Friends, Lovers and the Rest….
It’s been a wee while but life caught hold of me, pushed me, dragged me and spun me around while I was travelling along the path I am currently on. I’m not sure if there is enough of you reading this to give a damn but I have heard murmurings plus enquiries to where the next Tales from the Engine Room is. Well, it’s here…
I have always found life a fascinating thing, although at times it is far too pervasive for my liking because I’ll be honest I prefer my reality to the one offered by conventional society and the media machine that supports it. Hence living outside of it or on the edges all my adult life. Some may perceive me as a funny fucker, others anti-social and maybe they are right in the wider context of things but my world and the friends that occupy it keep me sane amongst all this human madness. I’m not referring the madness in the context of a mental disease just the actions and paths a lot of people take that have a negative and detrimental impact on others. Although seeing what goes in the world maybe people are mad and we are fundamentally doomed.
I greatly value my friendships while realising that there are very few friendships that cut deep and are full of all the ingredients that make those people true friends and not just acquaintances. I believe that true friends make us smile when the are not here and in the bad and sad times are the rocks upon which we stand. So I considered what makes a true friend and at the same time what I feel offer to my friends. Fundamental to any friendship is a commitment and consideration to your happiness. This is not just making you laugh but a consideration to your all over well being, to the point they are not afraid to step forward and offer their opinion and perspective if you take a wrong path or make the wrong decisions. A true friend should also be a good influence and moral barometer. I consider myself lucky to have a small handful of true friends although because of the life I have lived they are spread far and wide across this island and beyond. I think if you can count your true friends on one hand you are in deed very lucky as they are so few and far between.
What I have found to be even rarer is a true genuine soulmate or life-partner. I meet people who use this word ‘love’ every time they have a new partner and I just don’t understand the freewheeling use of this word. Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the lust and desire to see what you really have. In my experience I have rarely met anyone that offers all the attributes of a true friend and those magical factors that captivate you, make you feel at ease, content and leave you spell bound. Love, true love that is, I believe is eternal, lasts and survives whatever life throws at you, including the changes that will effect both of you on your journey through life. I think this is even rarer in our throw away consumer society where its been made easier to get something new rather than repair and maintain what you already have to stay with that someone ‘special’.
If I look around at all the people I know in, or know of, in relationships I think it’s becoming harder to find your real soulmate as I see too many people in dysfunctional relationships or seeking what they should be getting from their partner elsewhere. Maybe this is not just an indication they are not with the right person but that they are afraid to venture out into life on their own again, who knows, the internal politics of relationships can be so hard to fathom from the outside. The grass is not always greener on the other side but you will never find that lush meadow if you are not you and you do not love yourself.
Although you rarely meet true friends or a partner that offers you true love I think it’s really simple to find and attract people who could possibly fit neatly into these roles within your life, as I said before just be you. I say simple, but since we can all be ‘actors’ in our social interactions and be what we think people want us to be to ‘fit’ in, this can be made harder as it takes time to unearth the real ‘you’ or them. I have always tried to buck against this on a personal level, but within society and all our wider interactions its not always as straight forward to do this unfortunately.
I hope you are with the partner that enriches your life as much as you enrich theirs and if that is yet to happen I wish you well in your journey to find them. And if that has happened or is yet to happen I hope your friends are the rocks to give you the firm footing in life we need to be us.
Check out the links in red, some offer interesting tangents and some are more direct. Until the next time…
with love and faith
Words are Weapons and Words are Tools…
Although I don’t write these blogs to any regulated timetable, it’s time for another installment of Tales from the Engine Room and I must say it is a challenge writing something that firstly I must find engaging and acceptable but which is of also of interest to you the reader (or readers if there is more than one of you). All this while attempting to not go off on tangents and instead stay focused on the original train of thought. All aboard!
Words are the embodiment of the people we are, our souls, thoughts and feelings but they can also be the mask behind which we hide and perform. It depends on the occasion, the company, the individual or situation. We are all to a degree actors, performers, players and charlatans but how many people are we happy exposing our true selves to? Do some people ever. Sometimes we have no choice because we are governed by our environment. The more insecure, the more threatening or extreme the environment the greater the mask employed. But to undertake a role all the time, to continually projecting a false persona can be a tiring and an emotionally crippling task ultimately cutting you off from connecting honestly with anyone, let alone yourself.
Even with all these words and the ability to communicate so many people fall short of true honesty, instead opting to avoid simple truth and expression by offering acceptable but empty answers. This can happen on endless levels, footballers are trained for press interviews nowadays, which are repetitious, bland and vacuous never allowing there true characters to shine through, that is if there is one. On a personal level I have experienced these half truths in close relationships, as I’m sure a fair number of us have at some point. In a close relationship if your intention is true and you believe in and feel connected to the bond and friendship you have, should you not be open and honest? Is that not one of the cornerstones of a strong relationship? But as we know the fact is that not everyone is and you can be left on uncertain ground or not knowing someones true feelings. If that occurs its safe to say that person is either being guarded or not being honest and this is never a good basis for any relationship to exist on. Simple words and the expression of these ease uncertainty and create clarity. It can be hard letting go of the mask and the boundaries created from a life of experience but it does give you a better chance of true happiness.
As a performers, singers, writers we allow the songs or the characters we play to employ and conjure up words in order to entertain, communicate and share a emotions or a moment in time. If I was to name my artistic trade I would say I was a wordsmith, I’m not sure if I am worthy of such a mantle as the dictionary says of word-smith:
1. A fluent and prolific writer, especially one who writes professionally.
2. An expert on words.
I have never considered myself ‘professional’, dedicated yes, but I’m less of an expert and more an admirer of words and language. Also being the person I am I have a driving energy and well of emotions to draw from and to vent. The central point of my art, my music, is the words but words are also central to my life and our lives’ as a human beings. I realise words don’t always have to be spoken, they can be written or signed too. Words convey so many things, emotions, commands, instructions, feelings that allow everyone else the ability to perceive what we are attempting to communicate but as we know even with what we consider the right and well chosen words we can still be misinterpreted. If the language contains a vagueness or a truncated form of communication someone somewhere will read or perceive the sentiment, message or dialogue in a way never envisaged by the author or purveyor of these words.
You take an experience or situation that when it becomes a finished song it may bear no relation to the original seed that was planted. Songs are their own entity and exist on their own and although the original seed is there you create something that has a heightened state of drama. You then hope this resonates with people, an audience. But when push comes to shove you have to use words, language and dialogue that allows the listener in. I love the appeal of occupying a character and voice to embody the song. Words and music are the religion I think most people relate to, plus this religion cherishes, nourishes, thrills and challenges the human soul more than traditional religion of separation and hypocrisy.
Don’t get me wrong, the music, imagery and graphics are all important and vital elements of what makes up the whole and are well considered, but they are are merely vehicles for the words. The use of language, it’s delivery, style and the use of pronunciation all play a part as everything is stimulated from words used to provide life to thoughts and ideas. I’m a teller of tales an observer of life, living life as far away and on the edge of this greed and hate filled consumer ghetto. I look in and occasionally dip my toe. We all can feel the energy on the streets is not good, there is ill will and disease at the heart of many people nowadays. We have lived lives of excess in the west, lived in debt and forgot the simple elements that make life worth living. But words will never be enough without the emotion, the honesty and intent to make a difference.
All these words are great to communicate and express things with but without the all important action to back them up their substance is greatly reduced…
Check out the links in red, some offer interesting tangents and some are more direct. Until the next time…
with love and faith
The new album Slave Manifesto has received a 4 star glowing review from Sarah Keary of Music Review Unsigned. It leaves me in no doubt that the sound and style I have created is heading in the right direction musically, plus the review put a smile on my face. I’m that happy I will again offer for a short period my album as a FREE download.The review:
“It’s not often you find an artist that has definitive influences and rolls it all up to make their own, but Ruben Vine creates one hell of an album he calls Slave Manifesto. For a second album, Sussex-born Vine has started his career on the right foot.
It has been quite some time since I have listened to an album produced by an unsigned artist that has the power that some signed artists spend their lifetimes trying to create. Slave Manifesto fits perfectly within the rock scene of today, bringing back what we were waiting for: quality rock.
The Slave Manifesto LP made me feel nostalgic about a past I never had. From Vine’s Johnny Rotten-esque vocals on the first track Slave, to 90’s Grunge influences on Chemical Cuddles. Throughout the album, there is a clear Punk Rock soul flourishing in tracks such as Tick Tock, Pavement Politics and Pray. Within all this Punk, the songs contain pop melodies, so don’t think you’ll get these songs out of your head too quickly.
Amongst Vine’s influences of Punk and Grunge, there is clear energy derived from a mixture of Oasis and PJ Harvey; a very ambitious move for a new-comer. With so many diverse influences in one album, you wonder how does Ruben pull it off. Well, he does. Ruben’s passion is bleeding through this album. Although, listening to the album right through I feel it lacks consistency. For me, the album gets weaker. Maybe it is just the imperfect track listings, but after getting very excited by hearing Jimi Hendrix-like guitar riffs in the first track, I unfortunately felt disappointed by the heavily induced pop in the final track, Kamikaze.
Altogether, I probably enjoyed the most part of the album due to the fact his influences are my inspirations. All in all, the album lacked a certain amount of texture. If the consistency was better, the album would be perfect. Ruben Vine is a very talented artist with a very bright future, and with a little help from the experts, he can produce a game-changing album. You’ve got to admit, for what is good on Slave Manifesto, it’s outstanding”
Any MRU readers, Analogue Underground Radio listeners or facebook members who saw their review can get a FREE digital copy of the new Slave Manifesto album and it’s very easy:
Simply sign up at the bottom of the page for the newsletter
Then a digital copy of the album including a PDF version of the Lyric and Photo Book will be sent to the email address you supplied. This offer remains open until Midnight Thursday 31st of May 2012.
Let the Slave Manifesto begin…..
My Acoustic Bass Made Me Cry…
My acoustic bass made me cry, a strange admission I admit, but an honest one. I will say I have had a bitch of time recently with a real bad period of darkness and despair which was followed by some rather rapid and mixed moods. This basically sees me energised and manic and then hour or so later (sometimes longer if I’m lucky) a sudden plunge downwards. The depression is no easy ride but it is constant, as is the creative hyper energised periods which I generally deal with pretty well. I must add that at the moment due to having buggered, broken and damaged foot that has not settled or healed in 4 months it has meant I have not been able to exercise to my usual level to burn off the excessive energy I have during hyper periods. The energetic and physical pursuits I generally employ are kettlebell, getting out on the downs and coast on my mountain bike, walking very fast everywhere…oh, and of course sex. There is so much energy that exists or builds up that times it needs to be vented. There are less physical practices I find very good like reike or taoist breathing exercises. I have adapted and employed a lot of taoist techniques over the last 12 years stemming centrally from my introduction to Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy by Mantak Chia.
But lets get beyond that because it gets boring covering my special needs, lets instead consider the healing power of music. There I was in shitsville bouncing up and down like a rubber ball and I simply played my bass, something I could not do until that point and when I had finished I cried because it acted as a meditation and release. This gave my mind some of the peace it needed from it’s overactivity and in turn this acted as a means to release the stored up negative energy through my tears…. reiki is also good but it is not part of the musical angle I’m edging for in this blog. A majority of people don’t perform or play music but the majority of us with a soul listen to music and this is an incredibly rewarding experience.
Music regular saves me from myself, saved myself sounds rather dramatic, but it does convey how I feel. For months I have not recorded anything, but in the last couple of weeks I have got back into my routine of waking, sorting myself out and then recording lead vocals or whatever else maybe required. It’s such a great release physically, emotionally and mentally. I have been busy putting everything together, as well as drumming up promo interest in the new Slave Manifesto album release which as left me little time to do any recording… or to be honest, I have not had all important creative desire to do so. I have however been writing and rehearsing my fourth album which will involve a collaboration with a graphic illustrator, I’ll say no more at this point but it is a project that has fantastic potential… it will be worth getting hold of a physical copy because I feel it will be a very interesting album on many levels, musically, artistically and mentally. The vocals I’m currently recording are for the Slave Love album.
Emotion and depth (I find) are essential things if music (and the artist) are to have any genuine resonance and connection with people. That’s the music I love, and I know so many others do. The music that you connect with, that speaks to you, has the blood, guts and energy that captures a feeling or moment in time. Songs that have an essence of something real and true. Music can heal, act as a release or merely entertain. You can feel part of the artist, the time, their energy or maybe you get something else from it, but the fact is it is there for anyone to tap into at anytime once captured by a recording. Music by numbers, the plastic pop game, it serves it’s purpose, but it is vacuous for a reason, it is not supposed to engage you, it’s elevator music for the masses and at the end of the day there is a time and a place for music with depth, and a time for something lighter. But whatever music we listen to we are creatures ruled by emotions and music has this in abundance. A song or album can act as a signpost and reference point for moments and memories that occur in our lives, our friends and our loved ones lives, whether these be happy, sad, love filled, love scarred, quite, loud…
I must say I have been greatly enjoying the comments and interactions with these Tales from the Engine Room blogs.
with love and faith
Lost in a Sea of Pluggers…
So as musicians and artists, how do you get noticed when lost in a sea of pluggers and other musicians trying to get their sound noticed and recognised as something credible. On top of all of that, this sea we need to conquer is full of a lot of shit which can sterilise the ears of the people who may just get what your about creatively, if only they knew you existed. Or is what we have to offer another piece of shit in an ever growing cesspool?
Computers and the internet are both the devil and our saviour especially if you have lived a life embracing D.I.Y and libertarian values and employing D.I.Y lessons and techniques. As a creative individual who has lived on the very edges of contemporary society, the ability to create, record, communicate, source supplies, services and co-conspirators to help and contribute with your projects from your own home with no need for travel is phenomenal. It’s unfortunate that same portal to the world that gives you this freedom and world wide access is also the same portal that monitors and knows your (nearly) every move and desire to the point they can actually form a clear character profile.
I have created every element that is Ruben Vine. I have a very much appreciated the network of friends and individuals who provide the glue to bind it all together, but every song you hear, image or graphic you see has been created by me, it is me. I do need a drummer, guitarist, backing singers, violinist, website designer, printers, mastering engineer, press plant agent, etc etc. but I’m the songwriter, composer, musician, artist, graphic designer, screen-printer, engineer. However, these things can only be realised in a small environment and on a limited income because I have computers and the internet. These resources are freely available to all of us but without the talent and more importantly the contacts you face a hard struggle. The important thing is to create something real and true to yourself, that is not manufactured to appeal to bigger audience but born from something genuine. That way you keep your dignity and self respect even if you are only an imaginary rock star.
I have only physically met Sam Funnell once and since that first meeting he has successfully played drums on my first two albums and we have communicated via emails and the phones and exchanged files via large file transfer agents. A few of the backing singers on my releases I knew personally but the majority came to me via adverts on the internet or musicjobs.com, and like most people that get involved in my projects, they were interested because they liked what they heard and the vibe attached. I paid travel expenses, fed them if they so desired, feature them on the performers page, register all performers with PPL when I register my releases and always give them a copy of the release their on. On the new album everyone who contributed received a copy of the Slave Manifesto Limited Edition Photo and Lyric Book.
But you can have the best most innovative sound and idea but if no one can notice you or hear you it’s going to be hard. My catch 22 is I need to play live but because I have created and realised my idea, to get other people on board who have not been part of the creative process and the songs development, is bloody hard. You need to be part of an active and vibrant scene, so if you live rurally or away from such centres your only chance of playing live is paying session musicians or having the backing of a record label. Hence catch 22. To play live would be a joy, but I’m not a solo performer so for the time being I’m a virtual musician seeking solid form.
John Peel is a massive lost, Radio 6 try to plug the gap but I think they are failing as there is no one like John willing to just listen to the high volume of material they get sent or come across, that’s all we want because that is the catalyst, listening. I have tried endless ways to get my music heard or just some airtime on Radio 6 etc , I have had a little success but we are lost in a sea of pluggers with Djs that won’t take the chances or simply don’t have the time. John took those chances, lent us his ears and gave some of his time, but there are too many DJ’s on cruise control instead of those dedicated passionate one’s on a musical crusade.
So DJ’s, reviewers, A & R people, magazines, fanzine writers, fellow bloggers, musicians and other germs of divinity forever lost in infinity, lend me your ears and give me your time…
Digital albums and promo packs available on request.
with love and faith