New Noise Magazine reached out to a diverse group of artists and asked them to speak about their personal experiences with dealing with their overall wellness. The topic of being in good physical and mental is an exclusive spotlight coinciding with Issue #32 of the print magazine, deemed The Wellness Issue. Each artist speaks with a refreshing transparency on the struggles they face and how to better go about their own health.
Featuring guitarist D’Andre Tyre of A Wake in Providence
New York City technical death metal riff masters, A Wake In Providence—comprised of vocalist Will Ramos, guitarist D’Andre Tyre, and drummer Anthony Adipietro—recently signed to Fearless Records imprint, Outerloop Records, and released a new single, “A Darkened Gospel.” The band have “lots more” plans in the works, but Tyre takes a moment to offer his thoughts on “how to start” getting your ideas off the ground.
How To Start
It always seems to be the hardest part of anything. “I want to get in shape, I’m going to start going to the gym.” We’ve all said something like that, I’m sure. I’ve been saying this for years with so much, whether it be about eating better, reading more, or practicing more, it’s always held up by “starting,” yet, a lot of us—including myself—just don’t get moving or know where to start.
I personally think people don’t start working on their projects because of the risk involved with doing something new. There’s a level of fear that comes with it, a fear of not having enough time or a fear of failing.
Now, with all that being said, I can say it isn’t that bad. I hate to be cliché, but put one foot in front of the other and just do it. I wanted to play an instrument once I got into rock and metal, but I had no clue how, and the tipping point for me was just picking up a guitar. That was it, and starting is as simple as that. The inspiration and motivation to get moving on any project comes solely from you, but on the flip, you are also the only person stopping you from doing what you want to do—which is pretty messed up when you think about it.
Whenever I talk to younger people who ask about starting bands or how to start playing an instrument, I always ask, “What’s stopping you?” They always say, “I don’t know,” but it’s a simple answer: it’s yourself. Forget that, fight through it and chase what you want to do. It doesn’t have to be a lifelong dream or life-changing experience, it could literally be about making a sandwich. Get up and do it.
If you want to truly start a band, get up and find people who will help propel the band forward, not temporary solutions, you know? Put together a team who shares your visions, and bring something worth it to the table. There’s no other way. I mean, you can wait around and hope for the best, but that does not pay off the same way as getting the ball rolling yourself.
Simply put, no. Make that leap and jump into whatever it is you want to do, because if you don’t, it will never get done!
Nothing worth doing is ever easy.
Featuring Brandon Phillips of The Architects and Brandon Phillips And The Condition
Brandon Phillips fronts Kansas City, Missouri’s The Architects, as well as helming his solo project, the rock and soul endeavor, Brandon Phillips And The Condition. The Architects play “punk rock from the center of America,” and their latest creation, Border Wars, is a concept album and comic book that will be presented in five parts. For those who are considering turning over a new leaf and starting fresh, the creative frontman has some advice…
How To Start Over
Wreck Things Honestly
Starting over requires a clean end-point. Your ending can be made or kept clean by being radically, unflinchingly, fearlessly honest about what is ending and what is beginning anew. If you are leaving a relationship, be painfully detailed about exactly why you are leaving. If you are breaking up the band, make sure the reasons are clearly articulated and understood by everyone involved. Obviously, have some tact and taste—this is not the green light to unload meanness or cruelty on anyone—but it is easier for you to start over if you know that you have been heard and understood by what or who you are leaving behind.
Deal with Leftovers
Few things in life are ever finished in one sitting, and although no one really likes leftovers—be it meatloaf or unprocessed feels from an ugly situation—they must be handled or they will contaminate your psychic fridge with spores, and instead of being nourished by—or throwing out—whatever was hanging around, you’ll be bleaching and scrubbing the crisper of your delicate psychology simply to get rid of the smell.
Leave Room for The Holy Ghost
In any “starting over” situation, there will be a temptation to have everything planned out to an electron-microscope-level of detail. Don’t bother. Let the randomness of the universe surprise you once in a while.
Starting over—starting anything over—sucks. It sucks a lot. You’ll be fragile even on your best day. Dig deep and Hulk that shit out, because you suffered through the “ending” of something on the faith that there was another thing that would make you happy. Fight for that thing.
Don’t Be a Fucking Hero
Addicts need rehab, schizophrenics need psychiatrists, broken hearts need friends. Be smarter than that tough-guy part of you that thinks he can lone-wolf it through even the biggest and most staggering life changes. Ask the appropriate person for the help you need—I emphasize “the appropriate person.” Don’t ask your roommate to help you kick heroin. Don’t ask your boyfriend to be your post-trauma therapist. Don’t ask your lawyer to fix your car. Makes sense, right?
Featuring Jake Bryant of CINEMA CENTURY
Split between Dayton, Ohio, and Los Angeles, alternative rock duo CINEMA CENTURY have only been around for a few months, but they’re already making a positive impact with their music. Their debut single, “Adrenaline,” was released in March with all proceeds benefitting the nonprofit organization, To Write Love On Her Arms. They’ve since released several follow-up singles, “Ultra-Violent” in April, “Ambition” in May, and “Follow the Light” in June. Let founder Jake Bryant teach you a thing or two about starting over.
How To Start Over
I left my last band, dangerkids, about three years ago now. A lot of people thought that I was crazy. I was doing all that I dreamed. We were signed to Rise Records and touring the world, playing in front of thousands of people, but something just didn’t feel right and I couldn’t ignore it. I didn’t believe in the message we were spreading as a band or the way we were spreading it.
So, I did what every musician is terrified to do: I left and I started over.
It’s not easy. The day I left, I sat down at my studio desk and said, “OK, well, it’s time to get to work.” No labels, no managers, no booking agents. I sat down and wrote from my heart the message I felt I was suppressing for the years I was touring.
I created what became “Adrenaline,” the first single from my new band, CINEMA CENTURY. I am so happy I made that tough decision, because if I hadn’t, even if I’d be more immediately “successful” in the industry, I would be living an empty life of traveling state to state doing something I didn’t believe in. That is no way to live.
If you are thinking about starting over, I encourage you to follow your heart and to do what you feel is right. On my deathbed, I won’t regret that I tried my best to do the right thing. I hope the very same for you.
Featuring Kiri Oliver of Early Riser
Brooklyn’s Early Riser started out as an acoustic duo with “always members” Kiri Oliver on guitar, keys, and vocals and Heidi Vanderlee on cello and vocals. They have a rotating cast of additional members making up their rhythm section, one of whom is Mikey Erg, who lends a hand to many quality bands. If you like cello riffs, feminism, cats, and upbeat pop punk, check out the debut track, “The Nevers,” from their album Currents, released through A-F Records and Anchorless Records on June 16.
How to Start Over
Bands are relationships, and their breakups can be just as bad as romantic ones—or worse. All of a sudden, this group of people and creative work that you’ve poured your time, money, and heart into is no longer viable, and you’re back at square one. But it’s also a great time to start a new project—the kind you really want to be in.
Our band was born from the ashes of previous ones. Twice—first as a solo project, and then two years later as a duo. These are the things we’d suggest to musicians embarking on a new project after an old one ends.
You may have pinned all your hopes for musical glory on the success of your now-defunct band. That’s totally understandable, considering how hard you worked on it. But guess what? It wasn’t “The One.” Just like in dating, there might not even be “The One.” But it’s part of your story, and it played a role in getting you where you are now, which is still valuable. And it definitely wasn’t your last or only chance to achieve your goals in music.
As with other breakups, it’s important to put your mental health first. Share your feelings with a trusted friend or therapist. Do things that make you feel good—actually good, like long walks and singing along to your favorite record, not loading up on junk food and alcohol. The same as with romantic exes, don’t hate-stalk your former bandmates on social media. It’s just not worth it.
This is a great time to think about what didn’t work for you in your last band—and start over with that in mind. Did you wish you could play more of an active role in decision-making or, on the flip side, did you resent having too much responsibility? Have you been wanting to play a different instrument even if it’s not the one you’re best at? What’s your ideal situation in terms of how the band practices, writes, communicates, and functions? These are all really helpful things to know when choosing new bandmates and starting to work together.
You’re probably having a lot of feelings right now. Great! You already have material for your new band’s songs. You don’t need to write a blistering screed against your former bandmates and how terrible they are—there’s plenty to say about how it feels for you to let go and start over. Our album, Currents, ended up addressing a lot of related themes: moving on, disappointment, fear, excitement, hope, and going with the flow of what life brings.
Featuring vocalist/guitarist Matt MacDonald of The Classic Crime
Seattle’s The Classic Crime have been around since 2004. After releasing three albums and an EP on local Christian label, Tooth & Nail, they decided to forge their own path, reaching out directly to fans on Kickstarter to self-release their fourth full-length, Phoenix, in 2012. With that success under their belt, in April of 2016, they created another Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their fifth album, which they raised in an astounding three hours. Their latest album, How To Be Human, was released on April 28.
How To Kill Your Band—And Why It Might Be Necessary for Its Survival
It’s the fall of 2011, and I’m sitting across the table from a real estate broker in Seattle. I’m there for an interview. I have a tie on. My hair is too long, but I’m earnest. I’m just hours from completing my real estate licensing course, and I’ve already passed several mock exams.
“How big is your inner circle?” he asks.
I pause. My mind goes to fans of my band, the people who’ve followed my accounts over the last eight years and interacted with me online.
“Pretty big, I guess?” I say, assuming it is compared to most real estate agents starting out.
“That’s good, that’s where you need to start.”
“Yeah,” I say, “Should be no problem.”
After a quick exchange, he tells me to come back in when I’ve got my license. We shake hands, and now I’m on the sidewalk, suddenly sick at the idea of building an income around monetizing my relationships.
But isn’t that what I was trying to do for eight years leading up to this point? Wasn’t our goal as a band to get our friends to buy tickets in 2003? Wasn’t it my goal as the opening band on a national tour in 2006 to engage the headliner’s crowd on a personal level so they would give our band a shot? So that they would support our music and our lives?
“It’s the end of that sort of monetizing,” I think, “and the start of another.” I have a pregnant wife who has supported me for years of touring, and now it’s my turn to pitch in. I’ve never made money in music, and ever since our contract expired with the label late last year, nobody seems interested.
So, I have to do something.
I’d foregone a formal education in my 20s to be a student of the road. In 2006 alone, our band put over 100,000 miles on our van, traveling coast to coast and back again. Because of the years I spent, I am now unqualified for any other profession than a music industry one.
But I have failed at the music industry, on paper at least. I can’t support a family on my income, let alone myself. I have to start over. I am ready to be responsible, so I choke down the lump in my throat. I think about my wife and her support of me over the years. I think about my baby daughter who is about to arrive.
My wife cries when I tell her I’m ready to do anything to support our family, swing a hammer, whatever. She says I’ll be miserable. I say maybe I will, but all good parents make sacrifices for their family. And that’s honorable, right? I was burned out on the popularity contest of trying to “make it” and never feeling like we’d arrived anyway.
So, it’s late 2011, and I’m about 80 hours into my real estate course when something starts happening online. It seems like every day, I’m seeing a music project on Kickstarter take off. Bands are funding the production and manufacturing of their music independently, often far above their goals, and often overnight—especially Five Iron Frenzy in late 2011. Kickstarter is relatively new at this point, so I’m skeptical. If you’re going to do it, how do you do it right? I find myself researching the successful campaigns, looking for common threads.
A few group texts with my band and the consensus was, “Screw it, we’ll do one more record directly for our fans, and that will be it.” We’ll decide when our band is done. We are going to go out on our terms. We are going to finish well.
So, in March of 2012, we launched our first Kickstarter campaign.
We were blown away, reaching our goal within 24 hours with 29 days left on the campaign. Our fans showed up in droves to the tune of $86,000 dollars, which was far more than we needed to make the record. Immediately, all of my plans for real estate were paused, and I became fully immersed in production, art, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, touring, and every aspect of independently releasing a record. We were reinvigorated by the support of our core audience, and we were given a new mission: to deliver the best record to our fans.
That was when the end became the start.
I was so busy with the record, I had to delay my real estate course three times over the next several months until it expired completely, just 10 hours away from completion.
The project put me on a trajectory to more DIY releases, building up streaming revenue, licensing opportunities, restructuring our touring system, and consulting for crowdfunds and other indie album releases.
It’s been five years, and my wife and I now have three kids, all supported by these multiple streams of income.
The thing is, looking back, I can see it all playing out very differently. It was one decision of solidarity. We decided to finish well.
We could have let our burnout on the industry overwhelm us to the point of inaction. Instead of agreeing to finish our band with dignity through one last crowdfund, I could have decided to plunge myself into the real estate world. And maybe that wouldn’t have been all bad. Maybe, in some ways, my life would have been easier—the last five years have been a boom in the housing market—but the truth is it would not have been as fulfilling as the culmination of years of work paying off in the music industry.
Finishing is the action. It’s the punctuation that leads to the next sentence. Or paragraph. Or novel. If you don’t finish one thing, no new thing can come from it.
Finishing is deliberate, it’s taking control. It’s not letting other people define the terms. It’s not letting a lack of outside interest or success kill your dreams with a whimper. It’s deciding that one last time, we’ll give it our all and it will be done. We’ll go out with a bang.
Only after finishing can the next chapter begin.
In a way, our band did die. Old concepts about what success was died. Our idea of being full-time famous died. Our expectations of financial security solely from music died.
But a new band was born when that old band died. One that was less delusional, more flexible and focused on adaptation and survival as ideals to strive for, instead of a 45-foot bus on a sold-out tour through Europe.
If we hadn’t chosen to finish the project on our terms, we would have disbanded entirely. Songs would not have been recorded. Tours would not have been played. Fans would not have been engaged with, and we would all be on our own trajectories by now, trying to carve out some security in the industries we found ourselves in.
But we’re here. Five years later. Releasing yet another record and going out on another tour, because of that moment in 2011. The moment we decided to finish.