What does it mean to be constantly exhausted and misunderstood? Take a seat.
I grew up watching artists on stage. I grew up on stage. I grew up behind the stage.
Absolutely everything I’ve worked towards since I was 15 years old has been to entertain the masses. I started playing guitar at 6. I joined my first bands at 14, my first year in high school. I was lucky enough to be amongst some of the most talented musicians that the school had seen, even to this day, those musicians remain successful. I also skipped a really boring class with a friend, who showed me a great way to get out of that class was to join the “Sound and Light” crew. I fell in love with stage lighting and audio engineering as much as music itself. I studied theatrical production in college. I worked in live theatre, In rock and roll as a moving light technician, cranking out shows for bands on your iPod, like Alexisonfire, and large corporate events. I helped form the early stages of a band that would eventually blossom into Polarity. I found a house with Mike Smith and rented it so we’d have a jam space. I racked up over $12,000 in debts quitting a job that mistreated me. I stood up for myself, and I was rewarded with something better. I meet tons of people. I see so many things, and visit so many places. My work and our music has taken me to places I never would have ventured on my own. I pay the bills working as a professional in the entertainment industry. I’ve climbed slowly up the ladder with patience.
Don’t ever call it luck. It didn’t land in my lap, and I sacrificed everything to get here. I see people intently reflecting on their 12 hour day and think to myself “I just did 20 hours, then 19, then 19 again… so…” I get tired. I get sore. I drive home with my eyes half open. I show up to polarity shows with insomnia. I miss family functions, I cancelled and postponed so many things with the person I loved the most, that I eventually lost them. I’ve been clinging on to a dream for 14 years, watching everything and everyone around me slip away except for my bandmates and my co-workers.
Why do I do this to myself? Because I need a purpose and because without that purpose, I’m useless to anyone I love anyway. I need to be happy, and when I play songs for YOU, I’m happy. When we make an album for YOU, I’m happy. When I make your wedding day that extra special, or your business meeting that much more enjoyable, make your band look badass with cues that sync to your music, bring your conceptual idea to life, or simply make that Christmas party of yours extra colorful… I’m happy. When I hear how much you liked our music video for Tug of War, I remember how hard I worked on it. With a volunteer crew of 3 + me, the back dock of a warehouse, a bunch of lighting from my shop and literally three days straight with no sleep with a work week before and after… I feel happy, and proud. I’m not lucky…. I’m successful.
I might be tired… but I’m still here, and I’m still struggling to make a significant change to what we define as music while being in Polarity. I’m being pulled like most people into what most people think music is now, but I’m digging my fingernails into the ground creating as much resistance as I can in order to hold on to what MY idealism of music should be. That’s what saved me when I was young and needed a path, and if I don’t participate in keeping integrity and storytelling in music alive, then nobody in the future will be saved. That’s unacceptable.
This photo was taken by Anna Sklavos. You all know her photography, because it’s in every other post for the last few weeks. In the spirit of who I am, this is a behind the scenes outtake photo from Lee’s Palace, prior to Bovine, where I was also the promoter for the show, with Jasmine helping me book and make a poster, and the boys pimping it out DIY style.
I’d go on and on, but it’s about 1am, and the event I’m working on is currently winding down, So I’ll need to shut down my remote workstation so I can be back here for 6am. Always a pleasure folks! See you in February wink emoticon
– Jason Swait