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Lueda Alia's Journal
|Lueda Alia's Photo Blog
|When it rains, it pours. And lord knows it's fucking pouring at the moment. But nothing can knock me down now. I've been meaning to post this for so long, but I kept editing it as things in my life changed. And I think I refrained from posting it for a reason -- I do not want to dwell on all the bad that has happened anymore. There will always be people who take advantage and fuck you over, and there will always be misfortunes that will make you wonder whether it's worth it to even keep trying anymore. The answer is Yes. Life is always worth trying, despite all the setbacks, despite all the douchebags. Because there's still so much good left in the world, and so many great people that deserve the time of your day.|
It's Thanksgiving here this weekend, and even though 2012 has been such a horrible year on a personal level, I still have so much to be grateful for. I feel like the luckiest person in the world because I'm still surrounded by people who genuinely love me, and in the end, that's the only thing that truly matters. There's no mountain I can't climb with the love and support of the people around me. And I want them to know just how much they mean to me, too.
Scroll past and look for your name! Don't be a creeper and read my personal thoughts on these other friends of mine!
I have been blessed with a wonderful mother who has always done and continues to do so much for me. It's not every day that your parent spends half of their savings on a Euro trip for you, in the hope that it will pull you out of your rut. It's not every day that your parent continues to support your dreams to the extent that mine does, despite the fact that she can hardly wrap her head around this music industry business. I may be biased as anyone would be regarding their mother, but I truly do believe that I've hit jackpot in the parent department. I may fight with my mother more than I do or ever will with anyone else, but she is, hands down, the most caring, selfless, and incredible person I have ever met. The way she goes above and beyond for those around her always leaves me in awe. She has always been an inspiration, and always will be. I owe all my strength, ambition and motivation to her. She is living proof that you can achieve anything you set your mind to because nothing is out of reach, and that you can overcome every obstacle and heartache that life throws your way. I love you, mom.
When I wrote about my SXSW trip back in March, I mentioned Kyle P briefly at the end because he had been so great to me, even as just a casual friend at the time. It's only been 6 months since, but in this "short" time, he has become the second most important person in my life -- right after my mother. I could sit here and tell you that I saw this coming, and that it makes sense for us to be this close, but I would be lying. I do not know how we got to this point, but I stopped questioning it long ago. Because this? This -- it just works. And it's one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I can't think of much I wouldn't do for this boy, and as a common friend said to me last week, "I can't think of many things that Kyle wouldn't drop for you on the spot." Friends may be baffled by our relationship, and quite frankly, sometimes we are baffled by it too. But what baffles me even more is that I wake up every day knowing that there's someone out there who genuinely loves me; it's the best feeling, and I can only hope that I make him feel half as loved, appreciated and special as he makes me feel. Because he is all of those things.
"You and my little sister are the only people I have ever cared for, Eda." Those are the words that one of my best friends, Tristan DY (or just "DY" as we all know him), said to me before I left to go to Europe. Hearing those words made me tear up, if only for the fact that he's the type of person that you wouldn't ever expect to be emotional or affectionate. Yet, he was one of the people who stood by me all summer and supported me every step of the way. I couldn't count the number of times that we have ripped into each other and made one another feel completely miserable over the tiniest and most insignificant things. But I still wouldn't change a thing about our friendship.... because it's genuine, and we both know that we would do anything for each other. Real friends don't hold grudges; they let go, and laugh it up.
I can't mention the above friend without mentioning another dear friend of mine: Trent. He, too, stood by my side until the very last moment. Our friendship has had a few ups and downs, but he has also played such a crucial role in helping me overcome so much the past year. I don't know where I would be without all those car rides, without all those hugs, words of support and encouragement, and so much more. I'll never forget the genuine affection and sense of security he gave me during the short time that he spent in the same city, and I hope he'll never forget all the delicious food (read: steak) I made for him! But above all, I just hope he'll always be around.
Before I make a list of the three girlfriends that I bug on the regular, I want to give a shout out to the the person that was my first friend in Canada, and the closest thing to a sister that I've ever had: Katrina. We can be pretty horrible about keeping in touch, but she is and always will be family to me. And you know how it goes -- you don't always do the best job at keeping in touch with family, but you still love them the same, and more than anyone. Reconnecting with her this summer was one of the best thing that happened to me, because having my best friend back, and closer than ever, is an incredible feeling. I'll always wish that she still lived only 20 minutes away from me, but there's no distance in this world that could ever get between us. Our lives couldn't be more different, but I couldn't be more proud of her. She is so wonderful. And she's made me "auntie Eda," so how can I not love her?
There was another friend here in London, ON that made me realize that she was one of the few I could truly count on -- my friend Kristen. We have known each other for well over two years now, but for a reason or another, we kept a distance until this past year. She has turned out to be one of the most reliable friends I have, and I cherish our friendship more than I can say. We don't need to smother each other because we love each other ~so much, because we both know that we have something solid, and that we both care without having to announce it to the world every day. Simply put, this is one of those adult friendships that you want to last for years, because it's real. It may have taken us a while to get to this point, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'll never be able to thank her enough for being there for me when most of my "close" friends walked away, but I hope she will one day realize how much this friendship, and all that she's done for me, mean to me.
Even though I mentioned Christina in the last blog, I feel it's even more necessary to give her a shout out here now. It's funny to think about our friendship, because sometimes we hardly keep in touch for long periods of time -- yet, when we start talking again, it's never awkward or forced. For a reason or another, this girl has stuck by me over the years, and she has stood up for me even when we weren't friends. I've met so many wonderful people on AP.net over the years, but she would always be at the top of my list. I can't thank her enough for being there during some of my darkest moments, and for keeping me company when I needed it most. She may be hundreds of miles away, but she's made me feel less alone than people who have been around physically. And that means the world, as do her friendship and support. One day soon, we will be out in the sun, sipping on Pinot Grigio, in some beautiful country in South America.
Another girl friend that has been my rock the past 4 months, is my amazing friend Gina. I couldn't tell you how or why we started talking, but I do know that our friendship began to develop at one of the most difficult periods of my life. And I can't even begin to describe the amount of support that she has given me in such a short period of time. She has dealt with my meltdowns, my insecurities and just about anything I've felt and experienced, and she has never made me felt like a burden; on the contrary, she has made me feel loved and appreciated, and she has played such an important role in my recovery. I have yet to meet her, but I look forward to the day that I can give her a hug so much. She is wonderful and knowing that she'll be working so closely with me on Made of Chalk is beyond exciting.
Speaking of MoC, I would like to take a moment here to remind my friend Kevin that the site does, in fact, exist! Jokes aside, you are yet another person that I became close to and shared some of my favourite memories with this year. And if anyone were to ask, I couldn't even explain or describe how it all happened -- it just did. You may get on my nerves when you're obnoxiously drunk and bug me to feed you steak at midnight, but I still love you. There is no doubt in my mind that we will be friends for a long time.
I can't finish this blog without mentioning my incredible staff on Made of Chalk. They may not know it, but they are the closest thing to a family at this point in my life. Seeing them all come together in our little email chains never ceases to bring a smile to my face. They fill my heart with so much love, hope, and so much encouragement.
Steph - I don't remember the last time I made a thank you list in recent years... that you weren't a part of. I think that fact in itself speaks volumes. I've shared things and been honest with you in ways that I would not feel comfortable doing with anyone else. Because I know that no matter what I do, no matter how many poor decisions I may make, you'll always be there to listen and help me "figure my shit out" without being judgmental in the slightest. You and Gina are lucky that I'm not gay, because I'm fairly certain that I would force both of you to have a three-way relationship with me. At least this way, you two can continue being my favourite couple!
Dan - What I said above, applies to you too -- you've been on every single list I've made the past few years, which means that you must be pretty damn special to me. :) I still don't know how we became friends, but you are hands down one of the most important friends in my life. You may always wonder why I'm willing to spend so much money to come visit/see you, but it's a no brainer to me: I love you and I love our friendship. I love how you're not afraid to disagree with me, because it's what makes me trust you the way I do and take your opinion to heart more than most people's. I can't wait to hang out again in two months, and I will make you drink an entire shot of gin this time. And maybe we can have some whiskey with Astronaualis.... if you don't forget it again! Love and miss you.
Corinna - I'm not even sure what to say other than: you've been nothing short of a miracle in my life this year. Your kindness and sincerity make you such a beautiful person. You are a beautiful person. Our daily 8-hour-long-chats in the summer saved me far more than any other sort of therapy that I had available at my disposal did. You helped give life to my dream, without asking for much in return, and all while supporting me emotionally as much as you could from being thousands of miles away. There's not enough money in this world to pay the debt that I feel I owe you. And there are certainly no words to describe how highly I think of you. Before anyone thinks I'm crazy in love with you after reading this (which... who knows, I may be!), I'll just leave it at this: thank you, and I love you.
Kyle H - I feel like I already summed up how I feel in that thread not long ago, but I'll just say it again, anyway: I consider you one of my closest friends and I'll always wish we lived closer, but I'm content knowing that someone all the way in fucking England will always have my back. I love you and I'm so glad that you're always there with me.
Broden - When I think of you, the word "sweet" comes to mind, because I have yet to meet a boy who is as (to use your favourite word) lovely as you are. Recent unfortunate events may have brought us closer, and while I wish that neither of us would know what it's like to deal with the heartache we have experienced, I still wouldn't change a thing. The best friendships come out of the worst situations sometimes -- and this is one of them. Thank you for always listening, and thank you for being so loyal.
Eva - I think sending you that IM a few months ago, is still one of the best decisions I've made as far as friendships go. I couldn't be happier to have you on my team, and you will forever be one of the people who not only believed in me first, but who also encouraged and offered support before MoC was even a thought. I'm so glad to have you around. And I will most definitely mail you that bottle of Pinot Grigio for your 21st. <3
Thomas - If anyone would have told me earlier this year that we would not only become friends, but also make the best team... I would have most likely laughed in their faced and told them to get lost. I love how things have turned around, and I love that we have bonded over the past few months. Getting to know you better has changed so much, and I'm so excited to see what the future has in hold for us. There is no doubt that we can make ridiculous things happen together, and I'm so appreciative to have your support in all of this. Let's show everyone what we got, eh?!
Ian - We may not talk to each other much, but I know that we have this mutual love and respect for one another, and it's pretty fucking awesome, if you ask me. I have been blown away by your support, and I'm so, so thankful that you're still here, still around, and still willing to contribute in amazing ways. You are an incredible writer, my friend, and your sarcasm/wit never disappoints, either. Thank you for taking part in this crazy adventure, and thank you for all your support.
Andrew - I almost feel as though we met on accident, all thanks to the almighty Clint Mansell. It's truly amazing to see how our friendship has evolved since we first spoke to each other on Twitter back in June. Our conversations may revolve around food, shitty ex partners/people and how broke we are, but they always bring a smile to my face. I wish the best for you and I have no doubt in my mind that sooner or later, you will catch the break you deserve. Your work (books) is too good not to be noticed. But I'll be here to help you achieve your goals and dreams in any way I can, as I know you will help me with mine.
Kyle S - I spent most of my September talking to and laughing with you, and you became such a huge part of my life... seemingly out of nowhere. You helped fill such a huge void at a time of need. But most importantly, you made me feel good about myself, and you made me feel like there was more to me than I was giving myself credit for. I can't wait to see what you can do in the future, because if there's any journalism kid that I think can make it out there, it's you.
Nick - I still can't get over how involved and passionate you are about this entire project. It's kind of mind blowing, and even though I have yet to really wrap my mind around it all, I just want you to know that I'm extremely thankful for everything you've done so far. Meeting and hanging out with you at the Typhoon after party in August 2011, was one of the best music experiences I've ever had. I can't wait to see what we can accomplish together.
Dre - Forget what you've gotten "used to" in the past, because everyone on MoC loves you. I'm amazed that your talent went unnoticed until now, but in a selfish way, I'm also happy because we now get to reap the rewards! I love that we connected, and I love that you followed and supported me every step of the way in this journey. I sincerely hope that you will be around for a long time to come, because I want your work to get noticed as much as I want you to help the site succeed. You are truly amazing at what you do, and I consider myself lucky to be your friend.
Alex - I think it's been about 10 years since we have known each other, which absolutely blows my mind. At the same time, it saddens me that we have yet to meet, especially considering that you were one of the first internet friends I felt affection toward. To this day, you remain one of the best people that I have come across, not just on the internets but in general. I hope we'll always keep in touch in a way or another, because I love you long time, my friend.
Chris C - We may not always see eye to eye, but you've always been very supportive of my work over the years, which I appreciate so much. No compliment or word of support that you've given me over the years, will ever be forgotten. Thank you for being in on this with me, and thank you for helping make me believe that I could have so much more.
Cody - You will always go down as one of the funniest people I have met on this website. Your carefree attitude, and not to mention your amazing voice, will forever make me smile. One of these days I'll make it up to for you smacking you with Kevin's Simba! In all seriousness, thank you for all the encouraging messages and for repeatedly telling me that you have my back. It means so much. And thank you for the fun memories in Minneapolis. I hope we get to relive those moments sooner rather than later.
Jacob - We don't know each other that well personally, but you've been one of my avid "readers" for as long as I can remember, and your support on AP.net has always meant so much. Thank you for being a part of this; I can't wait to work alongside you.
Shout out to my AP co-workers (Christian, Keagan, Deb, Greg, Drew.. ) as well, who have been far more supportive than I could have ever hoped for. I may bust your balls on the regular like it's my job, but I think you all know that deep down, I do have a soft spot for each and everyone of you.
I can't end this without mentioning people like Chris K: you have always been there, and I hope you will always be because I really can't and don't want to imagine what it'd be like to not have you in my life. Your "You're the closest thing to a sister I've ever had" comment made me cry a few months ago, as it's one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. Thank you for showing up and surprising me for my birthday, and thank you for having my back no matter what. I love you.
And people like JC: it breaks my heart to see you go through so much, but I hope you know that things are bound to look up. I need you to hold on and continue doing you, because people like me need you around. You are wonderful and you deserve so much more. But you know what? I'm not worried in the slightest, because I know that better days are just around the corner. Love you and all the little things you always do for me.
And people like ÷zgŁr: how did we even get here? I feel like we went from talking about Icelandic bands, to becoming this awesome "bff" duo. But it doesn't even matter, and I've never questioned it. You're one of the few people that I can talk to as openly as I do, because even though we have yet to meet, you make me feel at ease, and you make me comfortable to be myself without having any walls up. It would make me hours to note all the things that make me appreciate you as much you do, but I'll leave it at this: you're one of those friends that most people wish would have in their lives, and I don't know what I did to deserve having you in mine, but I couldn't be happier. Thank you for always making me smile, for listening to me vent, cry and "lose my shit" over this and that, but mostly, thank you for caring and making me feel like I can always run to you; you are truly a part of my safety net, and I hope that won't ever change. Love you.
And people like Adam: if there's one person in the industry that I hope will make it, it's you. You have an undeniable love and passion for music, and I really hope that the right person will notice one of these days, and give you your dream job. But really, I've no doubt that you'll make it far, because greatness is bound to get noticed. You, my friend, are a gem.
And lastly, my dear friend Ryan Graveface. I've been lucky enough to befriend many musicians and people in the music industry, but I'm happy to say that (somehow!!!) you are the one I'm closest to and care about the most. We may both be weird in our own ways, but our friendship just... makes sense. You've opened so many doors for me, and you continue to every day. But above all, you've given me a friend that I know I can always trust and depend on, and that is priceless. Thank you.
I love far too many kids on AP, and I've undoubtedly left out so many here, but I'd still like send some love to Roshan, A.j and Wade, because they have a special place in my heart.
Last but not least, I'd like to take a moment to announce that I adore my cat. And he's the one thing/creature that I know I could not live without. That's all.
I felt thankful enough to take the time to write this long blog two hours ago, and I'm happy to say that I feel even more thankful now than I did then. Life may take a huge shit on me every now and then, but nothing will ever take away from the fact that I am so incredibly blessed. These people here, and so many more, have provided me with the best support system that anyone could ever ask for. I'm in awe, and I'm overwhelmed. So really, I have no choice but to go have some wine, right?
|Tags: love, friends, madeofchalk, snoopy
|Time Lapse Lifeline
|I have been lost in my thoughts ever since SXSW ended. So many things have happened in the past week; it's difficult to wrap my mind around it all. I don't know if I want this to be my recap for SXSW, because all I really care to focus on are my friends, the AP.net community and all the industry people I work with who I finally got a chance to meet. I suppose this might turn into a big mushy, boring post that's best kept private. But when do I ever take the chance to open up to this extent? So here we go....|
If there is one thing that this past week has truly taught me, it's the fact that people do take notice and appreciate what you do -- sometimes even more than you may realize; people will genuinely care if you are a thoughtful and friendly individual. I find it difficult to believe that there's a single person out there who doesn't struggle with self-esteem issues. And I'm no exception (shocking, right?) It's often difficult to value my own work, or myself in general, more often than I'd like to admit. And I struggle to keep doing what I love doing because crazy insecurities like to take hold once in a while. I always manage to make it through and keep my focus on what truly matters: my love for music. But I would be lying if I said that I'm just that strong. No. It's the people around me -- the people I surround myself with. I've had my fair share of disastrous and betraying friendships/relationships, but at the end of the day, I'm still here. And I have so many wonderful people in my life. I grew up in a third world country with next to nothing, and I moved here as a teen, 10 years ago, without knowing how to speak English. To say that the past decade has been a difficult journey would be an understatement. But I feel so blessed. I was handed a job on this, you know, website called AbsolutePunk 5+ years ago, because the owner had this crazy idea that I'd be a good addition ... obviously all thanks to my flawless taste in music! At the time, I thought he was insane, and looking back, I still think he was. But clearly, he was on to something. I feel like my work on AP.net has made me find myself; it brought me out of the shell I was stuck in after moving to Canada and spending many years alone. And most importantly, it brought me to so many people, and music itself. I never thought I had this in me -- this passion for music. I played the piano for 6 years when I was young, and even though I couldn't play a single note right now, there is absolutely no doubt in mind that music is my life. It's all so clear to now.
There are certain aspects of the industry that are disheartening, but isn't that the case with every industry? In a perfect world, everyone would get the attention they deserve, and everyone would be treated fairly and equally. But that's not the case. And you know, maybe in a naive way, that's what inspires me to be a part of the industry: I want to make a difference, and it doesn't matter how small. I have put my support behind bands that I truly believe in for years, and I have campaigned and promoted them like I was a part of their project -- I've felt and breathed their music to the deepest extent one possibly can. It goes without saying that being able to support a living this way would be ideal, but I don't regret a single second I have spent helping anyone in this industry. Money is crucial, but it's not everything. I have had the pleasure to meet and befriend some amazing people along the way, people that I want to always have around.
I was telling Kate, one of the girls I traveled to Austin with, that I could essentially travel anywhere and I would always have at least one person to hang out with and show me around. To me, that is priceless. I would not trade these friendships for the world. I wouldn't trade them for the simple fact that, when I visited Austin, my lovely coworker Adam picked me up. In addition, I was reunited with one of my favourite people, Christina (hard_luck). We last hung out in San Francisco back in 2010, but our paths crossed once again due to her relocating. And that was amazing, even though she stunk up my hotel room by eating my canned fish. I still love her, and I look forward to seeing her again.
As I'm typing this, I'm talking to one of my longtime friends from AP.net, Dan (Flags of Dawn). I couldn't tell you how we became friends, but this crazy guy from Wisconsin has now become a big enough part of my life that I try to plan summer hangouts every year. He's like that close gay friend every girl wants, except he's completely straight, and he has an amazing girlfriend (hi Marie!). Really, he is pretty damn great and I'm lucky to call him a friend.
And there I go, getting another IM (on aim nonetheless) from James, someone else that I met on AP all the way back in 2004. He has been a part of my life since, and even though he hasn't posted on our forums in a long time, he's still very special to me. We have grown up together, and I hope we'll still be in each other's lives when we're old and wrinkly. There aren't many people that I couldn't picture not talking to on a regular basis, but he is one of them.
But back to Austin -- I had the pleasure of spending some time with these two awesome girls, Kate and Leah, who my best friend and I traveled with. Our personalities could not be any more different, but I had some of the most fun in their company. Here we are, four girls from Canada, stranded in a tornado-ridden state, with a canceled flight. The solution? Drinking Pinot Grigio, Four Loko and Bud Light Platinum... since the latter don't exist in Canada. The entire rest of the trip was an absolute blast, including all the panic attack moments we had here and there. Really, I can't thank them enough for making my trip so memorable. I now have two more friends in Toronto, and I cannot wait to spend more time and work with them in the future.
And of course, Austin would not have been the same without some of the most important people I've met on AP.net: Chris (Billions & Billions), Malcom (Arrange), Paul (Tao!) and Wade (thisisadisaster). I've mentioned the first two many times, and I promote their music like it's my own; they are both great musicians that deserve so much more attention. Not to mention that they are great friends of mine, so we all know what that means: I'll be milking them when they make it big! Speaking of someone that's made it "big" -- I've known Paul since I was 16, so meeting him was a special moment. I jumped in his arms when we saw each other and he spun me around. Quite romantic, but in reality, we are siblings at this point, and I value him dearly. As for Wade, I am still absolutely baffled that he actually made his way to SXSW. It felt so good to finally meet this "one AP kid" who I have known for 8 years. It was so great to have him around, and it's even greater to have become closer to him because of that. And how could I forget Mark (apoemtothedead)? We somehow always bump into each other in different parts of the continent -- it's so random, but so awesome.
On the topic of "AP kids," I managed to hang out with these two guys named Roshan and Alexander. The former works on AP.net's weekly hip-hop round-up, so I had a somewhat "professional" relationship with him. Well, I don't know how else to put this, so I'll just come out and say it: they truly blew me away. They are probably the finest gentlemen in all of Texas, and we all know how big that state is. I didn't expect much from our hangout, but at the end of the festival.... they were truly one of the highlights of my entire trip. They showed me around, took me out to eat, and bought me drinks... on their dime, throughout the entire weekend. While all those perks were nice and all, it was their company that I appreciated most. I spent the weekend being depressed over my mother being in the hospital, so having them around, two "locals" who made me feel right at home, helped me more than they may realize. But one thing is for sure, and I believe they know it too: they have now made a life-long friend, one who, unfortunately, will keep pestering them to visit time and time again. Oh, they have an awesome blog too: WeWoreMasks.
My Austin trip would not have been possible without the company of my best friend, Timo. She was my rock throughout the entire trip and put up with my ups and downs better than I would expect anyone to. It's funny because we joke about our crazy insecurities and that we don't know how to maintain a healthy, close girl-friendship, be it from past experiences or from not having any experience whatsoever. But despite it all, and the ups and downs, we just... click. Maybe it's our Eastern European genes that brought and keep us together -- whatever the reason may be, I feel extremely blessed to have her around. She has been the most supportive and encouraging person about my "career," and my "potential" as a person in general. The way I feel about her and our friendship can not be put down to words, so I think I will end this by saying: you know you are an extremely lucky person when someone offers to take on this crazy trip to Austin, and who selflessly supports you throughout, for an entire week; someone who is constantly encouraging you because they believe in you so much. It's impossible to express the amount of love and gratitude I have for her, so I suppose a gift from her crush, Fink, will suffice. Or Astronautalis?! But really, if you read this: thank you. You are truly incredible.
I ended my trip on a somewhat depressing note on Monday night, but I quickly realized that I really did/do not have anything to worry about. I had this outpouring support from some people that I value so, so much. Tristan (Needler) spent hours trying to ease my anxiety, and I don't know how, but he managed to succeed. His love and support meant, and always do mean, the world. Sometimes unconditional love is all you need. I am beyond lucky to have him in my life.
And I'm lucky to have friends like Brenden, who support what I do and believe in me. He's my second favourite ginger in the entire world, and I am anxious to see what we can accomplish together. And of course, I also feel lucky to have these other two AP.net friends, who I consider anything but "e-friends," called Kyle (HometownHero) and Steph (sjb2k1). The former has been so wonderful to me the past few weeks, and he's slowly, but surely, securing himself a pretty special spot in my heart. His support has been so crucial, and I am extremely excited for both of our futures and whatever we manage to do together. And as for Steph, she is my grammar-Nazi-rock. I don't think she realizes how lost I would feel if I couldn't bug her to proof read any and all that I ever post for AP readers to see. On top of that, she has been such a wonderful friend to me on a personal level. Knowing that she, as well as her lovely girlfriend Gina (imagination), is always there is so comforting.
There are far too many other AP.net people that I would love to thank (Kyle H, Broden, Sean, Dre, Chris C, etc), but these people deserve personal shout-outs for their consistent support, especially the past few days. I sincerely do not know where I would be without them. They are my family.
Before I end this, I want to give a shout-out to some of my favourite people in the industry, people who I hope to get to know better with time. Ryan Graveface (Black Moth Super Rainbow / Dreamend) was one of the very first musicians to send me a personal "thank you" email back in 2010, so it's easy to see why he's a favourite, as a musician and person. I only hope that more people will start to take notice of his talent because I can't think of many musicians who deserve it as much as he does. He's been a great friend and I can't thank him enough for taking a chance with me.
I want to thank my PR friends that I met while down at SXSW: George Corona, Caroline Borolla, Jeff Tafolla, Tito Belis, Chris Vinyard, Ever Kipp, Marni Wandner and Joanna Noyes. And of course, our Buzz Media Director, Jeff Leeds. I still consider myself very much a "newbie" in the music industry, so to have them make an effort to spend time with me.... well, I honestly am not sure I can describe how amazing that felt. They were all extremely friendly and kind, and I cannot thank them enough. I am so eager to continue working with them, and to spend more time with them in general; they are fun and flat out awesome.
Last but not least, I want to thank Doomtree. They made my weekend. And they make me want to move to the Midwest! Well, maybe not... but the collective, as well as their crew, are hands down some of the most genuine people I have had, and will ever have, the pleasure of knowing. Their support means the world, and I will continue to promote their music for as long as I possibly can. Besides being crazy fun to hang out with, they are also insanely talented musicians. They rocked our party, and they will melt your face off live, so go see them!
So there we go, it's all out of my chest. I have no doubt I could have made this much longer, but I suppose I should get back to work. If you didn't care to read any of the shout-outs, then all you really need to know is that: I am surrounded by wonderful
people friends. Whatever happens, wherever this crazy music journey takes me, it feels incredible to know that I have so much support. I have so much love for all these people, and anyone that has ever taken the time to pay attention to and support my work. Words can't do my feelings justice, but Thank You. I could not do any of this without you.
|Tags: sxsw, apnet community, music
|End of the Year (2011)
|I started my AP journey on the forums (almost 10 years ago nonetheless), so the community will always hold a special place in my heart; it's just too much fun bugging people around here on a daily basis. Jokes aside, our community is easily the best one I've come across in all of the years I've spent being social on the internet. There's always someone around to have discussions with about all sorts of media, personal problems and anything in between. I think if there's one thing that AP has always done best is make people feel like they are not alone, and perhaps a little more normal too. Simply put, our community is pretty incredible (despite the few fucktards here and there, but then again... they exist everywhere in life eh) and you should stop by if you haven't yet. |
With that being said, I've decided to feature the End of the Year Lists of a few regular users. They spend a lot of time on our forums and keep things entertaining, and they like pretty damn good music on top of that, so take a moment and check these lists out:
01) sjb2k1 (moderator)
03) Star Slight
06) Indoor Living
I made two mixes in 2011, which means that you should probably listen to these too:
01) AP Mix
02) Angel in the Snow
It goes without saying that 2011 was a great year for music, and things are looking good so far (great bands making announcements left and right, while others are reuniting) in 2012 as well. May we all get overwhelmed with amazing music before the world ends!
|Tags: end of the year, lists, 2011
|Iíve had so much going on (music wise) today that Iím finding it a bit difficult to wrap my mind around it. Iím pretty exhausted mentally at this point (3:30 am), so I wonít even attempt to write about whatís happened in great detail ó but Iíd like to highlight the following events/news because itís just been a special sort of day, if you will.|
- Lazkerbeak Exclusive: easily one of the best, and one of my personal favourite, exclusives that Iíve set up. It was just something else, so take a listen for yourself.
- Angus & Julia Stone: anyone that has known me for a few yearsÖ knows how much this band means to me. They made me become involved in the music scene so much more than ever before because I was determined to make the world listen; their success proved that I had the power to influence many, many listeners out there and gave me the confidence I needed. But enough about that ó both of these amazing musicians (Angus Stone / Julia Stone) will release solo albums this year. Iíve been on cloud 9 over this news all day, and things only got better after their announcement: I was able to get in touch with them. Just incredible. Canít think of other words to describe this.
- Dreamend, Great Lake Swimmers, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Xiu Xiu, Horse Feathers, etc..: these are some of my favourite bands, and I not only received press releases re: new albums, but actually received some of the albums as well. To say that Iíve been overwhelmed with good music in the past ~40 hours would be an understatement. With that being said, please take a moment to check out all these bands; theyíre wonderful.
- Graveface Records: some good stuff should be happening with them soon, and I am very excited about this.
Itís almost 4 am now and everyone (but me) is asleep. I donít expect anyone to read this, but if anyone does, itís probably people who are constantly supporting what I do (read: the ones who keep me going). Either way, I just needed to make a note of this ridiculously eventful day. Perhaps now that I did, I will be able to sleep. But first things first ó this Dreamend record needs to end before I can rest!
|No Genres, Just Music
|It's no secret that I have made a lot of progress in terms of "indie" coverage on AP.net in the past two years. I'm extremely appreciative and thankful to all my contacts in the industry that have helped make this happen; those who have actually taken a chance with the AP audience despite knowing that their bands may not receive as much attention on a site such as ours. I personally believe that is key in advertising--reaching new audiences. It's great to reach a specific audience that will undoubtedly care about a certain band or genre, but isn't it also a good thing to reach new ones? Or is it only important for bands to be promoted to already existing fans? I can simply not wrap my mind around the fact that certain labels/agencies believe the latter to be more important.|
The last point essentially brings me to the biggest issue that I deal with on a daily basis: AP.net being stereotyped as a site that only covers a certain genre of music--pop punk. If one took the time to venture on to the forums, they would soon discover that pop punk is most certainly not even the most "popular" genre on the site at this point. Our readers are interested in "indie" bands." They do love to see features of bands that aren't or don't sound anything like Blink-182. Sure, maybe my readers are a little lazier in replying to my features than the kids who make BrokeNCYDE threads hit 100+ replies in news posts. That is irrelevant, however, because replies are not necessarily an indication of preference.
What prompted this little rant is the fact that various other tiny blogs seem to be able to get exclusives over AP.net, and there is only one reason why this happens: stereotypes about AP.net (and the site name itself), and the music that we supposedly "cover." No, we do not cover just pop punk. No, we don't only care about pop punk. Our site has one of the most diverse fan bases out there, and a little research would easily prove this. So perhaps, instead of catering to Pitchfork-lite sites that are x10 less popular than AP.net, why not take a chance with us? Why not reach a new audience? It would most certainly benefit your bands. As time has shown, various "different" bands have clearly succeeded in attracting new fans by being promoted on our site. Ellie Goulding is one of the most popular pop acts on our site at the moment--I don't think I need to say more regarding our readers' diverse music taste.
My job can be extremely frustrating a lot of the time, especially when my coverage and efforts in general do not yield many rewards (in a general or personal sense). Reaching and building a new fan base on a site that is mainly known for "pop punk" music is difficult. And convincing the music industry that we are not defined by any one genre is even more so. However, despite my job seeming kind of "out of place" and under appreciated on AP from time to time, I would never choose to work on any other site. Why? Because I am proud of our diversity. I am proud of seeing a Top 30 end of the year list that's as different as ours.
Most importantly, I love what I do, and I love doing it right here, on AbsolutePunk.net. I love bringing new music to our readers, because music lovers know no genres--they only know music.
|Tags: apnet, music
|A Girl, A Boy, And A Graveyard
|This song is one of my favourites of the year, from one of my favourite albums. Jeremy Messersmith's music is so reminiscent of Elliott Smith's and this is one of his best songs. Despite the dark lyrics, it's just lovely. So lovely. |
[button=http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/08%20-%20A%20Girl,%20A%20Boy,%20And%20A%2 0Graveyard.mp3]A Girl, A Boy, And A Graveyard[/button]
Lucy takes the long way home
Meets me in a field of stone
She says I don't know how I'm supposed to feel
My body's cold my guts are twisted steel
I feel like I'm some kind of Frankenstein
Waiting for a shock to bring me back to life
But I don't want to spend my time
Waiting for lightning to strike
Underneath a concrete sky
Lucy puts her hand in mine
She says life's a game we're meant to lose
But stick by me and I will stick by you
I'm like a princess in a castle high
Waiting for a kiss to bring me back to life
But I don't want to spend my time
Waiting for just another guy
|Tags: jeremy messersmith, mp3
|I read about yet another suicide before going to the Stars show last night, which made me experience the show itself on a different way - for the reasons that I will explain below. |
In February 2005, I freaked out on my LiveJournal over the fact that Stars were coming to London. They were my favourite band and that was one of the highlights of my year at the time. I wrote this:
|oh my god. oh my god. oh my god. Jeff just told me that Stars are coming here on March 10th. oh god. OH GOD. i cannot put down to words just how excited i am right now. i love that band more than anything so i cannot wait. i'd go to the show even if no one else is coming. i cannot miss it. |
The show took place at a pretty tiny venue, and I don't believe there were more than 70 people present. I ended up going with my best friend, who had never heard of the band but decided to come after my constant begging. Two other friends that I haven't seen in a long time were at the show also, but they had their other friends. We all hung out for the most part and it was so much fun. It was the best spent $10 of my life; the show was incredible and so intimate. My only wish at the time was to have known more people and to have been more outgoing, like my other friends were. I felt inadequate and like an outcast, despite the fact that I loved music as much as everyone there.
Fast forward to October 23rd, 2010. Stars were coming back in town and I would not miss them for the world, despite the fact that I had an exam at 9 am the following morning. So I went: I had a couple of drinks with my friends and headed to the show. This time, I was not holding a ticket; this time, I would simply tell them to look for my name on the guest list. And so I did. Hearing the guy say, "You're all good" was just surreal. Being on the guest lists of bands that I work with has become the norm, but to think that only five and a half years ago I would idolize Stars from afar is hard to wrap my mind around. Words cannot describe the emotions I felt at the time, but the point of this is not to brag about getting on guest lists; the point I want to make is that in '05 I was a nobody in every sense of the word. I had one best friend and hardly any other friends. Moving to Canada at 15 proved to be extremely difficult and I had the hardest time adjusting to all the change, which led to a depression that lasted for years. Because of this, I was an extremely "late bloomer," and high school was one of the most difficult periods of my life. I was not fun and I felt ugly, small and insignificant. But I made it. I can't remember taking any big steps, but I remember taking thousands of baby steps to get to where I am today. That's all it took.
And so, 5 years ago I begged my friend to come to the show with me. This year, like with all shows I go to nowadays, my (best) friends make plans with me to go to shows. And we have so much fun:
.. and we also have no shame in asking strangers to take more than one picture, just to look even sillier than before:
Five years ago, I would have never thought that such pictures would have been possible in my future. But they are now my life. Sure, obstacles and heartache will always be a part of life too, but the rewards we get from being around are so much greater. My only wish would be for young people who feel "different" and lonely to hear these things from their peers who have gone through similar situations, in the off chance that it would make a difference and save their lives.
Two of my favourite bands said it best this year:
Now, the world can be an unfair place at times
But your lows will have their complement of highs
And if anyone should cheat you, take advantage of, or beat you
Raise your head and wear your wounds with pride
You must stick up for yourself, son
Never mind what anybody else done
Stick up for yourself, son
~ Yeasayer, "Ambling Alp"
Nothing is wasted and life is worth living
Heaven is nowhere, just look to the stars
There is a day that is yours for embracing
~ Hot Chip, "I Feel Better."
People will begin to value you only when you value yourself. Just stick around and prove everyone wrong because your life is worth living.
Ps: I totally forgot to point out that: Amy Millan is still as hot as ever.
|Tags: stars, life
|I have come to the conclusion that guilt is the worst and most painful thing that humans can experience. I was reading an article earlier and I kept thinking of experiences that people I know have been through, as well as personal ones, and it made me realize that guilt is the most painful emotion that I have ever felt, more so than heartbreak and betrayal. I think humans are capable of getting over anything, despite how difficult it may be (such as the loss of a loved one, for example), but guilt is so much harder to cope with or get over. I think this happens because with almost anything else, it's easy to point fingers at other people or circumstances and make them seem responsible for whatever happened. How do you cope with the fact that you are actually the awful person? It's hard to judge yourself the same way that you would someone else; it's hard to think of yourself as the "villain." I'm sure there are people out there who have no issues with this, but in general, people do not want to be thought of or seen as such by others, and especially by themselves. Forgiveness is difficult, and it becomes even more difficult when you need to give it to yourself. |
Perfection is impossible, but it's hard to understand certain "fuck ups," and why we make insanely huge mistakes - often unprovoked. Are we really just drawn to misery? I'm almost starting to believe that it's human nature to want to suffer, or to see other people suffer. The latter seems to cause some twisted sense of superiority within most people; to know that you have the power to affect someone else tremendously is something that most people want to be capable of - it makes one feel important. Why does feeling this way make it easier to accept guilt in return for such actions?
Perhaps asking why this occurs is the wrong question. Sometimes you just have to stop questioning why things happened the way they did and simply accept the fact that they did happened. Continuously asking yourself why will only cause more pain, so I suppose that answers my question above. I don't know if it's possible to figure out why we are so drawn to actions that lead to guilt. Maybe we really are just drawn to misery, after all. Or maybe we just choose to have a peace of mind temporarily in order to avoid feeling guilt, and thus we get to still feel superior.
This was meant to be a two sentence post for the Drunk thread, but I found myself getting carried away as I'm sitting on campus before I go work on another psychology research study. I suppose I may just be bored. One more hour to go.
|Tags: guilt, ramblings
|Fall / Winter 2010
|I finally finalized my school schedule for the entire year and I couldn't be happier. I get a four day weekend as I have no classes on Thursday and Friday. So for the next couple of months, this is what my life will look like:|
Monday and Wednesday: classes from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Tuesday: classes from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
I have quite a few breaks in between, so that will give me time to work on AP.net during school days, which gives me peace of mind because I do not want to start slacking on my duties and spend less time working with record labels and bands during the school year. And while I'm ecstatic that I have no classes on Thursday and Friday, I will be slaving away at work during both days. But it's not that bad:
Thursdays: work on campus.
Fridays: lawyer's office.
Other than that, I have a bunch of shows lined up this year that should make everyone jealous:
I love all the bands listed and I have worked with a lot of them for quite a while now, so I am extremely excited. Sufjan Stevens and Belle & Sebastian - two separate shows - are taking place in Toronto this fall as well. However, I cannot justify paying over $50 for each show. Deadmau5 is also playing in London for my school's homecoming, but unfortunately, tickets are well over $75. I am very aware that I will miss out on incredible shows, but as a broke college student, I simply cannot afford to see them. It saddens me, but I am hopeful that they will all come around again. I have a bunch of other amazing shows to look forward to, so I won't be dwelling over these missed shows for too long.
- Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin / Telekinesis!
- David Bazan / The Mynabirds
- LOLA Fest (Caribou, Land of Talk, My Brightest Diamond, Born Ruffians, etc.. all for free)
- Jamie Liddell / Zeus
- Rogue Wave / Midlake / Peter Wolf Crier
- Best Coast / Male Bonding
- !!! / Fol Cohen
- Holy Fuck / Indian Jewelry / Bad Tits
- Matt Pond PA (?)
- Starfucker / The Octopus Project
- Jimmy Eat World / We Were Promised Jetpacks
- Local Natives / The Ruby Suns
- Four Tet / Jon Hopkins
- Band of Horses / Jenny And Johnny / The Besnard Lakes
- Wintersleep / The Besnard Lakes (again!)
- Miike Snow
- Stars / Young Galaxy
- Angus & Julia Stone
- Azure Ray
- Josh Ritter / Basia Bulat
- Cary Brothers / Sarah Berilles
- Yukon Blonde / The Wooden Sky
- Delorean / Lemonade
- Doomtree (Dessa and Paper Tiger!)
|Tags: fall, winter
|I have pretty much decided to follow my heart and change majors. I can't be a Political Science major any longer; I didn't enjoy my classes half as much as I should have last year. I have to start from scratch now, but it feels right. I have no doubt that having a major in Criminology will pay off - if only for the fact that it's what I truly enjoy. I don't care to make a lot of money once I'm out of school anymore. All I want is to live a comfortable life. |
With that being said, during the period of confusion over my education / future career, one thing was always clear: I never want to stop working with bands and labels. I don't know how a criminology major fits in all of that, but there is nothing out there that I enjoy more than what I do here on this website. Perhaps I will eventually move to Toronto and never do anything with my criminology degree, and instead continue working in the music scene for a living. It's a dream, but anything is possible.
I love this place and I truly hope that I will never have to give up what I do here or that this website ceases to exist. In 2 years, I will be celebrating my 10 year anniversary here. I can't imagine life without this website; I have met some of the most incredible people and my closest friend here and I would not have it any other way. It's a huge part of my life. And I can't think of a single person that it means more to besides Jason.
|Seeing all the new features that Jason is adding to the new AP.net layout is making me consider keeping up with my own blog. I'm extremely excited for all the new changes to take place - everything looks fantastic. Can hardly wait to see them in action.|
With that being said, I had an interesting weekend. A surprise visit by my friend, who lives in Toronto, made it very enjoyable. I miss her and wish that she, along with other friends there, still lived here. I suppose distance makes me cherish our moments together more than I ever did before.
|The Making Of "The Crawl" by Dave Fischoff
|A while ago, Dave Fischoff took the time to write about how he made his newest album The Crawl. I would like to thank him for taking the time to do this and I can't wait to work with him again in the future. Please check out this record because it deserves to be heard.|
The Making Of The Crawl.
When I first started working on The Crawl, I knew I wanted to do something that was more electronic and sample based, but I also wanted to make an album that was very much rooted in songs. And since the guitar is the only instrument I really know how to play, I started with that. When I first started working on the album, I came up with a bunch of different little guitar ideas, recorded them and wrote them down so Iíd remember how to play them. These werenít complete songs by any means, but eventually, after Iíd come up with several dozen or so, I started going back to all of these little ideas and figuring out ways I could piece them together into larger songs. It was kind of like doing a sonic jigsaw puzzle. In my head, I could hear how one little chord progression might work well with another little chord progression, even though they may have been written months apart. I started putting parts together, changing the occasional key or chord to help things fit properly and writing new bridges to help bring things together. Eventually I got to a point where I had an albumís worth of new material that I could play straight through from start to finish on a guitar.
While I was coming up with these new song ideas, I was also collecting lots of new sounds. Iíd sample anything I could get my hands on: stuff Iíd recorded with my minidisc, movie soundtracks, sound effects CDs, other peoples albumsÖanything. I ended up putting together a pretty large sample library (thereís several thousand different samples on my computer right now) but they arenít samples in the way a lot of people might think of them- they arenít entire phrases of music lifted from other peopleís recordings. Theyíre usually not much more than a single sound- a violin note that I can loop and play back at different pitches, a single kickdrum hit, or a steady hum that a machine makes that I can loop, tweak and turn into a new kind of instrument on the computer. So after Iíd written all of these songs on guitar, I moved on to the computer and, using a program called Reason, I started to shape all of the samples and eventually built them up into the arrangements you hear on the album. Each song on the album has anywhere from 50 to 100 unique samples contained within it.
After all of the arrangements were in place, I moved on to the rhythm tracks. And this was definitely one of my favorite parts of the whole process- making the beats. Up until this point, Iíd only used really simple, repetitive rhythm loops, like some of the stuff you hear on my second album, The Ox and the Rainbow, but on The Crawl I got a lot more interested in creating really full sounding rhythm tracks that develop and complement the rest of the music.
After that, when all of the arrangements were finished and the beats were in place, I started piecing together the lyrics. I know some musicians like to start with words and then add the music, but I like to work the other way. I like having a solid musical framework already built that I have to fit lyrics into. Itís one of those examples of how working within certain constraints can really fire up your creativity. Iíd been keeping notebooks full of lyric ideas all along, mostly just little phrases and stuff, never much more than a line or two. And similar to what Iíd done with all of the separate guitar parts that I eventually combined and developed into complete songs, I started picking out phrases I liked from the notebooks, combining them with each other, developing them into more fully realized ideas, and adding new lines until they became finished lyrics. Then I stepped into my walk-in closet that doubles as a recording booth and recorded all of the vocals.
The entire album was recorded in my apartment on a Mac G4 (still running OS9!) with two programs, Reason and Protools, and a single microphone that my friend Jim Zespy loaned me, a CAD E-350. I recorded the entire thing myself and no one, not even the record label, heard a single note of it until it was almost completely finished.
|Love is the best feeling in the world. It does not matter whether it's romantic or not, feeling loved and loving is one of the greatest feelings we will ever feel. It's the most amazing feeling I have ever felt.|