Hello, and welcome to CHILLFILTR Indie
Music on Tap, where we discuss issues that affect the indie music
community, and we talk about what it is like to be a musician
today. We have listeners all over the world for our podcast at
IndieMusicOnTap.com, we publish weekly song reviews to our blog at
CHILLFILTR.com, and our video feed is broadcast to Tibo subscribers
on Euro Indie Music TV.
We are starting our second season with a new format, a new theme,
and a new schedule. We will be publishing weekly episodes through
the end of the year for our second season. The main subject will be
depression, and how it affects musicians today.
We will also continue to discuss the difference between architects
and gardeners, as I hope to recreate my own personal steps dealing
with depression, and perhaps help chart a path for anyone dealing
with those same issues.
First, a little about me. I started CHILLFILTR just over a year
ago, as a way of giving indie musicians some nice quotes about
Now, that is what I am known for: I listen to hundreds of songs per
week, up to a few thousand per month, and I write about my favorite
songs - Folk Pop, Electronic, Hip Hop, Americana/Roots, and Indie
Every episode, we have a theme that we discuss, and we will also be
hearing some of my favorite music. So let's get started!
Now, for those of you that stayed with us last season, you will see
that things are bit different this year. The sound is better - I
invested in a nice microphone - but I also decided to script more
of my discussion. Last season was just me, an episode topic, and a
cell phone, and I just rambled on an edited later - in typical
gardener fashion I might add. You get the idea to market without
worrying too much about the specifics. I put out 10 episodes that I
was proud of, but to be honest, by the end there I was a bit burned
out on editing clips together. So for this season I had the bright
idea of actually writing it out - I am a writer, after all - and
it's a win because I can just read the copy, roll the tape, and
edit nothing. Who says innovation is dead?
So that means, you are introduced to my little production lair -
all 3 meters squared of it. Welcome to my world.
So what's up with depression? Well, I got the idea from a Twitter
poll a few months back, there was a record label that was offering
money to help support podcasts that would touch on topics like
depression, and although I didn't get enough votes to get any money
out of the deal, I thought it was a good enough idea to stick with,
regardless. I certainly know a thing or two about depression. And
it struck me that it is the topic of our time. The more I
researched it, the more I realized that the 'science' of depression
is utterly misguided, and at very least for gardeners like me, you
are completely on your own for guidance if you are depressed. Not
only will the world not understand you, it will actively give you
consistently bad advice. Well-meaning, perhaps, but destructive all
the same. Because the world was made by and for architects, and if
you are a gardener who is starting to understand the situation, you
will quickly realize that the status quo is totally inadequate.
What do I mean by that? Well, for this episode we are going to
tackle a few big concepts to start - the 'myth of fully automatic',
gardeners vs architects, and the related concept of
So, you might be asking yourself, what am I? I used to think that
Architects and Gardeners are mutually exclusive personality-types,
but since then my understanding has evolved quite a bit, and now I
view it as a spectrum. So some people might be a bit of both, in
which case the distinction is perhaps not that useful. I think many
among us play both roles according to our daily situation, but I
still think everyone has a natural affinity to one side or the
So: an architect builds a house. He or she spends a long time
planning, evaluating, price-comparing. This house is truly
superlative - it is the MOST modern, the BEST design, no details
were spared, no compromises were made. It took as long as it took,
but it finishes.
A gardener builds a garden. He or she starts right away - I will
plant this here, and that there, and look for more things to plant.
A gardener pivots - changes mind; countless times a day. What IS
working, what isn't working, what can be tweaked? A gardener enjoys
nothing more than monitoring his/her garden, pulling the plants
that die, and dreaming of new things to plant. The garden is never
finished. And perfection is not at all the point.
You can make a simple heuristic - on a given day, in the CREATIVE
space, how many things are on your mind? ONE, or many? If it is
one, you are probably an architect; if it is many you might skew
Why does this matter? That brings us to the myth of fully
automatic. Because, as Allan Watts described to us, the games we
play on children are inexcusable. His discussion of the myth of
fully automatic is simply this: as we raise our little ones, our
primary sense of messaging is that this child is apart from the
world, and needs to find entry. It is by us that you enter society
- by pleasing your parents, by toeing the line, by following rules,
by coopting our own sense of emotion and visceral experience and
replacing it with 'behavior'. Accepted behavior; but what of the
self? What about our own nature? What about intrinsic beauty? We
are taught from the very beginning that we need to prove our way
in, that there are good thoughts and bad thoughts, but we are given
no tools for introspection. None. That is the myth of fully
automatic - that the universe goes on without us, and will not miss
us when we are gone. That the quintessential human lives alone in
contrast to an automatic cosmic system that is separate from him.
One that he can exploit, and one that does not benefit from an
And so the child is taught to do well in first grade, that she
might graduate to 2nd; and so on through high school, and college,
always a step to precede the step that precedes the next; but
nowhere are we taught about the importance of kindness, or that it
is okay to do something else, to be free, to start over. We are
often taught that we only get one choice - so choose wisely. This
is the worst thing to say to gardener. It can be paralysing, and it
denies the beauty of starting over that gardeners hold dear. Which
leads me to the concept of multi-classing.
I am glad to see that Dungeons and Dragons is making a comeback -
that game played a large part in my childhood, and was the first
experience I had with this concept that eventually came to be the
architect/gardener divide - which i should also mention has a
counterpart in the work of Malcolm Gladwell, J. R. R. Tolkien, and
Allen Watts, probably more. The extent of my experience with
D&D amounts to a summer playing solo with my friend Greg as
dungeon master. I don't remember the campaigns much, but I do
remember the mental calculus I had to do around multi-classing,
which boils down to a simple question: would you rather be one
person, or many?
So either you obsess over doing one thing better than anyone ever -
like being the most powerful mage in the world, but who is very
physically fragile; or do you flesh out a few different skill sets,
and create unique magic in the synergy between skill sets - a
A single-classer is an architect; a multi-classer is a
But what gets complicated is the way that we decide to move
forward; Watts talks about the process that every adult needs to go
through, which is abandoning the belief sets that are imposed on us
when we are young, and finding a new, personal and personalized
truth. This, can come more naturally to a gardener because we pivot
every day; once we see what needs to be done, we do it. This kind
of thing can come as a shock to an architect, because they are not
natural pivoters. This comes to another, even simpler heuristic -
if you have struggled with depression for a lot of your life, you
are probably a gardener; if you are coming to it in middle age for
the first time, you are probably an architect.
Ok, that's it for now on architects vs gardeners, we will come back
to that again, but I wanted to put that out there because it is one
my my favorite themes. I like it so much because it works as a
stand-in for all of our current dichotomies - alpha vs beta, hard
vs soft, Western vs Eastern philosophy. It is all there.
This season we are also going to cover the evolution of depression
as a modern social phenomenon, so we are starting with ancient
times. It should come as a surprise to no one that the origins of
depression as a pseudo-medical diagnosis date back to classic
complications in pregnancy, childbirth, and child-rearing.
In her book The Female Malady, Elaine Showalter describes three
themes that were prevalent through three historical phases of
English psychiatry: psychiatric Victorianism (1830-1870),
psychiatric Darwinism (1870-1920), and psychiatric Modernism
(1920-1980). WE will be discussing each of these in future
I also want to touch on something personal. For me, the most
personal thing, and something I imagine many of us struggle with,
is the concept of failure. Having expectations for ourselves is
hard enough; in some cases, feeling like we have let someone else
down can be even more debilitating than the failure itself. And in
my case, sometimes you let people put ideas in your head, and
forget that they are there. Until you start feeling like a
I always thought I would be famous; I spent my 20's preparing for
the fame I was sure was coming. Going to college in Madison,
Wisconsin was more or less a full-time party, I was dropped off at
the age of 17 in the midst of my parents' divorce. I had a band in
high school, so in this new environment I went straight to the only
skills I had - playing piano. Eventually, I taught myself to sing
so that our college band could start getting gigs. A few years
later, we were part of a cool music scene. Great. The only problem
was, I let people feed my ego. So now I am 20 years old, writing
songs for a successful band, getting some recognition as being a
decent frontman. And somehow, quite obviously, I fell in love with
this dream that I was destined for stardom - mostly just because I
heard that from a few people, and I let it stick. So I decide to
move to Los Angeles, still in love with this dream. I never let go
of it, even as my life started to change.
the concept of letting it be something else: Now I am 45, and I
will certainly be touching on these issues consistently, but only
last year did I really come to terms with the fact that my
20-year-old self still feels like a failure. Still does, right now.
But instead of ignoring it, I look it straight in the face. Part of
me feels like a failure - let's see what we can do to keep the rest
of me from feeling the same way. How do I do that? by letting it be
We get so used to goalposts, we start thinking that we need them. I
will share with you a thought experiment that helps me tremendously
in moments of doubt: what if there are different parts of you? What
if your brain is not just a single thought process, but a complex
system of redundant logical reinforcements? So that, in my 20's,
when I decided to live my life the way I did, with the upsides and
downsides of every logical choice, where I allowed this
self-description of someone who 'deserved' fame to hold value; what
if the pain I feel now was exactly the point? What if part of me
confused the other part of me on purpose? What if I needed to hold
on to failed dream for the time that I did so that I could find
other things to be inspired by, and then finally realize that the
dream needed to die? Is that inexplicably sad, or intensely
beautiful? Or perhaps, both? So that is the concept of letting it
be something else: like Buddha said, the root of all pain is
expectation; but a life without pain is not much of a story, is it?
So we have choices.
That all we have time for, I will see you again next week.
Stay tuned for the two featured tracks for this episode: first up
is newcomer The Luxury of Being Human, also known as Sylva Kay, a
promising artist/producer from the UK. Her single Bring Summer Back
creates an atmosphere of wistful nostalgia, joining the
uncomfortable feeling that time cannot be stopped with the
beautiful notion that everything is fixable.
We are left to navigate between the poles of individuality and
codependence, with a language that is rich in detail and affect as
we reinvent the glorious moment that once was, a thousand times
over. Beyond the lesson that we can't always have what we want, we
also learn that our hearts have a way of making the past perfect.
With an understated electric guitar track and a delicious shuffle,
this melodic indie rock banger is ready to inject some excitement
into the summer of your dreams.
Hello, and thanks for sticking around. We are going to close with
one of my favorite bands. Yeardley is back with new single 'wedding
preparations in the country'. This track extends their indie-rock
aesthetic towards the sound of punk, in an acoustic play on a band
like SWMRS if they were jamming with Wilco.
We wrote about their last single, and found it to be refreshingly
original and a bit wistful. This time, the energy is big, the
language concise, and we follow the tumbling drum pocket through a
tunnel of half-logic and casual observation - under the influence,
and among friends. We are not sure what the symbols mean, but we
are glad they are there.
wedding preparations in the country, the latest track from
Yeardley, is a full-throttle ride through life's beautiful mess,
and a reminder that the only person it needs to make sense to is
Thanks for supporting Independent music.
This episode of CHILLFILTR: Indie Music on Tap was brought to you
by Krister Axel and The River South, and was produced in Southern
Oregon with help from ASHLAND IO LLC. We support our local
community and are proud to be underwriters for Jefferson Public
Radio. Our blog pieces are published weekly at CHILLFILTR.com, the
podcast is available at IndieMusicOnTap.com, and our video feed is
broadcast to Tibo subscribers on Euro Indie Music TV.
As always I appreciate your support.
Thank you for listening to the first episode of Indie Music on Tap,
All audio used in this podcast was either explicitly released for
use in this format by the copyright owner (release on file), or
recorded on site at CHILLFILTR studios.