As the lights go down, the curtains open and the band reveals itself onstage.
Phones and cameras show up in the audience, too. Lit screens swerve back and forth, and instantly, there are hundreds of recordings of the concert on social media.
More artists are encouraging camera-free experiences by banning phones or advising fans to put their phones away and watch firsthand, rather than through a screen. Jack White is a fan of this technique. It seems venue owners aren't too concerned with recording.
However, for some local artists, it’s important that their music reaches social media platforms to gain more listeners.
We asked six band members how they feel when their sets are recorded and put on the internet.
Cure For Paranoia
“An upcoming band fresh on the scene is in need of whatever additional publicity they can get, and word of mouth isn’t going to cut it anymore in a society where a yodeling boy in a supermarket can end up on Coachella off a decent amount of retweets,” Cameron McCloud of Cure For Paranoia says. “Film my shows, Becky. Bring two phones if you’d like."
Cure For Paranoia, a Deep Ellum hip-hop group, comprises McCloud, Stanley Francisko, Tomahawk Jonez and Jay Analog. The group has performed at DFW festivals and two of Erykah Badu’s sold-out birthday celebrations.
“I personally don’t mind people taking pictures," Ariel Hartley of Pearl Earl says. "I do, however, get a little bit annoyed when people record live video and it sounds like shit because I don’t want that floating around the internet.”
“Sometimes when people are taking pictures or videos, I can feel myself feeling as if I need to change the way I am performing or look because I am being watched and documented. But as the front person of my band, I don’t really have time to even notice cameras sometimes because I’m honestly really busy being consumed in trying to execute all of my parts.”
Pearl Earl is an all-female rock band from Denton that started in 2014. Its sound is a mixture of psychedelic rock, glam rock and synth pop.
“We’re open to anyone who’s interested in our music to go ahead and do their thing. Just make sure to respect everyone’s space so they’ll respect yours, too. Every show is different, though. Usually we only see it become a problem when the show gets really rowdy. You just gotta be careful not to get a camera lens in the back of the head cause both you and the camera person wouldn’t want that.”
Acid Carousel is a Dallas psychedelic rock band that wants to bring 1960s vibes back. Influences include The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, and '60s-era Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.
“I think it’s all in moderation. If you want to take a quick photo or a video of your favorite song, I think it’s amazing that we have the technology that allows us the capability to do that.” Scarlet Cimillo says. “But I think having phones out the entire show, especially to the point where it’s blocking peoples’ views, is unnecessary because the moment in front of you only comes once.”
Cimillo is an 18-year-old R&B and soul artist born and raised in Philadelphia but based in Dallas. She released her first single, “What U Need,” in March, accompanied by a student-made video. After the release of her full EP, Angel Face, she supported Amber Mark at the House of Blues in Dallas.
William Austin Clay
“Sometimes I’ll even tell people during my set to take a video or photo and tag me on Instagram,” William Austin Clay says.
“If you’re at a show in a performance hall or some other prestigious art space, it’s probably best not to take out your phone and post to Snapchat,” he adds.
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The North Texas pop musician has been releasing music since he graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor's degree in music in 2015. He’s played shows in Denton and Dallas, including opening for Homeshake’s sold-out show at Trees.
“I always have mixed emotions on phones at shows," says Adam Intrator of Triathalon. "I’m someone who tries so hard not to take photos or videos during a show because in that moment, you’re focusing so hard on getting the shot that you’re not even paying attention to the music. But sometimes a crazy moment happens onstage, and there’s always a moment where captioning that is fun to look back on later. It’s a toss up, really.”
“Sometimes people only take videos when we play their favorite song, but other times people take videos of us who don’t know who we are,” he says. “It can be distracting sometimes, but we also live in the future, and unfortunately the phone is how people express themselves — and if their intentions are positive, you can’t get mad at that.”
Intrator and drummer Chad Chilton are Dallas natives. The band is based in Brooklyn. It last performed in Dallas in March during the Online tour promoting its third album.