OUR DARK WORLD – THOUGHTS

Disconnected.

21st of November 2018 (Post by Kenny)

This morning I read a quora post by an Indian woman living in Sweden for 15 years, about Swedes being very secluded, disconnected and closed off from other people and it really resonated with me. read it here: https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-bad-things-about-Sweden

Thing is it is absolutely correct. And I might be the perfect example and living proof. There are definitely people in Sweden that are very outgoing and that makes friends and keep up those connections etc. but I am definitely not that person. Why? I´m not sure.

In the end I believe it might have to do with fear. The fear of being left, the fear of being ridiculed, misunderstood, joked about etc. But at the same time I find comfort in my alone time. Even though I am my own worst enemy at times, I am also a good friend of myself, and generally like who I am.

I really do like my solitude, and being by myself is something I appreciate very much. I joke alot about me being the perfect candidate for a lone mission on a space station or something at times.

In the story on Quora they talk about Swedes generally getting close friends in childhood and then stick with them. I don´t really see any of my childhood friends these days, and my closest friends are 6 out of 7 in my bands. (And am even married to one of them).

I know I´m an introvert, and on top of that of course an HSP, and social stuff mostly tires me out. Even though I might enjoy a "party" or something I get extremely tired and have no energy left after a while. I am very often one of those people that want to leave early, even if it´s fun. When I was younger and went to lots of parties I usually dissapeared after a couple of hours, (and after a couple of drinks) snuck away without saying goodbye as I didn´t want the attention and couldn´t handle the "energy". At first my friends didn´t understand at all, and even got worried sometimes.- (Sorry) - But after I did it a few times they just got used to it and figured I wandered off when I dissapeared.

Maybe I just don´t need that social thing as much as some other people do, or maybe I´m just odd. Well, I know I´m odd, but maybe I´m odder than most.

I think many Swedes just have a learned behaviour as they mention, that we somehow got taught to be strong on our own and don´t rely too much on others, as that might end in bad things. Or something. Maybe its the cold. Every man for himself in a harsh unforgiving landscape where you might not grow enough to feed your own family etc.? (Thinking a few hundred years back)

It´s true that alot of people die alone in Sweden. Not discovered for weeks or months sometimes. It´s a very sad thought.

Thankful.

12th of November 2018 (Post by Kenny)

I just realized something I am very thankful for. 

The fact that lots of people get happiness, comfort, joy, hope or anything else for that matter from the music we create. Without realizing it, it has long been one of my goals. And to really understand that our music makes a BIG difference for a lot of people is pretty huge. I´m very thankful to all you guys who keep telling us, and please keep on doing so!

And I am back on my medication in a steady way, along with the CBD, so the past two weeks have been pretty damn good. Haven´t actually felt this stable in a long time. It´s an amazing feeling when you are used to having your emotions riding a roller coaster. And I bet Cat and our kids are feeling it too, which of course makes me very happy. Being able to focus more on everyday things, playing with my kids, just talking etc,  and not get stuck in my head as I´ve been alot in the past years is a big relief, and is giving my life a big quality boost!

Hope you all are great, and if not, hang in there and keep up the fighting, don´t let your demons get you. 

As a closure, here´s  a nice picture of me and Decibelle, our oldest daughter, in the studio a month ago or so. 🙂 I really have so much to be thankful of in my life, my family being a big part of course, and I´m working on reminding myself every day!

db o jag i studio

Show me how to live.

29th of October 2018 (Post by Kenny)

I am 33 years old now, and I am still trying to figure out how to live. And I have been since my early teens at least.

I have never really been able to understand how other people do it, and how they don´t get overwhelmed by their thoughts and feelings the way I seem to be at times. How do you manage to keep a working day-to-day? Just getting normal everyday stuff to work? Getting up, going to work, doing your job without fault, going home, taking care of normal stuff, maybe kids, sleep, repeat. I don´t understand and I am coming to the realization that I might never understand since I haven´t so far.

I always thought it was going to be easier as an adult and the older I got, but the truth is it´s the opposite. I am deteriorating every year, and when I do hit my speedbumps they get harder and harder to get over. Don´t get me wrong. Things are GOOD too, it´s just scary that the lows are getting lower generally. When I think about normal everyday things that needs doing, or just going to work (even though right now I only work in the studio - which helps) I almost get overwhelmed by the sense of pointlessness. And I can´t explain why. Other days I don´t feel it that strong, but it´s always there.

I just can´t seem to get my brain to work, even though my days now aren´t generally bad I do have VERY bad days still. The feeling of hopelessness and how meaningless everything seems at those points are pretty fucking scary. And the thought of just trying again tomorrow really makes me want to just dissappear at times.

Life IS a rollercoaster. I wonder if this is what Ronan Keating had in mind when he sang those words. One day can be pretty damn good, and the next like being in a hole. Circumstances rarely change, so that´s not really the reason, as many will want to tell me. It´s more like my brain has some weird chemical imbalance and just can´t work right. I am tired of being told (I appreciate the effort from people though, I know they want what´s best for me) that I just need to "think different" etc. Yes, I know about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and I support it, it´s just not working for me. I´ve had therapy. I have been working on changing my thoughts for the past 18 years at least. But after all this I just don´t think that is the MAIN issue. It is probably a issue, but not the big one.

I´ve gotten burnt out twice now. I always say it´s because of the music, how I push myself to "succeed" or whatever, and  end up in totally unhealthy stress-related situations working too much. But I´m not sure anymore if that is the main reason, maybe. First time was in 2008. Took me YEARS to get my mind back in working order, slowly. Last time was this spring. It was VERY bad. Couldn´t go to my day-job and just had to basically sleep all day long for weeks. I started self-harming. Something I´ve NEVER done, and not even considered before. It just felt right and it DID help, unfortunately. I got drunk on my own several times at home. Something I´ve never done, and never seen the point in before. Awake all night going through the alcohol bottles. Lost my job since me and my boss agreed I couldn´t come back and work as much as they needed even if I got well again. When I finally started feeling a bit better I decided that I was now going to focus 100 % on the music for a while. Even though it won´t pay any bills in the beginning. As long as me and Cat can afford it basically, see if I can get enough clients to my studio recording music etc so I can sustain myself on that. Work in progress for the cooming months.

It´s all so damn frustrating. I have so many things in my life to be thankful for, and I very very well know it. My life has not been that BAD at all compared to so many others. It´s not been a  walk in the park either, absolutely not, but it just doesn´t add up that it would make me feel the way I do. I am seriously coming to the conclusion that my brain is simply not wired right. I´m missing some piece or chemical or whatever.

Anti-depressants help, as well as CBD oil. Those two together have been lifting my mood incredibly the past few months. But for the past few weeks I have not been taking my anti-depressants, since I ran out, and as an experiment I decided to not get a new prescription. It was NOT a good idea. I am 90 % sure that once I start taking them again (and I will, hell, I MUST if I want to be a functional person) my mood will stabilize once again.

In the end I am incredibly glad there are things that help. I sincerely hope that other people suffering from similar "conditions" have their fixers too. Maybe I can at least make other people feel less alone with this post.

I honestly don´t know what I wanted to say with this. Just venting I guess.

Being an idiot.

8th of May 2018 (Post by Kenny)

Anxiety and depression have a strange way of making you stupid. 
Even though one KNOWS one hundred percent things will/can improve, hell, even being extremely happy the next day sometimes, it feels like you are in a bottomless hole with no chance of escape at the time. It's weird scary and fascinating all at the same time.

Today is an extremely good day for me. Why? No idea really, just very easy to see things in a good light and be thankful for everything I have. But on the bad days, that is not an option, I'm closed up, angry and feel like everything is pointless, meaningless and some days I would probably end it all if I could just not hurt anyone in the process. Mostly my daughters of course. Sometimes i really can't tell why that day in particular is bad.

It's fascinating isn't it? Maybe i'm bipolar or something. Time will tell.

But I won't let it break me. I'm not done yet. There's things to do, places to see and people to meet! Hopefully while performing music! 🙂

I'm gradually improving. The "bad" days are less frequent now, maybe 2-3 days a week, and I'm incredibly thankful to my family, friends/work for respecting what I'm going through and giving me time and space to heal!
Stay strong people, or at least keep fighting!

/Kenny

In Shadows.

22nd of November 2017 (Post by Cat)

Have you, like me, also felt that there is so much that is wrong with the society we live in?

It's like there is a disease spreading with an ugly purpose - to make us feel like we are not good enough, to make us feel like the people around us are not good enough, to make us wanna consume and consume just a little more to fill the void in our souls. It's a disease that keeps us from letting our minds and hearts live freely. A disease that won't present true and inspiring rolemodels, but instead leads us to worship decadent superstars with enormus egos, that care nothing about others themselves.

It really is a sad picture, but in all this sadness, it is so good to know that others feel it too, that you are not alone in wanting something else. And when I stumble upon things like this video (link below), I feel hope. And I somehow feel that the first steps to change are very simple, we just don't have to swallow the shit they're feeding us anymore.

/Cat

Fake it til you make it.

6th of September 2017 (Post by Kenny)

Almost every day we get an email like this below, offering "plays" or "likes" or "views" on some service or other Like youtube, facebook, soundcloud etc.) For a looow price of course. And if you are an artist just starting out you might think "wow that sounds great". But it´s not. it fucking sucks. They aren´t real. Just ask yourself why it´s so cheap to being with. it´s just faaaaaake. Otherwise every damn new artist would be world famous, no problem at all! DO NOT give these companies your hard earned money! Unfortunately it is incredibly easy to trick someone like a musician, since most of us want so BADLY to succeded.
 
These kind of companies are fucking vultures. Profiting on passions and dreams.
 
And remember: if it´s too good to be true, it most likely is.
 
In the bottom you can read todays mail from www.soundlcoudplayz.org
 
I will point this post to my fellow musicians, but I think it will be interesting to listeners as well to get an insight in inflated numbers.
 
So, anyway, buying the listens, how is this going to get you to be taken seriously? You just bought fake listens? WHY?
 
Some of you might say; "Yeah, who cares, I know it´s fake, but it will GET me real listeners when they see I´m looking famous!"
 
Well, first of all: Is the goal to get as many listeners as possible taht got "lured in" or to actually get listeners that CARE and invest in you because they love what you do? Which type of fan would you WANT?
 
Also this: If your goal is to get signed or get a booker or whatever, then how would any potential business partner (Like a label for instance) react when they look at you and (quite easily if you know where to look) see that all your stats are fake? You aren´t selling more than a couple of albums a month etc. That you can in fact not sell out a single 100 capacity show, even though you have millions and millions of "listeners"?
 
I get why it seems like a good idea to get a millions or a hundred thousand listeners, like they say, it´s "social proof" but consider what it means. What if it doesn´t work for you? Will you start everything over? You have most likely in that case burnt many bridges as the "industry" that you have talked with and that knows you´re a fake will not be interested in the future.
 
Build it for real instead. And realize that you don´t need even 10 000 REAL fans to get the ball rolling. If you can get even 50 people to buy your cd for real you´d have about 4-500 $ to invest in REAL marketing. Either yourself via digital marketing or by hiring a PR firm you trust. And then you can expand a little at a time.
 
Start small, start solid, have goals, don´t buy into the "quick fix", that is not the way to build a lasting career.
 
End of rant.
 
/Kenny
 
 
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Being Number One.

30th of July 2017 (Post by Kenny)

I keep hearing from people and reading at places that "You have to be the best" at what you do. Mostly I´m of course reading this in music related articles. It´s even more disturbing when I hear artists say it. 

You don´t. Absolutely not. You just have to be "Good enough". 

At least if you mean it in a way that is like being "the best" at playing the guitar. What would that even mean? Fastest? Loudest? Perfect sounding? Who is the "best" singer? Ridicoulos is what it is. 

For example, the imperfections of a singer is many times what makes that person sound unique, right? Because he/she can´t hit those high notes others can, they have to become better at singing low, which might create a more unique tone in whatever music it is they sing to. Our flaws make us human.

I personally love the way Jared Leto (Thirty Seconds To Mars) sings, and in my opinon he is one of the "best" vocalists out there, and I would love to be able to sing like him, but it won´t happen. My voice is too different, and I just "don´t have it" to be able to reach that level. So should I stop singing? Absolutely not. I´m sure I can become better than I am today and count myself as "Good enough" in the future, but I will practise because I love singing. Not becuase I want to be the best. It´s a weird thing to strive for in my opinion.  

Please don´t misunderstand me, I absolutely think we should strive at becoming great, but it shouldn´t be at the cost of our sanity. And being "best" is just so pointless. Most people probably don´t aim for becoming the best anyway, but for some of us it´s an important reminder I think.

For along time I lived my life feeling that I had to be "the best" if I was going to do anything, and I just ended up pushing myself too hard and not taking the time to enjoy the progress I made.  I still do it at times. 

It also made me scared of doing many things. For example I wanted for a long time to learn how to mix music, because I felt like I understood it enough to do it since I had been doing it for years already at the time, but I had no formal education, and everybody knew you had to have education to be a sound-engineer. Bullshit. This is music we are talking about, there are no rules! 

That was a lesson Pontus Hjelm of Dead By April taught me. He agreed to let me intern with him in his studio for a few months back in 2012, and he taught me alot. Not necessarily about mixing to be honest, (he absolutely taught me alot though) but about daring to try. Most of the days we actually spent talking and having fun, and in a way that was much more valuable to me at that point than any lesson in mixing. I learned alot about trusting in my own abilities, and learning by doing. And now a few years later I can say that I know how to make an album sound good. I´m by no means an expert, and again, not "the best", but I can make music sound good. And I of course mean to become better, because I love doing it.  

You should always strive at becoming better at whatever it is you do, no matter if you´re a doctor, an engineer, a truck driver, a pilot or a musician. It doesn´t matter. But do it because you want to, or at the very least becuase it makes your life better/easier.

It´s an illusion that you have to be the best to succeed in life, and it does more damage than good in my opinion. Imagine how many young people have thrown in the towel because they "weren´t good enough" at a sport or playing an instrument or something. Who knows how good they could have become with some practice, or hey, why not just focus on the enjoyment of doing whatever it is you are doing, just becuase it´s fulfilling? Nooo, you have to be "best" to count.

Of course it isn´t odd that we think like this, our whole society is formed like this. We value those who outperform others more, in sports, in movies, in music etc. We shower them in money, hold them up as perfect, and they can get whatever they want. Who wouldn´t want that life? 

Anyway, what I´m saying is even if society won´t change there still is room for us mediocre people. I myself is far from the best guitar player. song-writer or vocalist, and I never will be, but I´m "Good enough" to pursue my dream. I´m definitely not the best sound engineer out there, but I´m "Good enough" to record and mix my own albums and a few others with good results. 

And there are tons of examples of artists and bands who have succeeded without being "the best". Whatever that even would mean, having the notion that you have to be the best is so stupid I don´t know where to begin. Who decides what is "best"? What I think is best, you would think is terrible. Which is perfect! 

I promise you that someone will always be better than you at some point even if you do become the best, so what´s the point of pursuing that? 

Being the best is not something to strive for. You will (probably) NEVER be the best. So why not relax a little and settle for being good enough? It´s a lesson I´m trying to learn myself, as relaxing isn´t my strongest side.  

And to end with a few words I find soothing that I have become prone to say for reminding me that we are all very small in the big whole, and that actually makes me feel lighter at heart weirdly enough; "What does the universe care?"

 

Loneliness & Individualism

25th of July 2017 (Post by Kenny)

Loneliness is an interesting thing.

A recent documentary I saw (https://www.svtplay.se/video/10458343/the-swedish-theory-of-love/dox-the-swedish-theory-of-love-avsnitt-1) took up the subject of loneliness and individualism, and that Sweden is the most individualistic country in the world.
We are also one of the countries with the highest suicide rate, and where someone can die in their apartment and lie undiscovered for months. No visitors, noone just wondering where somebody is. FOR MONTHS. That is so incredibly sad. And it happens from time to time. Mostly with elders as it seems, but that is actually even more sad. They didn´t even have a single friend who came around to talk once in a while.

Mostly they are discovered when it really starts to smell.

Then why are we so unhappy when Sweden is one of the most developed countries in the world along with many other countries with alot of suicides and depression, we have so much to be grateful for right? - Note, Most people ARE generally happy, just seems to me more of us should be.
We have taken being separate and not needing others to a whole new level, whereas it is considered a bad thing to need another person. I myself live my life to this principle too, mostly as I have become more and more secluded, focusing on "work" (music), not having the time to spend with a lot of friends etc, and feeling shame for not getting by on my own, not being "Strong" enough.
But in recent times (last few weeks) I have begun questioning it more, isn´t what makes us happy community? Doing things with others? Sharing moments etc. To need someone else shouldn´t be a bad thing. It just is. Alone is not stronger than together. It can´t be right? 

I read an interesting book called "Outliers" a few weeks ago, and in the beginning of the book the author talks about "The Rosetans" A bunch of Italian immigrants who came to America around 1890, and, that after many years in America, how they were healthier and happier than the populations of the surrounding towns where they lived. They seemed to die more less of heart conditions etc. Why then? It wasn´t diet or excercise, not genetics etc.
And when a Physcisian named Wolf began researching them he came to the conclusion after many different theories, that they were simply living a more connected life to eachother, living with their three generations of family in the same house, always taking the time to stop and talk to eachother on the street. helping and caring for everyone, and simply taking the time to BE it seems.
You can read the beginning of the book here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/30/books/chapters/chapter-outliers.html

Chester Bennington R.I.P

20th of July 2017 (Post by Kenny)

Just read that Chester Bennington of Linkin Park has died. They say he hanged himself. It´s a very, very sad day. Our thoughts go to his friends and family.

He and Linkin Park has been with me for so long, and has been perhaps THE biggest influence in my songwriting. Their music helped me through many dark days in the past, and I still consider "Meteora" one of the best albums ever made. Of course it was obvious from interviews and lyrics that Chester had issues. And this just shows how dangerous depression and other mental health issues are, and need to be talked about more.

Shocking, terrible news. 

I´m so sad that I never got to meet him.

It might not have been the reason, but surely the latest shit Chester got from fans affected him, and hopefully people will think twice now before hating on artists doing what they love.

I personally didn't LOVE every single song LP released, but I absolutely respected and even admired their wish and courage to do different things. And they released so many awesome songs. Wouldn't it just have been easier to do the same album every time? Easier, but not very artistic.

And reading that some people (and some famous artists) actually already call him a coward for taking his life? Well fuck them, they probably have no clue what real depression is about, and noone knows exactly what he went through and why he did it. If you have ever been depressed enough to consider taking your life you know it isn´t about being a coward. There just doesn´t seem to be any other way to get out of whatever situation you are in, to end your thoughts, to stop being a burden to people, etc, etc. I´m not saying it´s right, I´m just saying that is how it might feel at the time. 
Show some damn respect and keep that opinion to yourself, at least for the time being. Let people grieve.

It's hard having a personal hero pass away. Someone you looked up to that had went through hard shit but somehow managed to get successful and live his life. It gave me lots of hope when I was younger and gave me courage to pursue my dreams in life. You didn't feel so alone when you knew others had gone through though shit and kept on going.

And now he chose to end it. 
I believe we are many who feel a bit empty today. So many of us that got through so much because of him and LP. We need people like Chester being a light in the dark.

And now the world is a bit darker. And we need to keep going.

/Kenny