Indie music has transcended mere genre or label status to represent an independent and authentic lifestyle. Artists such as Arcade Fire, Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes have captured festival crowds with their energetic performances at festivals around the globe.
But not every artist can be considered independent; Kanye West comes to mind. His left-field electronica soundscapes would likely qualify as indie were it not for his deal with major labels.
Billie Eilish is an alternative indie music producer who has made her mark in the industry. Her distinctive style has gained her worldwide fans and made for a successful career despite her young age. Her music combines pop and indie, featuring powerful vocals with dark thematic elements; powerful yet poetic lyrics reflect youth culture; political activism also features prominently; Eilish has collaborated with Takashi Murakami on numerous projects and is well known as being politically active.
Billie was born and raised in California by her parents. From an early age she started writing songs and performing publicly – with their encouragement. Billie has an insatiable desire to express herself through music, writing songs about personal experiences and relationships as she speaks her mind through song and lyrics – conveying these emotions with her unique sound and distinct look.
Billie Eilish is both a fashion and music icon, as well as having her own clothing line. With ethereal vocals and distinctive looks that have won over millions of fans around the globe, her debut album When We All Fall Asleep was an international smash-hit and she has received numerous awards and accolades since its release. Billie’s music has inspired legions of fans while collaborations with tastemakers has only strengthened her appeal further.
Billie first gained recognition on SoundCloud when she uploaded Ocean Eyes by Finneas to the platform in November 2015. It instantly garnered significant traction. Since then, she has amassed an extensive fanbase through YouTube and social media – including collaborations with notable artists like Takashi Murakami on apparel designs and music videos.
Billie retains her creative independence despite signing with a major record label and has developed her own style that blends indie, pop and electropop genres; with lyrics that set her apart from other performers.
When The Strokes released their debut album Is This It in early 2001, it was an instant classic. At a time when rock music seemed stagnant and uninspiring, this groundbreaking effort from New York City brought style, fun, and catchy songwriting back into rock. Influencing bands such as Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Franz Ferdinands, and Arctic Monkeys by both sound and visual aesthetic, The Strokes laid the groundwork for future musical evolutions to come.
The band’s three track EP, The Modern Age, created an intense bidding war among major record labels that ultimately resulted in them signing with RCA Records. Following the release of “Last Nite” and their debut album Is This It (though neither charted), their popularity skyrocketed; Is This It was widely lauded critical acclaim and even appeared on numerous “best album” lists.
Early albums by the group sought to capture the raw energy of New York City through recording techniques that mimicked club shows on Lower East Side, like tracking entire songs simultaneously while only vocals were recorded separately. Their attempt at recreating an organic feel resulted in more live sound reminiscent of Lower East Side performances.
Room on Fire (2003) and First Impressions of Earth (2006) saw the band branch out into new wave elements while staying true to their traditional roots. Although both releases proved commercially successful, they did not match Is This It’s impact.
The Strokes recorded their sixth album, The New Abnormal, in California and Hawaii. This release showcased a more thoughtful and confessional side to their live performances, which mirrored on this record. Though commercial and critical success were achieved for this record, critics took issue with its lack of cohesion as well as Julian Casablancas’ caterwauling becoming irritating over time.
Although their subsequent releases didn’t quite live up to the success of their debut, the band remained influential with their sound and style. Their innovative music proved that they had an eye for keeping rock alive and well.
The White Stripes
The White Stripes made significant contributions to Detroit soundscape, while their unique approach and DIY ethos also inspired an entire generation of musicians. Forming in 1997 and disbanding in 2011, their two members, Jack White (vocals, guitar, piano/keyboards) and Meg White (originally Megan Martha White; born December 10, 1974 in Grosse Pointe Farms Michigan) achieved legendary status for their contributions to rock.
Jack and Meg began performing together in various local bands such as Goober and the Peas before embarking on their current project, The White Stripes. Dubbed so for Meg’s love of peppermint candy, their performance combined punk rock, garage rock, country blues influences into an exciting musical collaboration that combined punk rock, garage rock, country blues influences. They developed an unassuming, stripped-back musical approach that highlighted their use of acoustic instruments and drum kit. In their early years, they played in Detroit’s underground garage rock scene and toured with bands such as Pavement and Sleater-Kinney. The White Stripes released their self-titled debut album in 1999 and De Stijl two years later, garnering local and national acclaim as independent musicians within Detroit’s independent music underground scene gained national attention; their 2002 release White Blood Cells brought mainstream exposure through various media outlets.
After the success of their first two albums, the band continued exploring different genres with releases like Elephant (2003) and Get Behind Me Satan (2005), featuring collaborations with Loretta Lynn and Jay-Z among others. Although taking a brief hiatus midway through this decade, they continued touring and recording until February 2009 when they played their last live performance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien’s final episode.
After their separation, Jack pursued solo efforts and released Icky Thump in 2008 and The Raconteurs album in 2009. Meg decided to take an extended hiatus from performing, although she returned for one show with The Dead Weather; an all-female supergroup led by Alison Mosshart as their lead vocalist.
Jack White opened Third Man Records, a record store and performance space in Nashville in 2010. This label has a strong dedication to vinyl records in an age of digital downloads; White has championed this form as an art form himself. Third Man Studios have produced albums by Wanda Jackson and the Party Ain’t Over as well.
The Black Keys
Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney formed their two-man rock band The Black Keys in 2001 in Patrick Carney’s basement, jamming out lo-fi rock tunes until 2002’s Thickfreakness and 2006/2008 albums Magic Potion/Attack & Release were created. Later that same year they moved into professional studios where Brian Burton (also known as Danger Mouse) would join them as producer.
The Black Keys’ signature blend of blues-driven rock with psychedelic influences has kept rock ‘n’ roll alive in the 21st century. Their records have sold in their millions; they’ve headlined major festivals and played alongside acts like Foals and Kings of Leon; now, this duo will release its 11th studio album Dropout Boogie.
After decades as a cult act, The Black Keys have become one of the world’s biggest bands, with millions of fans across the world loving their signature sound of distorted guitar riffs and drum beats. Additionally, they’ve earned themselves an international following as producers – from Lana Del Rey to H.E.R – as they collaborate with them as highly sought-after producers. Lead singer Dan Auerbach continues his traditional duties of singing and playing guitar while taking on new challenges such as producing other artists’ albums as producers!
Bob Boilen invited him into the studio to discuss his latest project, Waiting on a Song – a collaboration with Nashville musicians – as well as his approach to production; for example, recording vocals while watching them back on a monitor in the studio.
Auerbach also shares how he utilized this technique when producing eight tracks of Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence album recorded at Easy Eye Sound and released this year. Additionally, he describes how he took her away from programmed music, creating an acoustic backdrop which highlighted her voice more effectively.
Alongside their busy touring schedule, the duo has also expanded their studio setup with an impressive array of instruments and amps in Nashville at home, while taking on several side projects. As they prepare for the release of their next album, they are taking some time to reflect and celebrate all they’ve accomplished so far.