The Obelisk is Seven Years Old Today

the-obelisk-seven-years

Seven years. Seven years! That’s longer than any job I’ve ever had. When it came around on the calendar, I almost didn’t believe it, like there was no way 2009 could’ve been so long ago.

This one has been on my mind a while, I won’t lie. Seven years is not a short amount of time, and I’ve had to kind of sit with it, chew on it, think about what The Obelisk has come to mean to me and what I’ve gotten and continue to get out of doing this. Seven years ago, when I put up the first post, I had no idea what this thing would become, or how long it would go. I still don’t.

But a couple years ago, it really started to sink in to me that this is probably as far as I go in terms of any kind of meaningful contribution. For better or worse. I’m 34 years old. If I was going to wind up working for some big-time rock mag (or hell, a big-time rock site), it would’ve happened. If I was going to be in a band that made a lasting impact through touring or album releases, it would’ve happened. I’ll never own that bar I’ve spent so much time and effort daydreaming about. Not that I necessarily want to do anything else — except own that bar, which I definitely want to do — but what I’ve got is this site. It’s not perfect — it’s needed a redesign for at least the last two years, the radio breaks, and I’ve still got HeavyPink singles to get rid of — and I think for a lot of people who come here it’s just an obnoxiously wordy place to find the name of a band and then click off to their Facebook or Bandcamp page or whatever, but it’s all I have. I’m proud of what I’ve done here, it’s just bittersweet to see these things in the light of seven actual years of my life. If The Obelisk has been of some use to you, I’m exceedingly grateful. I’m going to keep it going for as long as I can.

I have a few ideas I want to kick around and a few things I want to say to mark this occasion. If you have any feedback on any of it, I’d love to hear it in the comments:

The Obelisk All-Dayer

I can’t tell you what a thrill it was to confirm Mars Red Sky as the first band for the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer, to be held Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. I’ll probably announce another band in the next two or three weeks, but really, I want to stress that this isn’t a fest the way they normally go. I want it to be a party where everyone’s invited, everyone enjoys themselves, nobody gets harassed, nobody gets on anybody’s shit, everything’s chill. No drama, or at least as little drama as humanly possible. I want it to be a good time. If it’s a good time, I’ll be happy with it. If you haven’t bought one and/or want to support this site in any way, tickets are available here. The Facebook event page is here.

The Obelisk Presents

Next month I travel to Arizona for the Borderland Fuzz Fiesta. Way stoked on that. I’m helping present Heavy Metal Parking Lot 3 at SXSW. You may have noticed The Obelisk logos on posters for Maryland Doom Fest. I’ll be there as well hopefully come June, and of course April is Roadburn and not that I’m presenting it, but I have that warm going-home feeling knowing I’ll be back there. You might recall last month I presented a Kind show at the Vitus Bar. I’d like to start doing more of that kind of thing — and not just in New York. I mean around the world. I’ve hesitated in the past to associate The Obelisk with individual gigs, but if you’ve got a show and I think it’s cool, I’m all about it. I’d like to install a widget in the sidebar for upcoming gigs presented by the site, and I’d love to have that be as worldwide as humanly possible. How awesome would it be to have The Obelisk present a gig at Truckstop Alaska in Sweden? Or The Black Heart in London? Or some West Coast basement? I might not be able to be there, but I could post about the show in advance and at least give it a plug that way. Seems like it could be a really cool thing, and a kind of writing I haven’t done much of to-date.

Book Release

Speaking of writing, I’m happy to announce I have a book coming out. It’s called Electroprofen and the cover is by Adam Burke. Here it is, with the back on the left and the front on the right:

Electroprofen I-1400

It’s being pressed up through War Crime Recordings (with much thanks to Steve Murphy) and is a collection of short stories. Not music-related writing, fiction, but hopefully an otherworldly enough vibe one way or another that you get what I’m going for. The layout is being done now, hopefully it will be ready to go in Spring. So probably Summer. I’ll keep you posted either way. Preorders soon.

Merch

And speaking of preorders, thank you once again to everyone who put one in for a t-shirt or a hoodie from that sale in December. The last of the orders went out this past weekend and I’ve so far only heard from one person who probably should have his stuff who doesn’t, so yeah, that seems like a decent turnout. Merch wasn’t something I particularly wanted to do — frankly, if it’s not going to make me enough money to live on (and it’s not), I don’t see the point — but it turned out fine and I’ll probably do it again in another year or two. Not before. I’ve been hit up a couple times by people who missed the sale. Sorry. It wasn’t intended to be a permanent thing.

Interviews/Reviews/Etc.

I’ve been pretty happy over the last year with how the scope of how a review happens around here has broadened. Between the four Quarterly Reviews, track premieres, album streams and so on, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of not doing the same thing the same way all the time. I’d like to have more time for interviews. I’m doing the best I can in that regard, but it’s an area I hope to pick up and expand on in 2016. Haven’t yet — actually I got blown off last Friday for one, and sorry, but my new policy is I don’t call back. If you want me, I’m not exactly inaccessible between this site and social media. Time is short, which brings us to…

Time

Since last May, I’ve worked a full-time job in addition to doing this site. It hasn’t always been easy, particularly at the beginning and particularly for longer features — all the lists in December just about killed me — to find a balance between prioritizing the work I do for money and this site, which at this point I don’t think I could stop doing even if I wanted to. Which I don’t. But where I’ve felt the impact most is in my ability to go to shows. Not just that I have to get up in the morning to go to work, but I commute well over two hours driving every day and after that, I’ve got about zero energy left for going out, especially since any show, just about anywhere, requires another hour on the road. Most nights, I’m dragging ass up to bed, let alone rocking out at the club. I’d like to get to more shows, but please know that whether I do or I don’t, I’m doing as much as I can do with the life situation I’m currently in. I think it’s probably the same for a lot of people, and until someone wants to come along and give me $40k a year to run this site — not holding my breath — it’s the way it has to be. Thank you for your understanding.

THANK YOU

And thank you most of all for your continued support. I know there are people who’ve just found out about The Obelisk or who have come and gone. That’s fine. Nothing lasts forever. But at this point there are people who’ve stuck around for years and it absolutely amazes me that someone would do that. I’m humbled to think about it, and I appreciate it deeply. Thank you so much. This hasn’t been an easy year on any number of levels, and there are days where it’s this site carrying me through, so please know that I mean it when I say thanks.

I think I’ll leave it there for now. There’s a lot still to do today, and I wouldn’t want to be accused of lingering too long. Thank you again for supporting this site. Here’s to seven years and the next one already underway.

All the best,
JJ Koczan / H.P. Taskmaster

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21 Responses to “The Obelisk is Seven Years Old Today”

  1. darryl says:

    Dude, you rule. This site rules. You’ve done so much for the scene, it’s immeasurable. I’m proud to have released a CD on The Maple Forum. And I’m really looking forward to the book!!

  2. Thomas Andersen says:

    Thank YOU!

  3. Dan Blomquist says:

    First, I’m glad you have such a healthy creative outlet that helps keep you sane while at the same time informing so many of what’s going on in the scene. It would seem a most mutually beneficial arrangement for us all! Second, I think it’s great to see you & The Obelisk involved in bringing shows & events to life and look forward to enjoying many more of them in the future. Third, love my shirt and am eager to see what you come up with for your next merch run whenever that may be. Fourth, make sure to post where to find your book once it’s published and available. I’m sure that it will be a great read as you are truly gifted with the pen. Lastly, thank YOU JJ for dedicating so much of your time and yourself. Your dedication far exceeds some of the artists that you follow…and that is a true testament to the validity of your articles and what you do. You do it because you want to and for the love of it. You rock man.

  4. StevhanTI says:

    Yup, thanks all the way from Belgium. And if you want to present something in this neck of the woods, get in touch with the Yellowstock folks and go present their TENTH edition this summer: https://www.facebook.com/YellowstockConcerts I mean, that happening was even less likely than 7 years of The Obelisk.

    Keep up the good work and never apologize and don’t look back.

  5. pat says:

    Congrats JJ! You do a smash up job and I think all the above ideas sounds well worth your time and effort. As always, any way I can help contribute or spread the word through Geezer or Electric Beard Of Doom, I will continue to do so!

    Keep it up, sir!

    All the best.

  6. Jose Humberto says:

    The Obelisk es la onda!!!!!!!!

    ill be drinking a shoot of tequila for this great site

    your recommendations make me buy albums every week , im broke but happy :)

  7. darren says:

    Awesome news on the book, I will buy it ‘sight unseen’ as I truly enjoy the way your write and appreciate your enthusiasm for topics you enjoy! Keep up the great work…
    darren

  8. Chris West says:

    Haha, love the first post.

    7000 posts and now 7 years. Congratulations JJ on another fucking awesome achievement. Please don’t give up on the dream of owning that bar either, there’s plenty of time to get to that. I’m intrigued by the book and will keep an eye out for that.

    Chris.

  9. Justin says:

    Fucking amazing, JJ. Many happy returns to the Obelisk; where would we be without this hub of info and insight for all things heavy and underground? Although for me, it’s the heart and personality poured into every paragraph that commands my attention. Really, REALLY looking forward to your book my man.

  10. Ryno says:

    Cheers, man! I feel like I’ve watched a small, evil, baby grow into an intelligent, humble and seriously dedicated 7-year old. Keep the dream alive! Thanks for all the good shit over the years. Can’t wait to check out the book.

  11. Sam says:

    Congrats JJ. Your site provides the drugs to feed my habit! When you open that bar the first round is on me.

  12. qbeq says:

    Congrats, man! I’ve been diggin this site for many years, started about 2010/11. It was my stoner rock appreciation time, when I was discovering new bands everyday. Since then I’ve listened to so many bands, that you posted here that I lost my count. Luckily stoner rock turned me on to some new directions, but The Obelisk will always be my ‘go to’ blog/site when speaking about good music.
    Thank you for all these years, looking forward for more.
    Cheers from Poland!

  13. Chris9 says:

    Congrats on 7 years! You do great work with this site. I enjoy it greatly. Can you get Solace for the All Dayer? That would rule!

  14. Cttowe says:

    Thank you for killing it!!! I really appreciate your amazing contribution and inspiration.

  15. Person says:

    You’re the best! And I hope your show situation improves without sacrificing a job – it was always cool to get to a show around nyc and be like oh there’s the obelisk dude, cool. Keep going man.

  16. Dan AFoS says:

    Hello JJ,

    May I just say, this site has been an amazing resource for me for several years (I’d say at lease 5 or six, but my memory, she not so good!)

    I just wanted to say that, far from being ‘overly wordy’, this site and your writings show you as the music lover you are – not ‘just’ a reviewer or news gatherer. More fool the so called big publications.

    Anyway, I’ll stop putting everything in inverted commas and get my arse off of your bit of the web.

  17. Ricardo says:

    Dang, you are a productive machina-do you have a day job or do you make it all work here plus what you do on the side? Only learned about this site about a year ago but I visit weekly to see what I am probably missing somewhere or whatnot.

  18. Michael Morrell says:

    Congrats on the seven years!! i want to thank you for all the countless hours of entertainment, for all the bands i know enjoy because of you, and the daily jump start you give me each day. Your hard work and determination is greatly appreciated by all of us. Thank you.

  19. Brian says:

    Man, thank you so much on behalf of everybody for the work you do!!!!!

  20. Ian b says:

    May your amps be always warm and fuzzy. Rock on. Nuff said.

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