total shows played: 17 (lowest number of shows since 2012!) total garbageface shows to date: 317 new songs written/recorded: 23 — 10 for the full cut of PELAGIC, 3 songs with Wolfagram (part of a forthcoming release), 6 songs with Dastard Hand (also for a forthcoming release), 1 song with Jon Epworth (also part of an EP), 1 beast of a 21min song in TREPANATION I, and 2 other pieces that don’t have homes yet. coffee cups drank: ~600 (holding pattern) cars exploded: 0 (holding strong, still)
true to my word, i spent the bulk of 2018 in some kind of recovery mode. after the closure of the spill, and a very emotional tour with my homie Cold Eye, i retreated into my shell for the year. kind of. i still managed to release a new album / photo book entitled PELAGIC, as well as a 21min exploration of the brain with TREPANATION I. in addition to those two, i laid the groundwork for several other releases, including one that is pretty much done, another that is halfway to something, and another few that are still mosaics waiting to be assembled.
in addition to spending a lot of time writing this year, i managed to squeeze in 17 shows. i also spent the entire month of August trying to help build some community spirit and discussion through an artist residency that turned into a month-long festival. it was called Quality Of Life, and for me, it was one of the most intense engagements with with city’s arts scene i’ve ever been a part of. over the course of one month and 22 events, i got to host so many fucking awesome artists in one place. Evans Contemporary, the kind venue that hosted me for the month, is now closed.
2019 is the tenth year of garbageface. it feels really strange to say that, so i’ll say it again: 2019 is the tenth year of this whole fiasco.
i’m looking to get back on the horse this year, and when i say horse, i mean, the beast that is touring. i’m hoping to book some type of celebratory 10th year anniversary tour, and as with my last proper tour with Cold Eye, i hope to bring my show to venues that are not your typical music spots. more on that soon.
as far as musical releases and plans for 2019, there are a variety of branches on this tree, and i feel good about all of them. that being said, i’m not going to telegraph any of them here as i usually do. i want to give them the space to breathe, grow, and solidify. if yr a true garbagehead, you probably already know what they are. if yr a casual observer, there will be surprises in store.
oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, i’m revamping my website.
total shows played: 53 total garbageface shows to date: 300 km travelled for shows in 2017: ~15,000 shows played in cities i had never played before until 2017: 3 (Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, Sudbury) new songs written/recorded: 12/8 (i recorded 8 new tracks this past year, 7 of which appeared on the 7HR33 51X mixtape, plus 1 track that appeared on my split with Cold Eye. the remaining 3 tracks haven’t been released or played live, nor properly recorded.) coffee cups drank: ~600+ (holding pattern) cars exploded: 0 (holding strong)
well, here i am. 2017 was nuts, in the same way that 2016 was nuts. i managed to release two albums this year (APOSTASY LP and the 7HR33 51X mixtape), and played 53 shows across several tours with some amazing people. it was a similar to the last few years, going hard and feeling good about it. but The Spill, my creative home and community hub, closed. to say i was gutted would be an understatement.
i realized in the aftermath of that how tired i was. i mean, i had already been feeling tired – from playing 100 shows since the Spring of 2016, from releasing so much music since 2014, from being my own social media manager and graphic designer, from trying to get traction in an increasingly dissipated music scene seemingly more beholden to payola than ever – but when The Spill closed, and i let it sink in, i realized that i wasn’t just tired. i was very fucking tired.
so, the almanac is looking a little different this year. i’m scaling way back on shows. i’m taking time for the first half of the year to revamp / rework my live setup to make it more exciting for me, and hopefully more exciting for you too. going forward, any touring i do will be more condensed, more intense, and more intentional. i suppose if you like watching garbageface live, that may be “the bad news,” because it means there will be fewer shows, especially in peterborough. but i hope that the intentions behind it and the results will make it worth it. i love touring, but it started to become a thing where it felt like i was on auto-pilot… and whenever i’m on autopilot, i know it’s time to shake the shit up. i want to keep challenging myself, and you too.
as far as music i’m working on goes, 2018 is shaping up to be very busy and i’m very, very excited for it. currently, i am:
still chipping away at Unreliable Narrator, working with two most excellent live drummers who will be working their magic on it
working away at lyrics for a somewhat sci-fi themed EP with ptbo’s Dastard Hand… this was originally started in 2015, but goddamn did life ever come at me fast, picking it up again has been invigorating.
just started a brand new collaborative album with a drummer and keyboard player who have been so kind to let me cut and snip and manipulate and add layers to their tracks… this will be a weird and wonderful one. holy moly i’m excited for it!
a couple of other collaborations which are still tentative and haven’t quite taken shape yet.
if all i did was work on this new music this year, i would have more than enough to do. i’m going to try to do that, and a bit more. i feel so excited by making music still, i can see myself doing this for many many years to come. the past three years were a big long cycle in my process, and the next cycle is just beginning.
the final thing worth mentioning on this thing is the subject of social media and my relationship with it. with a couple of exceptions, i really dislike it. i hit a wall near the end of this year where i just felt both addicted to and beholden to social media. it’s increasingly difficult to be an artist without being yr own brand manager, constantly spending time updating various accounts and “creating content” to feed the beast. so often, that content has virtually nothing to do with the art at hand… i had a weird moment recently where i thought about how much time i had spent updating my instagram account, and how much none of that really contributed to my artistic practice. but i know that if i don’t update people at least semi regularly across various platforms, there is just so much going on that i’ll fade fast in people’s memories. so, i keep the beast fed. and truthfully, it’s easy to get a degree of validation from all the “likes.” and even more truthfully, sometimes i like it! sometimes i hate it! what a weird game.
on the flipside, i’ve connected with, and stay in touch with, so many awesome people through various platforms. it’s really fucking cool, and i can’t discount that or make that seem unimportant. the amount of support that i’ve gotten from people, even some people i’ve never met, is unreal. i don’t take it for granted for a second, and want to continue being an artist that is both real and reachable.
i don’t want to make it seem like i think social media is “bad” and people who use it are “bad.” i don’t. but i do think a lot about that old chomsky-an adage: if you are getting something for free, you are the product.*** the point of facebook (for example) isn’t to connect us; it’s to deliver eyeballs to advertisers. there are so many artists who spend whatever little money they can to take out questionably effective facebook and instagram ads, in hopes that they can get their content in front of the people who want to see it… the promise of social media as a way for independent artists to make a name for themselves is a dystopian un-reality. artists are given a “free” platform to try to share their work with the world, only to find their content becoming just another leverage point for companies making billions upon billions from ad revenue. i’m tired of giving so much time to creating content to fill my various feeds, when i know the platforms i’m using don’t actually give a shit whether i live or die. in fact, they barely even “allow” my content to reach the people who want it to reach them, without me paying for it. crazy, right? when i got into making music, it was just the major label artists that were being used by big corporations as a commodity. now artists at every level of the career can count themselves so “lucky.”
i don’t plan to step away from social media entirely, as i feel like it’d be a death sentence, in a weird way. and as i mentioned, the people that connect with my music are so dedicated, and it’s very fucking humbling, and i don’t want to lose that. i want to stay connected to those people as best as i can, and find ways to bring more people in, in a meaningful way. i’m still not sure how to do that, but i hope you’ll be patient with me as i try to figure that out. if you have ideas on how i can do that, my email is always open: firstname.lastname@example.org. in the meantime, i hope you’ll join me over on my mailing list over here. i am gonna be prioritizing some slower, more thoughtful communication this way as i sort through all the rest. and i’ll save some extra cool shit for the mailing list to make a signup worth it.
anyhoo… we’re really living in some weird times, and i think it’s getting harder and harder to really know what’s what, you know? there is a lot that terrifies me, and a lot that gives me hope, and a lot that i find funny, and a lot i don’t give a shit about. i hope yr all doing well and being good to the people in yr lives. life is fucking short, even though sometimes it feels interminable. i’m trying my best to not let cultural entropy harden me and breed cynicism. i hope you do too.
***my homie ELMS has also been struggling with these questions, and in a recent newsletter, pointed people to this article with some thoughts about why. i strongly encourage people to check it out, and if you wanna discuss it, please feel free to email me or talk to me if you see me in the realosphere. i appreciate what ELMS is doing so much, and as with so much of his music, am inspired by it.
performing: total shows played: 58 total garbageface shows to date: 247 km travelled for shows in 2016: ~20,000 shows played in cities i had never played before until 2016: 1 (campbellford, and that place RULES) new covers attempted: 6 (Record Body Count by Rheostatics, Hooch by Melvins, It Fit When I Was A Kid by Liars, New Orleans Is Sinking by The Tragically Hip, Bloodstains by Agent Orange, World Famous Astronaut by Faux Cults) new covers successfully executed: i’m gonna go out on a limb and say all of them PA systems that i felt were “too quiet”: ~15 (a new annual low!) PA systems that i felt were a “good volume”: ~ 44 PA systems that i felt were “too loud”: 0 times performed on Trent Radio: 4
recording: new songs written/recorded: 16/18 (10 of the songs on NØ FUTURE were written this year, plus 6 tracks on the forthcoming APOSTASY, plus two more for another release)
misc: coffee cups drank: ~600+ (definitely more than last year) packages of sour patch kids eaten: ~20 (much less than last year, for sure) cars exploded: 0 (a 100% reduction)
this past year was nuts. working on NØ FUTUR(E) with thee one and only Matt was a whirlwind, and i’m still stunned at how it all went down. not only did the concept and execution come together at top speed (for me), but the various guests that were on the thing really nailed it every time. and as soon as NØ FUTUR(E) was done and the first leg of the tour was over, i threw myself into the next thing, and that’s been a whole other whirlwind.
this coming year is going to be real. APOSTASY is in the can. doneski. artwork is happening and then it will be pressed onto some nice 12″ LPs for you. APOSTASY is weird one. 5/6 of the beats come from one of my favourite producers, NYC’s Yung Gutted. i wanted to make an album that was a deep exploration of my magickal practice, and this is that, but it also somehow became a treatise on christian morality, sexual liberation, ritual indulgence & sacrifice, eastern european folklore, and more. i am beyond happy with how it turned out. it will be out by the spring.
next up this year will be the long teased UNRELIABLE NARRATOR, which at this stage is about 66% done, and is being worked on actively. it will include a brand new, reworked and rerecorded BARRAGE OF CERTAINTY EP as the A side; reason being, i think BOC is some of my best music, but the recording has always felt lacklustre. i am going to be rerecording vocals, reworking beats, and have some live drums lined up for a few of the songs. the B side will include longtime crowd faves “a comprehensive course in brain surgery” and “step two,” as well as three other tracks no one has heard ever. from the sounds of it, it would be a pretty weird and disjointed album, but these songs actually tie in together so much it’s eerie. so, i decided to put them in one, BARRAGE OF CERTAINTY on side A, BARRAGE OF DOUBT on side B. it will make sense when it’s out, don’t worry. this will be my first fully self-produced release since 2014′s OBDURACY. the artwork for the whole album, which is already done, is by Raymond Biesinger, and boy did he KILL IT. i anticipate it will be out in the fall.
there is a long simmering project with Patrick Holland aka Dastard Hand that i am diving into more and more as UNRELIABLE NARRATOR slides into completion. initially, i was going to include Patrick’s beats with mine on UN, but the more i listened to them the more i realized i wanted to do an album that was a deeper collaboration. also, conceptually, Patrick’s beats have both a nostalgic and simultaneously futuristic feel that i want to explore lyrically in a different way. this LP will take some time, but when it’s done it’s gonna be hella dope. the LP will also feature Patrick’s most excellent artwork. it may not come out next year, but then again, it just might. winter solstice anyone?
i am still slowly working on a digital only covers EP entitled IMITATIONS. it will be done when it’s done and will probably only go to band camp subscribers, and whoever they share it with. it will be out when it’s out.
for two years, i’ve been low key gathering samples for a second OBDURACY-style sample-based mixtape, to be titled TREPANATION. not sure if i’ll get to that this year, but if i do you will be the first to know.
touring plans are being hatched, and some are in the can as we speak: i’ll be doing ~10 shows in february with my homies in Pseudo, going to tonnes of places i’ve never played before, across northern ontario. that may be followed by a short jaunt with two of my favourite bands. i’m planning a return out to the east coast in April/May, and then a huge ass tour in support of APOSTASY. i’m working on some plans for europe in the fall, to coincide with UN, too. who the fuck knows, and that’s the best part.
i’m really fortunate be featured as the cover story of the latest issue of Electric City Magazine. not only did they do an extended piece on the face, but for the next little while they also have an exclusive premiere of my new forthcoming album, NØ FUTUR(E).
the album doesn’t come out until June 1st, but it’s gonna be dope. the physical release is a four-track 7″ (featuring a 12×18″ poster with art, lyrics, and liner notes on one side, and a playable 3D ouija board on the other, drawn by Robb Mirsky), and an extended 13-track digital mixtape. what more could you possibly want? chocolate? okay, maybe i’ll throw in some skull-shaped chocolate.
as for the piece, it’s a solid one. if yr a garbageface super fan, you may not learn many new details, but if you need a garbage refresher course, or are new to my work, this is pretty much all you need to read. for what it’s worth, i am humbled and honoured that they gave me the space, and somewhat confused as to why i deserve to be on the cover. but… it’s mega dope.
after a 2015 that was full of touring and writing, 2016 is shaping up to be the most prolific year of garbage yet. i’m not someone that generally releases a lot of new music, and usually stew over things for long periods of time as i road test material and refine recordings. 2016 is when a lot of new shit comes to light.
the winter is incubation, already underway. my shows during this season are going to feature a handful of the new things below, and trying out some new takes on old favourites. they’ll all be experiments and stress tests.
the spring is going to bring a dose of thundershowers as my Killjoy Collective pal VIRE and i unleash a mixtape of a new collaborative project that’s been brewing slowly across last year. if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll do some touring or one off shows behind it.
the summer will be humid and heavy. it’ll see the release a special super shhhhhh 7″ plus digital mixtape, all lovingly produced by a local ptbo producer who will be revealed soon. this release marks the first time that other rappers are doing feature verses on a release of mine, and the features already recorded for the 7″ alone are fucking dope as hell. more details when they’re ready. but it’s going to be fucking rad.
the fall & winter are going to be blustery as all hell, and will bring the release of Unreliable Narrator, my first full-length album, half-produced by me, and half-produced by ptbo’s own Dastard Hand. i’m really excited to birth this thing. the album will be released on 12″ and digitally. there will be touring, and plenty of it. i’ve already filmed one video for this album, with Thee Rob Viscardis, and more of that will happen.
to everyone that’s supported me so much over the years, i hope to make 2016 the year all of that support pays off for you, and you get as much garbage as you can handle. thanks for helping me get to this point. i needed you.