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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Hardest Part of Being In A Band

UPDATE 6/16/2015: I recently realized that this post is all about me whining that being in a band is hard with no real solution. Sure, being positive is a nice way to keep the nagging at bay. However there is a practical approach to solving group/team projects. See my answer to the hardest part of being in a band, group, or team over at Miss Apples Co.

Initial thoughts of being in a band are usually of glamour, fame, and fortune. I mean those are definitely in my top five reasons for doing what I do. But there is a dark side to the pursuit of music that is almost never talked about. (The only helpful link I could find was this article.) Being in a band is the perfect example of a paradox: it is the most awesome and the most annoying thing you could possibly decide to do. And to me it’s also the most frightening. The hardest part of being in a band is having everyone on the same page all the time. In our case for the moment it is how we define "better".

A good portion of my day is band. Research, emails, phone calls, promo, planning, practice, finances. Then repeat... That means my brain is running on Queens Over Kings overdrive all the gosh dang time. I barely have time to think about anything else. Like my job that actually pays me. Most nights I can’t sleep because I can’t stop thinking of promo ideas, follow up emails, songs we need to work on, photos to take. Ugh. BEING IN A BAND IS WORK. 24/7 WORK.

When there actually is a break my brain immediately has an anxiety attack. What if this doesn't work out? Are we doing enough? Are we doing this right? Do people even like our music? Straight up, this is scary stuff! I would hate to be let down after putting ourselves out there. I need outside validation to breathe, so in my mind we are just not allowed to not make it. If we would work harder we’d get better and then we can’t lose.

Ahh. But what exactly is better?

I have come to enjoy words that have different meanings to different people. The discussion is obvious. It forces people to consider a new perspective. The word “better” comes up often around here so I've had a chance to think about it a lot working through this idea of doing music with my siblings. 

To me better is about expertise. If you are committed to doing something better then you are committed to heart and soul progress. This is so when anyone asks how you know something you can look them straight in the eye and honestly say that you know. There are a lot of things I'm committed to doing better, blogging for example. Then there are things that I'm not quite all for, such as keeping my room clean.

That is not the way the band works right now, or even how most individual members of the band work. At the end of some days we can only hope to do better next time by getting through an hour of practice or remembering to finish some kind of update when we say we will. And on those days that just has to be enough. And those days are my biggest let downs. (See anxiety attack above…) I end up on a Slurpee run or binge watching Psych behind a locked door because I just. can’t. handle. it.

I love my family. I mean, shoot, we're in a band together! But when it comes down to it we simply aren't the same – different personalities can be a creative asset, but they can also be a train wreck. Along with differing personalities and experiences comes differing opinions and priorities. Add the age range and we have a very complicated, maybe unlucky, recipe. Because we have so much variation to wade through among the five of us, life can get pretty overwhelming.

Being in a band is hard enough, but being in a band with your family can mean taking each other for granted. Or plain wanting to scream at the top of your lungs. Here at QOK headquarters I think things are a getting a little dysfunctional. It's the boom and bust cycle of creativity I suppose. Practices get cut short, promo is left undone, promises aren't kept, all because we can’t communicate or forget to set aside being stubborn. It’s all so far away from the excitement and simplicity that made us want to do this in the first place: family, faith, fun.

Now that we are at the bottom, the only way to go is up. We have to make ourselves have fun again! For us that means lots of performances and less pressure. Surprisingly the performances are the easy part. As for taking off the pressure, we'll see how that goes for me. Someday we'll achieve the routine and accountability I strive for. But for now my better is going to be reminding myself that I'm just happy to be here. I can't take us too seriously. After all, we aren't famous...yet. So I’m going to take a step back, try to enjoy the ride. My goal this week is to keep track of the band's small achievements by posting them on our front door so I can share them with everyone. That should motivate us to do better, whatever our definition is.

What's your definition of "better"? It would be great to get some more perspective so please share!

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Kristyn here. I'm really good at Googling, dreaming, and thinking outside the box. Someday I'm going to save all the puppies and perform on a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float.

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