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Opinion: Getter is not alone – why we need to respect artists more than we do right now 

Photo source: Facebook

Last Friday, Getter cancelled his US tour in a public and heart-breaking way. The saddest part? Fans drove him to quit, and it reflects a much larger problem in dance music culture.

Kicking off in February with dates scheduled every week throughout North America leading up until the end of April, the highly-anticipated tour ended prematurely following an announcement from the artist last week:

Regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of his music, the sentiment here is an especially distressing one: the critics (or, more accurately, the trolls) have won, forcing an artist to abandon a project so near and dear to his heart because of the immeasurable toll it has taken on his mental health and wellbeing.

This was not an overnight decision, either. Since the start of the tour, Getter has been incredibly conscious of his fans’ reactions, adjusting his show to try and please critics and deliver a performance that was simultaneously true to his vision and still adhering to fans’ expectations.

The Visceral tour was the latest in many creative accomplishments from Getter who first emerged in 2012 on Firepower Records and since released on mau5trap, Rottun, Ultragore, OWSLA and more. Each release distinctly different from the last; his desire to balance trying new things while still pleasing existing fans lead to the birth of his Terror Reid alias, pushing boundaries even further with his unique take on hip-hop away from the Getter moniker. He also developed his own fashion brand The Shred Collective.

Even after his career blew up following the now iconic dubstep album I Want More, Getter has never been settled for just one recipe to success and constantly pushed boundaries. Last year’s Visceral album was the most recent example of him subverting conventions and expectation. An album that breaks the mold once again with its fusion of ambient sounds and textures, future bass, trap, hip-hop influences, cinematic intros, heartfelt lyrics, luxurious melodies and earnest vocals felt vital, refreshing and, perhaps most pertinently, from the heart.

One of his biggest stylistic leaps, the album was met with its fair share of criticism from fans, unhappy with the release and feeling entitled to more of what they expected, expressing a desire for Getter to go back to his old dubstep sound.

Things then escalated following the announcement of Getter’s album tour. Branded very clearly from the beginning, the performances would be a celebration of Visceral, where fans could expect to hear the album, as well as other originals, played out live. An awesome concept for any true fan; yet it seems many of the people who purchased tickets were either unaware of the tour’s theme, or attended out of malicious intent. Fans have been reported as booing the artist, throwing things at him and taking to social media to express their discontent and general dislike for him and his performance.

Just think about that for a second; they bought tickets to do this. They PAID to bully someone. Not even half-witted school bullies would pay to be a twat to someone. How nasty yet stupid can that be?

Let’s get this straight; this is plain hating. Critics certainly have their place in music… But only if it’s constructive. Working in the music industry, you’re forced to develop a pretty tough skin and it encourages artists to constantly improve and can absolutely be a healthy thing. Things stop being healthy when the criticism turns to violence and hate speech, abusing artists for not meeting whatever self-entitled expectation so-called “fans” may have.

One can only imagine how exhausting this must be, especially at the level of fame/notoriety Getter has achieved. We’re starting to see a lot of artists open up about their struggles with mental health, an unfortunately recurring theme within our communities. Eventually, enough is enough, and last week’s cancellation of his Visceral tour is a result of the constant stream of hate flooding in from “fans” (we really use that term lightly when referring to the entitled, hateful keyboard warriors and boo-ers who have so viciously attacked the artist).

In order to create art, in order to produce something unique that has never been done before, in order to break out of the box and deliver anything authentic, you have to make yourself vulnerable. The level of courage and bravery required is often taken for granted, but to put a piece of your heart and soul into a product that is openly released to the entire population (especially nowadays in the digital age of instant gratification) takes a lot of strength, especially for an album like this that is different. And it is so important, for any artist, to push themselves, to explore new ways of communicating their art, their passion, their souls – it is an often underappreciated yet vital component of music that should never be taken for granted.

The dictionary definition of visceral is “relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect”, and that is what Getter delivered with his sophomore album. It’s full of heartfelt, honest lyrics that show a side of Getter previously kept private, accompanied by melodies and vocals that are at times heart-wrenching, comforting, empowering, and everything in between. Getter made himself vulnerable, was true to himself, and opened our eyes to his own demons, and what was he met with?

The behaviour building up to Getter’s decision has been nothing less than appalling. While a lot of people are calling for Getter to “toughen up” and not be so “sensitive”, the real call to action should be to his so-called fans: stop being a dick.

You don’t have to like everything your favourite artist produces – it’s not all about you. Not everyone is going to connect with every song, but that’s just part of the beauty of music. There is SO much good music out there that if you don’t like one thing, there are infinite other tunes out there. Save your energy to discover and support musicians you connect with instead of battering the mental health of someone trying something new. Old Getter music isn’t going anywhere, either, by the way – so if that’s your cup of tea, no one is stopping you from listening to it.

What happened with Getter is unfortunately a common plague within the music scene we hold so dear. Just because it is easy to voice any opinion or thought that enters your head on platforms where hundreds, if not thousands of people are easily exposed to, that does not make it okay. Artists bless us with insights into their hearts and minds, but that does not give us, the fans, any right to invade this personal space – there are lines that should never be crossed.

Literally, this is seen far too often when fans physically invade an artists’ space: like when some punter reached out during Upgrade’s set at XOYO and pushed the cue button, because he/she felt entitled to dictate an artist’s behaviour for his/her own enjoyment.

 

 

Similarly, My Nu Leng were violated by another self-righteous fan who had the audacity to take a USB straight out of the decks. Not only are fans physically robbing the artists they claim to admire, but think of the kind of personal, private content stored on any artist’s USB (no, not nudes) – the trust fellow artists bestow in dubplate culture, the hours spent on VIPs and unreleased edits that keep fans coming back, the WIPs and cue points and everything else, all stored on a single flash drive that is the personal property of someone else. It’s just completely out of line and yet it happens all. The. Time.

Of course, these kinds of violations happen much more frequently online. With the increasing ease of communication, being able to share an opinion at the push of a button, and, most importantly, being able to criticize someone’s work from the comfort of your own home, means that this kind of cowardly behaviour is seen far, far too often. A lot of people seem to forget that artists are people, too. This constant flood of negativity, whether it be YouTube comments, Reddit threads, or on any given Facebook post, has gone so far that it has hindered a lot of artists from sharing their work for fear of unwarranted criticism from music snobs that feel driven to tear down anything they don’t like.

To these keyboard warriors, we can’t help but ask, who the fuck cares if you don’t like something? Keep your mouth shut and invest your precious time praising whatever does stimulate you. If artists are scared to upload their music that they have spent god knows how many hours investing themselves in to because trolls are constantly spreading their ignorant negativity, then don’t act surprised if your favourite artists disappear off the face of the earth for a while. We saw it with Skrillex these last few years, and who knows what we’ve been missing out on because a few negative nancies had to go and ruin it for everyone.

Appreciate the risks, the vulnerability, the creativity needed to be pushing boundaries, and for the love of god keep your negative attitude to yourself. Don’t buy a ticket to a show you don’t want to see, and, even if you end up at a show you don’t want to be at, write it down, text your mom, vent your feelings in a more productive way because news flash: no one likes your downbeat attitude.

Fans are never entitled to dictate the direction or sound an artist should pursue. Sure, fans make it possible for many artists to have the careers that they do, but that doesn’t excuse this kind of behaviour. Ever. Appreciate, offer constructive criticism (IF it is asked for), or shut the fuck up! For a scene that is supposed to be all about Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect, there seems to be a lot lacking.

The toxicity spilling out of the EDM scene has been appalling. But there is a silver lining… As a response to Getter cancelling his tour, we’ve seen a flood of positive love and support from fellow artists emerge that somewhat restores our faith in the scene, we just hope it’s enough to help Getter get back on his feet.

Fearing criticism is a part of the human condition. We all face this in different ways every day regardless of what we do in life. As I write this piece, I am wary of the inevitable negative comments when this is shared. That’s okay, so long as it’s warranted. But what seems to be happening more and more is punters forget that artists are also people, and hold them to all sorts of outlandish entitled standards and violate their personal space (both literally and metaphorically) and this negativity seems to be contagious. We need to remember that artists are just people who put themselves in such an unfathomably vulnerable position so that we, the fans, can enjoy a product – and that’s what it should be about. Enjoy the music, praise the ones you think are doing something right, celebrate what resonates with you, seek out new music to vibe with, share it with your friends, support the artists that support you and lift each other up! Life is short so keep it sweet.

Like my mom always says, if you don’t have anything nice to say (or if you haven’t been asked to give constructive criticism) then don’t say anything at all. Treat others how you want to be treated, and, most importantly; don’t be a dick!