Maybe you won't admit it -- at least to your would-be fans -- but we all know it's the truth. No matter how stunning your lack of ambition may be, no matter how much you say you like sharing a one-bedroom with four guys and perfecting lattes for corporate assholes to pay the rent, you want that indie-rock band you're starting to succeed. You want Gorilla Vs. Bear
to gush. You want a Pitchfork "Rising" interview
of your own. You want
Grizzly Bear to invite you to collaborate on
How to do this? It's not that hard. There isn't one sure-fire formula for indie rock success, but there are ways to game the system -- to set up your band in a way that will help attract the attention of those who matter (i.e., bloggers). After a detailed analysis of moderate to extremely successful new indie bands, we've developed the following highly scientific templates for blog-worthy (and in some cases, megastardom-worthy) bands. Assembling your group according to these formulas won't at all help you make good music, but it will help you get attention. So here we go:
Type 1: The Mystery Mates
You are: A male-female duo whose relationship is rife with sexual tension. (You may be a couple, but be coy about that -- relationships are so conventional.)
You play: Synth-and-drum-machine-driven dance pop, preferably gimmicked with the occasional use of either outright noise or heavy guitars. (But dark, moody haze-pop -- and even retro bubblegum-soul -- are okay, too, as long as the songs have enough reverb to make your listeners/bloggers feel cool.)
Your look: Her -- brown bangs, wayfarers, flower-print blouses and skinny jeans. Him -- hoodies, wayfarers, skinny jeans.
Most likely: You are classically trained, the offspring of someone famous, or you played in a hardcore band before this.
You hail from: Brooklyn
Don't leave home without: A well-rehearsed look of apathy.
Examples: Sleigh Bells, Crystal Castles, Phantogram, Cults, Beach House
Chances of indie-rock stardom: one in three.
Type 2: The Six-String Slayers
You are: Two or three guys (bonus points if you also have an attractive female member).
You play: Unabashedly throwback, rudimentary garage/blues/punk with '60s pop influences.
Your look: Shaggy locks, facial hair, tattoos, lanky silhouettes, leather jackets, and cheap vintage (or vintage-looking) instruments. Wearing button-up shirts and ties is okay if they are vintage, too.
You hail from: San Francisco, Oakland, the Midwest, or the South.
Most likely: Your band name begins with "the," contains the word "black," or both.
Examples: Thee Oh Sees, Black Lips, B.R.M.C., The Black Keys, The White Stripes.
Don't leave home without: Your American Spirit cigarettes.
Chances of indie-rock stardom: one in eight.
Type 3: The Lo-Fi Loner
|Toro Y Moi|
You are: One guy with some cheap old-school synths and lots of effects boxes.
You play: Chillwave (i.e, dancey, low-fi psychedelic synth-pop).
Your look: Doesn't matter, since you write and record in the bedroom.
You hail from: Somewhere too sunny for your pale ass to go outside.
Most likely: You were born in the '80s.
Examples: Baths, Memory Tapes, Toro Y Moi.
Don't leave home without: Professed disbelief at how much attention your bedroom jams have received.
Chances of indie-rock stardom: one in two.
Type 4: The Trippy Knob-Twisters
You are: Two to four guys (who love noise).
You play: Abstract, instrumental psychedelic electronica.
Your look: Utterly unremarkable, with a hat hiding your face onstage (not that you look at the crowd anyway).
You hail from: Somewhere rainy.
Most likely: You don't play any "real" instruments, but you have lots of toy ones.
Examples: Holy Fuck, Fuck Buttons, Nice Nice
Don't leave home without: A handy quote about how you don't care whether people "get" your music.
Chances of indie-rock stardom: one in five.
Type 5: The Big Happy Indie Family
|Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros|
You are: Six to twenty boys and girls who all hang out occasionally.
You play: Rambling, layered, loose folk-rock (with artiness and dance influences inserted as appropriate).
You hail from: Some socialist country north of the U.S., or some quasi-socialist California city.
Most likely: One guy really does all the work.
Examples: Broken Social Scene, Edward Sharpe And the Magnetic Zeros, Still Flyin'.
Don't leave home without: the Costco card.
Chances of indie-rock stardom: one in four (but you'll have to split your earnings among all those people).Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookdown and @iPORT