Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Fire Eye'd Boy and the Legend of N&UR

On December 26, 2005 I was admitted to St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco. It was nothing life threatening - a freak occurrence, really, all leading back to when I had my appendix removed at age three. That being said, I still had to spend three days in the hospital with a tube in my nose. It was really the perfect culmination for what had been a difficult and trying year. I spent much of 2005 unemployed, having given up low paying retail jobs to pursue a career as a video editor. Two dead-end internships and several failed job attempts later, I was working in retail again. I hadn't really done any video work of my own, I wasn't writing much, and I was beginning to wonder what was happening to all of my creative dreams.

I always had music, though, and I spent much of that winter listening to Broken Social Scene by Broken Social Scene. My bus trips to work would start with "Our Faces Split The Coast In Half" and once the album was done, I'd just start it all over again. The melancholy vibe fit the winter season and the odd time in my life that it was. That Christmas, my brother gave me the Children of Nuggets box set - quite the gift, but I would have to wait to get out of the hospital before I could listen.

In that hospital bed, I really didn't think about much. Usually, my mind is trying to process so many thoughts at once, so I found that rather odd. I sat through a dreadful episode of Boston Legal, watched a basketball game, didn't really listen to music or read much. But it was here that a few thoughts did begin to foster. In fact, I'd come up with the name "New and Used Records" a few months back - envisioning it as a short television show. In my head, ideas for music-related documentaries began to form, and I was determined to make something happen with them. Initially, however, I'd wanted to produce an experimental documentary on mash-ups.

When I returned home, I was in need of a creative outlet despite being mostly bed-ridden. I'd been blogging at MySpace for just a couple of months, and Hillary was the first to suggest that I begin looking for a more public outlet. While I rested, she was on her laptop getting us set up on blogger. She'd liked the name "New and Used Records" from when I first mentioned it, and it really just seemed to fit. On the first of the year, we launched - with Charlie and I counting down our favorite records of the year ... and from there, it was off.

I was excited, and with a lot of free time at first, I was blogging a lot, posting music news, reviews, and just random thoughts. Of course, once I discovered YouTube, my digital world took a whole other turn. Even though no one seemed to be reading at first, it felt healthy for me just to have something for all this unused creative energy. Once a small community had formed, I begin to wonder what it would be like to produce videos strictly for the web. The freedoms of YouTube and video podcasting excited me, and I felt inspired in a way I hadn't in a long time.

It was around this time, I'd come across Chris Brokaw's album Incredible Love streaming on a Dutch web site; Brokaw being the older brother of a college friend. I'd also recently come in contact with Birdman president David Katznelson through a producer I'd been interning with. Somewhere in those two discoveries, the idea for the N&UR Video Podcast came about - and interviewing Chris as well as David's bands seemed a great start. Of course, things evolved rather quickly, as well I then able to interview Kelley Stoltz and Boy Least Likely To - and, later, up-and-comers the Little Ones just weeks before they signed to Astralwerks. Filming the Magic Christian at Cafe du Nord, I got to have a conversation with Alec Paolo - who produced the Children of Nuggets box set. It was a real sign just how much my life had changed.

My initial excitement regarding N&UR was kind of overthrown by the busy schedule my life had become. But I really have just recently begun to feel that excitement again. As I get ready launch a recurring series on the Passionistas, the music videos I'm making have evolved to a new level, and I am excited. Of course this excitement seems to extend to everything I listen to, the books I read, the media I watch, the conversations I have - it makes me not just excited for the future of N&UR; it makes me excited to be alive.

Download "Fire Eye'd Boy" from Broken Social Scene
(Arts & Crafts, 2005)
  • Buy at eMusic

    Allison said...

    Will, it was nice to read the history behind the blog. I have to admit, I've been reading your blog long before I started commenting. When I started reading Barb's blog in the spring is when I first clicked over here. And I imagine I'm not the only one.

    I'm excited for you and the many projects you have on the go. Its great when you can mix your passion with other creative sources and make it into a new job. We'll all be watching/reading/listening to what is coming up next!

    (unrelated note, but your word verification today really brought out the dyslexic in me. for some reason they keep getting harder.)

    Hillary said...

    Hasn't 2006 been a big year? Wow. Don't forget -you also got a great job this year AND a promotion. ;) Congratulations Will!

    Barbara Bruederlin said...

    What a difference a year can make!

    I don't imagine that you could possibly have envisioned the excitement that you are feeling right now about life and creativity when you were lying in that hospital bed a year ago. It's really heartening to learn about how far you have come in such a short time.

    I'm so glad that you made the switch to blogger as I'm sure I would never have found N&UR on myspace. And I believe I first met you on Jacquie's site. Don't you love the circles of influence that keep getting larger and larger in the blogosphere?

    I hope that 2007 will see your dreams fulfilled even more.