I make music every year, but February’s annual RPM album creation was slightly different for me. After many years, I finally went for a new geographic locale, which is nice. Then there are the thoughts of starting a fresh career direction in life when there’s an apparent recession in the area. So I’ve discovered a few things recently:
bigger cities are artistically exciting and necessary for weird-scene seekers (yours truly)
money, earlier not a priority issue for me, is actually really important to extended survival
at my age, job seeking has become much pickier and more difficult
the need for specialized skills is immense, and I seem to have the wrong ones, or not quite enough of the right ones
Thus the title and inspiration behind my new release, Future Success Stories. A life in flux is scary business for anybody, but also liberating in its freedom to choose whichever path you wish. I wonder how long before I know where mine leads, and how much debt that requires? Ultimately, artistry is a road to poverty, but I rather enjoy making art because I can’t help myself. So for now I’ll just give you that something I love doing, and deal with figuring out my most desirable day job at a time in the not-so-distant future. What a story. Maybe I’ll make my own.
RPM Challenge 2014 has got to be some of the most prolific work I’ve crafted thus far, but has it been challenging? I did get an early start in February working with Ableton Live and the Launchpad Mini/LaunchControl in set preparation for Prototype 5, which I deemed productive idea creation for the album. There was, however, plenty of downtime for birthdays, family visits, nights out to party, watching the tube, etc. Instead of being stressed about being behind in the recording process, I took time out on a couple of weekdays (mostly in the last week) to finish up some working projects and polish the mixes. I also managed to record a Robot Scout session for RPM submission, too. Does it mean I like to procrastinate until the final possible minute? No, but it does seem to end up close to the wire most of the time. It’s always challenging to create under a deadline, but these days I’ve streamlined the process to make it easier to operate quickly and efficiently. Hence, I can afford to take my time with some things or choose to break from it with the knowledge that it’s simple to come back to. I’ve done the RPM Challenge for a number of years now, and likely would have made yearly records anyway, even if no challenge existed. We make our own challenges, and I consider this one to be more of a necessity. I make art, and that doesn’t change. The challenge is making art you’re happy with. And even though I endorse a certain amount of improvisation in much of my work, it’s satisfying when it sounds composed.
A friend and electronic producer who performs as MssngMrblz has been organizing a series of shows called Prototype to showcase local electronic artists playing original material. I made my second appearance at the most recent show, Prototype 5, held at The Rockhouse in St. John’s on February 15. Not only was it a larger venue this time around, but the lights and sound were spectacular to behold. Flat screens, man! I opened the night with some harder-hitting tunes I’d been working on this month (being RPM Challenge season…more to come), and sporting another fun animal mask. The laid-back giraffe. I tried a rushed Mixlr broadcast, and was pleased with the enthusiasm I got for my set offstage. The rest of the evening was stellar, especially when I was able to snap some of the action using my new Fuji X-A1. Awesome performances by all, and a vibrant, excited crowd on the floor.
So I ordered a new laptop recently to help me with any upcoming musical efforts…and mostly to avoid any unnecessary blue-screening from the old one. A bit of a chunk of change, but worth it for the customization. The only issue is that now I also need to procure the extra funds for upgraded DJ and sound production software, Traktor Pro and Ableton 9, respectively. Also worth it, but maybe at a slower rate of acquisition. There’s always going to be other gear to purchase in the grand scheme of things. I like using my old stuff, but sometimes it’s not compatible with new operations. And everyone loves to get new stuff, even if cash flow is dicey.
On that note, I’m including a new track on the Bandcamp page. Figured I’d toss this one up because I had most of the parts prepared (on my archaic version of Ableton), and it was sounding pretty great. Imagine a future world suddenly littered with lifetimes of discarded busted electronics, broken metal and plastic, and you being disoriented by the surrounding masses of jungle-like peripheral cables and endless extension cords hanging over the earth. What kinds of misplaced creatures or tribal cyborgs would you encounter? Ponder this scenario while you listen to los beatniko‘s new single, “Jungle Of Wires.” Here’s the track:
Here’s to a new season of collection! With purpose!
I read a good article my friend Gary James Joynes shared recently, by writer Geeta Dayal. Got me thinking about my role as a “dial twiddler” in the universe, and how I’ll never be happy doing anything otherwise. Isn’t this how an artist expresses oneself? By inventing and experimenting in their chosen medium, because it’s NECESSARY for personal satisfaction in their world. Not because anybody has to like it. Not everyone will. If there are those who appreciate (or pay you for) your creations, then give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. You made an artistic impression on an audience who gets your stuff. Sound artists have been messing around for centuries, with varied tools and results. Everyone has their own method. The fact of the matter is that sounds are heard differently by a multitude of different people (especially these days), no matter how they’re created. And I’ll do it till I’m dead. End of story. Here’s some art: