God

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God is music. It causes something to stir within the human particles within its universe or sphere of influence.
The particles begin moving, thrashing and colliding until they coalesce into a sea of varying waves of expression.
A particle does not necessarily realise the awesomeness of this until they take a moment to change perspective and try take in and observe the living universe in its perceived entirety.
What do they see?

This image is not my own.
This image is not my own.

They see a sea if different bodies expressing themselves accordingly; but collectively, they are the expression of the music itself and it is the music that determines the quality and character of life in that universe.
But what the particles don’t all realise is that God has different expressions and although many worship music, others worship literature and art, and if you look a bit more carefully, you will find God everywhere.
Not all particles understand that music, literature, art and all the other Gods also have Gods, as do those Gods and so on and so forth.
This is the best I can perceive eternity.
So…
What God do you worship and more importantly, what kind of God are you?

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What it’s like

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You want to know what it’s like?

The majority of musicians love what they do. It is a lifestyle and more often than not, a labour of love. Most of them didn’t study it in any kind of traditional way. They might have taken lessons for a few years, probably back in high school, but mostly they continue playing out of love. It is an outlet for expression and just because they couldn’t afford to study music at a University level does not mean that that door should be closed.
They found other like-minded and like-inspired musicians who shared their passion and love. Despite going though different phases, bands and friends, they continued to pursue their craft. But it had to be a hobby for the majority of them.
Why?
There is a host of different answers for a host of different people. The majority of musicians had to get jobs outside their passion. Some jobs took preference over their love, whether briefly or for an extended period of time. Some of them fell behind never to play again, save for a few informal jams, but I can assure you, the love and passion still burns for many of them regardless of how intense.
The rest soldiered on to find new forms for their expression. New bands were formed and bands disappeared, only to show up in new forms and so on and so on until they found a group of people who shared an ideal and understood where their love of music resided and what it truly meant for them.
Maybe this group of like-minded, like-inspired musicians all have had to take full-time jobs. Jobs that don’t necessarily always allow the time for band practice or even personal practice. Maybe some even struggled to find a job and had an income below minimum wage.

Imagine you were part of this group of musicians and had to find a place to rehearse, because neighbourhood garages and living rooms were too loud for the neighbours to bare.
Maybe this rehearsal room costs a couple hundred bucks for a few hours of rehearsal AND writing new material.
Maybe one practice a week isn’t enough.
Maybe band practice twice a week isn’t enough and you need to have a personal, quiet time practice by yourself. Maybe that costs money too.
Maybe you broke strings, skins and shed too much wood and have had to pay for the upkeep of your instruments.
Maybe your equipment runs the risk of getting stolen from time to time and you are unable to afford insurance.
Maybe you land a gig and it is the most exciting thing, because you get to bare your souls to an audience. Or so you hope. You hope for an audience to listen and like your creative expressions. You also hope that they like you enough to come to another show, in hopes to build a fan base to help relieve some of the financial burden. So you market and advertise for your shows in the capacity you can with the hope that you can get a good attendance.
Why?
Because it costs you to play at a night club. Venues want to see money, even though all you and the band/s really cares about is a heart-felt, passionate performance which the attended can (hopefully) appreciate.
So what happens when there is a poor attendance?
You and the band/s (about 3 bands per show) pay in however much you didn’t make from your puny R20/R30 cover charge. A “successful” night would be if you made (anything.) over a grand at the door (after deductions from club/engineers/door staff/etc.). That’s a little over R300 PER band.
That one gig, that took weeks of practice and rehearsal, over and above full days of work, only succeeded in paying for ONE practice.
Maybe your band has a few songs ready to be immortalized in a recording. How much is that going to cost? Well whatever it is going to cost, a percentage is more than likely going to come out of your band’s pocket.
Why?
Because you love what you do.
Are you making any money?
Fuck no, but does that mean you have to stop doing it?
Maybe. Maybe eventually.
Do you want to?
FUCK NO!
What if your band is lucky enough to land a sweet gig, but the organizers say: “We’d love to have you on the bill, but we are unable to sponsor or pay you/for you. You going to have to find your own way.”

The majority of musicians have jobs and much of the time it is difficult to do some of the things that are required from a band, extraneous from performing, practicing and writing.
Why not get a manager?
Cos we can’t necessarily afford to pay for two practices a week, pay for upkeep of instruments, finance a decent recording and play shows too poorly attended to be paid.
Maybe because of the poorly attended show the venue gets annoyed because you didn’t bring in the numbers you hoped for.
Maybe clubs stop doing live music because it doesn’t bring in the money.
Maybe there are only a few places left that have live music…

True musicians and artists are not necessarily concerned with money. They are concerned with the expression of their craft as an individual and as a group. They care for the platform for their expression because they need it, because it is part of life itself and that platform is mostly concerned with money because in these times money is the savior of all and without it they will not be safe.

That’s what it’s like. I do what I do because I love it, so I will do what I love to my capacity. If one can’t even do that, then what is the point of doing anything?
I do know that with more helping hands the burden will be lighter.

 

P.S  This is written purely from my experience in my local alternative rock scene in Cape Town, South Africa, although I am sure there are others around the world who can relate.

The deafening silence of self-composition

The silence is deafening.

I want it back. All of it.
All the noise, melodies and harmonies.
I want to hear those songs so keenly & lovingly played.
That music was so beautiful with its imperfections, which made it unique & complete.
When the volume wanes to the near point of silence, it leaves a vacuum for my senses.
It gets replaced by the drone of the everyday life.
I turn off the drone to be met with nothingness.
No beautiful, unique & eclectic music. Just me trying to compose in the silence to make up for it all.

The silence is deafening and I cannot seem to compose.

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And on the musical side…

Another passion that shares my life is music. I have an acoustic project where I play guitar with the all mesmerizing vocal talents of Natalie Lucia . The name of the project is called Witness to Wolves and this evening we will be performing a few tracks live on a local internet radio station called 2 Oceans vibe radio in support for the Southern Ink Xposure tattoo convention, which is happening here in Cape Town in January 2013.

So if you are interested in hearing more of the person behind the blog, tune into the show this evening around 8pm (South African time) to hear an interview and some of our music.

 

 

The language of music

Musical conversations

 

Music is a language.

As a being I experience and learn from my surroundings, and as a being I have an overwhelming need to make sense of my environment.

For my experience to make sense, I have the need to express and project my perceptions.

Music is a language and it is one I love to speak.

Whether I’m talking to myself or talking casually with others, I love to speak it.

As an artist I love to create. I love to create songs; scripted musical plays.

But I cannot live a life that is constantly scripted.

I cannot speak the same line indefinitely, without the want for casual conversation.

To speak casually, musically,  with another musician is to gain insight into their experiences.

It is to be inspired by another’s musical life, which is a projection of theirs, and to react to it and with it, that makes music magical.

Two or more walks of life speaking the same language but with slightly different dialects and colloquialisms, interacting to produce a unique musical conversation, rich in diversity and musical opinion.

Music is a language, but too many are constantly repeating scripted musical small talk.

Sometimes we crave more, more meaningful conversations.

 

 

Watch this video. This is what music is.

 

 

Expression, art.

I am a great lover and believer in creating. If done correctly, there is nothing more purer; a slice of your existing truth. Unfortunately, like so many things in life not all that is created is pure.

I am incredibly lucky to have various outlets for creativity. I am a musician, photographer and an aspiring writer and the beauty of these disciplines is that I am able to interlink them. I can express myself individually with them, or I can blend them all together in an expressive project.

I am currently drumming in a new musical project called  Conduit. This project is meaningful to me for a whole host of different reasons. One of those reasons is that  I feel it’s the culmination of my musical journey, the evolution of who I am becoming. It is a band that I can express my rhythmic ideas and concepts in an unthreatening environment, conducive to synergy and cooperative creativity. It has also allowed me to fuse the disciplines of which I enjoy.  This is some photography I am still in the process of doing, for the band. As a group we have no interest of being or creating music that is popular. Our interest lies in expression. Expressing the way we each experience the world, the way we each perceive and understand music, and collectively coming together to create something unique for us. We have a message in both content and action. The way we conduct ourselves and express ourselves is the message.

Conduit

Where ever I can, I try to be different. I didn’t want the same old posing images that are so common with band photography. This photograph had concept and meaning. A conduit is a channel/medium for conveying. In our case it is music and awareness. We are the conduits, our band is a conduit. We feel our music should speak for itself, and our individual identities are non important.  I decided to shoot a long exposure so the image could ghost with movement. I took another exposure with a much quicker shutter to get definite lines and blended the two images together. Double exposure.  It gives the photograph an ethereal, almost supernatural feel, which goes with the Conduit theme. Nothing more than an expression.