Blockhead: The Art of the Sample

So, I’ve been hinting about a new project a little bit and it’s finally out today. Well, to be truthful, it’s not brand new. In fact, it’s been done for a while (and streaming on one website for months) but it’s finally available to stream and purchase today. I just wanted to talk about it a little cause it’s not the typical Blockhead release.

Blockhead: Art Of the Sample
My new album is a fun side project I did with the good people over at De Wolfe records. If you are unfamiliar with them, they are a music library that has been doing music for film, radio and television for nearly 100 years. They make original music that gets plugged into all sorts of things and has been heard all around the world. If you’re a producer, you have very likely sampled them and you don’t even realize it. Well, I was fortunate enough to have them allow me make an album entirely out of their back catalogue. That’s SO much music. In fact, so much so, that I already have another volume almost done. So this should be an ongoing thing.

What I made is my own library record. These are not typical Blockhead songs. They’re more stripped down and focused for the purpose of being used in tv and film. So, don’t expect 6 minutes songs that constantly change. This is not that. That was not the focus of the album. Think more along the lines of “Blockheads broke beats” , which was my first album ever on Mush records.

Anyway, so that is the story! This was a fun side project for me to do and I’m really happy it’s finally out there on a mass level. For those curious about physical copies, there will be a vinyl release by the good people at Young Heavy Souls. That’s expected to drop in June and will be a pretty limited run (1000 copies). Here is a preorder link:
Anyway, peep the new album!

Digital Download:


Let’s talk idol worship and fandom

So, this weekend, Beyonce apparently gave one of the greatest performances in the history of the universe at Coachella. I didn’t see it but I also don’t doubt it. Beyonce is incredibly talented and has the means , creativity and balls to put together such a performance. I was playing a show that night but, when I returned to my hotel room, my twitter and facebook feeds were ablaze with people frothing at the mouth about this performance. The clips looked great. Sounds like there were all sorts of surprises and that she truly brought it on all levels. Again, Beyonce is great. She is without question an iconic inspirational person for millions of people and, by all accounts, a good person beyond that. Just wanna clarify that cause I know how nuance in 2018 works and how easily people miss the message. All that said, the reaction to her performance was what I might expect if someone cured cancer. I’m really not trying to take anything away from Beyonce here (or anyone for that matter) but we’re talking about a performance by a pop star not someone orchestrating world peace. And this all brings me to the idea of idol worship and why it’s never a good thing.

Let’s start here. We are all people. Yes, this is some hippie shit to say but it’s true. We all eat, shit and sleep. Beyonce has to wipe her ass just like you , me and Donald Trump do (though i think he goes back to front). So, to hold someone else (especially a famous stranger) in such high regard has always seemed odd to me. I mean, people act as if the artists/politicians/celebrity they love are these infallible beings and that’s insane to me. By all means, respect and celebrate your heroes. But never lose perspective that they are simply just human beings like you. Sure, they may be more talented and better looking than you. They may be richer. They may even be smarter. They could be a lot of things you aren’t. But when you just throw your hands in the air and submit to someone entirely, you’re basically treating that person like a deity. Now, the idea of submitting to someone and loving them unconditionally works in real life, like, with people you know and actually love. People who care about you. People who, even though they are not perfect , you accept wholeheartedly. To be this way with a stranger? What is wrong with you? This person you worship doesn’t know you. They certainly don’t care about you. They’re just another person living their lives, unaware of your existence. Meanwhile, you’re willing to go to war for them. It’s the most lopsided one sided relationship of all time.

I’ve never even remotely bought into fanatical fandom. I remember when I was younger, seeing clips of girls at Michael Jackson shows , weeping uncontrollably with outstretched arms in the nosebleed seats of one of his shows. Even as a kid, I was like ”Huh?” cause , to me, it seems very easy to separate my deepest emotions from the fact that i really like someones music. It was like “Yeah, Thriller is a great album but unless you’re saving my family from a burning house my dedication doesn’t go very far beyond buying your next album when it drops”. People get legit psychotic over this kinda stuff. Hell, imagine if I tweeted some shit like “Eh, Beyonce is okay” (disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MY OPINION, JUST AN EXAMPLE) . I’d have 1000’s of lunatics in my mentions eviscerating my entire existence and probably many threats to my life. Hell, I might even have actual friends of mine mad at me.
Can we just step back for a moment and think about that? This would be a bunch of people infuriated that I don’t worship Beyonce. Not even that I think she sucks. But that she’s simply “okay”. I know this is a hypothetical idea I’m talking about but you know I’m right. And this shines a light on how everything is black and white now. The grey area (where common sense, logic and critical thinking exist) is shrinking. It’s all this or all that. It’s as if nuance doesn’t matter. But here’s the thing: EVERYTHING IN NUANCED. Especially human beings. There isn’t a person on earth who doesn’t have one person walking around saying “Man, fuck that guy” , and with good reason. “nobody’s perfect” is something we tell children when they’re learning that it’s okay to make mistakes but I feel as though that point is lost on people who idolize. Look at Trump’s followers. On a daily basis. this dude is brazenly doing and saying awful things and they literally just overlook it (or claim to be “fake news”) and keep pushing ahead. I mean…shit…thinking beyonce is infallible is delusional as fuck but at least you could ATTEMPT to make a case for that. To feel that way about Trump? That’s like willingly eating a pile of dog shit and then telling everyone you know how good it tastes.

I have an odd relationship with idolizing people and fandom partially cause I have fans. The idea of it is weird in itself. It’s something I never quite get used to. Like, i get it…but at the same time, I don’t. And , keep in mind, I’m nobody. I’m not famous. I’m literally a dude who just pushes buttons. but I have had people I never met cry when they met me and that shit is all sorts of weird. Obviously , everyone is different and we all create bonds with things in different way. I’m a practical person. I don’t get wrapped up in my feelings about this kinda thing. But some people aren’t like that at all and that’s okay too. But , not a day goes by that I don’t see someone speaking of or reacting to a famous stranger in a way that makes me feel second hand embarrassed on their behalf.

I’m a fan of many people but not once have I cried or had a meltdown at the sight of them. If anything, I’ve always gone the other way where I actually just choose not to interact with them OR if i did, I was somewhat distant. Cause really, what’s the goal of meeting your idol? Shaking their hand? Having a brief convo? Having a long and meaningful conversation? Becoming their friend? Marrying them? The further it goes into fantasy land the more disappointed the person is when it doesn’t happen. So, for me, it’s always been a “Hey, big fan of you work”, a handshake and keep it moving. Cause the last thing you want to do is find out this person you look up to is a flawed human being just like you and, perhaps, a total asshole.

I’d like to take the phrase “Do not worship false idols” and amend it to say “Do not worship idols”. By doing so, you’re creating a hierarchy of value within the human race that is pretty much baseless. By no means am I saying that people shouldn’t praise their idols. Look up to them. Learn from them. Ride for them and support them in all their endeavors . But , just remember, every person on earth is one pedophile charge away from being deemed a complete piece of shit. So don’t cash in all your chips on a stranger just cause you like how they sing and dance. Or cause they tell you to make America great again. Or anything. Holding someone in high regard and blindly following are two different things. Just remember most things are based in nuance and grey areas. Everything else is just your caveman brain grinding its gears. But, hey, don’t listen to me. I’m just some guy. Just like you.

Off the grid Vs. Deep in the Matrix

Hi guys. Been a minute. But , hey I said I’d write things every now and then…well, it’s both now and then. Pardon me if i shake off the rust a little…

If you’re living in the year 2018, you live on many spectrums. From sexuality, to autism to political leanings, we are all part of these various sliding scales that loosely define who we are as people. One of the most fascinating spectrums to me is how plugged in we are. From the hermit who’s never been on the internet to people who can’t imagine a time in history where people didn’t have constant access to everything. Basically the scale goes from your grandma to your little sister.
Now, if you’re reading this, you’re undeniably on the “Plugged into the matrix” side of the spectrum. This is a blog post (Which is an archaic concept in itself these days).But you’re reading it and there is no actual page turning involved. That said, like the poet laureate Macklemore once lamented , “there’s layers to this shit (tiramisu)”. I tend to simplify things in my head and try to throw these sort of things into categories. I often think you can tell how plugged in you are by how many apps you’re addicted to. Like, the least plugged in version of this would be, say, your mom or your grandmother (depending on your age). This would be a person who kinda knows how to use the internet, has an email but doesn’t do any social media cause, well, why the fuck does a person over 65 need to do that bullshit? Unless they’re promoting a new crocheting kickstarter, there really isn’t a point, They know how to order off amazon but also might fall for a Nigerian prince email scheme. These are people who lived the majority of their lives before the internet and the last thing they need or care about are twitter and instagram. At their worst, they have a Facebook and, good lord, we know how that goes. Facebook pretty much invented “Unsubscribing” for this very reason.

On the other side of this we have the person who is up on EVERYTHING. They have Facebook, twitter, instagram, periscope, snapchat, google plus (or whatever that was called), multiple email accounts all for different things, highly active reddit lives and everything else you can think of. When a new social media platform comes out they sign up immediately cause, hey , you never know what could be the next thing. As someone who is ,without question, deep in this matrix, I will say that, at this point in my life, I got enough “things”, social media wise. Between Facebook, twitter and instagram, I’m good. I already probably have nervous ticks bought on by notifications on my phone , like some sick pavlovian experiment gone wrong. So, you best believe I’m not trying to add on to that. But I wanted to step back from that, if that’s even possible, and look at the two sides. Off the grid vs. being plugged in to the matrix. Look at the pro’s and con’s. Let’s start with you “off the grid” motherfuckers. The cool thing about this is I can write whatever I want about them and they won’t get mad…cause they will never read this. Rest assured, if you’re reading this, I’m not talking about you. And in a day and age where everyone thinks everything is about them, that’s actually quite refreshing.

Off the grid people
This is a wide spectrum too. You got people who have never had access to internet. Actual third world problems (not the kind cornballs complain about when instagram goes down or their fave brunch place is too packed on the weekends). Those people are the furthest end of the spectrum but , because it’s not exactly their choice, it’s kind of a whole other thing unto itself. Then you have people who COULD have access to the internet but just choose to not partake. These are the types of people who end up on juries when some shit like 9/11 goes down. Now, I can’t help but be both envious and dubious of these people. On one hand, I am jealous of their lives in the sense that all these things that cloud most of our days aren’t even a concept to them. They don’t know what a subtweet is. They don’t have any idea what it means to get unfollowed. They are, in that sense, pure of a lot of the bullshit we all think about on a regular basis. That peace of mind must be incredible. For that reason, I do have a strong respect for these types of people. That said, they are also willfully uninformed. Say what you will about fake news and all the bullshit on the internet but it is the #1 source of info for everything. These people are reading their local “FoggyTown river Examiner” and USA today as their only news sources, that’s not a good look for anyone. These people also vote so, you know, that’s a whole other thing.

A step more towards the center of the spectrum would be people who are living in modern society, who are not luddites but just choose to not care about most social media. I’ve found, in my tireless research of this subject done mostly by just kinda paying attention, that these types of people have one social media platform they use and they barely give a shit about it. Be it a mostly dormant Facebook page or an instagram account they check once every month. They have the option to gaze into the matrix but they genuinely don’t seem to care. They certainly don’t put any weight on social media in general and are usually the types of people who still make phone calls. The mind set these people have is amazing. I’m serious. They are simply not wired to care about it and that’s commendable. They probably do shit like fly kites and read books. Who knows. Whatever they’re doing, I’m sure it’s as cute and down homey as a hand whittled rocking chair.

As we head towards the center of the spectrum we find the average internet user. They have Facebook. They have instagram. They check it daily. They don’t post often. To them, it’s something to glance at when they’re bored. They enjoy it but it’s not THAT important to them. While they are not immersed in the web, they also aren’t running from it. They are, as far as i can tell, healthy minded people. There are people who you can actually converse with for a while and they probably won’t look at their phone once. That said, they’re not immune to that behavior and can certainly get wrapped up in long text convos that consume their entire being. They are, in fact, human. They are not controlled by the internet but they use it when needed. They uber. They check out Yelp reviews. But, if you are to ask them “did you see so and so’s post on instagram yesterday?” Good money is on they probably didn’t OR, if they did, they didn’t care. These people don’t get most memes and , when they do, they post them 8 months after they’ve been played out. God bless these people. But satan bless them as well.

Moving past that, we get people who are bout it bout it. They not only check all their social media platforms regularly, they’re active participants. They post, they comment. They are slaves to their notifications. I’m 100% in this group. Social media is undeniably an engrained facet in their lives. However, and maybe I’m speaking for myself here, there still is an air of “who cares?” in a way. I don’t mean that like “Who cares about the internet!?”. i mean like “I’m addicted to this but I also realize it’s fucking stupid”. I’d like to think, this area on the spectrum has two sub sets. A and B. A is the people who do it but don’t get emotionally wrapped up in it. People who might argue with a stranger online (ahem) but also not actually want to fight that person if they see them.

Then there are the B types. The B’s are the people who pretty much live and die by that shit. B group are people who WRITE yelp reviews. People who constantly look at the “activity” page on instagram (wtf is wrong with you if you do that?). People who keep track of other peoples every move (even strangers and celebrities) as if it were their job. I mean, I get this on a micro level. Girlfriends and boyfriends and all that kinda shit cause it’s human nature (albeit possibly the most toxic and damaging thing about dating in the current times). But when you’re doing that with friends and strangers? Holy shit. It’s time to take a deep breath and step back from the phone.

A few steps past this part of the spectrum and you have the people whose life IS the internet. Not only are they so wrapped up in it , it defines everything about them, they aren’t even the same people online as they are in real life. These are people who are so consumed into the matrix, their existence on the internet is not a real person. Rather, a skewed, imaginary version of themselves. A “Sim”, but they aren’t playing video games. These people are often witty and the first up on any trend or meme. They’re also the troll dudes on message boards and reddit who can be pretty fucking awful human beings.These are also people who argue online and love it. They seek out conflict and do it out of sheer boredom. They’re never THAT offended by anything but , best believe, you will think the world is going to an end anytime this kinda person takes issue with anything.
They’re also girls who project themselves as divas or “models” who post selfies and inspirational quotes all day in some backwards attempt to find the balance between sensuality, over confidence and some sort of cult leader wrapped up in the warm blanket of what is actually unmitigated insecurity.
This level on the spectrum contains the people who probably sext and send nudes on snapchat but, when faced in real life with another human being, can barely make eye contact. This is a scary and sad relationship with the internet and , unfortunately, it seems to be becoming more and more common. Especially with the people who have never known anything else BUT having phones , internet and social media. It’s no wonder the sexual activity amongst young people has gone down in recent years…cause those motherfuckers don’t actually know how to engage another human being if it doesn’t involve emojis and carefully curated selfies.

Beyond this level, we got the really scary people. The ones who aren’t just in the web, they are the web. These are those dark web people who , honestly, are probably all geniuses but, holy shit, am i scared of them and whatever they can do. Hacking, Doxing, and whatever else they are capable of. It’s as if they have transcended beyond just being internet users and into a new plane of actually pulling the strings. So while group B of that earlier group are hyperventilating over who liked what pic and who unfollowed who, these dudes are literally breaking into the government and changing how the world works, for better or worse. One thing is for certain though, I bet these dudes have never looked at the activity page on instagram. THEY ARE THE ACTIVITY PAGE!

Like most things, moderation is the key. You never wanna be too far on either side of this kinda spectrum. And I say this knowing I’m certainly too far one way myself. But, hey, at least I’m aware enough to admit it. Now pardon me while I go cross post this blog on my twitter and Facebook and story it on instagram. hell, i might even dust off snapchat. Lol just kidding. No ones doing that anymore.