Tag Archives: Shiplosion

August news, 2013

I’m looking forward to doing some new things in the upcoming months.

I’ve been putting together a set with a group of good friends and we’ll likely start playing some shows in November. Stay tuned for some announcements. I’m really happy with the direction this group is taking. I get to focus on playing some rock in a more subtle and mature way, and I’m really proud of the music we’re making.

Related to that group, I’ve been putting together Spotify playlists of music both new and old. Just different tunes that I’ve been listening to, as I think about how to approach this new project. When I gather enough songs, I’ll post the playlist on the next Monday. There may be some clues about what we will sound like. I hope you enjoy the playlists too. Spotify has a web player now, so I don’t think you have to install anything anymore if you don’t want to. The latest playlist is there already, but I won’t be posting the link on facebook until this Monday.

I’m also sitting in with a Klezmer group, the Debaucherantes, so stay tuned for a date or two with them. Looking forward to that!

Gamer Jam is set to continue, even though we announced that it was over. Sean is just too busy, but the rest of us want to keep it going. Let me know if you have any ideas!

As you know, Shiplosion is winding down. Our last show is in the woods at the end of the month. And Bucharest Drinking Team continues strong! It’s amazing to look back over how far we’ve come over the past couple years, and we have so many more great ideas!

Lots of fun stuff. I hope to see you around sometime real soon. Check out my calendar for dates. Thanks for reading this blog! As always, let me know what you think, or anything else that’s on your mind.  –Kai

Trying to know when to stop

Stopping is lame. And the more we pour our souls into the art, the harder it is to stop. I’m not talking about knowing when to finish a song–that’s hard enough. But knowing when to end an entire project is agony. Looking back, there even were times when it was like I was brainwashed in a cult.

And early on in my life as a drummer, I let some things wind down rather than try to keep them going. I probably shouldn’t have let that happen, but I lacked perspective. And that was painful too. I look back on it knowing that things were actually better than I thought, and so I let others down.

There are so many things to consider. The art, the fans, the business, your own happiness, the happiness of others…. And so I come to the point where I feel like I must quit Shiplosion. This is some uncharted territory for me, because I think that I need to clear up some time for future paying gigs. And I wasn’t feeling like I was inside the music. I love playing the drums on these songs, and have a blast at shows–so, yet again, this is painful and I am second guessing myself. Am I giving up too early? Is this the right long term choice? Am I quiting something on the verge of blowing up? Well, I think they need a drummer who is more at home with the music, so I hope it was right for me to step aside to give them a better chance. Frankly, I think I was holding them back.

I’m just grateful that they took it so well. We had a really good talk about it, and it seemed like we all understood what was what.

Well, I’ve been through this pain enough times now, having played in quite a few different situations, that I really hope this will turn out okay for everyone. As for myself, I hope this recent set of one-off paying gigs will continue to be a regular thing! And I hope that really is the right situation for me. Time will tell…

So the lesson here, is that I think that you need to play in a lot of situations with a lot of different people before you have enough perspective about what projects are really the right ones for you. And then the idea is that you will be able to justify walking away. Otherwise, you’ll leave far too early and regret it later, or you will just be spinning your wheels and wasting everyone’s time.

Capturing inspiration

The concept of Flow is a certain intoxication of attention that gives you a feeling of omniscience of your subject matter. Time slows down to a crawl, and you handle many things at once. Your mind is clear, and your productivity is maximized.

There are lots of online articles about how to get into Flow, and how to avoid breaking Flow. Flow is important for artists and engineers alike. It’s a state of mind that is difficult to acquire and easy to lose, but it allows you to create your own inspiration. We all go through rituals to achieve Flow, just like we go through rituals to sleep or to be comforted.

I think that intoxication of Flow is a huge lure for artists, and probably one of the reasons that so many never leave their studios or complete anything. Flow is seductive and addictive.

There are a few other, less common, instances where Flow can occur but may be ignored and lost due to stress or distraction. Namely: during a performance and during a recording session.

I usually blog about things I messed up, as learning lessons. :) But from time to time I get something right. Scary, I know. Not too long ago, I was in the studio with Shiplosion, and on maybe the second take of a song I played this bombastic tom fill with a ton of cymbals on a complete whim. In retrospect, I had finally achieved a Flow state, and the inspiration presented itself in a single second that felt like an eternity, and I made a split second decision to just flow with it, and dammit I’m proud of that drum solo–something I had never rehearsed. (Sorry, the song’s not posted yet, but I’ll let you know)

Most recently, I recorded on the debut Bucharest Drinking Team album, and had another Flow moment (I think it took several takes this time) in a tune where I switched over to the ride cymbal during a brief phrase where the violins play. Again, this was never rehearsed, but it felt like I had an eternity right there in the middle of the song to think about the idea and decide to go with it.

In both cases, I’m pretty darned proud of what happened, and they would have been impossible without Flow.

I’m totally going to work hard to set my self up for this next time, because it was largely on accident. But I think the factors probably include: practice, practice, practice, self-confidence, preparation (i.e. practice), being warmed up, joy, minimized distractions, focus, trust in others, and relaxation. I’ll have to think about what kinds of rituals I can perform to lead up to moments like this. But the key is, that yes we still have to work and work and work regardless of inspiration–but we also need to be prepared and ready to seize inspiration when it does happen.

If you have any Flow rituals, or other examples where Flow was a huge success for you… please share them!