Reconnecting


Hello!

It's been well over a year since I posted anything here, and more like seven, eight, nine years since I posted anything that was more than a nod to something I was doing elsewhere. It's my goal to start actively communicating via BiBaBiDi again, though, and I want to take a minute now to explain why.

When I began this blog back in late 2004, when blogs were trendy and edgy, I mostly did it as a way to write down and collate my thoughts, namely those pertaining to my musical interests. BBBD was my filing cabinet, record collection, and diary bundled into one obsessively-organized space that, as was my hope, friends, family, and the general public would occasionally find value in.

As I got older and it became popular ("popular" being very much a relative term here), and I found myself drawn to journalism and publishing as a career path, I attempted to formalize my relationship with the site and morph it into something more buttoned-up. I tasked myself with exposing unknown or underappreciated music from the present—and doing so daily. (Look at the, say, July 2007 archive. Forty-five posts! And that was unusually low for the time!) I loved managing and contributing to BBBD more than anything. It became my identity and my calling card; it was what I was known for and the means by which I got to know myself.

After a year in Japan, where I lived a pretty solitary—though deeply meaningful and impatful—existence, I moved to Los Angeles, for school, and, shortly thereafter, started working for a magazine called Anthem. Much of what I wanted to get out of running BBBD I got out of being part of Anthem, and most everything I wanted to get out of BBBD but couldn't I was afforded. I went to concerts constantly, I interviewed my heroes, I had talented editors above me and welcoming colleagues flanking me. I felt energetic and overwhelmed by the possibilities I saw in front of me.

After spending a decent chunk of time in L.A., however, it became clear I needed to refresh and explore my career options elsewhere, surrounded by new faces and different challenges. I was too young and immature to hack my own way forward, and I thought the frenetic energy and churn of New York City would help direct me towards a future that made sense and continued to bring value, instruction, meaning into my life. So, at the beginning of 2009, I switched coasts, and that, not coincidentally, is when BBBD basically went on hiatus.

In NYC, in addition to continuing to work for Anthem, I began writing as a freelancer for a number of publications, like Nylon, and briefly considered making a run at doing that full-time. I also started an internet radio show at American Apparel's station, Viva, which acted as a sort of extension of—or next chapter to—BBBD. Perhaps I was getting bored with the text-based format and wanted to do something more in the moment.

Around then, fate presented itself and connected me with a guy I knew of through Anthem, but whom I hadn't met, Jacques Renault, a DJ and producer tied to DFA Records. He had licensed some music to the label, which, at the time, was certainly my favorite imprint. We met, became fast friends, and, through moves both deliberate and accidental, began throwing parties together as Let's Play House. (The name comes from a very good track Jacques released, in 2009, on Rekids' Cabin Fever.) After a few months, our little side hustle grew in scale, ambition, and following, and we started presenting our events at big, raw warehouses in Williamsburg, which, at the time, was absolutely in the throes of gentrification, but it hadn't yet been co-opted by big brands and chains quite yet; the J. Crews and Sweetgreens and Vices hadn't arrived.

With the success of LPH came a commitment to it I hadn't anticipated. Of course, my hope from the onset was it would become a big deal, but I didn't have a business plan in mind or on paper when I began the venture, so progress couldn't be benchmarked well, which meant triumphs came in these abrupt, intense bursts. Today and tomorrow were considered, but anything beyond that wasn't, really, and, as a result, any win we landed organically smoothly led to another project, challenge, gig. The more I got sucked into LPH—or, rather, as I pushed myself deeper into my role at LPH—the more I neglected BBBD. I didn't need it as I used to, either; I was being creatively fulfilled by a new occupation that took much of my free time and excess energy.

About a year in, I decided to launch Let's Play House Records, a label that, at least initially, was meant to serve as a sort of companion to the parties. The idea was Jacques and I would release 12-inch records by guests we'd had come through and play, like Horse Meat Disco or Morgan Geist. We accomplished this with the first one, a single featuring a Runaway original and three remixes, one by Soft Rocks, one by Beautiful Swimmers, and one by Slow Hands. The cover was shot by our longtime friend Ruvan Wijesooriya, and it was laid out by a graphic designer pal named Drew Heffron. James Friedman, another buddy from the scene, was integral to getting the production and distribution components off the ground, and, for all intents and purposes, was our third partner during those days. A label was born.

If you've been keeping up with me, you'll know I've released nearly a hundred vinyl records and thrown at least three times as many parties. If this is news to you, well, you've got a lot of catching up to do! Head over to the LPH Discogs and our website to begin your journey. I could go on about this at length, of course—I've spent nine years of my life working on LPH, so this should come as no surprise—but I won't, partially because it will take too long, but mostly because it will require me to give shine and respect to too many people who helped make it happen. Rather than inadvertently insult anyone by forgetting them, I'll just say that those who've been part of this know who they are, and I have nothing but love and gratitude to give them.

In any event, with LPH, I was able to both express myself as I had with BBBD and navigate my way through this complicated, intricate, knotty world with purpose. BBBD might've been me as a teenager and in my early twenties, but it was clear, around 2010, 2011, that LPH was me as an adult.

It still is! All my life is tied up, in some way, shape, or form, with LPH, for better or for worse. I take great pride in everything I've built and will forever cherish every minute I've spent with LPH. We're close to being a decade in, and we're certainly not slowing down, so I expect there to be many, many more minutes ahead.

All the above said, however, LPH has its limits. At the end of the day, it needs to be primarily concerned with dance music, and this, as longtime readers and friends alike know, is not the grouping of music I was born and raised with. I'm an indie and pop and hip-hop and punk and experimental and classic rock and post-punk kid at heart—just check my Last.fm! At this point in my life, I feel comfortable with vacillating between different personas—Nighttime Nik, Daytime Nik, Cerebral Nik, Goofy Nik, Concert Nik, Party Nik, and so on—and would like to once again share these other voices of mine with the public. I feel I must, in fact, lest I allow LPH to remain the one star in my galaxy that everything else orbits around. I shouldn't deny this to myself; I shouldn't sequester one interest in pursuit of another. I think there's no better way to do this than by reopening BBBD and reclaiming it as the tool I use to observe, ingest, interpret, and discuss the infinite information, content, media, passion out there I intersect with.

For the moment, I'll mostly just share links here. Links to videos, to Spotify playlists, to Bandcamp pages. I don't know if I have the wherewithal and gumption to start seriously writing again, but perhaps that will happen. For now, I just want to start posting again. I have so much I want to talk about and give, and I know a good number of you found some use in reading what I wrote before. I've grown a lot since BBBD went on hiatus, though, and I'm excited to illustrate what all's changed by relaunching it.

We'll take this one day at a time and see where it leads.

Stand by.

Comments

Glenn Mercer said…
Welcome back!
Mark Hume said…
Looking forward to reading more :)