-The Story of the Society - How to Join the ICS Without Buying the Book-

How to Join the ICS Without Buying the Book

As we have related in other parts of the site, we are providing, in this section, some basic tips for playing the 20-Song Game and forming a lodge. If you start from these “skeleton” instructions, you will no doubt find yourself acquiring new methods, approaches and regional variations at a feverish pace. That is how it starts.

--------> lodge tips
1) Recruitment: This bit is pretty simple. You are looking for some people that you feel very comfortable with, and ideally, you should also like listening to their music. You find these people, and then you harass them until they agree to join your lodge.

2) First Meeting: If you can get to the first meeting, you are set. It can take a while to get everyone involved to agree on a date, and there can be a lot of false starts, but generally, when a person experiences the ICS for the first time, they are hooked forever. For this reason, the best thing you can do is have a meeting, even if it is just two guys. The excitement from those two guys will be enough to get the lodge off the ground.

3) Etiquette: In meetings, the trick is to be highly considerate of Each other’s feelings, while not being CHEESY about it.

4) Treats: Bring them!

5) Name:
ICS naming convention goes like this; your lodge name should be some sort of word (usually a noun) and then the word “lodge” (e.g. Neptune Lodge, Kraken lodge). A lot of lodges like to also have a second, extra ornate long-version of their name. For example, Wig Lodge is “The Mystical Knighthood of the Resplendent Wig”, whereas Bullet Lodge is “The Imperial Chamber of the Ward of the Embedded Bullet”.

6) Head: if you are the person who is forming the lodge, you will probably end up being the “lodge head”. This is the administrator of the lodge, who schedules meetings and keeps meetings moving along smoothly. In the Society, lodge heads often come up with stylish titles for themselves (e.g. “Kai Esbensen, Chief Trajectory Officer, Resonant Bellwether Severe”).

7) Special Games: Even though the members of the Society like to create and play their own Special Games, most lodge meetings are devoted to sessions of the 20-song game. This maintains a helpful sense of continuity and sanity at lodge meetings, and a common bond where every one at the meeting feels connected to everyone else, because they all just went through the same thing. You could also put it this way: it keeps everything from degenerating into TOTAL CHAOS.

8) Crests, etc: As you are navigating around different lodge sites, you will notice that some of them have made lodge crests and created Latin mottos and picked out lodge colors. Origin’s colors are red and gold. Wig Lodge is orange and green. We like it when lodges have crests and mottos and colors and that kind of thing on their sites, so that we can look at them.

9) Alignment: So, you’re forming a local secret society of musicians, are you? Well, this raises an important question: are you a good secret society or an evil secret society? Are you a mystical knighthood, or are you more like those virgin-sacrificing cultists in ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’ who creep around in black cloaks and have neuro-toxic blow darts that they shoot into people’s necks, causing said victims to have frightening hallucinations that result in their seemingly accidental deaths? Obviously, this is a good thing to figure out right away.

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1) Day: When you are playing the 20-Song Game according to the classic rules, and you are playing it with other people, then you will all be playing it on the same day. Yes, you can do your session on an earlier date if you have to, and show up at the meeting with your music from that session-but if you do that, remember to confine all of your writing (and recording) for that session to only that day. No fixing, no adding, and no remixing!

2) Time frame: In the book, Karl and Nicholas stressed that your session should be “at least 12 hours”, because we didn’t want readers to wimp out and do a smaller session. There is another side to that, though. The session shouldn’t be longer than a day, either. According to the classic (multi-player) rules, a player has from the time they wake up in the morning to the time of the meeting to write as much music as possible. Makes sense, no? As you can imagine, many a lodger has maximized their time by getting up as early as possible.

3) Single: yes, it is quite possible to play the 20-Song Game with one person. People have literally made and released entire albums that way.

4) So: just to cite the obvious, once you are awake, and your session has started, you are going to try to write 20 new songs before the day is over, and unless you are part of some kind of special lodge that doesn’t use home recording in their sessions, you are also going to record these songs.

5) New: remember, these are supposed to be completely new songs, so don’t use any riffs or melodies or rhythms or lyrics that you have ever worked on before.

6) 20-Songs: You probably won’t get twenty songs, at least not the first time. In fact, getting less than ten is perfectly normal, and if you think about it, getting twenty songs isn’t really what it’s all about. It’s really about making as much music as you can, and losing control. In a nice way.

7) Fluxuation: After you have been playing the Game for a while, you will probably find that your state of mind regarding quantity vs. quality will fluxuate a bit with time, passing though different fazes. Actually reaching twenty can be a major rite of passage for some lodgers. Of course, that eventual day when you screw up and only get one song is sort of a rite of passage, too. That is why there are two (unofficial) clubs in the ICS. The “Twenty Club”, for people who have successfully achieved the “objective” of the 20-Song Game, and the “One Club”, which is for those miserable souls who had a complete nervous breakdown one day, and just got the one song.

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