So... Here goes. I'm running a Kickstarter right now for a music project that's been in the works (mostly in my head) for the last few years. As of this moment the project is only 29% funded and has only seven days left to get fully funded or fail absolutely miserably.
The fundraiser is for an album called Diapause from my Dream Static project. Dream Static started out as an instrumental darkwave/synthwave cyberpunk thing but even when I didn't have time to work on it, vocal melodies and ideas kept creeping into my mind when listening to the scant few songs I had created and the project kept evolving in my head into more of a mix of what it already was and many elements of all the other music I love to write/perform: industrial metal, alternative rock, ambient rock/metal, EDM, House, Trance, post hardcore, death metal, triphop, shoegaze, progressive metal, anything intricate and off-time as well, and more.
a period of suspended development in an insect, other invertebrate, or mammal embryo, especially during unfavorable environmental conditions.
(of an insect or other animal) undergo a period of suspended development.
"the eggs diapause over winter, and development resumes after the spring thaw"
But at the same time, it was slowly dawning on me, after many years of inner searching to find what I even wanted to write about other than my own personal issues and struggles, that the state of the nation I live in, the malignancy growing from within that has festered in our presidency and in so much of the Republican party, especially these last four years, the greedy hunger for growing power to the point of idealizing and getting quite comfortable with fascism in the laws they are passing, the constitution they are ignoring, and the rhetoric they use to push the ignorant masses toward violent action against the Left.
When that realization fully hit me, it was like shedding skin and finding new purpose. I had more musical focus than I've had in decades. Hell, I haven't even finished a full album since I self-released my debut Escape From Saturn album back in 2003!
The closest I've come to putting out another full length was my 2015 EFS EP Desolate Landscape. I talked about this project in the context of my recent diagnosis of ADHD and more on Facebook last month and, for the sake of my time, which is very sparse right now unfortunately, I will relay that here by copy/pasting it. That said, if you're at all interested in supporting the Kickstarter, you can read it there instead. Here's what I wrote:
So, I haven't said anything about this but it's been a month since my last measly $247 check from the state of Tennessee brought my unemployment balance to $0. I applied for the extension and never heard anything. I'm doing some freelance editing work now. But it's going to be rough keeping that consistent enough to keep up with our bills. Really rough.
So... I've been working on something else as well. Something that's probably just a pipe dream. But at this point... what do I have to lose? I've been a musician since I was 12 years old, when I got my first guitar. I've been a singer and a songwriter since about a year later than that. While I adore editing, publishing, and writing, those forms of expression and creation are mostly relatively cerebral for me compared to my passion for creating and performing music.
For years now I've set my music aside because every time I would work on it there was never enough time. In some ways because of obligations but ultimately, I knew deep within myself that there was a bigger reason. I knew that, for me, music was a hole so deep that if I let myself fall into it, I would never hit bottom. It's how I've always been. When left to my own devices and the resources to create music, I would probably lose excessive amounts of weight, never wash or take care of myself, or get anything else done in the midst of creating.
I've hurt relationships over music by burying myself so deep in it that I can't come out. People who love me have felt incredibly ignored and I've neglected my own well being and lost jobs because of it more than a couple times over the years.
So, around 2016, in order to be able to function as a reasonable human being, I effectively muted that part of myself. I think of it more like a kind of suffocation of that part of my being. In my mind I put that deep-seated need, that addiction, that unending hole in me in a dark room and closed the door and pretended it didn't exist. Then I busied myself with enough of everything else that I wouldn't have time to remember what was causing that open wound I was holding shut by pure willpower alone.
I went as far as to mostly not even listen to or enjoy music. When a song played that pulled at my emotions it would only stir that need and cut my wound somehow deeper.
And then, from time to time, it would resist. And open again, refusing to be held at bay. And I would pick up my guitar or dust off my keyboard, and play something. I would open my mouth and sing. And the flood would come back. Only for me to be buried in too many obligations to be able to spend even a reasonable amount of time working on music. As such I would become angry, miserable. And I made others around me miserable as well.
In the past six or so weeks, I learned so much about myself. And I know now that that need, that unending hole, while definitely a deeply emotional part of my being wasn't just a curse of my personality. It wasn't just me being selfish and uncaring or unloving of my family or my friends. It was a huge symptom of ADHD. Like a ginormous one. That symptom is called hyperfocus.
You see, Attention Deficit is a horrible fucking way to describe what's actually going on in somebody with ADHD. A better way to describe it would be Attention Regulation Dysfunction. Or something like that. The exact wording isn't the point. The point is, folks with ADHD don't have a complete inability to pay attention. They have an executive function disorder that impairs their ability to CONTROL WHAT THEY FOCUS THAT ATTENTION ON.
Because ADHD brains aren't wired to choose the smarter or more empathetic option of what to pay attention to. Not because we lack empathy! But because our brains have a deficiency of dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters that play a huge part in motivation and the perception of time. And as such, our brains prioritize activities and experiences that bring about immediate mental or physical reward.
Because of which our brains will tell us over and over again, when we're doing something we get that immediate reward from, just a few more minutes. What's that? It's time to go to work? Just a few more minutes and I can stop. Or just a few more minutes and I'll be done with this. Or this will only take me ten minutes and I don't have to leave until that very moment so I have just enough time.
This plays out in our relationships as well. Jen will ask me to do something and I will say sure. And I mean that sure. I really do. I mean to do that thing. And then hours later I'll have either started the task and only managed to get 10% of it done or, if I'm hyperfocused on something, anything, not just music, I will have completely forgotten what I was even supposed to do or that I WAS even supposed to do something.
This plays out with my work. It's caused me so many many problems with obligations I've made, Nightscape tasks I've started or set out to do, favors I've agreed to do for friends, house chores, you name it.
But give me that instant reward, that dopamine burst and I will latch onto whatever it is mindlessly and all else will fall away to the blurry outlines of my peripheral. And then get swallowed by the darkness of the deep pit at the bottom of my broken memory.
Because, yeah, that's another thing that's affected by all this. Memory. And now that I'm on medication that's helping to produce those neurotransmitters I need to be reasonably functional, all those legions of obligations and tasks I've lost track of are returning from that dark pit and the mountain of work that's been looming over me is finally visible to my newly open eyes and it. Is. STAGGERING.
But I digress (a lot. All the time. Like a narrative pretzel. That's another huge ADHD symptom). Music has always given me that instant reward. From the moment I first learned to fret and strum a chord, to the first time I played music with other people, to the first time I recorded a song, to the first time I sang on stage in front of hundreds of people. Every moment of it is instant reward. Instant dopamine. Even when it doesn't go well. Even when I'm just tinkering or testing out a new instrument.
So, around the same time that I realized I had ADHD, that hole opened up again. And this time, with the meds, I'm way more able to manage my behavior. To get other things done. I'm not perfect at it. But I also have four years where I was literally only working on music maybe 100 hours or less a year to make up for. So, I think, under the circumstances, staying up into the middle of the night working on a song after getting some work done last night was a step in the right direction compared to the past. But it's not something I can or will do all the time.
So, this brings me to now. And what I've been working on. I've created a number of solo recording projects over the years of various genres and styles. And while it's never gotten as much interest as my live bands did back in the day, some folks have enjoyed my Escape From Saturn alternative/progressive/industrial metal project.
Several years ago, though, I started a dark synth instrumental project called Dream Static. Dream Static was heavily influenced by my love of 80s dark synth soundtracks like Bladerunner etc. But I also mixed in a lot of other influences. But in the last couple of years, I've dreamed about doing a lot more with it. Making something new.
Something that takes the dark synth music I've been making and throws in all the elements I love to create in music. Something folks can enjoy both with and without vocals.
A melding of progressive metal, industrial metal, dark synth, EDM, post hardcore, melodic rock, alternative, and more. Everything I've ever done with music and then some. So, I've started working on a new full length album. And it's not just going to be a way to give myself that instant reward. It's going to be very much about the world as it is right now. About the fight we struggle with as humans now and the struggle of being an American right now in this moment and in the fight to come.
It's about stagnation. Not just now and in the recent past but in the entirety of the history of the United States. It's about waking up from the American Dream into the fully visible nightmare that is the American Experiment for anybody who isn't white, straight, and cis. It's about our imaginary borders past and present. It's about the lies we've been raised to believe about a great and glorious nation under God, with liberty and justice for the rich and the righteous and the privileged few.
The album will be called Diapause. And it's going to be my battle cry. Against fascism. Against the current administration. Against the status quo and the propaganda that I was raised on in school and in the media.
Diapause is my battle cry against the growing spread of fascism in America.
I suspect a lot of people will think I'm crazy to do this, but I'm going to do a Kickstarter for this project. A short one with what I feel is a modest goal. Just enough to cover what I need to make the album. Which isn't a ton.
I have most of the equipment I need. I can record and mix it myself. I just need to cover the cost of a mastering engineer and the production cost of a small CD run and a limited vinyl run. And if I'm lucky, maybe I'll raise a little extra to help, along with my freelance work, to pay some bills this next couple of months. It's a way way smaller goal than my Nightscape Kickstarters have been.
But, regardless of what people think. I need this. Now more than ever. All this discovery of late has been emotionally complex to say the least. The past four years have been emotionally complex as you all know for so many of us. Some way more than me. But I feel so much of what everyone feels. And I have so much of my own with my own family. The struggle for trans rights for Sera and so many of my lovely friends. The struggle for women RIGHT FUCKING NOW in the mid st of a supreme court packed against their best interests. Packed against all of our best interests.
I'm getting so much done that I was struggling so much with before. And I'm learning to delegate the Nightscape tasks I can't get to on my own. For the first time in my life, even with a staggering workload, I know I can finally juggle my music and everything else. So I am damn well going to give it my best to try. And who knows. Maybe I can make something that other people enjoy and can be proud of. Maybe Diapause can be their battle cry too.
So, if you're still with me... if anything I've ever created has moved you or has inspired you, please consider backing this project or spreading the word about it to anyone you think might even be remotely interested in it. I would very much appreciate that. Either way, thank you for taking the time to read this and dear fucking Christ I hope next year is better for all of us.