[photo by chris parker, ottawa]
YEAR IN REVIEW:
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: email@example.com. 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.