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Announcing “Are We Alive”

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It’s not many weeks of the year that I announce two projects in the space of two days – indeed, with evening[dot]camera, three in two weeks. And the truth is that I wasn’t planning to. For the last few weeks I’ve been all about planning evening[dot]camera and Nothing to Lose, and it’s only been in the last week or so that the third project in this little trifecta has taken root in my brain. Anyway, here goes.

Are We Alive?

arewea.live is — or at least, with luck and good management and not a little effort, is going to be — a music site focussing on the smaller bands. The ones with the dedicated following but who aren’t mainstream, the ones just starting out but getting good reviews. Are We Alive aims to give the oxygen of publicity to exactly the musicians that need it the most in an age when there are more and more groups trying to share the same limited resource: public attention.

I said that this wasn’t a project that I was planning on. Why would I want to start another music site when there are so many to choose from already? Why would I want to compete in the same space as Gigwise and its ilk?

And then my favourite band, Augustines1, announced that the tour on which they’ve just embarked will be their last. You can read their full letter-to-fans over on their website, but one of the key parts of it for me was this (emphasis mine):

The truth is that the road is very challenging for artists in the modern age. It was only through your tireless support that the good ship, Augustines, has kept sailing since we met you in 2011. We are proud to say that within the confines of our band we never argued and always enjoyed each other, finding joy in the process of making music, touring the world and spending time together. That makes this decision even more difficult.

I clearly don’t known any of the details that the band haven’t shared on social media (I’m trying to secure an interview with them for Nothing to Lose, so watch this space), but it occurred to me that part of the reason that artists struggle is exactly because they’re competing for the same attention space. The industry has changed completely, savagely, within the last 15 years.

I know that Yet Another Music Site isn’t going to change that. I know that what I can do is just a drop in a very large ocean. But it’s something, and it’s better to do something right than to do nothing wrong.

Unlike Nothing to Lose, which is going to be quite a closed-group effort, I’m opening Are We Alive? to everyone who wants to be involved. Initially, I’m going to be focussing the site’s efforts on North West England, and particularly Manchester, since that’s where I’m based and since there’s a vibrant music scene here. But I’m open to hearing from people from other areas of the UK and beyond.

If you’re a writer or a photographer and you want to be involved in the project then I want to hear from you. I want to feature your work, if I can. Please drop me a line at mail@arewea.live. You can find the project on the web (still working on getting everything up and running) at http://arewea.live, and on Twitter at @AreWeAlive_.

1Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted that “Nothing to Lose” and “Are We Alive” are both derived from Augustines song titles. This is not accidental.