Thursday, April 9, 2009

In The Beginning…

Ten Years Later; Ten Years Older….Ten Years Wiser: The Journey up till Now

By KC Shoen

ShoEnTeL Music


These recordings date back to my very first time, as an adult artist, that I stepped into a professional studio to record my own music back in July 1999.

I was 29 then. I was three years out from my eight-year career as a Naval Photographer, my wife was pregnant with our first child, and I was still doing scrub work like construction, wherehouse work and forklift driving to support my family and my craft. I never wanted to be an all. Producing was the focus in those days, and it was during a time when this was still a strong possibility to enter such a profession, and get a deal with a major to do only that. “Somber” was the lead ‘demo’ track that I had set to be the biggest example of what I bring, having hired Paul Mascoari , an old-school rockabilly drummer who liked improvising, and was merely using his talent to forward his beachcomber -bachelor lifestyle in San Diego, where I lived at the time.

The result was a beautifully composed piece that, to this day, I believe to be one of my strongest, although looking back now, not nearly as confident in its performance as the music I record presently. Although I rehearsed for weeks, by the time I stepped into the Sound Design Studios in the suburban outpost of Claremont, the reality of the shoestring budget I had to work with, and the awkward newness of being the one behind the mic, rather than behind the scenes affected the performance, especially the vocals. I didn’t ‘let loose’ like I could’ve. I had two 4-hour blocks of time to complete three songs,( ‘Somber’ is at current, the only surviving track). The other tracks were from the second session in January 2000, recording being split between Sound Design Studios and Audiotron, as the owner of the Sound Design tried to jack me for more money than what we or the engineer assigned to record my songs had agreed to. The other tracks were performed completely by myself: the first time I had ever done this in my life on a professional level. When all was completed, I was mailing demos from Auckland to London, to every major I could possibly certify-mail to. It was an exciting time of great promise. I felt the ‘big time’ was coming. I was on the precipice of music dominance as a Producer, baby! The world will know me.. Here I come!...

Then life happened.

The industry went into to full-on collapse , in part because of the per-to-peer file-sharing, and because of the Majors own ‘technological innocence’ , not capitalizing on the mp3 phenomena and not allowing themselves to convert these two combined liabilities into assets they could draw revenue from. 9/11 also happened soon after, sending my nation into an economic tailspin that sent me, my wife, and two babies into damn-near homelessness; in an attempt at relocating to better our collective fortunes, living in L.A. hotels for nearly two years, just trying to at least obtain gainful employment to back back off the ground. The music went on pause for almost 7 years. Focusing on the family was a major part of the delay as well.. and the happier part…

During this time, the original source reel-to-reel tapes were lost in storage in 2003; the only surviving audio from those first sessions was a tiny DAT tape I dug out before our things were summarily thrown away by the storage company when we fell behind on payment. Baby pictures, wedding photos, my awards and medals from the Navy..all gone. Our history as individuals and as a family was almost completely erased. For a long time, I was mildly bitter about this, but learned something very important that remains with me to this day: It is better to have things purged from you, and not people whom you love. And all was not lost, as what we had was sufficient, and we eventually moved on stronger and wiser for the experience. When I put together my own studio, as the technology acceleration went full stride to digital, I realized that it was more important to remain as independent as possible..fuck the Majors. I invested accordingly, and have constantly made adjustments as the scene has evolved: starting my own label and imprint officially in May 2007 after self-releasing my first album The Darkest August in 2006. “Ghettoxic was the only track from these original demos that was officially released as a finished song, which I remixed to beef-up the percussion, and made more relevant. This year, in 2009, I am hosting my own radio program ‘The De Frag’, an aim to take away the vast expanse of music floating in cyberspace that is not getting attention, including my own, on top of self-releasing my second full-length CD “Programmed Response, set for release this year.

Today I am working harder than ever..and loving it. The industry is now a game of adjustments, and is now all virtually on-line. I learned over the years that it is important to control one’s own destiny as much as possible..even learning and doing more than I ever anticipated to augment and better enhance what I already do. What used to be in 1999, now longer is in 2009 industry-wise, as the Majors are all but dead, and the fragmentation of the music landscape is replete with uncertainty and ultra- potential for success. I have grown as an artist, businessman, and shameless self-promoter. I have also grown as a person; being the kind of man my family can look to for leadership, dependability, fearlessness..and love. Sometimes it takes a hard crash before you realize what you truly can do. It has been a strange ride..but one that has found me a lot more confident and assured than ever before .

“Find what you love to do, and do it ‘till it kills you” -Derek Sivers, former CEO of CD

That says it!

Share on Facebook

No comments: