One is the loneliest number: “one-man bands” and doing-it-yourselves versus doing-it-alone

Matt Brennan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


There has been a notable resurgence in the phenomenon of the one-man band in the past ten years, as documented by Adam Clitheroe’s film, One Man In The Band (2008), BBC Radio 4’s “One Man Band” (2013), and Dave Harris’s enthusiast compendium, Head, Hands, and Feet (2012). Music festivals exclusively featuring one-man bands have also recently been curated in London and Montreal. The reasons for such renewed interest are complex, but include concerns ranging from the aesthetic (total creative autonomy), the romantic (the image of the lone troubadour), the technological (the mass production of looping software and pedals), to the economic (no bandmates with whom to split income at a time when traditional revenue streams, especially recording sales, have dwindled). This article examines the one-man band resurgence and the themes above from an auto-ethnographic perspective, using the author’s own experience as a one man band performer as a case study.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKeep It Simple, Make It Fast! An Approach to Underground Music Scenes, Volume 1
EditorsPaula Guerra, Tania Moreira
PublisherUniversity of Porto
ISBN (Electronic)978-989-8648-49-5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • one-man bands
  • creative practice
  • aesthetics
  • social construction of technology


Dive into the research topics of 'One is the loneliest number: “one-man bands” and doing-it-yourselves versus doing-it-alone'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this