I have been advised not to talk about this, and I didn't intend to, because I know that doing so will probably worsen the problem. But I have a bad habit of speaking my mind, so here it is:
A few days ago, I woke up to emails from several people alerting me that my album has been leaked, about a month and half before the release date. My heart sank. There's been a grayish tint over every day since. I can be pretty objective, so I scolded myself, "GavCaz, you LOVE leaked albums. You download stuff the minute it gets dropped. For you to be upset about this is very hypocritical." And I thought about that and I found it to be mostly true: I'm a loud proponent of downloading. If I were to be brutally honest, I think music was never meant to be paid for and will one day be free again - as soon as artists have diversified their skills enough to feed themselves through other channels. I'm not concerned about this hurting me financially. So why do I feel sick? Why am I not flattered that someone actually thinks my album is worth leaking? And if my opinion is that downloading HELPS artists instead of hurts them (which it generally is), why am I concerned?
As an artist, my biggest strength (and often times my biggest weakness) is how much thought I put into my music---ironically I find myself thinking a lot about how to make music that sounds less thinky. Every detail of every piece of my work is important to me - every instrument has to work towards the common goal of telling the message of the song, which must be entirely supporting the message of the album: my hi-hat patterns are metaphors, my triangle parts are characters or dramatic devices, etc. Because this album is about (emotional) process, I am extending that signature overthought to the entire process; from my writing over the last 2 years (in this very blog) to the studio videos and the photo shoots, to the album art, and eventually to the films and the websites. And of course the music itself. This project and the message of it will span ALL of my work to date. And for that reason, the girth of it all, it was very important to me that it be paced properly. I don't want you to hear the entire album first. I want to set the scene for the album creation first (through this writing). And then I want you to see the music in micro-pieces (via the videos), so that you can't hear the whole song, but that the music is the marriage of millions of little strange things. Because heartbreak often leads to obsession over idiosyncrasies. And this music is borne from heartbreak. And there are 33 other reasons why I want this to go how I'd planned, but ultimately what I'm saying is, "this project was not tossed together." Even the release date, Friday the 13th of February, is EXTREMELY significant to me.
This is not radio music. I want you to digest it slower and understand each piece of it, if you're willing, because that's the best way for me to connote what a healthy emotional healing process is like: it is a series of tiny revelations. I want you to hear one song a week for a while, so that you can just mull over that song and discover what it is before listening to how it fits into the bigger puzzle. I could digress, but verbalizing this sounds obnoxious to me, so I'll just say: this is not a normal record. Its biggest enemy will be the short attention span. The reason I think my upset is justified even when I'm guilty of downloading other leaks is because, unlike most records, this album has everything to do with the media leading to and from it and is strengthened and given impact and longevity from the lengthy process of its own release. And now someone who has never met me, and never considered the ramifications of what they think is an "album liberation," and, above all has no respect for my process, has decided to throw a bucket of black paint across my colorful canvas, forcing me to ask you to ignore it. Thanks, guy (or girl).
I have never waited to release an album in my life. It has been excruciating to make what is my best work to date and not release it for six months. The only solace was knowing that those who trust and invest in me as an artist would get something that will effect them deeper and longer than anything I've ever done. Because that's what my breakup did to me, and that's what I think art is made for.
I could also write a book explaining that this is the first of my solo albums that has a paid promotional team behind it and when you are an unknown artist of my stature playing music that doesn't bear a resemblance to TV On The Radio, the only chance you have of getting any mainstream exposure in this country is to create a critical mass of buzz from what little fan base and promotional tools you have. The idea is to centralize listeners around your release date in hopes that enough people will be talking about the record at once to grab the attention of the press and radio industry that does not usually scout (let alone tout) artists in my tax bracket. By releasing my album early, this person has fogged up the lens that Five One Inc., the only label willing to put its money behind my music, has been struggling to focus day and night for the past six months. This pirate is greatly hurting the label's (again, the ONLY label willing to help me do what I do) chances of garnering publicity for the most important record of my life.
To those that have downloaded the record: I'm glad you enjoy it. I hope you'll contribute to my work in some way so that I can someday afford health insurance. Please reserve any comments until after my release date so I can just stop thinking about this.
To those that are going to leave this page and do a torrent search for it: who raised you?
To those that don't know what a torrent is, forget I said anything.