This is about underground hip hop, but much of it could apply to almost any scene:
Bars are, for the most part, terrible places to be. Obnoxiously crowded and stupid expensive. The sound system has never been set up right and it’s always too loud. So why do artists keep presenting their blood and guts in these fast food environments? I’ve played shows in beauty salons, backyards and basements and had a great time doing it—there’s not a “tour circuit” for this yet, but there will be soon.
How many shows can you play for a room full of dudes before it’s time to kill yourself in a hotel room? Why don’t more women come to rap shows? That one is easy: because they don’t want to be there. They don’t enjoy themselves, they don’t feel safe and they don’t have fun.
We need more than “Alternative Hip Hop,” and definitely more than another coffee shop for spoken word navel-gazing. We need an alternate Universe, a great & secret show, a Truth & Beauty circuit full of fresh fruit, fine foods and exotic tea from fictional continents. We need daytime shows, midnight gigs on anonymous rooftops, costume concerts and a nationwide revival of Acid Tests from coast to burning coast. We need all four alleged “Elements of Hip Hop” in the same building again—most of all, we need parties worth going to, parties worth putting down your fucking phones for and actually living.
*A promise. A simple goal/idea that nearly everyone can get behind. Adbusters did pretty good with “occupy wall street.” Why? Nearly everyone hates the pervasive corruption of banks and Wall Street. It’s an easy target.
*A plausible promise. Prove that the promise can work. They did. They actually occupied Wall Street and set up camp. They then got the message out.
*A big tent and an open invitation. It doesn’t matter what your reason for protesting is as long as you hate/dislike Wall Street. The big tent is already in place (notice the diversity of the signage). Saw something similar from the Tea Party before it was mainstreamed/diminished.
Anyone who says he has no idea what these folks are protesting is not being truthful. Whether we agree with them or not, we all know what they are upset about, and we all know that there are investment bankers working on Wall Street getting richer while things for most of the rest of us are getting tougher. What upsets banking’s defenders and politicians alike is the refusal of this movement to state its terms or set its goals in the traditional language of campaigns.
That’s because, unlike a political campaign designed to get some person in office and then close up shop (as in the election of Obama), this is not a movement with a traditional narrative arc. As the product of the decentralized networked-era culture, it is less about victory than sustainability. It is not about one-pointedness, but inclusion and groping toward consensus. It is not like a book; it is like the Internet.
There’s a lot being written right now about what the #Occupy movement must do. What it should be, where it all needs to go. Yet somehow, everything that looked like a mistake at first has unfurled into an advantage. All any single #Occupy cell needs to do is hold their ground for another night, and plan to make tomorrow bigger and better. It’s easy to write a sneering caricature of a Tea Party rally, but it’s interesting to note how many reporters wrote mocking hit pieces on the Wall Street crowd that all wound up being completely different. It’s hard to get a bead on where the consensus is — but the occupation itself is the whole message. Nobody on Wall Street is confused about what it means, at least.
Chris Arkenberg continues to rack-up the interviews:
You’ve released a number of projects under various names. Would you talk a little about these projects and your aliases? Do your avatars embody & express your art in some way?
I suppose they do, man. They definitely embody the fact that my interests are intense and short-lived, that I tend to give all my content away for free, and there’s also a strong whiff of the stubborn stupidity I’m known for. I’ve made music as Wombaticus Rex, as Humpasaur Jones, and as Algorhythms, as well as way, way too much other stuff. I’m somewhere between 50% and 90% of DJ Multiple Sex Partners, depending on the vintage. The Hump Jones project was dangerously stupid, I was really pushing the Total Sexual Freedom meme past legally safe boundaries there, although I will probably still publish the book, Human Sexuality for Filthy Apes, that I was preparing for that. It makes me sound like more of a perv than I am, but that entire project was borne out of a single joke instructional song about anal sex. In retrospect, it was good, loving advice and I stand by it, so perhaps it was not a joke track after all?
Two interviews in wishtank magazine with Just Boland (aka Thirtyseven aka Humpasaur Jones aka Wombat) of Wombaticus Rex, Brainsturbator, and Algorhythms fame.
Well, I woke up to the fact that having a dozen outlets makes me twelve times less effective. The biggest push of my past few months has been integrating myself into something leaner. My name is Justin Boland at the end of the day, and I wake up in the same body I went to sleep in. A lot of the old pranks I was doing, like DJ Multiple Sex Partners, are going to get tossed over my shoulder as I march into 2008.
I am the CEO. Nobody else could be, it’s not something I could ‘install’ inside my head-I’m either being it, or I’m dicking around and being lazy. I really have come to see that all the different sides of my personality were mostly just me being self-indulgent. All the personas were experiments. I don’t regret any of this, but I’m not going to keep doing it, either. My focus right now is live performance, which is the best form of testing and feedback I’ve ever found. In the past year I’ve gotten digital promotion down pretty well, but it’s only ever a supplement to actual communication with actual people.
I’m also very aware of the fact I’ve shouldered responsibility for the careers of my friends. Starting World Around Records has forced me to get my shit together because the only excuse for not doing so would be ‘I allowed myself to fail.’ As someone who recently changed my life says, ‘I would rather chew glass for 18 years.’