Discover more from From The Mixed Up Files of Mr. Matthew T. Schindler
Greetings, my faux friends!
Happy Tuesday, as they say.
Let me begin with a quote that has been kicking around my head for 7 years.
“I think making art comes from being a little allergic to society, not wanting to belong. Come to think of it, I am a really lucky bastard.”
Those words really stuck with me.1
Perhaps partly because I sometimes feel like a lucky bastard.
But also because it seems rare to see an artist declare publicly that luck has anything to do with their position in the world. Cheers to you, Ragnar!
I feel pretty lucky to be able to put music out and have some people dig it.
I don’t need a record deal; I don’t need to be in your town to hand you a cassette—I don’t even need to make a trip to the post office!2
I can just launch songs out into the ether via Bandcamp, write about it here, and then I’m pretty much stacking ducats3, etc. It’s kind of “path-of-least-resistance” from a marketing point-of-view, but that’s what this lucky bastard requires right now.
It also feels good to communicate with people and hear back from them, so I say thank you for all your listening and occasional buying and notes of encouragement. It helps.
Vis-à-vis this path of least resistance…
I used to be pretty ambitious when it came to promoting my musical projects. I’ve made hundreds of trips to the post office to send packages off to clubs, reviewers, radio stations.4
I’d sit outside of booking agents’ offices and corner them when they’d try to leave work: “Hey, here’s a tape of my band. Can we play new band night?!”
I kinda hated that side of things, but that’s how you slowly move up in the DIY version. One minute you’ve got zero gigs, the next you’re opening up for Los Straitjackets in Iowa, Evan Dando in Kansas, Grant Hart in Minneapolis, Slim Dunlap in Duluth.
Wow. I did that? Cool.
I was ambitious, but I was lucky too.
I was lucky to have good people and players around me.
And I was lucky to find an artistic practice where I could get lost for hours and hours without realizing that any time had passed, teasing out an idea just for the sake of the tease.
That’s how songs like “Happy #1” came about.
“What would happen if I just sketched out a loose arrangement and played a really long psyched out guitar solo for the entire two minutes over a drum machine?”
“Can you really call it a guitar solo?”
“Can you dance to it?”5
I recorded this on the Tascam 4-track cassette and transferred to digital (I think?) though some kind of M-Audio converter way back in the day. I recently bumped up the volume using Adobe Audition for this release.
Anywho, when I’m flipping through old hard drives and devices with different song ideas (mixed up files, if you will) looking for pieces to include on this evolving album series on Bandcamp, I’ll come across something like “Happy #1” and be like, “Whoa, I converted a day or two of my time into this idea all those years ago. This one’s pretty cray.”
I am a lucky bastard for getting to share it with you now.
Thank you for listening!
I remain your humble servant,
Thanks for reading From The Mixed Up Files of Mr. Matthew T. Schindler! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
P.s. I animated a simple lyric video for the “Girls in Jettas (with cell phones)” song from a couple weeks ago. Check it out if you are so inclined.
As did the subtitle about turning “repetition into art.” For what are songs if not repeated vibrations. As for being allergic to society, does getting the heebie-jeebies just walking into Costco count?
I would actually like to see you & hand you a cassette at some point in the future, but it is true that going to the post office is one of the least fulfilling parts of being an artist.
Actually, the part about stacking ducats is false, but I am getting the flow of ideas running again, which relieves creative pressure building up in the brain, and that’s a net positive.
There will be more visits to the post office to send things to radio stations at some point in the not-too-distant future, but I digress.
There may have been some prison metaphor attached to his appraisal