Kneecap and the New Weird

Seth Godin and Blindboy from The Rubberbandits are on the same page: weird is the new normal. We’re seeing creativity being used to create something, share it, gather a group of people around it.

Seth Godin, in We Are All Weird, wrote how artists (authors, founders of movements, musicians…) can and should focus on a real audience. They don’t have to be bland and make bland art.

Blindboy, in his podcast episode Vincent Fist (about an hour into the episode), celebrated how Irish music is in a fantastic place. His view was similar to Godin’s, that weird is the new normal.

Blindboy spoke how Irish musicians had been hoping to get get signed up for a record deal. They Americanised their music, made it average, trying to appeal to the biggest base possible. Now, though, there’s not much a record label can do for a standard musician. Musicians are better off building a direct connection with their fans, which in a way frees them to create the art they were compelled to make in the first place. They have the confidence to be themselves, because they’re no longer bought into the idea of selling your rights to a record company. The result, said Blindboy, is musicians who are Irish and not trying to hide that they are Irish.

Kneecap is part of the new weird. Bhíos ag buzzáil tar éis a gig i Luimneach. They’re an Irish language hip hop group, getting thrown out of their own gigs for political statements they’re using to help publicity. At the Limerick gig, the crowd were singing along to their Irish language lyrics. That was absolutely not a possibility in Limerick 10 years before.

Let me repeat that. An Irish language hip hop group. Some of the best music being created and shared in Ireland. No excuses for being a bit weird, and in fact they’re capitalising on being weird.

In that podcast, Blindboy shares how he’s delighted with some songs he’s written, such as the brilliant Spastic Hawk. But there are other songs that he said he’s not so happy with, because they were done to prove something to other people who were criticising the music they were making.

In his book Linchpin, Godin advises us to get hooked on the feeling of “This might not work“. I wonder if the lads in Kneecap thought “this might not work”. I’d be pretty sure that crossed their minds. But they’ve hit on something.