In eighth grade, I was challenged by my English teacher, Mrs. Walters, to write something that exercised our class’s objective at the time, imagery. I was very naive but full of heart back then and wrote this cheesy piece describing the practice room of me and my friends’ first band, Tigerlake. It has a certain charm to it I think, but only the kind of charm you find in old terrible family photos.
It reminds me of how sure I used to be of me and my friends becoming something, doing something with our music. So yes it is cheesy, and it doesn’t really talk about anything I’ve been working on recently, but it talks about where I’ve come from, and sometimes that’s even more important.
Pretty early on in life, we both figured out that it was okay to challenge the rules. It seemed that people loved to tell us HOW the world worked, but nobody knew WHY it worked the way it did. Why did we have to wear dresses and have pink things?
Recently I had the opportunity to interview Greg Connors about his new single “Future Nostalgia.” As I was listening, I was so drawn into the track, which prompted further listening to Connors’ vast cannon of eclectic material. I found his songs speak to me in a familiar voice, both vulnerable and comfortable. His melodic, yet ‘cut the crap’, self-styled phrasing dances with a deliberately off-kilter, sweetly angular guitar motion.
“The moon looked pale and wan, as if it shouldn’t be up on a night like this. It rose unwillingly and hung like an ill specter.”
This is a quote from early in the third chapter of a book called Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. This is a book that I don’t like very much but loved in 8th grade. Before I was in a band, before I played an instrument, before I even listened to music, I loved the stories of Dirk Gently. So, when my friends and I started a band in middle school, I suggested this line as a name, and, being in middle school, misspelled specter as “spector”. This was, more or less, how the band started; as middle schoolers who couldn’t play our instruments, misspelling words, and deciding we liked it better that way. And this is, more or less, how the band has stayed since then.
I can always pinpoint the moment when an art form grabs me. Whether it has been music, film, or literature, I have always had that clear, definitive moment that made me fall in love. My love for each of these art forms came together when I created Bleakhaus.
Are you sick and tired of war, inequality, racism, and injustice? Me too, and that’s why I write revolutionary protest songs. I wish I knew how to do more, but for now, I’m trying to make people think with my music because that’s what I do best.
It is not uncommon for artists to create bodies of work surrounding one incident, such as a breakup; Adele’s 21, and Joni Mitchell’s Blue come to mind as examples of this very thing. Myself, I went through a heartbreaking experience over four years ago which created the agony I needed to inspire myself to pick up a guitar and begin writing in a big way. I believe that that pain was the push I needed to put me where I am today. I released my debut album two months ago.
Sorry men, the music year 2018 belongs to the women. At least when you look at this year’s line-up of Eurosonic Noorderslag. Probably the first festival of the year, the trendsetting happening in Groningen, Netherlands, offers a stage for more than 100 emerging bands from all over Europe. And surprisingly many artists were women.
Not My Circus, the band of our Artist of the Week David Ernsberger, makes alt-pop songs with folk-tinged vocal harmonies skipping over a freak show of psych-blues riffs, soulful bass grooves, wonky funk beats and warm electronic textures. A white-knuckle ride to the edge of your musical map, and back again.