Huge congratulations to Ariel Semmel, who won “The Van Leer Award for Best Director of a Documentary” at Jerusalem Film Festival!
Despite having only contributed a small portion of music to “PARANO” for Isreali director and friend Ariel Semmel, I’m proud and happy to hear that my music got amazing reviews.
Ariel: “Your music captures everybody in the beginning of the film!”
It’s a great gain to be working with Ariel, who’s a professional with every fiber in his body. His film is touching, shocking, emotional, brutally honest and the some of bravest self-exposures I have ever witnessed. When I watched one of the earlier edits of the film — in order to prepare myself for the music to be written — I needed days to process what I had seen, the movie’s that intense.
You might think from the “cover of the book”, this movie is about a distraught guy who thinks he’s been abducted by aliens. Not even close. This movie is much more than that. It touched me every second, frame by frame.
For Ariel I wish that PARANO gets the attention and rewards it deserves. Go check out details about the film here:
There seems to be a rumour that I retired. Recently I also received messages from fans who asked me directly. I think it’s time to explain, and not just on this subject.
First of all: no. I haven’t retired, yet, nor do I plan so anytime soon. But I have either shut down or minimized certain activities that affect my work in the music industry, on the other hand, I draw my energy to other (and partially new) things.
About my management activities in the music industry
As you may know, I no longer work for FRISKY. I also removed my shows from the station, because I wanted it that way. I was not officially fired. At a certain point, FRISKY simply stopped communicating with me for reasons that to this day are incomprehensible to me, unless I suspected fraud. After all, I was the one who quit after nobody talked to me anymore. I got some sort of explanation (very much too late), but it wasn’t satisfactory at all. Despite the fact that it assumed completely false accusations that looked strongly like made up, for the sake of accusation. I can not spread the whole story publicly, it’s still a legal process that is far from over. I still have demands that I have to enforce in court.
With great pleasure I am Head of A&R for Pro B Tech Music. This job usually takes place in the background, which is why you do not notice much of it. But I am very busy. If you have demos, send them to me. 😉
I direct my energy more and more to the work in the studio. That means I produce, mix, master and compose a lot, both for myself and for clients. That’s great fun. I couldn’t imagine quitting this, ever. I will probably do this until my very last breath. I just love music too much.
I do that. Still. As long as I enjoy it and my time allows it. I don’t know when the time has come when it stops being enough fun to continue, but you will notice.
Quite clear: I’m picking out the really good ones. I’m tired of stupid discussions with promoters that do too much coke and have an incredibly inflated ego or want to fool me. I do not play for free drinks, travel expenses and hotel. BTW, I never did that.
To be honest: I have been involved in the music industry for about 25 years. I have experienced many beautiful things, seen many places and people and experienced unforgettable moments. But also many bitter disappointments. And I – 45 years old – do not feel like it anymore. Really not. I might be a bit stupid, but not that stupid.
And here is the most important thing…
Over the years, I have neglected far too many things. Friends and partnership, for example. Family. A normal life. I haven’t always given the really important people in my life the attention and energy they deserve. Although I always had the best intentions, I have been terrible on many subjects and fucked up opportunities.
At 45, I’m full of regrets that I need to process — believe it or not. Your own mistakes make you either go full retard (pardon the wording) or they make you humble and thoughtful. I want to be a better version of myself and live the life I could have lived earlier if I hadn’t clinged to stupid things and false perceptions. I also want to have more time and energy for private passions and hobbies, and I also want to really listen to the music I love more, not just skip through it, because I need to evaluate it.
I’m at an age where you do not have to get involved with everything or prove anything. I (almost) only do things that I enjoy doing. A few things I did before have only taken but not given back enough, or at all. Fuck this.
In a nutshell, I have no time or energy to waste. This life is short and will be over sooner or later, and I’m the only one responsible for my happiness until that day has come.
However, that’s the short explanation on the state of things. If necessary, I will explain more at some point. Thanks for your attention and for your support! I sincerely hope you understand what this is about, and what not.
I am a musician. Not trying. Trying to be a musician is watching the first YouTube video on how to hold a guitar. Not what I have done for the past 15 years. That is BEING a musician.
You Sound Like…
I know you’re trying to be nice by putting me in good company, but musicians want to feel original. We don’t want to hear we sound like everyone else. That we’re unoriginal. It’s fine for you to sell your friends on listening to someone new by comparing them to well known artists, but when talking to a musician, the best compliment is “you sound like YOU and it’s awesome.” Unless you’re talking to a pop producer, then yeah, “it sounds like Katy Perry” is probably the best compliment you could give.
You Should Try Out For American Idol
I will slap you.
When Am I Going To Hear You On The Radio?
When your radio plays better shit.
You Should Be On The Voice
Because that’s a career builder. Right Jermaine?
You Must Love Karaoke
No, actually, I hate karaoke because I have to listen to you sing.
Can I Get On The List? Plus 1?
You don’t have $10 to support my music, but you have $50 for the round of shots you just bought everyone?
What’s Your Real Job?
It’s this little field called music. It’s way more real than those TPS reports you put together for the Bobs.
What’s Your Backup Plan
It Will Be Great Exposure
Meaning, it doesn’t pay. No thanks.
I Have A Great Idea For A Song
And I have a great idea on how you can fix my faucet better. But let’s keep these things to ourselves.
I’ve done around 30 different mixes, tried like 10 different guitars, mixing the drum kit and making it sounding right has taken an incredible amount of time, I’ve tweaked the tiniest bits of sound to total exhaustion.
Should the grand piano have more mechanical noises… should the timpani have slightly more reverb… should the guitar have a delay or not, should I add the cello on top of the full orchestra, or an oboe? Should I widen the acoustic guitar or leave it as is? Is this chord harmonic enough for the one before? Is the Oberheim too loud? Should I use the Gibson EB0 or the Les Paul bass, finger or pick? Stratocaster or Telecaster? This or that cabinet, or none at all, what amp? Distortion or slight fuzz, tremolo?
Questions like that are bothering me all the time. And the production is so huge that my DAW crashes at least 3 times a day. Plus, anxiety, doubts… because “is it all worth it? Will they understand it?”. Sleepless nights. Then again: “fuck yeah!”. It all sounds absolutely heavenly, I get goosebumps all the time. And nothing is even mastered at all.
I have half of the album sounding as perfect as it gets, with the needed amount of imperfection to become perfect. I open parts of it again, again and again… stuff that I did a year ago that doesn’t sound right today, and may sound not right next week. You get the idea. 😉
No worries, it’s all good. It’s finished very soon. Once it’s done I have nothing to do with it anymore. Then it’s a product with a life of its own, and I will watch it learning to walk.
I will reply to all of your questions in a video that I’ll upload to Facebook and YouTube, very soon.
This is not an obituary. There are enough people on the planet that are way better at this. Plus, I didn’t know Robin Williams personally, and I’m not a journalist. But Robin and I — and so many other people in this world — have something in common, and that’s why this is a call for awareness.
The first thing I had to learn this morning when I woke up was: shit! I’m late. I’m supposed to drive the Missus to work!
Part of my waking-up-process is having a cigarette and checking my phone. Call it a ritual. Next up would be grabbing a coffee from the kitchen. I didn’t get this far. The news that Robin Williams (apparently, unconfirmed while I’m writing this) committed suicide was all over my phone.
Holy shit! I mean: holy motherfucking goddamn shit! How can this happen? How can someone bring so much joy into people’s hearts and be a totally sad man himself? What an actor, what an artist, what a great human being!
Robin Williams was very open about his addictions (cocaine, alcohol) and his depressions. This didn’t help enough, though. And no money, success and fame in the world could help him to overcome his struggles with life.
My distant relative Christopher Vogelmann, who’s a doctor himself (even when he’s “only” a chiropractor), said today:
Mental distress and mental illness affect more people than we readily know. Depression and addiction can hit those who are famous and those closest to us.
It is a sad moment as this great light of comedic genius has left us for a much larger stage.
The daily struggles can often be upsetting but the positive potential is equally strong.
We are as a nation ill-prepared to deal with mental illness. We often just stigmatize and warehouse those afflicted with mental illness – something that we would almost never do to a person with a physical illness.
He said it. I feel that this is all we need to know and think about right now and in the future.
I’m suffering from depressions all my life. I’ve had numerous moments when I wanted to end my life, because I couldn’t bear the deep sadness inside of me anymore. A sadness I couldn’t explain, one I could never find out where it was coming from. How do you pull out the rambling weeds when you can’t grab it at its roots?
I got it “under control”, kind of. The sadness and depressions are still there, but somehow I found a way to go through those phases. They have become infrequent, and I got meds that make it easier when they show up. I have had training all my life, to wear a mask, smile, so that no one would ever figure out what’s going on behind the mask.
The wish to just be dead and get rid of the pain then is still there. It’s mainly the responsibility for the hearts of the people surrounding me that keeps me away from leaving the stage of this life.
I’m sure Robin Williams had professional help, meds and loving people surrounding him. For a “normal” person, there would be so many good reasons to just be happy and enjoy life, but for Robin Williams all of this wasn’t enough, apparently.
I’m thinking about “why do people have problems like that” all my life. What the fuck is wrong? What makes people so sick, and why do I suffer from this, too? Is it a general sick world, full of ugliness and hatred? Does this produce so much negativity that some people just can’t deal with it? Are we not made for a society like that?
I remember a statement actor Gerard Depardieu gave when his only son died. It was something like
He wasn’t made for this world. He was a true poet, this world was too much for him. It’s okay that he’s at another place now where he can find peace for himself.
I was thinking that — as sad as it is — he is probably right.
I wish the world would be more lovely and less ugly. I wish people would treat each other with more respect and kindness. I wish money and status wouldn’t have the importance it has, and everyone could just live his life the way he wants without the constant pressure life puts on us.
Maybe there are individuals in this world that just can’t take all this ugliness. Maybe we put our wishes and our suffering into art, for the outside world to understand us better, to express ourselves, because words are so limited.
And some of of us obviously give the funny clown to overact the deep sadness inside of us, or to pretend that this world is an entirely beautiful place. Like Robin Williams.
P.S.: I didn’t write this to jump on a SEO bandwagon. I did it, because this topic affects me personally, and I think it helps others and myself to be as open as possible about it.
P.P.S.: I didn’t drive the Missus to work, the morning was all fucked up.
This is Zelda Williams’ tweet after her father’s death: