Tuesday, December 13, 2016

10 Years 12/4/06 to 12/4/16. FAQ/INTERVIEW PART 2

Albums of the Year and Albums Anticipation: Is it the focus and why? And should it be?
It has a lot to do with news, new music and the interest in it. People love to look at "Albums of the Year Lists," which seemed common in the 90's but even more in the 2000's.

And new music is news. The Albums of the Year have or had become almost like the albums of the month or even albums of the week. I sort of wanted that.

But it's not fully about rating/ranking, but just ANNOUNCING. It seems people want announcements and anticipations, and I'm totally guilty of that myself. What's coming in the future? What album can I get excited about? Because it's a combination of bands you love having something fresh and new from, and then there's the unknown new albums. Whether they're from artists you didn't know had a new album coming, or just an artist I or others had never heard of.

There's something magical about that to me and others.

Should I include more about older artists and releases? sure time permitting. The different series/projects etc I've done do that. Anniversaries, concert reviews add some to that. I dunno, I may try to focus more on nostalgia and history with older artists or bands. Or just older artists I am discovering like Kate Bush recently, or XTC among others.

Envy of other blogs, YouTube Channels, media/social media?

Yes and know. Without compromise, definitely no. But I can't help but be miffed by the success of people like The Needle Drop or even Consequence of Sound. But the time and efforts they have to acquire that level of success, I can't regret.

But I do find it sad and even unfair to a point how much buzz and referencing they receive.

I think the YouTube experiment probably is illustrated even more. My feeling about it when I started using YouTube was bring at least a percentage of the audience here to my YouTube Channel. And while I'm sure some have followed me over there too, especially per passing the videos I make in here, 73 subscribers in 3 years sort of speaks for itself. Whereas there are some people on YouTube who've been there for half that amount of time who have 100's if not 1000's of subscribers.

I dunno. I recall The Needle Drop saw his subscriber numbers escalate exponentially when he reviewed 1 or 2 mainstream hip-hop albums around 2013. I forget which ones, but I remember that more or less got his name out there. 

Now would I do that? unlikely, unless it was controversial or something. But chances are any review I make that could find a wider audience, would also have dozens of other reviews as well.

It almost would have to be of some band who I know and love, and then it gets shared and they get mainstream. A bit like Gotye or Kimbra I suppose, but maybe even smaller.

But that was also 4 years ago for TND, and more people like myself are using YouTube now anyway.

But it's a double edged sword because in some ways, if Bend Sinister or Fjokra got enormous, they might not feel like my little band that could. Sad, psychologically, but it's a bit of being careful what you wish for, etc.

Overall I've concluded it's better to for those obscure favorites of mine, even like Pepe Deluxe or Hotel of the Laughing Tree to stay obscure. Or just BABY STEPS, kind of like The Dear Hunter, or dredg. Even Dream Theater in the 90's to a point.

I dunno, I struggle with it, with whether I'd prefer them to find a larger following or not.

But after 10 years in here and 3 on YouTube, seeing slow amounts of interest can be frustrating. When you invest hours into something, and barely anyone else finds it or cares for it. But then it goes back to the whole documentation for sake and years later. Ultimately, if stuff is found years later, it still has value to myself and others.

Other Media both attempts and success?

YouTube of course, Radio on KFAI and even podcasting I tried. Podcasting was fun but I never could get it to work with the Audacity software. Plus playing copy-written music on it was a bit of a hurdle. What site to host it on, etc.

I guess I see podcasts shared on YouTube, and that makes me curious. I may consider just doing that if I ever try just audio again.

Or look into finding another kind of software to record with.

1 site that worked for 1 I did with That Drummer Guy and some other friends, was archive.org. It worked well, just was time consuming.

I was trying to use KFAI's studio for it (actually the original reason I went back), but I haven't had the time to go back down there the last couple of years.

That Drummer Guy and I and my friend John did them. But neither were 100% about this blog, whereas the YouTube Channel is.If I tried a new podcast, I would probably have it reflect the stuff in this blog like that channel does. But the advantages of a podcast (like the length and HD space) over a video.

Another thing I can add is there was 1 or more attempts to write for other sites/blogs. They ended up failing. The 1 local blog, I tried to fit into my scope of writing, and wrote some stuff for them, but they didn't exactly care for it. Which was weird because they wanted me to write for them initially. I get the sense they didn't go for what I submitted to them for a couple of reasons.

1) the style of writing. Like talking and such. As I mentioned in the 1st part of the FAQ, it's the way I write, I'm not going to change that. And frankly, don't foresee wanting an editor at this point.

2) The content. Prog and in Minnesota. I don't get the sense they cared for it as much. And the focus 100% on LOCAL music. As opposed to music things/happenings in Minnesota such as concert tours, or just what local music fans enjoy. Local people in Minnesota who like progressive rock, etc. 

But ultimately that site failed, and I'm still here. It speaks to the site and the people who ran it than me. At least I like to feel that way. Now whether my services could be used for other sites, magazines, newspapers, books in the future? remains to be seen. I wouldn't expect it, but I have felt for almost the duration of the time this blog's been kept, I would be up for 1 of these sites or magazines like PROG magazine or something to have me write for them. But without compromise. I.e. I would get to write about WHAT I want and HOW I want. Not what they want me to write about.

Progression magazine did contact me a few years ago, and John Collinge sent me cds to review, but it was a struggle. It was not the way I wanted to work. I kind of thought if I wrote some reviews of cds for him once, then he would allow me to write stuff for what I wanted, etc. But it didn't get that far. I recall I sent him reviews of most of the cds he sent me and they never got published. And I just gave up. I forget, maybe they did get published and I never saw it. But that process I found to be not worth doing. If he contacted me again, and would allow me to write about the albums I would want to, etc. I might consider it again, but I highly doubt that would ever happen unless the magazine got taken over by someone else and became a little more liberal in taste.

Is this blog a lot of Hyperbole? Soapbox prattle? Diarrhea of the mouth/keyboard? (was that why it was started?)
Yes, quite clearly it is. It's honest and detailed. It's a space for me to not pull many if any punches. I tend to babble on sure, but I'm a chatty Kathy and have a lot to say. My wife would highly agree with that.

I think some people enjoy people going on soapboxes. It makes for good reads at times. It is not clich-ed, and certainly was not at the time it came out in 2006, 2007, 2008.

I guess it was similar on the livejournal, but this has at least become more focused on music, rather than go off on 27 tangents like the LJ seemed to.

And yes, it was started in part to be able to include extensively what I think and feel about certain bands and albums.

Now occasionally I have been caught saying stuff a bit over the top about a band, and I have some regrets. Both the Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree entry and 1 or 2 entries recently involving Portnoy, Progressive Nation at Sea and The Dear Hunter got me inserting my proverbial foot in my mouth. And from those, I have learned to use more tact, to a point. Or just use metaphors and other things just to cover my ass a bit.

Even refraining from the Turkey blogs, and instead of taking a shot at a band or album I don't care for, I either don't say anything, or just not much.

OSI though was 1, that has bitten me in the ass as Kevin Moore has even blocked me on twitter, lol. I feel bad about that, but I don't know if I even apologized to him in here and on twitter, if it would make a difference. And this is the 1st I'm even admitting to it. Plus it was a few years ago, so I find it's not worth digging up anytime soon. Even if a new OSI album comes out, etc.

But that has been very few and far between, I don't anticipate it happening much if at all anytime soon.

Did you ever want to add collaborators/other writers?
Like a month or 2, or maybe as late as the Spring of 2007 of that 1st year, Rob decided to jump ship. He had a kid, and didn't find he had the time to write in here anymore.

I guess I saw more advantages than disadvantages to going solo at that point. I tend to function best on my own when it comes to opinions and taste with something I'm passionate about.

I suppose I haven't mentioned it yet, but 1 blog I drew inspiration from was the somewhat short-lived blog called The Medium of Music which had multiple writers. But I found 1 writer in particular the best on it, named Shane. But I noticed the blog activity died down after a couple of years, likely like Rob's issue of time, priorities, etc.

So I wondered if the same might happen to this blog with someone else, which got me to conclude it was best to go 100% of it being me.

I also kind of wondered if another writer would have started talking about bands and albums I didn't care for, I would wonder if this blog reflected my passion and interest fully, which probably also could have led to me starting another new blog of my own.

The counter thought to that is if someone else wanted to write in this blog with me, and were okay with me okay-ing what they wrote ahead of time, that may have helped.

I dunno, I suppose that person would find it best just to start their own blog anyway, which I think blogging has become almost a single-writer venue for content now. Whether that's good or bad is debate-able, but I guess I found it ultimately to work best for me. At some point down the road, if I stopped, etc and someone else wanted to help/take-over, I might be up for that. But that could be many years from now.

Why were projects like "All Media Reviews Music Essentials," "Significant Albums" "Retro Album Favorites" started? Why are they not finished/completed and may they be?

These are some of my favorite entries actually, as they read as being very passionate and time consuming. The Time Consuming part obviously has a lot to do why they never were fully finished.

I guess especially once the next milestone is reached, I will consider really trying to go back to them, and/or starting more new projects.

But in the mean time, maybe some self-discipline is needed just to try and do some of them maybe even a couple times a year if not like once a month.

2016 I did the Artist Reviews on YouTube at least, but I'd like to do more writing in here like those. The Retro Album Favorites especially was a fun one, just doing the research seeing Release dates of each year..

Time Time and Time. 2016 I dealt with my wedding cost and time-consumption.
2017 likely will be dealing with finding a new living space with my wife. But comparably, that may not require as much as the Wedding did in 2016. So the time issue may be less for those in 2017, which adds optimism.

But certainly, my goal would be to finish every single Calendar Year on the Retro Album Favorites, leading up to the present year. I left off with 1975, and did 1 special one for 1991.

The Significant Albums, I have a list that I maybe did 1/3 of, so the other 2/3 are still left. All my 5-star albums, and they were being chosen randomly.

The All Media Reviews Music Essentials I may just have to combine with the Artist Reviews, and while there's a decent list of those to do, those are certainly something that I plan to work on regularly soon (Pain of Salvation being the latest).

Albums of the Year: "List" "Index" "Countdown" why change the term?
Annoying terms. I used "Index" just to emphasize the size (well over 50), but then I realized how silly it sounded, even though when I did I found it unique sounding. "Index" infers like a listing at the back of a book, etc. But I was thinking more along the lines of the RPI for College Basketball which is a Ranking, etc.

But then I realized most of the End of Year Lists don't refer to them as a "Countdown" which if it is given in reverse order, it makes sense.

Why do you say you are wasting your time (life) away?
I mainly say that out of modesty and sarcasm,, and being realistic about what this blog is or can be seen as, at least to me. It's a place for documenting my interest, taste and passion for music. But it is, or has been at times time-consuming, at least comparing it to what I could have done instead I guess.

Is it truly a waste? I suppose that is however I want to see it. I don't get paid for it obviously, at this point. I guess I it's a valuable source of information to me. And I also think a lot of it can be the old cliche "about the journey rather than the destination."

I also think it's just an Easy-Out for myself, just to say I've spent all this time. "10 years have gone by" etc..Floyd/dredg.

Any specific people or things (websites/forums, etc) you'd like to name-drop or reference both having helped you and you may have helped either in this blog or in your life?

I typically don't name drop much in here, but I suppose I can to extent. I have to admit there are definitely people and places/websites/forums who have helped me shape my own taste in music, and then there are people who I am very happy enjoy what I have done to introduce them to different bands.

I guess 1st and foremost, Mike Portnoy had a ton to do with getting into progressive rock for me. Going back to his forum and even before that in interviews, opening bands, etc.

As much as his taste and my own differ or have seemed to have differed frequently the last 10 years, I'd say from at least 1995-2008 or 2009, he was introducing a lot of bands to me that I came to love. Ours for example was a biggie (a user on his forum named Alfred Packer also helped).

Shane/Spectre1982 from that  the Medium of Music blog on Wordpress, who I also knew from the Incubus Forum. His Albums of the Year list in 2005 posted here was a great read and I'll admit introduced me to many bands I came to love.

Here's many notables, shout-outs, etc although I'm sure I'm forgetting a handful of folks

John C
Tom Shy
Diana G
Creighton (Cr8tron)
Tim the Glommer
Will (Bill Gonz..)

Mike Portnoy's forum: 
JRundquist (Josh/That Drummer Guy)
Zoso (Alan)
MetalliJedi (Elena)
Octavariballs (Travis)

Dream Theater forums: 
Lordixor (Nate)
ZeppelinDT (also on the The Dear Hunter fans forum)

Lorenzo B (altprogcore)
Almar Hulsegge
Coren42 (orig from RemedyLane)
Dharma L (AmrahdArawsel)

Joseph Ab
Lee and Meryl (from my hometown)
Donna (from dtf as well, Shadowgirl)
Nicoli (from JLB forum, when she was Michelle)
Anna L
Diana + Mike Gal..
Maria M
Heidi H
Ben A
Eppy Gibbon (Ian, orig from Progressive Ears)
Hayley (Fiasco! from the Ours forum)
Rick Cas
Sarah L (Sars, orig from last.fm)
Alex S (Stretts, also on The Mars Volta and The Dear Hunter fans forum)
George Will (Mew fan)

Progressive Ears:


many others I've talked about in the YouTube and Podcast Update Entries (40 or 50 I guess at least. I suppose many of them connected to people like Downfall, Superior Reviews, Christian McGuire)
Velocities in Music
The Album Man
EQPTV/Hamish Observes/Daniel Flux
VinylFury (Dan Fury on other Social Media)
jammindude (also from mp.com/dtf)

Used Bin Radio
Brad and Joe
Andy Toland
David Flear

Websites/Forums/Message Boards not listed above:
Yahoo Club/Groups. Colorado Art Rock Society, Midwest Art Rock Society
Crimson Solitude
Killtheband Ours Forum
The Comatorium
The Lake and the River
Sound Opinions Message Board
Drowned in Sound
Prog Power USA Forum on Ultimatemetal.com
PM:X Perpetual Motion boards and it's related
Paul from A Good Day for Airplay

where do you see this blog and yourself in 5 years? 10? 20?
Realistically, in 5 years, doing a lot of the same stuff, but maybe not as focused on Albums of the Year and upcoming releases, and maybe more on nostalgia, history, and new discoveries/researching older artists I have yet to fully digest. Some examples:

The Moody Blues
Dire Straits
Nina Simone
Dave Brubeck
Steely Dan
Talking Heads
The Cardiacs
Gentle Giant
Frank Zappa
Todd Rundgren
Kate Bush
Nick Drake

In 10 or 20 years, I could see this blog being similar to what it'll be like in 5 years, or like I posted before, maybe more work with other media like my YouTube Channel and/or a podcast.

And I think there's good chance I will try and devote more time to Movies and Television. Even Books if time allows. I enjoy reading, but also am not the fastest reader, even recreation-ally, so it often requires more time for me. I have a few novels I own that I never have been able to find the time to read like Snow Crash for example.

Why did you never change to wordpress? or tumblr?
I think this is largely per established url and possibly traffic levels.

As I came to learn after a couple of years using this blog, Google would find it often, largely due to Google owning Blogspot if I recall. If I switched to Wordpress or Tumblr, the traffic levels might not be the same.

When I went to the Blogger Conference, most there used Wordpress, and they were trying to talk me into it, but I guess I didn't find there to be a huge reason based on the differences, etc.

Tumblr to me has always come across more like Livejournal but just for Photos. There doesn't seem to be a lot of actual Text content in it, so I questioned why I'd want to use it. 

For what it's worth, I did sign up on both of those sites from memory, but just didn't find the reason to use them at this point.

Tumblr though, I may want to consider, just per it seems to connect bloggers better and with Social Media. Like LJ in that sense, but I also get the sense it is for people on Tumblr, so it's sort of insulated, which isn't my 1st choice.

But I would not question it is the most hip and buzzed about blog site. which for better or for worse, I may be selling my potential audience short by not trying to use it.

How have your tastes changed in music both within the time frame writing in this blog and before?
This is maybe the biggest thing I think about since not quite the start of this blog, but since about 2003 or the mid 2000's (by the way, I hate the word "Naught" and feel like the word "tweet," should never have been or be used again).

Basically when The Mars Volta showed up on my Radar and then dredg, that whole college prog/progressive college rock style just started to exponentially grow on my radar. And in late 2006, it was still quite new and a ton of bands were showing up and I couldn't both get enough of them, and find enough of them.

To go along with that, within 10 months of this blog launching my acceptance and interest in Extreme Metal of the progressive variety got opened up when I got attached to Between the Buried and Me's Colors album (Mike Portnoy and his forum had a lot to do with that).

Like The Mars Volta, by enjoying the screaming vocals, I then found the ability to seek out other bands with screams/growls/shrieks etc. I got into a lot of them like Burst, maudlin of the Well, SikTh, Protest the Hero, Cynic, Spawn of Possession, etc.

I guess the last 6 years with my wife, I have opened up some taste to Soul music with Mayer Hawthorne, Chromeo, Capital Cities, Fitz and the Tantrums and some others. Although I would include Kimbra and Janelle Monae in there as well, even though I kind of discovered them on my own. The Michael Jackson and Prince influence helps, who were 2 artists I enjoyed before meeting her.

Did you ever play music yourself? Would you want to play or write music of your own?
I played trumpet in Grade School, High School and College. I am decent enough at it, but never would have considered pursuing it professionally. When I got to College, I felt a little more out of my league with the level of dedication required. For example My band director required me to learn Miles Davis "So What" from memory, which I will admit to almost always using Sheet Music.

I had an acoustic Gibson 6-string guitar I got at a Flea Market near my family's Cabin in Central MN when I was 15 or 16. I learned some chords, and even bought some Guitar and Tablature books (a Rush songbook, and a couple of Led Zeppelin ones, 1 being the complete Physical Graffiti).

But after not being able to fully play it well nor distinctly, I decided to trade it in for an electric bass guitar when I was in College. I took bass lessons 1 semester and got somewhat competent. I wanted to play like Geddy Lee of course. But beyond that 1 period of time, I never pursued it extensively. I do still have it with a small amp, and have used it to jam/improvise with friends at times. SciFi Cons and such, etc.

I also bought a Casio keyboard when I was working at Best Buy in the late 90's, but will admit to never taking piano lessons. Which changed in 2011, I think it was, when I saw Sarah from Cloud Cult offering lessons on Facebook. I did take lessons from her for like 2 months, but found I didn't have the time to practice enough.

My biggest reason for pursuing the keyboard was the interest to write my own songs. And I wondered if I could just learn some fundamental stuff on keyboard, I would have that chance.

Sadly, it wasn't that easy. I struggled with playing with both hands simultaneously. Namely my left hand.

Every time I see Sarah at a Cloud Cult concert/event she says I need to get back at it. And I can't disagree with her. But my time and even ability to practice at home is limited. But that may not always be the case.

But I guess the biggest thing I have concluded is my goal is to before I die, to write, record and release 1 song. Anything more is gravy. I have ideas for songs. The styles, etc. Melodic, busy, moody, technical, pretty, dynamic, etc.

Why are comments disabled?
Largely to avoid spam. But I'll admit, also it was a safeguard for Trolls. I have thought of enabling them, but I came to conclude after doing so, if someone really wants to say something to me, they can contact me on Twitter or Facebook.

Would You Ever Want to Write a Book?
Most definitely Yes! but I'm realistic. I look at Lorezno from altprogcore and someone like Jeff Wagner or Martin Popoff and wonder why not (or Rich Wilson). However, unlike myself,  it seems most of those people have worked professionally in some form of Journalism. Magazines namely.

I guess if I ever was serious about it, I would assume I'd have to self-fund most of it, or apply for a grant from the government. I mean sure, I could start a Campaign, but I hate that idea. Which adds to another question.

But first on the possible/longshot of a book, I guess I could see trying to do it if the logistics were laid out and I had the time. I possibly foresee that when I am retired in a couple of decades perhaps, but until then, I don't expect it soon, barring I win the Mega Millions. But also in which case I would try and go back to college anyway.

Why have you never introduced Ads? Try to make any money?
I guess I see this blog like other sites. I wouldn't/don't want to deal with ads, so why add them? It may get people to not want to come here, etc.

I mean I think I did a projection once a couple of years ago just to find out possibly how much money I could earn from this blog if I introduced ads, and it wasn't a ton. Probably less than $2,000 a year, if even close to that. And so it doesn't seem worth it at this point.

I know some places, YouTube namely, have a Patreon now, and even if I set that up, I really wouldn't expect many people willing to sign up to that anyway. So, it seems pointless and almost ill-intention-ed at this point. If I was getting traffic levels a lot higher, I suppose help supporting the publishing of that book, I suppose would have possible justification.

Name a few things you think about, especially music-wise, in the last 10 years writing in this blog.

I think about the great bands and albums I discovered.

Kaddisfly - Set Sail the Prairie
Apes and Androids - Blood Moon
The River Empires - The River Empires: Epilogue
Hotel of the Laughing Tree - Terror and Everything After
Pepe Deluxe - Queen of the Wave

I think of these albums among many others fondly, and would love to go back in time to the points where I 1st discovered my love for them. I suppose at least the writing in this blog does offer that glimpse into that past at that point. The nostalgia, etc.

I guess I will conclude this part of the FAQ/Interview. But just want to thank anyone whose found this blog over the last 10 years and benefited/enjoyed what I have done in it.