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Fandom Squee: Bandom! 1/2

Fandom Squee

Bandom Fandom

So this month, our dear mods have let me out of the lockup to post some awesomeness with a bandom squee :D So let’s get started! I did this in a Q&A style, because I was bored. Also, warning: in here, the words bandom and fandom appear. A lot. Like, a lot a lot.

So, hi. Nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you too, inquiring mind.

I’m snowstormskies, your tour guide through this wonderful new world. Shall we get started?

Sure. Big one first: what’s bandom?

Well, bandom is the fandom around a band, essentially. Band fandom.

In this post, I’ve kind of expanded it to cover ‘fandom around people in the music industry’ because it’s kind of …fuzzy as a definition. A band never travels without a billion and one people, and they have plenty of friends etc who people like to hook them up with.

And when I say fandom, I mean fandom. The good stuff that every fandom, fictional or not, tends to drift towards. The stories, the art, the music, the videos, the meta, all of that work and love that people pour into fandom, that appears in bandom too.

We just happen to write about real people, rather than in someone else’s sandbox, like Teen Wolf, Pacific Rim, or Harry Potter.

I've included a few gifs from several fandoms, and used examples from my two main bandom-ish fandoms, Tokio Hotel and Adam Lambert. However, if they make music, have at them in the bandom fandom. I just can't include everybody! XD

Awesome. What can you write about?


What, you expected a list of rules?

Nope. Anything you want, it’s up for grabs.

You like that music video that they did, that’s set in a warzone and they’re soldiers, fighting their way out? Write that story, lady. Dude, you wanna draw that behind the scenes moment where they were all soppy and huggy after that awesome performance at the MTV awards? Hit me with it. My friend, you wanna make a video of all the awesome friendship moments of this band? I will take that for one hundred big ones, right here.

Whatever takes your fancy is totally and utterly legitimately yours to write/art/meta/music vid until your heart's content.

There are no limits?

Most yes, a little bit of no. It depends where you’re playing/reading/writing/wanting to RP, to be completely honest.

Some communities exclude underage real life children of band members/associated peoples, others say in the band only, others can’t get enough of hooking band members up with anything with a personality, so you just have to find where you feel comfortable, and that’ll jive with what you want.

But sure. Whatever takes your fancy, there’s something for you, too.

You wanna write kinky fic or role play, underage fic, dark fic, porn, het, gen, there’s a place for you. You wanna make gifs, edits, icons or vids, there’s room for you, too. You wanna explore the world of essays and meta kinds of work, rock on, and there’s somewhere for you, as well.

We have Big Bangs, we have bingos, we have kink memes, we have comms coming out your ears, we have art blogs, and tumblrs, and oh, anything you could ever want.

Bandom is a real fandom, and once you find your niche, you’ll get to do all the fandomish stuff you want.

Once you're in, P!nk!Rosie the Riveter is going to get you.

Wicked. Sounds like fun.

It is. Pinkie promise.

Eminem and his on-screen daughter (who portrayed his real daughter) in his semi-biopic film, 8 Mile.

How did you get into it?

I fell into it.

No, I’m not joking. I was reading in my room, looking for stuff on the newly discovered Archive of Our Own, and it kept leading me back to a band called Tokio Hotel, and a singer called Adam Lambert.

I have the sneaky suspicion I was searching for porn, and wanted the good stuff but I can’t remember exactly what it was. XD

A few days and a lot of google searching later, I was getting more and more curious about them, and starting youtubing them

This would be Tom, my favourite band member of Tokio Hotel, a German band, during his 'rows era. He's a very pretty man. I like pretty boys.

Best mistake of my life.

Aaaaaand…. Well.

That was Christmas of 2011.

Here I am, nearly two and a half years later, and I’ve posted more than 40 stories in both fandoms, and it doesn’t look like it’ll stop any time soon. I mod a comm where we post daily pictures of my favourite band member, I mod another community for slash in the fandom, and I follow many tumblrs that create beautiful edits, and I’ve just placed an order for Tokio Hotel merchandise.

It can grow on you :P

Wow, okay. You were obviously hooked easily.

I was.

I was bored with many previous fandoms, and struggled to connect with them again after several difficult RL events. I needed something new and fresh, and bandom is definitely that. It’s the whiskey of the fandom world – not to everyone’s taste, but when you find one that you like, you really like it.

What’s the coolest thing about it?

Part of the brilliance of bandom is that you are blurring the line between real and not real really really hard.

It means you can dump reality on it as hard as you like, writing all the tough, gritty stuff in fandom that makes you question things, or challenge things – like, writing the reality of tour, and sex on tour buses, and how writing an album isn’t actually as fun as it’s supposed to be, or how they have to struggle to get through day after day with an addiction issue or having to work with the people they love, working long hours for little payoff while they try to break the industry.. That’s definitely popular. That little flavour of reality is often what draws people in – they like the concept of the ‘behind the scenes’ that the ‘reality writers’ can bring. Even if you have no experience in the music industry (and few do), it’s actually really easy to create that kind of world.

And you know. Sometimes, you can suspend disbelief a bit but it doesn’t go as far as pretending Harry Potter is in a band who plays world tours, and jams to packed audiences of ten thousand people.  My Chemical Romance, who are already a real band in real life are sometimes easier to write about.

But the very very best thing about bandom is that you get to go and see the source of your inspiration live. You get interviews with them, you get pictures and gifs and stories with them in it. When you fandom in a tv show place, you don’t get that. You get the actor, and then you get the character, and they can’t blend.

But in bandom, they’re one and the same.

And I really love that. I really love that I can go and buy tickets to see Adam live with Queen and watch the man I fangirl do what he loves on stage, and I get to be a part of that. I get to be in that audience and give back to him, or buy his music, or wear a t-shirt, and that’s awesome.

Verbenne credited.

That was Tokio Hotel's last tour: Welcome to the Humanoid City. It's stunning to watch and listen to, I can only imagine what it must have been like to be there. I'm sure it was fantastic.

What about if you don’t like reality/I like my wolves!/ Someone get me some vampires in here/What happens if you want to write something different from reality?

Congratulations – it’s not prescriptive or limited! As a writer (or artist, to be honest), you can also blend it up again with the old favourites, with AU verses, werewolves, vampires, the old what happens if… ? machine, too. The sky’s the limit, and then there’s all the alien fic/explorers of new world stuff,  too.

And it doesn’t matter which side you play, because the personality of a ‘character’ or a person, the core elements of who they are already there in reality for you, as a writer, to push around, make them work, just like in ‘regular’ fic.

For example, this is Tokio Hotel's real Halloween costumes from 2012.

But if you want to spin it a different AU way, here's Tom as a member of the Undead. He's my favourite so I often have pics of him to hand XD

See? No need to be stuck with just the 'realness' of bandom, where people write about touring, and life on the bus. If you want to step outside of that, it's totally and utterly cool as well, and many people have their niche there. For example, in TH, a writer called Tay has done one of my favourite stories which is set in a world post-technology but pre-industrialisation, in an AU world, with twins who are kits. It's a fabulous series now, up to ...six parts, I think? Seven? So yeah. You can always do what you want.

What’s the worst thing about it, then? I mean, they must exist, right?

It can be very intense.

That's the biggest thing i can think about bandom, but it is. If you are involved in a fairly big name band, then it's definitely high octane at least fifty percent of the time. There are down times and up times, but there's often so much going on - new album, then tour, then maybe some internet thing like MTV's march musical madness, then rumours and then more interviews, and then more... It can be a lot going on, and for many people, the fact that there's often no let up can be daunting. At least with movies/tv shows/books, there's periods between the release of new material, and the next stuff, right?

Of course, like every fandom, there are ‘hot spots’ where everything’s very passionate and someone appoints themselves fandom police, and you get fandom wars where someone shits a brick every time a writer dares to pair someone up with the fandom scrappy.

There are always people who are insistent about the ‘real’ state of something, like relationships, and they don’t like anything outside that.

For example, in the Adam Fandom, when Adam was dating Sauli, there were people who said it was the ‘true’ pairing, and people who wrote Adam/Tommy were wrong, and horrible, and deluded, and they left unfair reviews on people’s stories to try to shame them into changing it.

Likewise, the reverse is often true as well. In Tokio Hotel fandom, people always try to discount Ria, the girlfriend of Tom Kaulitz, because they ‘don’t like her’ for daring to date a man they idolize, or they try to harass people for information about Bill’s sex life because he hasn’t publically dated anybody ever.

Fandom in bandom can be scary. Like, legit scary. And I'm not saying that to scare you off, I'm being honest. The weird, creepy parts of all fandoms which are hidden away behind the scenes in 'fiction' based fandoms are more easily accessed in bandom (and in RPF/RPS in general) because people bring it straight to the concerts, the signings, the twitters and such. Tumblr is full of it, and it's hard to deal with for many fans. I don't know what it is but many people have ZERO regard for boundaries and rules, and this is often a chronic issue seen in fandoms with younger or more uh.... shall we say impulsive fans? Some fandoms, like Aliens, have gained reputations from it, and that can be tough to cope with if you're sensitive to that kind of thing.

Fans are passionate, and people clash over things a lot. It's not always a bad thing, to be so intensely involved and vocal about the thing you love, but it can spread like wildfire through the fandom, create divisions within the fandom or between your own and someone else's. Many people like MTV often like to take advantage of this or play it up to gain more votes. MMM is a pretty good ground for this.

For someone who has their head screwed on straight, and knows what’s polite and how to deal with differences of opinion, it can be infuriating, and you really have to learn to cope with seeing people with such boundary issues and such passion in the face of everything. It’s very easy to want to slap people sensible again but there are too many people and you don’t have the energy to do it all.

You learn it the hard way if you don't listen to wiser and older people in the fandom. Seriously. Trust the old hands.

Also, for people who are precise in how they view things/need strict progression and development of people and substance from their canon stuff/like canon/have particular views on things and don't like adjusting them, life in bandom where source material (band member's hair cuts, their clothing choices, their new music vision, their music videos) can be varied and fast changing, bandom is tough. Likewise, just like in fandoms about fictional shows, characters etc, people can get very stuck on things, and that’s hard to shift. Whether they get stuck on a view of a particular band member, or an ‘era’ – the emo era, the punk era, the period of time when someone looked a particular way- it can be tough to deal with the constant fandom 'view' if you don’t share it/don’t like that time period.

For example, take Bill Kaulitz. If you based what he looked like from just the most popular fanfictions and art around, you’d think he’d look like this.

In actual fact, this is his progression from 2001 to 2013 (my thanks to BKFacts for compiling this):

See? It's like TV shows where fans focus on character B, except that they only focus on him from season two. Even though there's five whole seasons to look at.

Well, that sounds horrible.

Not even gonna lie.

Do I really want to be a part of that?

Well, that’s the very worst of the worst and I'm being absolutely and brutally honest. If I dredge the bottom of any fandom, I’m going to pull up crap like that - and believe me, I've tried. Teen Wolf shipping wars, the Harry/Ginny v Harry/Hermione feud, the long standing grumping about Sherlock fandom... You find it everywhere, and I'm just laying it out on the table for you.

There are many many positives to bandom, and they don’t involve breaking boundaries like the asshats I mentioned up there.

Other places are quieter and more welcoming to anything and everything that’s produced. There’s so many people in fandom, you will find people who love what you do – whether it’s a era, a song, a perspective, or a particular kink, there’s always a sect that enjoys that exact same thing, and they will welcome you with open arms. Seriously, I love my fandom because of this - yes, Tokio Hotel fans are impulsive, and don't have the best reputation, and are ridiculous at times. But I've found more review friendly, open minded, good fic loving fans there than anywhere else, pretty much. My twitter is full of people from Tokio Hotel and Adam Lambert fandom and they're wonderful. There is not a single person on there than I don't enjoy talking to, sharing plot bunnies, watching livestreams with and swapping concert stories with.

Not a single one. And it's been that way for nearly two years now.

Not bad, eh?

Many fandoms with older fans are less reactive and impatient with the way the band chooses to run things because they’ve been through it a time or two before. It doesn’t have to be fans in their sixties, but many bands who are transitioning out of the teen/tween genre have calmer fandoms, and that can be nice. Younger fans though are also just as wonderful, just as passionate, and maybe even more so. They just tend to hang in different places, and that's cool.

Also, as a plus, bandom where the band/person you follow is active in the music industry can be lightning fast. If you enjoy fandoms where there’s always new information coming, then bandom is awesome. Tour season is like a banquet of epic proportions because there’s always new interviews, new concert footage, merchandise, and gifed moments. That in turn fires up the art and writing parts of the fandom, and then you get a secondary explosion of new material there, too.

Gifs like that one create explosions of fics. It's quite remarkable.

And I don’t think many people object to lots of new fic and art.

You can really get immersed in a band, and their story. Some of them are very inspiring as people, as well as singer/songwriters/musicians, and they give you inspiration to take that story into your own writing, whether it’s AU or not. That touch of intimacy can make your writing or your art or your view of them change, and become deeper.

Bandom is beautiful - and I think part of it comes from the fact that much of it doesn't come from someone else's imagination in the same way a TV show or a film or a book does. Not to say that they're bad, but bandom is something grounded very much in a core of reality, and even if you take it for a ride somewhere else into AU or just applying your own interpretation of things to it, there's always that core that remains.

What I'm trying to say is that, essentially, this whole bandom thing is exactly what you make of it.

You just have to be very proactive about what you want out of the fandom, and if you like something - reading, writing, arting, sharing stories with people, then you have to make your own way there. But the journey is worth it , and I think people miss that - the journey is what makes it awesome: learning about the band, the little in jokes in the fandom, the stories about signings and concerts, the sharing of merchandise from people who were there, the new photoshoots being analysed and dissected, the interviews from ages ago that people still share with new fans to bring them up to speed so you can start to teach other people... it's definitely a communal experience that I haven't got from any other fandom so far, and I've been in a few. .

And being in bandom does mean that you have to be a grown up about some things if you want to get the best times out of it. If you want twitter friends, or you want to write, you have to make sure that you’re willing deal with the fact that occasionally, you may run into the fandom police, negative nellies, or that you’ll cross the paths of people who think they know better than you about your views of the band members or an event.

Nobody will hold your hand in this area of fandom, though. It’s up to you to get rid of the negative nellies, or back button out of stories with pairings that you don’t like, and in general, be a mature individual about that kind of stuff. 

Bill, singer of Tokio Hotel, in the check shirt, demonstrates how to deal with irritating rat bags in fandom on his twin brother, Tom the Amazing Guitarist (self titled).

Oh, thanks. So kind.

I’m sure you are a mature individual - I mean, you’re here, not trawling some poor sod on youtube, right?

It’s not because people are mean in bandom, it’s because it’s just that big and that vast that if you’re complaining about not finding what you want or getting all the wrong people following you, you aren’t looking hard enough. At least, that’s the saying.

It’s not that different to a ‘traditional’ fandom – you have to carve out your space, and then you can do what the hell you like in it. :P

Part two is here!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 4th, 2014 09:48 am (UTC)
Okay, no, last time I looked at Bill was almost ten years ago, seeing that progression pic almost gave me a heart attack.
Apr. 6th, 2014 11:14 pm (UTC)
LOOOOOOL XD He's changing a lot XD
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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