“You’re the hip-swaying, heart-breaking language that everyone can understand”
Ai ai ai… Gah okay erm, I love music. We all know that right? I blog about it, I ramble about it and we all know I love a good playlist (or 12). It’s something that holds such a dear place in my heart and I can never really see that changing, and it’s something that I love talking about. And in a month or so that’s seen so many allegations and horrible (in the sense of I can only imagine how the people must be feeling kinda way) experiences coming to light, it’s something that should be talked about.
To quote Hannah Louise, “liking music is f**king exhausting” and to be honest, that’s never been more relevant than over the past few weeks. Following what’s been going on in the Entertainment industry with Weinstein and Spacey etc, it was only a matter of time before the music industry was next on the chopping block. It’s no secret that things aren’t squeaky clean here – from the I-still-try-and-block-this-from-my-memory time of Ian Watkins, to the brushed-under-the-carpet allegations surrounding Austin Carlile, this isn’t technically anything new. However over the past few days and weeks, we have seen person after person coming forward, shedding light on those that have not only abused their time in the limelight but the fans that looked up to them whilst they were there.
Now I should get it out there that this isn’t a topic that’s easy for me to talk about – sexual assault/harassment hits that lil bit too close to home (something I probably won’t go into on the blog) – but this is something that needs to be spoken about. I, along with many others consider music to be a safe place and it’s one that’s currently being broken into, and we’ve got to let that happen (I promise this will make sense in a bit).
Front Porch Step, With Confidence, Brand New and today, Don Broco. These are to name but a few of the bands that have had their limelight shone directly back onto them to highlight horrible things that members of the band have done. And I’ll perfectly honest, it wasn’t until today that I felt like writing this post. I’ve expressed my feelings about everything that’s been happening on Twitter but there was something about today (as I’m writing this) and Don Broco that just struck a chord with me (no pun intended).
You see, they were the frontrunners to be my band of the year.
Every song they’ve released this year has gone straight into my REGENERATION playlist and 9 times out of 10, was one of the first to be put into that month’s soundtrack. Connor and I have had their songs on repeat, we’ve seen them live, he’s worked with them – even written songs with them. They’d been put on my own little mental pedestal and now, well now it feels weird – it feels wrong.
I keep re-reading the thread going around Twitter specifically to do with DB and it’s shocking. (I should also point out that as I’m writing this, nothing from the band has been said on the matter so at the moment this is still an allegation, although this doesn’t take away from how serious this is) It’s shocking to think that this could’ve happened. As an ‘ordinary’ case (where we weren’t talking about a difference in celeb ‘status’) this story would be shocking in itself, but the fact that this has come out about a person who has the celeb-upper-hand of power in all this? Nah. No amount of great music and loved songs can make any of that acceptable and brush under the carpet-able (? let’s roll with it)
What’s worse is as I said, this isn’t new. This has been going on for god knows how long and unless something is done about it, god knows what else could happen. And the issue we run into here is news fatigue – people becoming desensitised by the amount of new stories/allegations and people being brought up day in and day out that ,they just switch off. You can see it in the responses from some (key thing here, just some) of the fans of these bands – saying that those who are speaking out are just after their ‘5 minutes of fame’ and taking apart everything that they’ve said to prove that they’re ‘definitely lying’, or that ‘their fave band member would never…”
**I should also input at this point that this post is in no way trying to undermine any of the stories that have come to light. I know first hand what’s like to have something like this laughed at, and brushed off and how soul-destroying that is and this post is in no way trying to do that. Another note would be that the individual’s actions do not represent that of the band(s) as a whole; however, of course this would change if they weren’t to condemn their actions/issue a formal apology etc.**
It seems very apt that the YouTube video I’m watching right now (good ol’ Phillip De Franco) is saying that:
“[There are so many sexual harassment stories in the news right now, I haven’t been able to keep up] but just because these stories keep popping it shouldn’t lessen the importance of these people coming out and sharing these stories”
It’s important in times like these to keep sharing, to keep tweeting, to keep writing rambly blog posts about what’s going on to keep this conversation going. And whilst yes this may be exhausting, it’s a tiresome road that we all need to go down. We need to bring these people to the surface to pave the way for safer spaces for people to enjoy music.
And this isn’t just something for the timelines of social media. As someone who wants to write about music as part of her career, it’s important to bring instances like this to bigger and wider audiences. From this post and what I’ve been talking about, a clear question would be – well what about the magazines? What are the likes of Kerrang, NME and Rock Sound going to say about it? With access to arguably the biggest players in the music industry game – the fans – they should be the ones making posts like this. They should be the ones utilising the voice that they have and the audience that listens to them to project the idea that this simply. isn’t. okay.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never listened to a band before, or like me were ready to crown one as your band of the year – this isn’t right.
Music is meant to be a safe space. A place that people can escape to at their highest of highs, and their lowest of lows. No matter your age, where you come from, what language you speak or what your guilty pleasure of songs might be – music is a place to not be judged, a place to breathe, and a place to be yourself. It’s the ‘Austin Carlile’s, the ‘Jesse Lacey’s, the ‘Luke Rocket’s of these situations that are so desperately trying to break into those safe spaces – to ruin something that so many of us hold dearly – but we can’t let them.
Those that have come out, or are yet to come out, with their own personal experiences shouldn’t be left to feel like they have no voice. Shitty behaviour + shitty people = a shitty situation that nobody else should have to go through and it’s up to us to help by raising awareness.
“If you stay silent, if you choose not to acknowledge what is going on, then you are part of the problem”
**EDIT: I’ve just found a fabulous thread on Twitter that touches on what I’ve spoken about in this post but goes into a lot more detail about how these allegations should be dealt with. We need to talk, not dismiss and disregard. Have a read for yourself here. There’s also some more information and links from me just underneath the suggested posts you see below!