We checked in with Three One G Records’ Justin and Everlasting Spew Records’ Tito on how they spent 2020, what they learned, and their thoughts and hopes for what 2021 will hold as part of our New Year’s Evolutions Series!
Justin Pearson – Three One G Records
Just Pearson is one of those people who is always spinning many plates at once, and even with a pandemic throwing a wrench in touring plans, he found new ways to keep creating.
How did you spend this past year?
This is a loaded question. There might have been a chain of emotions and thoughts starting with confusion, then disbelief, despair, frustration, and after that stuff, my fight-or-flight response kicked in, and I started to hustle more and try to cover my ass for the future that was yet to present itself. During this time, as I had four tours canceled for various projects (The Locust, Planet B, Deaf Club, and Satanic Planet), I just pushed forward with working on new material in the studio.
My comrades and I wrapped up the Satanic Planet LP, wrote and recorded most of the Deaf Club LP, worked on Planet B stuff, and tried to figure out when the rest of The Locust would be up for jamming and writing.
Oh, and I also filmed 14 music videos with Deaf Club. On top of all that, I stopped paying my mortgage, which was interesting, and also spent more time with my dog, which he was and still is psyched about.
What new avenues did you find to express yourself and get your work out into the world?
Well, as a lot of us have found social media a way to express ourselves more; I have done my best to shave off a bit of my time spent on that stuff. I can say that trying to avoid people has helped me be able to self-reflect a bit more than normal. As much as I want to express myself, I figured I should reflect more. Perhaps this could be a suggestion for my FB, IG, and Twitter feed that I get exposed to. Nonetheless, I don’t know that I discovered new avenues, but maybe revisited some of the older ones, like spanning time in nature.
How did you make ends meet to simply survive?
I stopped paying my mortgage. I also got accepted for food stamps, got a loan, got a grant for my business (Three One G), The Locust sold coffee, and I managed to get a chunk of unemployment because, let’s face it, royalties for some of us artists is just a joke.
What new things did you learn?
I learned some stuff as far as how I write or don’t write. Not music, but books. I dove a bit into some theory behind writing and literature, which led me to start working on a new book.
I also learned, or maybe discovered, that in more rural areas of the world that I visited in an attempt to avoid maskless humans, there are a lot of mislead and misinformed people out there. I was already aware of the concept of hating downwards, but to see it, even into the new year, was jarring.
I’m not sure if that is learnt, or just a heads up that people are still pretty jacked-up. I was aware of it, just assumed things were progressing, at least more than they actually are.
How do you feel about the coming year in terms of ‘getting back to normal’? Is there going to be a normal?
I don’t know that I have had “normal” in my life. But, as far as non-pandemic normal, I look forward to less deaths and possibly more empathy. But, I’m not holding my breath for the empathy part. Please refer back to my hating downwards comment earlier.
Seeing confederate flags waving in a trailer park is a drag on so many levels. If anything, I can hope for people to become (more) aware that corporations have shit the bed, and the working class are the ones to change the sheets. So, as much as I want to see the pandemic remove itself from the equation, I think capitalism might be the more punishing virus here on this planet.
Featured image credit: Becky DiGiglio.
Tito Vespasiani – Everlasting Spew Records
Tito Vespasiani of Everlasting Spew Records turned his time and energy into reflection and optimism that puts a balance of good out into the world in a time when it’s needed most.
COVID-19 took a toll on all of us, although I feel lucky to be healthy.
I was fortunate enough to keep my job as label manager for Everlasting Spew Records and band manager for Hideous Divinity, Gaerea, Bedsore, Selvans, Coexistence, and Helslave.
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Being a manager, I feel very protective and caring towards the artists I manage. I’ve always felt a huge responsibility towards them, putting an effort into coming up with new ideas every day to keep the bands active and relevant. I kept up with content, social media posts, encouraging artists to interact with fans, just like I did with my huge internet family.
I have to say, these conditions also sparked a new creativity within me and allowed me to bring up new ideas to my bands and work partners. While I understand some people are not so fond of the platform, I also really enjoyed spending time crafting playlists on Spotify (both “Death Metal Annihilation” and my label playlist “Everlasting Spew Records”).
An important realization I had was that being locked in with my computer was very dangerous for my mental health. I often overworked myself, pushing myself into stress, lack of sleep, and neglecting virtual contact with people I cared for. I found that it is important to even just look outside the window; read a book; do some physical activity, and call a friend to talk about something.
We’re about to face a new year still filled with uncertainty, yet with hope as well. We should not forget what matters to us, and what makes us the persons that we are.
Twenty-twenty-one will be a year of still believing in my dreams and supporting the vision of the artists I manage without forgetting or corrupting my essence. Human ability to adapt is a fantastic wonder and a terrific curse at the same time, so I hope it’s used as a positive tool.
One thing I hope for the new year is that live shows will be back again in full force because nothing can make up for that feeling and exchange of energy. However, I can definitely see bands doing some special streams now and then, even when things normalize—maybe for fans who can’t experience a live show or occurrences like an album’s anniversary, holiday specials, and so on.
I would like to thank the music community I’m a part of who have been wonderful and incredibly understanding of all COVID-related issues the label has faced with shipping delays. Kudos to many of the individuals who showed support, even while they had their own personal struggles— whether mental, physical, or financial, to take care of.
Images courtesy of Tito Vespasiani.