Before I continue, let me first say that I am aware it isn't sexy when artists talk about the business/money side of the art world, but it is absolutely something every artist thinks about and will shape at least a percentage of the career decisions they make. Everyone's gotta eat.
That said, I'd like to touch base on the ever changing conversation of music consumption. I'm sure you've seen many a think piece about how great/terrible streaming culture is and the way it's forced us to consume music. I'm not here to talk about the philosophical importance of one format vs the other, authenticity, or the repercussions of what the freemium model is doing to songwriting. I'm just going to focus on what all of these seeming pejoratives mean to me and how they inform my decisions in Mating Ritual.
I was born in the late 80's and by the time music was something I was cognizant of, CD's were essentially the only relevant form of purchasable music. Like the majority of people, the primary tastemakers in my early life were my parents, more specifically my mom. We relocated very often, so most of my listening sessions came in the backseat (with no access to the skip button) of whatever green minivan was en vogue that year. Highway 1's immense beauty and interstate 5's long stretches of golden farmland shaped my visual association with music. They also trained me to consume music as a longform sonic story. It's difficult for me to form an opinion on an artist in 3 minutes.
Regardless of my inability to connect with music without context, playlist and streaming culture has all but abolished this way of consuming music, and I get it. There are too many artists and albums available at our fingertips to give 40 minutes to every one that pops up on our twitter feeds each week. I'm definitely guilty of skipping through playlists en masse after 30 seconds, let alone giving each track a chance.
Until this point, I've only released singles and one short EP, which feels a bit disingenuous to me, no matter how much sense it makes in a singles driven world (more singles = more playlist spots = more new ears). I love the story a 12 track collection takes you through, regardless of lyrical content. I love hearing artists with dynamic songwriting and connecting the dots between sonic themes. I love watching the artists journey from the Track 1 single to the Track 6 ballad. This has greatly influenced my writing, every one of my songs is informed by the prior and not with the intent of individual listening.
But as a completely independent artist, the financial aspect of creating a 12-15 song LP does not make sense. It costs considerably more to record that many songs correctly and the majority of the tracks bring in virtually no income, while (if you're lucky) 1 or 2 singles bring in the lions share of your meal ticket. Like I said at the top, I know talking about financial decisions informing creative ones isn't sexy, but it's a truth that every artist must deal with. If money was no object, you'd have 3 Mating Ritual LP's released in 2016.
As a way to appease my creative longings and adapt to the musical world we live in, I'm happy to say I've come to a compromise: I will be releasing my debut LP, How You Gonna Stop It? in 2 volumes over the next 6 months. Both volumes will provide a dynamic story and sonic context when absorbed individually and when listened to as a whole.
Volume 1 drops January 24th and takes a look at the shitstorm that 2016 has been through a wide angle lense. While not overtly political, much of this volume I’m grappling with the significance of the small worlds we create for ourselves in the grand scheme of the universe. When does self love become narcissism? Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Does it matter?
Volume 2 drops April 2017, along with the complete vinyl, alternate versions and a few other little surprises. I’ve spent the better of the last 2 years writing and perfecting these songs, so releasing them in a way that allows you to fully see my vision for them (and this band) gives me more satisfaction that I ever thought it would.
Thank you for making it through my ramblings and taking this journey with me. I love you all and I cannot wait for 2017.