Music, Why?

I recently got re-acquainted with a producer named Joe Reineke that I used to create music with pretty regularly.  As always, I was struck by his musical insight and maturity and immediately began to think about how much better my songs WOULD be if I worked with him again.  Of course, rightfully, he wants to be paid for his expertise.  Now on the eve of submitting what will be my 11th musical creation to the distributor and with the thought of investing more money into my creative craft I am forced to again ask myself the question……WHY DO I KEEP CREATING MUSIC? 

It makes zero sense.  I have a career that rewards me handsomely.  I rarely even accept any money we receive for performing at a gig, I usually tell the venue to roll our proceeds into the other bands on the bills compensation because I know very few are lucky enough to have the type of career that I do.  The market for music is completely saturated, and the modern-day streaming model has once again shifted any monetary rewards possible to an elite few at the top of the heap.  Currently if you go on Spotify and listen to one of my songs the reward is $0.0056.  As in the “glory days” of the music industry, it once again takes lots and lots and lots of money to break through the noise and create any sort of volume that makes music a sustainable form of expression.

When people ask me how my music is going I usually say, “good, it’s a really fun hobby.”  I say hobby because there is zero chance I would ever be able to make a living off of it.  I could climb into a van, and drive back and forth across the country, making enough money to pay for gas and a burger to get me to the next dump to play in front of no one.  But why?  Like everyone I like to have a home, some sense of financial security, some sort of conviction that I will be ok into old age when I can no longer work.  Does being a musician create this opportunity for musicians?  I would argue absolutely not.  In fact, it is a terrifying thought of what is going to happen to all these idealistic artists as they transition into middle/old age?  I think it is quite clear politically that social security is not a given.  These musicians have spent their 20s and 30s perfecting their craft, slinging their music across the country.  So now as they enter into their 40s they will have no resume, no education, no financially marketable skills, and a billion Chinese and Indian immigrants with technical skills/degrees gunning for their piece of the American dream.  Seattle recently saw this reality in action as my favorite local Seattle singer/songwriter delved back into the world of tech, succumbing to the pressures of life and the economic realities of being a musician.  The simple truth is that the music industry has never been a great generator of equity, and what it does produce, gets soaked up by the top.  It DOES NOT trickle down in any sort of meaningful manner. 

Why do I keep writing song after song?  Why did I convert nearly half of my livable space in my home into a personal studio and practice space for my band?  Why do I invest in studio equipment and watch endless youtube audio mixing tutorials?  Why do I put up with band mates who refuse to do even an ounce of the leg work required to make this band a thing?  Why do I still check my streaming stats and update my website constantly?  Why do I podcast the “stories” behind my songs?  Why do I run facebook ads and try to figure out new marketing techniques to get the music heard?  Why do I spend hours searching for the perfect font for my next singles cover art?  Why am I thinking about starting a live streaming type musical experience online?  Good God why!? 

Cause I fucking love music that’s why.  I love writing and releasing something into the word that has never existed before.  I love the endless pusuit of that next bigger better song, like chasing a ghost that never really materializes.  It’s a relentless pursuit, not for fame or fortune, not because it is always enjoyable, or because its financially viable, but because music is fucking awesome.  I’m not delusional, I know I will never win a Grammy or get one of my songs onto a major television show, I will never play my favorite venue in Seattle or open for any of my favorite Seattle bands.  But at the end of the day my music is my creation and it gives me purpose. 

Because of the nature of my profession it legally forces people to retire at a specific age.  I work with so many people at the end of their career that have absolutely no idea what they are going to do when they are forced out the door.  It is very sad to watch people who have no purpose outside of their profession.  Plenty of money, no purpose.  I have no fear that I will be like them.  I will welcome my retirement because it will give me even more time to sit in my create space writing music, recording music, mixing music, playing with my band, and having a damn jolly time along the way. 

Life is good, music makes it better.  That’s why. 

Cover Songs!

I don’t often play cover songs, not really my thing. But when I do, I always try to play Bruce Springsteen. Occasionally we play a cover song at shows. We have covered Arctic Monkeys, Neil Young, Citzen Cope, and maybe a couple others I can’t remember. However, I have never actually recorded a cover song and released it publicly before now. Below is a link to my new single of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”. I’ve always loved this song (reminds me of a very young Courtney Cox….though I know that was a video for a different song). I tried to take it, jumble it around, and create my own take on this iconic classic. I hope you take the time to give it a listen (cause it wasn’t easy to get a good take of this song in one run!).

LISTEN HERE

Take care,

Jason

JSB....back at it, in a freshly remodeled studio....

Hey yo…..I haven’t written an update on here for a while. As a band we have been going through some significant changes and though they took a time to sort, I feel we are finally ready to get back on the proverbial musical chair.

Musically I felt we needed a hiatus, the music was getting bogged down, enthusiasm and creativity was waning, and I felt like I was simply writing the same song over and over. In addition I have a new employer which required a fairly intensive training program, and Alex (lead guitar) has moved forward into a different phase of life which has required him to step back from “banding” with us. All this came together coincidentally with the end of the summer festival season which made me feel it was a ripe time for a hiatus.

Now, the rain has come, us in the PNW are inside a lot, and my creative juices are flowing! I took the opportunity of a hiatus to remodel my studio so I have a fresh and inspiring create space. I love my new space and I find myself down their every moment I can afford.

Tonight is our first band practice in 2 months +, down one member and still searching for a lead guitar player, but back at it and ready to make noise. I’m excited for what lays ahead for us.

You can expect new music from us starting in 2019, so stay tuned…….Play Your Hand EP is in route.

Jason

Writers Block EP

On 1 June 2018 I will be releasing a new block of songs.  Writers block EP is an all acoustic gaggle of songs I have put together in conjunction with two Seattle staple musicians, Danny McMahon and Adam Williams.  Danny has earned his chops playing keys and gigging around the city with the likes of Audio Pirati and Feverton.  Adam Williams is a 1st class guitar player most well known for the Adam Williams Trio and Home Sweet Home.  It was real fun to go back to my acoustic roots and record just me and a microphone.  No fanciness, just me.  I like it, its raw, imperfect, and honest.  I hope you check it out on 1 June 2018, it will be available everywhere there is music.  

Jason

Music Box Subscriptions

Jason Sees Band was lucky enough to have Robot Dance EP featured in a really unique monthly music subscription service.  The Music Box Subscription is a boutique music company out of Portland, OR.  They offer a really different way of consuming music.  Instead of going to youtube, or spotify like everyone else; Music Box Subscriptions sends you a monthly goodie box of albums and merchandise from a handpicked catalog of indie artists.  This strikes me a as a really cool way to find new music.....plus I LOVE getting stuff in the mail, so its a no brainer for me.  I hope you will all go to their website and check out what they have to offer.  

Acoustic EP enroute!

For the last year or so I have been working on an acoustic EP.  The idea was to record a block of songs that were "performed" with acoustic instruments, not pieced together as a recording cake in the studio.  Despite the apparent simplicity this is in fact a very difficult task.  I found myself embarking on a marathon task of trying to find the perfect performance since their is no amps, or studio magic to cover up any imperfections.  Needless to say I am excited that I have 4 acoustic recordings I will be releasing this summer so keep tuned.  To put icing on the cake I brought in a couple friends to make the songs more dynamic.  Danny McMahon added beautiful piano to one song and local guitar shredder and Home Sweet Home front man Adam Williams let go of his Les Paul for a nylon string acoustic guitar to add a lovely little flamenco guitar to another piece.  I am excited about these songs, they are raw, imperfect, an honest.  Keep an eye out, more details to come on an exact release date.  

Thank you!

I wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who made our show at Conor Byrne Pub in Ballard WA on Mar 23 a success.  The turnout was overwhelming and we had a terrific time playing music (despite the struggles I was having with my equipment).  Thank you Runaway Symphony for allowing us to play on your bill, it is always an honor.  Your music continues to be mind blowing.  

We play out much less frequently than in days passed, and I must say, it makes each time more special.  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making the effort to trod down to Ballard and pack the place, we had a blast.  

Jason

Ballard WA, we are on our way.......

I love playing live!  Its so much fun to build setlist, tweek your tones, get in that last practice with the band.  For a long time we played live as much as possible.  We were tailoring our live set, perfecting it, making it something we could be proud of.  Now we play much less frequently, essentially placing quality over quantity.  I believe it is paying off and I hope you can join us tomorrow night, Friday 3.23 9pm, Conor Byrne Pub in Ballard WA.  

We will be joined by Runaway Symphony and Brian Stai.  It is going to be a fantastic evening of music.  IN ADDITION, we will be releasing our newest EP, Robot Dance EP.  We are super excited about this album.  Here is what the Old School Project said about our latest album.

"A light hearted, electric guitar driven, rock collection. It sharply contradict Jason's usual themes of solace and introspection. Troubadour roots be dammed, Jason rocks here and Seattle's indie music community is finally showing signs of coming to life."

We will be showcasing all the songs of this album plus many more.  Hope to see you there!

Jason