I made a new friend on Long Island last night. Solid dude that was kind of outcasting on the fringes at the show. I haven’t been blogging because I started seeing it as this overly intense/overly wordy thing that serves no higher purpose than for me to wax philosophical and talk about myself(which is basically true) , but this dude I met last night really made me rethink that. I walked up to him because I realized he wasn’t with anyone and he was singing every word during our set but hadn’t came up to talk or anything. I assumed he was like me and just gets a bit shy. So we chatted a little bit but were cut off by my other friend who was pretty drunk and talkative. I was glad that later on after the show ended my new friend came up was like “hey you got a minute I have some personal questions about your blog”. Anyone that knows me knows i really love having intense conversations about real things so my ears immediately perked up and we ran out back to smoke cigs and talk. He asked me personal questions and requested elaborations on some specifics with my blog and my personal posting. It came up that he too had struggled with many similar things and that he was a musician and seeking comfort with playing music again and change and stuff. I presumed that he was getting clean or recently got clean too so it was really personal and cool, but he also raised questions where I really had to think and be like “yeah i might seem like I’m good at that but it took work”. People that know me now think I’m some sort of natural social butterfly, but I’m really not. My natural state and most comfortable state is complete isolation and anti-social. My natural inclination is to disqualify other humans from being worthy of my time and to disqualify myself from joy and connection. I have no clue why I’m like that but it’s fine and i don’t act on it anymore and it doesn’t hold me back from saying hey to a stranger anymore or staring at people like I’m sizing them up anymore. And I’m not uncomfortable on stage and writing music and being vulnerable with a large group of people because I’ve consistently done it since I was 13 years old. Time takes time in life and comfort comes in seasons in different areas of my life. My current vibe is just flowing and accepting the connection and viewing a quiet stranger as an opportunity to practice social skills. So life’s good
So much going on right now it’s hard to keep up. I haven’t really blogged much because I’m enjoying the constant interaction with everybody on Twitter more now. It’s less of a one-sided statement now and more of a conversation. I feel like I should update everyone from time to time though so here’s the scoop...
We’re gearing up to record an album that will basically be our first true album. We wrote it together and we’re going to a really nice studio with an amazing producer for a full month to make it perfect for you. I don’t want to get too long winded so I’ll just say that the album is still emotional, it just recognizes more than two emotions now. The world of Rich People has gotten very colorful and expanded greatly and this whole process has really just revolutionized my personal life and made me excited to create a new album that is a full cinematic experience in sound. We’ve been working CONSTANTLY on everything because there’s a lot of completely new elements with keys and strings and other random world instruments. We don’t want to just be another rock band and we never really did it was just comfortable writing a certain type of song because it was all we ever knew how to do. We believe we did it well though and now it’s time to grow. So expect something totally new from us this summer.
There’s also a tour coming up this year that will be announced in a few months that will be huge for us. A couple friends know what I’m talking about and you know how monumental this is for us. We’ll keep the lid on that for now though because I don’t want to tease anybody, but you can expect us to see the entire US for our first time sometime later in the year.
Finally let’s talk about right now. Right now we have four shows coming up(plus a random last minute acoustic solo set near my apartment in West Philly on Thursday with Absinthe Father). These shows are huge because it’s the last time we will see everyone in our hometown for a Rich People show for a while. We won’t be around through Spring and Summer so this is it. We still gotta sell a bunch of merch to finish paying for recording, but we appreciate everyone who has already been supporting us with buying merch and stuff. It’s the only thing that pays for us to sustain this right now. We hardly make ends meet, but they do meet at the end of the day and that’s all thanks to you. So this is mostly just a thank you and also if you ordered merch in the past year you can expect some mail sometime soon from yours truly. Hopefully none of your mailing addresses have changed!
I had to step away from blogging for a minute because I needed a mental reset on it.We started this band under a certain tone and since our formation our personalities have changed a lot. I was in a dark place when I started writing Jacob’s Ladder and when this blog started and I struggled a lot with it especially because I had been clean for four years and thought I had done a sufficient amount of work to create a more fulfilling life. I tried my entire life to prove self-sufficiency and figure everything out on my own, and that didn’t stop after I learned it didnt have to be that way and after I comprehended and accepted that on a surface level. It took years for the idea of allowing people into my life on a deeper level to travel from my head to my heart. An “emo” band, at least in our case, can become a very tunnel visioned experience. The word emotional probably shouldn’t just imply negative emotions though, but it has for so long. I’ve already proved myself cool, edgey, and emo enough for one lifetime and it’s all just become so boring. About three years ago I moved to Philly and met some really amazing people who were just like me and it really opened me up to new possibilities and range of emotion. Being from a small, lower income suburb where the highest aspiration is to land a union job and drink away the weekends with fellow townies I just never felt at home. I was clean and felt isolated the same way I had felt that led me to use drugs in the first place. Then I moved and everything changed. Jacob’s Ladder came out and we played a shit ton of fun awesome shows. Attitudes started to change while writing Grace Session soonthereafter but Grace Session kind of just served as a transitional thought on the way out of the gloom of JL. We actually wrote and recorded that album about two years ago despite it just coming out in February, just to give you some context on the time frame. So we released that then things started to really change. Our tastes in music really started to bleed into eachother’s, we started trusting each other more in the writing process, and we started accepting that we might have a lot more potential than just being the most edgey emo band from Philly. Somebody recently referred to us as a band’s band and it was hard to read because it’s half true and it was no longer the thing I want to be. Sure we’ve been writing this totally different styled album for the past year, but nobody knows that. We are currently represented by a pair of EP’s that are just so near-sighted and blind to the colors of life I have accepted the past two years and I just want to reset. So that’s what we’re doing. I’m glad for everything that’s come in the wake of those EP’s, but we have some bigger stuff in mind.
When we started writing again we knew we had zero money to record and that it would take a miracle to record at all and that we didn’t want to lower our standard of quality or even stay at the same level of quality. There were no funds to do that though so we agreed to write as if we would magically find a place that would give us the best possible quality available for a dirt cheap rate. This is what’s called a pipe-dream. Somehow by some miracle a guy reached out to us who has a very very high end studio and wanted to record us for about 1/16 of his normal rate. We demoed a song with him in one day and walked away with a mix that sounds better than most band’s final masters. We’re going from Pop Punk quality to 1975 quality all because we stayed in position, worked hard, and connected with people. And that’s the whole point of everything. The past couple years I’ve just learned thru this band and thru hanging with other great bands and people like my recovery friends and Grayscale that life is all about connection. I don’t need to perfect my life alone in my apartment, I need to go out and embrace the hang and just stay in position to be happy and of service. This life is treating me very well and that’s all I have to report for now. I probably left a bunch of unfinished thoughts in here but there’s time for that. This is way too long and I have to go. Have great holidays.
Simply put there are artists and there are imitators. Or maybe not? I believe that I can tell the difference the moment a track pops on whether it’s a Spotify radio/suggestion/playlist or if a homie is rolling their playlist in the van. Most people don’t even know why, we just know it feels real or doesn’t. There’s nothing wrong with imitators and it’s not there fault and many imitators even do really well while many artists struggle and give up.
I think we’re all a little bit of both at different times. I imitated vocalists for many years, before actually becoming a singer, to the extent that people would applaud my imitations. A lot of how i explored music, guitar, production, vocals, and a good sound mix was by observing then imitating everyone who did it before me. Stage presence has also followed that formula. So what actually makes an artist an artist and is there actually a difference between an artist and an imitator or are musicians like me just dicks and always trying to tell people who don’t do it our way that they’re not real? I like to tell myself there is a difference but the more I experience, the less I think I know. Most of my belief systems from when I was younger are just misinformed and misdirected. Everything was about being too cool and different and edgy. That mostly bores me now. Artists are artists when they say their artists and I’m willing to accept it on face-value for right now until my opinion changes again in twenty minutes.
So what’s the real difference? Some artists just don’t put in enough effort to be good. And that is real. Is the title “artist” earned, and who can proclaim that title for someone? Can I pronounce myself an artist or does some hipster in Fishtown with the “Socially Woke” boyscout badge need to ceremoniously validate me with their attendance at a show? Idk
So most of my adult life has basically been a shedding of misinformation and moving away from isolation, or at least I’ve intended to move in that direction and have set myself up some daily reminders of it. For me that looks like drug programs, a network of like-intentioned homies, and service work.
I have many intentions and I always have. I have self-awareness that allows me to see the venue of intentions in my life and relate it to others. I had great intentions while My entire life. From whatever worldview and with whatever information I currently had, I always did my best and had great intentions. Great intentions never stopped me from using hard drugs, destroying my family, becoming homeless, operating a moving vehicle while severely intoxicated, living in a hit house, getting arrested, committing and conspiring on violent crimes, and selling drugs etc etc etc.
So why me? Why did I get out and find a path toward aligning my intentions and my lifestyle? I’m not some “good guy”. I’m charming and have blue eyes and people are patient with me. I’d love to take a bunch of credit for where I am but the only consistent choice I’ve made since I got clean seven years ago is that I haven’t used and I’ve consistently sought experienced people’s perspectives on how to move away from isolation.
Because of all of this I’ve been awarded the very optimistic and seemingly naive worldview that people truly do the best they can with the current information and world view that they’ve been exposed to. I say this and write this in blog posts so often that it just feels like a personal cliche at this point and still somehow I sometimes feel like the only one who feels this way. I feel like I’ve been trying to inject my beliefs into a music scene that just doesn’t want to hear it, but that’s not true either. Our home shows and east coast shows are evidence to me that there is an atmosphere growing around us. I watch the way you all treat each other at our shows and it’s cool as hell because it just feels different. We have this small corner of the world together where we can just be ourselves and treat people well despite personalities. Sure as individuals we have beefs and tiffs and disagreements and breakups and all but as a group it’s apparent that this whole Rich People thing has transcended individuals including myself and the boys. Picture just under two hundred random strangers of all ages just striking up conversations. People with completely separate value systems, beliefs, and information. People who straight up disagree with each other singing Dream Envy and Common Sound and let the politics fall by the wayside.
We’ve been writing a new album and while I have a lot to say, I can’t always find the words. I’m not at a writer’s-block but I am at an action-block. I look out at the world and wonder if anything I’ll ever do will have a positive effect and if it should even matter to me whether or not it does. I try to accept my thoughts that say nothing matters and this world is shit and live in harmony and balance with them and my more optimistic outlooks. I try to find the middle and separate my truth from the misinformation and it’s going pretty well lately. So thank you for your patience.
I was blogging a bunch last night and it basically turned into free writing for myself. It was just me thinking in circles as I often do and really not being able to articulate how I feel. I feel excited. We’re releasing a bunch of new merch on Friday and that exciting. We took the time to design some nice stuff, picked out some beautiful garments to print and embroider our ideas on, then borrowed Jordan Mizrahi from the Grayscale crew to take pictures so we could present the stuff nicely to you online. Not everybody is able to make it to our east coast shows so the online web store stuff is important to us.
The merch stuff is only one little piece of what I’m excited about though. Another is the fact that we’re writing a new album. We’re not writing 10-12 songs that go together to put a cover on and throw up on spotify, we’re writing an album. We thought we were going to pivot and release some singles because it feels like the safe modern move for bands to do, but we’re really not a single band. Releasing singles leading up to a release is cool and we do that, but to actually claim that singles are a viable option for a band that likes to tell full stories just didn’t feel right. Besides we’ve been talking about this album idea we’ve had for years now. We have all the tools and skills we need now to create a very cool soundscape and dynamic transitioning atmosphere so we will just write it and figure out how to fund it’s production later. We did go to a new studio and record a single, and the result is that we know where we’re going next to record. Grace Session is old to us because we sat on it for a year, but outside of us it’s still new and you’ve been giving it new life constantly lately. We will support that and work on getting on some bigger tours for the next few months while we write this LP. If you read this blog you might have seen me mention the name “Harmony” LP and that still holds up. We started talking about it a few years ago. It’s most exciting because I feel like Jacob’s Ladder was our demo, Grace Session was a follow up EP and this will be our first true LP as a band. We felt a lot of things out musically together through writing, practicing, and touring and we just finally honed in what we want to do.
Anyway I was about to just run on that topic for another paragraph and I stopped myself. I’m very long-winded and it sucks when I’m trying to make points or express things. Nobody wants to read a book every time I have a thought. This next one is important though. The main thing I am excited about is the major shift I’ve had in my perspective of what we’re doing. We’ve spent three years trying to build a following every way we possibly could while staying to true to our values. It wasn’t wrong but it has become unfulfilling at times. We have all of these people on the east coast who care deeply about what we’re doing and saying already and instead of just taking care of you all, our focus has been on finding more people instead of taking care of you. So that changes right now. I do not care about your quantity. You’ve listened to the songs, watched the videos, asked questions, started conversations, inspired us, bought the merch, and came to the shows. You might believe what we believe, or maybe you want to believe what we believe. Maybe you just think the songs sound cool. Maybe you like that all the cute girls and boys come to our shows so why not? I doubt it though. I feel something with you all. You seem to care about what I care about. Being part of something that isn’t causing harm and that’s inspiring us to do more with our lives than just think like everyone else and follow the steps of everyone else. That’s how I got into this type of music in the first place. Hardcore and emo bands were A. cooler and B. forward thinking. It starts out rebellious but then I think it needs to turn into acceptance later on. That’s what Rich People is about. Getting angry about status quo illusions, accepting them as realities, and making sure they don’t become my reality.
The world is expanding way too rapidly now to put my head in the sand and be compliant to some machine. We don’t have to. And we don’t have to be aggressive polarizing rebellious assholes about it either. That’s not productive and doesn’t serve me anymore. So I’m looking for new ways to tighten our community and I’m open to suggestions. You know where to find me.
Also if you read this entire thing it’s basically a really long one-sided conversation. Reach out and tell us what you value and what you care about.
So for anyone who reads this blog regularly you know that I’ve been in a depression for about three weeks now since getting home from touring all summer. I’m glad to report that the day after I aired a lot of that out I started coming back to life. I had a pretty decent Sunday and did some things to care for myself. Monday I met up with the Rich People boys to head to the studio to try out a new place, and none of us really new what to expect. It’s common in the music world for engineers/producers to reach out and offer services to artists on a trial basis and usually it’s super corny, but this dude Taylor reached out this summer while I was away and for some reason we thought it could be pretty cool. I checked out his discography and was really impressed with his work and portfolio, but also was skeptical because he works predominantly on extremely clean/high production/technical types of bands and we’re obviously not that.
When Rich People came together as a full band thing a few years ago, none of us really listened to the same things. I mean, Con and I listen to pretty much the same shit besides a few things and some generational gap differences, but Ty predominantly listens to R&B and hip hop and high production stuff for quite a few years now and really isn’t into too much rock music and Blake is just all over the place and still a complete mystery to me. I could go on on this topic for hours but I really only say it to say that we started out with very little common ground besides that all four of us thought the demoes for the songs we were making together sounded cool. Obviously we’re in a van traveling everywhere all the time together, so we each started throwing music on the stereo and over time we discovered the things that each other likes, the things from each others boxes that we also like, and then a very limited box of things that we all really liked together. At first the only full album we could all agree on was Now, Now’s album “Threads”, but it has expanded to some playlists and a few albums. I could go on about this for hours too but I’m only painting this picture to explain that we have slowly built an idea of where we actually want our sound to be moving toward. We have a pretty wide eclectic base and we aren’t limited to just talking about it in terms of influential artists. We describe parts as we flesh them out in colors and tones and textures, and we speak to each other in broad strokes about our goals as musicians, entertainers, public figures etc and in our general lives in terms of simple principles such as honesty, integrity, harmony, and acceptance. I can also say that our least favorite topic is patience, but I think we’ve talked that one to death and will talk it to some more death on every drive home for the rest of our career together so I’ll let it rest here.
Bottom line we have a sound and a vibe and some feelings in mind that we have wanted to pull out of our songs for a while. We went to this random studio in Maryland monday to record and walked in with zero expectations besides that this guy does really really high end clean work and we are emotional sludge monsters and that if we collaborate and play nice we might just get something really fucking cool out of this.
So we did.
We got something really fucking cool out of this.
We have officially turned a new chapter and it feels like we just found ourselves for the first time.
I feel completely refreshed and like this whole thing is about to start over just in a bigger way.
We have no plans to release any new music any time soon because Grace Session is still FULLLL of fucking life thanks to all of you. Watching it spread to different communities across America and pop up in scattered countries around the world is so fucking exciting. Maybe you're wondering why I’m hyping up something that we don’t plan to release to you any time soon. It’s because I want you to know that what we’re making now is worth the wait and we’re going to keep on working on a lot more stuff so that when we do release things it will move you the way it moves us. Thanks for your patience and all of the retweets and favs and all that stuff that helps us know you’re still listening. Every time you tell your friends to listen to us via a repost or blasting it in the car it means the world to us and helps us move toward being able to budget more creating and more releasing. So again...
So I’m playing catch-up the past two weeks since coming home from Warped Tour, and one of the things I need to catch up on is blogging. Over the summer I decided to take my social text updates to my personal facebook where I wrote long posts about the days and weeks and actually months I spent on tour. I left my apartment June 1st for a two week tour with Rich People and Tranquility from Michigan. Spent a few days in the midwest then came back east and ended up in Philly for 3 days then literally just left for two months to go sell merch for Grayscale on Warped Tour. I was gone for a while then I got home and everything just stopped. All the friends I made all summer went back to California and Massachusetts and everywhere else they’re from. Even Grayscale. They moved into a new place right before we left that’s just far enough away that I can’t just pop-in like I used to when they were in Northern Liberties. We were living like brothers all summer. On top of each other all day everyday walking around a festival and a bus, sleeping in bunk beds, getting each others’ food, watching each other’s backs and introducing each other to everyone we met. We moved as a unit. We had stressful moments a few times for sure, but for the most part we honestly laughed harder and more consistently and for a longer duration than I ever have before in my life. It was the best summer of my life without any competition. I felt more at home with those guys than some of my closest friends in the city or even Jersey where I grew up. They got me and I got them. A lot of the ways they are untangled faulty belief systems I’ve had about myself and others my entire life without them even saying words. I’ll keep this short and just say it was truly therapeutic. I needed that. We spent off days with Movements and Four Year, and I ended every night sitting in lawn chairs with Jake and Joe and sometimes Regan and John.
I got close with so many people so fast, but we got home and it all stopped. Luckily we have phones and social media and we all chat a bunch still but the close physical proximity to a lot of really great friends just fell off, and I fell into depression. I’m not quite out of it even as I type this two weeks later. Sure I’ve sprung back into my normal rhythm and finally started a new job two days ago, but honestly it’s hard for me to justify getting out of bed lately. I straight up don’t feel like it. I slept until 4:36PM the first day I got home and shrugged it off like oh that’s fine we didn’t get home until 7AM. After that though the excuses have just gotten thinner and thinner. I’m just not really taking care of myself. I usually stay very active and hit the gym a bunch and work a lot, but it’s been tough kick starting that. I went to gym maybe twice since I got home and did a minimal amount of things then drove home. I don’t have much money for food right now so I’ve been cooking tofu or eggs and pasta twice a day. I’m very hungry pretty often, but my funds are a little tight and I’m working on getting back on my feet. I’m definitely eating enough food so this isn’t a cry for help or anything like that. I have enough to hit the grocery store and stock my basics every week. I’m just trying to describe the overall feeling. I get really good news about huge opportunities for Rich People and all of this great stuff is happening around us and we’re about to record next week and we got beautiful new merch made and yada yada yada everything’s falling in place and I just can’t feel it right now. The positives of this are that our show Friday will be one of our best ever. When I feel raw like this I often build up then let everything in me come out when we play shows.
It’s also fine to feel this way. That’s a big thing I’ve realized in adulthood. It’s fine to be depressed. Depression is just a feeling. As a society we spend so much thought and energy trying to suppress certain feelings that we have deemed unsafe or scary. We call it negative and we can’t accept it. My personal truth is that I get depressed sometimes. I had extremely severe depressions starting at age twelve. There were some episodes before that, but that was the first time I was truly depressed and couldn’t shake it all day everyday for months. It was crippling. I was afraid of day-time and light and I was afraid of the night and the way I let the TV consume me. Back then I didn’t know how to deal so we started going to shows and got a rush from that. Then we started bands and started feeling like I belonged somewhere, but I couldn’t shake all the back and forth anger and depression. Anger became my favorite place to go because it beat depression as far as feeling alive goes. In my teen years I tried joining sports teams and clubs and disqualified myself from all of it. I tried medications and combinations of medications and therapy only to disqualify the help. I started drinking heavily whether I was with people of alone at age 15 and the rest is history that you can read about in my other 8 million blogs. The point is I never accepted my depressions even in my mid-twenties with multiple years clean and in a recovery program for years. I stil believed that feelings should be controlled and that “bad feelings” needed to go away. I’ve had thoughts of wanting to die so long and so consistently at this point that I just laugh them off and keep it moving at this point. It’s fine to have some humor and just accept the passing thoughts. Part of me will always be a “crazy person.” I talk openly and honestly with a big group of friends/fellow recovering addicts who completely get me on a very regular basis and I stay in tune with a solution based lifestyle. I keep my feet moving in the direction that I want to go at all times and allow my head to move at its own pace. I’ve practiced the lifestyle I live long enough that the volume on my pain is much much lower than it was when I was younger. Im not cured and I haven’t outsmarted my negative sense of self, lack of self worth, and general fear of life and living, but that’s not really my objective anymore. Just accepting myself and others and my role in this place and keeping it fucking moving. At this point I’m just ok.
I think that i often assign value to things I’m doing or that i want to do because i feel a need to justify myself. I think i promote those things via my public outlets at least partially to seek outside validation for those things that i am and that i want. Sometimes i think i even get so caught up in those things and in adding more depth and variety to keep my case interesting enough to myself or others that i fabricate new meaning and new wants.
I don’t need to build a case to prove my wants and beliefs to be sufficient enough. I don’t need to prove myself innocent, pure, interesting, or desirable enough in the court of public or personal opinion to be deserving of my original wants in the first place, but I am who I am sometimes.
Im an unchained melody and i enjoy the things i enjoy and want more of those things for myself. I do not care what those things do for you just as long as they’re not taking anything away from you to my awareness.
There is no set of circumstances that can make me happy unless it is the happiness itself that I’m seeking and allowing the circumstances that i have deemed desirable to just occur.
I don’t even have to want happiness. I’ve spent enough time wanting things that weren’t happiness to know that I wanted to try it out. I’ve tried wanting knowledge and depth and to an extent only learned more ways to paint others as separate from myself. I’ve wanted material success and got so much so fast at the cost of my time, sanity, and health. I worked so hard that the only function of that large number in my bank account every two weeks was to be spent filling an endless void with material possessions and loud experiences to drown the voice in my head that never stopped analyzing and bringing me down. I’ve wanted other things too in different proportions and have suffered proportionately to the size of those other wants. I don’t even mind suffering most of the time because it’s just such a standard state of being.
I started having an existenstial crisis the first time i watched fight club on hbo in 1999. I think i thought i was Tyler Durden for a decade after that. I don’t know if I’ve spent much of my life outside of an existential contemplation mode but i can say that the past few years have had more sane time than not, more intensely and for more prolonged periods of time. I do my best to just act like a “bro” and keep things simple and humorous anymore. I enjoy uplifting people and I’m fully aware that i like doing it for myself. I don’t do it for anyone else. I give of myself and accept myself getting filled up more and more. Shits deep but it’s also not that deep. People are people no more no less and I’m just a people.
I say I don’t care a lot and I’m not sure what I mean by it anymore. I know that I care deeply about many things, but in the same breath i feel very detached from people and my emotions most of the time. Maybe just my emotions. It’s like i have the emotions and I can identify them but I’m somehow cushioned away. I listen to a friend talking about their really heavy deep stuff and i can feel myself identifying and empathizing and being in it with them for a moment, but the whole time it feels like the strong emotions I’m having are five feet away and I’m indifferent to them. I don’t always feel this way but it is pretty common for me. I recognize that i probably worked too many shifts this week and didn’t eat enough or sleep enough, so I’m sure that these are contributing factors. Feelings are just funny and even though what I’m describing kind of seems like a lack-of emotion as I’m writing it down, I’m aware that it is not. It’s a feeling of exhaustion. I’m mentally physically and spiritually drained today and pretty much all week but at the end of the day I’m off tomorrow and I plan to rest. Objectively I feel great about my life and overall I’m in a great place and really enjoying most aspects of it. When I got clean the people who helped me used to say HALT. They suggested pausing for a moment when i feel any type of way and assessing whether i was too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Typically if I’m feeling off my square it’s one of those so that makes these things easier to identify. I’m not always quick to get back into a solution mentality but I’m quicker than I once was and that’s tight. Time to sleep