Shit Man….You Old
Shit man… you old…I started this whole music thing way back in 90, when I started DJIng at clubs before I could legally be in them at 19. I stated my first band in my early 20s and didn’t start Ego Likeness until I was 28? or so. At the time I thought I was too old to really have much of a career doing this. In August I will turn 50. And the record I will be dropping this year is the most fully realized thing I’ve ever done. I remember reading that Michael Gira didn’t start The Swans until he was 30. And there are plenty of new and old scene artists, some in this group that are 40+.“Ok, so, what’s your point? This music is for old people?” No, don’t be an asshole. The point is that it’s never to late to do the thing you love. And if anything, starting later in life gives you a bit of an advantage in that you have a much more mature (hopefully) outlook on life. Which goes a long way when it comes to writing lyrics and how you deal with the professional aspects of the whole thing. There’s an old saying ,”youth is wasted on the young.” I’ve never been fond of it, because I feel like I did a lot of great shit when I was younger and used the time to develop skills I still use. But there really is a lot to be said for the sense of self and… “I don’t give a fuckness,” that comes with time and perspective. I am in no way saying one is better than the other. Each side of the coin has a lot going for it. But for those of us rapidly aging it’s easy to dismiss the desire to do X thing as childish. And it’s easy for young people to look at older musicians and assume that they aren’t able to bring new elements to music, or that it won’t speak to them. Which is a shame on all accounts. Personally when I was a kid, I never listened to music aimed at young people. And as an artist I couldn’t write for kids if you put a gun to my head. Make what you make, keep it honest, put it out into the world, repeat, and eventually it will find an audience it resonates with.
Trade Secrets Are Bullshit
This is less of a rant and more of an observation. A while back I was on a thread with a musician and they were complaining about people asking what gear they use. And someone piped up “don’t tell them, it’s trade secrets.Which to me, and hopefully to you, is just silly. Because as we all know, it’s not the gear, it’s what you do with it. Garbage in/garbage out and all that. Each of us probably has a couple of tricks, or pieces of kit that they use that others might not, and it may solve a specific problem for them. Which is fantastic. But in the end it all comes down to the ideas. I started thinking about this because I just saw a thread here asking how music reviewers do their thing, if they have a system for it. And I’ve seen a few others asking how to do X or Y thing and the people who know about that are more than happy to jump in and get into an otaku level of detail about how it works.I’ve been also thinking about the small but aggressive backlash I’ve gotten on some of these posts, and I think I figured out something that those people might not get. I do it for the same reason so many people here are willing to help and be transparent with their shit. *Sure you don’t like the way I word things, too bad, be the change you want to see and write your own column.*It comes down to love. The people who want to share their information with you, myself included, LOVE what they do. They have poured themselves into learning how to do it. And they want others to get just as much out of it as they do. In the end, that’s the entire motivation. Also, there a couple of simple facts that everyone should keep in mind.1. Ain’t none of us big enough to worry about trade secrets. We are in a tiny corner of a genre that the mainstream world doesn’t even market to anymore.2. When you raise the water level for one person it raises it for everyone. Let’s say someone you help becomes the next Nine inch nails. And suddenly the spotlight is back on this style of music. Well, that’s fucking great for all of us. Because that means the available audience is much bigger. TL;DR: help others when you can. Trade secrets are bullshit.
Steven Rants: you’re a superhero get your shit together….Superpowers. All of you are superhero’s you just don’t know it yet. (Some of you may, but then you won’t need this.) My hope is by the end of this you will see and understand what I mean. And this is a big ass hall of justice. Here’s what I mean. We are all different superhero’s with different powers. Some are Superman, some are the green lantern, some the wonder twins, and there are a few, but not many Batman’s… batmen? Battsmen? Batmens? Now, your superpowers… they ain’t all that compared to being able to fly. (If you can fly drop me a line, we should talk.)So the first thing you have to figure out is what your super power is. Here, let me give you some examples.*im picking people that I feel comfortable making statements about. I’m not picking favorites.
1. Ken, Super-Kens power is that he’s really good at social dynamics. He can get along with most people, and he can get people from all over the place to support his ideas, join a group like this, and out of respect for him and each other, not act like dicks.
2. My buddy Ian who just joined this group, one of his super powers is he knows synths inside and out, literally, he tears em apart, puts em together and brings them back to life.
3. My wife Donna, if you need to know anything logistically about touring in a van, she can tell you how to deal with any situation that comes up. She can do a 12 hour drive, set up, play a show, be nice to people, sell Merch, crash for four hours and do it again day after day, all while not letting her fibromyalgia keep her down. When we take big bad industrial bands out as our opening acts I sit then down and say ,”look I get that you’re tough as shit and all that, but you need to understand that D has bigger balls than all of you put together, and if you forget that, or don’t jump when she says jump, you’re going to be in for a bad time. Because if she tells you to jump, there’s a real good reason that you probably just don’t see.
4. Myself (I get to be in this list because it’s my damn list and I came up with the idea. Bite me.) I’m ridiculously tenacious, and I have total faith that the things I make are good and matter. Once I have an idea I will do anything I can think of to bring it to life, learning new skills, putting the time in to make it happen, because I have always been poor and have never been able to afford to pay people to do them for me. Also, possibly my best superpower, and one anyone can learn to do… I have no shame. None at all. I will pull every available string, and use every available connection to push my agenda. Because I believe that strongly in the quality of my ideas and work. “You think you’re that great huh?” No, but I’ve busted my ass, I’m good at what I do and I think it’s interesting. There are tons of people better than me, which is one of the reasons I’m willing to be so shameless trying to get my shit out there. Because doing this is *all I know how to do* I have no fall back plan. I get that attitude puts some people off. But fortunately not having any shame, I don’t really care much. “Ok, cool Steven, so what?” Chill. I’m getting there, relax, put your feet up, and most importantly, stop interrupting me. So, let’s step back and look at the big picture. You make this shit that you love, art, music, whatever and you want to disperse it to the widest possible audience, because otherwise what’s the fuckin point, right?This is where knowing what your powers are comes in. Purely from a marketing standpoint point, look what Ken has done in, what, two years? He’s put together a great blog, he’s made this group come together from all over the world. And consequently, because he’s a good guy and is putting all this work in, his market share, his “Ken” brand is skyrocketing. And because of all of that, when he wants to put his band on the road or get some remixes, or even just ask for help he’s already got his foot in a shit ton of doors. Just by doing what comes naturally to him. Because NETWORKING, BRAND RECOGNITION and your brands REPUTATION matter as much if not more than actually being good at what you do. (Kens good, natch)I mean shit, how many people do we know that are really good, but no one knows them, and how many horrific acts are out there playing garbage music for people? Once you figure out your superpowers you can use them to jumpstart your career, or at least keep it moving. For instance put out just a stupid amount of material over the last year and a half, along with 19? 20? Videos, a book, and however many paintings. And each of those helps get my projects in front of more people. It also helps showing people further up the ladder that I’m active and keeps people aware of my shit. I was speaking to someone recently who said ,”when I got back into doing X thing, you were one of the first people I ran across because you can’t *not* run across you.” So, for good or ill, my whole brand or trip is here for all to see. And if people don’t like it, so be it, it’s me, and I accept that result. The point is this. There’s a good chance that you have one or two things that you are really good at. In some cases you might just have a great personality, some of you might be batman and have just a shit ton of money, use that shit to buy promotion, or whatever. Know how to fix synths? Make sure everyone knows, maybe you can help an artist you like in exchange for an opening slot on a tour or a remix or some shit. Because one thing about super powers. No matter what you can do, there’s always someone who can do some shit you can’t. Figure out how to leverage that to your advantage, make yourself available. Because to the person who *can’t* do what you can… you really are a fuckin superhero. And that shit fuckin matters.