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Music Rant: Bearded Mag's Editor on Why Copy Cats are Killing Pop

Anthony here again, Run-Riot's music editor. I'm gonna be asking my friends involved in music to write guest spots. This week I'm delighted to say Gareth Main, editor of the fine Bearded Magazine, has done a bit of a rant for us. it's on the agony of bands all sounding the damn same...

Copy Cats - By Gareth Main

Plagiarism is a word that anyone who goes to university learns in the first week. Those who like good quotes have probably heard the one that ‘copy one is plagiarism, copy two is research.’ I wish more bands would take heed of those fine words.

In these first few weeks of the second decade of the twenty-first century, the vast majority of music I receive sounds like one most critically acclaimed record of the last year of the first decade, that being Animal Collective’s ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion.’ A great record certainly, but when out of the thirty promos you’ve received this morning, 25 will probably remind you of that record, it turns you off the original great work entirely.

I had a conversation on Twitter earlier this week when this trend started, and I was pointed to a band horrifically called Taste Parade (or something equally tragic). I was asked about where the difference between sounding like and ripping off was, and – put simply – there is no answer, but if you don’t want to be in the ‘ripping off’ category, you better not sound like them.

So it’s infuriating that bands can’t be creative in their work, and the older (and grumpier) I get, the more often I can just say that I’ve heard the band before, because I have – in the original work. It takes much more to be an interesting and exciting band than convincing the cool kids who have just discovered ‘Unknown Pleasures’ or ‘Ocean Rain’ for the first time that you’re resurrecting the spirit of Ian Curtis spliced with the ‘every song I write is the best ever written’ attitude of Ian McCulloch.

In the second issue of Bearded, I interviewed Grandmaster Gareth from Misty’s Big Adventure, who delivered the following masterful quote:

“Modern music should be a product of your influences... we have all this amazing stuff, how can we mix it all together? Not just songwriting, but arranging and production – to take Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound to, say, Dr Dre or Aphex Twin. If you put those three things together what are you going to get? That would surely result in something new and different rather than saying ‘Pere Ubu were good weren’t they? Let’s just sound like them.’”

Fortunately, in the utter cesspool of modern music dross, the gems are there in the rough. 2010 - regardless of how many hundreds of thousands of bands I’ll listen to have simply raped ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ for all it’s worth – will still be able to deliver debut records from some of the few new, original and influence-fusing bands that are doing the rounds, including Zun Zun Egui and Drum Eyes, along with Londoners Plug and Maria & the Mirrors.

This year will be a vintage year, just steer clear of sour grapes.

Gareth Main is the founding editor of Bearded Magazine ... and is the new editor of a publication that will be launching in the next few weeks. Follow 140-character rants and unashamed sales pitches by following him @GarethBearded

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