The Bluffer's Guide To STARTING YOUR OWN GENRE
Heather Crumley takes us through how to create your own short-lived musical scene...
Left: The Klaxons - Kings of Nu Rave, but will you still love them tomorrow?
Nu Metal, Nu Folk, and now Nu Rave. The strategy is clear - if you want your fifteen minutes of fame in the music industry today (followed by spectacular fall from grace, naturally), you've got to form your own genre. However, it's a lot more complicated than simply taking the words of sarcastic band members out of context. Forming a movement is a coordinated effort involving wardrobe, clever names, and um, ethics and stuff. Roving reporter Heather Crumley gives us the lowdown on how you too can get your own scene...
Are you, like me, jealous you didn't come up with the idea for Nu Rave and promptly set up camp outside every venue ready to flog over-priced neon accessories to the cool kids? Well fear not, that kind of trend setting faux pas need never happen again, with this easy to follow guide to kick starting your very own genre.
Step One - Find a your spearhead band
The key to starting your own genre is to find an up-and-coming band who sound a bit different to whatever is popular at the time. The Klaxons, for example, leading lights of the Nu Rave scene, dared to use a keyboard and earned column inches across the British press. Go for an instrument that's not commonly used; banjos, 80s drum machines and brass are all good bets.
Step Two - Decide what the movement stands for
Are you anti-war? Pro-drugs? Pro-fun? Keen on Jesus? What your genre stands for is an important consideration. Mystical stuff tends to work well, and gives you an excuse to makes trippy videos and try to reinstate tie-dying into polite society, but be warned - it can backfire. You might think you are making an out there statement, but in the case of Kula Shaker, claiming they would like to play onstage in front of burning swastikas didn't go down so well, and they mysteriously took a very long hiatus...
Step Three - Find more bands
You can't create a scene on just the one band, you need a couple of sub-standard bands to rip off your leading band, and voila, it's a goddam movement. Can you feel the buzz?
Step Four - Pick a name
A genre's no good without a decent name, and thankfully, that process is remarkably simple. Take a word and combine it with your choice of prefix ('nu', 'post' and 'pre' are always good bets) or suffix ('core' is the most likely candidate here, although 'emo' crops up in a multitude of rock factions). An imaginary scenario: a dance band featuring a trombone could be the start of Bonecore (NB - the bands in the follow up genre could be known as Post-Bonecore). It's that easy. That's not to say a name isn't important, though: a bad name can make or break a scene. The No Name movement of 2002 never really caught on, which is why to this day, very few people own anything by The Cooper Temple Clause.
Step Five - Sort your style
No genre is complete without its own style. If you can work in a gimmick that hasn't been fashionable for years (Nu Rave has excelled by bringing back neon and glowsticks), great. If you can work in a haircut, fantastic. The stupider, erm, sorry, more extreme, the better. Hair needs to be at angles to the head, not hanging down. Gravity is for losers. NB - It helps if you take a leaf out of the NME's book and get a hair gel sponsor on board.
If you're feeling particularly ambitious, you might want to get in some hat wearing action, but it should be noted that hats are notoriously difficult to pull off. Recent success stories include the pork pie hat, as sported by Pete Doherty and Peanut from the Kaiser Chiefs, and the bowler had carried off with style by Maximo Park's Paul Smith. The hat of Britpop was the bucket, while ravers favoured beanies. It's a hard trick to master, but if you can pull it off, you're laughing.
Step Six - Make sure it's short-lived
The point of a truly successful genre is to mark a point in time. Britpop was 1994 - 1998, the New Acoustic Movement was 2001 (No? Just me who remembers that one?), Nu Rave will (hopefully) just taint 2007 before dying out, and so your new genre should also be short lived. Making your genre a good time, flash in the pan, over in months thing will ensure its legendary status, filling people with either fond memories or cringing embarrassment when it is brought up on nostalgia programmes in a few years' time. Remember - today's scene bands are tomorrow's Never Mind The Buzzcocks line-ups.
What do you think? Has Heather missed anything important out? Comment here!