When I heard the British singer-songwriter Nick Drake for the first time I fell in love with the sound. Since then I have been looking for anyone who has a similar approach to music, but perhaps with more energy. I found Bogme and I have never heard anything as beautiful in this genre before. The song ”And Friends” from the album with the unforgettable title For the first time, we’re all right where we’re supposed to be strikes me as something that has not been done for many years, if ever.
Lilou just heard me listen to the epic ”The passing of Ramona Meeks” from the same album and you should have heard her: ”at last a pop artist that brings emotion into his music”. And you should know it is extremely hard to impress that woman. And I agree with her. Lyrics, intensity, beauty in perfect combination. I think this is something like the Fleet Foxes were trying to do, but Bogme makes it even more beautiful. The music is honest. I must say this song is by far some of the most exciting and magical piece of music I have ever heard.
I would call the music pop (you may call it rock?), but nothing like the pop you’ll hear on the radio. This is so much better. Listen to the song ”Who in the hell is Mike Davis (ft. Mike Davis)” and be swept away by some of the weirdest sense of arty lyrics I have heard - merging beauty and humor in a perfect blend. Not to mention the electric guitar.
You might have realized by now that Bogme is something you must listen to if you are in any way interested in what the R3C scene has to offer. Finally I must mention another of may favorites. ”Counterproductive (ft. Barack Obama)” from the album It starts with you.
THE MANDATORY SEVEN
1. WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START CREATING MUSIC?
I do not know the definitive "when" for when I started creating music. My first recollection of a song I "wrote" was a melody I made up to remember the order of the planets in the solar system in 1st grade (6-7 years old? I ended up recording a version years later for my mother, a teacher, to use for her class when they studied the planet!). I also took some piano lessons and attempted the trumpet in elementary school band around that time, but I retained NONE of it!
I began to play guitar when I was around 10 or 11, discovering an old Yamaha acoustic in our basement. My brother was better than me at everything, except for guitar! I think that one competitive advantage was why I became so interested. But even then, I learned very little.
The "Why" really happened later. I was raised on precisely ZERO Rock & Roll music. My mother listens to primarily classical music and different world music, and only plays it as "background music", whereas my father is potentially the biggest "Fanilow" in the world (Barry Manilow fanatic!). My exposure to Rock began when brother brought home a burned CD from Napster (such an old-fashioned phrase!) that had two songs I remember vividly. The first was "Bawitaba" by Kid Rock. I'd never heard such a heavy riff before! The second was "Take Tha Power Back" by Rage Against The Machine. The slap-bass intro was so cool, I just HAD to learn how to do it. I bought a cheap bass and began to learn music - for REAL this time!
I formed my first band around then at 13 years old. We started doing covers, and that's also around when I STOPPED playing covers. I could not stand the idea of receiving praise for someone else's original compositions, and as inexperienced as we were, I couldn't STAND how far our versions sounded from what we were imitating. We shortly began to write our own music, and recorded our first original EP the next year (2002).
2. IF YOU COULD BOIL DOWN YOUR MUSIC INTO THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Identity, Identity, and Identity. (But if I HAD to pick two other words, I would choose "Original" and "Purpose"). I don't necessarily mean to describe only my music, but rather what I value in music. Subsequently, I try my best to incorporate these into my songs.
3. NAME THREE IMPORTANT DATES IN YOUR BAND'S HISTORY AND WHY THEY MATTERED?
6/2/02: My first band called HardNova played our first concert at the Endicott Performing Arts Center in NY. We were the only 8th-graders from our school to do anything of the sort, and the experience got me hooked on performing Rock music.
6/6/06: The first time I saw (and played with ) a band called Damiera (Buffalo, NY). My high school band, The Swinging Field, had just played our last show before moving away to college together to start Longitude. We opened for Damiera, and after being blown away by their insanely PERFECT set/lineup/album/everything, I realized what level of professionalism separated what I had been doing previously from what I had always hoped to achieve musically.
Sometime early in 2015: I heard "Loopified" by Dirty Loops for the first time, and had a similar realization as when I saw Damiera - true excellence in music was always something to strive for! Dirty Loops is Next-Level-Sheeeet!
4. IF YOU COULD PICK YOUR FAVORITE SONG FROM YOUR ALBUM(S), WHAT WOULD THAT BE?
As I've included different bands of different genres, I will put the 3 from each band!
Bogme (solo): "Scream Silent"
Johan is Falling - "Dummy"
Respect Mother - "Rotting Hottie"
Longitude - "A Long Trip Down"
Balto - "30 RACK OF 40s (the beer of wines)"
5. HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO REACH OUT WITH YOUR MUSIC?
This is something I have always been HORRIBLE at. I do my best at marketing on social media, and try to get my friends to share with as many people as possible. I always HATED bands that were constantly pushing their music on people. I thought the music should speak for itself, especially as I noticed the bands that said the best things about themselves were usually the worst bands in terms of music and ability. I never wanted anyone to react the way I did to others, when telling them about my band. This is the worst approach possible in a world of unmitigated musical inflation, as it frightened me from wanting to talk about my music at all. The good 'ole 'self-fulfilling prophecy,' I guess!
A shorter answer?: Not good. haha.
6. WHAT FUTURE PROJECTS CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO?
Musically? You'll have to check back in a couple weeks. I recently consolidated old hard drives and found upwards of 50 songs I'd started but never finished, so I'm thinking about tackling those to see what comes out of it before I start any new music (some of the ideas are 9+ years old!). But then again, I don't really choose when I write new music, so that could very easily change.
I never thought writing music was supposed to be how they portray it on TV shows like "Nashville", where professional songwriters pump out 20 song per week (probably from my obsession with music having it's own distinct identity!). I definitely take my time, but have also plowed through different projects in a matter of hours. I've always held a cheesy belief that the best songs are not written, but discovered. Like they were always there, and I just stumbled upon it.
I've convinced myself that I can tell when this is happening, so I bet the listener can as well (if only subconsciously). I feel like whenever I try to write something, I hate the product. There's a lot of folks who say they can't (or shouldn't) listen to their own music, but I'm the exact opposite - If I wouldn't want to listen to it, why should anyone else? I listen to myself all the time, mainly picking apart bad things until I run out of bad things to pick apart! I'll always write new music though, never been able to stop!
Elsewhere, you can hear me, see me, or talk to me regularly on my website, TheNeighborhoodPodcast.com! It began as an audio podcast in January, and I'm relaunching it very soon in a weekly livestream video format. It's definitely a political show, but I'm intent on going at it from a cultural perspective Being a musician, I plan to incorporate music into the show as much as possible. I'd love to have you guys on to talk about it for sure!
Anyone else reading this can follow me @bogme on GAB, Twitter, and that's also our YouTube page, or "Like" us on Facebook @TheNeighborhoodPodcast for all the latest on that, and feel free to contribute your ideas! We're also on all the main podcast apps, so you can subscribe to the audio podcast on iTunes/Stitcher/TuneIn/Spreaker. And, of course, TheNeighborhoodPodcast.com!!!
7. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF R3C MUSIC TODAY AND TOMORROW?
There's R3C music today?! Wow, this is news to me! Haha, I guess country music used to be generally conservative, but the Left even got into that, too! I have always hoped it would catch on in the "cooler" genres, but never was very optimistic about it. Seeing the resurgent energy among youthful conservatives the last few years is a sign that it's certainly possible, and there could be an audience.
It would just have to be done very, very carefully. The music can't suck. We can't just be putting our talking points in as lyrics and think that's going to be enough. It's gotta make the listener FEEEEEL something, and I think that's actually more a result of the arrangement than the lyrics.
Also, it's just not as easy to turn good values into impactful lyrics. At least, I don't think so. Then again, I'm a horrendous lyricist. But I think it's because conservative ideas generally require more effort from the individual. The artist tends to not want to put forth extra effort, as they are oozing with intellectual talent they feel would be wasted on labor. It's easier to say "Eff You, NO WAY!" to the side that's telling you responsibility and hard work are the answers than it is to say it to the side that's saying "Yeah! I like that! Let's subsidize you!" So do I think it could be done? Absolutely. But it can't be lame, and the music can't suck. Fingers crossed.
THE PHILOSOPHICAL THREE
8. YOUR MUSIC SOUNDS VERY PLAYFUL AND STILL I FEEL A BIT OF SADNESS SHINING THROUGH, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE RELATION OF SADNESS AND PLAYFULNESS IN GOOD MUSIC?
The sadness is definitely not intentional. I'd LOVE to write happy songs. I'd love to have written "Uptown Funk" and meant it. I think sad songs generally come from sad people, though. Music is so emotional, so metaphysical, that explaining the "why" of a piece of music can often be futile, but sadness being such a powerful emotion, the cliche that sad=better for a song is understandable.
Beginning on bass and going to school for percussion, I've always been a fan of a driving, fast-tempo beat. I think I answer this in another question, but I think instrumentation is responsible for most of a song's "feel", so that's probably resulted in the playfulness. Maybe that came from what I was brought up around (very calm ballads and classical music)lacking that rhythm that attracted me to it. It's very funny that rhythm is what I value most, because I can't dance. At. All. Ha!
9. YOUR VOICE STANDS OUT, HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THE IMPORTANCE OF VOCAL SKILLS IN MUSIC, AS COMPARED TO CONTEMPORARY MUSIC WHERE VOICE OFTEN SEEMS TO MERGE WITH THE BACKGROUND?
Singing is very important, and also very hard to pin down. Some of the worst singers in the world are professional singers-*cough*Springsteen*cough*. Yet it still works for them somehow. I trained for many years on voice, and while I thank you for the compliment, I've always worried my voice blended too much, so I try to write around that, or rather, within that deficiency, in order to strengthen it.
I think it's ultimately about identity in the listener's mind. "Do I recognize that voice? Does it aurally fit the song? Do the syllables of the lyrics line up naturally with the beats?" I think these are all questions the listener asks themselves and answers in the first 30 seconds of a piece...COMPLETELY subconsciously. Consciously, they're trying to hear/remember/repeat what the words say, and apply their meaning to their own life. But I'm convinced a listener abandons the lyrics regardless of their meaning if they do not answer those questions to the listener's satisfaction.
Lyrics/vocals have always been difficult for me. I almost never hear lyrics. I couldn't type out a verse to "Semi-Charmed Life" without looking them up if my life depended on it - and it's been one of my favorite songs for 20 years. I just don't hear music that way. I hear arrangements, instrumentation, and structure of a song. They're always the last thing I write in a song, after the structure and instrumentation is finished or close to it. I also think I may be completely wrong about ALL of that, and I'm just cursed. Laugh Out Loud!
In today's music though, I think you can see this clearly exhibited. I read a story that lyrics today in America are at a lower reading level than ever before, averaging around 2nd-3rd grade (7-8 year olds!). That's not even to mention the abhorrent content of those easy-to-consume lyrics (clearly directed at children). But alas, everyone loves 'em, yet they aren't saying anything your little cousin hasn't said at family dinner I think that's why they merge it with the background more. The sounds used are more drone-y, trance-y, and everything - EVERYTHING - is electronic, even when real instruments are tracked for support or novelty *cough*FallOutBoy*cough*. It makes it really easy to impose a feeling on the listener and not have to worry about whether or not they'll actually like it. After all, if you believe the studies that show how different sounds can manipulate peoples brains (which you SHOULD!), people are actually programmed to like it!
10. OVER THE YEARS, MANY ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT BANDS HAVE BEEN DRAWN TO PUNK, ELECTRONICA AND METAL, THOUGH WE WANT TO SPREAD THAT THERE IS A HUGE CCC POP SCENE, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT POP MUSIC WITH IT'S SLIGHTLY SOFTER SOUND AND CONSERVATISM, ARE THEY EASY TO COMBINE YOU THINK?
I might've answered this before, but no, I don't think they're easy to combine. I'm all for pop music as well, but like I said, it can't suck, it can't be lame. It can't be just for the sake of it. It has to be genuine, and it has to have a natural flow and rhythm. I truly believe that 75% or more of the impact of a song comes from its musical mechanics - tempo, timbre, key, etc.. Tell me I'm wrong, but wouldn't "Wide Awake" by Katy Perry but with conservative lyrics just be...corny? Not even the vicious beat driving that song could distract from how out of place that would feel. "I'm wide awake! / it's my philosophy / to live and let you be / it's better to be free! / I'm wide awake!" It just doesn't work that way. That song works for Katy Perry because it's a whole lotta nothin' lyrically, and that perfectly underneath the breakdown-groove that really drives the song - which is just bitchin'!
I'm interested to see what happens though, and I hope I'm proven wrong and also that I contribute to it!
THE QUICK FIVE
11. HEART OR BRAIN?
Brain (the heart betrays!)
12. PRECISION OR ENERGY?
Precise energy 😉
13. ELECTRIC OR ACOUSTIC?
14. LIVE OR STUDIO?
15. SOLITARY OR SOCIAL?
Music is free in the tax-funded snowflake mind only. All non-communists pay for good music to support their artists. If you are interested in pop/rock and you want to be a part of the new right wing / conservative counter culture spreading all over the Western World, check out Bogme on Bandcamp and show your support.
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