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It’s done — and documented

August 12th, 2013

Between the Walls and the Sea is now live on Bandcamp. Tapes ship out by September 25th, and you can pre-order them now.

One of the different things about this album — besides that it took four years to complete — is that I put a lot of effort into documenting the songs and recordings as they developed. I wasn’t in a hurry to get a record done and I sat on the songs for a long time. Back in 2009 I was recording a video demo of every new new song I wrote. More recently I’ve been posting sketches on Soundcloud. I’ve been posting lyrics as soon as a song is written here on Quelquechose, and as they get edited, I’ve been updating the same post with all the edits intact. Further, my Soundcloud has multiple versions of the songs as the recording progressed, so (if you want to — not saying you do) you could hear “Background” without the synths or “Cellar Door” back when it had a much simpler drum track. All of the songs on this new record have a post on this blog that archives the changes that occurred. I was also, for a while, keeping a live to-do list that I published on Twitter, but that fizzled out at some point

So, this album ended up being a songwriting documentary experiment, which you can check out by visiting the lyric archive, where I’ve compiled all of my songwriting posts grouped together by album. You can also view the song lyrics category to view the posts in reverse chronological order.

This is fun…

November 5th, 2008

I’ve been wondering how to go about this post for the past week or so, because it’s not the typical depressing bullshit, plans or mental-detritus.  At some point in the past year or so, I realized that it’s time to stop trying so hard and just live my life.  I knew that when you force something, it breaks.  But keeping open doors can lead to more fruitful things.  Recording “Exits + Obstacles” was one last stab at pushing myself and making myself do something.  The subsequent depressive rampage that found me almost taking a random plane to anywhere at one in the morning (the airport was essentially closed) confirmed my theories about what that can do for your mental health.  It was alot of work to get through that stage, but I have to say I’m really happy with the outcome.

I recently started seeing someone, and that’s the part I was uncertain how to blog about.  I’m used to being by myself.  It’s led to some great things–things that I’m proud of and that without which, I wouldn’t be me.  I’m not the kind of person who is always with somebody just to be with somebody, so when it happens its pretty great.  It can also be really stressful.  Wikipedia’s article on love lists side effects “similar to amphetamines,” including “increased heart rate, loss of appetite and sleep.”  On top of that, I have a new apartment and a new job, as well as my typical shaky financial situation.

A couple years ago, after I filed bankruptcy and got rid of my studio, I was confronted with what was left of my life, my mind centering on one thought: that there was nothing I was connected to that I cared to hold on to.  I had reduced myself to only those things I was indifferent to.  I feel the complete opposite now.  I’m surrounding myself with things I care about.  I’ve never felt this comfortable with a job, home or another person.  I’m writing songs, and things are coming out really easily and I’m not worrying about when the next CD is going to be done.  (It’s going to take enough time to try and sell 1000 copies of “Exits”)

When things were going really bad, I could see depression in flux with my life, adding fuel to the fire. In college, I remember depression would simply cause a bit of reflective sadness, which I enjoyed. It’s only when my life is spiraling downward that it becomes a problem, making me lose sight of how to take control.  I say this because I know sadness will hit after the high is over, and that’s OK.  But I feel like all the hanging on is paying off right now.  After I flipped out and went to Chicago, my goal was to get a job that I could tolerate and try to be social.  It seemed like such a hurdle at the time, despite it being such a simple goal.  But it worked, and I couldn’t be happier.

Mpls + Me

March 5th, 2008

Ok, so local arts writer Michael Fallon has been watching my blog, and he recently quoted from and linked to it on his blog.

My negativity caught his attention, apparently. I’ve had a lot of negative things to communicate lately. A lot of it has to do with Minneapolis. A ton of it has to do with myself. I wanted to be clear on this: I definitely don’t want to blame the Twin Cities for my failures as an artist. I think this place is a fine spot for a middle class, well adjusted, creative person with a descent backup plan to get a good start. I believe that I have personal issues that keep me from realizing my goals, specifically in this place. I was setting my hopes on being able to travel. I still want to. I think my artistic success depends on it. But I don’t think I can afford it.

In response to a comment on Michael’s blog: I never expected success to be handed to me without working for it. I’m not sitting on my hands whining about my failure. What people don’t realize is that hard work does not get rewarded. I’ve worked as hard as I could in my pursuits. I’ve always had such a hard time just trying to make enough money to maintain my own survival. I have to choose between having time to make art and having money to make art. I opt for one, and three months later I need to shift the weight, and maybe sacrifice a flexible job for a consistent income. And I’m not giving up. I’m still writing songs, recording and releasing music. Yes, I quit making “visual art.” That’s a different story. I’m very critical of that discipline right now. I’ll figure out how to write about it eventually.

Minneapolis shouldn’t feel bad about not supporting artists. Lots of places can’t support their artists. But Minneapolis should stop making out with itself in the mirror and take a look at itself instead. My previous strategy was to try success locally, and then take the next step. Now I know that’s not going to happen.

I’m waiting for something to pay off right now. I’m trying to take it easy and not stress myself out. I can’t afford for my depression to be driving me, so until something happens maybe a little apathy is the answer. I was all ready to make a routine out of bourbon-sours and Law and Order episodes on Netflix, but Michael’s blog got me thinking.

On a little more positive note, I also found out this morning that my song, “Twenty-Eight,” was chosen this week on MNArtist’s MNSpin contest. Yep.


February 25th, 2008

I’m recording my next CD, creating an art booklet to package it in, I’ve got zines on the backburner, electronics projects I’m planning, and a big chunk of mahogany that I paid $50 for, hoping to turn it into a guitar. While that all sounds busy and interesting, the reality is I spend most of my time bored out of my fucking mind, sweeping up dust in a basement, patching concrete, sanding walls, moving furniture and dealing with the habits of scatterbrained, sixty-plus entrepreneurs.

I hated gym class, shop, after-school sports, etc. Somehow my predominant career got to be manual labor. So far every means I’ve found to break the spell has fallen apart. I’m becoming a career job-seeker. No one will hire me because my disaster-zone of a resume shows a history of settling for jobs I didn’t want. I’ve gotten my hopes up so many times, I’m letting go. There is no job for me. I have to create it myself. Combine music and art in my own style of publishing, like I’m already doing. I’m already working the job I want, I just don’t have time for it.

Minneapolis can’t support artists. Take the number of venues or galleries and compare it to the number of musicians or painters and you have a problem. And some of those people are cooler than you. Some have “friends in the scene.” Some have money in their family or other weird sources of income. Plenty of them are younger than you and willing to take greater risks. Add my own personal struggle with myself, and it gets hard to compete.

Anyways, I’m TRYING to piece together the possibility of going on the road this year. Take my guitar, CDs and zines and try to get some momentum. The only thing stopping me is money. My jobs are completely flexible. In theory I should be able to afford it as long as I work full time.

And thats where the plan falls apart. I’ve been working for my dad most of my life. I’ve tried to save money with that job so many times, and I always just end up in debt to him instead. My depression gets worse the more hours I put into that job. I had a stomachache for a year and a half that came back every day. No one knew what it was. I got a different job and it was gone.

As an experiment, I’m going to try and put up with this shit throughout the month of March. Then I’m leaving for 10 days to tour the Midwest. I’m not planning on this, I’m hoping for it. I’m going to be blogging more. It might help to write about how much I despise what I do for a living. And sometimes I feel like people think I’m OK with it. I’m not. I need out or I’m going to destroy myself. 5 years from now I see myself either working full time or being creative. I can’t see myself doing both.

This blog is being simultaneously published on Blogger and LiveJournal, after which it will eventually be moving to Blogger. I will be using both as I get Blogger set up. You can always access my blog by going to


February 2nd, 2008

The first group meeting for the zinefest was today. It was great because we have five people organizing so far, and I’m no longer the head of the fest. Most of the program is now out of my hands. I’m responsible for the distro and the library.

Afterwards I tore my kitchen cabinets apart and threw a bunch of stuff away and organized my office supplies and files. (I’m not quite done moving in yet.)

My new blog is done. I managed to customize it and get it working how I want. Eventually I’ll stop using LiveJournal. Until then, I’m posting simultaneously on both.