"The Pit" of Independence
Hope everyone is well and getting ready for the Fall weather! As much as I love shorts, I long for the days of leaves, sweatshirts and pumpkins. This upcoming season is my favorite so enough of the 90 degrees already!
So as you have all seen through my numerous posts on social media, my NEW ALBUM titled "Glamour & Filth" is all set to be released on all streaming platforms FRIDAY SEPT 14TH just the day before my upcoming album release party at A Common Ground!
I know every artist claims "this is the best stuff I've ever written!" when they release new music, but after listening to the final mix over and over the past few weeks, I am extremely proud of the songs, sound and overall feel of the album.
Although I am still also very proud of both previous releases, this one I really feel I was able to step up my game both with songwriting and with overall performance. Where on HEAL and EBTD I depended and leaned more on outside musicians for certain songs for things like guitar solos, this album besides the drums (which came from the super talented Gary Sofko who also helped mix/produce/engineer the album with me) every note including the solos are 100% me which I am super proud of. No programmed drums like EBTD, no guitar track loops it feels very layered and polished, but not too polished which is what I was shooting for.
I know I've already released a few singles from the album (I couldn't help myself once I heard a finished song I wanted to share!) but there are songs on here like "See Salt", "Sweetener", "The Tools of Her Trade" and others that are great singles in their own right and we will be playing them out for the first time at the release show! There's even some songs like "Kitten Play" that I think people will be surprised when they hear as well. I hope you all enjoy!
Which brings me to the subject line where I've been getting "The Pit..." as my mom calls it.
When the last two albums were released independently, they kind of came and went without any real major push. Not that I'm complaining at all about the response, each album is over 1,000 streams or more, even HEAL on Spotify alone still gets played on a weekly basis and that's really without ZERO label, management, outside marketing and playing shows no more than 5-6 times a year. To me, it still makes me super happy to see a song that's 3-4 years old getting played and I'm even seeing a few sheckles here and there in streaming royalties.
Personally, as proud as I am that I am releasing my own music 100% on my own and am zero concerned about "making it" fame/money wise at the same time the past few weeks on and off I started getting concerned thinking that I was shouting into an empty room.
If you read any of the HEAL Blog entries, there was one I wrote called "numbers" where I was talking about my struggles at the time with constantly obsessing about streams, sales, even about things in everyday life like bills, etc.and how I've been learning to let things go a bit.
Especially the way things have been going this year, through programs I've been able to see that God, the universe, whatever has a plan for everyone and that no matter how much you obsess, things have a way of working out on their own. Now Jesus aint paying my mortgage, but giving myself anxiety/depression over things I can't control and change is not healthy. But sometimes It's hard to let go.
So kind of what I did when I released my first album HEAL, this time I decided to "invest in myself" again and instead of playing a regular gig somewhere in some bar saying "oh hey, I have an album out" in between a song, since I'm super excited about this new record I decided "fuck it I'm gonna rent a place, get a few kick ass bands I love each with their own sound, sell tickets and have a kick ass party!" I secured a great spot right in Danbury, the bands I wanted said yes, I set up tickets to sell online, secured a super professional light/sound system courtesy of my pals in Split Decision, crunched some numbers to see if it technically could be done and BLAM! Party set!
Then came "The Pit..."
Just like when I released HEAL on cassette on paper you think "eh, I can make this work. It's a gimmick but hey it's cool!" but next thing you know you are sitting at home with a bunch of cassettes in a box a hundred or so bucks in the red going "oh well..." They are still fun to give away and pass around at shows for free now. The "die-hard" true fans bought one and that's all that matters in the end. The amount I spent pressing the tapes was as much as a cable bill for one month at least I will always have a cool thing to show for it.
now at a bargain bin near you 😛
Now with the show coming up, same thing I wasn't going to ask my friends in these bands to "pay to play" It's my show I'm going to be spending the money out of my own pocket for all of the stuff I mentioned above and essentially throw a party. I can sell merch, copies of the new album, serve beer/soda cheap and even offer open bar for VIP! We can have great sound, lights, fog and all of the bands will bring their friends! I was thinking to myself "Hey we were able to hustle and sell 20 tickets on our own when we played The Chance. We can do this no problem !"
So when I set up the ticket site (which was super easy and kind of fun!) I had it set up where it would send me reports daily on sales. We put the show on sale Aug 3rd a month and a half away plenty of time! I was all set to order shirts, physical copies of the new album (on CD this time), stickers and we were gonna kill it and have a good night.
Let's just say I had to switch the daily notifications off cause It was breaking my heart. Not to mention giving me extreme anxiety/depression cause you know......numbers.
NOW THIS IS NO WAY AN ENTRY WHERE I CRY "WAHHHH WOE IS ME! LIKE ME LIKE ME!"
To me, whenever you put yourself out there creatively whether it's music, art, movies, fashion, whatever as much as an artist says "I don't care" news flash....they do...at least a little bit. You want people to at least react positively and appreciate what you are doing.
I've been playing in bands for decades. My first gig was at the ripe old age of 15 and I'm 47 now! I've played to as little as 2-3 people in an empty bar to as many as 1,500 to a bunch of slam dancing maniacs opening for a national or independent act. I've been signed to at least 3-4 independent record labels, released numerous albums in various projects, toured the US in a van with 3 other smelly dudes, drank beers and shared stages with some of my musical heroes.
I have ZERO regret and am 1,000% happy now with just playing a few local shows a year to a bunch of friends and strangers playing songs I wrote, recorded and released all on my own.
I don't "pay to play" on big gigs nor do I pay for social media friends/fans, I don't take gigs at 2am on a Tuesday in NYC anymore for "exposure". I could give a fuck about that stuff anymore the band page has I think 160 "page likes" on Facebook which to me I would rather have that then thousands of "fans" that were bought on a site to look good to some douchebag on a music blog, or club, or bar.
What I wanted to get across with all of this is not to beg for people to come next weekend (really) or to buy my releases where you can.
Like I’ve been saying it’s NOT about the money. It’s about just supporting these independent artists and more importantly other artists supporting each other as well.
These days it’s easy to get all wrapped up with what you are doing and to focus solely on yourself.
I do it too I’m not 27 anymore I can’t go out every weekend like I used to and see local shows and I miss the days of spending an afternoon sifting through albums in a record store hoping to find that CD treasure and throwing down $10 for a copy. We all have jobs, rent/mortgage, bills, family commitments to think about plus with all of static of information thrown at us it’s so easy to ignore or just be self absorbed.
But instead think about how easy it is to share the things you enjoy and support instead of the things that piss you off.
I see it a lot now bands and artists share information about themselves and that’s it. There’s literally now hundreds of bands and artists in general all fighting for that same nut with really no support from other artists anymore. The days of a label with a stable of artists all supporting each other on the local level are all but gone.
But think about it instead of us artists all crying “the scene is dead! Nobody buys music anymore!” Now more than ever we need to share and support each other’s art and if you have a friend who’s putting their art out there, you need to share it too.
In the past week, you know how many times I’ve seen Facebook posts about Nike, Trump, even things like “I’m watching Black Panther!” on people’s Facebook feeds? We get it...trust me I’m a HUGE Marvel and comic book dude, but Kevin Feige doesn’t need the support.
instead of sharing the same video of a rat eating a piece of pizza that everyone else is...share things like local unsigned music or artists from your friends or even from people who you don’t know personally, but you enjoy. They need your support more than ever.
It takes literally 2 seconds out of your day to hit that share button when you see a post or hit a like and that means the world to these artists.
Although I don’t go to shows as much as I’d like to for a number of reasons I try to make it a point if a local band like Blue Alien Mystic, Red Hots, The Moonlight Initiative, The Mighty Plowboys, Fiction, LobsterFace, Station, Owl Maker even local solo acts like Delia Stanley, Rorie Kelly, Ethan James, Jason Gisser or ANYONE who posts about a release or show...SHARE OR LIKE the post or their page.
If each artist shared their friends’ releases and their fans/friends get turned on by what you are doing? Everyone benefits and we can all keep doing the things we love.
Your local scene is not going to grow with everyone looking at their phones or watching Netflix or crying on social media about they are outraged about.
Hope to see some smiling faces at the show next week so we can prove the doubters wrong
much self love,