Music you like
Music you dont (sic)
thisisadynasty (AKA KASKADE):
If there’s a formula to selling out, I think every band in the world would be doing it. The fact that you write good songs and you sell too many of them, if everybody in the world knew how to do that they’d do it. It’s not something we chose to do.—Mike Dirnt, Greenday
Every musician or artist who has dared to put their work into the fire-pit of public consumption risks being criticized, but hopes for better. Those who end up having to work for success, to climb hand-over-fist upwards will inevitably leave a few fans behind. Fans who feel betrayed because the journey doesn’t go the way they would have hoped, or because it goes on tangents to places that are different from where they started. That’s progression, though. Art doesn’t always move in a straight line, and progression by definition means change. It’s how we ebb and flow as humans, it’s the way we live in our relationships. It’s the cadence of being alive.
Since music builds a hugely intimate relationship between the creator and their audience, the deviation from a sound, a feeling, or a genre sometimes feels like a betrayal. And if you’re looking for a knife-cut to the gut, the go-to phrase to callout a formerly favored artist is “sellout”. The implication that a person is so low-brow as to trade their integrity for some scratch is pretty vitriolic. And insults feel good to throw around if you’ve been betrayed, so why not?
I’d argue that there’s no such thing as a sellout. That’s why not.
Let’s define what we’re talking about here. A sellout is thought of as a person who has forgotten their roots, who has sacrificed their personal integrity in order to grab at some fame, fortune, or notoriety. Obviously this happens all the time. We’re all drowning in a culture of reality shows where people are falling on their dignity-swords right and left to get their name mentioned anywhere, everywhere. But I can’t believe that they are selling anything out. If that’s where they’re willing to go, that’s who they’ve been all along.
This applies to musicians as well. We all know there are Big Men in Big Suits in Big Buildings, shot-calling what they think will be next. They’re scouting and grooming, with no love or respect for the roots of any genre. There is no shortage of grabbing hands begging to be plucked up and molded by these guys. And the formulaic, nicely packaged box they put out into the world is glossy, shiny and as easy to swallow as a gel-coated sugar pill.
But those pre-fabricated sounds are not sellouts either. Again: if that’s the core, if that is their endgame, that is who they have been from the start. Their roots were not dug in anywhere, they have been untethered from the beginning. There was nothing to sellout, because it was never theirs to sell.
In fifteen years of making music, it should not be surprising to know that what I create in 2013 is going to be very different from what I did in 1998. I think it would be more startling to have not moved in any direction in that time. I look back at tracks like “It’s You, It’s Me” and it’s meaningful to me still. But if I continued to recycle that one vibe, over all this time, I’m pretty sure no one would be left listening to even weigh in on if I’d sold out or not. Not only that, but when a track is finished, it’s the end of that sentence. New paragraph.
There is not a new Kaskade, anymore than there is an old Kaskade. There could possibly be a Malibu Kaskade, but that’s more of an action figure. I make and play music depending on what fiction I’d like to spin for those 3 or 4 or 8 minutes. It’s a solid, creative, imaginative, communicative communion not with the masses in mind but just the intent to create a sonic voice. Each song has its own language and sometimes it’s going to speak to many people, and other times it’s going to be a bit harder to decode. I am the same person, the same creator, in either instance.
It’s easy to get fed up with people who seem to be cashing in on what they see as simply a way to get money. It’s easy to get discouraged when a puppet and his master get overwhelming positive responses from the masses. High horses and soapboxes are in no shortage of supply in the House, Techno, DnB, Electro EDM family. But it’s all a waste of energy, this lambasting and anger. Because even while they’re putting out their 368th version of the same song, me and mine are still creating the same way we always have: 1 part heart, 1 part soul, 1 part technology, and 1 part muse. They can’t touch this. MC Hammer was right.
My roots are deep and my respect is intact for the pioneers of all forms of Electronic Music. I can laugh when Derrick May starts riffing on the EDM makers, because that man has earned his right to speak. I can swim when an online tidal wave brings the sharks. I will always be bringing new things to the table, I will always be pushing ahead. I love what I do, I love where it came from, and I love that I have a hand in where it’s going. I suggest we stop worrying about who has and has not sold out, assigning musical ideology and strict boundaries on genres. We’re supposed to be smiling, listening, loving and dancing. As the “old” Kaskade might have said, in 1993: “Peace, Love, Unity, Respect”.
be a rebel
You might think that “living fossil” is a bit of an oxy moron, however you’d be mistaken. To be considered one, the living organism in question must more or less maintain the same anatomy and behavior over millions of years while watching the rise and fall of many other still-evolving species.
Somewhere on the cephalopod’s evolutionary journey from snail to octopus sits the Nautilus; which has changed very little in the last 500 million years. At one point, the oceans contained hundreds of different types, but nowadays only six remain, all of which are found along the deep slopes bordering Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Like the squid and the octopus, the Nautilus has tentacles, but many more of them that lack suckers. It also lacks the complex central nervous system of its advanced family members and has been shown to have a much poorer memory in comparison.
Sharing the unenviable title of “world’s most endangered rhino” with its Javan counterpart, it is estimated that there are fewer that 400 Sumatran rhino alive today. Making its home in the dense highland forests of Malaysia and Indonesia, this smallest of the rhino family is relatively well known because of studies done during a particularly unsuccessful 20-year captive breeding program. While contentious, theories linking the Sumatran rhino to the prehistoric woolly rhinoceros have shown some merit.
Black and Rufous Elephant Shrew
While initially lumped into the same group as shrews because of their superficial resemblance, elephant shrews are not shrews at all. Part of the Sengi family of mammals found up and down East Africa, it is thought that aardvarks, manatees and even elephants may have evolved from a sengi-like critter. Fossil records show Sengi’s presence in Africa going back 30 million years.
Alligator snapping turtle
This terrifying-looking turtle native to the Southeastern United States can grow to a massive 220 lbs and live past 150 years old. Legend has it that specimens have been found with Civil War era musket balls embedded in their shells.
Sitting at the bottom of freshwater lakes and tempting naive fish right into its formidable jaws has proved over 200 million years to be an effective strategy.
The Coelacanth is one of the most famous of the living fossils. Captain Hendrick Goosen and Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer discovered the first specimen among a fishing haul in 1938. This came as a massive shock to the scientific community as they were reckoned to have gone extinct 65 million years ago. In actuality the Coelacanth has been around and keeping a low profile for almost 400 million years. Two distinct populations have now been observed, one in the West Indian Ocean and the other 6000 miles away in Indonesia.
Émile Cohl was a French cartoonist and animator who is often referred to as “the father of the animated cartoon.” In 1907, Cohl began work at Gaumont, a motion picture studio who hired him as a scenarist, which is someone who came up with one-page story ideas for movies. It was between February and May of 1908 that Cohl made what is regarded as the first fully animated film: Fantasmagorie.
Cohl’s animation technique was to place each drawing on illuminated plate glass and trace each following drawing to show the variations for movement, until he had approximately 700 drawings. Many of Cohl’s animated works grew quite popular, and inspired animators in the U.S. like Winsor McCay, but he was always simply credited as “Gaumont’s animator” and therefore gained very little personal acclaim. His films, however, set in motion the innovation of animation around the globe.
Winsor McCay was a popular cartoonist and animator working in the United States in the early 1900′s. His most memorable cartoon was Little Nemo, a character whom McCay brought to life through animation. McCay is said to be one of the fathers of “true” animation, and inspired the likes of Walt Disney, Maurice Sendak and Bill Watterson.
His first animated film, made in 1911, was called Winsor McCay, the Famous Cartoonist of the N.Y. Herald and His Moving Comics or far more simply, Little Nemo. The film explores McCay’s entire animation process, and the reception his idea garnered from his fellow artists. The animation style used clearly served as inspiration to later animators, and McCay’s films continued to become more fluid and cleanly made. McCay’s second most famous animation is Gertie the Dinosaur.
Ub Iwerks was born in Kansas City, Missouri, where he later met Walt Disney and the world of animation changed forever. Iwerks and Disney met when they were both working for the Pesman-Rubin Commercial Art Studio in Kansas City, and the two became fast friends. The pair made an excellent team; while Disney came up with the ideas and sales techniques, Iwerks was a fast and incredible capable animator. The two eventually set up shop in California under Walt Disney’s name and began turning out animated shorts.
The lore behind the creation of Mickey Mouse varies greatly, but it is well known that Iwerks was the man behind the movement of the mouse, while Disney was responsible for characterizing Mickey. The two scored a major hit with the first “all-talkie” cartoon Steamboat Willie.
Though Iwerks and Disney were enjoying their success, Iwerks had always wanted to be an independent producer and often felt he wasn’t getting the credit he deserved. In 1930 he left the Disney Company to open The Iwerks Studio, where he produced and animated several cartoons, including Flip the Frog, Willie Whopper, and, later, the ComiColor Cartoons series. During this time, Iwerks worked on many technical developments in animation, including the multi-plane camera – integral to the hand animation process.
Despite his technical genius and beautiful animation, Iwerks never reached a level of success on his own. He eventually returned to the Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1940 and worked on groundbreaking animation such as Mary Poppins and Song of the South, where he perfected the blending of live action and animated film. Iwerks is remembered today as an official Disney Legend.
John Lasseter began his storied career with none other than Walt Disney Animation Studios, soon after his graduation from the California Institute of the Arts. Lasseter didn’t work at the studio for very long, however, due to his growing interest in computer animation. He and several other Disney animators began work on The Brave Little Toaster, and Lasseter was keen on incorporating computer graphics into the film. This didn’t sit well with the Disney execs, and Lasseter was subsequently fired from the studio. He began working for Lucasfilm under the supervision of Ed Catmull, where Lasseter and Catmull’s collegues created the first computer animated short The Adventures of André and Wally B.
George Lucas was forced to sell off his computer graphics team (Lucasfilm Computer Graphics) and it was bought by Steve Jobs in 1984 and became what is known today as PIXAR. Pixar Animation Studios, under the watchful eye of Lasseter, have been responsible for bringing computer animation to the forefront of the animation world, and with each new film they dazzle us with their technological advances and story-telling prowess. Without Lasseter’s unwavering dedication to computer animation, the world may never have seen gems like Toy Story, and all of Pixar’s subsequent films.
After Disney’s purchase of Pixar, Lasseter was named Chief Creative Officer of both Pixar and Disney, and his fingerprints can be found on just about everything Disney and Pixar creates.
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