Self-made critics

selfmadecriticHow can you criticise something, if you were not there. In the past I have been hesitant to post video of Sliotar’s live shows, as what does not come through in the video, is the energy of the live experience, and Sliotar is one of those bands who rely on that energy a lot. When I perform live, I want it to be up to a certain high standard, but there is a point where the live energy needs to be above the “musical perfection.” We need to get lost in the moment. Sometimes we need to hit the guitar hard enough that the strings sound out of tune for a fraction of a second due to the string vibration, or the whistle or the pipes get over blown in the heat of the excitement. That’s all part of a great live experience.

I know not everyone will share my views. I am fine with that. One of the beautiful things about this world of ours is that we are all different. We are all entitled to our opinion. But what does make me little bit sad is the fact that many of those opinions are fuelled by information fed to us by industry that makes money from people’s hopeless search for perfection. If Jimmy Hendrix did not break out of those boundaries, if he did not hit his Stratocaster hard enough for the notes to bend well out of tune, we would not have experienced the magical music he gifted us with. Now, the chart toppers aim for clinical perfection, where human voice can sound more like a robot…

The critics are glad to criticise just based on a clinical technicality, only searching for the imperfections. They would rather watch a copy of the album performance being reproduced in a live show, rather than feel the live energy. And they are more than happy to voice their mean, personally attacking comments behind their computer screens, without ever even bothering to find out for them selves what the live experience is like.

It’s the independent artists who still are brave enough to break the mould, do their best not to fit into the box set by major label machines, who would like to make us think that if music is not made up to their high production standards (polished to the point that it just sounds like generic mush…) it somehow has a lower value…

But with time I also learned not let it get to me. In this business you need to grow a tough skin. If it is genuine criticism, I welcome it. But if it gets personal, that’s a different thing. The way I see it is that my website, my YouTube, Facebook or Twitter pages are my property, and if you don’t behave on my property I will simply kick you out and block you. There is no point in engaging with these haters, this will only encourage them.

But from time to time you cannot but help to wonder what drives them, what makes people turn in to “self-made critics.” Is it a fear of their own failure? Do they get some perverted feeling of superiority out of it? And what’s with the language? Why does some one turn in to an “ass hole” or a “bitch” if they don’t fit in to the “critics” idea what music should sound like? Surely hate like this must be fuelled by fear… But at the end of the day, what baffles me even more is the waste of time and energy people put into spreading this hate. Sure we all see stuff we don’t like online, but if I dedicated my time to comment on everything I don’t like, I’d get nothing done 😀

Now what I do love is other people posting videos of us 🙂 This is like seeing it from their perspective. And I know they were there and felt the energy in the moment 🙂


The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE