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  • Nathan Yoder

A DC Farewell

Alright! This is it, folks!

I haven't planned some grand send-off message heading into this, so I guess I'll just start typing and see what comes out.

Oh, and go ahead and hit "play" on the song below. Turn the volume all the way up as you read and I'll try to type enough so the song will sync up with my words. Ha! Or if you're like me and can't read while listening to vocal music, just play it once you finish reading.

I started Deepest Currents back in the summer of 2016 (on my 30th birthday to be exact) as a Wordpress hobby blog. I'd appreciated (and consumed) the heck outta all types of music since I was a little kid, and I thought it'd be fun to write about that love a bit. For a of couple years, I periodically published my musings online to a readership of zero, but it was such a satisfying practice that my lack of audience didn't matter to me at all. I didn't go to school for writing or journalism or anything like that, so it simply felt good to be experimenting with a new, unfamiliar skill.

Fast-forward to 2019. I was feeling pretty shitty about a lot of things, including my job, and I had started seeing a career counselor.

*A quick sidebar here: I'd recommend career counseling to anyone. It's great.

Anyway, through that counseling experience, I began to realize that while I did not necessarily need to pivot into the music journalism field, I did need to make writing a bigger part of my life. I had so much fun reporting on albums and shows and such, and wanted to spend more of my waking hours listening to sounds and playing with words. I launched on January 1st, 2020, ditching Wordpress for a fancier (but far from professional) Wix website.

So my motivations for starting DC were rooted in curiosity and playfulness, but I'll totally admit that I was also looking for access and free shit. I'd freelanced for a couple different local publications by that point, and realized that if you simply said you were a music journalist and asked nicely, you could get into shows and talk to artists. I was hemorrhaging money paying for concerts and records, and was like, "Hey, maybe I can trade write-ups for tickets." And it worked for a while! I cold-called (or cold-messaged, I suppose) a bunch of labels and artists and heard back from a few. Mary Lattimore was the first to be like, "Yeah, I'll put you on my PDX guest list, no problem," and right as I was about to do my first Treefort reporting, Covid shut everything down.

Whew! This hiatus message is turning into a history piece. Let's keep going I guess!

By April 2020 I had quickly shifted DC into a site focused on album reviews, artist interviews, playlists, and song premieres, and like many folks that spring, I was stuck at home with scads of spare time. This kicked off the busiest (and most fruitful) period of Deepest Currents. There would be some weeks where I'd crank out like four or five multi-paragraph pieces! I was listening to thousands of hours of music and had a lot to say, apparently. This is also the span of time during which the tone of my writing shifted from "trying-to-sound-like-a-stuffy-professional," to "non-serious-first-person-just-have-fun-with-it." It felt so good, too, to promote artists' work during this lockdown period. If any of my silly little posts helped sell a record or two, I saw it as a win.

Looking back, this two-year span really felt like the golden era of Deepest Currents.

But eventually, like they had in 2019, my feelings toward music writing began to evolve once again. By the summer of 2022 I was pretty well cooked. I was tired of following the weekly album release cycle. I'm not sure if people understand this, but it takes so so so much time to maintain a semi-comprehensive release calendar - and this doesn't even account for listening to the actual music or writing about it! Anyway, it's exhausting.

This fast-paced cycle was also starting to fuck up my brain in a big way. I noticed that I was beginning to approach new releases with a sort of hyper-consumerist lens, barreling through albums and never revisiting them again. It was too surface-level. It felt gross. I wanted to slow down. I missed how it felt to sit with an album again and again, not feeling the pressure to move on to the next new release.

I also felt like I was running out of words. After 200+ pieces, it seemed that I'd relayed all my cute anecdotes and pop culture references. Writing not only became more exhausting, but also more difficult. My creative juices were drying up.

Speaking of things that are increasingly exhausting and difficult: I've really wanted to stop promoting things on social media. It's a soul-sucking practice that has turned my brain into mush, and it's going to be so freeing to allow the DC socials to collect dust.

And this last reason is maybe just a byproduct of getting older: but I just can't handle shows and festivals like I used to. One of the main reasons I started Deepest Currents in the first place was to get into events for free, but when those events stop feeling fun, that motivation evaporates.

Oh, I'm also gonna drop this here: my wife and I are expecting our first child, due in just a few weeks now, and there's no fucking way I'll have time for this anymore.

So that's it I guess! I've loved this project so much for the past seven-and-a-half years, but I think it's a good time to call it quits. It's given me incredible joy, but now I'm ready to let it go.

But hey! Let's not end on a long list of complaints and then an awkward baby announcement. Wanna do some shout-outs? Let's do some shout-outs! I'm just going to start listing folks as they pop into my head, so here we go:

First, a shout-out to the artist who inspired the site's name: Thanks for the lyrics, Liz, and for all of your art.

While we're on artists, a massive thanks to those who agreed to DC interviews. I won't link all the pieces here, but through simple questionnaires, back-and-forth DMing, long distance phone calls, local chats, and thoughtful email correspondence, I learned so much about various inspirations, joys, challenges, and creative processes.

That last link was to an interview I did with the American Dreams Records team, so let's move to labels next. ADR showed me so such kindness (and mailed me so much music!) as we were both finding our footing back in 2020. When thinking of other labels I've highlighted a lot, I just gotta shout out Orindal. Owen's always got something on my year-end favorites list, so if you're reading this: thanks for your thoughtful curation. Oh, also kranky. Gotta love kranky stuff. Jeez, are all these labels based in Chicago? Let's go abroad. I've fallen in love with the Warm Winters + mappa sound out of Slovakia and also Kitchen Label's catalogue across the Pacific in Japan, and those are about as far as you can get from the Midwest.

But I gotta give Portland's Beacon Sound their own paragraph. Thanks for everything, Andrew: the music, sure, but also for all of the writing opportunities and events you invited me to join over the years. I'm so happy to keep supporting what you do.

Oh god, and speaking of opportunities: a MASSIVE thanks to both Pickathon and Treefort - my two music festival loves. Covering you both over the years has been such a joy. Shit, maybe I'll fire up DC again someday when it's time to bring my kid to these fests.

There are so so so many more folks to thank, but I gotta cut myself off because this piece is getting way too long and sappy. Let's wrap it up.

So lastly, what should you do if you've been using Deepest Currents as a place to find much of your new music? Where should you look now? Well lucky for you, I've got some suggestions! Start by following all of the above labels. I'm sure they'll keep releasing excellent music for years to come. Fuck it, you could also just go through the recently whittled-down list of the 200-ish IG accounts DC follows - it's basically a collection of my favorite labels and artists.

But that's just a starting point - there are so many other music media folks doing great work who you should consider following. Brad Rose, who runs Foxy Digitalis, is essentially covering every musical thing that I wish I could, if I had more time and energy. Keep it up, Brad! Philip Sherburne is my music writing idol, and subscribing to his Futurism Restated newsletter is a must. Check out all his Pitchfork reviews too. But perhaps most importantly, read everything on A Closer Listen - the gold standard in music journalism. They do it better than anyone else, and honestly, other than label mailers and IG, it's where I find most of my music. I'm sure that even though I'm stepping away from the writing game, I'll still be a frequent visitor to their site. Maybe I'll ask to write for them again someday, too.

Welp, I think that about wraps it up. If you've made it this far, I wanna thank you one final time for your readership. I've said it a million times, but running Deepest Currents has brought me so much joy, and it just makes me so happy that you've followed this little project of mine. Hopefully you've discovered some new sounds along the way.

People are so friendly, generous, and creative, and I'm happy to have gotten to know y'all.

Much love. Blast those final notes!



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