Someone once asked me to come up with a series of anecdotes or a couple paragraphs on what it means to be a celebrity.... i sometimes wonder about that. Not that i lose any fuckin sleep over it, but from time to time i stop to think about it for a second.
The term celebrity is clearly defined as a famous or well-known person basicly, but i think the word takes on alternate meanings to others, for me... it just means pressure. Every now and again i keep having these moments where im sitting back and thinking like i used to think back when i was a teenager, and looking back on it, i was never really under any abnormal pressure from anything other than the obvious "what am i going to do when i get older, how am i going to get through school, when am i going to move out of the house...." I didnt have some idea glued on my brain that i was going to become a musician, that was just my hobby. So, the pressure wasnt really anything out of the ordinary... still stressful at times nonetheless tho, but everybody gets that.
Things started to get a little scarier when i left my home in Niagara Falls to head up to Toronto and work for an IT company... as it should have anyway. My first apartment, so the pressure was doing well at work and making rent. I kinda blindly went into it really, learning my responsibilities as an "adult" on the fly... we all know they don't offer courses on growing up and becoming independant, so i wasnt any different then the next little noob who left the nest.
Things seemed to be going okay, the dust settled and autopilot kicked in... the pressure was pretty much reduced at that point. I had gotten into the routine. getting up, going to work, eating lunch at bourbon st. grill, and heading back to work, finishing up, heading home at 6 or 7ish and then just milling away on the computer making weird little glitch tunes for a bit. Rinse, repeat, go get retarded on weekends.
fast forward 2 years later. Well, my contracts up... i've gotten a good taste of the grownup world, and im pretty sure i can handle it... so since im a free agent, i went back to niagara falls to live at home again and take a stab at possibly starting my own media design company... pressures back on. Got a few freelance jobs, a couple of regular clients, nothing that could help me drop a mortgage or anything... which started to corncern me a little... i wasn't getting any younger, and alot of my friends more or less had some kind of shit locked down....or at least moved up the broken ladder of awesomeness in the ranking system over at the fuckin parks commision or marineland. *thumbs up*
so yeah, that was kinda scary... and the pressure was back on... so it was time to sit down and write a list of shit i think im good at (or wanted to be). Of course music was in there, as was media design (flash, photoshoop, CSS, php, 3d shit) I wanted to be one of those really hip and trendy New York / SF coder / design gurus... like Eric Jordan or the badass himself Josh Davis... those were the kinda people i wanted to be, professionally speaking of course. I was practical enough in my desicion i suppose... i am / was too much of a pessimist to state that i wanted to be a mother fuckin rockstar and make millions of dollars just making music and touring the world. I couldn't / wouldn't allow myself dream that big... not because i couldnt imagine how awesome it would have been, but only because i didnt want to see myself being 35 and still sitting at my moms house chasing that dream. The avoidance of failure was probably my biggest motivator at the time.
So, on my quest to develop "sick media design skills" i will say, i've learned alot about everything... design, programming, presentation... all while still whittling away on music to kill the time. Im not exactly sure what the definning moment was for me... but there was a bit of a paradigm shift when i found myself making music... for a company that sells music to TV commercials, website developers, and other dudes who didnt feel like paying $30,000 to liscense "whoop there it is" for their fuckin tampon commercials or whatever. And, even though the money wasnt insane... i was having fun, and i was making music nearly fulltime now.
i'd love to write about the following year, but im still pretty bitter about it... so maybe it will come up in a book somewhere in the future.... so here's the tl;dr on that:
moved back to toronto, worked with someone, Chris Lake found me.
Chris had heard a couple snippets of some house (or whatever my genre is) tracks i've been toying about with, and was really keen on em... (i think it was faxing berlin) ... this opened up a whole new world to me really... i mean, i didnt realize that people at the time were actually making a modest living off dance music alone, never have in fact. I always assumed that they all had day jobs, trust funds, or rich ass wives... i really did... because every musician i ever knew growing up still lived with their fuckin parents or somewhere downtown with their girlfriend who's been trying to unload them.
funny. alright, i figured i'd look into this a little more seriously, and see what pans up... well, talking to Chris got me talking to others, Max Graham was always a big supporter from the very begninning, in fact, he named "Faxing Berlin" over an aim conversation... he just didnt know it at the time ;) and well, he was going to sign it and put it out on his new label ReBranded (which was a huge fuckin deal for me at the time).... the deal was really insanely simple (as far as recording deals go) yet someone still managed to fuck it up so terribly bad that it just completley put him off the idea alltogether, which i totally understand.
So... that kinda just came and went... so did the rest of that fucking year. so, i moved again, just to a different part of Toronto... started up a niche label on beatport called mau5trap! Of course, by this time, Pete Tong had been canning out "faxing berlin, not exactly" so the label was doing pretty allright... so now it was official. I started to accept and get a little more comfortable with the idea that i just might be doing this the rest of my life... but i still had no idea what to expect... and was still as pessimistic as always. But, realisticly it was looking safe, Nic Fanciulli and Zabiella were doing their one+one tour, and rinsing faxing berlin.... then all of a sudden im googling myself... and im seeing this "deadmau5" guy being talked about a little bit here and there... all VERY underground... which is cool to the scenesters no doubt. Then along came satan... who is a ginger, and made me sign a management agreement.
nawwww.... im kidding. It's just Dean, people confuse him for beazelbub all the time... no seriously, it was a cozy little safe deal (for both parties) that was to just help me along the way, book me some shows, help out with the label... nothing insanely heavy... coz im sure for all he knew at the time i was just a flash in the pan... and for all i knew at the time i was just a flash in the pan... so im sure we were all pretty cautious... even though he'd probably spout off some bullshit now like "I KNEW HE'D BE BIG" whatever dean... youre still the same dean i met in a fucking SHED near a horse pen in Kent... so calm down. (hes probably read this and shat himself by now)
So on came not exactly, arguru, the reward is cheese... (which by the way deserves a chapter all on its own, but im not fond of litigation so i'll omit that as well) and well... the bookings just kinda came in... and next thing i know, is that im on flights to england, australia, malta... to be the support acts of some pretty big names at the time in EDM. So i think this is where the pressure started to kick in. It's really a tough thing to be thrown in the same arena as some other people who are doing way better than you... I mean, fuck yeah it's exciting, but the expectations of you that you throw on yourself are bigger than anything you can imagine.
Cue my fear of failure... my first "show" ever... was headlinning the main room at Ministry Of Sound, in London... at the time, it wasnt really clear to me... but closer to the date, i was told that there are alot of producers who have worked / produced for years and years who haven't gotten to that point. This was a royal headfuck for me... and i was a nervous wreck. I remeber getting up there that night, playing after nic fanciulli, shaking like a fuckin leaf... praying my shit worked, laptop didnt crash, or just fuck something up royally... it was really the "this is it" moment for me. baptism by fire no doubt. i will say now, ever since that show, i have never been nervous about performing again.
from that point on to this point, my life could be tracked online... it was just... more tracks, more recognition, and way more touring... with the odd bit of bullshit and stuff in between. There really was a point in those years where i could have sworn my "celebrity" status was at the perfect level for me.... i could still go to any given nightclub and have a great time with friends, not get bothered by press too much, nothing controversial going on, just chilling making music havin fun.... and on the other side... while still having people turn up to events just to see me. It was amazing, and i really regret not being more relaxed about it.
now my life seems unreal even to myself... im sitting here typing this away, in a fucking gorgeous private villa in ibiza, you know, the usual... just working on some shit for MTV, hanging out with sweedish house mafia....tiesto, guetta... ... like what the fuck is wrong with me? how does anyone just get "used" to this shit...i can't. i won't. the only thing that's keeping my feet on the ground right now is pressure. You know that feeling you get when people are watching you? yeah... well what if the feeling was justified, and you have nearly 1,000,000 followers on facebook alone, and 1.2 BILLION who are going to watch you on TV in 2 weeks time... i dont know how im able to cope with that kind of pressure....fuck, how does anyone else cope with it? what about i dunno... the other guys in my feild... i don't bother to ask.. because i already know it has to be different for everyone. But for me... it's scary as fuck... the scary part isn't the attention youre getting, the scariest part is the instilled fear of failure that i've had my whole life.... and when you can't live up to someones expectations, that classifies as a fail.
the only thing left to do is to try to ignore the fact that people expect things from you at this point.... but again, it's pretty hard to ignore a million people. It's just a big headfuck for me... for the most part, i try not to let the pressure build on me to the point where i fumble around like an idiot... but thats just what happens. Remeber that Brittany shit when she went all fuckin loco and shaved her head? yeah i thought it was fuckin hilarious at the time too... but, thinking about it... i can totally see that as a direct result of just cracking under the stress... not to say everyone who's under huge amounts of pressure and stress are ceceptable to flipping the fuck out and shaving their head... but everyone has a breaking point.... and i dont think i ever want to know mine.
So am i living a dream? or enduring a nightmare? I still can't decide... because the last thing i want, or anyone else wants, is to just fade out into obscurity over a period of time and then end up shit on by the people who are near me now. Thats why i have "fail" tatooed on the inside of my wrist... has a very profound meaning to me. Well, this is the short of it...another day approaches, and the pressure is more prevalent then it was the other day... im trying my best.