July Editorial

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon Editorials

On a mid July...

One month left until DBE 5. A lot to be done yet I don't seem to get in my mood for putting everything in order… not even in my head. It's all somewhere in the recesses of the mind, lying in wait, but it is as if it's not yet the proper time to set it free, to share it. Some of it has already come to life, some likely to follow. And others will remain unfinished, unaltered, maybe for a future that may or may not exist. I shall see. I am not making any more promises, not to me or anyone else otherwise I might again become a slave of my own thoughts and aspirations.

It is important though that the DBE lizard has been identified. As a vector or, better said, as a catalyst which now has a form and a meaning in which I honestly believe… and this somehow pushes me forward.

On the other hand, this daily routine is becoming more and more oppressive and prominent. I am fondly thinking of DBE, I would be so happy to see the Beauty bursting out through each of us, when seeing each other again, in August, in good spirit and full of life. Some dearest friends, important for my visual and spiritual balance, will be missing for the first time at DBE this year, but perhaps this is how it was supposed to be… everything will be alright even in this new form, I like to believe in that. I feel like a lizard which breaks off its tail with the desire and joy to continue and reinvents itself while looking towards a new beginning… even if this new beginning is more of an invisible but healthy bond between old and new, between past and present. That there may be a future I will know when the time comes. I already anticipate a new moment in time, while writing this. Yes, it would be nice to happen again, although this seemingly copy-paste makes me want to disqualify any unconditional good intent or pleasure that comes with it. Originality is a false truth (to not say stupid), however I don't see myself as an overnight successful copier of other stories, experiences and feelings.

If last year, by the same time, I visited the Dacian fortresses, this year I only paid a visit to Sarmizegetusa Regia. And it was, again, very, very, nice… I intended to somehow integrate a new walk over there, during DBE, and not that I am superstitious, but it's as if all is not settled as I would have wanted to. I could have turned everything in my favor, but as reciprocity is not coming unconditionally, I'd better leave it as it is and, I repeat, perhaps as a form of cowardice or selfishness, it still was not meant to be.

From there, I went to see Clisura Dunarii, to review that gorgeous side of the country, perhaps unknown to many, but truly spectacular. I had a walk through Cheile Nerei (Nera Gorge), I saw a few nice places there too, that refilled me with positive energy - focusing only on Beusnita waterfall and Ochiul Beiului Lake was only a simple and convenient decision. Then I went to Garana, to see that beautiful location, in the middle of the nature, just a few hours before the Jazz Festival started. I love to see the rush on getting everything done in time, the bustle, those restless eyes, but optimistic at the same time, of the people who come to spend two days and two nights, after which, of course, as it is in my nature, to leave. Maybe I will, at some point, stay among those thousands of souls who come with great joy, every year, at this event already a tradition, somewhat rare in Romania, but still continuing to exist successfully.

The end of the week was supposed to be dedicated to Ghost Gathering Festival, to support Mihnea and his team, as I did every time in the past years. But the relocation of the fest from Rasnov to Bucharest pushed me away completely this year. Last year I went to Bucharest to meet Mihnea at OST fest, but I was not on a correct vibe with what was happening there. That doesn't mean it was not ok, it's simply not my cup of tea. Speaking of this year's GHOST edition, I was not particularly interested in the line-up, for I wouldn't have gone there just to see some band playing… still the cancellation of IRFAN and SOEN was not at all an advantage, as it was the non participation of HATHOR and UNIVERSE 217, for various reasons. But taking the fest from the legendary fortress, situated in the middle of the nature and surrounded by mountains and placing it in the capital city, made me give up. Moreover, on Friday I had an important meeting for my job, on a different part of the country, so, I thought to myself that perhaps it was better this way. Last year we had the same story, but at least I got there the following day. And it was very nice. From what I've heard, this year, besides the joy of seeing cool people and some interesting performances, everything was a bit dull… And this mainly because there was no public. If a 60 lei pass it's too much in order to gather a few hundreds of people in the capital city, in a nice location such as Herastrau park, in the middle of the summer, not even for Celelalte Cuvinte, then I really don't know what to say. Disappointing, sad but true. Anyway, in my opinion, Celelalte Cuvinte had nothing to do with the whole GHOST story, but I thought that perhaps this will lead to a greater visibility for the fest. Well… I don't know if Rasnov would have gathered more people, but it certainly would have been different… or, well, I shouldn't be talking about this edition only after seeing pictures on the internet or after some people's opinions. But I do have a bitter taste from the lethargy and the ignorance that it's continuing to grow amongst the people here. Certainly GHOST will have to continue, but rethought from the very roots. Otherwise, I can't see a healthy growing future for it. Abandon is predictable, if speaking financially or emotionally, but time will settle everything. I know the feeling very well and so I will stop here. I hope for a new edition, at least for the few souls who have supportively been there and felt great!

We had Electric Castle Festival, B'EST FEST, while Peninsula, Rock The City and Artmania are next, and by the end of August, Rockstadt Extreme. I have been to none of these events and I will not go there, for personal or time reasons. It seems that a lot of people is going to these festivals, which means that certainly their stories will continue. And it's good for people to have plenty of choices. It's a bit more delicate when speaking of small festivals, depending on the case, but likely they will continue. Suceava will host Bucovina Rock Castle, so I will probably pay a short visit to meet my friends from DORDEDUH. We shall see how it will be.

Oh, I forgot. FANFEST is on the same week-end with DBE, I think I will visit shortly on Sunday; those people deserve any kind of support! Rosia Montana is an attitude, a revolutionary and atypical symbol in these days we still "breathe" with or without our own will.

I was very surprised by an e-mail received from a local band member. I will not offer names or too many details, but it kept me thinking:

"Also, I want to ask if it is possible for us to perform in your festival. I believe that on… we fit just fine. We don't have financial demands. This festival would give us the opportunity to perform in front of an informed public. Other festivals we play in (some very large) don't bring us much credit, as few of the present there appreciate and know the kind of music we play."

Having written a month before the festival proves that the band is not familiar with the DBE profile. It is probably common for big festivals, after announcing the headliners, to build a small stage or a tent for fillers (or diversity), where they can play some Romanian underground. I have never been a supporter of these kind of approaches but apparently they are put into practice. And there you go, in a large festival with thousands or tens of thousands of people, a band like this gets to play in front of 20 people.

This email really got me and if I decide to go on with my events, I will pay more attention to local bands.

I even intend to do more in this respect, I bought a domain on the internet under a beautiful name; let's see if I will find volunteers or people with spare time, to believe in my ideas, in the unconditional and to support and offer without expecting to get something in return.

Why do I want this? Because I don't quite like everything that exists on the music market, whether you're a journalist, organizer, band member, label or agent.

And to set a simple example, which I keep repeating: the fact that I do not offer accreditation at DBE, makes a festival (or whatever it is) as small as it may be, not visible in any of our publications, supposedly specialist and with new information, although they continue to run periodically. I was disappointed at first, now I smile and move on. Ok, and if GHOST festival was promoted in the mainstream media, did it help? I should say it rather not. It's obviously not the media's fault but I don't see a purpose in all of this. Moreover GHOST was voted as the "Festival of the Year", voted freely by thousands of readers! Not to mention that on Facebook it had more than 500 attenders plus a few more hundreds who were not yet decided. As a conclusion, everything is random somehow, unfortunately! At least online it's all relative. You can't rely on a healthy financial/marketing strategy if you want to invest in this channel, unless you stick to average events. Otherwise, any statistics based on traffic, readers, applications can be misleading and lead to bankruptcy.

Underground finds itself at a smaller scale and has no chance of enjoying a certain visibility, therefore we shouldn't place it in the same pot with the rest. And if it does become somewhat visible, it's unsuccessful in the end, because it has a different addressability. It must be supported and sustained unconditionally if believed in. If not, well…it's simple: you have the money, you pay and you get satisfaction… if you don't have the money, at least you should mingle with the people over there and get everything done easily, because good words cost nothing and are worth much. Or, find influent people who can open doors for you, who know how to do this better than you and here you are, in the middle of your dreams or simply where you want to be. It's that simple and valid throughout the world. But this doesn't work in the underground. You can play well, you can write well, and organize something really good, it really doesn't matter. If you're not playing your cards right, you risk doing everything on your own. Good or bad, hard or really hard, this is a different story.

…Perhaps that's why people keep going to great concerts, mainstream bands, only buy their merchandise and are interested solely on what they already know. And even if there is an opening band, however these people still sit somewhere, hidden under some umbrella, having a chat and a pint of beer, far from the stage, counting the minutes until they get to see their favorites playing.

…Maybe that's why the mainstream press writes only about famous bands, and big events, even if a top news could mean that some musician just changed his personal car or something like this.

…Maybe that's why the label doesn't even think of promoting something that has a potential, because it is aware that our public does not have the patience to discover new music…

And the examples can go on. We are in this paradigm for decades and I don't see a way out… the past generations (35-40 years) are being busy with their jobs, families and every day life… younger generations are trying to innovate, to bring something new, some even succeed, but they eventually crash into this system that is not playing a fair game and which is not offering a fair chance, not necessarily equal, but at least one that exists…

What can we do? A complete change of thought and approach in order to become better and more tolerant, less critical where it's not necessary and even less flattering when things obviously wrong are misinterpreted or shaded for the sake of some relationship, interest, accreditation, a free CD or for free promotional material… Let's be straight and honest with ourselves if we still believe in this Underground Spirit. Let's be normal and natural, nothing is more challenging these days. And less stubborn, otherwise it hurts, heh!

But enough with this topic. If I manage to do something in this direction, I know for sure that compromise is not the key to success. In fact, success doesn't mean quantity but quality. Some call it eclectic, some community, I have no idea. But I do know that I will disqualify the elitist attitudes, the guru and the "I know it all", I despise monopoly of information and spheres of influence. Even though it sounds rebellious, it's but another way of presenting and supporting the things we have here. And it's not only about music!

Every Editorial had its story about the new releases. Now, more than ever I haven't found too many bands with great albums. Or perhaps my bias can no longer exceed my self-sufficiency and my capacity to accept different musical directions. But I can mention a few bands with new and interesting albums, upon which you can find all sort of information, with a simple click: CERNA, COLLOQUIO, GRIS, THRAENENKIND, SELIM LEMOUCHI & HIS ENEMIES, THE BLUE BROJECT, DER BLUTHARSCH AND THE INFINITE CHURCH OF A LEADING HAND and JASTREB.

So much for now. We shall hear and see each other soon.

July 2013