Published Dec 19, 2012Once upon a time, there was no internet, and as a result no blogs, no YouTube, no Tumblr. Not even MP3s! Musicians had to leave their homes to go out and play in order to be heard. Touring came before recording, and definitely before music was released into the world.
Since blogs and social networking became the go-to source for discovering music, an artists haven't had to leave bedrooms to be heard or even become minor stars. However, demand can become so overwhelming that the artist has no choice but to hit the road — for better or worse. In 2012, artists like How To Dress Well (pictured above), Elite Gymnastics, Purity Ring and of course, Lana del Rey, have found themselves developing and/or refining performances to support their acclaimed recordings, some better than others.
Lotus Plaza's Lockett Pundt, who does double duty as a guitarist in Deerhunter, released his debut album in 2009 without playing more than a handful of solo gigs. When it came time to release his second album, this year's Spooky Action At A Distance, he felt a proper touring band was in order.
"I'm used to Deerhunter where I have the attention for six minutes total, and now I have it the whole time," he told Exclaim! "I get stage fright really bad. I have to drink three beers as my sedative to get up on stage. I just get a little weird in my skin sometimes, but it can get quite bad. I'm not as awkward as I used to be."
Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, didn't learn how to play her songs properly until South By Southwest in 2011. "[Performing] was an extremely secondary thing I did when I had time," she admits. "I considered myself at the very bottom rung of my abilities, like I could barely play a show or even put one together."
With the success of her Polaris-nominated album, Visions, however, Grimes has become a much more confident performer out of necessity, touring the world throughout 2012. Though if it were up to her, she might just go back to the bedroom.
"I am a better performer on a technical level, I can do a good job," she admits. "But it's still nerve racking and I would probably do it to a far lesser degree if I had the option."
Considering Grimes was invited to play renowned festivals like Pitchfork and Primavera, as well as tour with Skrillex on his Full Flex Express tour, it's safe to say her perseverance has paid off.