We are made of music. The universe resonates - each part differently. Sometimes you hear Miles Davis, sometimes Venetian Snares, sometimes Brian Eno’s ‘Apollo’, sometimes birds, sometimes a girl you’re making love to and nothing else, other times it’s everything and you are gone, lost in whatever this is.
(There’s probably another essay in this - I’m talking specifically about the similarities between breakcore and jazz, but I’m not getting into that until I’m at least 40 and much smarter than I am now, so if you want to go with it and write your own, do it and then just make sure to send it to me.)
I grew up listening to music and, speaking of albums and bands and performers, I started with some incredibly trite stuff. I even listened to and actively enjoyed Backstreet Boys, for fuck’s sake. If my child listened to the 2020 equivalent of Backstreet Boys at any age I would be worried, simply because I would find myself hoping that its taste eventually turns from shit to at least moderately ok, because experiences are fine, we all have those, we all had to go get tested after a night we weren’t so sure about, we all had to realize that some parts of us needed improvement, we all had to realize it sometimes really isn’t our fault, but if my child would start looping Backstreet Boys on a day-to-day basis like I used to, I’d probably consider hacking its ears off and putting them on a necklace.
But would I really? Probably not. I’d probably give my child some richer music instead, like The Clash and Mozart and Beastie Boys and The Cure and Gang Gang Dance and Goodspeed You! Black Emperor and DJ Krush and plenty more. And then I’d wonder where things went wrong when the child comes back and says “I actually like this old music” and shows me a fucking Skrillex video. But who am I to judge these things for others.
Back to me as a ten year old. Thankfully, Prodigy’s ‘Fat of the Land’ arrives into my ten-year-old brain via the ‘Firestarter’ and ‘Breathe’ videos and from that moment on, my music taste starts going in all these new directions and it doesn’t stop.
Now, I wouldn’t say my family is full of great listeners - quite far from it, actually. I come from a poor industrial area of Czech Republic, a large city full of factories and people with underdeveloped social skills. Coal miners and rampant alcoholism surrounded by beautiful woods and large seemingly empty fields and smaller villages, the sort of thing that resembles the North of England so much it feels almost like a carbon copy unless you dive much deeper.
My parents, I don’t know how they did it but I am glad they did, they never gave a rat’s ass about the environment’s abilities to stifle my growth, and if they did, they never let it influence my growth, at least not until they became scared when I became truly wild near the puberty. And then I left the house and they couldn’t stop me.
Now we’re back at the beginning, and here’s what happened: they read to me since before I was even born — I’m not making this up — and they taught me to read by the time I was three, which, coupled with the amount of books, comics, films and stories they shoveled at me while maintaing my overall happiness (and their overall great parenting during my early years) strongly contributed to who I am now.
(Watching people who weren’t listening to themselves and/or me & others helped as well. Seeing patterns. Seeing the patterns and allowing myself not understand things. Maybe this will help you. Maybe you’re in a position similar to what mine was back then.)
But Prodigy and The Cure and Pink Floyd and Manic Street Preachers and Radiohead of my early teenage years? That wasn’t all the music there was. Because there is a way to listen to everything - a way of accepting and immersing yourself within all the seeming chaos and all of its order, the order that sometimes avoids direct gaze until one finds its flow and merges with it in order to float and potentially also find some answers.
It’s like sea diving. If you dive deep enough, you can see the bottom of the sea and the bottom is rich with immediately visible, easy to understand detail. You can see the movements of the sea itself within the bottom, you can trace them back, you can predict them and most importantly, you can be in the moment and see the sea and its bed for what they are. You get the flow once you see what the bottom is made of. Sometimes you just get the flow instinctually, too. Perhaps all of what we call memory is but an act of remembering.
CHANGE is a balancing act as well. It’s diving into the chaos and seeing what’s at the bottom, then assembling, understanding. It’s like the puzzles I’m putting together with my little sisters these days, and it is a magical act, because once we got deep into creating this story, it became blatantly obvious that making CHANGE anything less than what it became would mean abandoning what is alive in me. Thankfully, Morgan, Sloane and Ed are talented, hard-working and brave and they held me together as I wrote this thing, bit by bit, adding more and more substance and playfulness to a story that would be nothing like it is without them.
Anyway, all of this is a long-winded way of saying that each issue of CHANGE is named after a song.
Perhaps it might be worth it to pay special attention to the photograph ‘Almost Forgot Myself’ begins with - I had no idea until I found the track on youtube ten minutes ago, but the place on the photo is also one of the key locations in Change, which is exactly the kind of synchronicity I’m riding while making this thing. Because sometimes the universe (and/or universes) winks at you, and you can decide what to do next. I like to smile and ask it for a dance.
Won’t tell you much about #4, except that it’s 36 pages, it will come out March 20th and it will cost $3.50. It is where everything ends.
But CHANGE #3 is out next Wednesday. Dive in.
Change is with Multiple Warheads the best monthly comic on the shelves right now. It raises the bar on a lot of elements of comic making, and as it reveals itself over the course of it’s story—the orchestrated chaos of it’s design is incredible to behold. It is a book that gets better as it goes along—and fascinatingly improves upon what has already gone before. The way it spins in and out of itself is really beautiful.
For the most part I loathe the monthly comic format, but this is a work which is undeniable, and I think sets a kind of standard.
My music journey by the by started at golden oldies listened to on headphones, hidden in my bed—hit nirvana, my first hiphop album was ready to die, my second was Outkast ATLiens. Followed all of that into Freestyle Fellowship, Modest Mouse, the Silver Jews, John Lee Hooker, John Coltrane, Skip James, Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan—and then Anticon, Sage Francis, Atmosphere—back out into Lil Jon, Project Pat, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt Lil Wayne, Kanye, Burial, into Darkthrone, Paysage D’Hiver, Sabath Assembly, Blut Aus Nord so on and so forth. Always moving. Changing. Evolving. Devolving.