Day 23: Publish a Roundup

Today’s challenge: Publish a roundup post that links to posts on at least three other blogs, and tell us why you love the posts — and why we should read ‘em”

Coachella is probably one of the biggest festivals in the US to date. Personally I’ve never been, nor have I felt an innate desire to go. In all honesty, I prefer singular shows to festivals. Festivals wipe me out and I’m not a huge crowd person. I like the intimacy of a singular venue, one show, a few bands, a few drinks – I’m good. Festivals are just overkill. Too many people, too many lines, not enough bathrooms, etc. I’ve been to Bamboozle a few times, I went to Projekt Revolution in 2005, Governor’s Ball in 2011, I plan on going to Warped Tour this year, but that’s really my limit.

A few days ago I got an email via Bob Lefsetz (I’m a Lefsetz Letter subscriber) entitled, “Insightful Article Of The Day”. Inside the email was a link and the title of the article, “Why It’s EDM’s Fault Outkast Flopped“. It piqued my interest. I’ve never been a huge EDM fan. I listen to dribs and drabs, but it’s not really my thing. It’s not something I believe in, unlike others. I’m not much of a die-hard Outkast fan either, but I got into some of their tracks; I knew classic jams like “Hey Ya!”, “Ms. Jackson”, “Rosa Parks”, “Aquemini”, “So Fresh, So Clean” , “The Way You Move”, “Morris Brown”, etc. I used to be quite an MTV junkie back in the day and they played Outkast videos all the time, but that was really the extent of my Outkast education.

So this article is on no less, so now I have to read it. In my mind not only is this official, but almost a ballsy statement. The title itself is basically insinuating EDM is to blame for Outkast’s poor performance.

I urge everyone to read this article because it really is well written (by Tim Hirsh) and thoughtfully organized; In short, the first day of Outkast’s reunion set didn’t go as well as expected.

Live hip hop was the most exciting game in town, and your average festival-attendee would…more likely to buy their ticket not with a “music festival experience” in mind, but with particular artists in mind. With the advent of the modern music festival, driven by dance music, this sentiment has shifted dramatically.

Yes! Just yes! To all of that. Personally, I only go to festivals if certain artists are playing. That is the experience to me – Seeing those specific artists playing songs because I want to see them play. A lot of the music festival experience is now enhanced by drugs, which of course go hand-in-hand with music (and insane light shows) but that’s not my M.O. I don’t like all that artificial junk. If I can’t enjoy the music sober, it’s really isn’t worth my time (IMO). If I can enjoy the music sober, that is usually an indicator of its authenticity and musicianship, two things which I value highly when it comes to any kind of music. (And I’ll probably enjoy it more if I do decide to partake in drinking and the like) And not to say EDM doesn’t have that; Some of it does. But if the reason why you’re going to a music festival is to get fucked up, you’re just a different festival-goer than I am. At present, there is a shift in values at hand.

You can plop down hundreds of dollars without knowing a single artist and still know you’re going to have a blast. The needle has slowly shifted away from “music,” towards “party.”

To reiterate, music is no longer the main course, it is now a side dish. The new main course is the reaching the limits of individual sensation. How high can you get?; The feelings enhanced by certain substances bring this to the forefront and then is accompanied by the music. Otherwise, why go? Broadly speaking, of course.

When you’re accustomed to thousands of perfectly synced strobe lights and the energy-building peaks and valleys of a common electronic dance music set, suddenly, watching a guy pace back and forth on stage uttering halfway-audible lines isn’t as entertaining anymore.

As much as I love Hip-Hop, I have to say this is true. Lyrical Hip-Hop translates best when it’s up close and personal. When it gets put into an arena or festival type format, words get lost and aside from the beat or hook, that’s the whole point – for you to hear the words. I saw Big Boi at Governor’s Ball about 3 years ago and honestly, from what I remember of his performance was eh. I wasn’t blown away, I wasn’t wowed. It was okay. I applauded at the end of each song. Though I hate to admit it, EDM is just easier to follow: 4 on the floor, maybe a few samples, a rhythm, a beat, the bass drops, little to no words, and you dance. Hip-Hop is intellectual, Hip-Hop is about a message. EDM is about moving your body and losing your mind. (Conversation vs. Sensation)

[There]…was a generational disconnect, mixed with a mismatch of expectations…The bar for energy and excitement has been set too high, and the mainstream interest at attending music festivals, driven by the proliferation of EDM mega-fests, has brought in a wide swath of people who simply aren’t what readers of a site like this would consider music fans…You can’t expect someone who just staggered away from getting their brain rearranged at an explosive, confetti-filled…performance is going to respond in any meaningful way to lyrical hip hop, unless they’re already a fan.

And this is what gets frustrating when attending these massive festivals with (dare I say it) too diverse of a lineup. It gets hard to locate your hardcore fans, your main demographic, you have no idea which person is there for what act. Are they buying their ticket because Outkast is playing or because Skrillex is? Or do they not care and just wanna pop Molly and have a good time? It’s an interesting discussion to have, especially when many core values and expectations are in flux.

Consequence of Sound posted an article today reporting that Outkast’s second performance was much better than the first.

Big Boi and Andre 3000 seemed to take…criticisms to heart, as they unfurled a revamped setlist that featured shorter solo sets, more hits in the middle portion of the set…and much more energy.

I think that was a smart decision on their part. Some artists could stubbornly protest the problem is with the crowd, not them. But in any customer service field as well as in music it’s important to realize and accept, the customer (or crowd/audience) is always right. It’s a difficult battle to sway a crowd, get them to move, dance, pay attention. But thus is the  21st century entertainment industry. I’ve struggled with it myself (of course, on a much smaller scale).

If you want to peep Outkast’s 2nd Coachella setlist and their upcoming tour dates, definitely check out the COS article.

To those who want to read more on Molly and EDM, this is another great article: Finding Molly: The Most Popular Name in EDM. It gets real.

Day 22: Draft a Post For (Another) Blogging Event

Okay. So I looked at the Blog Event Listings, but to my dismay everything seems outdated! Every event I click on looks like it hasn’t been touched since March or even February.

So I searched the “challenges” tag and saw there was a Daily Post photo challenge for today called, “On Top“. Here is my contribution:

My left speaker is on top of my (mostly) Rolling Stone magazines.

I typically use this speaker (along with its right counterpart) for mixing when recording my music. (Have you checked out my latest project yet?) I propped both of them up on spare magazines I had to bring them up to about ear level so I can get a more accurate stereo image. (But for the record, they’re nowhere near perfect. They really should be properly measured and positioned, but I’m a DIY artist doing all my recording and mixing in my bedroom. What do you expect?)


Day 21: Build On Your New-To-You Format Post, and Let the World Know

Last week I posted a video of me covering “Failure By Design” by Brand New.

With that said, I’d like to tell you about a dream I recently had. The dream itself is not so much “inspired” by the above post but is connected to Brand New, however small that connection is. Plus, it’s slightly hilarious and I really wanna share it with you.

Two nights ago at about 5 am, I practically bolted out of bed with really bad cramps. You know that subconscious state you’re half in, half out of when it’s late at night and you’re in pain? You toss and turn and debate with yourself whether or not to fully take off the covers and get up, or if you can away with forcing yourself to fall back asleep? Well, I was in one of those states.

After taking pills and grabbing a hot water bottle I did my best to soothe myself back to sleep but just couldn’t do it. I was wired, but still had a shroud of dream-vision around me. I’m closing my eyes, trying to find a comfortable position, and now my mind is racing. I couldn’t tell you why it was. I’m not undergoing any unusual amount of stress, but this has happened to me before – My racing mind won’t stop and I begin to formulate a meaningless scenario in my head that is preposterous and unlikely in its own right, but I stress about as though it is a real-life, conscious event that I need to make an immediate decision about.

Before I went to bed I watched a few episodes of Frasier. I TiVo it on the regular. It’s one of my favorite shows of all time. The writing is so genius and the acting so fantastic, each episode is real treat. After finishing up 3 or 4 of them, I went upstairs and continued to listen to Brand New’s Your Favorite Weapon. I had started listening to the album that afternoon and wanted to finish it up before I went to bed. And so I did.

My stress/anxiety/mind-racing dream consisted of me having to make a pertinent decision: I had to incorporate Brand New frontman, Jesse Lacey into an episode of Frasier. I’m embarrassed to say I must’ve spent at least 45 minutes freaking out about it in my subconscious state. I could see the set of Frasier’s apartment and Jesse Lacey standing near the piano a grey/beige long-sleeved shirt – and I had to figure out what to do with him! What would he do? What would he say for his special guest appearance?!

This quasi-lucid dream drove me out of my mind, nevermind the fact I was seriously trying to pair these two unlikely people together (Jesse+Frasier BFF 4E). And it was slightly lucid because I knew I was dreaming! I knew I was in control, but the lines between dream and reality were so blurred because I was so stressed. And instead of changing the scenario and choosing to dream something else, I stayed with it and participated in a hellish perpetual loop. The day before, I had read an article on lucid dreaming in The Atlantic, which no doubt contributed to this strange occurrence.

I actually completely forgot I had this dream until yesterday evening when I went for a walk; It popped back into my head and everything came flooding back.

I have a strange mind, I know this. It’s just all so funny to me. Why does this sort of thing happen? Sleep is supposed to be peaceful and regenerative. Why do our minds create absurdity and why do we allow ourselves to become overly anxious about it? One response could be I have difficulty with decision making (which I admit I do) and so my psyche is attempting to resolve that difficulty to get past that paralysis. Another could be the lack of decisions I’ve had to make in the waking world, so my mind is creating it’s own scenarios in which I must play a role in determining their outcomes. I could go on.

Has anyone else had a half-conscious stress dream like this? Please share in the comments below! I’d love to hear! 🙂

Jesse Lacey
Brand New frontman, Jesse Lacey
Dr. Frasier Crane

Day 20: Add A New Page

Yo! So today after much thought, I created a new page called Boombox.

I’ve been using on a regular basis since I was a sophomore in high school. I love it. It’s such a great site to connect with other music die-hards who share the same (or different) weird music taste as you. I’ve cyber-met a lot of great people from around the world and discovered a lot of new music just from being on the site.

I put a widget into the Boombox page so you guys can see what I’m listening to on a weekly basis. I know I love knowing what my friends are listening to, so this is a way for you guys to check up on the latest jams I’m blasting out my speakers. Feel free to click on the box to see my profile and go more in depth whether you want to see my entire listening history, or just what I listened to today.

10 more days ’til this 30-Day Challenge is DONE, y’all. I’m excited to move on 🙂

Thanks for stickin’ with me so far.

Day 19: Publish A Post In A New-To-You-Format

So I’m super-bummed I won’t be able to bear witness to this awesome Brand New/Saves The Day/The Front Bottoms UK Tour coming up soon.

So today I’m posting a Brand New cover I did a few months ago.

I don’t usually post videos, so I hope you enjoy.

This is “Failure By Design”.