Being an artist, part-time: can you endure this conversation?

Most people who know me have seen me play the drums. Nothing special, but I got some confidence out of it. I wouldn’t have gone to teaching, this weird profession where you have to embrace the false premise that you really are a specialist of the field and a master of mediation, a leader and a listener, a carer and a powerhouse of rhetorical thread making. I’m really boring. I went into Phonology, Semiotics and Discourse Analysis. At one point, I wanted to include the term “historiography” in a possible analysis of internet language. And yeah, when you study multimodality, maybe it makes sense that you start with a few videogames with characters speaking another language, then you get interested in music from the radio, a drum machine later (from a game played at the mall, 25 cents for 3 entire songs, if you didn’t fuck it up). The challenge. Suddenly you wanna say you’re good at it cause the only thing you could do was to defeat some boss in the year of 1998. One of my bosses told me learning was circular. I knew nothing about real challenges. I didn’t see them as such, but they were there: moving from one city to another, considerably bigger. Being the odd one out was too cliché; still is, but eventually I took the stage. It didn’t bother me that people had more money than me. I actually thought I was learning very interesting stuff. But before the original stuff came up, I listened to a lot of British heavy metal, some Brazilian influences, pop rock bands, funk grooves and nothing too jazzy. Then the Japanese. And I never thought about their language. To think that I would only learn the lyrics to songs I listened to every day, from burned CDs in softwares like eMule and some early version of 4shared, almost 20 years later is some kind of inconsistency. Isn’t my life supposed to have been easy? Look who’s super bilingual. I’ve recently built a perception that “super” is kind of a gay word, and that’s something I should be, uh, tremendously aware of. I’m not. But I guess dressing up with tight clothes and wearing make up isn’t the kind of thing you see young dudes doing on Snapchat these days. If you consider artists who get to success live in their own version of the internet, and therefore of reality itself, which they manipulate through their work, maybe it sounds very unequal. But this started as a sort of inescapable rant. I can never be objective about music, and also tell you something new. But I said learning is circular, my boss told me.

Learning is also occasional, and even optional. I got my first company job because of a friend who’d been to an international study exchange program in freaking Cambridge. I could just skip to the part where I’m talking to the girl from Wales who doesn’t wanna be friends on Facebook and I’m an hour late for a gig with a band that was said to have the potential to become the biggest instrumental in Brazil. True story. But I might want to drop a video. I mean, it’s good (excuse me), but does it tell a story? The answer is yes, it fucking does. But I can only have memories.

One live take with the band, a 4 song EP made in less than 50 minutes because I was late. 2012.

I learned about Lelystad and Wrexham at random times. Nobody’s even heard of these places. Today I wanted to buy a bottle of Heineken, because it’s made in Amsterdam, and I couldn’t. The financial burdens weren’t the only thing stopping me for getting my shit together. I had to control the hi-hat. Maybe people don’t notice how the volumes and harmonics change with just 3 cymbals on the kit. Most people don’t know Marilyn Monroe made a movie called “The Seven Year Itch”. The more you know. See, learning is occasional, and a lot of the time, it’s completely optional. Who’s saying important things? Of course that was the instrumental. No words there. Nothing very groundbreaking in communicative terms. Porcelain was a song that someone in Oklahoma thought was very “soothing”. It was probably the first time I heard the word. The lack of creativity was visible to many. I liked Tool. One song was named Parabolica (not sure whether it’s the same thing, but it’s what we call antennae signal receptor from satellites here in Brazil), and not a lot of people have heard me talk about how the song for me is about an abortion. Not ours, the Tool song. It made me feel weird things. It actually seems to talk about a first contact with your newborn baby. For me, abortion. That was curiously the first song I ever tried to sing, after some Dave Matthews in the kitchen and Dir en Grey in the studio (which went horribly wrong, but omehow, I got praise). I guess I navigated this world where showing off and not doing enough were perfect complements to each other. I learned. Not an option.

A crucial part of my musical upbringing, and many people who saw what forms metal music could take and how much of expression the genre could explore, especially if you still care about sequences.

But I learned things from my other bosses as well. I could just make another list of artists. Spotify has the list, and guess what man, so does Tinder. No joke. One day the girl turned to me and said: “I like this student cause he’s a fan of The Cooks”. Wanna know what happened next? Lily Allen came to Sao Paulo, literally 3 blocks away from my workplace, and then a username was created, man. But there were so many. Nope, I’ll not make a list. The last comment I heard in the context of “bosses telling you what to do” involved a briefcase. And it’s not what you think. Embrace the random? Look back, buddy. But who’s talking, right? I learned that I had a lot to learn.

With the process of writing blogs, I’ve learned many things about myself. First, that I’m extremely annoying. And it’s not just the personality in text; it’s the persona that some special people seem to know so well, in other forms of text, and the fact that for a lot of people it’s not a persona at all. And that’s why I think it’s valid to come back to a point in time. Lelystad and Wrexham were two little magnets. Eventually, I was pushed to Jacksonville. And I never realized how big of a city that is. What came after Jacksonville? Ask the local artists, not me. That’s the real reason I’m posting this. Because when I listen to this song, Porcelain, I don’t listen to myself. I remember my life. And the feeling I get from some artists is that they know my entire life, choosing to help me out in dealing with some really complicated feelings. I’ll give you more chances of vibing with me: the first has to be Lily, not just because she literally owns a vibrator company, but because she covered the song below. And next, you’ll find a talented guy who reminds me of a person who’s not here anymore. Physically, I mean. Then I’ll drop another. It got stuck with me. You’re all tired of my metal and my content overall, my presence. I wanna give shoutouts to some artists. Not because I know who they are exactly, but because they’ve captured something very essential: narratives can’t possibly not be mixed. And yes, we all know that sad songs end up making you horny, which is what comes after sad, right? Of course not, I’m just saying this because it’s everyone’s standard assumption; it’s like the cake thing. If you can’t relate to the music above or below, but you’re Brazilian and you want to understand why this is so relevant, do yourself a favor: read the lyrics.

Everyone: please read the lyrics.

You predicted everything, Lily. 2006 version. We’d need someone to talk about how much people want to control us. But look what happened next.
Intentionally looking ridiculous while getting to the bottom of a feeling mixed up with too many others, and still updating the conversation.
This sticks, doesn’t it? Who applauds who?

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