Payday Loans Payday Loans


I’m recording and you get to watch.

November 14th, 2011

My vacation from music is over, I’m happy to say.

A long time ago, I started a YouTube channel where I was posting song sketches. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it–or with the songs–but I wanted to try something different. I wanted to publish the groundwork rather than waiting until a proper record came out for people to hear the songs. I really love recording and don’t consider myself much of a live performer, so that keeps my songs boxed up until a CD release. I kind of envy bands who can test out an early version of a song in front of an audience before going into the studio. I’ve always been a little protective of my work–I’m afraid that if you hear a track that hasn’t been obsessively worked over for six months, you’ll think I’m sloppy and not very good.

But now I think that if you have that kind of attitude you probably wouldn’t even pay attention to my blog or listen to the unfinished tracks anyways. What’s the harm in letting people in on the process, letting them witness the changes, and letting them see not only the work that I put past the gate, but also the stuff that I edit out? I really like rawness, mistakes, sketches, and happy accidents. An unfinished piece usually has a lot of character that can’t be recreated in the final product.

I was initially going to start from scratch and gradually write new songs. When I had a bunch, I would record them. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking–that’s not how I work. The songwriting process doesn’t drive me. I have no interest in writing songs unless I’m recording (or unless I have the right combination of depression and privacy). Writing bass lines, tweaking echo effects, fucking with synth plugins and micing amps are as much part of the songwriting process as playing chords and coming up with words.

So I decided to pick up where I left off and rework the songs from YouTube and record a new EP. Some of them are getting a near-total rewrite. I’m trying to take the folksy edge off of all of them and work them into a layered, echoey, loud, electric landscape. It’s a lot of fun to take something that started on an acoustic guitar and rebuild it from the drum machine up.

I’m also mixing down sketches that I have sitting on my fourtrack, which will probably turn into new songs for some future project. I’m documenting everything I can online: videos to YouTube, audio to SoundCloud, and updates to my recording to-do lists get automatically Tweeted.

My finished recordings are now up on Bandcamp for listening and purchasing. I made a compilation of all my best old songs (entitled Questions Unexplained) which you can get for free as individual tracks, or at a price of your choosing if you download the whole thing. There’s also my last two “studio” records, “Open” and “Exits + Obstacles.” I consider “Open” to be a major artistic success. Erase the 10 years of stress and anxiety preceding it and maybe it wouldn’t have been such a complete marketing failure. Maybe. Anyways, I’m very proud of that disc. Listen to it. Buy it.

As for “Exits + Obstacles,” I think it’s funny how right as I was releasing it, the economy was collapsing. It’s a loose concept record that I wrote as if I was living in a post-apocalyptic, mid-western dystopia. It was pretty easy since I already felt like I was. After listening to both of these records with fresh ears, I realized that there’s this subtle, angry political undertone in my songwriting that wasn’t there before. The royal “we” left my songs back in 2004, and when it came back, it came back darker and more damaged.


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.


The Relief of Completion and the Weight of it’s Consequences

September 28th, 2008

Exits + Obstacles is done, albeit in pieces on my drawing table.  I’ve got the assembly down to a science and can get 5 CDs put together in 15 minutes.  I’m going to try to do 100 per week.

Here’s what went  wrong:

  • The covers were printed with the grain running the wrong way.  Book Arts Lesson #1: Paper is not 2-dimensional.  Paper has grain and only folds nicely one way.  But it’s not worth reprinting them.  I knew which way the grain went, and told my printing team once, but forgot to remind them once all the other problems were solved.  Pretty common oversight. lesson learned.
  • A word got cut off the first page of the booklet.  It really upset me at first because I was so excited about being done when I noticed it.  I was going to recycle the whole stack and and go to the printers to get it re-done, but instead I added the hand-made touch and wrote it in!
  • Small typo involving my visual map theme.  You’ll win something weird if you discover it.

Pretty good.  Everything else worked out OK.  Buy it October 1st.


Untitled

September 14th, 2008

Last night I tore apart my apartment in preparation for my move next door.  I’m trying to separate the contents of various “junk boxes” so I know what I have, what I can keep, and what I should throw away.  Then I fried the electricity for my side of the third floor.  I was cleaning my oven, and I removed the heating element to clean under it, saw a pretty violent flash and all the power went out.  So now I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself.  I can only stay at the Bad Waitress for so long drinking beer.

I came pretty close to quiting my pizza-driving job on Friday after meeting the district manager.  I feel like I’m reacquainted with my “real” self, complete with people putting me in my place and subjecting me to their ridiculous rules that supposedly keep their constructed fantasy worlds running.  I’m completely outside my own life, and while it’s nice for a while, it can’t last, because I don’t “get along” with the world.  I either play by their rules or my own (of course, subject to punishment if I choose the latter.)

Exits + Obstacles should be out soon, and hopefully it will change some of this.  Or maybe not.  Either way, I probably won’t be delivering pizzas much longer.