Back in the old days of being an indie kid, one might idolise a local band, listen to John Peel and check out all the new releases from your favourite independent record label. But no longer do we live in such times, we live in the age of the internet, YouTube, and Tiktok. And what are internet creators if not the modern form of indie artists?
Two of the biggest music creators on YouTube have come together once again to create a show to be seen by millions of fans. Music producer Andrew Huang and guitarist Rob Scallon have created huge careers creating a variety of content to be seen and heard by their fans. One of the best series they have running is an annual challenge where on the first of October, they come together to create an album from start to finish in a single day. But even after performing that seemingly impossible feat, they decided they wanted to up the ante.
And so Sonic Boom was born, with the goal of creating various songwriting challenges under a time limit. They’ve done everything from trying to recreate a song just by looking at the cover art, an experiment which created the crushing rap-rock track “Que Pasa”, to trying to create the most expensive sound of all time.
In the short weeks since the birth of Sonic Boom, the duo have created everything from beautiful, delicate acoustic pieces, to brutal heavy metal. For most artists, such duality in their sound could confuse audiences, but thanks to the game show format and the pair’s signature lyrical writing style of musical comedy and friendship, each of their songs has achieved tens of thousands of listeners on streaming platforms, and the YouTube show itself has millions more.
Now some might argue that a YouTube show has no place on a music blog and that focusing on bands ought to be the focus. But I would argue, dear reader, that Sonic Boom has as much right to be covered as any other artist. YouTubers, TikTok stars and other online musicians have so much reach and influence and are a huge part of how people find out about new music today. What’s more, the old adage that “YouTubers can’t play/act/perform” is frankly nonsense. The majority of popular music YouTubers are experts in their field, incredible players and have additional skills that most bands could dream of. I’m of the belief that everyone who aims to start a band needs to understand the basics behind content creation because that’s the world we live in today.
Gone are the days of A&R men scoping out local clubs for the latest talent, as a band you will not be noticed unless you have a real flair for the media. And while one could complain that the “art isn’t there anymore” or it’s “not about the music these days” it’s never been about the art historically. It’s always been about who can make the most money. Major labels dominated everything and despite the efforts of indie labels from the 1970s onwards, it wasn’t until the arrival of the internet that artists could truly be heard by anyone at any time and could truly make whatever they wanted.
True there is still an element of playing a game with social media, but thanks to the wide array of online niche communities, your art can be witnessed by a good number of people no matter your genre. No, you won’t make millions from music unless you happen to get very lucky. But careers can be built with enough time and effort in all but the most niche music genres.
Andrew Huang and Rob Scallon are proof of this, both dabble in wide genres of music, including some particularly unique ones such as modular synthesis and extreme metal, but have still become successful musicians in an increasingly competitive space. Sonic Boom is the latest example of this success, and every musician wanting to take a stab at making a career in music should be seriously considering the power of social media.
The fact that every instrument heard on Sonic Boom is played by just two people just goes to show the immense talent of Rob and Andrew. But what shines through even further than their skill or even their incredible songwriting is their love for one another. Their friendship dynamic is infectious and has been seen and loved by millions. One particular comment underneath their videos reads “I love how this show is just two friends making music”. This sentiment is shared by so many and I implore you, if you want a boost to that good old serotonin, check out Sonic Boom.