Defining Censorship…

 Defining Censorship…

FREEDOM OF SPEECH:

Alright everyone – thanks for coming by! I’ve got a ton to say today, to the point where there’s even less of a probability of brevity in this blog than normal; consider yourselves warned!

When I left you last time in the official dated blog postings – I mentioned the upcoming review for a band called LEADSUCKER and their new album Burn. I invited you all to check it out before we get to discussing it on the main page (Coming in the next couple days…) – hopefully you’ve had a chance by now, if not click this link and check it out…

How often do you remember a band having an impact on you or your thought process BEFORE you’ve heard them? It CAN happen – it’s more than possible, but to do it without their main asset requires them to do something outside the box: Wild or explicit album art, publicity stunts, interviews that go awry…there are plenty of ways to make noise beside the music itself.

Sometimes it’s as simple as a title of a song.

As you can already imagine I’m sure – our control room is a LAIR of music. Our studio collection spills over a 3TB hard drive, there are independent CD’s EVERYWHERE, you can find vinyl and even cassettes. If there’s a way that I can listen to your music – you KNOW that I will…but you know that already…

The HOW of how these albums get to us comes from many sources. As a proud pirate, I scour the internet daily looking for new artists to listen to, and yes, even mainstream music cause, hey, ya gotta stay well rounded right? Now that we’re out on the internet as a reliable source of information, we also find new album submissions by sent directly to us as well, MP3’s over the net, sometimes physical copies mailed direct to the studio. As a person who spends WAY too much time looking for new material – this is an incredible gift each time it happens; not only do I not have to hunt that album down now, but it has arrived direct from the artist or band and ready to PLAY. It doesn’t get better than that if you were to ask me! It is after all, out there and widely known that I WILL accept music of all kinds, coming from any genre, in any language.

And you know what? That’s one hell of a safe place to be in! What could possibly go wrong in that scenario right? In my thinking – the WORST thing that could ever happen to me would be that I would get some music that would be the album long equivalent of “The Brown Note” – but it’s not like I haven’t heard nearly all of it all before.

I’ve always handled those albums with extreme exception. Knowing that an album doesn’t gel with my personal taste makes me feel like I work harder at my journalistic craft and find the positives from a perspective that normally wouldn’t give a sound outside their comfort zone the time of day. With my reviews I make sure that to highlight what these bands are all doing RIGHT and I fight against negative tendencies. I’m here to encourage your creativity and inspire you to do MORE and I’ve never thought that I’d even see a roadblock on that musical path anytime soon…

And then I saw it. I saw that thing from a band that sent my mind into near MELTDOWN before having listened to a single beat. Congratulations to LEADSUCKER, and a huge thank you to this band that has sent me an album that truly made me question a great number of my core beliefs and has even managed to make me question just how far I am willing to go down the musical rabbit hole myself…

After talking with Aaron from Leadsucker briefly – all I knew that I was in for was an album with THIRTY songs on it. Ensuring that I wasn’t afraid of the number of tracks, he sent over the album right away.

It was one of those mythical movie-like moments; it was a beautiful sunny day outside, summer in full bloom, birds chirping and all that good stuff… And then I saw it. The sky went black and I swear all those beautiful birds dropped right out of the sky. They did! I swear! That thing I mentioned earlier – that ability to stand out for one reason or another was right there as I scanned the track listing, still long before pressing play, but there it was staring me dead in the face…

“The Color Of Justice Is White,” was the name of the track and became quickly the ONLY thing I could see on the screen. Without listening, without looking into a single thing a minute further – I closed down my browser and left the computer completely. Consider me officially afraid.

Now – please keep in mind, this is ALL before listening and reviewing the album, scanning every lyric and word…this terrifying feeling came from the song title alone. I began to think about freedom of speech INSTANTLY and how truly important to me that everyone maintains the right to feel and say whatever they like. I thought about racism, and how that’s one of the only things that truly PISSES ME OFF.

Worst of all – I began to think about the juxtapositioning of those two things in relation to myself, my writing and what we are about through sleepingbagstudios. What IF this was a completely racist band and they were ready to spew all kinds of hatred out over a full album? Should they STILL have their say – or is this that moment where I’ll finally find myself put in a position to align myself with censorship? Not gonna lie – I began to dwell on this like no other situation that I’ve ever come across.

We’ve all dealt with “angry” music in one way or another. Rage Against The Machine is a perfect example – there was a TON of hate in their music – but I AGREED with that hate. So does that make it okay somehow? All I could think of was NO – but this was, and still is one of my absolute favorite bands to this day. I thought about all of the people that DON’T agree with the messages of RATM – they still heard them on the radio, or passed through an event with the music being played in the background.

Censorship. That’s what it would mean to me if I was to not listen to, review, or simply take a second look into what got this ball rolling in my brain. Now that I have, I suppose that I wish I had done so immediately…if I had simply read the lyrics to the song in question, I might never have gone down this path to begin with. Leadsucker is a hardcore punk band with a LOT to say, and NO – it’s NOT racist. Much like RATM – they’re against nearly all facets of the political embodiment of today’s world and they’re not afraid to let you know how they feel whatsoever.

Finding that common ground made it a lot easier to review the album on a personal level – but I still kept coming back to the possibility the nightmare this scenario COULD have been, could still very well happen to me one day. I’m not going to remotely agree with every opinion that ever comes my way but if I’m truly a champion for freedom of speech and overall acceptance on this planet – at the moment I believe I’ll have to push aside my differences at that time if that ever WAS to happen. Who knows – maybe you’ve already heard the perspective of an artist through our site that you don’t like or agree with? Regardless, without questioning or without thinking – I’ve put those albums on display in full view for you to all judge on your own.

Will I back down from this if the time ever comes? Will I still review an album if I don’t agree with the political connotations in an effort to preserve our right to freedom of speech? Or will I begin to filter and censor your content? Only time will tell for sure – but with that being said, please don’t START sending me albums full of racist overtones and maybe we’ll never have to cross that bridge.

And again – I want to THANK Leadsucker personally. There was literally no way to get through that album without asking a lot of questions of myself and thinking a ton about the state of society we live in and the role that music plays in that. We’ll release the hounds on this review in the next couple of days and add it to the homepage for you all to see and listen for yourselves.

What I can say for now with certainty – is that I’ve read through the lyrics at least a dozen times. The writing, for the record, is nothing short of brilliant. Looking forward to showing that to you all very, very soon.

INDIE NEWS:

THIS DAY BURNS: Came out to the studio TODAY! Exciting stuff – I’ve been waiting to catch up with this band since meeting Jon and Jasmine from the band way earlier this year on one of our adventures to the island. Now with a finalized and solid line-up – they’ve been in Vancouver working on the filming of their upcoming music video this weekend and from the sounds of it, it went more than well! I got a chance to check out some exclusive photos from the video shoot and honestly – they looked incredible. They found an unbelievable place to film in Vancouver, I can’t wait to see the finished video!

Sending me into an absolutely unprepared panic this morning with a request to arrive a bit early – I got everything as ready as I could. At the end of it all – I don’t think it could have worked out any better! It’s typical for me to ask for 80-90 MINUTES from a band for an interview with performance, and nearly every one of them ends up shocked, with a “yeah, sure…” feeling about how long it will really take. Well, let me clear this mystery up for you – yes, I ASK for 90 minutes, but typically we end up having so much fun with whatever band comes through that the process spans HOURS in length instead, with no complaints from any of the involved parties! In the case of today with This Day Burns – Jon, Jasmine, Chris and Skye stayed for nearly FOUR hours. Every minute was awesome – these people not only play extremely well, but they’re just honestly great fucking people to talk to. Having met Jon and Jasmine before, it was most excellent to finally meet the other half of the finalized line-up with original member Chris and their newest addition Skye. The performances were AWESOME and really demonstrated just how well these four can put songs together. They rotated all over the studio, playing every instrument they could get their hands on in a true display of what this band is capable of. MIND BLOWN! After the length of time we had kidnapped them for – you can safely bet we’ll be seeing a live performance on the show from TDB when we put out that episode later this year!

CLOSER: Oh YEAH! Becoming more and more their own entity with each passing day – this supergroup born out of BC bands THE PIT and DOC HOLLIDAY has now got their official Facebook page up and bumping – so show them some love and go support their page! If you missed the full concert presentation that SBS put on for their show at the Media Club earlier this year – check it out!

WEST MY FRIEND: Are just about to head into the studio to record their next full length album! Awesome right? I know! Having just seen them play over the summer, I can safely say that they are at the top of their game, creativity and talent right now – totally looking forward to this new record!

SBS LIVE THIS WEEK UPDATE:

Going sllllllllllllllllllllowly behind the scenes right now but we will make it back for the end of September, more than likely this week sometime. We’ve had a lot of files bouncing back and forth and I feel like I’ve cut a near-blinding amount of footage over this past month for some incredible bands. We will return with EXPAIN and we’re already running some promo-posts for that on our Facebook page.

Video interviews are still being sent out all over the globe. I’m down to one relentlessly overdue one to send to NICOLAS & THE ICENI in the UK – but after that point you can consider us ahead of the game on that one due to an insane push and effort to send them out. So if you’ve got one – send them back! Good lord – they take forever to put together and the return rate is about 15% with the other 85% of the work heading straight out into the void never to return. If you’d like a comparison – this project seems to carry along with it a 15% RETIREMENT rate as well – with many of the recipients getting the interview from us and then disappearing from the world altogether. Crazy!

I’ve been a little on the down-and-out as far as my personal health has been concerned over these past two weeks. Nothing some sleep won’t cure I’m sure, and for what it’s worth it feels like the worst of it has passed. Looking forward to being back on the show and with you all once again, elbow deep in this indie music scene.

We’ll talk again soon alright?

Jer@SBS

http://sleepingbagstudios.ca

"I’m passionate about what I do, and just as passionate about what YOU do. Together, we can get your music into the hands of the people that should have it. Let’s create something incredible."