Case Studies/Knives at Noon
The music market is so saturated and Creative Commons is another way we can reach more people with our music. I like it how our ideas aren’t entombed. — Oli Wilson, synth and vocals for Knives at Noon
Knives at Noon are a progressive New Zealand band formed in late 2007 by vocalist and guitar player, Andrew Ketels, synth and bass player, Oli Wilson and drummer, Tim Couch. Having just been placed in the top 32 bands for MTV’s Kickstart Competition and completing a national tour (finishing up with a session at the Red Bull Live to Air Studio in May), the group have been prolific despite such a short time together.
The boys from the band attribute their success to their reliance on modern technology and music sharing practices including Creative Commons, enabling them to create their unique sound as well as to build their fan base. At one point, the band members were spread between Dunedin, Auckland and Papua New Guinea, which led to working via the Internet and post to construct tracks. As recounted to Jane Hornibrook from Creative Commons New Zealand, Oli Wilson explains:
- ‘Andy would send me songs, I would add in a synth line or add in a line, send it back to him. It would go to and fro, then we'd send it to Tim, he'd write some rhythm stuff for it, and then when we'd get back together in Dunedin, we pretty much rehearse and take it on the road.’
The creative processes Knives at Noon employ have resulted in a debut EP of richly detailed tracks stamped with each member’s sound. Drummer Tim Couch says that finished songs end up consisting of about twenty parts of separate recordings.
Creative Commons has led Knives at Noon even further down the path to open collaboration by enabling producers and DJs around the world to sample and remix their work. Since coming together, the band have engaged interested parties in the UK, America, Australia and New Zealand who download and make derivatives of the original tracks to form new material. Knives at Noon welcome the chance for others to use their work and choose to supply a number of producers with the pro-tools recording files to sample at will.
By embracing the potential of Internet file sharing enabled by Creative Commons and hosting site Myspace, the band have attracted listeners from all over the world in a way that would not have been possible ten years ago. To hear Knives at Noon online, visit their web page at www.myspace.com/knivesatnoon.
Knives at Noon have adopted a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand licence for their six-track EP release. Their Creative Commons licence is designed to facilitate working relationships with other musicians who want to remix the current EP songs. Already, artists such as Future One (Auckland), Darkist (UK), Dean Lawz (Australia), Benny Electric (Australia), Woosh (Dunedin), MC Beau (Dunedin), Undertow (Dunedin), Module (Wellington) and Michael Schraa (Dunedin) are remixing tracks. While these parties cannot make commercial use of the original or remixed work without permission from the band, Knives at Noon are planning to release a limited edition ‘re-mix’ tape later in the year.
Base and synth player Oli Wilson first heard about Creative Commons while visiting Elliott Bledsoe from Creative Commons Australia in Brisbane. As a candidate for a PhD in ethnomusicology, the opportunities of music sharing had become all too apparent. After picking up the Asia and the Commons Case Studies 2008 handbook, Unlocking the Potential through Creative Commons and Open Content Licensing: Cultivating the Creative Commons Oli was convinced that Creative Commons would be invaluable for Knives at Noon.
The group decision to take on an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence reflects the band members’ preference for open sharing. They acknowledge that ‘economic interests have taken away the sharing tradition of music culture’ in recent generations, but that the freedom to share should be an integral part of music today. Knives at Noon feel that even though they allow sharing and remixing of their work, the noncommercial terms of their Creative Commons licence will help them strive for commercial viability through tours and royalty payments. In fact, vocalist Andy Ketels believes that giving fans the freedom to share is the best way to reach their goals as established musicians because ‘more people are using our music.’ Oli adds that ‘The music market is so saturated and Creative Commons is another way we can reach more people with our music. I like it how our ideas aren’t entombed.’
The band members know that ‘the Internet has changed everything.’ Knives at Noon have used advances in digital collaboration, music sharing and the internet as a social medium to their full advantage and are leading the way to online creative success.
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