YOU wanna be somebody!

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YOU… wanna be somebody… be somebody soon. Too soon! And that’s the problem. Why do you all want to be “somebody” so badly? Why can’t you wait and earn it?

“We released our demo today, can you please write about it in your blog/zine/site/mag please”? “We’ve only been together a year, but we are determined to make it to the top”. “We may have only recorded 4 songs so far, but they are 4 songs that show plenty of promise”.

Where do I start? I know, how about if that’s the best you’ve got then I’m not really feeling psyched to check out your 4 song e.p. Your 4 song e.p that got snapped up by a digital only label. I don’t really understand these digital only labels to be honest. As a band you have access to all the same music streaming sites as everybody else. Why wouldn’t you just do it yourself? I’ll leave that subject here though, as it’s not what this piece is about. Back to your 4 song e.p.

I’m looking at your half page ad that you shelled out for, published in a magazine of good standing, and all I see is words. Word after word of fluff, guff and typos. Guess who wrote their own P.R? Guess who had no business writing their own P.R? I get it, hiring a P.R firm doesn’t play nicely with a young band’s non existent budget. Too bad, you need one! And a graphic designer too because your ad looks terrible. No, your bass player clearly isn’t a graphic designer. Fire him and hire someone who is. This is why one does not simply become a “somebody” when their resume consists of only a year of gigging, and a 4 song digital only e.p. If you were bent on writing your own hype then the money you spent on paying the artist who did your cover art would have been better spent on a 6 week journalism course at community college/adult education e.t.c.

You’re not thinking things through. You’re not considering the bigger picture as it pertains to the career you are clearly longing for. Quite obviously the psychology of this has not entered your plan for global domination. For instance, when you say “we may have only recorded 4 songs, but they are 4 songs that show plenty of promise” you are making a statement that simply says “we know we are not somebody’s yet and we’re asking that you make allowances for that”. Oops, that wasn’t the best marketing line for your ad. You’re supposed to be selling yourself here, not hi lighting how little you’ve accomplished. “We’re not somebody’s yet, but we have promise and we are going to work hard until we reach the top”. Ok, good! So why not take that promise and put that work ethic and enthusiasm into raising your standards, for EVERYTHING, over the next few years. Why not hang back until you know you have something good. Forget the magazine delusions and work on your craft until it can compete with established artists. With your peers. Your crummy ad isn’t going to get you to the next level. Only you can do that by being good.

Your music, art, design, website, (what’s that, you don’t have a website because you have a Facebook page?  Doh!), social media, contact list e.t.c all have to be up to snuff. If not you’re a sitting duck. Why any artist would be happy to be forgettable is beyond me.

If your work is strong in every area it will speak for itself. And your half page ad need only have your logo, cover art and a snappy tag line. If you’re good that’s all you’ll need. Trust me.

On the subject of wanting to be a “somebody”, let’s talk about the artist who actually was a “somebody” in their past, but that time is long since gone and they refuse to let go of it. If what you did was great and made a legitimate impact you will be a “somebody” forever. If Frank Sinatra were alive today do you think he would be on his Facebook once a week making posts about gigs from 60 years ago? No, he would be drinking whiskey, straight over ice, in a swanky room with women 40 years younger than himself, while some other chump posted about gigs from 60 years ago on an un-official Sinatra page. Once or twice a year is alright for nostalgia sake, but once or twice a fortnight, or even a week is desperate as fuck. Let go of it and let the work speak for itself. Don’t sully it’s memory, it’s potency, it’s legacy by constantly engaging in “remember when” behaviour as a means to validate yourself now. You obviously don’t feel like you’re a “somebody” right now otherwise you wouldn’t feel the need to continually drag up your past. It’s one of the oldest, longest running side effects of music business notoriety. This awful trait of never shutting up about something you did years ago. If you want to be relevant now be active in your present. Fucking do something, instead of talking endlessly. I see original members of VERY famous rock bands on my Facebook all the time doing this. But at least they always have a tour on, always have a show, a flight booked. At least they are actually doing something. There are people who “do”, and people who “don’t”. People who “do” waste no time talking about what they are going to do, or what they have done, because they are too busy focusing their will on what they are doing right now.

The wannabe “somebody” writer comes next. I’m fucking sick of them. Just because you have some shit internet page and call yourself a writer/reviewer/king of the realm doesn’t make you so. Oh no. It’s insulting to bands that actually put the work in, to see just how little work you are investing on your end. What kind of a “writer/reviewer/blogger” that wishes to be taken seriously can’t even fucking get the title of the album they are reviewing correct? Especially when the title is comprised of 3 simple english words. Nothing fancy or mysterious, just 3 words. Do your fucking homework! I completed an interview recently with a music journalist. Someone who has been writing for a reputable title for some years. The quality of the questions he posed to me revealed he clearly had read up on me enough to form something of intelligence. They were thoughtful and considered questions, but more than that, relevant to the artist he was interviewing. It’s not that hard. If you are serious you will do your research. There really is no excuse for calling the album you are reviewing something it’s not, as there really is no excuse for saying the singer is somebody he’s not, or that the band features members from a country it does not. The P.R pack you received has all this information in it in plain english. You really can’t figure it out? You are not a music journalist. You are not even a blogger. You are dyslexic. And all this is watering everything down to the point of stale cat piss. Why can’t you all demand more of yourselves? This is weak. This is a joke.

What about the studio recording/mixing/mastering engineer who’s hasn’t even made anything that’s been seriously released, picked up by a label or written about anywhere? What about that guy? He has a Facebook page, it says right there that he’s all of those things so he must be right? No!! Just a couple of rank digital recordings that lack any understanding of gain structure, correct use of compression, e.q, e.t.c, thrown up haphazardly onto every online streaming site doesn’t make you any of the titles you bestow upon yourself. It makes you desperate to be a “somebody”. Forget about the guy who says he can record everything in full bit depth at his “professional” studio and provide it to you ready for immediate mixing at industry standard, when the reality is very different. The reality is it was actually recorded through sub par pro-sumer equipment and exhibits so many clocking errors and phase cancellations between microphones that these “mix ready” recordings are anything but. “Mixing technology is so good now you really don’t need to bother with recording through the best possible equipment in the best possible room anymore”. Say what?  Just hire a top mixer to sound replace everything so you can sound like every other bland as fuck record of the last 12 years. That way you can have that same sound as 50 million other piss weak bands with no artistic integrity, no message, no fucking purpose beyond being a band that gigs on big tours and sells albums. Shit band names, shit song titles, shit lyrics, shit ethos, shit plastic production. I take the stance of the dissident and say a resounding fuck that, and please pass me the salt.

Then there is the Facebook “photography” page. Oooooh, what a nasty little creature that is. Just because you have a DSLR, a Facebook page called “Stale Cat Piss Photography” that is loaded with pictures you took with the camera set to auto at multiple family lunches and assorted gatherings doesn’t mean you’re a fucking photographer. If you want to call yourself a photographer so badly go do an adult education course and see if you can learn how to take a photo in manual mode to begin with. Once you have that sorted start taking photos and see if you actually have any talent at all for composition. You know? For actually seeing the photograph before you’ve taken it. If you get that far maybe start learning about light sources more. Natural light. Where it comes from and what it does to your photographs. Then maybe start thinking about artificial lighting, how you can use it creatively to light subjects in an emotive way, or use it to try and replicate natural light. What was that? You’d like me to repeat all that? Just read it from the top down again, it’s all there. Sorry, what? You still don’t understand? That’s because you’re not a F.U.C.K.I.N.G P.H.O.T.O.G.R.A.P.H.E.R!!!!!! So stop calling yourself one. I could go on and on all day long. Photoshop artists that abuse the bevel emboss/plastic wrap/blur/ clarity/lens flare/saturation/sharpen tools e.t.c with no understanding of how to use any of them. So called record label owners who have never pressed a cd, or at best release themselves on cd-r because they don’t want to step up to the plate and have to deal with pressing plants, deadlines, communication problems, real money. Come on guys.

Stop calling yourself a Singer/songwriter/musician/recording/mixing/mastering-engineer/music journalist/writer/blogger/ tour promoter/record label/photographer/film-maker/digital artist/graphic designer/painter unless you do any of these things well and have proof of it. If you don’t, the only thing you should call yourself is wanker.

Wannabe Somebody Wanker.

Demand more of yourselves!

I get more meaningful interaction from my wood pile. I am deadly serious about that. I have tree frogs living in there that I see and talk to every day. What I get back from them is far more evolved than all your internet fraudulence combined. What do the tree frogs say to me? Fucking nothing!!!

It’s time to go back to the drawing board for all of you. Get better or leave this place. But like Conor McGregor says, “You’ll do nuthin”.

I just finished listening to Bethlehem’s classic “Dark Metal”. On the cover of the booklet it says “Fucking Kill Yourself”. Nice little synchronicity there huh?.

I’m not even apologetic for any spelling or grammar mistakes I’ve made here because I can write better than 90% of you “writers” so called.

Put that in your blog and smoke it.

 

Let It Be Known!

THROES Dissident sigil

So here is another necessary artistic statement of intent from ThrOes. Now that the debut album “This Viper Womb” is in the final stages of preparing for release I have had to do some digging around to see what labels and zines are active today. Who has a strong presence and is reaching people. Things have changed so much since I started writing the earliest material in 2003. Now that I am looking around a bit I’ve discovered a few things. Firstly the internet has spawned a myriad of weak and trendy labels that lack continuity and power in their direction and ethos and I am unable to determine what their true creative intention is, I can’t help but see persons just wanting to run an internet label. A lot of them are going to the bother of releasing quality packaging for the artists which is great, and a lot have pretty decent websites. But I must confess that nearly every artist I check out on their rosters leaves me unimpressed and feeling like they are trying too hard to be some new artsy thing. This is how they are removing themselves from the established names of the established genres. This is something I understand, and I also support. The problem is I don’t believe any of it. It feels like there is a whole wave of bands calling themselves “post” this, “gaze” that, “transcendental” this, and on and on. I’m sorry but it’s all pretentious dribble to me lacking in substance and artistic depth and I’m astounded at how well some of these flimsy bands are doing and how much press they are receiving. This means nothing to me. I’m just surprised. Well, maybe not all the way. Mediocrity seems to reign with an iron fist these days.

Now it’s not just me. In looking into labels and zines I’ve noticed a few making very stern statements similar to this:
“DO NOT TELL US YOU ARE SOME UNIQUE AND NEW STYLE OF METAL, IT WILL PISS US OFF WHEN WE FIND OUT YOU ARE JUST SOME WEAK UNORIGINAL SHOE GAZE HIPSTER CRAP”!

I respect this because as I am now forced to poke my head back in to the scene I can see it’s inundated with this trendy meaningless third rate lies passed off as high art just because some twits with silly haircuts say it’s high art. Evolved! Pffft. An artist can say anything they want about they’re work but if they’re work can not back this up then you are just jumping on band wagons and speaking in ways that is clearly just marketing for impressionable suckers.

Let me stand up tall once again and state FIRMLY for the record that I am not a part of any of this. I spent many long years divorced entirely from every type of metal scene there is, long before any of what’s going on now started happening and becoming the new trend. I was extremely isolated from any other metal music, letting ThrOes evolve organically and independently of anything else. I didn’t really listen to much metal between 2005 right up till now to be honest, except for the odd album that I worshipped. This is one reason I think ThrOes sounds so original, which leads me to my next point.

For me ThrOes is very much it’s own style. I haven’t heard anything else that sounds like it. If someone else can show me a band that sounds like the music I have made I would welcome the chance to hear it. As far as intent goes, a band like Bethlehem reminds me of ThrOes because no one else sounds like them. They do their own thing which is not pretentious, it is just how they write music. Some of the most original music in metal, and any genre for that matter that I have ever heard. They knew they were individuals and they dubbed themselves as “Dark Metal”, a term that had not been used before. A bunch of bands started adopting the term after that but they didn’t have much in common with Bethlehem because no other band does. Bethlehem are Bethlehem.

As I’ve mentioned on my official Facebook page when I started writing ThrOes I dubbed it Trance Metal. It wasn’t Black Metal, it wasn’t Death Metal, it wasn’t Doom Metal but it was heavily preoccupied with creating real hypnotic states within the music whilst also being very heavy. No one else was using this term and I was happy to represent it. Recently I’ve found out that this is a term now being used and some of the examples of bands I’ve heard using it unfortunately turn me off big time and they sound nothing at all like my ThrOes. I also don’t find anything hypnotic about them at all. Obviously this is a term that exists, and has been in use now for 3 or 4 years from what I can gather, before I got my work this far. No longer do I choose to use this term to represent my sound.

I have made a stance to again act alone. I stand by the fact that I feel ThrOes does not sound like anything else in metal. I feel it is in opposition to 90% of metal on a stylistic and thematic level and I do not care one bit about belonging to a group or limiting my style to a few enforced adjectives by authorities I do not follow.
I now refer to ThrOes as “Dissident Metal”.

Dissident:
a person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state.
dissenter, objector, protester, disputant; freethinker, nonconformist, independent thinker; rebel, revolutionary, recusant, renegade; subversive, agitator, insurgent, insurrectionist, insurrectionary.

This is who I am. In life and in art. Anyone who really knows me knows this to be true. This is not a gimmick. This is what my music is. The term describes it with absolutism and total self belief. Any established “genre terminology” is archaic and unsatisfactory to me as an artist and I will not use it. ThrOes does not belong to any of it. ThrOes is Dissident Metal. This is the only way I will refer to it. It is descriptive of not only the sound, but the lyrics, the art, the way the album was made and the artistic intent behind all of it. It is a complete rejection of many things and scene authority is certainly one of them.

ThrOes is Dissident Metal!
If you will not review or listen to my music because this is how I refer to it, because this is displeasing to your rigid framework of genre classification I will not be losing any sleep over this. I stand by the music and the music speaks for itself.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!

T.

The Black Falconer

Navigating north and south

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Don’t mistake any of what I’m about to say as some idiot telling everyone to “just be more positive”, or that I assume that the struggle of the man living in Syria or Sierra Leone is the same struggle as the man living in Seattle or Sydney. They are not. I can not speak for, nor offer any advice to the man who lives in a war zone, is under the rule of a tyrannical dictatorship, is chained to religious extremism by blood and birth, does not know where his next meal is coming from e.t.c.

I do not speak to the man who’s bloodline has been thinned to the edge of extinction by genocide, or had his culture devalued, torn asunder and then sold to feeble minded western consumers in two bit tourist/cafe/knick knack shops.

I have nothing to offer these people because I don’t pretend to know anything about it. It isn’t my experience of life. I’m fortunate. I live a privileged life. I live in the west where apathy and entitlement reign, and there is no shortage of either to study.

Western apathy is a dirty thing. A symptom of our own material worldfucking. For a lot of people, living in the west affords them every freedom. The opportunity to live a full life. Yet so many are slaves to apathy. So many have a real chance at life but they have no clue what life is. They’re doing anything not to participate in it.

Life is duality. An electromagnetic double current of seemingly “good” and “bad” experienced at random for the duration of one’s residency on earth. People in the west get so caught up in the north and south of things that it stops them from getting runs on the board. “I’m north, but I want to be south”. “I’m south but I want to be north”. There are even those people that possess talent not known by most who hold back on harnessing their gifts because they are afraid of the end result, the outcome of their talent being out in the world. Afraid of failing. This is a harmful preoccupation with events that have not yet passed.

Be concerned with being present. Quit your job, quit your marriage, quit the lease on your car, quit your pay t.v subscription. If these things are preventing you from being present and knowing who you are, if they make you miserable, if they stop you participating and living life, burn them. Those who cry boredom and anxiety do so because they’re stuck in first gear, stuck in the slow lane, disabled from being present, hopelessly trying to speed up a listless life artificially by any means necessary. Anything that will tickle the reward centers of the brain triggered by stimulation of the neurotransmitters. Drugs, gambling, t.v, relationship drama, serial affairs, shopping addiction, travel addiction, credit card debt to fund fake lifestyles, keeping up with the Jones’. These are typical western dodges, most, including myself, will employ at least once in their life to not have to deal with the often painful prospect of knowing one self.

It’s a very rare individual that’s happy to be in their own company. The few that do are who I would deem to be “free”. When you’re running from who you are you’re running in the wrong direction and you will fall over. Stay in your pain, weather the storm, face your crisis with prestige and complete the mission. Learn whatever it is you are supposed to learn from the event. Don’t cheat yourself out of a chance to gain knowledge.

Life is an apprenticeship and every experience you live is a test you are offered. Whether you pass or fail is up to you, but you can not be a master without first being an apprentice. Forget about north and south, forget about good and bad. Focus instead on balancing the energy and frequency that needs to be mastered, conquered and shaped by acts of will in your life. Such a realisation makes a man who seeks knowledge dispassionate to the circumstances a subdued man would call himself a victim of. A man of knowledge situated in the north is ready to expect the south at any moment. He favours not one for the other because he welcomes the opportunity to master both . He seeks to master both at once. The aim is to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being alive. Choose a path with heart and view everything not as a blessing or a curse, but merely as a challenge, and accept it without anxiety or regret for the outcome. Life is too short for regret. Life should be about getting runs on the board. He who dies with the most toys does not win, he with the most runs on the board does.

 

5 possible indications your metal band sucks

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1: If you have a three word name your metal band probably sucks. There are exceptions to the rule of course, but most won’t make it out alive. I don’t think I’ve read one yet that has any depth, power or real meaning and this almost always extends to the music. You can smell the weak song structures and predictable cliches a mile a way. These types of names are flimsy, naff and blow over the minute anyone so much as farts, so forget about them surviving a real storm, like the test of time for example. Identifying one of these names is quite easy. If your metal band is called “As something something”, “When something something”, ” Within something something, “After the something”, if it starts with Beyond, Below,  Beneath, Above, well, you get the drift. If you meet these criteria it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that your metal band probably sucks. Even if you’re gigging, touring and have a strong fan base these are actually no insurance that the core ethos of your band is bullet proof against sucking. Chances are you have no real ethos. You are probably working hard on your image and making sure it slots nicely into your chosen sub genre. Acceptance. How can anyone forget that classic taxi cab exchange between Patrick Bateman and his “supposed” fiance Evelyn Williams?

Evelyn to Patrick : “You hate that job, I don’t see why you just don’t quit?”

Patrick to Evelyn : ” BECAUSE I WANT… TO FIT…IN!”

Let’s move on shall we?

2: If the image of your metal band you present to the world is one of being misanthropic, nihilistic, anti human satanists, but you then fail utterly to be true to these ideologies in your real life, you are full of shit, your ethos is about image and your metal band probably sucks. If you claim to align with any of the above philosophies, but in your real life lobby for gay rights, animal rights, if you express genuine remorse ( which is a very real and natural human trait I might add) at human tragedies, like learning of ilness or death of any friends, family or pets, if you are miserable at the fact your work or relationships make you miserable then you are full of shit, your ethos is about image and your metal band probably sucks. Let us not forget, you tell the world through your projected imagery, lyrics, and interviews that you are misanthropic, nihilistic, anti human satanists and by not rejoicing in the examples of worldly suffering I mention is to be disingenuous in your projected artistic ideology, phoney, and anything phoney means your metal band probably sucks. Moving on.

3: If you are one of these new breed metal bands that operates off this latest trend of song structure, i.e. half time break down verse, screamo, boring, hollow annoying vocal that kids itself it’s angry and full of feeling, but is actually devoid of both, then seemlessly floats into a totally “no surprises here” chorus that’s fitted out with one of those “heard it a thousand times before” big, fake epic, melodic pop hooks that’s equipped with the spawn of Justin Bieber for the vocal, your metal band probably sucks. If you fit into both point 1 and 3 of this list simultaneously, forget probably, your metal band DOES suck.

4: No amount of lo fi production is going to make your half arsed Darkthrone rip off be the next Darkthrone. That was a moment in time and it ended 20 years ago. Get over it. If your songs are shit, boring and unimaginative, deliberate lo fi production will not be your saviour. You will NEVER be accepted into the halls of Valhalla with your idols so stop trying so hard to follow scene rules. They were put there to keep the likes of you out. If you think you are honouring Quorthorn, Euronymous and Dead with every riff you lay down to your $100 soundcard your metal band probably sucks. I invite you to ditch your uniform and find out who YOU are, and stop being who you think you have to be to fit in. You’re missing the point. Also, if you’re not Norwegian you probably shouldn’t wear corpse paint. It’s disrespectful.

5: Did you even bother to ask yourself whether the world needs your band and it’s music in it? If the answer is no then your metal band probably sucks. If you have honestly never asked yourself this question before continuing to gig or release an album you are likely more concerned with not being left out, of feeling like you’re running out of time to get noticed, feeling like you’re behind in the race. There’s the problem. You treat what should be your art as sports or an avenue to fame, a way to be known which illustrates flaws in your character like impatience and envy. Your only concern should be whether you are leaving the greatest work of art you can to the world, and if that was your concern you wouldn’t release the same bland rice and beans as everyone else. If it takes 20 years to paint 5 brush strokes of red against 6 brush strokes of blue exactly the way you see it in your head then that’s how long it takes. It doesn’t matter if someone else has completed 20 similar works in that time. It’s irrelevant. They are not you. All that matters is if you care about your art enough to allow it the time it requires to end up at it’s best. If you see your metal band as a vehicle to climb up a scene related ladder that has nothing to do with any real artistic statement that’s ok, but it does increase the chances that your metal band probably sucks.