Way back when in my tour days I toured on and off with quite a few bands among varying genres. Most notably were a few indie-rock bands, hardcore, bands, and even a parody band that I drummed for while doing my solo stuff.

Among these myriad groups there is one solo artist that I still talk to from time to time named Tyler Melashenko. He and I met at a show in Texas and toured together for a few months. What he was doing back then was much different that my indie-folk stuff. What made us a great fit was the fact that we were both solo artists. We could both fit all of our gear into one ride, saving on tour costs.

Well, like me, Tyler is still dabbling in music, writing here and there with talk of putting together another full band project. He has been releasing a lot of his more recent solo stuff on Soundcloud. I highly recommend you go take a listen to some of his stuff. He is a really talented dude.

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His most recent 6 song release, Lit Cardinal is a really fun listen. The featured track on that release is called Teenager.

But don’t just give his stuff a listen. Go join his mailing or send him a message. Word on the street is, he has some new stuff coming out in the near future with some other guys.

 

That’s right… it’s official. The vocalist that I put the ad out for has been found. And in a random and yet surprisingly unexpected way. But first, let’s hash out how things went for the ad. I got probably a dozen responses, at least three or four of which were the same day that the flyer got posted. Of the people that reached out, all but one really understood what I was looking for.

Most everyone either skipped over the fact that I was looking for a screamer, not a “singer”. Or, they were looking to start a band… which is not at all what my ad even hinted at.

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I met with the one vocalist that understood. He was a really amazing dude. And, he was a perfect fit. A solid Christian. A lover of hardcore and deathcore. And… a jam-up screamer. However, in the process of preparing some tracks to send to him, Russell came along from left field (no Ad required).

So, here is the short and skinny version of how I met Russell and how he turned out to be the too good to be true, perfect fit for my current project.

When my wife and I moved in to our new home, as per usual, at least a few different neighbors are typically kind enough to step out and introduce themselves. The neighbor directly across the street from me turned out to be a married couple close to our age. They just so happened to be Christian as well, and even do home group bible study at their place on the regular.

Way cool.

While talking with the new neighbor about what my wife and I do, the studio project came up. And he said he had just the person I needed to meet. Turns out my neighbor had just the person to set me up with on a blind “seeking screamer” first date.

So, not only am I making friends with the new neighbors… but now I’m already making friends with the neighbors friends. And to top that there is a common thread of Christ and music in the mix.

Talk about random.

Russell is a cool dude. I can’t wait to start tracking with him (note: the pixilated grainy photo is of Russell is from a video he sent me displaying some of his mids and lows).

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Now that we are closing in on the final days of May, the moving date is nearly upon us for the AMO family. With that said, as I have stated in a few previous blog posts, I already have a full length 10 song album nearly completed. The only thing that is missing is vocals, mixing, and mastering.

But unfortunately, the move is going to slow that down a bit. Before I can get back to finishing the upcoming record, I need to get moved. But not only that… I need to unpack while simultaneously working toward selling another property. My hands are going to be full with adulting for a while to say the least. Hopefully we get settled into the new house fairly quickly which will allow me to get back to working on the record sooner.

As of right now the studio is packed up and stacked in the corner waiting to get crammed into the moving van. Fingers crossed, none of the gear gets messed up during the move. No reason it should, but you never know.

If I had to guess, I would like to think that the upcoming full length would be ready for release by the end of summer if not into the beginning of fall.

Stay posted.

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I am an all or nothing kind of guy when it comes to enjoying the things that inspire me to action. In many ways this is awesome, because, once I get going on an idea there are very few times when I find it hard to not attain at least a little bit of success in my pursuits. Just to give a few minor examples would be to point out some of the things that I have goofed off with in the last few, more recent years.

I operated an Etsy store designing and selling embroidery and screen print patches. I chased this venture for nearly two years, I think. Within that short time the store exploded with sales exceeding an average of 10 to 12 sales per day. I don’t remember exactly, but when I decided to step away from it, deleting the store, I think it had something like 10,000+ five star reviews. That’s pretty good for just being a hobby.

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Before that, obviously… if you have read my bio, there was my music career in the mid-2000’s which went full time for 6 years nationally. It got to that level not because of skill or talent, but because of the “all or nothing” mentality that seems to burn within me.

Then there was the very short stent were I decided to start a podcast about the growing Cosmology Debates on social media and, especially Youtube. I didn’t expect it to grow very quickly, but… by marketing it to the right crowd it somehow managed to gain 100+ subscribers and over 150 listeners per episode before I deleted the podcast. This number may not seem like a lot, but the podcast was only live for a few months and I think I only did something like 5 or 6 episodes.

There was also the time I became an author, publishing a dozen or so books, some full length novels and other short novellas with various publishing companies. That pursuit grew very fast and was likely one of the ventures I spent the most time and effort on outside of touring. I managed to lock a contract with my favorite publisher at the time and even had my all-time favorite author of the time review one of my books. But, alas, I trashed that venture also, giving all of my published titles to a close friend who did most of the post editing for my work prior to publication.

And now, I have started up a home studio to record and publish music as a studio artist. And within the first 6 months of owning the studio gear I managed to release a three song EP with a record label out of Iowa.

So, here’s the thing… if I don’t have to try so hard to move forward successfully on something, why have I quit time and time again to do all of these things if they were being successful? And, if I am likely to quit something after it becomes bigger than my goals intended for them to be, why start something new to begin with?

Honestly, I feel like stepping away from each past pursuit is justified in its own right due to personal reasons (tour, being an author, the patches, the podcast, etc…).

But, this blog post isn’t about me justifying via excuse my reasons for quitting while being so called “ahead” of my goal expectations for each project.

This rant is more about being the type of person with the “all or nothing” mindset trying to cope with downtime in life. We all have seasons where things are busy and we are moving forward with goals. For some it might be building a career or creating a family. For others it might be launching and maintaining a podcast, youtube channel, or writing a book.

Right now, I find myself in this so called downtime phase in life where things are moving at a specific pace outside of my control. I am in my mid-30’s, leaning toward 40 and somehow, in some way, life has managed to make an adult out of me without my being aware. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just looking back, somehow it feels like it happened out of nowhere. I’m at a transition stage in life where I am not committed to any one creativity based project which frees me up to do anything. The possibilities are endless. While at the same time, the life transition of moving and starting a new job is keeping me from committing to anything as well.

So, if it’s all or nothing… right now, my mindset is leaving me in the nothing phase. I have literally had the last week and a half off from work, and yet I haven’t seized the opportunity by utilizing that time for creativity. I’ve just been stooping.

That is the conundrum of an all or nothing mindset. When you have set yourself to doing something, you get it done. But, when life forces you to slow down, a person with the “all or nothing” view, tends to just sit stagnant under those circumstances (now, I could be wrong. Which is why I am just speaking for myself here).

And thus, here I am feeling stagnant.

This isn’t to suggest that I am unhappy. That is far from true. I have just been doing a lot of internalizing lately and I have concluded two facts. One, I love the pursuit of pursuit itself. And two, I am entirely burnt out on the internet and the mass consumption of entertainment provided by mainstream society. It is corrupting our humanity to the core and creating distance, not only between varying cultures in local communities, but also within individual households as well.

This creates a problem… because, every venture that I have been successful with has been due to the fact that I am good at “online social networking”. I wouldn’t have become a full time touring singer-song writer without Myspace. I wouldn’t have become a successful author without Facebook. I wouldn’t have had a successful Etsy store without Instagram. The podcast wouldn’t have been successful had it not piggybacked off of my previous successes along with Youtube. And even now, my latest EP Ignorance is Woe got picked up by a record label because I operate a website, which in its own right is an online social media platform.

I am absolutely tired of the internet, but it is the internet that has allowed me the luxury of being semi-successful at my creative pursuits.

Couple this together with the stagnant position I am currently in due to a life transition taking place… and with being someone that is the “all or nothing” type in regard to pursuit, a slow season can tend to make you a little twitchy (for lack of a better term).

Obviously, once my family is moved and done with the relocation process, I will still continue to write and produce music in my home studio. But, I don’t know that the music venture will be my primary platform of creativity driven focus. Since I am in this stagnation stage, my prayer is that God will speak to me and show me what I should be doing rather than the usual… me just listening to my gut and doing what I want to be doing.

God has a purpose for my life. And right now, outside of providing for my family, I don’t know what that purpose is.

This is the issue of an “all or nothing” mindset.

We tend to not like the question; what next? And besides, as a Christian I know the primary focus with creativity should be to spread the gospel. But, as I look at the world, too many Christians have switched to strictly “online evangelism” (I can witness to you so long as I don’t have to interact with you). Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tool and a great platform that I myself have benefited from as the listener.

However, this isn’t good. And I want to do something for Christ. But, how can I do that without settling into the internet as my outlet like so many other Christians have begun to do? There has got to be more to life than this.

And yet, that still leaves me with this… what next?