SWANSECT MANIFESTO: AN INSTRUCTIONAL MANUAL FOR DIY IN PRAXIS

This manifesto will provide you with all you`ll need to bring back those DIY ethics you like to spew forth on your social media. I will guide you, step by step to the best of my abilities from what to use, how to use it, where to find the tools to do it and of course; for as cheap as possible.

Id like to point out that I will be writing this with American conveniency in mind so places such as Walmart forexample may be mentioned, lets bear in mind also that this is not my home country, I`m from Norway, so if you happen to know places that carry cheaper alternative feel free to let me know.


In current times technology is seemigly taking over everything, art included.
This can have major benefits as far as promotion and such matters are concerned for both bigger and smaller artists of any media.
We can easily let people all over the world know about our newly released single, show them our newest painting or whatever you may have created.

You can even manifest such creations digitially and this is where my problem lies.

While Im not entirely anti digital art, wether that be music or otherwise I do feel that certain genres maybe would be better off without its involvement, at least to the extent that it`s come to.

Im well aware that theres plenty of underground bands of all sorts of alternative based “scenes” that still incorporate a more hand made way of doing things but I`m afraid they are outnumbered.

Im a bit reluctanct to say it but to be crystal clear I am specifically focusing on the alternative scene here so if youre making art that may be more mainstream in comparison I`m not talking to you, you can go ahead and do what you do.

The reason for all this is that as we all know, or I hope we do at least, is that any form of alternative scene has always acted as a form of rebellion, a reaction against the mainstream and their ways. Wether that reaction is politically driven or not isnt of any immediate relevancy here. The point is that its always a reaction, sometimes it`s the more juvenile, angst filled teenage rebellion and other times it bears more substances but it is a reaction and a rebellion nonetheless.

Of course we could also mention that at the time that these things originated it was mainly comprised of younger people with less access than they would`ve had today and less money , if any at all, to do things differently. I believe the saying “Necessety is the mother of invention” bears a great truth and surely it could be applied to out example. I feel that limiting yourself can, in many ways, make you more creative. I do wish more people would try it, if only once.

This “scene”, a word I seldomly use, was forged by guys and girls with fire in their eyes, passion flowing fervently through their veins. They used what they had to get what they needed and where they wanted to go. There was no photoshop, no CD duplication website or really any convenient way for a newly started band to do anything at all. And so they were left with sticks of glue, some old scissors and a few magazines.

I truly wish the DIY ethics wernt dying out but the conveniency of simply putting a few things together in a DAW or a photo editing software if killing the old ways and in the process it seems to also blur the lines a bit between alternative and mainstream, there are times I wouldnt be able to tell the difference between an album cover by an alternative act or a more mainstream one as they`re all crated with the same tools, stripping the alternative one of its identiy and becoming just another grey and faceless item in the sea of other grey and faceless items..

I do , as you can tell have alot to say about this topic and I could go on but let`s just delve right into the main section shall we?

Let`s start with physical media, cassette tapes to be specific..

Tapes are making a small scale comeback, more so in the alternative scene and I suppose specifically in (old school inspired) industrial , noise and punk esque genres. However that doesn`t mean you have to create boring 56 minute long microwave sounds to release your music on tape.

I suggest taking a trip to Walmart where you`ll find a two pack of blank 90 minute cassette tapes for less than $5 and a tape recorded for under $20.

All youll need is an AUX cord to plug into your laptop from your tape recorder, load a blank cassette, hit the record button on the recorder and click play on whatever it is youd want to put on the tape. Simple right? and cheap.

Now, of course you could take the easier route and duplicate the tape via various websites for a fee but I feel it`s more genuine and financially bearable for smaller acts to just repeat this process untill you have your desired number of tapes.

Most blank tapes includes a sleeve for you to write your tracklist and such on but in case you`d like to take this a step further follow me onto the next suggestion.

Artwork.

I know that this may be an aesthtic that not everyone is into and maybe you feel it doesnt accurately portray you and your art, thats fine, you don`t need to do the cut and paste collage thing. You can paint, draw, find , purchase or borrow various items, arrange them how you want and simply photograph it. The possibilites are endless!

But because this is my main media it will be the focus.

Try hitting up thrift stores for old books, magazines and the like, maybe get some from a friend or if need be; print out something you found online.

Get your scissors out and start cutting out letters, faces, limbs, whatever you feel like and glue it all together however you`d like.

Once you`re done you could either photograph it in some decent lightin or scan it and print out on some nice , glossy photo paper.

This section includes tools most people have laying around or generally know where to go to purchase or alternatively borrow them so I dont believe its necesary for me to tell you.

Let`s say you chose to scan your picture and print it out.

Print the image to a size closest to what would fit in the cassette`s cover. if your printer allows it try to get two or three images per paper to save paper and ink.

If you don`t have a printer yourself, ask a friend or check out your local library.

Staplers also has self printing services which costs next to nothing to use.

Once you have it printed cut exces paper and place it in the cover and youve got yourself a 100% self created tape release. Feel free to hand number them or add a small second piece of paper with a tracklist or any other information about the release youd like to include.

Stickers:

To make your own stickers, simply buy some shipping label printing paper from Walmart or anywhere else that sells such things. I advise you to get the brand Avery if possible as their labels are compatable with the free design software of the same name. The software requires no download or signing up, you simply go on the web site, choos the specific template you got and off you go!

Make sure the size is correct, place the paper in your printer with the label side up and hit the print button. Voila! You\ve made your own stickers and saved a little money in the process.

You can again use a library or Staplers for printing if you don`t own a printer.

T-shirts, Hoodies etc:

Let`s go back to the thrift store!

Find some simple, single cloured shirts of your choice and then head over to Jo Ann`s , Michaels or any other craft store you have in your area.

Purchase some stencils, an exacto knife and either textile spray, paint or marker in whichever colour ( s ) you`d like.

Place the stencil over the image youd want on your merchandise just copy it.

An alternative to the stencil papers are baking papers although they may be too thin although it depends on what you`re tryint to do of course.

Once you`ve cut your stenciled image out place it on your shirt, patch canvas etc and fill it in with spray, paint or a marker. You may want to glue down the stenclic to prevent it from moving around too much.

ps: if patches is what you`re after, simply use the sleeves from a shirt you cut up or purchase whatever material you want from a thrift or craft store.

If making shirts make sure to put a piece of cardboard, an old book or whatever you have at hand inside the shirt to prevent the marker/spray/paint from bleeding through onto the backside of the shirt.

A second part is in the making where we`ll go in-depth about topics such as sampling, field recordings and the art of Musique Concrète as pioneered by Pierre Schaeffer who I reccomend you look up and learn about.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply