I play in a band called Israin and we have just released our debut album Trees Never Sleep. We self produced the album and personally I am also the sound engineer. This means that it has been a really hard job but at the same time also a satisfying one. We had a great time together and some issues too, but it’s been a nice experience and sometimes I like to look at the photos taken by our drummer Alessandro during that period. Among all the photos there is one that catches my attention the most and it is the one you can see above here. There is me on the right in front of the computer, in the centre there is a session guitarist, a friend of ours and in the left you can see the head of Alberto looking at the situation. Now, the thing that makes me think about the image is that the music we recorded that time doesn’t exist. You are seeing the recording sessions of a song not included in Trees Never Sleep, this song currently exists only inside my hard disk and it represents what I call the “dark material” of the band because in fact it doesn’t exist except for the guys in the band.
And it’s because of this fact that I started to wonder on how the most part of the bands we love probably have their own dark material and all what we heard from them probably is only a small part of all the music they write. Music that will fade away forever if one of these bands ends its career without releasing it. So I found myself asking if all this hidden music would have a mass, how big it would be and if all the ideas it contains would be worth hearing by the audience. It is a hard question. Unfortunately the only person who can judge on this matter is the artist themselves or the people who work with them such as the producers. Very few people for such an important issue, in fact in most cases we know, it is the people that make the song become a great song despite the author’s opinion. There are a lot of important songs out there that I don’t like at all and if I would have been the author of those songs I wouldn’t have released them for any reason. They would have become dark material and nobody would have listened to them.
Now I could appear a little cynical but I realized that the only way to get the possibility to listen to that stuff is after the artist’s death. I’m not joking, it’s a case that happened many times in the music history. Of course… the record labels, after the death of an artist, often release album filled with ugly b-sides, bad quality studio outtakes and stuff like that just to gain the last money from the unlucky artist, but other times instead, after the death of an artist we discovered beautiful diamonds. Some examples? In recent times I can remember of Amy Winehouse even if I haven’t listened to her songs, but there are also other cases such as Queen who released Made in heaven after the death of Freddie Mercury or Nirvana with their beautiful song You know you’re right; but the most impressive case for me is Jimi Hendrix. He died 42 years ago, meanwhile he has become a worldwide rock icon and in 2010 he released his new album Valleys of Neptune with only unpublished songs and I also remember that I read a lot of positive reviews about it. Amazing!
So we must realize that all the music we receive from an artist is the result of a process that has a lot of scrap and is not a democratic process, because it is the artist only with his flavour to decide what their fans can listen or not and often only the death of such artists gives us access to their dark material that otherwise would remain hidden. Now, I think it is clear the meaning and the humour of the title here above; Israin, the band where I play, with only one album have already started to collect their own dark material and who knows how many of it we can collect with the next works and who knows how many of those songs we would release.
Do you understand the message now? I hope all the Israin’s fan won’t wish us to die for having new songs…right?! 😉