If you’re reading this you are possibly one of two people; a Millennial who is here to set the record straight for the sake of all our millennial peeps, or an older person here to mock our ways and validate that these stereotypes are 100% true.
If you’re a Synth Freak Millennial like me, you might often find yourself surrounded by older, more knowledgeable folks. You wonder what are the necessary steps you have to take to one day be able to have a room full of synths like the ones you see online. You take advice into consideration knowing that most likely everyone you see with a room full of synths didn’t drop out of college chasing an unlikely dream of fame, but hold well paying jobs that required sacrifice and what you see are the fruits of these detriments. This doesn’t come as a surprise to us: we’ve been constantly reminded by the previous generation that in order to be successful in life we must attend college to assured a well paid job or have a plan that can provide us with financial stability. But how can we ever achieve these things with such bad habits?
A common stereotype about us Millennial is that we're lazy, sluggish individuals who cut corners everywhere we can, and this also goes for how we make music. If asking a Baby Boomer what they think of our music most will say that it’s not music at all, but with what right? Like many others out there my first introduction to music production was with music software, in my case Garageband. At our fingertips we suddenly had the ability to be the keyboardist, drummer, guitarist, and singer of our own band. We needed no one else to create what before required multiple people with different skills, a recording studio, and physical instruments. Most of use have taught ourselves how to play instruments without an instructor, how to maneuver around Digital Audio Workstations without reading a manual. Do you consider that laziness or persistence?
If you work hard and are good at what you do, take time out of your busy life to create, and are constantly pushing yourself to produce material that is worthy to share with the world, you are entitled to certain things. You’re special and others agree. Here’s an example; when you first get into synthesizers and begin your enlightenment quest you are more than likely to click on one of Cuckoo’s YouTube videos, be it one of his amazing tutorials or just him being Cuckoo.
His videos are full of useful content, and his personality only adds to the experience. You soon realize how much value he has in the synth community and how his fans respond to him and respect his thoughts. You can tell he takes the time learn his gear and makes sure audio and video are of good quality, and that overall your time spent watching his videos are a wholesome experience. There’s a difference between having entitlement and being entitled. Entitlement is fact, as perceived by others, it’s a gift; being entitled is only an illusion of self.
Stereotypes exist for a reason, there is a portion of Millennials who do believe they’re entitled. Entitled to having their music heard, entitled to filling comment boxes with their opinions, entitled to sharing their cellphone recording in low light with you and expecting you to give good feedback on a mediocre presentation of what could have been a good song. Entitlement is given to you; you’re not entitled to be entitled.
When you introduce yourself as an Electronic Musician the first thing that pops into people’s head is “Ok, so you’re a DJ.” Our thoughts of a DJ have malformed from our good ol’ friendly disk jockey scratching the night away to a guy/gal standing there with a laptop playing back a bunch of automated loops in which they have little involvement in during their performance.
The same goes for Electronic Musicians. A lot of people think that Millennials rely on computers to make and perform their music, that we’ve never touched a real synthesizer, don’t know what analog is, and only know how to make dubstep. This is far from the truth. Although many successful musicians do it this way there is a sort of stigma for the bedroom producer to perform in such a way. The truth is that in the last couple of years the performer has become the producer, and the producer has had to find a way to perform. People are moving away from MIDI controller-only setups and having integration of hardware synthesizers and Drum Machines.
Other musicians are performing with completely DAW-less setups, relying only on hardware sequencers and memory alone. Millennials aren’t the only ones suffering from technology abuse. If you really want to talk about the crisis that is technology and social media, we need to look past Millennials. From Baby Boomers to GENi we could all use better time management habits that remove the phone from our hands and put an instrument in its place.
“Sure I could afford a new synth, I’m ok with eating Ramen for the next 6 months”. This is our rationalizing, and of this I am guilty to some extent. When you buy a synthesizer you’re not spending money; you’re making an investment. Millennials value the “now”, if they can afford it now they will probably buy it. They strongly believe that tomorrow isn’t promised to them, and it could be now or never. Also, we have the used market on our side, Electronic Instruments rarely lose value, and if they do it’s not much. Some instruments you own may even go up in price due to unavailability, giving you another reason to buy that vintage synth you’ve been eyeing.
Next time you think that Millennials are a waste of space and add no real value to society just remember, we’re only 53 years away from the 70’s again.