Monday, December 31, 2007

Draw the line

It’s December 31st, ergo I am honor-bound to write a year-end wrap-up post.

I’m serious. It’s blogger law.

Last year around this time I enumerated our many triumphs as well as our missteps of 2006. Moreover, I challenged readers and artists not to focus too much on the uncertain future, but instead to concentrate on the now. I wrote – and it’s always odd when you have to quote yourself – "This is the golden age, and whether we rise or fall, we have this moment. Today we are all stars." I stand by that statement.

But we didn’t fizzle out in 2007. We grew bigger and brighter and we commanded just as much attention as the year prior. Nerdcore hip-hop (as well as many other delicious flavors of nerdy musical goodness) was seen on MTV, written about in Esquire, and even mentioned by the BBC.

mCRT put together the first successful nerdcore-centered festival with Nerdapalooza SE, Beefy became the first 2nd gen nerdcore artists to take the stage at PAX, and mc chris rejected, adopted, and then once again rejected the genre.

It was a big year, and, yes, once again we were stars. But that’s all. We were stars, but stars are very much islands in the sky.

While other nerdy scenes continued to coalesce into communities, nerdcore maintained its status quo as merely warring factions with fragile alliances.

A while back, I received the following communiqué from nerdcore artist Luzid outlining just that:
Yo, Z.

I wanted to ask your opinion on something that's been troubling me recently - the crumbling community that is nerdcore, versus the explosion of the wrock community.

Considering that the entirety of wrock could be absorbed into nerdcore due to its subject matter, it's odd that (at least in my view) the latter has a very thin fanbase and community, while the former seems to be growing in scope. It's particularly telling that wrock is not being held back by its limited vision (i.e. mostly being about Harry Potter), while nerdcore - for all its vast horizons (so many geeky topics) - doesn't feel like a cohesive community.

Your thoughts? Am I just seeing it differently due to not being into the wrock scene?

-Luzid
My (abridged) response was as follows:
Interestingly enough, this is exactly the kind of thing I've been discussing with my two chief conspirators Matt and Church for some time now. Why is it that something as conceptually thin as Wrock manages to flourish while the promise of nerdcore remains mostly unfulfilled? No one can know for sure, but, after weeks (Hell, months!) of deliberation, I think I'm beginning to get down to some glimmer of truth. And I reckon it's pretty simple, now that I spell it out.

In short, Wrockers - both fans and artists - seem to have a genuinely honest interest in community building.

Matt pointed this fact out really early on, but it wasn't until recently that I finally realized that this summation, as simple as it is, is what it all boils down to.

Unfortunately, that leads us to yet another question: why?

Why them and not us? Aren't we all just nerds expressing ourselves musically? Why do those of us on the nerdcore side seem to suffer from this odd disconnect that the Wrockers tend to be able to avoid?

This one's a lot deeper, but I think I have some ideas.

First and foremost, it seems to me that nerdcore fancies itself as being created in a vacuum. From the earliest, we've had artists creating in solitude. MC Frontalot, YTCracker, mc chris, MC Hawking: these cats got their start with very little outside input, with very little outside involvement. It wasn't until Rhyme Torrents (when High-C made a legitimate effort to build bridges) that anyone even considered pinning Front's ample label on all these obviously related artists.

Wrock, on the other hand, got its start with bands. Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, et al are all natural artistic mini-communities in and of themselves. There was already this social aspect to what they were doing. By and large it wasn't one guy in front of a computer; it was a group of friends making music together.

But does that make them instantly more community-minded than nerdcore artists? Not necessarily.

So maybe it's the inherent personalities in question. mc chris is obviously more interested in mc chris as an individual than in mc chris as the de facto spokesperson of a musical community, and that's certainly understandable. Frontalot, though far more personable in this aspect than mc, is really more passive than one might anticipate with regard for nerdcore as a genre. He lets other folks use the term - gladly, I might add - but he has his own livelihood to worry about; this is also perfectly reasonable.

But do these examples speak to our root cause? Let's examine further.

On the other hand we have the bigger names in Wrock: the aforementioned HatP, The Remus Lupins, and The Whomping Willows, just to name a few.

These cats are really down there in the trenches. They seem to speak reverently of Wrock itself, like it's a force greater than the sum of the bands that everyone recognizes. For whatever magical (I made a funny!) reason, these guys see what they're doing as a community effort as opposed to a one-man, or one-act, show.

They are, in short, in it for the team. They - the big guys - are down for the movement.

But again we arrive at that dreaded word: why. What makes what they're doing so different?

Regarding this I also have a rough theory.

What we see from Wrock is, not to put too fine a point on it, an indie spirit. A punk rock spirit.

Maybe it simply has to do with what we do as much as who we are and how we do it. Rap is very often aggressive, confrontational. It thrives on beef and diss tracks. Rock, at least in regard to the truly independent kind, seems less absorbed with such trivialities. That's not to say there's not a fair measure of back-talk and animosity in independent rock circles, a fact to which Nursehella can surely attest, but maybe - just maybe - nerdcore simply inherited a megadose of the get-them-before-they-get-you spirit of hip-hop proper.

In the end, I think that each of these plays a part, but none truly answer the question at hand. Why nerdcore lacks the strength of community that's found in Wrock, or, for that matter, other rather nerdy styles like game rock, micromusic, or bastard pop, is a mystery, but it probably has roots in some combination of the personalities involved and maybe even the actual art created.

Or perhaps it's simpler still. Maybe Wrockers connect on the base level that is a love of the source material itself. Whereas nerdcore has DGs, CS gangstas, comic shop kings, hardcore gamers, and anime enthusiasts, Wrock simply has Wrockers: lovers of the preternatural world that JKR created.

Maybe what nerdcore lacks - or, more likely, simply tends to ignore – is true common ground.
So, while we are stars, we are not constellations. We are disparate yet related. We are similar yet disconnected. What we need, my friends, is lines.

And it wasn’t until I sat down to pin these words that I realized we had found them.

Back in October, news of artist T.Y.T.’s father’s illness began to make the rounds. T.Y.T. wasn’t looking for a handout; he was merely looking to use the skills and avenues he had at his disposal to raise some money to help his father get a liver. And the nerdcore community responded. Everyone from The Awful Show crew to a cavalcade of artists old and new stepped up. And when the topic of a benefit album was broached, no one was concerned about who was or was not nerdcore enough; folks just wanted to help.

On Christmas Eve, just days after receiving his transplant, T.Y.T.’s father passed. I don’t know much in the way of details, and even if I did I wouldn’t share them. A man’s grief is a very personal thing, and I’ll not pretend to understand what he is going through. But this event led to continued outpouring of emotion. Of support. A genuine sense of a community responding to the misfortune of one of its own.

T.Y.T.’s ordeal showed us unequivocally that we could be civil to one another, that we could be supportive and genuinely invested in our community both as artists and as individuals. The trick is remembering that lesson and applying it to our everyday interactions. That's not to say that we can't critique, that we can't, on occasion, clash; that's part of being a community too. It's just saying that maybe we should remember that we have an underlying commonality and use that as a basis for a little mutual respect.

2007 saw some amazing albums. It provided some fantastic gigs and birthed some phenomenal projects. But, in my mind, it will be remembered as the year we came together, if only for a minute and if only under the worst of circumstances.

So pick up a pen and draw some lines, people. They might not fix what’s wrong, but they may just see us through to another year.

35 comments:

nYgel said...

oh, i want to add, Ive noticed ALOT that when a nerdcore artist starts to get a little popularity, they kinda try to go in a different direction, trying to adopt more of underground than nerdcore, almost as if they are embarrassed. instead of holding the tag and trying to get more interest in it, they try to just make a name for themselves wherever they go. i hear alot how yt always pushes nerdcore, and thats awesome. if more did so, itd be great. As a producer i cant really classify myself as nerdcore but i still use the term to describe my work. curiosity into this community would be great, but it seems noone cares much anymore. lets get to work on more rhyme torrents, actually finish them, shit, RThalloween did great, lets step it up.

end rant.

Z. said...

One of the things I've always admired about YT, nYgel, (in addition to his great talent, of course) is how he really holds onto the term "nerdcore." He didn't coin it, and he's fine with that. He's still really taken up the mantle as an elder statesman and tried to do good things for the scene.

antisoc said...

I prefer the term "nerd rap" personally. But it's really all the same thing. ;)

I think the problem of a lack of community boils down to 3 things:

1) Noobs who don't try to improve / good people who don't help the noobs
2) Pretentious people who don't associate with anyone below their skill level / noobs who don't realize how bad they sound
3) People that act stupidly to each other inciting drama

I've really been thinking about this, and I think the real solution is a rap mentoring program. People would either offer to help others or request help from others, and would team up in pairs to improve their skill. Not only would it build community (by force), but it would also improve the health of nerd rap (make it better sounding).

Anthony said...

What you said about Nerdcore and Worck seems very true. While I know pretty much nothing abour wrock, it seems like you could have switched that with chiptunes, VG Rock, OCremixers, or a few other things. Floating around all these different VG inspired genres has made me proud, seeing so many communities sharing a common goal and working together, playing together, and being supportive of each and every person in the scene, whether promoters, musicians, or fans. Though, when I hit nerdcore, I didn't get that same sense of community, which was a bit saddening. I barely got into Nerdcore this past year of 07, thanks to great folks like you and Hex. I've now made a ton of friends in the Nerdcore community, but there always seems to be something about the community that isn't the same as chiptunes, VG rock etc. I think you explained that problem perfectly in your post. I also agree with Antisoc's idea for strengthening Nerdcore. In the chiptunes community folks help each other by discussing music, hardware, and circuit bending. Even going as far as building new synthcarts for the community. While VG Rock tends to help bands get shows together, spread the word about how awesome other bands are to their own fan base and stuff. Antisoc's idea's seem to follow that line of community building.

Also, I use the term "Nerdcore Hip Hop."

Anthony said...

ALSO, damn you Z, i didn't know year end blog posts were law! Looks like I got to get to work...

Matt said...

For those who don't know me, which is basically all of you except Z and Church, I was born and raised in the DC suburbs. DC is legendary in the punk world for its adherence to the DIY punk ethic. It is built on the idea of not waiting for someone to come along and give you something, but going out there and creating your own thing.

I rag on DC a lot these days and what it has turned into, but the uniquely DC approach to DIY is something that will always define me. It is something that has shaped not only how I approach music, but how I approach the world in general. Stop Standing Still was founded on the simple idea that here was this really cool idea that no one else was doing, so I went ahead and did it (or will, when my life stops being insane). I didn't hope and pray that someone else would do it, I just did it.

YT gets some well deserved props in this piece for what he has done in support of the nerdcore community. The one quibble I'd make is I don't think he's so alone. May be I'm way off base here, but I've got a feeling that there are a number of other folks in nerdcore who are up for building community and tightening up the scene. They're waiting though for someone to tell them what to do, or for someone else to take the lead. To them, I say, Fuck that shit!

Here's my challenge to the nerdcore community. What are YOU doing to help this scene? Do YOU see a hole that needs to be filled? Then go fill it!

I dig Soc's idea of a mentoring program. So, let me ask the next logical question. Soc, when was the last time you reached out to a new comer and offered to give them a hand?

nYgel, Z will back me up that my reaction to your mix tape was surprise how good MCs that I hadn't previously been that impressed with sounded with your production backing them. Why wait for someone else to do a RT? Why not start your own similar project?

I'm not trying to be a dick here or be confrontational. I'm seeing a lot of people here though that are waiting for someone else to come along and do something when they are more then capable of doing it themselves. It doesn't need to be big and shiny. It can be as simple as emailing a new comer and telling them that you like their stuff, but they need to work on staying on the beat. Or posting honest reviews on the boards when new things come out. It seems small and insignificant, but things like this build. Things like this create the framework for community. There isn't some big light switch that someone needs to flip and suddenly there's a nerdcore community. There's a mountain of little shit here and there that people do and one day you stop for a second and look around and go 'holy shit! we did it!'

So don't sit there lamenting that there isn't a community. Go out there and create it!

The honest truth is that nerdcore isn't my scene. There are artists that I really dig and I'm always happy for Z and/or Church to point me towards new tracks to check out, but it just isn't where my heart's at. I feel my time is best spent working on the issue of trying to get all these little niche geek scenes to start working together (another inspiration for SSS). That said, if anyone has an idea that they would like to bounce off someone or just feels like they'd like a hand in figuring out how to get something off the ground, my email is mattwsweeney AT gmail Don't hesitate to drop me a line. No idea is to small or off the wall. I would appreciate it if you'd give me a couple of days to respond though. Like I said, my life is pretty crazy these days.

yt said...

hugs and kisses everyone! great post z.

let's make 2008 something tight - we get an extra day of hustling on feb 29th.

holla at p. nis for more info. nerd life.

Z. said...

I agree on all points, Soc. And I think some genuine community building via give-and-take is in order.

Well said, Anthony. I think most other nerdy music flavors have a genuine interest in cooperation that, for some reason, nerdcore lacks. And yeah, dude, it's mandatory. ;)

I like how you mention that things don't have to be "big and shiny," Matt. At the end of the day, we need to be taking care of our own rather than waiting for some glorious mainstream savior to shower us with cash and make us relevant. In many cases smaller is better for a burgeoning community.

And as always, YT, I think you phrased it more succinctly than anyone. :)

Nygel said...

matt, that whole why wait for someone else to do something (if directed at me, which it followed so i assumed) is i AM doing more, sure its a bit more of a 'higher up' ideal i have going on than a lesser known, but its another large release that will bring many together. thats what i liked about it (and i figured would indeed help raise MY popularity, if i have ANY) would be to do the mixtape, so then people on the mixtape would send their fans to dl it and then theyd hear other artists and get into them. its a genius marketing scheme ;) but yeah, im only one man, with only so many uncleared samples i can use, but im trying, RT is sorta goin for a new comp, may not be RT but itll be its players :)

Anthony said...

Happy new year Z!

According to your "law" i tossed up a year end post as well at This Link

I do agree with Matt, on the whole, "if you see something to do, then do it." idea. That idea is exactly why I started my site. Because I wanted a hub for me to find all sorts of VG inspired music, I didn't find one, so I got with my friends, and we made one. Also, I saw that there isn't much talk between different communities of VGIM, such as between chiptunes and nerdcore, so I set out to make that collab comp. I do think people should set out to help build nerdcore, and all the other genres to be what they are. But I feel like, sometimes peoples contributions go unnoticed. I know many a person that contribute a lot to their respective scenes and don't get much credit. I don't mean to be confrontational either, just putting my opinion and perspective out there as well.

Also, Matt, I do digg what you are doing with SSS, it's a great idea!

Luzid said...

First off - Z, great post!

Antisoc, great reply as well. Here's my take: "Noobs who don't try to improve" and "noobs who don't realize how bad they sound" are directly responsible for the other half of your first two bullet points.

I can speak to firsthand experience about how a mentor, or even just some friendly advice in an ear willing to improve, can make a world of difference. ZeaLous1 was the first person to ever hear anything I did (my first song, LBL). It was rough, and needed work, but he saw the potential.

Go forward a couple of months, after some helpful tips from him, and I'm onstage at his show. The audience loved the track, and for good reason - people like him make people like me want to bust our asses the way I did to improve. Since that first encouragement in May, I've released a few songs, been played on the radio and gotten raves about my flow from a few people on the street - all because the work improved. Ego's killing too many half-baked nerd rappers' chance to step up their game.

There are some nerdcore rappers that think they're way better than they are, and no amount of mentoring will improve their work (they don't see why their work is, well, not working). But for those who don't think that way (a majority, I suspect), your idea makes a lot of sense.

antisoc said...

matt: currently, I've been collaborating with newcomers Shawn Who and also 73hvpn (or will be collaborating, I should say...), although I consider myself somewhat of a newcomer to the scene

Also, I'm either up for mentoring someone or being mentored myself. I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is.

antisoc said...

P.S. props to tanner, who offered to let me record in his studio if I needed it.

Matt said...

Soc, glad to hear it! I agree that something like that is vital.

nYgel, my comments weren't directed specifically at you and soc, but to everyone. You guys just happened to be the most obvious examples to use since you'd posted before I did and both of you had very cool ideas.

Z and I had a conversation back in early '07 about how the punk DIY spirit, which has had a huge influence in our lives, seemed to be lacking in the nerdcore scene. The challenge is basically an attempt to light that fire in people. Now, may be that conversation, and hence the challenge itself, is now out of date or may be I'm just preaching to the choir here, I don't know. Like I said before, I'm very much an outsider in the nerdcore scene, but it is something that I'm very interested in seeing succeed for various reasons.

You comment, nYgel, about only having so many uncleared samples is something that occurred to me after I posted that message. I was thinking less of a mix tape though, and more of a straight up comp. One of the things I liked about your mix tape was that it wasn't just the obvious choices, but featured a lot of folks that I hadn't really heard before. May be that's just because I'm on the outside in this, but from the point of view of promoting nerdcore, something like that is very important. Plus, a regular series of comps like that would pretty much turn you into a legend in the scene. :)

I'm not sure how much work a project like that would entail, having never done it. And I definitely understand how you could be to busy to really under take something like that and would prefer to focus on your own music. I'm just tossing out ideas though. After posting my previous comment, my little slight of hand trick there where I challenged you guys to do something and then excused myself from that challenge didn't sit right with me. So, I've decided to try and come up with some ideas of my own as well that I'm bouncing of Church and Z. This comment is just me riffing off what you guys said in hopes of may be generating some additional activity.

Well, that and procrastinating the crap for work that I've put off all weekend, but need to do before I go back to work tomorrow.

Matt said...

Anthony, glad to hear that you dig SSS, once I can get things kick started again (probably late Jan/early Feb now) I'm definitely going to be contacting you. I'm pretty ashamed of how poorly represented the whole video game related scene is being represented and I'd like to brainstorm with you over ways to correct that.

Anthony said...

@ Matt

I never noticed the VG inspired music scene being underrepresented, but maybe it depends on the perspective you are looking at it from. I may have not noticed because I am right in the thick of it. I would definitely love to discuss the issue with you though, and see what can be done. Just hit me up whenever you have the time. Anything to promote the VGIM scene =D

Nygel said...

alright, just curious, cuz i enjoy this shit, what other communities could i dip into? most of you are familiar with me so where could i go? I know RT but what other forums are around? i really do want to check them out.

Anthony said...

@ nygel

You can check out theshizz.org and hit the minibosses forum for VG rock and remixes. ocremix.org for video game remixes of course. and thasauce.net for all sorts of video game inspired music. Hope that helps!

Z. said...

Yeah, nYgel, one of the things I found most impressive about your mixtape was that you were really the driving force; you wanted to make something so you took the initiative and did it. And I’m still enjoying it BTW. :)

Thanks for the love in your wrap-up, Anthony. The feeling is most definitely mutual. Yeah, there are a handful of cats out there who really put a lot into a scene but don’t see much of a return. That’s why I see blogs like ours as an important outlet. Many times we might note something that would otherwise slip through the cracks. And I think those are some excellent choices for places for nYgel to explore other scenes!

Thanks for helping me out with the inspiration for this, Luzid! Z1 is another excellent example of someone who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. Though he’s still a relative newcomer (to the nerdcore scene, but certainly not rap) he really does a lot to help elevate.

Soc, I’m really glad to see you working with Shawn and vPn. I think collabs like that – partnerships of open-minded and creatively inclined people bereft of egos and genuinely interested in honing their skills – is truly what nerdcore needs.

Matt, you always make excellent points. Do you think the old school punk rock ethic even has a home in punk anymore? It seems to me like most modern scenes are just too wrapped up in “making it big” to put in that kind of effort.

Matt said...

I think it has a home in punk, it just isn't the defining idea that people used to think it was. Emphasis on 'think'. Go back all the way to the start and there have always been band's that made no bones about their wanting success. And even more that wanted success, but were afraid to admit it because of the backlash.

When the way Billboard counts holiday returns resulted in Nirvana having a hit though, punk began to loose the innocence that allowed it to pretend that DIY was a defining force behind the scene. With the lose of that innocence, groups felt less compelled to play along if they didn't want to.

This doesn't mean the idea has been abandoned though, at the moment it is just a little harder to find. You've got to dig a little deeper into the underground, but the work is usually rewarded with some great finds.

The more interesting thing in my mind is that while the idea has lost momentum in the punk scene, it has gained momentum everywhere else. I've said before that the thing that really piqued my interest in the WRock scene was where this kids go from here, now that they have been directly exposed to DIY. Many will treat this as a phase that they'll eventually grow out of, but some of these kids will be forever changed by what they've learned in the WRock community.

I've long held that the over arching effect that the internet has had on our culture is the mainstreaming of previously underground ideas. The process has had an interesting effect though on the underground.

While the mainstream is being infected with underground ideas, the underground is being infected with mainstream ideas. This is resulting in the line between these two cultures blurring even more then before. Push past the crust of the underground though and really get into the guts of it and the heart is still pumping strong.

antisoc said...

To change the topic a little, I prefer "Nerd Rap" because a lot of Nerdcore is really not all that "nerd", nor is it all that "core". I think a lot of the problems in nerdcore could be eliminated with some subgenres with requirements, simply because it's so broad a category, and anyone who claims to be nerdcore *is* nerdcore (at least that's the popular consensus). Heck, if 50 cent started to claim to be nerdcore, he would be nerdcore. That really bothers me. I think it bothers me more because there isn't a really good definition of what nerdcore really is. For an example, surf rock. It's generally about surfing and the surfer lifestyle, and they have certain guitar sounds, amp settings, and vocal harmonies that are somewhat genre specific. Nerdcore has two requirements: it has to be rap and you have to call yourself nerdcore, which really doesn't differentiate it at all from rap. I guess the point is that asking "what is nerdcore?" is like opening a can of worms that eat your soul.

Z. said...

I find it interesting, Matt, that while everyone likes to talk about how the mainstream has been changed by the "radical" underground ideas that have been fostered by the Internet, few think about the other side of that coin.

Yeah, Soc, nerdcore is nebulous at best. It's strength is that it's genuinely open to anyone, but that's also a weakness.

antisoc said...

yeah, Z, I try not to think about it.

Nygel said...

my opinion of nerdcore is hip-hop in style with influences either by nerd culture or the artist is generally considered to eb in the nerd culture. which is why when chris said he wasn't nerdcore then released a track called nrrd girl it confused the hell out of me.

Church said...

Hate to disagree with AntiSoc, but: "Heck, if 50 cent started to claim to be nerdcore, he would be nerdcore. "

No. Barring a serious style change, not anymore than MC Chip's claims that he *isn't* make it any more so. (Although it's more arguable than the former.)

There is a definition of nerdcore (though it's interesting that people like JoCo et al. are getting that label, minus the "hip-hop") and although it would be interesting if people started to try to co-opt it (!) it's pretty easy to sort out.

OK, not really contributing much beyond an observation...

antisoc said...

church: I was just presenting the 50 Cent example for the sake of argument, I really don't agree with that either.

If you go to a (pardon me) church or other religious institution, you can usually find a "statement of faith" posted somewhere. If nerdcore required something similar, like answering the question "in what way are you a nerd?" I think there would probably be fewer problems. If you have problems answering that question, maybe you should look into other musical avenues. This is NERDcore after all

Whomping said...

Hey everyone, it's Matt from The Whomping Willows. Bradley from Draco and the Malfoys linked me to this post. I just wanted to say a couple things in response. First, I'm glad to see that the wizard rock scene gets respect from other communities for its DIY ethics and overall strength as a community. We work extremely hard to keep wizard rock free from corporate involvement, and one major reason for that is that we'd love to see these 350+ bands maintain DIY ethics throughout their musical careers and contribute to the development of a generation of musicians who reject the traditional label/band formula. Most of the "bigger" wizard rock bands have been part of a local music scene for several years before wizard rock was in existence, and we've had these ethics intact from the beginning. Personally, I've been signed to a small "DIY" indie label, and even that led to artistic compromises that I now regret. I am of the firm belief that no band needs a record label to get by. It's not terribly difficult to convince these kids of that, because all one has to do is point to Harry and the Potters as an example of a band that's become very successful while maintaining a truly DIY approach. Anyway. I think our community is strong because of a few things: 1) There is almost no competition between bands. In fact, we actively strive to help each other out. 2) We really are all a bunch of dorks and misfits who have finally found a place where we fit in. 3) We all love Harry Potter. 4) For whatever reason, most of us share similar political views and we invest a lot of time and money into charitable causes.

I always assumed that the wizard rock bubble would burst at some point, but I've yet to encounter any evidence that it's going to happen soon. Against all odds, my fall tour was more successful than my summer tour, and I'm planning to spend 6 to 7 months on the road in 2008. It's incredible. If I could offer any advice to any other communities, I'd simply say that in order to make it work collectively, you just have to get over all of the petty bullshit that typically accompanies a scene. That includes worrying about terminology, worrying about newcomers and their skill level, any form of competition, and any sense of entitlement on the part of bigger or older bands. That stuff is simply irrelevant -- at the end of the day, what matters most is the music you make, the message you convey, and the effect it has on the people who listen to it.

Sincerely,
Matt

Nygel said...

i think we all has egos as well. yep. that adds a bit too.

this is practically a forum at this point.

Anthony said...

"I think our community is strong because of a few things: 1) There is almost no competition between bands. In fact, we actively strive to help each other out. 2) We really are all a bunch of dorks and misfits who have finally found a place where we fit in. 3) We all love Harry Potter."

Except maybe the love of harry potter, I feel like I can say the exact same thing about VG Rock bands. I mean, look at magfest going down as we speak. Every band tries to play, and every band that isn't playing heads down there to support, it's incredible. The same with chiptunes, with Blipfest.

I agree with Matt from Whomping WIllows, about people needing to get over all the irrelevant things that intrude on the scenes one is involved in, thing is, i only seem to see this problem with nerdcore, and no where else. I also have gained a lot of respect for the Wrock community, even though I don't think I have ever heard a note of their music! (sorry, I don't read harry potter, or other similar books. Don't beat me up!)

Also, agree with nyGel, this has become it's own forum at this point, I wish we could move it somewhere to get more people interested in this discussion and have more people throw their thoughts into the ring. Talking all this out, and getting these problems out there I think, is a good way to start solving these problems. I mean, how can we fix problems without discussing them, then coming up with a course of action. Like antisoc stating some problems, then throwing out the idea of a mentoring program to help solve those problems.

I also agree with z that the strength and weakness of nerdcore is that it's open to everyone. it's sort of the same in the chiptunes scene. there are a ton of people making chiptunes, but many of them are not really contributing anything to move the scene forward, and actually may hurt the scene by sounding similar and mediocre, which causes the chiptune stereotype of "anyone can make chiptunes."

I think what antisoc said about a kind of "Nerdcore statement of faith" could cause a split in the nerdcore community, sort of in the way that there is a split in the VG remix community due to the fact that OCRemix judges every song that comes into their site, where as VGMix allows Pretty much everyone to remix songs however they please. A split in nerdcore may be necessary perhaps though, but I could never difinitebely say, but at this point I think it would be best for nerdcore to abnd together despite how "nerdcore" they are. I do think that there is a kind of unsaid understanding of what nerdcore is though, even if it is very broad and ill-defined.

Also, I am going to toss this conversation we have had so far in my websites forums. perhaps the discussion can be continued there? Understandable if you guys want to keep posting here though, just want to throw the option out there, since I suggested it. (i'm taking action on my idea!) I'd toss it in rhyme torrents, but I am afraid of more uncivil reactions there.

Anthony said...

Alright, they are up. THIS LINK TAKES YOU TO THE SPECIFIC THREAD ABOUT THESE COMMENTS

And this is the link to the main page of my site's forums, the thread can be found in the "Video Game Inspired Music News and Discussion" Board

http://gamemusic4all.proboards92.com/

Like I said before, I hope the conversation can be continued there, but understandable if not, I imagine Z. just has to give the word. Either way, no matter where this conversation takes place i definitely hope it continues!

antisoc said...

Don't get me wrong, I do support scene unity. I rarely ever bad mouth a person, save for critical feedback, and the only time I argue is with people who are causing a division in the scene. I just think that the nebulous definition of what nerdcore is tends to splinter the scene into opposing factions.

Whomping said...

Just another thought I had -- I think another factor that helps wizard rock stay united is that it's not a typical musical genre where style and sound are similar throughout. Wizard rock bands range from rock to metal to folk to electronica to rap, and each style has its own range of influences and skill level. That sort of variety discourages competition, in my opinion. I've personally argued against wizard rock's classification as a "genre"; I see it more as a cultural movement, even a sociopolitical movement, whatever the fuck that means. : )

Z. said...

I think that confused a lot of folks, nYg.

I think Church and Soc’s tangent brings up an interesting question; if the term “nerdcore” can be applied to nerdy music across the spectrum, would that broaden or narrow the constraints of the term?

Thanks for your thoughts, Whompy, and may I mention I’m a big fan. I think your point about a lack of competition is the thing that I most respect about Wrockers. Generally speaking, there are no pissing contests. Moreover, I’ve always believed that the true strength of a scene isn’t just how it treats members, but how it treats outsiders and newcomers. Regarding that, I really think that the Wrock community speaks volumes.

Yeah, Anthony, nerdcore is really the only place where these things (ego and whatnot) seem to be such a factor, at least with regard to the geekier side of independent music. And I also agree that we’d probably do better to move this over to the GM4A forums. I’ll not dissuade anyone from posting here, mind you, but that seems like a better place for such a lengthy discourse.

Soc, I find your comment about the nebulous nature of nerdcore and Whompy’s about how Wrock’s lack of a unifying genre helps to keep things civil to be an interesting juxtaposition. In that regard, is nerdcore a genre or a mindset?

antisoc said...

I guess maybe we should stop dealing with nerdcore the genre and start talking about nerdcore the movement. That really puts things in perspective.

Z. said...

Well said, Soc. Well said.