"It’s funny when people claim poetry is boring when it has been my main weapon to fight boredom"
The Bad Bubble Universe is a vast and boundless world that mirrors the expansiveness of our own universe. In the previous part of the discussion, the artist shed light on his creative concept, Anna, and the role of music in his work. In this part, the conversation deepens as he delves into a range of topics, including Anniversary of the EP 'The Mall Chronicles' , love, philosophy, and the dark side of the music industry.
As the artist explores the theme of love in his work, he touches on the different shades of this complex emotion - from the sweet, innocent kind to the more tumultuous, destructive variety. He speaks of the role of love in inspiring his music and driving his creative process, as well as the ways in which it can be both a source of comfort and pain.
IB: Hello, BB. We're happy to talk to you again. After our first conversation, I've been thinking a lot about the topics we discussed - your creative path, your ideas and difficulties, and the power of music, as well as the challenges faced by musicians when it comes to promotion. In our previous chat, you mentioned that you were contemplating the length of your project and whether it could extend beyond 8 albums. Can you tell us more about your thoughts?
BAD BUBBLE: Hello. Thank you for having me back. Yes, the length of the discography. When putting this together, it wasn’t as difficult as one would think. I get asked this a lot by individual people so this is a great question I can hopefully shed light on.
I didn’t pull 160 songs out of a hat. I first knew I would have themes (albums), sub-themes (EP’s), and anecdotes/various ramblings which needed daylight (single releases). Starting with the main themes, I simply wrote down all major events, feelings, breakdowns, and other relevant situations. I then singled out the main ones, which in this case, there were six. I was left with 6 albums, which if not present, would not give an accurate account. I knew I needed context for each album. That is what the EP’s are for. Each EP is released right before the album. This is supposed to give the listener a brief description of what they are about to experience. Each single, supplements both EP and Album. 6 albums, 6 EP’s and 40 (ish) single releases. All totaling a little over 160.
When mentioning my reflections on whether or not 160 was enough, I was referring to things I hope do not hurt this story. The main one I cannot do anything about. Underscore. Underscore is a very private and complicated person. She would never do anything like this. However, when this is all said and done, it will be missing her account. I cannot begin to explain the lengths I went through to tell her side. But if you knew Underscore, you would agree that is an almost impossible thing to achieve. We are very much alike, but very different at the same time. She is not as vocal about her thoughts and reflections on anything/everything. She would never let on about what she thinks. And this situation is a powerfully painful experience. So I understand. I also understand it is especially, and obviously a tragic experience for all mothers. I know. This has been at the core of my apprehensions. However, at the same time, I have the right to my feelings and my displays of them. I am Anna’s father. That means everything to me. And I have tried keeping everything bottled in to the detriment of my mind and my heart. This, by the way, will be addressed in album 5. So I’ve tried her way and it didn’t work. That said, I have taken every precaution to maintain her privacy and dignity, while expressing my pain. It is a very fine and dangerous line to walk. What would be missing from this story is her pain. And her happiness. And everything in between I am unable to give but have done my absolute best in this endeavor. Underscore is aware of Bad Bubble, by the way. She is indifferent. I’m sure she has an opinion of it. But God only knows what that may be. She doesn’t show her cards. I’m not exactly sure how much more that would add but at least 1-2 albums worth I would imagine. But again, Underscore doesn’t work this way. Underscore will be absent in albums 5 and 6, but returns for EP’s and Albums 7 and 8.
IB: In your project, the central theme is love. You employ your knowledge as a guiding force, taking the listener on a journey through the multifaceted world of love. Could you share with us whether your project has helped you understand your own feelings and brought you closer to answering the eternal question of 'what is love'?
BAD BUBBLE: A magnificent question. Unfortunately, the answer must remain my opinion. Love is something which cannot be measured scientifically. Cannot be studied scientifically. Cannot be discussed scientifically, as there is no proof to its existence other than the grief of loved ones during our departure. Yet it has lit the world for thousands of years. Love is existent in every culture on Earth in one form or another with zero exemptions. But science cannot even prove its existence. And this is the beauty of a poet. Because we can take it from there…
However, this is where I differ from a lot of fellow poets. It has been my experience that love is not a good thing. I am convinced of this. It has done me far more harm than good. In fact, I can’t think of anything good other than the experience of my version of a father’s love. But that is it. Love has twisted my mind and my heart irreparably. Not only from my family, but from many, many other things I assure we will get to in the near future. Love has killed millions and millions of people throughout history. Every political madman has done this. How many acts of violence have stemmed from some lunatic’s idea of love? Or their idea of self love (Greed)? Or was it that they felt love or was it something else? Because I assure you, to them, it was love. Love is a dangerous weapon and it is in the hands of a lot of people who wield it as such. It causes chaos. It causes pain and I have come to hate the existence of love. But to extinguish it will leave a vacuum. And that void will be filled with what? Indifference? This is the question I ponder every day because I only wish to fill the void with something which will cause me no further harm. I have eliminated my existence from others as I live separate and apart from anyone and everyone and have for many years for this very reason. However, this separation also causes harm to the mind and the heart. As human beings, for whatever reason, we need other human beings. So you can imagine my dilemma. That’s not to say I feel nothing. I do very much. Care, compassion, empathy, etc. But to answer your question, how has this project helped understand my feelings on this issue, I must simply submit my evidence to the pain. And shame. And every other negative feeling which stemmed from the evil of love. And to deny this is an act of willful ignorance. Love is not good. Argue it is not bad, and I will entertain that argument. But it would be a mistake to not entertain mine.
IB: Poetry seems to be your calling. It appears to me that when a talent is revealed, it is both a gift and a curse. Many people may not recognize their inclinations or simply ignore what they are truly talented in. How did you realize that your talent was poetry and how did you avoid missing your calling in life?
BAD BUBBLE: Correct. 100%. It is both a gift and a curse. It is a gift considering it is a way to communicate the abstract. For those who have this ability, you’ll find many like minds. When I began writing poetry it was, of course, horrible. It took me years to develop it to where it is now. After everything, it still may not be any good. I suppose that is subjective in a sense but we’re always improving on things which matter. The length it took me to be comfortable having it read by others was the curse. I mean it took a long, long time before I was comfortable enough to let anyone at all read it.
I also had to learn my place. I am a blue collar guy so I had to learn to embrace that part of me. Now, I’m just as comfortable alone in a public library reading Vonnegut as I am alone in a tavern on a barstool. Reflections from this demographic need to be heard just as much as any other. In fact, more so as things as they are or seem to be.. If I can convey this point of view better and make it stick to those with the right eyes and ears, I will be doing good in the world. I began writing poetry out of necessity but it stuck. Deep down I knew I shouldn’t rely on anyone to convey the message of the music as I could not find many who were willing to commit fully.. I always had this issue of finding the right people to work with until 2022, when I could represent myself. So I had to write the lyrics for songs. It was rough starting out because I would try and try but it was never right. It took me about 10 years of solid writing to be able to produce words with the appropriate trajectory. I just kept at it. Even during my hiatus from music, I wrote poetry. No one ever read it but that didn’t matter. It was a way for me to make sense of being the beneficiary of the lonely. Anna. Underscore. My own place in this world. My childhood. Love. Hate. Regret. And time. I couldn’t imagine not having poetry as my main tool. It is one of very few consistencies I claim. It has helped me navigate and to process. It’s funny when people claim poetry is boring when it has been my main weapon to fight boredom. Poetry is a powerful ally. I firmly believe it is not until we are content with never being heard, are we ready to finally be heard.
IB: In a previous interview, you mentioned that you had tried your hand at the music business and left feeling disgusted by it. Can you tell us more about your experience and what happened? Many musicians strive for a big stage and popularity, but it's not always clear what awaits them. Can you reveal this secret?
BAD BUBBLE: Sure. At the time, I was in a band. I will never do that again. I had no choice but to be dependent on other people. Not just band members, but other people, who I never even met would get in the way. Bosses. Babysitters. Everyone who could get in the way made sure they did just that. I always had a strong work ethic. So when others, who I depend on to do what they say they will do, end up not doing what they’re supposed to…It doesn’t sit well. On top of that, I had to deal with people like the “guitar player's girlfriend” (just using this as an example. The guitar player never had a girlfriend. I was the guitar player), who if she had an argument, it would affect things. I had to deal with so much just to get on the stage. This is when people would see just how much we sucked because of the lack of practice. This stemmed from the drama of people who weren't even on the stage. I can mention other things, of course. The drugs and alcohol was a wonderment to have to deal with on a regular basis. Especially alcohol, which anyone seemed to be able to bring because it was so cheap and readily available. That caused me more headache than one can imagine and I do not drink regularly. It’s also hard to teach a group of people a new song when there are 30 people there for a regular Wednesday session, who by the way brought their drama into the mix. I had to fight that before I could begin to get anywhere in this business, which is an impossible fight under the absolute best of circumstances. It was things like this which just made me throw my hands in the air and say adios. At that time, I was entirely dependent on others. Now I’m not. It’s just me. I no longer have to deal with anyone. So if I fail now, it’s on me. There is no one else to blame but myself. This is how it should have been then. As far as other musicians are concerned, I would ask if they only have one goal. To “make it big” isn’t likely. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have. In fact, your talent may work against you considering the music industry's constant push of mediocrity. That said, have more than one goal. Have several goals. Why not? No one said this is zero-sum. We can make of this what we may. So make it good and be consistent. I think that is the secret. Have many goals and don’t strive to “make it big”. If you got that, would you really want it? Seems to me anyone who does has to forgo so much of themselves, they’re unrecognizable a year later. Not to mention miserable. We all can just do the best we can.
IB: In 2024, you plan to release a collection of poems based on your experiences in the music industry. Can you share with us your plans for this compilation? Will it be an e-book or a printed product?
BAD BUBBLE: Absolutely.Most likely, e-book. However, it is not based solely on my experiences. I had a recent change in plans. I’ve decided to still write about my experience in the music scene, but I’m not decided yet as to whether or not it's a love letter or a hate letter. Or both. Love for my fellow artists and those who work hard everyday trying to do their part. Or will it be an expose on the con artists, gatekeepers, etc. I believe a blog form or perhaps an article will suffice. I would rather there be no ambiguity. The poetry can be saved for a couple of different ideas I have kicking around. A collection of poems which did not get made into song for this project, but could very well have? Or just lyrics in general as most of my songs are indeed in poem form. I haven't got the details pinned down as of yet, but it will be something along those lines. However it will play out, I am so excited. I’ve always wanted to release a collection of poetry. I’ve also met many poets on Instagram. There are so many wonderful poets there. I really wish I would have known about them from however long they've been there. A very talented group, indeed.
IB: This question still worries me since our first interview. How many tracks or materials didn't make it to the final version of your project or album? And how challenging is it for you to choose material for your albums?
BAD BUBBLE: Ah, yes. I get asked this a lot. And you will simply have to take my word on this as there is no way for me to prove the following. As of inventory count on 4/17/23, I have 735 songs which are written and recorded to completion. I have another 121 which needs something added like vocals, melody, strings, etc. These were written and recorded from January, 2022 until present day. The 160 I am releasing were mainly done in three months, October 2021-January 2022. Since then I’ve been basically making them sound as good as possible. At the going rate I pay now, it will cost me an additional $28,750 to mix master. If all were completed, I could stop writing and release one track every day for almost 3 years. Yes, this is a lot of music, indeed. But it’s also sad. It’s a reflection on my lack of life. I have no friends or family to keep me from going to the studio everyday. So, I write. All I do is write. So when I give this figure, I’m not bragging, believe me. I should be a father and a husband. Instead I do this. So I have plenty of time for preparation.
Regarding the process of choosing which tracks. I simply looked for where a song was needed. Album 1? 4?7? I just wrote it lyrically aimed at the place I need it to be. I’ve simplified everything fairly well so that if something needs tweaking, I can replace it fairly quickly. I also have the added bonus of having a couple of years in some cases to really look over the album and make sure everything is how I need it to be.
I suppose the exact answer to your question is, as of 4/17/23, there are 575 complete tracks, ready for engineering which did not make the cut for whatever reason, with an additional 121 that needs work before the engineer sees it. But remember, prolific is not synonymous with good…
IB: April 29th is approaching, marking the anniversary of your EP, 'The Mall Chronicles.' Can you share more about the inspiration behind the EP and how you came up with the title? Additionally, can you recall a particular moment or experience that solidified your decision to name it 'The Mall Chronicles'?
BAD BUBBLE: The Mall Chronicles is about pain and abuse. The mall near where I grew up is where Underscore and I both went to when we were young. We didn’t know each other then, but we both experienced the magical place our mall was back in the day. I loved it. I mean I really loved what it was back then. A fun place where I spent the better part of my young years. My only good memory. But it is the worst part of my younger years which paved the motivation behind The Mall Chronicles.
I was severely bullied as a child. I usually don’t like referring to what I dealt with as bullying. This went much further past that mediocre word. I’ve been beaten, made fun of, spit on more times than I could possibly count. I’ve been humiliated and tormented the entire time from 2nd grade until my Junior year of high school. I once was beaten very badly after being chased by 8 other students, none of whom I had ever spoken to. The school bus was the worst. I would dread it twice a day as there is no place for me to go when trapped on it. Growing up, I learned how to dread. I never went to a dance, prom, homecoming, nothing. I won’t get too detailed with anything but I do have one story which will give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I once went to a park with my brother to meet friends of his. When I got there, they told me to stay there and they would be back. It didn’t take long for a group to approach and throw rocks at me. I had never even been to that park before nor did I know anyone there. That's how easily I was identified as a target. This went on 5 days a week for years, and I could go on and on. When I was seven, I developed a horrible stutter. It was so severe, I did not speak correctly until I was 17. Even when alone, I could not speak. I lost my ability to speak for almost 10 years. I apologize for these horrible details, but to understand the answer to your question, I have to give you something I suppose. But to end on a high note, when I was 17, I grew. And they all stopped. Funny how that worked out.
Teachers and various administrators didn’t know what to do with me as they all thought I was a special needs child because I couldn’t/didn’t say anything. If you listen to the end of “Red Warp”, it sounds like time is standing still. Because it was. The song “Sell the Kids” has a line in it, “I’d better stay away myself but I just may miss the trauma”. This sums it up. I was so used to it. I thought that was my purpose. Those that did this never took a day off. It was every single day and it left me with the after effects which are commonplace when a person had to deal with that as a child. Underscore had a similar childhood, but not to my extent. Underscore and I had much in common. As it seemed to us back then, this life on this planet was punishing us for something. I never found out why. When Underscore told me what she had to deal with, I was in tears. The world always hated us, it seemed. I’ve often had the thought the world didn’t want any of my family. Me, Underscore, or Anna. I would love to believe these things aren't personal, but I assure you, when you're beaten with tools and sticks. When they even go after your dog because she belongs to you, it's personal. It's very personal. You learn your place, fast.
I wanted the Mall Chronicles to be a way for me to deal with this part of the parade. Or at least answer some questions for the listener as to why I did what I did later on in the story, album 5. I guess ask yourself, what would you do? I wrote The Mall Chronicles.. Hopefully it will help and I can put that part of my life in its place and it will stay there.
IB: 'The Mall Chronicles' sounds very 80s style. We live in a time when technology is developing at an incredible speed. Just a few 20 years ago, it was hard to imagine that drums and guitar could be played through a computer and the sound would be no worse than that of live instruments. Why do you choose to use hardware instead of software to create your music?
BAD BUBBLE: My mother is a great piano player. I mean when she plays, everyone stops and watches. I learned from her, more or less. She showed me the basics and I took it from there. She is where I got my ear. Aside from the keys, she has a magnanimous ear. We both have the ability to “sound it out”. She used to say that to me when I had a question. “Just sound it out”, which means shut up and find the note. So it’s from her that I prefer the keys over a mouse. Yes, you can do more on software, but I enjoy playing. I even do takes, and this surprises some. When I record, if I mess up, I start over. I have 3 sequencers I’ve never once used. I prefer playing. When you play something over and over, you get really good at what it is you’re doing. So my skill level goes way up. I’m sure it works somewhat the same for software, but hardware makes me feel more like a musician. Not that I have anything against software, I don’t. But I just prefer the feeling of accomplishment when I make something from nothing on a set of keys.
I watched a good friend of mine work on a song with her software. Saphira 79. (saphira_79 on instagram). She does amazing work. Spectacular work. I then realized the new tech allows music to come out of artists that would not have if not for the software. After all, they still have to write it. They still have to make a decent melody. They still have to have a good hook here and there. Now, when it comes to synthwave, I do wish I could hear vocals at least every now and again, but it is what it is. So I really don’t discern much between the two. Show me an old schooler who scoffs at the new way and I’ll ask if he knows how to work the software. It’s not easy. And vice versa. It’s all art. And it’s all beautiful in my house.
IB: How do you think the rapid development of technology has affected the music industry, and what do you see as the pros and cons of using technology to create music compared to traditional methods?
BAD BUBBLE: We have AI here now. The Jury is still out on it from what I’m gathering from my small corner. A lot of artists are far too willing to embrace the next piece of tech. And I get it, new gear is fun. It’s like Christmas all over again. But I would really watch out on this one. AI can write your music for you. Is that what you would want? It’s going to change a lot and I think it may go bad for us. It will definitely take jobs away from people who need work. It’s kinda scary but we’ll have to wait and see. The indie scene does a damn good job policing itself and does its best to warn the newbies of who to steer clear of. So a huge heads up needs to be broadcasted about using AI. Again, I’m no expert as the jury is still out. I’m a writer, not a technology expert. But AI could be a little shady. I could be wrong but we’ll see. To give some pros of it I would have to say if you need any information on anything, it will get it for you and tell you every step to take in seconds. Whether it be for EPK templates or full biographies, it can help do anything. Just know the more it does for you, the less of an artist you’ll become. That’s just my opinion.
IB: And the final question. What's your favorite way to unwind and relax after a long day in the studio? Do you have any hobbies or activities you enjoy outside of music?:)
BAD BUBBLE: Actually, the studio is my way to relax. It’s my sacred room in the middle of nowhere. I actually hate coming out of here. In here, I know what I’m doing and I am writing about pain whereas out there I’m experiencing it. But I get the spirit of the question. I’m a bit of a clean freak. When you live alone, especially when you are depressed and experiencing head issues of whatever kind, it’s important to keep a tidy house. That makes everything worse. So I actually enjoy cleaning. God, I’m a total weirdo, but my house is clean! And of course the love of books. Right now, I’m about to finish reading Vertical by Rex Pickett. Excellent book. A sequel to a fairly famous movie, Sideways. (Read the book, always). After which, I’m thinking of returning to Frederick Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, which is basically a sequel of sorts from some earlier work of his. I like this book a little more simply because I always seem to return to it. Other than that, it’s poetry. I write an incredible amount of poetry. Perhaps I should release a couple of books?
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