Tuesday, March 17, 2015
The sound of music : my life
Today, I only have those two cards to show. Two great players from a very nice set, but there isn't much to write home about.
But now that I have your attention, I figured I'd write a little bit about my mind-blowingly quiet life. More precisely about what I was doing before I started selling books 8 years ago.
Let's start with the beginning.
2001 marks the last time I purchased a pack of cards before I got back in the hobby last summer. I was in Seattle visiting some friends, happened to find a card shop in the nearby mall and picked up a couple of Topps and Upper Deck packs, along with the latest Beckett. It didn't trigger anything much, so I just left it at that, before getting hooked again 13 years later.
Anyway, the reason why I was in Seattle was because I was very deep into music. No, nothing to do with Hendrix, Nirvana or Soundgarden. Mainly independent Hip hop at the time. I used to write reviews for the main French webzine on the subject, and I also used to conduct interviews and go to a ton of concerts. For any of you who followed that scene back then, I was the French "agent" for Anticon, but that's another story. Which means I met a lot of people, some got fairly famous, some were soon forgotten and some invited me over to Seattle to spend a couple of months in the summer. I had a great time over there. My friends were great Djs and musicians (and there was also an awesome graff artist in the mix) and they showed me how to make music. I learned the basics of beatmaking (I did play the piano for a couple of years when I was a kid, but was never really good at it) and started fiddling with electronic music also.
When I got back home shortly after 9/11, I decided to invest and by my own Workstation. I had worked as communication manager for a start-up for a couple of years before calling it quits (I loved my job, but working 70 hours a week had its toll and I needed a change in my life), and had a little bit of money put aside, and a lot of free time.
I'll try to keep it short, I promise !
I never thought of myself as a musician. I was just having fun. But people started saying that they liked what I was doing, so it motivated me to continue and explore this. One of my friends is a very good Dj (really, really good), and we had this idea to make music together. I'd take care of instrumentals and melodies, he'd then incorporate scratches and general turntablism. I love the sound of those wicky wicky fresh and thought it worked real well with electronic music.
Long story short : we sent out some demos, had our project accepted by a few labels and chose the one that was the best suited for us. The album came out in 2004, and the music industry was changing real fast. The internet was taking over, sales were plummeting, distributors were shutting down. But we did our thing. The album sold quite well all things considered (there was a track featuring Buck 65, which helped) and we had a lot of press. It wasn't Pitchfork material, but our album was still very well received. Our label didn't do much to promote us, but we had a big enough following to get concert dates and to have fun.
Which is exactly what that period of time was all about : fun. We didn't make any money, many concert experiences were terrible, but all in all, it was a blast. Whether it was playing in front of 30 people or 500 people, in Paris or in London, with or without gust stars, headlining or opening (hardly ever headlining, of course, you need to start somewhere), it was all great. I have so many memories, I could probably write a book on the subject.
And then it was 2006. We had signed for 3 albums. The second one was close to completion and we were very happy with it. But the record company turned it down, claiming it wasn't sounding rock enough (say what ?). We started looking for another record label, but none were biting. A lot weren't signing any new bands anyway and were just waiting for the musical hurricane to pass by and see what would still be standing. That's when I started working full time. That's when people started forgetting us altogether. That's when I started writing instead of making music. But that's another story.
The name of the band was Langage Computer (yes Langage, not Language, it's on purpose). If you're curious, you can listen to the album right there
Sorry if I got all nostalgic on you guys, I'm aware this has nothing to do with cards. But it's got a lot to do with who I am.