What It Feels Like To Walk Away

AMA Life Making Art

I’m one week away from the start of my summer holidays and I’m really starting to look forward to it. It’s been a pretty intense year so far. The past 6 months have seen the completion of the mixing and mastering of the record, the photoshoots, the design work, the crowdfunding, the manufacturing, the music videos, and now we are gearing up to the release.

But I’ve really enjoyed all of it and despite it being very intense, I haven’t felt overwhelmed or burnt out. On the contrary I’ve felt excited and energised by it all.

Couple of weeks ago I popped an impromptu question on my Facebook and Insta pages for AMAs (Ask Me Anything) and got some great questions. I’ve been thinking about how to respond to them. Should I make videos or maybe even turn them into a season of podcasts? But then I thought, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing - which is writing my blog. I really don’t need another big creative project in my life, so I’m trying to keep it simple. 🙂


So, here’s the first question.

Did you feel as though you had turned your back on your art/ music when the band (Velcra) went its separate ways, or did you still feel as though it was a key part of your life?

First of all, let me take a few steps back, in case you’re new here (hello!), or don’t know my full story.

I was in an industrial metal band called Velcra for almost 10 years. We were signed to Virgin Records and released 2 albums with them, and then proceeded to release the third album through our own label Underarts. During that time the band was my first priority even though I also had a really cool, and equally demanding job. We worked hard on our music, spent a long time making those records, and we toured a lot, too.

The band was my dream, and at that, a dream come true, as well. But it was an all-consuming thing in my life, and everything else needed to be worked around the plans and commitments that I had for the band. To be honest I’m not sure it’s possible to be in a band in a serious way, if you don’t prioritise it over everything. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of crazy hours. Some people do it whilst having full-time jobs and families, but I’m really not sure how that works in practice.

When Velcra went its separate ways, I was looking forward to having the space to do other things. I no longer had to plan my life around the schedules of 5-7 other people. I wanted to move permanently to England, and it was the first thing I did. It also felt good to just have one job for a while!

But at the time I was very committed to the band and making music had been the north star in my life. Suddenly not having it in my life left a huge void and at first I had no idea what to fill it with.

I wrote about the experience on a spiritual / personal development blog called Tiny Buddha about 4 years ago. At the time I was blogging about creativity in general and I wanted to try guest posting for bigger blogs. Tiny Buddha is a huge spiritual/personal development site with millions of readers, so I was surprised even to get accepted and published. I was also surprised by the overwhelming response that I got to my post. Looks like there are a lot of burnt out artists out there!

Here’s the article if you’re interested to read it. I want to point out that I wrote it in the style of Tiny Buddha, which is a bit more emo than my usual, more straight forward way.

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/when-your-dream-dies-and-youre-not-sure-what-to-do-next/

There’s no going back

I wouldn’t say I walked away from creativity, after the band. I did attempt at writing some solo stuff, but I really didn’t have a clue of the direction I wanted to take after industrial metal. The only thing I knew was that I didn’t want to do industrial metal anymore, and I didn’t want to be part of a band anymore.

After music, my main creative pursuit was writing. I wrote a monthly column to a Finnish newspaper for 5 years. I started and killed several blogs. Then I discovered the incredible world of scents and natural ingredients. I created my own natural cosmetics brand, and really discovered a big passion for making perfumes and skin care. I still make pretty much all of my skincare and bath and body products myself.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you know that music sort of decided to come back to my life, instead of me deciding to go back to it. It sounds weird, and weird it is, but that’s what happened. I’m the kind of person who always wants to move forward and explore new things. I have little interest in nostalgia or re-living some glory days of my younger years.

But music decided to come back, and here I am, my first solo release in full swing.

I wrote about this experience for Tiny Buddha as well, and this week they published my post. I felt that the earlier post needed a bit of an update and a follow-up. So I wrote a bit about how music came back to my life, and how I re-ignited my love and passion for it.

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/why-my-passion-died-when-i-was-living-the-dream/

So, to summarise the answer to the question above; I didn’t feel like I had turned by back on my band, or on art or on my life as I knew it. I did feel that it was time to move on and do other things. I felt that I no longer enjoyed it and gradually I had even grown resentful. By staying committed to my band I was also denying myself the opportunity to do other things.

Velcra will always be a big part of my life and my identity. It has shaped me in profound ways, and this record would not have happened, if I hadn’t done and learned all the amazing things that I did in the band.

Thanks for the question, and feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments, or email me further questions or thoughts.

Jessi.

Ps. Have you seen these? The vinyl is finally here, and you can order yours here!


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