Initially this post was just going to be an eloquent introduction to Roman Flugel’s new record ‘Monday Brain’ in particular the lead track Teenage Engineering. However as I began to write the post I began to think about branding and how important a consistent message is to an artist’s longevity. Unlike ‘Daft Punk’, who were arguable the benchmark for electronic music branding, Roman Flugel has a more meandering approach to his music, an approach that has little regard for prevailing trends or consistent musical direction; which begs the question: As a modern artist is branding the key to Success?
Realistically this is a very tough question to definitively answer in a concise blog post. Therefore in order to try and answer it succinctly lets consider two possible scenarios:
Scenario 1 – Forbes Top 10 Highest Paid DJs
Scenario 2 – Full-time DJ/Producer.
If scenario 1 is your definition of success then you only have to look at the top ten names – Calvin Harris / Skrillex / Deadmau5 / Avicii / Guetta etc to know that branding and a consistent message is vital, yes there needs to be music, however once you strip away all the fluff that surrounds them you realise that the music often takes a back seat to everything else. This is not to say they haven’t released big records, however as time progresses the brand increasingly takes centre stage and as a result the music starts to fit rather than lead the message. If scenario 2 is your definition of success then an artist like Roman Flugel is a good case study. There is no brand as such, he simply writes and releases the music he wants to release, there’s no masterplan and if you’re a fan you’ll need to keep up as he has more Alter Ego’s than records…well almost! However despite this more random approach you only have to look at his discography and upcoming shows to know that it is paying the bills. However its important to note that without a brand, which can often mask a multitude of sins, the musicianship is under greater scrutiny and therefore as an unbranded artist you run the risk of loosing favour very quickly, on the flip-side this risk has the potential for greater reward as you are free to create a legacy you are proud of.
So is branding the key to success? Depends on your point of view; if you want an air brushed glossy magazine life with a holiday home in Vegas, then the answer is yes, however if you have the requisite skills to craft good music then the answer is no, you just might have to re-think the location of the second home.
Roman Flugel – Teenage Engineering [Hypercolour] Out Now