No One Asked

Loved this bit from the Extra Paint podcast with Meg Lewis, at about the 16:30 mark; about making stuff that no one asked you to create.

Not hired. No committee. No poll. Just making something because you want to see it in the world.

I started Skull Toaster in 2011 (oh my god, TEN years ago) because I wanted to put something on Twitter that didn’t send you off to read something elsewhere. I wanted to put the meat right where you were; on Twitter. No one asked.

No one asked me to start ‘Goodnight, Metal Friend,’ but I wanted to hear dark ambient and drone metal songs with NO DRUMS, because dammit I wanted to fall asleep to it! So I made it, and now I’ve made 12 mixes and a few fans! NEATO.

If want to stream, stream your thing. Write your thing. Post your videos. The world needs to see your own unique, different, oddball stuff because some people like unique, different, oddball stuff! Right now it’s just hard to get any traction because of all the algorithms and noise on social media. But do your thing, put it on your own website and promote it.

No one asked, and that’s fine.

Photo by Vlad Fonsark from Pexels

Hours Add Up

Been thinking lots of “screen time,” as the past few months have been a killer. Trying to keep up with *everything* has been exhausting. I’m not trying to beat myself up over this, or anyone else. Just trying to be more mindful.

“The trajectory of your life bends in the direction of your habits.”

James Clear

There’s been day where the hours add up, and by the end of the day I’ve stared at Twitter for four hours.

Four hours.

Of course that’s not four hours straight. But time adds up.

I want to get better at making music. That starts with making music. Not writing songs. Not releasing an album. Making music.

Today I ran five miles in about 55 minutes. It’s my 57th straight day of running. The goal wasn’t win a marathon. Or a gold medal. Just run.

Now, I know I need to some other exercise. More planking. Lifting more weights. For whatever reason I haven’t “found the time” to do any of those. The time is there. I just don’t wanna. It’s not a habit, and 10 years from today I bet I’ll wish I did a few more sit ups.

Daily Loop #18

Today I beat Instagram. Today, on MLK Jr. Day. I scrolled once, twice, and knew the comfort that it brings. I could just crawl back into bed, pull the covers up, and swipe, swipe, swipe.

But I cracked open Abelton Live, plugged in my gear, re-arranged some stuff, and got to it. Maybe saying “got to work” is a bit much, but maybe that’s true, as well.

If you write, you’re a writer.

A friend told me recently she met Victor Wooten, the amazing, other-worldly bassist. She mentioned that she was taking lessons from someone he knew, so he exclaimed, “oh, so you’re a bassist,” to which she replied, “well, umm.. I mean…”

She told me he squared up, looked her in the eyes, and said, “you’re a bassist.”

LIKES

“To our LGBTQIA fans and fellow musicians: we love you. Thank you for being who you are. Metal (and the rest of the world) is stronger because of your voices and power. We are grateful for y’all.” @khemmisdoom

Daily Loop #17

Don’t discount yourself. That’s something I struggle with a lot these days. “Oh, I just ran a mile today,” is something that came out my mouth recently, when just 4-ish years ago I couldn’t run a mile without being in pain for a week afterwards.

I’m tempted to discount this loop today, as there’s so much more that could be done here. Better arrangement, better mix, more vocals, more sizzle, more pop… the list goes on and will never end.

But this baby got out today, and that’s all that matters. This is the public facing audio treat, and that’s final. It’s not the final mix, and frankly no one cares.

LIKES

“blasting shoegaze while driving means turning it down every five seconds to make sure that the weird noises in the song aren’t coming from your car,” @dniellechelosky

“I’m not one for ‘told ya so’s but in 1989 when David Duke won the state House seat in Louisiana, some of us said this was an inflection point in American politics. This wasn’t just the logical result of Reaganesque racial dog whistling. It was something different,” @timjacobwise

“I’m just thinking again about how many lives would have been saved had the US had competent — or even vaguely interested — national leadership when the pandemic hit,” @AstroKatie

Video by Anthony from Pexels

Daily Loop #16

Today’s Daily Loop gets a little raunchy, featuring a vocal sample and a mish-mash of other sounds and debris. Still getting the hang of the APC40 but woo, I love it.

LIKES:

“I love @YouTube and put a music video on there the other day… how can this be happening? I don’t want my fans or anyone to be funding hate or violence,” @selenagomez

https://twitter.com/Ang_Ramm/status/1350308428569337856

Daily Loop #16 Video by C Technical from Pexels

Daily Loop #15

“I’m mentoring a young African photographer that does all his edits on his phone. Does anyone have a laptop they aren’t using?” @aundrelarrow

“The gentlest people I know are full of rage and grief.” @alexanderchee

“Happy to have cut my teeth in an industry that was more about supporting art and adding something beautiful to the world than being an “entrepreneur” and being cool and not understanding what it truly means to invest in something you believe in.” @misslujo

Video by Stef from Pexels

Daily Loop #14

Just beeps and boops, bass-line and loops. Late night jamming, but loving the work. Head down, crank it out. And heck, this isn’t #14, this is like #114 if we’re counting all the files on my computer. This is where it’s at because I’m been messing with Abelton Live since 2017, which is probably the longest I’ve messed with a single piece of software since ScreenFlow.

One poem, one photograph, one beat can change someone’s life. Make your thing and ship it.

Video by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Let Your Work Cook

During a recent Instagram Stories doom-swipe session, I noticed Kendriana post about one of her posts being removed because IG thought it broke some rule. A physical trainer I follow had their entire account wiped out because of some unknown one-and-done rule breaking (thankfully they got their account back).

With each day that passes, it’s never been more important to move your followers to your website. To your email list. Get your biggest fans to follow you to a platform you own.

Social media is so enticing for artists, photographers, musicians, etc because of the instant feedback. The interaction. The release of endorphins that come from instant validation.

The entire system is built on that, but it’s a system to benefit them, not you.

You feed their system day and night with content, with engagement, with interaction. In turn, they harvest your user data, habits, track what you look at and like, and sell it to advertisers.

So long as you keep feeding social media your time and effort, they will make lots of money.

The alternative is update your own website. Send an email to your newsletter subscribers.

Neither give you the instant feedback, but stop and consider that instant isn’t alway better.

Sometimes you need to let your work cook.

Make your site something that’s so rad that people would miss it if it were gone (via Seth Godin). Make it something that is a part of people’s lives. Something worth typing into an address bar (or even bookmarking).

Make your thing so great that people will trade you their email address and the sacred access to their inbox just to keep up with you.

When you spend four hours a day on social media, you helped sell a lot of ads.

When you fill your site with two years worth of content, you had a body of work. Anyone with a web-browser can see your talent.

Your magic.