[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://www.nquit.com/sounds/semperThou/BugsWineDemons/01semperThouLadybugHeart.mp3″]Ladybug Heart, by semper Thou (aka dominguez )
If you’ve heard me talk, you’ll know I’m supposed to be telling the frustrating idiotic story of deciding you’re a professional “artist”, amidst all the fame and celebrity insanity that goes around. If you happened to be reading before, you’ll know that originally I was just using this blog as a vehicle to show off all my and my label’s music. Well I had this shift in thinking, but I still have two albums I hadn’t talked about, and they’re not my stuff, so I felt like I wanted to still use those songs as a jumping off point.
So here’s Ladybug Heart, by semper Thou, aka dominguez, aka Eric, who played all the guitars on my last album. I think Eric is really fucking good. I think he’s got something really amazing and in producing his record, I really felt like I’d done something that sounded like a real record, and really for the first time. It’s very simple in scope, usually just an acoustic guitar and vocals, played live. Maybe a few overdubs. But I think it sounds really clean and natural and man I’m proud of it. The other thing is Eric is well rehearsed and/or very skilled in that things don’t take forever. He will actually pick up his guitar and play. He’s very easy to work with.
I think I can really jump off about the frustrations from a label point of view on this song. You do something like this and the first thing you think of is some other album that might be comparable that you’ve heard on some major label like Arista or something. And you think MAN, this could GO somewhere! Every song starts to sound like a hit single, not necessarily like Britney Spears on KOB Top 40, but something. There are different kinds of hit singles in different niches. But as an artist, my skill is really not in promoting things, and honestly, that kind of thing takes money and connections which I’ve never had. Even when I do have it, I’m too scared to spend it. And you really can envision this series of calls and emails and successes and you start to get this start-up mentality. Now that I’ve worked for a few venture-funded start-ups, I feel like every new record release is like a new start-up company. And I don’t know if it’s from TV or what, but you get this picture of three or five people in a room just buzzing and buzzing and calling and booking and emailing and writing press releases and making something happen and having pizza and staying long hours and creating this Google campus feel. Suddenly you think you’re some hipster next Google company.
But here’s where I call bullshit, because honestly, that doesn’t happen. If you don’t have a paycheck for people, there’s not gonna be that kind of passion. And don’t get a room full of wannabe rock stars together to try and push one of their records. Mostly they will sit and pine and drink and play video games. I’m not kidding. If you want to be professional, and run a business, then you need to run a business. Not a playhouse. When this record and Bleed (my record) were being finished, we had a loft full of things like a hockey goal and Corona and guitar hero. There shouldn’t be a playstation in your studio. But you see that shit everywhere. Go and audition for that “modeling opportunity” down in Houston. You’re going to walk into a room with three hip-hop looking dudes playing Madden 2000 on a Playstation and right then you’re gonna know there’s nothing going on.
So there you go. It’s not REALLY because you don’t have money or connections. It’s because of a strange haze that comes over you where you just don’t do the work. I try to imagine if my DAD was heading NQuit. My dad gets up at about 4AM every day and goes to bed probably 11PM. He works basically that whole time. His office is an office. He has no interest in video games or hipster anything. His toy is the plotter in the back room. What if you ran your little label with that kind of passion and intensity? You’d be Dr. Dre. You’d succeed. But Dr. Dre succeeds like that for the same reason my dad succeeds at being a waste water treatment engineer. Because it MATTERS to him. It matters to other people. And because he isn’t some white boy with just enough money to get some beer and pizza. He’s got NO OTHER OPTION. He can gang bang, which he did, or he can successfully run a business, which he did. But the honest truth about NQuit Records (and a lot of other entertainers) is that they’re there because they don’t want to do anything, and/or they have no idea what to do. It’s probably the malaise of wealth, because don’t forget, if you’re an American, you’re filthy fucking rich, I don’t care who you are.
Anyway Eric’s as frustrating as anything I’ve done of my own, because I feel like he’s really good, but dude is all over the place. He’s a human being running around the Earth. If he had no brains or no education or no life, maybe I could pin him down and have him on the road all the time playing these songs (and if I could run my side of the business like I describe above, it might all work). But I can’t do that. Plus whenever he plays, it’s in some apartment for some girls, and yes they all think he’s a rock star, but he has nothing to offer them (because of aforementioned laze on NQuit’s part). Hence, I don’t have the money to print 1000 records for him, and the best thing I can ever do to promote is get on stage myself, but people that dig my show don’t want to hear me go on about some other artist.
The other thing that drives the label nuts is this fuckin guy changes his artist name every other day. His poetry name is dominguez, mere days before we finished this record, he says his music name is semper Thou, and now I think he plays music as “hericlitus”. Arty, Eric, really creative, but to a label exec, a fucking nightmare.
I guess the basic point is that one of the things that’s really taken its tole on my passion in this business is that our best work is the most frustrating, because I want so bad for it to be fully maximized and heard, but the motivation do make that happen is lacking.
But I like this Ladybug Heart song. I like this whole guitar driven acoustic album. I think Eric’s really good. Now I’ll tell you this warning though: this is the saddest album on Earth. Seriously. The saddest, period. This fuckin guy was so broken up and obsessed with this one girl in Houston, who’d sort of dumped him but was also just not as into it as him, and all this stuff that sounds real familiar to me! But this guy’s like NIN – EVERY single word in EVERY single song is about her! *LAUGH*
I guess that’s not totally true. This Ladybug Heart and the next one, Cicada, are kinda…something else. Eric can get really political sometimes and I dig his messages.
But anyway. I’ve driven up some points here, and I know I haven’t been totally thorough and clear. But this isn’t a book, it’s a blog. I know I’m gonna touch on most of this again and again and I’ll try to explain myself. For a few entries, though, I’m gonna let myself drift so I can still present the songs I have left to show you. Because in the end, promotion or not, that was what it was SUPPOSED to be about. I want somebody to hear the stuff.