Okay wow! It’s been almost two weeks or so since my last post. I’ve been a little busy dealing with life and trying to find a good schedule for making new posts. It seems once a day as I originally intended is too often, it can easily take me 4+ hours to make a well thought-out and sourced post.
Though with that aside, I’d like to just post about music today, I got a couple more posts at least incoming a little later this week.
A question of questioning
Lately I’ve been battling a lot with my own image and how should I present myself and my brand. On one hand, at least with my music, Kapalika is somewhat mysterious and doesn’t seem to alienate anyone. I’ve even seen an very noticeable increased interest on my Facebook page with it; I underwent a name change from what my project had been for a good while just a few months ago. The name wasn’t alienating or anything, but it goes to show how much a name really matters.
But lately I’ve also for the sake of authenticity regretted not going with the name I wanted long ago for my act, Satan’s Grace (which is where this site name comes from). A part of why I made this blog was to be more authentic, at least to myself. Give myself that kind of outlet for just being honest.
I’m not sure to what degree I wanted the blog to be associated with my music. For sure part of my decision was based on where I geographically live but then again t he name also makes perfect sense intellectually for what I want to portray… something ancient, mysterious and Left Hand Path of which there are many versions of. But Satan’s Grace spoke to my sense of nonduality through apparent duality. A dance of dark and light.
Satan is kind of seen as a brutish or animal like thing. Dark, even evil. Grace by contrast is light, or elegant, forgiveness. Not anger. It’s this kind of balance, seeing it as one, this conflict of self-attributes which drives our human condition and makes the perfect representation to how duality is treated in my beliefs. So in that way, it feels more instinctually authentic to me.
Is too much too much?
This same kind of sentiment has also plagued me for a good while in terms of what kind of music I make. On one hand I wanted to make Goa and Psychedelic trance when starting out. But I soon found I had a strong tendency to include so many things I liked from metal to hip-hop, rap, and the more “drummy” and sound design crazy genres like dubstep (though technically I don’t write in two-step as far as I’m aware, more just really syncopated percussion).
You can see my more hip-hop or “dubsteppy” like influences like in my song 108, rap and acid in Warrior of Light, metal in so many from Lost Temple to Blood Magick. Despite that it seems I’ve inched a lot more towards electro-industrial than actual psychedelic or proper trance. Although songs like Meditation show I can do it when I want to.
It’s a little exacerbated for me as well because there actually is psychedelic trance I’ve enjoyed before that is very layered and even “cloudy” in the mixes. That feeling of being almost overwhelmed, so many fast things going on and then as sudden clarify and focus on different parts.
Goa had a similar thing for me, but with more clarity and complexity. I guess really that is more what I aimed for originally. It’s still very much what I listen to more than most things. But there is definitely some that seem more chaotic and in a sense I guess I kind of aim for going in-between those.
Actually a good example of showing somewhere in-between like I am, is actually one of my favriote acts S.U.N. Project of whom is actually a really big influence on me. Something more akin to the older more layered style is maybe Pleiadians by Maia which is just utterly sublime to me, particularly the point from 7 minutes onwards if you start from the beginning. Something more of the overwhelming and chaotic might be Psymon’s Activated.
Appealing to People who won’t Care
I think though for me a lot of this conflict has come from a sense of needing to be “good enough”. If it wasn’t for that, I think I could handle varying up my style. After all, in the end it still has “my sound”. I feel like if I don’t meet some expectation of that element I’m not good enough, but in reaching for that it often falls apart.
I feel I “need” to have good counterpoint, things need to be more syncopated or rhythmically varied. I can’t use four-on-the-floor too much, things can’t be too on beat. I need more variety. Less repetition… because if I don’t, people won’t like my music. I need to be writing “good” music or else my music isn’t good… I’m not a good writer and I’m not a good artist.
That’s really the branding and image issue I have at the core of my other issues. I care too much what other people think. If people see me for how I really am, not beating around the bush, they will reject me before getting a chance to hear me out. In my head, if I give them what they expect or find more “acceptable” I will have a doorway into letting them see the authentic me without preconception.
The truth is, I can’t appeal to everyone try as I may. Not everyone will see the vision I have or “get it”. And trying to slice in so many things (many I love on their own) to get around that and appeal to more people isn’t the way to do it.
So make no mistake, I do love to make music, and I love a variety of music. Anything I make is still me. People like to pigeon hole artists into styles or genres because it’s convenient for them. And artists do it because it makes them more commercially viable and they are able to market themselves easier since they keep loyal demographics.
A Love too Varied
I just love so much music that just a thought of it can encourage me to try to get some musical element I like into the music and muddy the intent, And of course I’m egged on by the thought that maybe adding that elementwill make it “good” in more people’s eyes.
I don’t think artists should be afraid of changing up their style if they want to or evolving as artists. In my opinion if every album is a bit’ different in some way from the previous they are going in the right direction, evolving. Who wants to listen to a musician make the same stuff over and over? Very popular bands like Linkin Park or In This Moment come to mind for changing their style over albums a lot but I’m sure you could think of many of your own favorites.
Okay, maybe I have been guilty of accusing bands of changing too much or two often. But there is more than one way to do something. In my mind there is a difference between not having an identity and your expression of that changing over time. I feel like I got that, that idea. It’s that expression I fight over.
And when I love so much music, it’s hard to choose where I’m supposed to fall on that spectrum. I decided a while ago to stop worrying about what people thought, and just make the kind of music I like. And you know what? That might be more on beat, less what tends to be the most popular, not the most syncopated in the world or doesn’t follow some convention.
And funny enough, I find my music caring more of the original spirit of Goa and Psychedelic as I’ve been working on my music. That spiritual, trippy feeling is kind of starting to seep in as I’ve slowly started to start caring less and just do what my heart wants to do with the music. Goa was made to be “Dance Trance” and entrance… be a spiritual rapture of sorts. The music was meant to bring one more to the realm of the mystical.
And if I keep that in mind, maybe I’ll get there. Unfettered by worrying about what’s “smart” or what would impress people of almost every taste. Maybe people will enjoy it the way I enjoy it, and I can at least be happy that I was always myself and made something that I and others saw as worthwhile in it’s own little way.