Welcome to the O Music Awards guest writer series, a place where we hand the proverbial reins over to qualified writers/musicians/etc and let them share their thoughts about music, technology and more. Today’s guest blogger is the band Silent Drape Runners. Russ Marshalek, one half of the band, will be DJing our Unboxed event this Sunday in New York! Come and bug him for more tips.
Silent Drape Runners are a Lynchian electronic pop band from Brooklyn. Sophie, the younger half of the electronic duo, was wondering aloud to Russ, the other half of the band, if Carles from Hipster Runoff was the first person to coin the term “buzzband.” Russ, who was sentient in the early ’90s, pointed out that the term actually originated on the MTV show Buzz Bin, on which artists would be deemed “buzzworthy” and their videos would be played. As you will learn in this guide, Russ and Sophie’s vastly different cultural reference points are one of the things that make their buzzband possible. Being a buzzband might seem like an unattainable dream right now, but Silent Drape Runners guarantee that by reading this guide, and with a little work and inspiration, YOU TOO could earn the honor of wearing the title. Silent Drape Runners are available for private buzz consultations.
1. Know How To Do Something
This may seem obvious, but if you want to be in a successful buzzband, it’s important that you have some music-related skill. The skill could be anything from creating catchy and ethereal synth loops to screaming really loud while crowdsurfing, but you need something to get you started in the buzzosphere. Russ has been DJing live for eight years, and Sophie has been singing for almost as long. With their powers combined, a Postal Service-but-creepy electronic buzz duo was born.
(Owning lasers also helps.)
2. Have Disparate Influences
Russ really likes Witch House and used to only listen to minimal techno. Sophie really likes the Mountain Goats and used to only listen to twee pop. Having far flung influences from your bandmates and using them in your music is an awesome way to create buzz – how else will someone coin a genre for you (we’re waiting, p4k)?!
3. Know What People Like Online
Buzz basically only exists on the Internet (and at SXSW, which is basically the Internet with tacos). The Internet loves cute things. Get a cute thing, take a picture with it, get buzz.
4. Be Tired
Everyone knows that caring about shit isn’t cool. It’s fine to look your apathetic best in band photos, and onstage, if you so choose. But if they’re being honest, any good buzzband will tell you that won’t cut it when it comes to you know, actually being a band. So, in private at the very least, work pretty hard on your music, performance and publicity. Socialize with other musicians, go to shows, and reach out to people you want to work with. No one has to know (though they might ask questions when you fall asleep at your day job).
5.“They’re the band that _______”
In which ______ ISN’T “plays music.” Though it’s not essential for being in a GOOD band, you probably won’t get too far in the World of Buzz if you don’t have something else going for you besides your rad music. For Russ and Sophie, their live Twin Peaks re-soundtrackings are what established them as a Buzzband To Watch (and was also the first thing they did as a band). So pick something, preferably something you and your band are super into, and incorporate it into your music or performance. You really like Mad Men? Dress in mod outfits from the 1960s and sing about misogyny and alcoholism. If you like Italian food, make a conceptual album about pizza. If you like clouds, make them your friends.
6. Be Mysterious
It worked for Cults, The Weeknd, jj and countless other now-Internet Famous groups. If you have a full time job, this should be easy. Between playing shows and practicing and normal life, it will be hard to find time to record. Meanwhile, the world will be like: “Wow, after nearly 6 months of existence, Silent Drape Runners still have only one song, a remix and some Youtube videos, HOW SEDUCTIVELY MYSTERIOUS!”
7. Hang Out In Greenpoint [editor's note: a neighborhood in Brooklyn]
Name a Brooklyn-based buzzband, and they probably live in Greenpoint (seriously, name one). Russ lives in Greenpoint. Sophie doesn’t have enough money to live in Greenpoint, but she can still walk up and down Manhattan Ave., oogle members of more successfully buzzy bands and play her new favorite game, “Is That Lena Dunham?”
8. Remix A More Famous Band
9. Wear Sunglasses In Inappropriate Locations
Sunglasses will always be cool. Don’t smile.
10. Be Friends With Other Buzzbands
It’s super important to become friends with other rising buzz stars. You’ll always have someone to play with, and even if they get more famous than you, you can say you knew them when (while crying over your crushed hopes and dreams). Russ and Sophie are lucky enough to be friends with a variety of amazing bands who are all fully deserving of buzzband status. If you haven’t heard them yet, consider this fair warning. Shoutout to Wojcik, Religious To Damn, Today the moon, Tomorrow the sun, Leda, SoftSpot, Expensive Looks, Jo Schornikow, Noveller, Lucy Dreams, Ceremonial Dagger, Pet Cemetary, CRIM3S, Featureless Ghost, Skeletonkids, Vaura, Javelin, Ben Weiner and his Big F**king Band, Rags, Early Riser, Kelly Montoya, Field Mouse, Mindtroll, La Big Vic, Bad Credit No Credit, and, clearly, Enya. WE <3 YOU ALL, LET’S MAKE BUZZ BABIES TOGETHER.