Updated: Nov 16
Chapter One: The Heart of the Grassroots Independent Music Scene
The lifeblood of the independent music scene is undoubtedly its bands and artists. But it's the bloggers, DJs, podcasters, curators, and event organizers who form its beating heart.
In October 2020, in the run-up to the U.S. Presidential Election, when many other radio stations were employing the duck and cover technique rather than play my Eisenhower/Trump mash-up “Military Industrial Complex”, Helen's Mixtape played my track every week until Trump was out of office. Something for which, I am very grateful.
When I sent my latest, “90 Seconds to Midnight”, an uncompromising Doomsday Clock inspired sucker punch of radio unfriendly jolts and aggressive sound design, it entirely slipped my mind that Helen now did a live “Hit or Miss” broadcast on Twitch and YouTube. And so, without a heads up from me, Helen dropped “90 Seconds to Midnight” onto herself and two other equally unsuspecting judges.
Chapter Two: Hit or Miss
I remember the moment I listened back to the finished “90 Seconds to Midnight”. I thought, “Wow, that’s awful”. It’s a horrendous, jagged track, unsettled in structure, and sickly in tone. It shudders through starkly contrasting scenes at blistering pace, with abrupt and violent, sonically dissonant eruptions of sound design.
I needn’t repeat what the judges said, as you can watch for yourself. There is much to unpack and much of that will be unpacked in later blogs. “90 Seconds to Midnight” was deemed “a miss” by the judges. In the past, negative feedback has led me to second guess myself; and though I broadly agree with the points made by the judges, I have felt no compulsion to second guess my work.
Chapter Three: What the Fuck?
I think Helen summed it up best when she speculated that the point of the track was to leave the listener with the feeling of “what the fuck?”. For better or for worse, for hit or miss, “90 Seconds to Midnight” is exactly what I wanted it to be.