Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Exactly how it isn't


I get the impression that some unsigned bands really think it works like this:

Duncan Tripewash shifts his considerable weight to one side, furrows his eyebrows and farts half a litre of champagne-scented gas from his heavily powdered arse. A barely visible talcum cloud emerges from his groin and with a satisfied grin, he slumps back against the soft purple leather of his throne. Savouring the moment he inhales deeply and gazes up at the shimmering chandelier above him. It reflects in his mirrored Ray Bans and sends beams of light dancing around the wood panelled room and they bounce again off the numerous gold discs hanging on the wall. For a moment his office looks like a 70s disco. His gaze eventually shifts down and across the acres of mahogany desk towards his in-tray. It's overflowing with envelopes. 
Two years ago Tripewash was responsible for signing The Prongles to Bony Records. Their game changing "new-spork" sound was so damn perfect that as new head of a&r, he simply had to sign them. The resulting multi-million dollar recording contract was historic. After a year and a half of extensive production, hard dieting and styling advice, The Prongles' "Colour Sound" hit the shelves. It was an instant hit and six months on, Bone records now had a billion dollars of The Prongles' returns resting in the vaults. Tripewash was now tasked with finding the next big thing. 

He stubs out his cigar in the taxidermied elephant foot perched on his desk and slides a small tiffany case from his tailored jacket pocket. He carefully, very carefully opens it and with the miniature spoon inside, takes a toot of music industry-grade cocaine into each nostril. He blinks hard, grits his teeth and swallows down the crumbs in his throat. His throat is now so satisfyingly anaesthetised and dry that every gulp makes a loud click. He stares at the top envelope on his in-tray and grinds his jaw. Perhaps today is the day.

Tripewash pours the contents of the large envelope onto the desk and assesses the contents. The photographs are the first thing that get his attention. The large logo in the bottom right hand corner of each print show that these were taken by a professional photographer. His website URL proudly on display. The shiny black and white 5x7s show the band looking narrow-eyed and moody in an abandoned building (quite possibly a warehouse) and they are all sporting the same haircuts pioneered by The Prongles. Tripewash makes a green tick in his mind. Good look, he thinks.

He pulls some paper out of the envelope and begins reading. 

"THE GRAPES" are a recnetly formed four piece new-spork band from surrey. They're influences include The Prongles and others. Mike and Dudz knew of each other from a previous band from that they were in together. Next up to join the fold was Alan after when he answered an advert on websites. The final piece of the jigsaw was Steve who to joined the fold also after answeringan advert on a website too. After months of religious practicing once a week they developed their trademark drums, bass guitar, guitar and lead vocals with backing vocals sound…

Okay… Good so far… he thinks, as another large green tick crystallises in his mind. Well written, printed out on nice paper… 

After gently setting the paper down and steadying his breathing, he carefully picks up the CD case and holds it to the light. He shivers a little as he feels the texture. The exquisitely elegant folding cardboard sleeve and 32 page full colour booklet are simply stunning. The sheer expense of the compact disk package he was holding told him everything he needed to know. These kids weren't struggling, they clearly had good full time jobs and this was one of their most important hobbies. They also obviously know someone who does graphic design. Yet another green big tick. 

Tripewash is a little overcome. He pours some designer fizzy water into a tumbler along with some tablets and watches them bounce around the glass. He takes a gulp, swirls for a moment and knocks the rest back. With a shaking hand he places the crystal tumbler onto the coaster next to his brand new shiny MP3 player. Tripewash obviously doesn't have a compact disc player, nobody's used a compact disc player for years. But that doesn't matter, this is probably, no, definitely the most beautiful compact disc demo he has ever seen.

A bead of sweat forms on Tripewash's top lip. They have everything, he thinks, great name, great look, flash demoIf only I knew that the music on this disc was produced to sound exactly like The Prongles. Then I would sign them instantly. 

Then something catches his eye. Further down the piece of paper, beneath their very detailed list of musical equipment brands, something jumps out at him. For a moment he forgets to breath completely. The Grapes have entered a pay-to-play battle of the bands competition and the preliminary heat is at an actual London venue on the 24th. Fuck, That's tonight, he thinks. If I sign The Grapes tonight, with a quick turnaround in a year's time they could have their debut album out and be part of the new-spork revolution. It'll be three years late but what the hell, with all the money and influence of Bone Records at my disposal I could pull it off.

He lifts the phone receiver. "This is Tripewash. Have my car brought round immediately. And bring my chequebook..."