It was really amazing to work with audio engineers Tim, Koichi, and lighting artist Jiro. Thank you supersweet live thailand and all the other promoters like Jane in HK, Sean in Korea, big love in Japan, and the Oz promoters who helped brought us there. we feel very blessed to be able to go there and play for you guys. This past Asia Pacific tour was a real rebirth for me, after coming out from a long winter slumber in Berlin that almost destroyed my psyche....
Being able to swim in the pacific ocean again, while we were in Australia really healed me, bringing back to life certain things I had let go, and helped me restrengthen my character, and my path, and what it means to be alive and be appreciative of all things life has to offer. "The darkest night has yet to come" said a palm reader to me in Yokohama, Japan. "But the phoenix doesn't rise, until its completely burnt to the ground." I took in those words hard as I had not asked for a fortune reading about my future, but only wanted an evaluation of my current being. The old Japanese man told me a lot about myself, of my stubborn nature and destiny line, that cuts a deep center line across both my palms from top to bottom. "This signifies independence, and that your success is solely the efforts of your hard work, which were laid like bricks, step by step, forming a path that marches forward onto its inevitable destiny." "Your palms are also longer than your fingers, meaning not only you give a lot, but you will receive a lot as well. Be careful with your finances." ...Sometimes when you are lost in life, it takes a stranger to read your palms and remind you of your own qualities that you no longer even notice. From that day on, I began to not doubt my path, even when it seems impossible, when all outside forces are telling me "no."
I kept on going.
Just like I have for the past 12 years in the pursuit of music as a profession.
Which brings to mind a recent discussion I had with my friend Jens about the music industry: Jens: "what is professionalism? It means to give people what they want and do your job right, if you don't give people what they want, my friend, you are not doing your job. That is amateur, and "artist" bullshit pride that's hindering you from a making decent living in this industry."
I can't remember how many times I've heard "you can't do that, you can't play music like that, its not right" or "this is not music, whatever your making" or "this is bullshit, you don't even know how to play real chords" or "this is stupid, you are stupid for quitting your job to go on tour and play for 5 people each night in some stupid moldy basement" All of this didn't deter me from my dreams. I kept going. After a short 2 year run in the "professional" music industry, the only people that have continued to exceed my expectations, are my audience. Yes, some have abandoned me already ever since they realized the other side of Dirty Beaches catalog of music, but to be honest, compared to dealing with bigger labels that continue to make me feel like all my efforts are hardly worth anything, I trust my audience more so than anyone else in this industry. I believe your real core listeners will progress with you through out your career. If your in this pursuit of music for life, chances are, your real fans will also continue to follow your endeavors as they too, grow and change in their lives. From teenage years onto adulthood, from moving and relocating to getting new jobs, we all go through changes in life. And like the many risks I've taken my entire life, I'm betting all my hope onto my listeners, in the sense that I feel very lucky to be able to have this job, this was my dream job when I was in my twenties. I'm not some young band who had everything handed to them, I never ask my audience to "get it" or understand the "reference" those are just superficial aesthetics that are disposable. I just wish to connect to people on a raw, personal level. To those people who think I'm always pretending or acting as a tough guy, I am projecting my insecurities out loud in hopes to deter any hecklers who have fucked with me from the early years that have really scarred me. This is a residual defense default mode I'm in unfortunately. I don't always wish to be unpleasant on stage, scrunching up a warped expression like someone is stabbing me. But can you imagine how many times I've been ridiculed on stage while performing? Especially when I was all alone, touring and driving myself. All while being the polite, pleasant and friendly Asian guy. This persona I have on stage is one of rage, and anger from past experiences not wanting to be taken like some joke. And til this day, I still encounter these negative comments, people who still think I'm a joke. For what? Apparently all it takes is one look at my face. "can't stand that guys face" I once read somewhere online. It doesn't matter how hard I've worked, how much mileage I've trailed, all it took was one look at my face. I also read somewhere online in the beginning of DB's badlands hype "if that guy wasn't Asian, none of this would fly. People just pity him and tolerate it cuz he's asian. A white guy could never get away with this bullshit music"
....sorry. I'm ranting and don't really know how to censor myself. And yes, like always I tend to focus on the negative comments far more than the nice ones. Because I'm very critical of myself. I've since stopped reading anything that's written about me online. It truly traumatized me. I should've listened to Kristin (from Dum Dum Girls) advice long time ago to not read these online things that our profession brings us in contact with. A recent conversation with my old man kind of help made me see things more clear. After spilling my guts to him like how I did above, complaining that how can people be this cruel, he just brought his cigarette down to the ash tray and looked at me squinting: "How do you think genocides exist? People can be far more cruel than what your naive ass thinks. You wanna roll with the big dogs you gotta take a punch or two. A little criticism is healthy for you, or else you'd be full of yourself." ...I kinda just looked down to the ground and shrank.
My father also said to me, "if your not happy writing or playing these songs people want to hear in your music, you might as well quit and find a real job. You will still be unhappy but at least you will make more money and have a more stable income. If your going to be "free" be FREE." Sometimes that old man dad wisdom is so spot on that your forced to just shut the fuck up and listen to them. This was one of those moments. Thanks, dad.
While riding on the back of a motped taxi in Bangkok criss-crossing thru traffic and the endless neon lights at night in south east asia, I can't help but think:
"Please don't let this dream stop."
...I wish you all in good health and in good spirit.
Paris, March 10th, 2013.