When One Direction adds in these ambient studio sounds– the insider musician chatter in “Olivia,” the scratching of a pencil in “I Want to Write You a Song,” the fans in “History,” the purpose is to add an illusion of authenticity. The illusion gets fans closer to being in a live experience, a folk music, intimate, small venue, acoustic experience.
It is musical gesture– a way for the band to evolve away from pre-packaged, cookie-cutter boyband pop songs and closer to music they would prefer to make, closer to what they personally like to listen to. They are striving for the authenticity of making “real music,” not the typical boy band, “bland-as-fuck” (Zayn’s words) pop music.
This question of authenticity is a complex one. As consumers, we know that what we consume has a veneer of artifice. We know that voices are auto-tuned and distorted by reverb. We know that 1D songs go through a production process that transforms the raw material into the polished radio hits.
We like to listen to professionally produced music. And that’s okay.
But as Scott’s thesis argues, this question of authenticity goes to the very heart of the question of One Direction.
Selling authenticity of music is a way of selling an authentic fandom experience– the same way that @Louis_Tomlinson seems authentic when he tweets that Pizza Hut should DM him, as if this is Louis Tomlinson charmingly asking for a pizza, rather than Louis Tomlinson™ being paid to endorse Pizza Hut. The lines of authenticity are being blurred without informing the audience.
It isn’t as clear-cut as seeing a celebrity sell perfume in a magazine ad. In the same way, any fashion endorsement, interview, or brand ambassadorship through SM or pap photos strives to seem authentic. It is reflective of the huge confluence of social media and product placement in our culture. It’s the reason for Zigi.
One of the boys said in an interview once– “pressured by the modern age.” This is how modern advertisement works.
But, I mean, they’re just songs. Why get so worked up about them? Do they really have to do with all this– other stuff?
The reason it’s different for One Direction is that inauthenticity, sold as authenticity, is the badge and pride of 1DHQ. It is their modus operandi.
They hold contests to meet band members or go to special listening sessions in which the winners have already been pre-determined– and it’s rarely the casual fan without insider connections. I, and people I know, would have loved going to the London sessions. But I knew that would never have been a possibility. It’s always the people in service of 1DHQ.
This philosophy is what allows stalkers to appear as lucky fans who bump into the boys “by chance,” and allows these stalkers access to the boys time and again, often without security.
Inauthenticity as authenticity as a philosophy is extended to selling a band member’s image TO THE BAND MEMBER’S DETRIMENT. Just look at Louis Tomlinson’s representation with the James Grant Group since January 1st.
There are so many layers of inauthenticity there, that it’s both embarrassingly hilarious and inhumanely immoral.
Inauthenticity sold as authenticity is a way to double back at fans who point this out, to target and invalidate fan theories by calling them crazy, conspiratorial. By having “authentic” band member interviews (Liam Attitude interview, Zayn Fader) stating as much. By having “authentic” band members tweet angry diatribes to fans (Louis Bullshit 1.0, 2.0).
So to your question of whether these ambient noises do anything for me, I would say, yes, on the surface, they’re incredibly charming. They give off a hipster-ish vibe. I love hearing Harry’s and Louis’s voices in Olivia. The pencil scratching in IWTWYAS is a bit cheesy but ok. The fans in History are lovely.
Other musicians include ambient noises on their discography to sound authentic. At the end of Carlie Rae Jepsen’s “Let’s Get Lost,” you can hear this incredibly charming, haunting sound of a dog howling, synthesizers and percussions dying away as if the music itself is being disassembled, put away. Another example would be the weird but lovely oscilloscope sound in Wilco’s “I am trying to break your heart.”
Will there ever be a time when authenticity for 1D is, well, authentic?
It’s like a little ink seeping into water. The water can never be clear again. It can only get clearer if diluted by a lot more clear water. Honesty is a difficult thing to reclaim.
Generally I love a little fun and games in music– and actually love all sorts of ambient noises being incorporated into music. But as usual with One Direction— it gets me thinking.
Thanks everyone for getting this blog to 100 followers! Here’s my reasons why you should listen to Enter Shikari if you haven’t already. Hope you enjoy:
1) #ShikariFamily = The sense of family is important to these guys. Everyone in this fandom considers each other as family and not as fans. It gives a sense that you’ve known people for ages.
2) Second biggest independent band = The fact that the band have grown while staying independent mind boggles me. They release their music through Ambush Reality which is their own record label they created and are still under to this day.
3) Music Releases = Also the fact that they release music so regularly throughout the year. Their last release was in November last year which was a live album (which was magnificent may I add) and now they are working on their fifth album.
4) Future projects = The band are doing so much right now. From writing album five to working on the Take To The Skies 10 year celebration tour to a new book this band are definitely hard workers.
5 ) Step Up clothing = Rou Reynolds, frontman, has created his own sustainable clothing line. With his clothing line he promotes topics that are important to him; veganism, LGBTQ and the environment among others.
6) Interactive on social media = Many bands are not as interactive as the guys are on their social medias, mainly Twitter. Their main Facebook page replies to comments as well as the individual band members replies to tweets sent their way. This supports the first point and makes the #ShikariFamily connection even stronger and makes the fans feel as if they have some sort of a connection with the guys.
7) Growing up with the band = Even though this may not be true to newer fans but some older fans who have been with the band longer will have felt that they have grown up with the band. When Take To The Skies was released the band were around 20 years old and when I got into the band I was 14. Even though there was an age gap it still felt like I’ve grown up with them.
8) Seeing how they’ve developed as people = This links into the seventh point that because the fans have felt that we’ve grown up with them we’ve also seen how they’ve developed as a band and individually through their personal lives. Such as them getting married and having children. It can be quite emotional for the fans when they make big decisions in their lives; or it has been to me anyway.
9) Their signings are free = Rou has expressed his views against VIPs and hates the fact that people have to pay to see other bands and has decided to allow fans to meet them for free. he doesn’t believe that the #ShikariFamily should pay to meet the band.
10) Trying to meet everyone = This links in with the ninth point that when the band do signings they try and meet everyone and spend a lot of time talking with them. Even if they are told that they have a certain time limit they will go over it to make sure they get to see people that have queued to meet them.
11) The cats = Let’s be real, Freya and Crumpet are the stars of Enter Shikari really.
12) Rory C’s growing family = It’s so cute being able to see Rory’s family grow not that he has two kids; a boy and a girl. It will be exciting seeing these two grow and develop.
13) Pre-Enter Shikari era = It’s always interesting hearing what your favourite band did before they formed their current band. This is what Hybryd was. This was pre-Enter Shikari and it’s just interesting to go and listen to their EP on youtube to see how much Rou, Chris and Rob (Rory joined when Enter Shikari were created) have developed as musicians.
14) Pre-Take To The Skies = Even though I personally wasn’t a part of this era it’s interesting to listen to their EP that was released before the Take To The Skies album was released and such as the thirteenth point it’s interesting to listen to how they’ve developed as a band.
15) Intimate shows = The fact that they still do intimate shows when they are getting as big as they are is testament to how much they care about their fans. They love to feel the connection between them and the fans when they are playing and playing small venues allows this and creates a positive atmosphere.
16) Amazing Arena Tour = Even though the band still does intimate shows they just embarked on their arena tour last February and played sold out venues. They wowed audiences around the country and showed that they have what it makes to create excellent live arena shows.
17) Creating an experience at their shows = With their new arena tour they used a Quadraphonic sound system that meant that they had speakers around the venue, and not just at the front, which meant the audience gets a slightly disorientating but interesting experience at the gig.
18) Shikari Sound System = This is there DJ set since a lot of the band members love Drum N’ Bass. Even though I’ve never really been a fan of this music I went to their DJ set last year and they did open me up to some new music that I didn’t think I would like. It’s always great to get into new music by your favourite band.
19) Collaborations = The band always seem to be collaborating with other artists either on new songs or by remixing other bands tracks.
20) Featuring other artists in remixes = They feature many artists who remix their songs on their albums such as the remixed album of The Mindsweep. It’s always interesting to see other people’s interpretations of Enter Shikari’s songs in remix form.
21) Inside Jokes = If you don’t understand the jokes of the #ShikariFamily then you just haven’t been in the fandom long enough. That’s just how it goes.
22) Punk influence = the band are influenced by punk music and term their band as punk. It’s great to see punk bands still thriving with the current affairs happening right now.
23) Calling out people = The band aren’t afraid to raise their voices about situations or certain individuals that are pissing them off. They do this in either their songs or their shows or on their social medias.
24) Encouraging people to improve themselves = I know I definitely have improved myself through being an Enter Shikari fan. It can be vast reasons for Shikari improving people’s lives but they helped me to realise that I could get over my travel anxiety when I went to see them at the Manchester show last year. I’m not perfect with it but Shikari did help with encouraging me to realise I could improve on it a lot more than I thought.
25) Enter Shikari being awesome in general = these guys are just so laid back that it’s impossible not to like their personalities. It’s great to see their personalities show on social media and their videos.
Thanks again for the 100 followers and here’s to another 100!
but why band members tweet to each other? I mean, they have each others cell phone number, but they’re like, ‘nah, let’s chat in public’, all I can think about is that they in real life are like, ‘bro, let’s make everyone ship us, let’s be ship material.’
Like I love Ashton and his drumming because it’s always there and I find that comforting. It doesn’t matter what song you’re listening to, you can always hear Ashton and his drums at, pretty much, any given moment.
The constant beat. The epic rhythm.
You don’t have to wait for Ashton to drum like you would for have to wait for Calum to sing, or like you would have to wait for Michael to do a guitar solo.
Ashton is always working hard, and I’m not saying the others don’t work hard, and I’m not saying that Ashton puts any more passion into his music than the other three boys do.
I’m just saying that I think Ashton is overlooked and that he should be more appreciated.