I have entered CBC's Hockey Anthem Challenge, a competition to find a new musical theme for Hockey Night in Canada. The piece of music I entered is called Trance-Sylvania under my alias Mojomatic. I created Trance-Sylvania using GarageBand, an ingenious program that is standard issue with every Apple computer and lets users combine pre-recorded loops to create music.
Tonight I was interviewed by Bill Van Asperen, a videographer with CBC Charlottetown, who is doing a story on all the contest entrants from PEI. It was a very interesting interview because Bill asked me questions I hadn't thought about before. Essentially, I entered this contest after listening to some of the entries on the CBC web site. It's not that I thought i could necessarily do better than any of those (I quite liked most of the ones I listened to), but I knew I had this piece of music and I thought to myself: why not? I have the technology and I stand as much chance of winning as anyone else.
In fact, I'm not even sure it's about winning as much as it's about just being in the game (how's that for a sports analogy from a non-sports kind of guy!). Bill asked me how I thought technology was impacting the contest because there were over 1200 entries and I told him I thought that he had just answered his own question. I don't think we would have seen this many entries ten or fifteen years ago because the average person just didn't have the necessary technology to create music. In a way it reminds me of the punk movement of the late 70s and early 80s, where anyone could just pick up a guitar, spit out a few lyrics and start a band. As always the cream rose to the top (The Clash, The Jam, Joy Division) and I think the same will now happen with home recording and online music publishing. Those of us who think we are musicians just because we can make music by dragging a few loops into a virtual recording studio are fair game for those truly talented and inspired folks who can take this technology to a whole new level. I don't mind being pushed aside by the competition. I might even learn something.
The other interesting question Bill asked was whether I thought the winning composition could ever be as iconic as the HNIC theme music we all know and love. That theme had become a second Canadian anthem, but it was only written in the late 60s and before then there were other hockey theme songs which were equally iconic for their own time. I remember reading that Dolores Claman, the HNIC theme's composer, had an image of gladiators on skates in her mind while she wrote it. There's something very courageous and romantic - even mythical - about that image, but hockey (nor any other organised sport, for that matter) isn't like that anymore. We know too much about the players' private lives, their salaries, professional disputes, etc. because we live at a time where we have a myriad of facts at our fingertips and keyboards. I think the next theme music for our national game is going to somehow reflect the times we live in. Now I wish I had called my entry something like "He Googles, He Scores!"