"Less is more? How can less be more! It's impossible!!"
- Yngwie J. Malmsteen
My old man used to say - and I'm just saying this because it would be ever so lame to introduce a blog entry with TWO quotes - that if you run away from the girls, they'll go after you.
I dismissed what he said because frankly, I find it not in my nature to pull down a Franklin Hat over my brows and play hard-to-get. But there's a point hidden in his words, deep and steep but albeit something worth checking out.
Fast-forward to one of the most interesting bands of today - Vildhjarta. With - we're playing the facebook game now - 50 000 fans under their belly, the band sees no reason to abhor it's humble approach - rather than blushing out capital-letter announcements, they're perfectly happy with breaking news such as 'ädel är kåt' (265 likes, meaning the one singer is horny (He did phone me the other day asking if I was horny; I said no, and he seemed rather disappointed, haha)), 'göteborg ikväll' (236 likes, meaning 'Gothenburg tonight') and 'snart helg'. (247 likes, 'weekend soon')
Now, what ties my dad's words together with Vildhjartas carefully constructed marketing strategy is what is commonly known as "cat psychology". You know cats - the animals - tends to confess a liking to those who seems rather cold and distant towards them. In short, it means that humans, as well, seem to have a weird knack of following those who does not pay much attention to them in return. Who haven't heard the next door, football-interested goody guy complaining that "No matter how much I shoo her off, she just keeps calling and calling", or the train-enthusiast downstairs complaining that "The train company just keeps shutting me out! Arrgh, it makes me want to join them even more"?
See the pattern yet?
I'm not sure if Vildhjarta is really just some beardy, humble Hudik bunch, if they're cunning genials in musical marketing, or just great. But one thing is certain - Keeping a low profile, being very, VERY sparse with new material, rarely catering to their fans and overall just making a little a sound as possible on the internet did them no harm at all.
On the contrary.
They're the human; the fans, seldomly teased with new material, their patience constantly tested, are the cats.
Or what about Tool? The band who, exaggeration inlcuded, gained 100 000 facebook fans by DOING NOTHING. That's not a human and a cat - It's a freaking TINGER and, eh, a pole.
Well, it's not that funny. Or maybe it is, I don't know. If something, the sheer discrepancy among bands like the afromentioned and ourselves sure is.
No one has failed to notice - hell, you ending up on this blog sure helps you notice - that we're highly representative of the other side of the fence.
I mean, we do stuff ALL THE TIME.
Releases, playthroughs, broadcast, blogs, video clips, snippets, updates - we're an eager caterer to our fans, making sure they have everything they need before they enter the forest of life with an overweight rucksack. We're the tender lover, arranging an anniversary date with folded knittles and Spotify links as apertif.
We're the human cuddling the cat, instead of ignoring it.
And the cat - does it run away?
That's a question often keeping me awake. Are we doing the right thing? Are we catering our fans - or are we drowning them? Is the fact that there's still unsold copies of Going Postal in our back rehearsal drawer proof that we have fed them so many "Groove Release Fridays" that by the time that the real deal drops, they're out?
Have I become the person I once laughed at, who more than what's considered healthy got nicknamed "facebook whore"? (And is now playing in a super-hipster "7 likes" alternative rock band, haha)
Surely I have evidence to contradict myself with - the good, and many, album reviews, the number of foreigners peordering, the pure enthusiasm one meets when one shares a street with other people from the Stockholm underground scene.
But I can't help but wonder - Can you over-feed your fans? Can you become a pain, although the initial purpose was to become a pleasure?
Maybe you can. Maybe you can't.
But the standpoint that I and Deathember have to take here is that there is no answer - only alternatives. You can lie in your bed and ponder and worry - or you can stop being a sissy and start promoting your band with the hope that someday, somewhere, something will happen. You can gain a colossal and hugely loyal fanbase by being sparse and myserious - or disappear for good.
You can be nowhere - or you can be everywhere.
And Deathember (despite writing this blog entry) chooses the latter.
After all, how can less be more?