I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and learning about motivation and moods of late and one thing seemed extremely obvious, I quit listening to metal and realised that the things I consume can highly change or alter my mood and mindset. For example one of the pieces of advice that I heard and found extremely enlightening is to turn off the TV, especially the news. Why? Well the news is full of negative events that happen around the country and the world. This in itself, can highly change your mood and your outlook on life. Why? Because everything seems so glum when you watch the news, with the odd good news story, it simply doesn’t have the return on invested time. Does it make me selfish? I don’t think so. Rather than sitting down on a couch pondering all the shit that happens in the world, I prefer to look forward at a more promising one and use that time for more productive measures.
Where does this lead me? Well over the past say 6 months I have quit listening to Metal music. I will also clarify that this wasn’t an active decision, It kind of just happened. It was like the best friend you once had and as the story goes for whatever reason, one person stops contacting the other and sooner or later, you realise you’re just not really friends anymore. I’m not saying that I don’t like Metal, but it is, lets be honest, quite an aggressive form of music and for one, I am not an aggressive person. I guess if you spoke to my wife, she would have said I had a temper and suffer from a short fuse, but of late, I’ve noticed things have changed. The only thing I can attribute that to, is my change in what I am listening to. I rarely if ever listen to Metal. The reason was simple, it was a combination of being a bit over it and the ‘scene’ that revolved around it.
Clarifying once again, that this is not a dig at the style of music, personally for me, it just doesn’t really do anything for me anymore. After 20 years of pumping this music engulfing myself within the local metal scene, I had just had enough. I feel honoured and privileged to have played my part in supporting Australia’s local metal scene through my time at Heavy Music Mag in my role of Marketing and Events Manager, helping my good friend Olivia establish something she felt was doing good for the local Metal industry. After a few years of being involved I had a new outlook on what the ‘music industry’ was.
What was the outcome of being some kind of ‘influential’ person. Well there were a lot of people who I had never spoken to before, seemed to be much friendlier with me, but that is the natural act of networking in the industry, I get that. I would have called some of these people really good friends. What has happened since? Well things have changed, I rarely hear from most of these people what so ever. For the few that I still am in contact with, well, we have a common connection over and above music. To those that have fallen away, in hindsight I would say with out any malice on their part, manipulated me into thinking we were friends but really, I don’t think we were. That’s life, you learn that people are sometimes looking after themselves, but when networking is purely for selfish gains, I believe it can only hamper their progress in the future. My only conclusion is that I had nothing to offer them in return. Which is quite sad. As I genuinely did enjoy the company of a lot of these people.
I guess my proudest achievement was establishing events such as Heavy Fest and Brewtality, two local and extremely successful events featuring some of the countries finest bands. Having done my part and no longer feeling enthused about what I was doing in the industry, I quit. I must admit I did feel a little burnt out, so I decided to leave it in peace as there was no point in burning any bridges. Heck I still had my own band, which I was highly involved with. But after this chapter in my life I realised something. The local industry runs on this whole mantra of having to support others to get something in return, which now seems like a ridiculous idealism. It’s not like everyone who bakes cake buys each others cakes to support the cake baking industry. Consumers buy the cakes, not those involved with the baking right? That might be to simplistic of a view, but its the only analogy I could think of and I hope it makes sense.
Faced with somewhat of a conundrum now, realising that I’m still a vocalist in a Metal band, so how does that work? Well for one I love being in a band and getting on stage and entertaining. I do it because I love the thrill of it. I thoroughly enjoy the company of my band mates, so that in itself is enough for me to continue doing what I do. Now at 35 years of age and coming close to a decade of being involved, it seems odd to be involved in a band in a style of music that I have no real interest in. Although after a discussion with a good friend of mine, he mentioned a stack of people who were in Metal bands and rarely if ever listen to Metal. I guess now it’s just a little bit of that whole thinking outside the square mentality. I think it can only be good for me and the band to be honest. Let’s hope it can only bring some new level of creative swing to the new release we are currently embarking on.
What have I replaced my music listening with? Funny enough predominantly Podcasts, Audiobooks and some Triple J to fill in the space. Spending hours in my small business painting furniture, I now resort to plugging in the headphones and learning about things that I feel can add value to my life. If I was to ever admit to the type of music I listen to, people would probably identify me as some kind of hipster. But the reality is, I just like listening to music that makes me feel happy. People change and heck, I have changed a hell of a lot in the last 10 years.
I no longer have these starry eyes of someone in their 20’s with the goal of doing well in music. I’ll be honest, whilst I loved the creativity, I really wanted to achieve things and my idea of that of achievement, was to get on stage with the big international bands and tour the world, but I haven’t to this stage. Does this make me a failure? I don’t think so. I have achieved awesome things with my band, made awesome friends (and some would say enemies), but the reality is that it hasn’t ended and a decade of being in and running a band in itself is something to be proud of. Now I’m just an older man doing it to hang out with mates stay creative and have fun. I’m not bitter, I am just content with where I am in life and the reality is, I don’t want to dedicate the amount of time that is required to becoming a band that has ‘made it’. What ever the fuck that means. I have so many other things I would like to do in life that requires all that precious time.
So Metal heads hopefully you don’t hate me for being honest, one thing I can say is that it is a music culture that has a lot of good people and is definitely ill perceived amongst the wider world. Why? Because you are different! That’s a good thing to be and never stop being different. But it is also filled with over opinionated assholes (who will likely correct me for using the word ‘ass’) and I haven’t got time for that shit anymore, it’s just petty and dumb and I’ve got better things to do and think about. As one of the great modern sayings goes, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. I prefer to phrase it: opinions are like assholes, most of them are full of shit. Good luck to you all and wish only good things for Australian Metal, I guess I have to, I’m still in it, even its at a fraction of my previous involvement.