I have to be honest here. I receive many CDs in the mail, and many more emails from people with links to music on their websites. Sometimes it’s people wanting to have us release their albums, sometimes people wanting feedback or advice, and sometimes people just wanting to share.

What is our “demo submission policy”? I guess “Yeah, OK, send them.”
but the reality is that I am pretty much always overwhelmed with all the art and words and music in the world already and I have almost no free brain time to listen to music at all, and when I do it’s familiarity I crave. Experimenting with hearing new sounds can come to feel like “work”, even when the sounds are amazing. So, I usually listen to my favorite music in the rare times I am listening to anything at all. Occasionally I try to listen to selections from the pile of CDRs from the mailbox, but the fact that it takes an effort to get to that point taints the listening experience and everything sounds like work.

Seeing this lifestyle from a distance probably looks bad, right? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bottomless well of open-mindedness and to have the time and energy to devote to receiving and processing the wealth of creativity constantly being produced in the world? Yes. But the fact is, I don’t. I can’t listen to everything with open ears, and it’s a horrible feeling to listen to music as a chore. Maybe some people can, but not me. I can’t listen to it all, and I especially can’t comment on it. I can’t even comment on my favorite music. It’s music. It is already speaking for itself.

My blanket advice to people making music and seeking advice from me (for some reason): If you must, then do it. If there is no passion, if you aren’t compelled to express something, then skip it. You don’t need my (or anyone else’s) advice. Make the thing you want to hear. Use the tools you have to make the finest thing possible. Start your own record label, or whatever. Do it. Everything is available. You don’t have any money? It will be more challenging, but not impossible. You don’t need to get “signed”. Record labels are basically parasites anyway. But if your heart’s not in it, why struggle? Read a book or something.

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