Contributed by Brandon Miles (label co-founder and frontman for All Around the Dinner Table). His new LP, From the Mouths of Shepherds, is now available on iTunes! Brandon also hosts our free weekly podcast.
Every January 1st, without fail, at least one friend of mine will post a lyric from Death Cab for Cutie’s “The New Year.” This year it was Josiah from Why They Came. Some say there isn’t anything special about the midnight hour on December 31st, that it’s just another day. But most people find it helpful, even healthy, to mark the passing of time with an occasion such as a birthday, anniversary, Christmas or New Year.
It’s true, you can make a resolution anytime. Need to lose weight? Start tomorrow, if not today (even if it’s July). Don’t start a diet; change your lifestyle. You can’t cheat lasting results. Bad habits must be dropped for good, but you don’t have to beat yourself up when you slip up now and then. The same is true for nearly any lasting change you want to make. This includes career goals, increase and/or improved quality time with your family, or better use of your time to allow for more creative outlets. Any of these require intentional, permanent changes. If you think you just can’t get around to it right now, then you should probably question how important it really is to you.
When we started Bad Apple Records in 2001, I’m sure no one believed we’d still be kicking 15 years later. It hasn’t been easy, but we aren’t giving up any time soon. The past couple of years have been the most exciting. The older I get, the more I realize the practical advice above applies to the creative space as well. Most, if not all, of our artists are bi-vocational. I have to balance a career in digital marketing to pay the bills with the things that I consider my calling and identity – a husband, a father, a church Deacon, and an artist.
If I want to write, be it a song or story or even a blog post, I have to set aside time and practice. I have to set aside time to book house shows and full-band performances so people will hear it. If I want more than just my closest friends and family to hear it, I have to set aside some time to travel. I have to take a few chances. If I want the label to grow, then we have work to do. We started a lot of that work last year, and we plan to take it to the next level for 2016. If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll consider subscribing to our weekly podcast on iTunes, Spreaker, or the iOS Podcasts app. Maybe you’d even consider visiting our page on Patreon and looking at the goals we have set. You can help for as little as $1 per month and get a lot of cool music in return.
I’d also like to encourage you to take this time of year to set aside some time (even just fifteen minutes a day or once a week for an hour) to do something you love. Maybe you used to play guitar, or write poetry, or paint… and maybe life eventually got in the way. There is nothing wrong with that by the way. It happens to all of us, but you will never get it back until you carve out the space and time to do it. You might be surprised to find it there waiting for you – like that rare kind of friend who picks things up with you right where you left off, as if you never left. Happy New Year!
For fun, we asked our artists about their New Year resolutions…
“I want to be more consistent. In 2015 I would go through stages of a lot of growth where I could really feel my voice strengthen and my range expand. I would write a song or two a day for weeks at a time and really work my creative muscles… But then I’d have a dry spell that would last a month or so. I’ve been writing a lot lately and I’m intent on not letting this be just another season of great productivity followed by horrendous writers block. I want it to be a consistent practice that lasts all year, especially if that means having to be uncomfortable and think outside of the box when inspiration is running low.”
– Taylor Dooley, Wintering
“Deathly serious 2016 plans: I hope to continue playing acoustic gigs literally anywhere that will have me, and begin production for my 2nd EP, a full band record entitled Always Alive.”
– Derek Price, Sempervivi
“2016 may be the year that I actually put as much thought and care into learning to play my guitar better as I do into buying more guitars… Maybe.”
– Josiah Murphy, Why They Came
“Finish Axe at the Root.”
– Cort Basham, Redfoot
“I resolve to be Trump’s pick for VP.”
– Jon Gore, Re-Education Camp
“I resolve to listen to more Kelly Clarkson than I already do.”
– Sarah Miles, label co-founder