So you’re a songwriter, and you want to start making some money, where do you start?

So you have a bunch of songs, and maybe they’re just ideas? Maybe they’re demos, maybe they’re just scribbles on sheets of paper? Maybe they’re in your head?

You want to start building an income around these songs, but where do you start? It can all seem really daunting, but I think I have an idea to help form your next steps. One of the best places to get started as a songwriter, and strictly a songwriter, is Continue reading

Social media is likely ruining your friendships. Yep.

Ok, a gawdy title I know, but let’s just get down to the nuts and bolts. Social media, for as much as I can tell, has created a shift that has never been possible in human existence before, and one that has been so subtle that I don’t know how many people have noticed this. It’s shifted the intention behind a friendship from an active, bond-building one, to a passive, lurking one.

At one point in our lives, before we had these online highlight reels, and battlefields for political namecalling and unrest, and nests to bring about a dopamine reaction for every like you’ve ever gotten with what you’ve done with your life, we had a different way of Continue reading

Social Media numbers? No no, what’s really important isn’t your likes, it’s your email list if you want to see real fans at your show.

Social media numbers are important…. ish. Let me tell you about an unfortunate experiment I tried with a former group I was with. I heard many years ago (back in 2011-ish?) that you could run facebook ads globally, legally, and gain 1000’s of followers for pennies. They were ads, right? So why did this end up backfiring, and what was THE MOST VALUABLE lesson I’ve ever learned from this one little experiment?

Long story short, we only spent a few hundred dollars over the course of some months at about $5 a day running ads globally for our band. This resulted in going from about 2000 genuine likes, to about 10,000+ of what we thought were genuine likes, but ended up shooting us in the foot, big time. The result of this was that we had 8000 “fans” that could care less what we were up to, and as far as the Facebook algorithm went, we watered down our engagement to the point where whatever we posted generally got zero traction unless we paid more money to advertise to the fake fans who never saw our posts unless we advertised…. it began a vicious cycle and even to this day we Continue reading

The biggest lessons learned from just being a part of the Portland music Scene, like dress however you damn well please, it’s ok to make funny voices, and more….

Since I moved back to Portland in 2011 from college, I’ve learned a lot about art, and what it means to be an artist.

I have been really hurt to see so much of the creative spirit of Portland shift, due to high costs of living, and many other hardhships creatives have had to endure since Portland became an influx hotspot for hip dwellers of all areas around the country. But in every pain comes with some silver lining.

Since back, I’ve befriended some killer groups, largely due in part to some key players. First off, I learned that if you want to be a musician for a living, you absolutely have to embrace it as an entrepreneurial endeavor to a point, or it’ll never be more than a hobby. As I was learning this I started The Heavy Hustle, and entered pseudoboss, a rock and roll band I was a fan of since 2008 then had a chance to drum in around 2012 or so, and was so stoked. Being in that band, and being a part of it ending has taught me that even the best, most promising of things come to an end unfortunately, and to try to have as much fun with it as possible while you have it, don’t take it for granted.

Through pseudoboss I met Jason Fellman, of J-Fell Presents, and he showed me that you can actually make a living off of music if you approach it like a businessman, and also that game theory and principles of poker funny enough are great lessons on how to approach your business as an artist. The biggest lesson from him I’ve learned is if you’ve got a good hand, play it for all it’s worth, and minimize your losses elsewhere.

From Jason and my old friend Vincent from college, I met the guys in ADDverse Effects (Vince is their guitar player), as we all shared a bill and gigged at Mogo Music Festival together. The ADDverse guys are incredible. In particular Boyd, their drummer. Being a drummer, a rapper (in reality a full blown multi-instrumentalist), and in my eyes a true artist, he was never afraid to do what the song needed. As I listened to the group I was always amazed at the fearless character voices Boyd would put into his songs. At first I thought it was a bit silly but enjoyable, but then I realized it was true art, just shamelessly, unapologetically putting yourself out there.

Finally Skull Diver showed me that you can embrace all the weirdness you want, and just throw it out there. I first met Mandy at a David Bowie tribute show that The Heavy Hustle and her friends band The Breaking were all playing at. It was put on shortly after David Bowie had passed, while at the show she explained to me that she was in a doom-glam group. At first I was like…. the hell is doom-glam? After seeing them play live, I instantly felt they most accurately represented exactly what I would have imagined doom-glam to be, and in addition to that, they have the most amazing outfits, comically mentioned as the ‘disco-fish’ outfits. Mandy and her sister Ally are fearless to express themselves through their look and their outfits. Years later they had an event called the Sparkle Bitch Ball, at which the MC, Buckmaster, was so thankful to work with them because they gave him an opportunity to really be as weird as he always wanted to, without judgement. Hearing him speak so passionately and sincerely about the bands encouragement really meant a lot to me, also put into words what I really appreciated about them as well.

It’s honestly completely refreshing to have met people who have taught me so much, without even really trying, just from them being themselves.

This week Boyd passed away from a biking accident, and it got me thinking about the influence and motivation he had on me as  a fellow drummer, performer, and musician, and it led me to realize that he and others have really taught me a lot. Rest in peace my man, you will be dearly missed by our friends in Portland and back home in Oaklahoma. Thank you for the lesson you gave me, for the short time I was lucky enough to know you.

In the end, perform how you want, look the way you want, and when the going is good, take it for all it’s worth, unapologetically!

Life’s cruelest, painfully true joke, let what you love hurt you.

We all want a better life, we all want to be fit, and happy, we all want to have no worries. How far into this do we dive though? I’ve had a revelation recently that the truest form of happiness, is actually provided through a willingness to suffer through the hardest of times. This scales, to very powerful suffering, to small things, and in most cases it’s driven by the decisions we make in life. Why are all the worst things for us, the most appealing? Want to be healthy? Cut out sugar/alcohol and other delicious but ultimately harmful items from your diet. Want to be fit? Abuse yourself at the gym at least 3 times a week if not more, or go running or more or less beat yourself up for a better body. Want to have financial stability? Live below your means. See a pattern here?

What is it that makes us feel unhappy? It’s because we’re not unhappy at our core, we’re actually unfulfilled. Achievements, and tangible goals, allow us to partially fill this void, but it’s truly not a long term solution to happiness. So how is it that suffering leads to happiness? It’s not simply that you have to experience the bad to appreciate the good, which IS a part of it, but really it’s more about Continue reading

Book Review – The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

9780812981605Holy smokes this book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, made me rethink so many things in my life. My nervous ticks, my stupid habits that annoy even me, my good habits that have really helped me out over the years. This book should be the follow up to reading The Slight Edge (Also The Compound Effect, as those books are pretty similar in concept), because in order to execute the teachings in those books, this book can really give you insight into how you function at a subconscious level.

In other words, what do you do without even thinking about it? Do you even Continue reading