No labels, No agents, no managers,no street team, no sponsors. From my small apartment in Hollywood I scribble ideas on a white board,send hundreds of emails, pound coffee and plan how to make this album into something. The DIY route is certainly a rewarding route but can at times feel fucking impossible. You have to be almost insane to believe in something that no one else believes in but it's just something you feel, something unshakable and undeniable. I've been recently planning a tour up the west coast which has been met of course with road blocks and obstacles but to obtain the rose we must brave it's thorns. They tell you you need a draw in the area in order to play but you can't get a draw unless you play there, a troublesome conundrum indeed. It seems the only way this tour will actually happen is to make promises I cannot keep, which not living up to draw expectations can ruin a relationship with a venue so I must be careful. The final song of the album "Away" is in the final stage of mixing and as the album comes close to being finished, I'm torn. On one hand this is by far the best album I've ever written and I'm so proud of myself , on the other hand I know the impending doom of it's release. With such a small reach it will be listened to by a small amount of people become old then swept off into the never-ending void of forgotten music. The other option is to hold on to the album until I feel I have amassed an appropriate fan base which could take years, millenniums, or eternity. This would also mean postponing the tour until I have grown my reach which may be inevitable.Since I was a kid I've dreamt of taking a band on tour, while I've gotten to do a handful of small tours they pale in comparison to the scope I have in mind.
Now the only thing that matters is growing my reach so I've allocated every bit of my budget to dong just that. Instagram is my strongest social and the only one I've really gave a shit about for the past year but I'm trying to divide my attention evenly between them all. Honestly though I just don't have the budget to work all the angles I want to so I'm launching a merch store to help me raise money for the tour and further expansion. This won't work very well currently because my reach blows but I have no choice I have to at least give it an effort. I'm also going to be working on producing more content to help engage people in the release of this album, such as videos, pictures and even this blog post. This album is truly a type of music I don't feel has been made but in this day and age being different hurts you way more than it helps you. Growth is the only thing that excites me, seeing this project I started from nothing grow into something that can positively impact humanity. Music is so multi-faceted and its so easy to get lost in all the various elements you have to focus on but I've boiled it down to the most important one for right now, engaging people.
With that being said, you are my only hope, anyone reading this or anyone who's ever listened to my music and shared it with someone else. Without your support I will never be able to achieve what I have in mind, only when you stand with me will my voice be heard. It hurts but the honest truth is no one in the music industry wants anything to do with my music, mainly in part because there is no fan base interested in it. So if you dig my music or what I do, show another person, talk about it or else it will die. I'm pouring every ounce of me and every dime I have into this album but alone I can only do so much. I've gotten increasingly bad at being social and networking mostly because industry LA people are the literal worst BUT I'm working on it. LA will not get the best of me and I will find a way to be better and DIY the fuck out of this album release. I would also like to add I'm not completely without luck, I have an incredible band behind me (Joe Rodriguez and Chris Patocka) who have been extremely supportive and one of the driving factors behind my resolve. When no one backs what you do you have two choices, accept what they believe to be true about you or define yourself through your actions, let us choose the ladder and let no one define us.
P.S I usually run a song on repeat while writing these posts, today it was" too many humans" by Buckethead, which his whole Population Override album is fucking awesome.
My former employer, Manuela, a neglected little money pit conjured up by artsy millionaires who prey on the moths that are blinded by the flame. The place is ran by humans who live on a different continent and have no idea they have put their business in the hands of extremely emotionally unstable alcoholics. Mostly stolen recipes and extremely over-priced food you are tricked into buying because of the aesthetics of the space. This is what these people are masters of, creating worth out of thin air for things that have no worth.One would think since the food is so overpriced they are at least paying their cooks well but that is far from the truth.
They have put their business in the hands of a talentless ladder climber who should be commended more for his deception skills than his cooking. The worst kind of slime that found a way to schmooze the right pockets. Who melts down at least once a shift because he cannot even expedite food in his own kitchen.A man who verbally and sexually abuses his staff and can't make it though a shift without being drunk because deep down he knows he is a fraud and projects his inadequacies upon others. No one would ever come to eat food made by such slime, so he has to rely on the art gallery and it's fake ambiance to get people to come eat his garbage.
Of course this slime needs help keeping the rouse intact so they can continue tricking you out of money, enter the skeleton queen. A sad skin wrapped skeleton who's dreams have been devoured and who's soul has been ripped from her chest. The skeleton queen gives the slime shape and makes it look good for everyone.The skeleton queen's bones are only capable of obligatory motions. Her meaningless days are filled by dredging through the restaurant world with her undead cronies, trying to fill the stark void in her chest with money. Passionless, directionless, chain smoking cigarettes eagerly running towards her grave to escape her sad reality. Although I pity them I ask you to not be a moth, open your eyes, let Manuela crumble until we see the slime in it's true form and the skeleton queen can finally have her rest.
It's not something you can control, it's something you get to be a part of for short bursts of time. At times it can be like a faucet, something endless that can be turned on and off.Sometimes It's like trying to hug a cloud, just as soon as you embrace it, it dissipates. So many factors affect it , I've tried my whole life to find ways to bring it out of myself and now I need it more than ever. It can't be faked or imitated, nor can it be forced. It's something you know lives inside of you but you never really know where. It seems sometimes though, the more you look for it the further away from it you get, which seems to be my current situation. I'm so close to finishing my first full length solo album but this last track is so important I can feel the weight of it. Even if I release it and no one cares about it, it matters the world to me. Inspiration is like a drug, I spend most of my time waiting for it or trying to coax it out of hiding.Life is so dull and uninteresting without it. It unlocks that part of our minds that is beaten out of us daily by the monotonous elements of everyday life. I used to think that inspiration was the bridge to music but after all these years I've learned its actually the opposite. Music is the vessel that brings me to inspiration and unlocks that potential inside of me. Inspiration is the goal, that's what all of this is about. The beautiful thing is though, it's literally hidden everywhere and in everything, one of the songs on my album got started because of the hum of my refrigerator. Inspiration can be applied to anything as well, it doesn't have to just be an artistic endeavor. Our methods of finding inspiration are different between each and every single one of us, so what works for me may not for you or vice versa. I want to share with you some of my methods of tapping into the elusive power of inspiration.
For me reading has always always inspired me more than anything(George Orwell in particular).To me that's the purpose of the writer, to share with their reader their stream of inspiration and let them feel it. Anytime I'm feeling uninspired or unmotivated reading is my go to.Sometimes even a combination of reading while listening to music can help me materialize what it is I want to say or do. There are times too when simple logic can help inspire me, by asking the simplest question of all, Why am i writing this? What am i trying to accomplish or say with what I'm writing, purpose is a powerful spark. Take this blog post for example, the purpose of this is to talk about inspiration and even as I write this I feel closer to understanding my own inspirations. Another huge one for me is nature, something about looking upon it and feeling how small you are in all of it can be beautiful. I've started doing something I call "writing retreats" where I escape from the city and go be in nature with a notebook, I always feel better afterwards. Our minds are limitless, we can always learn and grow so progress is another major driving force for me. Finally, I want to talk about the most interesting catalyst of all for me which is thoughtlessness. Nothingness, emptiness, complete bliss that can only be obtained by clearing out your mind. Now this is something I've been practicing since I was a kid and have only scratched the surface of. How do you think of nothing? Even when you are thinking of nothing you are still thinking about trying not to think of anything which seems like a paradox. It can be obtained though through lots and lots of practice.One of the ways I can achieve this is I sit in a quiet room with a candle and I'll have a fan or little running water fountain on and focus on that sound. While I'm focused on that sound I'm not really thinking of anything, time passes without my knowing and for a brief period I'm no where else but inside of that moment. That clarity always helps me focus on the things I actually want to concentrate on instead of all the pointless things that cloud my mind.
Just because we can't harness inspiration doesn't mean we should't go looking for it. We of course won't always find it and it won't always be there, if we make a conscious effort to open your mind up to it, I think it will find us much more often. I'm on the final song of my album and while inspiration has been fleeting recently, I stay positive and patient while I search for it somewhere inside of me. It feels good to be blogging again, this has always been a very therapeutic outlet for me. This is in itself an exercise in the hunt for inspiration. Just hearing your thoughts out loud or seeing them in writing can help it all make sense. It's not easy and I've had to crawl through lots of days of just not feeling it to coax out the inspiration to write this album. I'm so close to finishing I can almost taste it. Finishing this album will only fuel me to want to write more and find new ways to evoke the euphoric touch of the fickle mistress that is inspiration.
First let me apologize for the long hiatus but I'm in the middle of writing an album so give me a break. Man I needed a vacation so badly.. I recently traveled to Taiwan which was extremely eye opening and made me only want to continue traveling but I must be in LA for I have a debt to pay to my music and blah blah blah. Now, falling asleep on airplanes for me is like trying to catch a shadow with a flashlight, it's quite impossible. I slip on my headphones and close my eyes. Then, as me and Doris Day danced on the wings of the plane,I look over at the sky exuding this incredible purple/blue indigo color and it really just made me feel free. It was the color I would imagine heaven to be. Traveling can make you feel so free, for after all exploring is in our blood as humans. I realized, until this moment I had been dreading the flight and just constantly worrying about everything going on back in LA. Excuse the gigantic metaphor but my life was just like this flight, just trying to get through it until I get to something better. For once I just wanted to enjoy this flight and be there in that moment, not just block it out and try to get through it.
Taipei was a modern amazing little city full of some of the kindest people I've ever met in my life. For the love of god some dude tapped me on the shoulder and warned me that my shoe was untied. Are you kidding me? I almost hugged that bro. The Metro in Taipei was the cleanest most efficient thing of beauty I've ever seen. Now if you've ever taken public transportation in NY or LA then you know how terrible it can be. There was no one screaming about killing all of us,no one trying to sell you things and above all it was.......clean. Everyone was so respectful and actually honored the rule of no food or drinks while riding the trains(which is why it was clean).I don't mean to rant about public transportation but it's part of my everyday life and anyone without a car feels me. Some of the things I saw just blew my mind. People just leave there helmets on their scooters and bikes unlocked wherever they like and no one steals them. I got my bike tire stolen in ten minutes while getting coffee in Koreatown. There is just this amazing respect everyone has for each other and their belongings. I would walk by temples or shrines that had offerings that laid undisturbed. One of my good friends lost his wallet in Taipei and it was returned to him a year later, shipped to America with all of his belongings. Anyways, I digress, Taiwanese people are nice as fuck, you get it. Somewhere along the way America has lost this sense of kindness towards each other and it took me traveling abroad to really realize how bad it's gotten. Now on the other hand ,I'm not making excuses for America but we are a melting pot and we have many many different kinds of cultures from all over the world so realitsically cohesiveness can be a bit harder. Honestly though I couldn't really pinpoint a reason why things are so different in America. Another thing I noticed was I saw literally maybe only 9 homeless people in a two week span. Coming from downtown LA thats mind-blowing but the homelessness situation in LA is a whole other ball of yarn that we will pull on another time.
Now on a lighter note lets quickly talk food. What the fuck, the food in Taipei was all so delicious and cheap. Now I'm not the most adventurous eater I'll be honest, so i stuck to a couple things I really liked. A pretty much daily must have was something called a "Bomb Egg" which could be completely wrong but that's what I was told so we'll run with that. A super simple delicious piece of heaven that consisted of a fried egg , a fried wonton type shell, some mysterious black slightly sweet sauce and "spicy" red stuff. now you could have the yok runny or hard ( figuring this one out was an uphill battle), which I fully suggest getting it runny. The best part about these is they cost 30 NT which is roughly a Dollar US.Aside from the 10 million delicious potstickers I had, I also got to go to Din Thai Fung which lives up to all the hype you've heard. Xiao Long Bao is great across the board but they have really perfected it. One can only hope to attain such greatness at anything in life.Aside from all the incredibly reckless eating I did the past two weeks, I also got a chance to travel down south of Taipei to a place called Hualien. A cool little touristy town surrounded by incredible majestic mountains. The night market there was expansive and had some really cool music(not to mention of course a shit ton of cheap awesome food).The highlight of the trip though was undoubtedly Taroko National Park. This may be my favorite place on the planet I've ever been, aside from my generous donation of blood to the local mosquito population. It was so peaceful, from the ancient ground we walked on up to the sun drenched tree tops. I was lucky enough to visit a couple Buddhist temples in the mountains that made you feel a profound sense of peace even walking through them. I was so envious of the stillness here and I hope to find a way to replicate it in some sort of way in my daily life.
All in all it was an incredibly eye opening trip and honestly I can't wait to explore more of Asia. Great food, extremely kind people and plenty of nature porn, what more could you ask for really? I learned a lot really, mainly to live more in the moment which is a notion I'm constantly trying to adopt and to also take my headphones off every once in awhile and just be kind to other people. Im always so cold, cut off and distant here, which means I am part of the problem.I hope to travel and learn more and contribute to the places I find myself. I miraculously fell asleep in the plane on the trip home, until I was awakened by a warm beam of sun shooting through the window. Instead feeling trapped by going back to the grind of the city I felt a sense of freedom. As the sweet voice of Doris Day serves as the soundtrack for my vindication, I smile at the sun and slip back into a slumber to dream of all the more places i'll soon go to tap into the wisdom that travel provides.
It's been awhile, I'm writing a full length album that few people will hear because I am abysmal at promoting my music. Lately I've been so unattached to social media and blogs and blah blah blah. It used to bother me so much when my songs had low play counts and there was no excitement behind my songs but honestly I've just stopped caring. I love the music I'm making and I will continue making it regardless of who listens to it. I'm excited about the new stuff I'm writing, when you stop caring about the outcome of what you are doing or what people are going to think of it you find this beautiful appreciation for what you are doing. You can actually appreciate the moment and really be inside of what you are creating. I have internet again which has been a life saver. I'm not saying I'm completely giving up on promoting my music, I'm just not going to be so affected by the outcome. I'll do the best I can, outside of that it's beyond my control.
I'm training for the Los Angeles Marathon next month primarily because I want to battle myself. I want to remember I can do anything I put my mind to and remind myself of what I'm made of.I'm releasing a music video for Beyond the Plains and shortly after i'll have hard copies of the EP. I've been still endlessly banging my head against the wall when it comes to performing live. If i run into one more flakey spineless guitar player I'm going to lose my mind. I mean how hard is it, if you dig the music we go in a room practice then I book shows.
Many people here in LA don't actually care about art they care about what they can get out of it. It shouldn't ever be looked at like that. Music is like fight club, it's a reason to be better, to wake up earlier, to strive further and further. You should be asking how can you enhance the art, not oh man this can get be laid and get me money. If I run into one more girl with a hula hoop who's like " I want to go see this dj festival and do mushrooms" I'm also going to lose my shit.Musicians are carpenters with tools, DJ's are children with glue. That has no bearing on what I've been talking about but I thought that was clever so you're welcome. Somedays I look around and I think "Fuck this place" other days I look around and think "there is a dope little existence somewhere in this city for me " only time will tell. I will say though I have had the feeling more and more every month that I just don't fit in here. The people who make it here are personable and go out and get drunk with "cool music scene people" and stuff until they become your friends and help you out(and kiss tons of asses) I've fought it my whole life but I'm an introvert and I'm just too prideful, it just is what it is. I'll be posting more often I apologize about the long silence.
Lately I've been feeling dead in the water, so much hope,so much fire and nothing to really do with it. Sitting in front of my computer for hours and hours working trying to capture an elusive goal that is always just beyond the horizon. I've still not found work, my bank account is dwindling very fast because publicists are not cheap. There really is no logical equation in which i am able to make a living off of music and although I know this, for some reason I still have hope. Human beings are strange creatures, even when we logically know something is impossible still we continue to strive for it. It's truly a beautiful yet punishing quality. While in my apartment during a coffee induced thought journey, I had an idea. I have plan a showcase, it seems to be my only logical option. I have a good publicist that can get coverage on the show I just have to give him something to talk about. I have a new music video, a new EP, plenty of content, now I just need an event to bring these things to light.
I can't believe how defeated I've been lately, it's very unlike me. It's hard though when you work on a project for a year then the blogs you submit it to shit on you then go post the new weekend song again. I've forgotten the golden rule, you should always make art for yourself and if other people dig it cool but if not at least you are still happy with it. Anyways, it's nice to have some sort of a plan that I can focus all my craziness towards. Firstly I have to build the band, I am having my first full band practice this week, so that is thankfully moving in the right direction. Then I have to find a vessel for this shot in the dark showcase, I'm thinking somewhere small so it's an easy room to fill. Then lastly my most hated part of being a musician and the hardest part of being a musician which is of course promotion. Turn yourself into a brand, market yourself into something other people want to be a part of, it's a strange thing to try to do. Online promotion has just been an impossible trek for me, I'd much rather just go out and play a show and actually interact with people.
The main thing here is no matter how hopeless or illogical your goal may be, it is in the human nature to not give up.When I first had these thoughts I felt as if I was ignoring reality but after some pondering I realized I repudiate it. My reality is forged by my hands not those of fate. Hope is our greatest strength, logic is annoying by product of consciousness and I will not let it destroy my dreams or dictate my happiness. Fight logic, ignore the darkness, push on through the hopelessness, when all is lost yearn for more and let the echoes of Dylan Thomas fill your soul, rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I would first like to apologize for not writing for awhile, I've been laying low trying to figure things out. It's time to start releasing my new material, I submitted my first single "Disappear" to some blogs and they weren't feeling it.That isn't exactly a surprise and I knew it was a long shot. Of course it's never fun to hear someone tell you they don't like your music especially someone who could really help you but you have to stand by your work no matter what. It's been almost exactly a year since I've gotten to LA, it's been the hardest year of my life and seems to continue getting harder everyday. It's almost every other day I want to run away from this place and the impossible life of a musician but it's just not an option for me. If i leave and accept an easier life my mind would eat me alive. So where does that leave me? I just have to find a way to keep getting better, it's really my only option.Finding musicians in LA has become a very daunting task and I just can't seem to get excitement around my project. So the question is what do you do when blogs and record labels don't want to help you? You have to reach the people directly and figure out a way to promote your own music. This is no simple task, it's going to take lots of money and time and even then could yield no results. Years of trial and error but if you believe in yourself then it's the only thing you can do. Nonetheless I believe in Disappear, it's weird and imperfect but i do feel it's an interesting sound to explore. I'll be blogging more regularly, i apologize for the lameness of this first post but I need to get back in the swing of writing and continue making new music. I'll be releasing Disappear this Friday, wish me luck.