Friday, June 27, 2014

Living in Excess Doesn't Make You Happy, It Makes You Sad

I went to Italy and Greece for a couple weeks, and although I knew that it was going to open my eyes to some things, I didn't realize that it would mess with my perspective on just about every aspect in life. Since I've come home I haven't wanted to open soundcloud, write reviews, or even just listen to music. I want to sit outside with my book and a cold cappuccino, turn my phone off, and then pick flowers and make food. Now, I'm fully aware Mercury is in retrograde and that little bastard messes with just about every single detail of life, but I really think something happened in Europe that made me want to change a lot of things. There were a lot of things I noticed when I was abroad that I fell in love with, so I'm going to make a list.

1: The way parents treated their children. When a couple went out at night with another couple to get food, they brought their children. Their children sat in the seats, ate the same food, and held the utensils properly. The kids (especially in Greece) were out until about midnight or later, and then slept the same hours as the adults. They chilled on the beach with their mothers without constantly having to be "entertained" and when they got antsy, the parents gave them toys; not electronics. Having kids in Europe is a joy, not a burden. The more the merrier in those families, and they actually enjoyed the company of their kids. Imagine that, huh?

2: Obviously the food. I ate more food than I ever had in those two weeks, and when I got home I weighed less than I did when I left. You know why? Cause they're healthy, and they cook without butter and shit and sugar and poop. I ate NON gluten free bread, and I didn't bloat, I had more cheese than ever and my body responded more than well to the intake.
The most important thing I took away from it was their coffee. NOBODY walks around with a yoga mat and a venti sized coffee, they sit down and enjoy a croissant with a shot of creamy espresso, and you know what, it does the trick. The more I think about how big our coffee's are, the more embarrassed I become.

3: There were no age limits. On anything. Ages 15-80 were at the bars, all dressed extremely stylishly, and all talking with one another. There were no old women afraid to show their flair of wardrobe, no "oh no I'm too old to wear this or to drink that" - it doesn't matter. Tastes are tastes. It was so nice to be sitting with people of all ages having one conversation.

4: And the most important of all, not one person I met asked me what I did within our first conversation. Not once. And I had learned certain things to say in Italian so I could keep up with conversations, but not once did I have to use "sono journalista di musica." Not once. You know why? Cause nobody cares what you do. It doesn't define you. Here, in New York, every single person is defined by what they do and where they work, there is NO way around it. And yes I lived in the glory of how simple the life was over there, because the coolest people I met were literally a butcher a baker and a candle stick maker, but as I got to talking to this awesome girl I met who spoke perfect English so I didn't feel SO out of the loop - she broadened my mind a LOT. I explained to her how nice it was to not be asked what I do, and I went on and on about how annoying that is to here every time you meet anyone for the first time in NYC, and that your area of work isn't the end all be all of your life, and although she agreed, she made a really good point. She said people in Italy put their dreams on the nightstand, and nobody asks what you do because it's virtually impossible to work your dream career. You can't be a journalist like you can be in NYC, they're all just nice ideas that never come to fruition. In New York City, you CAN be anything you want to be, so when people ask "and what do you do?" it's because you have the resources to become whatever you want. Basically there's no excuse in NYC because you are given the opportunity to make it happen. Obviously the grass is always greener, but I fell in love with the simple life of Italy. When I went to Rome all I wanted to do was come home, save money, and then move back and open up a cafè and floral shop.

I'm spent. I'm so damn sick of this music industry and busting my ass and trying to appease people for nothing. What comes from it? Am I happy? Am I making other people happy? Am I giving myself? No. I'm stressed, I'm broke as shit, I'm up til 3 am trying to meet whoever I can so I can maybe find my journalist break, and I'm so tired of it. I don't care about meeting big producers or DJs or whoever the hell they are. Why am I looking for so much approval from people? What does it do in the long run? We're all human, we're all hustling, and we're all so consumed with this idea of glory. Even how I'm "trying to find my break" - why do I need to be a noticed journalist. As long as I get to write my truths, isn't that all that matters? I want to live a simple life. I also really miss music. I miss listening to it and having time to enjoy a song and love it for just as it is, music. I hate trying to make it a business, it's ruining the purity and bliss of sound for me, and I want that butterfly BACK in my stomach every time I hear a fantastic new track.

The night I got home, I got rid of about 70% of my closet and other random things I own. I am sickened by how many "things" I own, buying new clothes don't make me happy, it makes me poor and stressed out. I don't need a lot. I need love, my books, rent, and the love and company of my family and good friends. I don't know what this means from here on out, but I definitely am just going to try to finish writing my book, and work enough so I can save so eventually I can do whatever it is that makes me happy. I just want to be happy, and I really don't think that's a lot to ask.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

RIP Golden Age of Music Blogs

Yesterday morning I was sitting on my computer, browsing (stalking) media bistro, craigs list, looking for jobs and letting my iTunes roll around. Then the BRAHMS remix of “Emily Sue” came on and I immediately typed into my iTunes search “RCRD LBL” to see what other gems I could find, and a beautiful plethora of music, mostly remixes from 07-10 started to play and I felt like I was picked up and thrown into a pile of soft, warm and cozy memories. I sat there for a while thinking about my college days of staying in on weekends going through all those good old blogs finding new music ( I was a huge loner the first couple years of college) and I got really fucking sad. There are days I am so excited to be out of school, published, knowing what I want in life, and then I think about what it was like in the days I first found the world of the music blog, and my God, do I miss it. 

I thought about the first time I found Hypem, and how utterly blown away I was. I remember sitting on my computer, having the tabs for all my favorite music blogs open, and just devouring everything they had to offer. GvB, Audio Porn Central, Vacay V, bbbscience, RCRDLBL (RIP) all open, feeling so damn comfortable just sitting with my computer and this music pouring from these godlike blogs that some higher power must have sent down for us all to be cradled and nurtured by. I adored the community of music bloggers, always sharing what they posted, stalking the shit out of the writers to see where they came from or what else they did. It was an escape for myself, I had no idea there was a whole world of people who loved music this much. I remember receiving Massive Attacks 'Heligoland' cd IN THE FLESH, listening to "Paradise Circus" over and over again, memorizing each transition APC did when they would post their Sunday Mashups. I wanted to be a part of this community. I had started my own music blog, so these golden aged music blogs were my idols. I would borrow cars to drive to CVS just so I could pick up the newest issue of Rolling Stone or Spin, and keep myself in my corner of my dorm, and eerily comforted by the thought that one day I would write for RS. I would get an internship at one of the mags, and just work my way up. Isn’t that how it works? I knew so much about music, more than anyone I had ever met at least. Or at least write for RCRD LBL. Maybe I could have a guest post on APC, because why wouldn’t I? Ah, I had my entire future planned out, I had dreamed of being a music journalist since I was 15, and I was going to make it happen.

LOFUCKINGL. I miss my naive self, more than you can imagine. After I applied and applied to RS, Spin, Fader, thinking that they were holding my resume in their hands, anxiously deciding between me and someone else, when in reality my email probably wasn’t even opened, I scored an internship at this baller music PR agency in NYC. I worked (hardly) and met with random bands and I remember standing in a room next to Jack White, where I swear, although I never actually saw him with my own eyes because they had the interns locked in our little closet, I could feel his presence, smell his dirty hair….. Anyway, that turned out to be a pretty good entry to the scene in NYC, a ripe young age of 20 - felt like I had gotten my foot in. Two more years of school and then I could graduate and make shit happen, right? Wrong. Oh so wrong that it plagues me to this day. Yeah, I definitely got good work, ….except I’m 25 and I haven’t even walked by the office of Rolling Stone. 

I remember when I moved back to NYC after school, I met a guy at Le Bain who told me he worked for Rolling Stone. After verbally vomiting my love for Rolling Stone since I was little to him, and my dream of having at least a guest post, he said "So I basically live your dream life" and then he asked if he could take me on a date. Of course he could! This was it, this was going to be my first intro to somebody who worked there. We went out to this really cool little jazz cafe on Park Avenue, and I had so many questions about RS I didn’t even know where to begin. We got to talking and, well, that was weird he didn’t know any of the books I had mentioned, I’m sorry where did you say you graduated from? OH you’re still in school, oh wait you actually haven’t chosen a major yet OK and …. OH YOU’RE AN INTERN AT RS. Me: “OK that’s fine that’s great, how was the selection process?? what samples did you send in?” Oh no. Date: “Actually my mom won me the internship at an auction, and I hardly ever show up.” I think I was so shocked I actually muttered something like “Oh, I guess my mom must have missed that one…” I remember thinking OK, so this is how it works. I, unfortunately, was not a member of the Society of Children Whose Mothers Win Them Internships At Prestigious Music Publications, but that was OK. I would just continue to build my portfolio, send it in to all the publications. I thought Editors and people hiring actually read random peoples portfolios... 

I’ve been back for three years and I still do not understand the algorithm that is the music scene.  And the saddest part is to watch the music scene / music blog community grow to such a point where it’s overflowing and there’s just no structure anymore. There are so many damn music blogs now, so many damn remixes, how are any of them special anymore? Nobody makes posts like Simon Iddol used to, nobody makes remixes like Miike Snow used to. I really miss the days of MSTRKRFT, Final Fantasy and old Breakbot. I miss feeling like Fools Gold was a secret treasure. I miss the day I went to my very first Mad Decent Block Party (where it was FREE and at South Street Seaport) and not a ton of people were there and I went out with DJ Sega afterwards to some random party in BK where people, who people now pay to see, were casually hanging out, open to meeting any and everyone, cause they were hustling once too. I miss not having to worry yet, and being comfortable enough with the sole day dream of being an editor of Rolling Stone. I miss the golden age of music blogs. I miss it all. I miss it a lot.