Cynics might say that there is nothing in the music industry and hasn’t been done before. That everything turns in a great circle and that the only new ideas are actually those that are being recycled from the past. …. And perhaps that is why my blogging hiatus was longer than I planned. I’ve learnt from hard experience that it is best to shut up if you have nothing to say. (Often it is pretty advisable to keep quiet even if you have, but that is another story)
Of course those cynics have probably not heard of the Hope & Social.
Indeed the Ironbath felt as if he needed to play catch-up when they first entered the radar last year. The strangest thing is that for a band which has been so prolific and so innovative that they seem to have had so little recognition. The Ironbath is afraid that there is no natural justice in the world of music, because if there were the Hope & Social would be superstars.
Here are 4 of the most innovative ideas that the band have come up with so far – each one is better than any idea I’ve seen come out of the mainstream music arena. Although, of course, it is not just the concept but the aplomb that the Hope & Social are able to deliver their idea that makes them so inspiring.
#1 – Get some mates and record a few cover versions.
Okay, that doesn’t sound so original, but it ain’t what you do but the way that you do it. You need to remember the aplomb!
First find some really talented multi-instrumentalists like the Wilful Missing (another band from the same town that are equally talented and equally under recognised. Next find a classic song from your adolescence and make a whole new arrangement that makes the original classic seem like a half-hearted effort. Avoid the ironic cover and jump in with both feet (and kazoo). Find a really neat place to record this song….. I don’t know, …. may be a crypt underneath a working church. And then film the enterprise for release via a multitude of social media formats.
#2 – Rent a bus and take all your fans for a day out at the seaside.
To be seen is to be believed! The Hope & Social did just that. They rented a bus and took their supporters for a day out. The crafties also videoed the escapade, and with a little fancy editing turned it into a music video.
This video is unashamedly joyful, and who cannot fall in love with a band that has so much fun. These days musicians have to build a rapport with their audience that transcends the artwork from a cd case and makes the fans feel as if they are part of the band. And so what better way than to have some fun.
You can read the full story of the day out on their website.
#3 – Invite your audience to participate in your Christmas record.
As the Ironbath said before, it is not what they do, but the aplomb with which they deliver their ideas. When the Hope & Social wanted to record a Christmas song (technically a new year song) they invited their audience to provide instrumental support to the piece with hand bells … several hundred hand bells.
This video perfectly captures the fun that they share with their audience during the performance.
#4 – Bring the Happy
This one is going to take some explaining. Let’s have them try.
Hope & Social, along with a local arts project, the Invisible Flock, took a lease on a shop in the market of their home town of Leeds. They invited anyone that was passing to drop in and share a happy memory that they had, mark the location on their map and rate it out of 10.
They took these most happiest memories and turned it into a stage show and an album by taking those memories and creating anecdotes played to music. They are funny and they are powerful. They are tearful and they are personal.
(Listening to Hope & Social and sharing their adventures on my blog, Springfield Mill, 9½ out of 10 – Ironbath)