Lubalin Closing Out 2020 on a High Note

I came across this video recently, and fell in love.

The beat, the singing, the facial expressions… turns out this is only the second “funny video” he’s done?

His latest video ‘Floating’ is very somber, and so well done.

Check out the comment section, too:

“Came here because of the attorney general. Stayed for the talent.”

That’s in reference to his other clip, below:

It’s neat to see someone have this well-crafted vibe, the look and presentation, and then they put out something that’s well done but not-so-serious, and see how it just hits.

As of the writing of this post, he’s got 160,000 followers on Instagram.

Work Together on Cool Stuff When You Can

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

The behind the scenes episodes for The Mandalorian just blew me away. The level of “I didn’t know if I could do this” energy was astounding, but it goes to show that people are capable of amazing things when you trust them, support them, and give them space to fly.

Remember, if you’re not “thriving” with all your work calls and video chats it’s not because those things are bad, it’s also because we’re operating during a once-in-a-lifetime event. People will be talking about this moment in time 100 years from now.

Go easy on yourself.

Put On Your Shows

Been feeling the feels a lot lately about the whole “working with people” thing. I blame the making-of videos on Disney+ about The Mandalorian. I’m talking the energy that comes from being in the same room, or on a call with someone you’ve worked with for years and you’re just plotting big stuff.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing in college, but I got so wrapped up in the comedy scene, because it looked so fun, and it was. I had that dream for myself. Perform with my friends, put on our shows. But we had to also feed ourselves, and pay rent, and have jobs, so we grew up.”

Sunita Mani

I love that line, “perform with my friends, put on our shows.”

Our shows.

I love the sort of child-like vibe of that, “our shows.” I mean, Sunita Mani makes it sound like they really did those shows, it wasn’t just some two-bit affair, but for people who don’t put on their own shows, or book their own tours, or start their own sites, well, I guess it’s on the other side of the spectrum. You’re either doing your shows or “growing up.”

Put on your shows.

Goodnight, Metal Friend – MIX 09

This is a short one – less than 25 minutes – but still I think it’s a good one. A few guitars in this one, which is always a treat. Music by Archean Nights from France, Shum & dMH from Ireland, Oneirich from this ‘Dark Ambient Vol. 16‘ compilation, and Mirrortouch who is a young latinx producer named Juan Quintero-García.

I love the sleep music in my Headspace app, but sometimes I want something a little… darker. I love finding this music. Digging through the dark ambient and drone metal sections of Bandcamp, settling deep into the different songs and making sure they fit, with no sudden shrieks or loud percussion. Then fitting the songs together in Serato, and fading out of one track, and into another, at a good point, too. Not too fast, not too sudden. It’s a big bunch of skills and challenges that I really liked picking up this year.

Teenage Engineering’s 3D Printables Are So Cool

Maybe you’ve seen Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 or their cute little Pocket Operators. If so, then these designs won’t be too surprising.

“It is very simple, fun, playful. You will become like a home roadie. Setting up your own sound system and light show. It’s good enough that you can set up a party, that day. People will appreciate that.”

Jesper Kouthoofd at Design Milk

That modern bluetooth speakers don’t have some sort of holder for your smart phone is pretty dumb – I hate having to juggle two devices for one action, you know? I’m not going to rush out and buy a 3D printer, but this has me thinking!

(via Norah Lorway)

Know When to Jump In

How can I run through a washed out road in 30°F weather and not die? Are my shoes water proof? How do I keep my feet from freezing?

First, run through a washed out road in the middle of summer. Discover first hand what it feels like. How’d it feel plunging in? How’d it feel on the other side of the road? Think back, charge ahead.

Second, know what comes next. On this day I knew I only had about two more miles to run. Cold is cold, sure. But I can cover two miles in about 20-ish minutes. I won’t die.

And lastly, fuck it. Jump in.

My favorite Seth Godin truth is “this might not work.”

Some social media strategy idea for my day job might not work. Some new system. A song idea I finally record. A video I make.

This might not work.

There’s a time for safety which, okay, is most of the time. But there’s a time to say fuck it and let it rip.

The magic is knowing when.

Learn Your Lessons Each Step of the Way

It was my junior year of high school. Though I grew up in a musical family, I didn’t pick up instrument until my freshman year because suddenly my friends were all learning how to play guitar and be in bands!

So I’m playing my first show ever in front of people. Actually it’s my first time playing, and singing. I never set out to sing, just play bass. But I was the singer now in our band.

This is 1993, so no internet really. Nothing else going on in town. It felt like everyone from my high school was there. Over 500 people, I think.

A few songs in, a buddy of mine yells to me in between songs. Tells me the vocals are too low, they need to get turned up.

So I say to the sound guy, over the microphone, “hey, can you turn up the vocals?”

He replied, over the PA system, in front of everyone, “try singing.”

To which I replied, “fuck you!”

We all laughed, and launched into our next song.

All I remember, after our set, was him coming up to me as I was packing up my bass, and saying something about shoving my heart down my throat or something for telling him off.

Lesson learned.

Looking back, I’m a third generation musician in my family. I’ve been on some recordings, played a bunch of shows. I never toured, or been part of a big release, but here I am now, some 30 years later, still messing around in music.

That’s the thing, though. Making music doesn’t have to be about reaching #1 on the charts, getting 10,000 viewers on some stream, a million subscribers on YouTube.

Create something that you like, and share it. For everyone person who says they enjoy it, there’s probably 20 that will never let you know.

That’s the trick; you can’t get 10 fans until you get one.
You can’t run 10 miles until you can run one.
You can’t put out a book if you can’t write a chapter.
You can’t release an album until you finish one song.

So don’t look too far into the distance. Make your mistakes now, get your bad stuff out of the way this year. Your work today is to keep piling up your art, your work, your magic.

Photo by Anthony from Pexels

Bandcamp Roulette Christmas Edition

Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels

Ever set out to do something, and then everything falls to pieces? That was me today, which is very fitting for this wretched 2020. Found the energy to set up my camera, route the audio, and set out to do another one of my Bandcamp Roulette videos, but then my video editing software decided to lay waste to my efforts, and here we are.

This year has left me short-tempered. I know it’s messed with lots of people, in lots of ways. Pick your poison, this year has been rough. That’s why I set out to find some Christmas music on Bandcamp today, to find some refuge in wonderful voices singing familiar melodies. Most of these came out in the last few days. What I found took me for a ride.

First is ÝRÝ, delicate and serene. Instrumentation is sparse, which is fine because it makes way for the vocals, which is are oh-so-good.

Next is Tenneson, which is “seven incarcerated musicians at Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility.” Musically not my thing, but the people behind it are. We all make mistakes in life, but there’s still beauty in our tragedy.

Two traditional tunes, but it’s always nice to hear someone new doing them, in this case Sasha Samara. Super smooth.

‘Hello Christmas’ from Guy Capecelatro III is soft and gentle, pretty stripped down. “A week ago none of these songs were written,” says Guy.

This one from Death Hags is sweet and airy, and perfect for a dreary, snow-less Christmas 2020.

Not usually one for very-specific lyrics, but as my roomie pointed out we’ll be talking about 2020 and COVID-19 for the next 100 years. Kathryn Hoss does a great job with this.

This one is soft and warm, with vocals by Katie Danielson.

“Wrap me in your arms Like a Christmas present / I’ll tuck you inside of my sleeve / I never liked this season, but I love those lights we hang / And the good things we choose to believe”

Without my computer mishap today I would have never heard ‘Like a Christmas Present’ by Tanbark (Chloe Nelson and James Jannicelli from Brooklyn, New York). Something things just happen for reasons we don’t get at the time.

All that to say, there’s a lot of amazing music on Bandcamp. There are so many artists out there releasing such good music, and it’s easy for them to get lost in the fray. Seek it out, it’s there. Hopefully you find something sweet from this little collection I put together.

Make Without a Map

Photo by Kerimli Temkin from Pexels

Saw this today from ‘That which is unique, breaks,’ via @hundredrabbits.

If you commoditize toys, you remove the toymaker. If you remove the toymaker, the toy is only an object of consumption. It ceases to be an object of wonder.

When tasked in 2009 to “fill up the search engines,” during my time at AOL Music, we published 20+ posts a day. Anything that people might search for, let’s have something written and published.

Here we had a stable of competent, knowledgeable writers – all uniquely qualified individuals – cranking out SEO-friendly “content” to be read and indexed by machines.

As an editor this pained me.

Throw away posts about band members getting arrested got more traffic than finely written interviews with notable artists.

Therefore, feed the machine. Find the drama. Find the bleeding story in the ocean of content, attract the swarm of sharks.

At this point, the inmates run the asylum. The child screams for a cookie, so feed them cookies.

“That which is unique, breaks.”

A unique offering, built with editorial discernment, breaks.

I do not need to spoil your view with visions of this architecture, I only wonder, what have their creators ever repaired?

Who has turned the ship around? Rebuilt the damaged hull? Fixed a site? Started from scratch?

As Seth Godin says, “If there were a map, there’d be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map.”