I’ve come to discover that it is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to be your own hype man if you’re not used to doing it on a regular basis. I’m gonna practice it now. Y’all ready?
Some of you may know that I have previously released music under the name The Music Plays You. I recently launched a Kickstarter for my next album, “Holophrase”, and it’s currently sitting at 21% funded (thank you so much to those who have contributed so far). I’m simultaneously excited & nervous about doing this, for a variety of reasons, and I thought I’d write a little blog post to talk about it.
Side note: I genuinely wonder how many other people who have run a Kickstarter have had Mötley Crüe’s “Kickstart My Heart” stuck in their head like I have.
Who or what is The Music Plays You?
The Music Plays You is my solo music project for all of my post-rock, ambient, and instrumental creations. I’ve been writing and recording music for it off and on since 2012, and after a 6 year hiatus, I’m ready to release some more tunes.
What exactly is “post-rock”?
Wikipedia defines post-rock as “a form of experimental rock characterized by a focus on exploring textures and timbres over traditional rock song structure, chords, or riffs.” Basically, take any modern guitar-based rock music, take out the vocals, and then make it interesting enough that it never needed vocals in the first place. A couple popular post-rock acts include Sigur Rós, Radiohead (especially their work on the Kid A album), and Explosions in the Sky, who gained in popularity after being featured as the soundtrack to the TV show Friday Night Lights.
Why do you need to Kickstart this? Why not just release it?
My wife and I ran into some unexpected expenses when we moved this past fall, and it necessitated me selling off a lot of my recording equipment. So, some of the funds from this Kickstarter are going towards replacing those items.
Additionally, I learned after releasing my first EP that having someone master my album or create artwork for it should be something I plan from the beginning, and not an 11th hour afterthought. I’ve already reached out to people and gotten things lined up, and the rest of the funds will go towards that.
What does “holophrase” mean?
Let’s go back to Wikipedia again! “Holophrasis is the prelinguistic use of a single word to express a complex idea. A holophrase may resemble an interjection, but whereas an interjection is linguistic, and has a specific grammatical function, a holophrase is simply a vocalization memorized by rote and used without grammatical intent.”
Here’s an example: when a toddler says “Up!”, what they’re probably saying is “pick me up so I’m not on the floor.” “Food” might really mean “I’m hungry, and I would like something to eat.” “Ball” probably means “I want that ball that you currently have.”
The concept of a holophrase caught my attention about a year ago, and I’ve been fascinated with how that can and does shape my music. I’ve been gathering words that elicit feeling and emotions out of me, and using them to craft songs and melodies. I’ve not solidified any of the tracks yet, but you can hear an example of what the word Foundation elicited out of me once upon a time.
Why has it taken you 6 years to put out new music?
Oh man, you didn’t actually think you were gonna get out of here without an emotional hook, did you?
When I was 4 years old, I went and sat down at the family piano, and asked my mom (who was a piano teacher) to teach me how to play. I spent the next 14 years honing my craft, and eventually became one of the best under-18 piano players in the state of Iowa. I also picked up drums & percussion, bass, and guitar along the way as well. I was a 2-time All-State percussionist, and entered college as a music education major. While that didn’t pan out for me (got bit by the injury bug), music has never left my blood.
In the fall of 2012, while in the midst of recording my first EP Sailing, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I rushed to finish it, because I wanted her to be able to hear what I had done.
I had planned to release the EP on my birthday, February 13th. My mom passed away 2 days earlier, on the 11th.
I am so incredibly thankful that I was able to share the EP with her before its release, because I felt like it was a way of saying “thank you” for all that she had done for me. But for years afterwards, my desire & energy to make music has dwindled to the point where I haven’t really sought out making music.
After some conversations with a couple of people this summer, that energy has been rekindled, and I am ready to jump head-first back into the fray. Sitting and feeling sad and not using the talents & gifts my mom helped me develop doesn’t do anyone any good; I’d rather release more music and put all of this energy and emotion to good use.
So yeah. The Kickstarter is live, and will run until August 23rd. I’m so excited about this album, and I hope you all are as well. Any amount helps, even if all you can afford is $1. Thank you so much for your support, and I cannot wait to share this music with all of you.