Whatever Happened to Dan Bryk?

2014, year of the Twerk. Oh, the Horse. The damn “new record(s)” is/are taking forever, but yet I keep stealing time for them from my busy busy actually-income-streaming life. You’ll like them, I swear. One of the catchier numbers will be unveiled in an upcoming episode of Radio Free Song Club, of which I am understandably honoured to interlope.

I moved to Washington DC (“our nation’s capital!”) at the end of last year. I miss Dar but it’s also nice having my studio back again. I took a Coursera Songwriting MOOC with professor Pat Pattison of Berklee. While finding time for hours of lectures, writing and demoing whilst full-timing a three-year-old was tricky, I learned a ton of valuable stuff, even at my advanced age. The peer assessment feedback was priceless. Assuming you’re curious, here’s my final assignment:

 

Now that I am practically soaking with UAD mix horsepower, I  decided to dust off and finish up a couple more unreleased, abandoned, practically decontextualized recordings for the Lovers Leap bonus record — one you’ve heard if you basically EVER saw me play a show from 2000 on. The other one you’ve never heard of, I promise, but if you spent time in Parkdale in the early oughts you shall chuckle heartily. And the other other one was the flip of the ultimately non-existent Nova Bryk split 7″. (Those guys are so incredibly post-rock now, they were like “yes, take the rock from us Bryk, it’s yours now.”)

Also, I hereby promise never to Twerk.

Some old sh*t.

Came across this dead link while searching for Lovers Leap Deluxxxe reissue media. That beats Tiny Desk Concerts by a decade! Sadly, the actual performances are probably long since gone. 

I keep coming across stuff that makes me wish I was still half as clever as I was in my 20′s. This is from an interview with Tokyo’s Kansai Scene:

Q: If some stupid rock critic asked you to list your influences, what would you say?

A: Late nights, loud music, and air conditioning. Rock critics always think my influences are Randy Newman and Jonathan Richman, when it fact it’s more like Walter Benjamin and Hoffman-LaRoche.

Q: What’s next for Dan Bryk?

A: Sleep, followed by strong mochaccino, some light exercise, a morning spent at the piano, and perhaps a late afternoon at the bookstore browsing Billboard and The Baffler. I will drive home, prepare a delicious meatless dinner entree, and then feel guilty about procrastinating all day.

But seriously kids, don’t squander your precious, precious youth! When you have a job and kids of your own, you will read statements like that one and feel incredibly envious of your younger self to the point of hatred. And then you will just feel stupid.

Lovers Leap Deluxe Reissue

Let’s see… what else is new? The Deluxe! Lovers Leap reissue hit a bit of a snag after a drive full of original artwork and media assets went into storage instead of coming to Africa with me… but the audio part is all ready and should have some real treats for y’all: Outtakes, alternates, demos, contemporaneous originals, radio sessions and a couple of live versions. And finally, that “Rick WakeMed” cover of Feelings I was too chicken sh*t to release. The original concept was “Lovers Leap: Lucky 13th Anniversary Edition” but it looks like I’m going to slip by that date.

Here’s a question: Does anyone still care about iTunes LPs? I was going to make one as proof of concept that I have the up-to-date .css and .js skills to actually make one, but it looks like Apple and The Orchard might make me jump through hoops to make that happen. I love reading liner notes, especially when they contextualize reissues of things I don’t know enough (or anything) about, and there are some pretty good Lovers Leap stories to share. Every song has at least a paragraph or two, and there are a essays and assays. Would anyone be offended if I just made a 99¢ Kindle Single of the liner notes for anyone who cares enough? I can include a PDF in the Bandcamp version.

Of course, if we kickstarted some vinyl, I would have plenty of room for liner notes…

Schmello World!

Pole sana. Why the new WP install?  Why, I must be late for my annual blog post! I was seriously tiring of that rapidweaver abomination standing as my “web presence.”  I’m this far from becoming a Facebook dropout, in which case it was manifest destiny to migrate Buddhabubba (formerly “my personal blog”) into sort of a “new website.”  So here we be. I am still in Dar Es Salaam, still nursing the songs and arrangements that will become my “new record(s).” Culture shock, the molasses jar of time called African logistics, and, uh, parental responsibility sucked up an awful lot of time this year. A year of rebooting. Despite my rMBP and now Logic X allowing for yet another unwanted matrix of possibilities, work on the “new record(s)” continues slowly but dutifully. It’s finishing the damn lyrics, as usual, that’s holding everything up. I think these are the wordiest songs I’ve ever tried to sing. One possible release configuration has the working title Lies of Girls and Women: it has one song entitled Hannah Horvath, one called White Nanny, and the possible “hit” has a spelled out chorus: E-R-I-N. As usual, any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental, and even they might complain that songs seem to be the only relationships in my life where I indulge in obstructive perfectionism. Amen, sister.

P.S.: Sorry about all those scare quotes.

Long time.

Hey friends… Bryk here.

Has it really been a year since my last post? As some of you may already know, Erin and I had a little boy last January. Henry just turned 11 months old yesterday. All the cliches about time flying by apply… it seems like just yesterday he showed up and now he’s not far from walking, which will be interesting in a smallish NYC apartment. (If you’re curious, I think there are a few public pictures over at facebook.com/danbryk)

Having a kid definitely shifts your priorities. I went on sort of an unofficial gig hiatus getting ready for his arrival, but I had planned to get an EP out before the pregnancy. Boom! there he was, and that deadline passed. Once Erin went back to work, it made sense for me to say home with Henry. I scored a little indie film and the director was thankfully tolerant of new daddy missing a deadline or two. I thought I might have had time to write a song or two in between the child care. Not quite… although the half-completed songs seem pretty good so far. I think they might even bear some evidence of fatherhood. Not “Father and Son” or “Gracie” capital F fatherhood songs, but something more elliptical (and probably insecure.)

I’ve also had a nifty deluxe reissue of Lovers Leap (which hit twelve years old itself) almost done for over a year now, as well as the first installment of If I Were You… all of which remain “almost done.” But sooner or later they will make it out there. In the meantime I have a job to do, and boy is it full time!

I’m at the age where many of my musician peers have started families and put on suits and gotten “real jobs” and basically hung up their dreams. When I run into people I’ve known for a long time, eventually they ask the question: “So, are you still making music?” What a question! Yeah, I’m still here, still despairing the state of the universe, still making music. Just not chasing that elusive ring so much.

Sorry I’m so sappy. Blame it on those new daddy hormones. I shaved off my beard, just like Matisyahu. Now I’m sporting a Michael Stivic stache, just couldn’t bring myself to shave it off after Movember ended.

Have a happy holiday and a wonderful new year!

Db

P.S. Here’s a little something for your stocking. It’s an attempt at a viral video of my Christmas Ballad, except I only finished it now, a week before Christmas. If you know the song, you’ll know it’s NSFW, so keep your finger on the mute button in case the boss walks by:

 

I’m still here.

Hey folks.

Still writing, slowly but surely. I have a firm lineup of songs for the next album, definitely writing “inside of the box” with a “strategy” and a “game plan” this time, just struggling with finishing this specific batch of songs to the best of my limited ability. I even have a working title, but I’m sure you’d prefer fewer promises (and perhaps even some surprises) this time.

It’s tonally and rhythmically all over the map, but there’s kind of an overall theme (I would say “concept” but look how well that did for PP) tying it all together. Best songs I’ve ever written blah blah blah. You’ll like the song titles at the very least: my favourite so far is “Nestle Waters of America” which is sort of “People Get Ready” crossed with “Sail Away” crossed with this.

Hang in there, cause if I ever do get this album finished it will make the flowers bloom, the heavens part, and (most importantly) make Pop Psych sound like the ridiculous pity party it is.

Thanks for all your encouragement.

Db

Upcoming Show, EP

A quick update:

I’m playing “An Evening of Song” at Kenny’s Castaways on Nov 12th, with George Usher (an NYC legend with a long history including Beat Rodeo and “Little Apocalypse”-era Schramms) and Kevin Montgomery, who has assigned himself the herculean task of playing 50 shows in 50 states… in 50 days. I’m on last at 10pm so get there early: details

Work progresses slowly on a new mini-album, sort of a companion record to PP. It will feature a couple of my best unreleased songs, and my intention is to have it out in 2009. If that means Dec. 31st, so be it, I’m putting my foot down on this one. I’ve also been setting up an as-yet-unnamed new analog/digital recording studio out in NJ, which will be a really cool place to get some of my own work done too. The owner is a serious synth dude and has a real treasure trove of classics including a gorgeous-sounding ARP Solina that I hope will make an appearance on the new record.

I’m not usually into licensing my songs for advertising, but I made an exception for Flip and Tumble. Their reusable shopping bags are not only cool-looking, but they fold down so well they really are easy to keep in a jacket pocket when you’re heading to the, um, discount store…

Pitchfork

Pop Psychology got a very nice review from Pitchfork yesterday, theoretically the biggest media “break” this record might receive.

I know I’m probably breaking some sort of taboo by writing this, but 24 hours later… here’s the math:

• 1,734 web page loads from bryk.com
• 4954 song plays on my Reverbnation widgets (including the main player on the splash page of my site)
• 5 Reverbnation Site Visits, no added fans
• 6 Tweets linking to the review (not including my own)
• 1 Email from a high school friend I haven’t heard from in 20 years.

(I have no idea what’s going on with Myspace, as of this morning it says my “profile is undergoing routine maintenance” as is my ability to log in. They apologize for the inconvenience, which is kind of annoying considering the timing, but not a huge issue as they don’t really provide much in the way of stats.)

• I’ve had 346 streaming player/store visits
• I’ve had 101 track “plays”
• I’ve given away 22 free downloads: 15 Pop Psychology, 1 Lovers Leap, 1 Discount Store and 5 miscellaneous track downloads
• I’ve sold exactly 4 PP downloads (plus a Lovers Leap download)

Hmm.

1. Pitchfork drove a fair bit of Traffic to my site(s).

2. Could my music really be that unappealing to all those readers and listeners?