Today, rather than giving into the Black Friday frenzy and buying a carload of material things for your loved ones, try simply giving the best of yourself to the people who need it most. Your friends, family, and all those who care deeply about you do not need new iPads or a PS4 or smartphones. What they DO need is you. And that is the best gift you can give.
Brighter Than a Thousand Suns is looking for a new drummer. Candidate must have a youthful, yet responsible and professional attitude and an energetic stage presence. Must be able to play our material with precision and play to a click track. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on facebook. Serious inquires only.
Follow any honest musician’s work for long enough and you’ll usually note quite a progression from their initial release to their most recent single. Sometimes there’s a period in between where they may plateau on one sound for a little while, but rarely does an entire catalog culminate on such points. It’s upon contemplating this idea that I realized I just can’t sit still for too long gazing in one musical direction. It used to be a fact I tried to dodge, but now I’ve come to fully embrace it. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns is the voice of an ever-evolving consciousness. It will always grow, change and morph, but the central core of what we are - our identity, our essence - will always be what we’ve been: ourselves.
We are grateful that you’ve lent us your ears for all this time and glad we have the opportunity to touch your lives.
There’s an old story about Prince Grigory Potemkin constructing fake settlements along the Dnieper River in order impress and comfort Empress Catherine II during her 1787 visit to Crimea. From this story stems the metaphor “Potemkin village”, a phrase meant to imply a front that has been implemented to give the impression that things are better than they really are.
Social media – particularly Facebook – has become the ultimate social Potemkin village. It’s become common knowledge that a high number of Likes on your Facebook company page (be it for a band or a product or a business) will not get you “noticed” by those who are higher in the industry you wish to break into. It’s also widely known that an inflated friends list will not impress your ex-girlfriend or make her believe that you are more successful or popular than you really are. So why do we still focus on these numbers?
Perhaps we construct these empty villages in an attempt to impress and comfort ourselves. Having 300 “friends” – as well as the feeling of conquest with each new friend request accepted – seems to temporarily mollify the unquieting need to feel socially accepted on a broad scale. If you have 10,000 likes on your page, you must have 10,000 people that love your music/product, right?
The truth is that this is a placebo effect. Yes, some of the Likes are real, and some of the friends are actually people with whom you interact frequently and care deeply about. These are the people who truly value you or your creation more than simply clicking the mouse once, and these are the people you must focus on, because they are the ones who will share and ultimately spread your ideas. Make it a point to be important to these people. Reach out to them. Break the confines of the social network and give them something real to value, instead of just shouting your ideas into an empty room. Because one day, social media will collapse, and the only friends and fans we will be left with will be the ones who truly cared about us, our ideas, and our creations. Why not start making it a point now to be valuable to them?
Think of a classic song from the ‘70’s, ‘80’s or ‘90’s and you would probably have a lot of people agreeing with your answer. Now think of a song from the last 13 years with similar culture-defining power. It’s a little harder to answer. This is because we are a far more segmented culture now. The western world is dividing into ever-more concentrated chunks. This is a great thing. We now can finally connect with others who also collect their own navel fluff or use gas-powered answering machines.
In short, we’ve all moved to the suburbs of the bell curve.
When advertising was at its peak, everyone aimed right for the middle of the bell curve. That’s where the most people are. It’s also where a lot of these “classic” songs live. It’s also where all these big dollar companies would like you to be (including the bigger record labels). They want you to be “normal” so they can sell *at* you more easily. Not only that, but when you’re normal, you’re also easier to control.
But the suburbs are where the real magic happens: it’s where you find that killer band you were proud to discover before any of your friends or that viral fashion trend that you wore before anyone else. Moreover, it is here that you can finally feel at home with your uniqueness because it’s where you’re going to find those that need your uniqueness.
This is why there’s not a unanimous agreement on a culture-defining song now. We’re not one culture anymore - we are many. Each of these sub-cultures embraces a different tune, each with their own music.
Most importantly, what I think this does is allow us to recognize each others’ humanity and not our potentiality to line someone else’s pockets. We are not numbers. We are human beings. Let’s never forget that.
Just about a year ago, Angelika and I went to see The Dreaming in Hartford, CT. Chris Hall, the singer, also sang for the widely-celebrated Stabbing Westward, who were a very influential band on us in the late ‘90’s. With just a scant eleven-person crowd, they gave a very intimate show. Having talked extensively with Chris before their set, it felt as if they were playing just for us, complete with mic-handoffs to Angel a few times.
To those that don’t know, Stabbing Westward were a high-budget, big-ticket band who were in extensive rotation on MTV at the time, toured in huge buses and had tractor trailers bring their stage show around. Bona-fide rockstars, as it were, that wrote some serious hits that were big songs for me.
So you could imagine how floored we were when Chris said to us “You should do a couple of songs acoustic before our set in NYC tomorrow”.
Arriving at The Gramercy in NY the next day, we were escorted straight to their dressing room where we hang with the band until we go on. We play to an awesome crowd where we were well-received. It was a fantastic couple of nights.
What I walked away with was a lesson in generosity. As artists, I think we need to think more about sharing what we have, rather than hoarding it for ourselves (or just for those that pass the dollar sign initiation). Chris Hall gave a little of his spotlight to us. One day, all the possessions we “have” will be given, so give now the only thing you truly have: yourself.
Recently, I did an interview with an online zine called Source Webzine. In it, I was asked what could be done to “fix” the music industry - with its many rear-view thinking habits. It got me thinking a lot about where the responsibility for any musician’s success (or lack thereof) lies. It’s very easy for all of us to blame downloading, record labels that don’t give large advances anymore, Spotify for paying mere pesos on the dollar for each track played or Facebook for changing the structure of their newsfeed making it difficult to be seen through the noise of time-wasting garbage. I’ve even heard other musicians wish that a law would be passed that would sue all their fans who downloaded their music without buying it (what if your music saved that sued fan’s life?). But all this is just a way to hand the problem off to someone else. If you can find someone else to blame then it won’t be your problem. We need to re-focus our searchlight inward, not outward.
If we persist in pursuing the ways of the past, how will we ever reach the future?
Preview and download The End of Suffering - Single on iTunes. See ratings and read customer reviews.
For those that prefer to use iTunes, “The End of Suffering” is now available on the iTunes store. Thank you for being awesome.