Eccentric electronic musician Shlohmo called out the whole music industry in a recent interview where he says it all sucks. Planet Notion recently published the interview with this exciting new artist from Los Angeles and in it he reveals his true feelings. The prolific musician emerged onto the scene in 2011 with his debut album, called Bad Vibes, which was met with moderate critical applause and fanfare. After releasing two more albums, Vacation in 2012 and Laid Out in 2013, he’s become one of the more exciting and adventurous musical acts to recently come out.
Growing up in Los Angeles most of his influences came from the city’s electronic music scene, which resulted in a different approach from popular electronic music in other cities. Due to this change, Shlohmo developed a style of his own, not just for clubs or raves, but for the simple pleasures of listening to and making music. Late in 2011 he moved to New York City where he has continued to steadily grow his fanfare and reach; recently performing a sold out show in London at Hackney’s The Laundry.
In the interview with Planet Notion the prolific artist divulged his thoughts, not only on his own music, but on the entire industry. When asked what about the music industry disappoints him, Shlohmo says that just about everything about it sucks. He cited that most musicians are not in it for the right reasons, driven instead by fame and money, rather than the art. His contention is that music has become too much of a business, that everyone is only trying to gain mass appeal through advertisements on Facebook or other social media promotions. The problem with all this is that it muddles the scene and makes it harder for avid music fans to sift through all the noise and find the music they really enjoy.
When Shlohmo says the music industry sucks it is not a condemnation, but rather a reaction of an eccentric artist on the rise who is learning first hand what fame brings and the realities of the day. When asked how he feels about stealing music online he acknowledged that everyone is stealing too much, but admitted that it’s a part of the world and he too steals all the music he listens to. When asked further he said that the illegal downloading doesn’t bother him and that artists just have to make money through other avenues, like selling merchandise and going on tours.
Despite these comments, Shlohmo is still an integral stepping-stone in the music industry, which he says sucks. He started making music in his bedroom and has now ballooned to his current stature. The route he’s taken is yet another indication of the changing landscape and approach of the industry. His views and ideas may not be shared with all, especially those he alluded to, but it does represent the current obstacles all emerging musicians must face. No longer will a radio hit alone make you famous, that’s only one way and a first step at that.
Everyone may appear to be out for him or herself, promoting till they drop, but like he admitted, everyone steals music, even the artists. All the promotion and mass distribution of artist awareness may feel like a move in the wrong direction, but it is the new reality and necessary approach for young musicians trying to make a living doing what they love.
It’s admirable for an artist this young to feel so strongly about his art and lucidly convey his displeasure with his industry. But what Shlohmo says sucks about the music industry may just be the reason his popularity continues to grow.
Commentary by Chris Dragicevich