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Advice From Spongebob (What’s the Theme?)

July 14, 2013

ImageHave you ever seen that episode of Spongebob where they make the multi-colored crabby patties? Even if you haven’t and think that cartoon is stupid, lemme show you something that can actually help your band out. Bear with me as we get in touch with our inner child (all for the sake of your band, of course!)

The restaurant where Spongebob works at hasn’t had any customers for a long time. The place is getting dusty and covered with cobwebs. All of a sudden, a customer walks in and they try to serve him. However, the customer rejects it and says, “Where’s the pizzazz? I mean, look at this place. What’s the theme here? Underwater? It’s boring!”

Sure enough, if you look at the restaurant, it’s filled with underwater themes like boats, anchors, and the like. However, the problem is, Spongebob and all the fish already live underwater. Thus, the theme is lifeless and boring. Which brings me to the question: what is your band’s theme?

For a lot of us, we would say, “music is our theme.” It’s all about cool guitars and drums and stuff. But if the theme or your band is “playing music in a band,” you’re doing the equivalent of the boring “underwater” theme. Seriously, how can you expect to stick out from other bands when you appear as just “another band playing music?” Of course you play music. That’s what bands do. But there’s surely got to be something deeper there? Chances are, you might already have your theme, you just haven’t put it out there yet or realized it.

Back to the cartoon: Mr. Krabbs, the owner of the restruant responds to the customer’s “boring theme” comment by insisting that “no one goes to a restaurant for atmosphere. They go for food!” A lot of you may be doing the same thing right now in your mind. “People don’t go to concerts/buy albums for atmosphere. They want music!”

Yes, it is true. Your audience wants music. However, they want more than just music. In addition, they request a little atmosphere, so give it to them!

Look at KISS. Love ’em or hate ’em, they are prime example of creating a culture and atmosphere around their band. It’s not about dudes playing instruments. It’s the ultimate fantasy experience where fictional super-heroes play awesome music that causes explosions and fireworks. If KISS’s theme is a little too exaggerated for you, that’s perfectly fine. I can’t see a jazz band doing what KISS does. However, avoiding atmosphere entirely is suicide. The ground of “we play music and that’s it” is just not fertile enough to produce any crop. Find your niche and develop it because fans love showing they are part of some sort of culture, not just “a song.”

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