The Paradox of Progress
I write this blog post after over a year dormant. The posting was never consistent, but over a year is terrible for ANY web content, much less a platform where you are trying to engage with your fans.
I have reasons (ahem still fuck 2020), but even with many challenges personally and professionally the Native Stranger label was more productive than I could have ever imagined this past year. I was able to notch my first full-length solo Doc Wattson LP with Bonsai, a phenomenal collaboration with the homie Ronesh. I was able to finish and release my first full-length fully engineered/mixed record with the Daywalkerz fam for the Know Sage Chronicles tape released back in November. Last but not least the culmination of my rap career, the Lost Tapes, a collection of old and new Doc Wattson tracks that can't be called a "best of" yet because almost no one heard any of the songs before. It's been a year of enormous growth, vulnerability, and gratitude.
Oh, and we moved 120+ Daywalkerz T's! Thanks to you ALL!
So now what?
That's the question. It's one that hit me the second I hit publish on the third project... It's like finishing your favorite TV show, there's that feeling of loss. of knowing that universe the show created no longer exists anymore. That it never really existed in the first place. Hopefully the show's message sticks with you, the characters enrich your understanding of the human experience. But you'll still never see them again, never sit at the edge of your seat hoping for a satisfying denouement.
It's a good loss; the loss of anxiety, guilt, doubt. You know what happened now in the imaginable scenarios of this universe. No more twist endings, no more mid-season cliffhangers. No more of that antagonist that somehow survived even though they deserved the worst fate of all...
But then new anxieties creep in. What will I watch now? How will the next show ever hold up to the character or story of my favorites? The world changes continually based on our experiences, and we never quite look at the world the same again now. We're never quite satisfied with what we achieve as we are viewing the accomplishment from the lens of a different person.
Ideally your outlook is brighter and richer, but depending on the vibe of the experience maybe you end up more fragile, more cynical about humanity. The next step is not always clear, and fear of the unknown can stymie even the most earnest momentum, but we move forward afraid that lack of progress and growth is somehow a worse fate than death.
'What the hell are you on about Watts?' TL;DR Growth is HARD. And mandatory. And worth it. But it's hard.
2020 has set the table in many ways for a highly productive 2021. Right out of the gate my rock project Jet Set Roulette will be releasing its first official single on January 20. I play bass on this project and produce/engineer the tracks. We've got a few other songs inching along despite obvious quarantine-related challenges (and not technically having a drummer), but we're really happy with the single Hive Mind and we think the message of the song is a timely reminder about the dangers of social media and groupthink.
I continue to grow and learn as a producer and engineer, and I look forward to releasing a beat tape in early 2021. I invite the opportunity to collaborate with other artists as the fog of isolation clears and such collaborations become possible. I will also continue writing bars, and I hope to contribute more to this blog. The spark is lit, and the label is chugging away. So what are the challenges of 2021? Continuing to refine my voice and build confidence in an industry where showing weakness is anathema. Maintaining focus in a world currently trending towards chaos. Showing courage and articulately speaking truth to power the best way we can (ahem, FUCK TRUMP but he doesn't get any more oxygen than that). No small feats.
New year, new hills. Let's get at it! Will hopefully check in sooner than later. THANK you for your support in 2020 and moving forward, and please keep yourself and your families safe!
Peace, Doc Watts
p.s. want a hat?? Go to the store and cop one, I'm sitting on tons!