I have mentioned before that above anything else, having fun and remaining a fan is of upmost importance to me when it comes to ‘our brand’. We walk a fine line between putting in hard work, sweat and tears, and enjoyment and fulfillment. I do not expect anyone to know or even care about how much time, effort, and money we put into Grim Dystopian, but we do, and it means a lot to us. I hope it translates.
I have also said this before - our hope when setting up interviews is that people walk away feeling like they did not waste their time. We both got decent at digging for the lesser-known facts about guests, we try to tug at the personal side of people, and of course showcase their talent, creativity, and artform.
Something I did not prepare myself for along the way was understanding that not everyone shares the same sentiment about their brand. Of course, we have been pleasantly surprised, WAY more than not, which perhaps makes the disappointments sting a bit more because we do not see it coming. We just do not expect it. Oddly, I expect it in my everyday life, but I really do have a fondness for the scene and the people in it.
I remember we had an interview scheduled during the day on a Saturday. It was a beautiful day; we went out earlier in the day for a hike and we were having a blast, but we made a commitment, so we ventured home to get ready. Our guest that day cooked during the entire conversation. I mean full on meal prep with pots, pans, sizzling, chopping, banging, the works. We had to cut so many parts because the noise in the background made it hard to even listen to, and they seemed completely uninterested and distracted. Bummer.
There are many ways in which we find bands to play on the show, but our favorite way is digging around, giving a band a listen, and reaching out for permission to play a song. We came across a band from the Northeast that we grew fond of – a new band. We reached out for an interview, they were responsive, but never showed for the first scheduled interview. We waited for about a half hour, sent a message with no reply, and then got worried that something had happened. They messaged us hours later apologizing, saying they fell asleep. All right, cool, it happens, no hard feelings and we immediately rescheduled. For the second interview, they called in sloppily and loudly eating a sandwich, dramatically smoking a vape, oddly and vaguely answering questions, and acted as though they were doing us a favor. Bummer.
This is not intended to be a ‘smear’ blog. From a fan point of view, part of the excitement for me is seeing an artist/band have passion, motivation, fire, meaning. The truth of the matter is, we have learned to laugh about these kinds of experiences. We try not to take things seriously, and we try to avoid taking things to heart. What ends up happening; however, is WE lose passion because to us, part of the excitement and experience is seeing an artist, musician, band, etc. have passion and love for what they do. Fans feed off a band’s energy and vibe. The way bands interact with other bands and fans, stage presence, social media interactions, they absorb all that, and it becomes part of the experience.
I guess what I am getting at is, people admire and respect you and what you do. You should admire and respect you and what you do too!
Sometimes I hear stories about how people bow out of the scene because they were screwed over, had a falling out, whatever the case may be. I remember at one point I was flabbergasted to think that was a thing. Everyone was so cool…and then it happened. I remember it like it was yesterday because 1. It was the weekend before my mother passed and 2. It scorched my ass. Someone we loosely knew; part of the scene, sent us a Facebook message. They were looking to sell their record collection to make money for this or that. Ken and I looked through the list, and we did not see anything we absolutely had to have but the message tugged on our heartstrings. It was a rough time for us, maybe helping someone else out would make us feel a little better. We picked a few records, settled on a price, and sent a friends & family payment (I am sure you know where this is going). We waited. Waited. Waited. To be fair, this was just when shipping was starting to become impacted by Covid, so we were patient. One record came (I think we paid for five or six), which we thought was odd – why wouldn’t they all be shipped together? We reached out, got a weird reason and a promise they were on the way. More time went by, we asked for a USPS tracking number. Finally sent it. Bogus. Then we started seeing other people trying to reach this person on Facebook, same exact story. We played it so cool, we tried so hard to avoid confrontation and accusations, but it was obvious what was happening. Finally, a few months later, we pulled a guilt card and finagled some of our money back after some forceful but respectful hounding (angry and disappointed on the inside). We ended up paying $25 for an old, beat-up Fastway record. Bummer.
People are willing to give you a chance, despite the hearsay. Prove the hearsay wrong! We are huge proponents of formulating our own opinions – sometimes we eat shit for it.
Sometimes it is hard to keep going, but the truth of the matter is, these scenarios really are very rare in the grand scheme of things. The flip side of this coin is we have had amazing experiences, made incredible life-long friends, learned so much about ourselves, grown both individually and in our marriage, and expanded Grim into something (fairly) cool. I would not trade any of it. I will say, however, if you want people to care about what you do, YOU need to care about what you do. That shit translates. Loudly.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and don’t be an asshole.