I’ve been living in a hostel in Brooklyn for the month of January. I’ve been sharing a kitchen and the bathroom with a bunch of other people and it reminds me of college. We’re moving to a different and more permanent place tomorrow and then I’m going to Cape Cod with Flash Fire to do more work on Lars Attacks! We are finishing up the album artwork for the Oglio release of 21 Concepts (But a Hit Ain’t One) with three new songs. Also, I’m signing Weerd Science to Horris Records to spread the word about his new amazing album Sick Kids that’s been unreleased for way too long.
I’ve been going into the Universal recording studio in Manhattan to finish up a bunch of collaborations for other artists’ albums. It’s been fun writing for other projects. I did a verse for a track with Kosha Dillz and Homeboy Sandman and another for a young Ohio rapper named Nick Brophy. I’m always in the midst of a song about Flowers for Algernon with Random (Mega Ran), we’re going to do some more literary songs. He just did a great one about the Metamorphosis by Kafka.
I just finished reading a book called “Teachings of the Buddha”, a collection of stories that talk about impermanence and compassion compiled by a Buddhist monk named Jack Kornfield. I spend a lot of my time reading these days. I caught up on my back issues of Rolling Stone so now I know all about Eminem’s recovery from addiction and the prolific talents of Bruno Mars. It’s important as a musician to be aware of the pop landscape. One of the recent issues had a list of the 50 best singles of 2010, I downloaded each from http://beemp3.com and have been listening to them on repeat on the subway. My favorites are “the Ghost Inside” by Broken Bells, “We Used to Wait” by Arcade Fire, “the Diamond Church Street Choir” by the Gaslight Anthem and “the Trip to Pirate’s Cove” by Tom Petty.
These days there is just so much media to go through that it’s hard to remember that one must sit down and “enjoy” music. I remember at a CMJ conference in the 90s a singer from an industrial band called Spahn Ranch said “Music shouldn’t be a huge stack in the ‘in box’ that you’re trying to clear off of your desk. You should listen to what you want to listen to.” That’s the journey – finding those gems when time is at a premium.
I read another great book called Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music by Greg Kot. It’s basically a “people’s history of downloading” with some interesting quotes. There’s a funny one about Ghostface Killah saying he has thousands and thousands of Myspace friends but only a percentage of them bought his album. “I got my firstweek SoundScan and I didn’t appreciate that s***, you feel me?”
Someone responded that just because you have Myspace friend it doesn’t mean they’ll come to your house to help move furniture. “People don’t really buy music these days FYI,” the person added.