Here’s Why Listening Makes or Breaks a Band

BRONCHO’s Ryan Lindsey tells us why a band is like the Eames diagram.

I hear a lot of voices. Voices come from everywhere. Some are welcome, some I need to hear and some I want to hear. Regardless, they are there, and I need to deal with them. Through the process of making a record with a label and a team of people, I’ve learned to value their voices. But even more important, I learned how to filter those voices so that I’m still on course with my personal goals.

The Eames diagram, created by designers Ray and Charles Eames, is a perfect visual and philosophical guide to how one can accomplish such goals. One section of the diagram represents the interests and the concerns of the designer. In my situation, the designer is me/the band. Another represents the interests and concerns of the client.  I look at the client as all the people working on the record from a business standpoint: label, management, etc. The third section represents the interests and concerns of society as a whole.

All of the individual sections intersect, and where they intersect, everyone’s collective wants and needs match up. This intersection is a fluid one and can be ever-changing. One section influences the other with the freedom of moving the points of agreement, wherever they shall be. This flexibility, in the process, keeps things from breaking. It allows for things to bend and to stay fluid. I have to keep all this information in the subconscious to get anything done. I use this belief as a way of looking at life rather than viewing one’s opinion as final. I realize that everyone is right — in their own world. I am right in mine. But, to work together, peaceful cooperation can be found in the Eames diagram.

This process does not only pertain to the creation of music, but to every aspect of being a band. I have to believe that there are no rules in art. There is a way of doing things that has worked for other people in the past. That does not mean that they will work for me —or that they should work for me. I work with people who understand that idea and understand the importance of being unique while still finding ways to implement ideas that have a history of being successful. These people are great professors of history. And just like any great professor of history, they have a respect for and understanding of the past and a respect for how history can influence the present and change the future. For example, I never think about needing to release a single, because I just want to release everything. But these historians know that releasing a single can be very beneficial to the whole cause.

They also realize that we live in a time in which everything can be thrown out the window, which might be the only legal form of littering. As much as I don’t believe in littering, I do love throwing things out the window. I like windows down. As a matter of fact, my driver’s side window is stuck down. People always tell me they can put it up for me and lock it in place. But I would rather it be stuck down.

Rules seem to be put in place as a form of communication that a group of people agrees upon. Those people can then communicate better knowing that the group will follow these rules. I like being in a group that doesn’t have to talk about the rules but understands the wants and needs of the other members. It is tricky, and you have to be lucky to be a part of such a rare group, a group where there is a collective emotional agreement. We all know that we care for each other and would in no way purposefully harm one another. That idea might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s being mindful of the simple things that keeps people together and productive. That’s not to say that my group doesn’t talk or want to talk about wants and needs. I am just saying that there are a lot of things that should be understood. I’m talking 101. We already know the things in 101. We are in AP now. A think tank. Honors class. Bands are traveling think tanks. These think tanks meet on the road and trade ideas. They sometimes trade goods as well.

Believing in myself while respecting and believing in everyone else around me is important for the world I live in. That belief is stretched over all areas of my life. Staying open-minded is the easiest way to get rid of stress. There are endless ways to accomplish goals. I am not a planner. I cannot plan, because I do not know the future. I don’t know until I’m done. I could not have written all this during or before this particular artistic process. I can only write about it now. As this process of collaboration continues, I will have a different understanding of how this process works and how to navigate through it.

Ryan Lindsey is the lead singer and guitarist of BRONCHO. BRONCHO’s 2016 album Double Vanity shows the band transforming the raw angst of their first record into a sound decidedly more layered and complex. What began as an ode to ramshackle, high-energy early punk has become something deeper, weirder and much more nuanced. The undercurrent of early 1980s punk is still there, but the Ramones pogo has been replaced more often by a kind of Love and Rockets-inspired, honeyed, cotton-mouthed drift.

(Photo credit: Jaret Ferratusco)