Last year, around this time, I made a deal with myself. After spending a year recovering from some regular old life turmoil, and not really knowing who I was or wanted to be – I was going to spend a year doing nearly anything and everything.
I took on a lot of projects. I started freelancing as a web developer and UX consultant. I continued to do Jimmy and Eden. I started to really grind on music: starting Also Also Also, learning about production, picking up an electric guitar for the first time since I first started playing, starting Witch Lips with some of my close pals, reworking the sound of Orphan Mothers with Jon, starting Rotten Spooky, planning short tours and releasing a simple EP called Live in a Basement Apartment. I joined the board of a conference and music festival which have both been fairly integral parts of my career development. I started to travel and sleep on friends’ couches. I took meetings with anyone and everyone that I could possibly want to create with. I appeared on podcasts I grew up with, I did interviews, I blogged. I started a Patreon. I started writing a book. I started to do an artist’s residency as a comedian and radio show host. I started helping other artists book shows locally. I kept taking on anything that was novel to me or that appeared to be a challenge that would grow my skills or knowledge.
I reevaluated my identity. Others who don’t know me personally might see it, unfortunately, as a personal brand. I went from being a person that spent their time worrying and focussing on their worries to someone who simply wanted to make cool shit and give others the space to. I became angrier about social justice issues, but only because I desperately want to see the worlds I live in become safer, more welcoming, and positive. I actively changed my tone on social media, and changed how I consumed content in hopes that it would make me happier.
I made a lot of friends. Between attending conferences, visiting other cities regularly, and focussing on trying to be good to others,… I met a lot of people and built a lot of friendships that are truly the thing I am most grateful for. There is absolutely no way that I’d have made it through this year of trying stuff on for size without them. I have some of the most inspiring, supportive, caring and hilarious friends in the world. Thank you for being there to hang out, to jam, for a quick phone call, for slumber parties and for showing me around the cities you live in and introducing me to so many new things and people.
All of these things really, truly, did make me a happier person. A very, very, very, busy person; but still, a pretty fucking happy person. I live a life where I am almost always on a plane, a bus or a train. I spend most of my time discussing cool projects and products and art that I want to create. For lack of a better phrase, I am extremely blessed. On top of being happy, I believe I’ve become a better performer, a better musician, a better developer, a better designer, an easier person to work with, and most importantly a better friend.
One thing I forgot to consider, however, was my health. You see, in June of last year I sank into some really dark stuff as a result of being bipolar and not taking care of myself. Being busy distracted me enough. I didn’t feel bad about not eating well, drinking too much, smoking too many cigarettes, being really awful at romantic relationships, and not exercising – because it wasn’t a priority. If I stayed busy and was positive on social media, and everyone else thought I was doing well… then I was doing well.
Relatively, I am doing well. At the end of 2015 I decided that it was time to start focussing a bit more on my health, since it was starting to become problematic. I tried to do this while juggling a billion projects. I started taking classes. I started cooking again. I continue to try to quit smoking (it’ll happen, I’m getting better and better at it each time). I admitted that I am not great at moderation with alcohol and so decided to quit drinking altogether. These simple steps have both made me feel and look a whole hell of a lot better. Part of that might be chopping off the majority of my hair and bleaching it blonde. Maybe. I don’t know.
I’ve reached a point, though, that I have quite frankly ran out of time. I don’t have time to hang out with friends because I am constantly working on projects. I haven’t played a video game for longer than 30 minutes since Shadow of Mordor came out. I have about an hour, max, of chill time every day. I’m spending my time doing things I love, but I’m still not exercising or relaxing.
From an outsider’s perspective, this will come as no surprise, but I’m really fucking tired. As a result, for most of March I was very sick and lost my voice (this is super great when part of your income and most of your creative outlet relies on your vocal chords doing their job). Last week, I had to go to the hospital for a stress-related back injury that was likely caused by the fact that I’m almost always in an office chair or sitting on my couch typing. I was forced to take a few days off, something I haven’t done in what seems like years, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt more guilty.
I don’t think I could survive without being extremely busy. I really enjoy it. But, right now, I’m falling behind and can’t stay accountable to neither my health nor the people that I want to work with.
So, I’m making some pretty hefty changes. I realize this post is getting incredibly long and self-indulgent. But, I feel like I haven’t really been clear about what’s going on and I guess if you’re reading this you’re probably interested in what I do/am doing/am going to do. So thanks for that.
I launched the Patreon as an experiment. I was hoping that it’d be incentive to take on more interesting music-related projects and allow me to experiment with some different mediums. I thought that as it grew I’d take on less elsewhere to accommodate it. That didn’t happen and quite frankly, I haven’t been able to be accountable to the kind people who have been supporting me for the past few months.
So, here’s what’s going to happen:
- Removing tiers above $5. I’m not doing a great job of meeting the rewards for the higher tiers, and I don’t really feel good about accepting money when I’m not doing a good job of offering what I promised in return.
- Reevaluating the projects that I have planned as the Patreon grows.
- Making sure to send out a monthly newsletter about what’s going on at the beginning of the month.
This is going to be iterative. It’s a weird platform to be iterating on simply because of the nature of the patron and reward system. We’ll figure it out!
In February, I received confirmation that I had a deal with a small publisher to write a book. I got really excited about this, and announced that I was in the process of writing it, maybe prematurely. The deal fell through two weeks ago, but I’m continuing to work on my manuscript slowly. The release date will likely be pushed, though, while I try to figure out how that entire industry works, or decide to self-publish. Look, I honestly have no idea how writing books works. Aside from writing them. Truly, if you have written a book, have published it, or know someone who can sit down with me for an hour and tell me what I need to do to figure this out, I will be eternally grateful to you. Please holla. I am a little lost, but I really want to finish this project and share it.
Jimmy & Eden
One of my best friends and forever platonic life partner, Jimmy Champane, and I created 60 episodes of a podcast. This podcast is honestly what I would attribute most of what my life is now to. It’s how I somehow weaselled my way into the video game industry. It’s how I learned to market things on the Internet. It’s how I learned what not to do when I’m marketing something on the Internet. It’s where I first started to really learn about collaboration and project management. Most importantly, it’s the first project I ever started where we were just making something for the sake of making it.
We had to take a break from making episodes, because of the fact that I have been travelling too much, we had to replace our third host, and both Jimmy and I have a lot of life changes (Jimmy moved to LA! I got some house plants) going on that mean that we can’t sit down every Sunday and chat with our pals. We both really want to continue the podcast, we just don’t want to keep trying to relaunch it when we’re not in a space to do it regularly. We’re coming close, though, and we’ll have an official relaunch date and plan figured out soon. It’s too fun to quit, honestly. Also, I really fucking miss Jimmy so much, everyone.
I am currently in 5 bands. I am currently playing at least 4 shows every month. Often, every single show is with a different act. I am currently in the process of making/releasing three albums and prepping for their press cycles. This would be fine and great if the only thing I was doing, but honestly it’s getting to be too much. I need to cut back and focus so that things run a bit more smoothly.
My acoustic music is currently on hiatus. I’m playing one last show this May but then I’m going to stop playing live with my acoustic guitar as Eden the Cat, unless I REALLY REALLY feel like it. Right now, when I’m in the process of making a lot of music – the live show with an acoustic guitar just isn’t quite as fun or rewarding. I have a few albums worth of new songs ready to go, but they can wait. I want to get better at playing my guitar before I release anything new or push that project any further. And I can’t do that right now.
Here are the bullet points of what’s going on with all the other active projects:
- Orphan Mothers is releasing an album early this summer and will be touring Western Canada throughout May, June, and July, along with playing some festivals. Please stay tuned for details over the next week or so!
- The Also Also Also album is coming along nicely. I’m just in the process of mixing it and adding final touches. It will be out July 22nd. I’m going to be touring it with my friend Jaye, aka Firestarter, throughout Western Canada in July.
- Rotten Spooky (formerly The Nips – we changed the name because we didn’t realize that it was a racial slur and well… band names are stupid anyways) is recording an EP with Surf Dads’ Chris Dimas. It’s going to be real dark and spooky and grungy and kinda gross and I’m really fucking excited. I’m hoping that will come out in the fall.
So basically, I’m going to be on tour for about a month or two of this entire summer. Which means I can’t really practice much with Witch Lips, but we’ll figure it out.
I’m cutting back very drastically, and have the next 6 months or so planned fairly tightly. I guess this is a good place to mention that I’m moving to Montreal in early September. Um yea, I’m moving to Montreal. I love Regina so very very much, and if I could stay here I honestly would. It simply isn’t making sense anymore to live anywhere that doesn’t have a major airport where I don’t have to connect at least 2 times to get anywhere I need to be. Also, I’ve ran out of people to match with on Tinder and I can only delete my profile so many times. So, I’m leaving. Thanks so much for the past seven years.