of what you do. You can put on the show that you want and the people who want to be there will love it and they’ll love you for it too. Do whatever makes you happy B.A., regardless of what anyone else has to say.