The last weekend in January has become a very special occasion for me. It was the same weekend eight years ago in 2009 that The Obelisk first came together and went live. The first post was on a Saturday. I was in the process of losing my job and kind of in a panic about what to do next, needing an outlet for reviews. On a professional level, print was all I’d ever known.
This would be something completely different. By the time the first review went up a couple days later, I began to see the appeal of the open forum I had and the ability to make my own direction.
I’ve said numerous times over the years that I’m surprised at how much The Obelisk has come to take over my life and my waking consideration. I think about this site a lot. People say nice things about it to me and part of the reason I can never take the compliment is because I know that there’s no way anyone feels as strongly about it as I do. Over the last eight years, it’s become an extension of who I am as well as my lone creative outlet. If it’s just news and reviews to you, that’s cool, and if you’ve found good bands through it, that’s awesome too, but to me it’s become about something much more than that.
I look back on things I wrote years ago now and remember where I was that day. That time I reviewed the first Mars Red Sky record to get my head right after a hurricane tore through my area. Writing with my face down on a dining table on a Stena ferry ship in 2010 as I tried to make my way to Roadburn after the now-infamous Icelandic volcano eruption disrupted travel worldwide. This site is an essential part of those life experiences for me.
All the shows. My move from New Jersey to Massachusetts. Changing careers. I feel lucky to have been able to share these things around an ongoing discussion of music. Thank you so much for being a part of it. I don’t know where I’d be otherwise.
By nature, I’m a compulsive person, and that feeds a lot of what I do here. I want to review something every day in one way or another. I want to keep up with news of fests, album releases, tours, etc. I want to keep a respectful tone to my writing because I believe strongly that there is aesthetic value in critique as much as any other creative work.
My thinking on what The Obelisk is and does has changed over the last eight years — adding the forum, adding the radio stream, doing a label for a while, presenting shows, putting together the All-Dayer last year in Brooklyn, bringing in All That is Heavy as a sponsor, and so on — but I’ve tried very hard to bring a consistent level of quality to each aspect of it as much as possible. Because I care about this project. Very much.
Thank you foremost to Patrick Slevin, without whom The Obelisk would not exist. Slevin registered the domain, installed WordPress, and for the last eight years has been able and willing to take on — mostly uncomplaining, no less; or at very least complaining in a charming way — every technical glitch and weird customization request I’ve asked of him. We’ll get a mobile version going one of these days, I promise, but the dude is the reason you’re able to read this right now, an amazing, generous friend, and someone I’m deeply fortunate to have in my life.
Thank you to my wife, The Patient Mrs., for her understanding and support. I write for The Obelisk every single day. It takes hours out of my life — every single day — and hours out of our life as well and thus hours out of hers. Every single day. Even weekends at this point. There are times where she rolls her eyes and plenty of them when she’s absolutely correct to do so, but her unwavering love is the defining aspect of my life. It is what keeps me upright, and the foundation on which who I’ve become for the last two decades has been built. I cannot tell you how much I love her because it is a value that continues to increase exponentially with each passing day, week, year.
There are so many others. My mother, who likes all my Facebook posts, and my sister whose camera I’m still using since mine broke. Walter Roadburn. The list goes on and I don’t want to be Johnny Namedrop, but the support I’ve gotten for The Obelisk is worldwide and it is immensely humbling to even think about.
Again, thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting, liking posts, sharing, retweeting, posting screenshots on Instagram, sending me your band’s debut EP, whatever it is. Thank you. I’ve said all along that nothing lasts forever, but I’m going to keep doing this site for as long as I can, and I hope as it continues to evolve and change over time you’ll still be a part of it with me.
Here’s to year eight and onward.
All the best,