In which our hero misses his train home

I am very tired.

I’m also in Ottawa! I came down Saturday for the Ottawa Industrial League festival, and stayed a few extra days so that I could DJ at my old industrial night. The festival was a blast. I got to play live with good friends, and I got to see a ton of new talent perform. Two of the acts had never played live before. And they were great! My first show was a disaster.

DJing last night was even more fun than the OIL festival. A ton of people came out to see me play that I haven’t seen in forever. People who haven’t been to Zaphods in years. Years! I played a ton of new music, and somehow also a ton of old music. Is there anything I enjoy doing as much as DJing?

It’s actually quite emotional to go back and be the guest DJ in a place you spun weekly at for close to ten years, which I’m sure is surprising to no one but me. The place seems nicer. When I saw my old book of CDs — my book! — it seemed so surreal that I didn’t live there anymore, that I left all my music behind, that I wasn’t there every week. It wasn’t an “oh my god what have I done” moment; it was more like looking at home movies and thinking it’s so insane that you used to be seven years old and lived in that house and now you’re a grownup with grey beard hairs who has to file taxes and consider intersectionality and whatever else grownups do.

I miss Zaphods a lot. I miss the venue and the community and the everything. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a music community like that again. Probably not, right? It took almost ten years to build that one, even if you ignore everything I did before I started DJing there. If I started a weekly night tomorrow I’d be forty-five before I’d have ten years of history behind me. And the idea of starting a new weekly night in Toronto that lasts ten years is hilarious.

I miss Toronto too. I miss my house, and Josh, and Audra, and Blinky and Mothra, and the Jamaican woman who sells me my beef patties and everything else. I should be home right now, in fact. Except I ended up trapped in Orleans and wasn’t able to make my train home. So now it’s the 1 AM greyhound for me, which completely fucks everything up because there was a ton of work I wanted to get done on the train before I ran out of steam. And I’ve got Things To Do tomorrow from 10 AM onwards, including a job interview that I am going to be wiped for. Not to mention buying the extra ticket wipes out all the cash I made from selling merch, which is depressing. The only saving grace of the whole fiasco is that a May Day protest rolled past the bus station when I was buying my ticket, and I got to spend the next couple hours marching and chanting with young punks and old commies.

Aside from missing my train, which has resulted in me being that weird guy in a sports bar wearing nail polish and writing journal entries at midnight, it was a fantastic trip.

I’m looking forward to coming home.

Twiin, Tea, and Me.

Upcoming Jairus Events:

Tuesday Oct 28th: Playing live in Cyanotic for Industrial Strength Halloween. Lots of new angry industrial to play. It sounds great.

Friday Oct 31st: DJing for the ReVamp Halloween night at Dekuf. Digging through old spooky goth records. Will be fun.

Friday Dec 20th: DJing with Leslie at Denise’s Steel Ball! This is actually a really big deal for me. When I was young and sneaking into clubs, the two pillars of the scene were Industrial Strength and the Steel Ball. It’s very humbling to be here, over ten years later, participating in them both with the two women that made the Ottawa industrial/fetish scene the institution it was in the 90s.

Will be going to into the studio in Toronto next week to record for the new Cyanotic album. I’ve got this horrible feeling of anxiety and dread in my stomach and heart, and I don’t know why it’s there, or what I need to do to get rid of it. I’m hoping this will help.

on the road to delphi

I can feel autumn wrapping around the city like a blanket, whispering about the winter to come.

I’m hoping to use this time now to get things done before the snow settles on the city. I know that once winter is here, I’m going to have a much harder time with everything, and I’m trying to turn that awareness into motivation: Finish building restraint. Finish producing Mike’s album. Gut and rebuild my bedroom. Get the Ad·ver·sary remix boxset done. Make more personal space.

I used to have limitless drive for these things, but I can’t sustain it anymore. I don’t think it’s age that’s weighing me down (although in frankness, I am terrified of turning 30 next spring), nevertheless it feels like something has crawled into my skin and hidden that energy from me.

Or, more likely, something about the way that I’m thinking and the things that I’m doing is feeding back.

By speaking this aloud I may very well be invoking it (or so Thelema would caution me), but I’m privately and extraordinarily concerned about attendance to next Tuesday’s show. The last month has been the quietest month at Zaphods that I can recall (on par with the doomed Mono No Aware show years ago), and if what is traditionally the biggest night of the year ends up being a dead show, not only will it be financially crippling but also a tremendous kick in the balls.

Next year would be the 15th annual Industrial Strength Halloween (would’ve been this year if Eugene hadn’t preempted last year’s party), and the idea was to go balls-to-the-wall all out for it, but if Tuesday has a weak showing then we may have to reexamine our expectations.

…with that said, if next Tuesday doesn’t have the attendance we’re looking for, it’s not the end of the world. We have a ton of new promo material on the way, we (finally) have management that supports us and has a free hand to help, we’re trying to rent a bus to ferry people to industrial night from Kanata after the NIN show in three weeks, and there’s more in the pipe. So even if, hypothetically, everyone who had ever been out on a Tuesday vanished tomorrow, we’re not dead in the water or anything along those lines

But it would be really fucking disappointing.

Maybe I need a pilgrimage.

LE SIGH

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate this time of the year? Every year, you say?

Well, I still do.

I don’t know what’s happening with this Cyanotic/Chemlab tour. Which is bad, considering that I should be booking my time off now, if it’s happening. The problem with being involved in Cyanotic is that you can never really count on anything; the ground is always shifting whenever you look the other way.

…which is fine, given that I’ve been neglecting Ad·ver·sary as of late, due to post-cyanotic-fatigue and pre-label-frustration. I’ve got a handful of releases in various states of completion that I need to deal with:

International Dark Skies: My 2005 demo that labels keep saying they want to release and then not releasing. Current label: Fich-Art, run by the Ars Moriendi crew (Asche, etc). This thing is years old, and I’m tired of it just sitting here.

Bone Music: Full-length album containing some tracks from IDS, some newer reworkings of IDS tracks, plus remixes of IDS from other artists. International Dark Skies 2.0, really. Mostly done — just need to collect remixes and finish one or two tracks.

Channel Zero: This is what I’m working on now. All new material, concept album. Maybe 1/3 done. I’m probably biting off more than I can chew with how I’ve planned it, but we’ll see how it turns out.

The Raven Prince: This won’t be an AVS release — it’ll either come out as a self-titled (if there’s not already a band called The Raven Prince), or I’ll release it under Jairus Khan. 3-track EP soundtrack to a children’s origin-myth-slash-fairy-tale I’m writing.

It would be nice if any of these ended up the way I see them in my head.

Ryan’s a good friend, and I hope his new night is a smash success (and selfishly it would be awesome to have a place where Leslie or I could play an all-goth industrial-free guest DJ set), but I really wish that someone would do a weekly that wasn’t marketed as a statement about Industrial Strength Tuesdays (or “the scene” or whatever). It’s always “re-vamp” and “making the scene a threat” and “the REAL underground” and etcetera. It would be nice if someone did an event that was just marketed as “You like good music? Come to our night! We play good music!”

(Here’s the part where I sound like an arrogant jackass) Aside from Victor (RIP Le Bistro), I’m the only person in town who’s run a successful goth-oriented night in the last ten years (if I’m missing someone, let me know), and I did it twice. The reason they were successful is because they weren’t a reaction to Leslie’s night; if we picked them up and dropped them in a club in Montreal or Boston, we wouldn’t change anything about them. All of the nights/events that have started as an ‘alternative’ to Tuesdays have crashed and burned, because a) the music they play will always be defined by the music played on Tuesdays, and b) there just aren’t enough people who wear black to support two competing events — and let’s be frank — Industrial Strength Tuesday has over ten years of inertia, and any of the events that have openly and directly positioned themselves as competition are punching far above their weight.

The only events that have done well here in the last fifteen years (and this includes Zaphods, Le Bistro, Thunderdome, Dark Crystal, Absinthe, or any other) are the ones that worked to compliment the nightlife, rather than compete with it.

You can run an event that’s founded on aesthetics, or the community, or what-that-guy-across-the-street-is-doing, but they’re not sustainable. The only events that have any staying power are the ones founded on the music.

I’m done now.

one more time for the masses

Thanks to everyone who came out last night — musically, that was one of the best shows I’ve ever attended, let alone had the opportunity to play at, or promote. Everyone who played put on an incredible performance.

Acumen played the best cover of Bela Lugosi’s Dead that I’ve ever heard — DJ? Acucrack did live remixes of Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb and The Prodigy — and Ahnüsse made a surprise appearance to perform Aut Haus, which has been a hit at the club for a few months. Matt brought some Grandmaster Flash to the show, and DJ Hip-Hop rocked the fuck out with some of the dirtiest darkest drum-n-bass I’ve heard in a very, very long time. So to the people there, thank you all very much. Acumen have been trying to come to Ottawa for years, and you did not disappoint them.

With that said, the crowd was much, much smaller in number than we were hoping (or fearing) it would be, and financially the show was a complete disaster of size to rival the FLA cancellation.

After this, we’re almost certainly going to be taking a step back in how we’re doing shows. I don’t want to do them as often as we’re doing them, and I don’t want to do bands as big as we’ve been doing. (I don’t see us continuing to pursue the Skinny Puppy date for their next tour.) I think instead, we’re going to take some time to focus on Tuesdays, get some of the music we’re playing into local record stores, try and build the crowd earlier in the evening (which is something we’re having trouble planning given how many house acts Zaphods has been booking lately).

It was an incredible show, but I’m physically, mentally and financially drained from last night (as is Leslie), and I do not have the emotional or fiscal stamina to invest so heavily when we’ve been asked for years to bring bands to town, and they end up playing to a crowd of 30 people.