If you don’t know, Bandcamp Friday is when Bandcamp, the artist driven music streaming and sales platform, waives all of their revenue fees to support the artists that comprise their community. When you buy today, you ensure that all of the money you spend on their album or single goes directly to the artist you intend to support. In celebration of that fact, Death Before Desk Job has put together a comprehensive list of Bandcamp pages from past podcast guests, so that you can go support their projects.

John Carbone (as heard on Episode 1)

John serves as vocalist for Moon Tooth, the high-energy rock band from Long Island, NY. Their latest release Violent Grief: Acoustic Selections is a “departure” from what most fans know. That intimate sound, however, is something that John is no stranger to; his project Son Coal has been quietly sitting on Bandcamp for quite some time. Check out both below.

Moon Tooth on Bandcamp
Son Coal on Bandcamp

Onodera (as heard on Episode 2)

Ono is constantly deliver primo content, whether he’s drawing or producing and performing. In fact, in between his appearance on Death Before Desk Job and today, he’s managed to put out another album titled “romance novel,” which you can grab on his Bandcamp now.

Onodera on Bandcamp

Derek Smith (Not, as heard on Episode 3)

If you’re a listener of the show, you’re more familiar with the work of Derek than you may initally realize; his music serves as the soundtrack to the podcast! It’s just one example of his versatility in musical linguistics. IF you take the time to explore Derek’s catalogs, you’ll continue to be impressed.

Not on Bandcamp
Rice Cultivation Society on Bandcamp

Card Reader (as heard on Episode 6)

Tom Petito came on the show on the tail of releasing the band’s new single “True Enemy.” Since then, two other singles have dropped: “Sore Eyes” and “Mental Scars” (feat. Ryan Beebe). All of their singles are available on Bandcamp now!

Card Reader on Bandcamp

Sean Ageman (as heard on Episode 7)

Washed Up Media’s Sean Ageman is a busy man. In addition to all of the photo and video work he does, he covers the rhythm section as the drummer in three different projects. You can choose your favorite flavor (in no particular order) below!

sarGasm on Bandcamp
Intona on Bandcamp
Give Up The Goods on Bandcamp

James Kwapisz (as heard on Episode 9)

As discussed on James’ episode, there’s been an evolution to the Grampfather sound over time. You can explore that sound across the four albums that are available on Bandcamp!

Grampfather on Bandcamp

Michael McManus (as heard on Episode 11)

Michael has a very rich history of musical endeavors, which frankly, would take an archeological expedition to uncover. So we’re going to highlight the projects that were discussed in his episode: Gamblers, the indie rock project whose album “Small World” is out now, and “Waiting For Carmine,” which was released under his pseudonym Don Miguel back in 2015.

Gamblers on Bandcamp
Don Miguel on Bandcamp

Listen to the episode here.

Read Part 1 of the transcript here.

Paul Motisi [00:35:00]But how does that play in when you’re writing for for Moon Tooth? Which, at this point, is an act with national recognition, if not worldwide recognition in some respects, and making lyrics that work for that project, versus maybe the lyrical content of something you do for something more personal and intimate like, for those that don’t know, John had a variety of projects… he used to play in his musical project Son Abrenoc and that was a live band, and I did play in that for a time, and then that eventually morphed into Son Coal, which is your solo venture. Is there a difference in your process depending on which voice you’re taking on? Are they the same voice or are they different and do the processes reflect that in any way? 

John Carbone [00:35:51]So I used to think of it like: the music that I wrote on my own was like my journal and off the music that I wrote with moon tooth was like my manifesto, you know? Where in the earlier years, the first EP and album that Moon tooth made it was much more general ideas, not so focused on my… well, focused on my own personal life, but translated into a very general way, you know? About dealing with certain concepts and the first album was all about that Call to Adventure shit and I’d encourage to go on that. The second album, the full-length we made called Crux, our more recent one was a lot more personal for me. Lyrically. I got more personally involved and the new songs that we’ve been writing now since Crux has come out have definitely even further blurred the lines of me being personal and me being general. So I don’t know. It’s interesting. I have like an album’s worth of songs that probably won’t even be called Son Coal at this point because there’s too many Soun bands. There’s Like Son Volt, Son Little, so that’s fucking over with. But that stuff, it’s definitely much more like personally referencing than the moon tooth stuff. although with moon tooth stuff. I’ve definitely got a lot more personal, but the whole idea to me is like, you know, I called Moon Tooth “the manifesto” because I knew from the get-go that we meant business and we were going to fucking fight our way to the top, meaning a lot of people would hear us. So it’s like, “All right, if a lot of people are hearing us, what do I want to say?” And basically, I just want to help people. I want to encourage people. I want to tell people about the times that I am not feeling encouraged so they can maybe feel some kind of kinship with me if they feel lost or something like that. And then as time has gone on,  I’ve talked about my own heartbreaks and troubles in a general way to have people relate. As time has gone by, the lines have definitely blurred more in terms of me that including very personal and specific things with moon Tooth lyrics.

Paul Motisi [00:38:28]Sure. The reason I asked that question that way at all and try to draw a distinction is because I know that a lot of people that will likely find their way to this podcast are fans of moon tooth, as am I, and I also am a fan of your other projects as well. And I also know that you as an individual are incredibly multi-faceted, so there’s not one particular thing that you do and you are that thing. I feel that for some people, they are this one entity, this is there one channel, this is there one angle. But I know you to be a lot more than that. I know that you also have had, and continue to have, forays into acting and comedy, and I know that you write in a literary sense, as well as like a lyrical sense. Not to say that the two aren’t one and the same, but I’ve known you to have your hands at so many different things. You cover a lot of different moods. I think you can write for a band like Moon tooth and have this this great weight and gravity. I feel like  you’ve got a hammer in your hand, and you’re smashing it on the table, and you’re riling the audience up. It’s a power. Then I see your individuals solo projects as you’re holding your heart in your hands and it’s very vulnerable and I do see how there is a melding of the two years in Moon tooth these days. I do see that the two are sort of melding together in that respect. But I also know that there is this insanely goofy human being. We did the Centerville present sketches and when we did the parties, with Centerville as an entity, and there…

John Carbone [00:40:16]I think you misspoke. It’s Centerville presents. 

Paul Motisi [00:40:19]This has been the debate since we started.

John Carbone [00:40:22](laughs)

Paul Motisi [00:40:23]My pitch was, you call the show “Centerville Presents:” and then whatever the sketch was, and John has insisted on calling it Centerville presents, and neither one is wrong. 

Paul Motisi [00:40:36]Like, here’s a present! It’s a present for you.

Paul Motisi [00:40:37]I mean it’s not wrong. But to speak to that point, do you ever personally feel – and I feel this way so maybe I’m projecting – but do you ever feel that as a creative person, that there is this pressure to perhaps only wear one of your masks and that you took maybe stray away from bringing a part of your personality to the Forefront in a certain setting?

John Carbone [00:41:17]I wouldn’t say there’s a pressure. I would say there’s a desire to do that.

Paul Motisi [00:41:21]Why is that?

John Carbone [00:41:22]because I think you and our close friends and my family like definitely know me as somebody who’s absolutely a jokester and one of the main things I’m grateful to have in these the ability to make the people I love laugh. And I love being able to do that and just be a source of positivity for the people that I love, and a lot of that means being just really goofy and silly, and it’s fun, you know? There are certain people that were that’s most of what they will see, but there’s so much else going on underneath, you know what I mean? I’ll make myself laugh sure but a lot of that stuff will come up because you want to make other people happy, or you want to help make other people happy. You want to help other people when they’re in a rut and you want to just get them laughing and ease their tension. But then you’re alone and you have a tension of your own, so that’s why when I’m writing songs, that’s my place. Sometimes in Moon tooth, there’s like there’s times for silliness, but a lot of times, that’s my spot where I would be like, “This is my chance to not be silly. This is where I want to be serious and I want to try to explain a little bit of what’s going on. And what’s fucking torturing me in my head, what’s really not funny.” It’s a natural thing. Earlier in the Moon Tooth days, there was a lot more whimsical stuff, and you know, time goes by. You get older, you get a little grumpier, you know? You go through some shit and you get worn down a little bit. When I when I want to be funny, I want to be funny. But there’s a lot of seriousness that I’m like desperate to get out there or be understood. You know what I mean? I don’t know if you ever had this, where maybe you write a song or you make some kind of piece of art and you want your close friends — like you maybe make something that’s serious and maybe it’s dark – and you want desperately for them to see it and understand it, or listen to it and understand it. Because it’s just like, “Look, I need this to be known about me. I’m kind of hurting. Please understand this.” That’s usually the voice when it comes to music. The silliness, thank God, has a lot of other outlets in my life. It’s definitely not a pressure, to answer your question. It’s a strong desire to separate. But it’s not a law. You know what I mean? It doesn’t have to be separate.

Paul Motisi [00:44:27]Sure. That’s very interesting. I mean, knowing how much of your life Moon Tooth can consume, and wondering if you ever feel that you are being put in a box. and in some weird way, it sounds to me like not only are you enjoying the box, but you’ve got other boxes and you’re happy to bounce around between them and it seems like you doing it with some serious agility. It does seem like you can put on the voice you want to put on, when you want to put it on. I personally struggle with that, too. This is not a brag but rather a fact, you know I’ve done our work for you guys and the artwork for the album Crux is meant to have some gravity and weight to it and it’s meant to convey a certain message. But I can do a poster for like a later leg of the tour and it’s got a gummy bear with a knife through it. And so I do think there is an interesting dichotomy there as far as Moon Tooth goes, so it doesn’t seem that the band is “we only wear black and we only cry” and that’s never been. So thankfully, you do have that going but there is some sort of expectation I find of the audience perhaps that… this is not speak ill of them, but rather I feel like there is a huge generalization about what metal is and what the rules are and I do wonder. I guess the question was to see if you struggled with that and from what you just said, it doesn’t sound like you do. It sounds like you quite enjoy it. 

John Carbone [00:46:01]Yeah. The one thing in terms of Moon Tooth, we were never just a metal band from the start. Although we’re in the metal world. When you’re coming up, it’s not that you have to, but you’re going to be lumped into a genre and you’re going to be put on certain bills with bands and you’re going to be put into a group, and it just is what it is. You have to take part in your community, whatever it is. Moon Tooth was never going to be playing the indie rock shows in Brooklyn. We were going to be playing at St. Vitus. But when you look closer at us, it’s like, “oh, they’re heavy as fuck, but they’re not exactly not metal though, they’re not screaming, this and that…”

John Carbone [00:46:46]I’m going off on a tangent here.

Paul Motisi [00:46:48]That’s totally fine. That’s what this all is, man, I’m not really too worried about going off on tangents. I’m just sort of hoping that if somebody is listening to this and actually enjoying it, if they’re patient, that their patience can be rewarded and maybe a couple of nuggets fall out of the bottom of this thing. Maybe somebody walks away like slightly more motivated or slightly more inclined to go make something of their own. While I bring that up, you do actively pursue this. This is something that you have allocated your life to, is being a creative and I know that that’s not always paying. And I think perhaps maybe there’s a misconception about what happens to the singer of the band when his song goes on the radio. Do you feel comfortable discussing perhaps what happens? Like, what your work life and your money life, and maybe, I don’t know if you feel comfortable having a discussion about… 

John Carbone [00:47:46]Sure. Yeah. Well, you know, there’s this interesting that happens. A good way to frame this is: conversations I’ve had with my parents both together and separately. I’ve had a good upbringing, my family’s always been really tight. My parents have been very supportive. However, I have one cousin who’s been in bands. My cousin Jonathan, who you know is in a band called Harold’s Trousers when we were younger… that’s kind of it for like my cousins and family and stuff in terms of people in bands. So as time has gone by and I was getting involved in this stuff, naturally, of course — and this ties into other things we were talking about, about roadblocks coming up — a lot of times, those roadblocks are going to come from the people that love you because they’re like, “what the fuck are you doing? I don’t understand this. that sounds dangerous as fuck. Don’t do that, just go fuckin’ get a job at the fucking dentist’s office or something,” you know? So a lot of the conversations with my parents like this, earlier on, I would frame it in this way of like “Look,” you know, they would start to see that like, okay, he’s starting to get paychecks from this shit, you know, he’s coming home from tour with some money now. He’s starting to make some money from royalties, like a random check that will come through. And I try to tell them that like this kind of day job / passion work pay balance. It’s almost like… God it’s difficult, you know, like being an Italian man and doing this without my hands being visible (laughs) but it’s like two thermometers, right? And the day job one is is totally full to the top and then the passion project that you’re trying to make the career is at the bottom. And as you’re working your ass off over years, those levels are shifting, you know? The day job income’s going down because — at least in terms of being in a band — because you’re making less money because, one: you can’t hold a steady job because of touring all the time… and I’m very grateful for the job that I’ve had, that they understand the touring thing and I’m able to leave and come back, I don’t get paid when I’m gone obviously, but they allow me to come back, but I’m losing money from that. But as time has gone on, we finally started making money off of these tours. So you start making money off of the tours, then you start getting a little bit bigger you start making money from royalties, those checks get bigger and as you’re “making it…” I will look at a band I hear on the radio and they’ll be getting a lot of plays and saying like “oh, yeah, they’re playing a 1,500-cap room or something like that.” And I think they’re made in the shade. Probably not! Those guys probably still have café jobs or waiter jobs or coffee shop jobs when they come home from tour. 

Paul Motisi [00:50:41]How does that how does that apply to you? Like, where are you in that spectrum? Are you still holding down a regular job? 

John Carbone [00:50:48]Yeah. When I’m home. I work at a museum / nature preserve, and the people that work there and my boss, they’re wonderful people. Before I started working there, they knew me a little bit and they knew I did the band stuff and touring, and basically when I started the job, I said, “look, I’m going to be gone more frequently and for longer periods of time as time goes by. If you’re cool with me still working here…” and they they were basically just like “yeah, as long as you give us notice, you know?” and now it’s at the point where it’s really a kind of family situation there. It’s definitely not convenient when I leave, but I give them enough notice and I bust my fucking ass when I am there. So I’m able to come back and and still work. For a while. It was like, when I would leave and miss those hours on work… We wouldn’t be making money off of those tours. You’d be making barely enough money to come home broke, to actually do the tour and then just struggle for a while. And then as years went on, you know, the tours started kind of breaking even a little bit. And then as years went on, it got to the point where the band started making money and then it gave a point when like each of us personally started making money. The band makes money and then each of us personally can take home a couple hundred bucks in our pockets. And then it got to the point where money each of us personally are taking home is enough to supplement the money we lost from our day jobs while we were gone. And we’re just a little bit past that now. Now we’re at the point where we’re getting some royalties too, so those checks have come in handy. I think something worth noting is that the fact that we’re talking about this in the middle of the fucking coronavirus pandemic where everybody’s laid off from work. I haven’t been at work in over two weeks now and I don’t know when they’re going to call us to go back but I’ve had two royalty checks since this happened that have saved my fucking ass, you know?

Paul Motisi [00:52:47]That’s amazing. 

John Carbone [00:52:48]So it’s kind of thing where like the further along you get… This has been a lot of explaining to kind of explain this concept of what I told my parents in different conversations … as we get more successful, it’s going to get more difficult to survive because you’re making less money from your day job and you have to kind of pass that midpoint, you know? And eventually it gets the point where the thermometer, the side of the passion, is all the way to the top and you’re making all your money from that and you don’t even have a “day job” thing. So it’s been a difficult thing to navigate.

Paul Motisi [00:53:24]It seems like you have. And again, as I said before, many more mountains, you’re not out of the woods yet, But I mean, it does sound like that helped you out in a pinch, which is amazing that you guys were able to pull that off.

John Carbone [00:53:37]Something I have to mention: my job at the museum, The preserve, I feel like it’s a rare kind of thing for people like you and I to… the consistency of something like that to come back to is rare. My drummer owns a studio and my guitar player and my bassist have done odds and ends here and there. Most of the time people are doing odds and ends things and I’m incredibly grateful to have had this this steady thing that I can come back to, so it’s been helpful. It doesn’t mean it’s been easy, but at the very least, I’ve had it definitely easier than a person might necessarily have, which is why I stay living where I’m living. Because I’m near the job. And I know that I want to move. I don’t want to live where I’m living now, but I know I’m not going to find another day job that is this tolerant of what I do. So I’m going to just wait until I don’t need a day job to move, basically. 

Paul Motisi [00:54:41]Well what I am going to say to the listener and in turn I guess I’m saying it to you too: If you could do it, somebody else could do it too. Not to say that it’s easy, but the fact that there are people out there that are willing to be flexible, and if you provide them the right amount of work ethic, they might perhaps be willing to take care of you and support you and allow you to go and pursue that thing you need to pursue. It is unlikely. You’re right, but by virtue of the fact that you have it, it’s not impossible, and maybe that is something that somebody should strive for.

John Carbone [00:55:20]Can I interject with something here? This kind of ties in what we were talking about before. Again, somebody listening to this could take what they want from this but this does tie into the doors that will open. I am living proof of this. Since I’ve started doing this stuff. That’s what my life has been. My dad says this thing about me sometimes which is really funny and it’s true and I’m not.. you know, how a lot of Bones thrown my way… My dad says that “sometimes I feel like there’s boulders falling from the sky everywhere and you’re just strolling around absent-mindedly and none of the boulders hit you!” 

John Carbone [00:56:03]And there have been so many times where things have just lined up so well for me and that has happened mostly, pretty much only, when I’ve been following my path, my call. you know what I mean like the times where I wasn’t in a place where I knew I belonged in my heart, my soul, shit wasn’t working out. Life was bad, you know? But once I started making those choices to follow that path, that’s when those doors started opening. That’s when those random chances happened, so me having this kind of job now that enables me to leave and takes me back, you know, allows me to go for a while and then allows me to come back, I think that’s a perfect example of one of those. You know, going back to Joseph Campbell. When the hero goes on his or her adventure, she will always have help. There’s always help given to the hero, and my life’s living proof of that, man. I got a lot of good situations that like work out pretty good and I 100% believe — take this for whatever the fuck you want — but like a hundred percent, I know that the situations in my life are there because they’re enabling me to do the thing that I was born to do. So, a little metaphysical if you want to say it, but it also is the truth of what’s happening in my life. 

Paul Motisi [00:57:39](pause) I didn’t say anything because I was smiling so big. That was awesome. I was going to find my way into the the last section I wanted to touch on which was, do you have any advice? Which sort of comes with the bullet points of, I’d like to hear some of your successes versus your failures and if you have any recommendations for any tricks, any tools, any noteworthy insight. I do want to say that’s a beautiful piece of advice: that the hero will always have help, or, how did you phrase that? 

John Carbone [00:58:14]Yeah, there will always be help given to the hero. Like there’s always some kind of guru or there’s always some kind of… they call it “divine help.” In real life, it’s in the form of “holy shit, that job situation worked out really good! He’s able to go on tour and come back to a paycheck! Granted, it takes a while for him to work enough to buildhis paychecks up. Doesn’t mean it’s easy, but at least it’s fucking there.”

Paul Motisi [00:58:41]I would say if you were to approach that in a pragmatic way, if I’m interpreting that, it’s “your life makes room for the life you want.”

John Carbone [00:58:52]Yeah, 

John Carbone [00:58:52]You know, if you’re carving out this path for yourself and you’re going out there and doing it, your life has no choice but to adjust to it so help will be there, because it has to be. 

John Carbone [00:59:04]Yeah, I’m telling you man, something happens. Something really does happen. If you listen to anybody that fucking made it, most of the time, weird shit starts to happen and doors start to open. Fuckin’… it’s true man. But you were asking about successes and failures. 

Paul Motisi [00:59:21]Yeah. I mean, there’s not a solid question. It literally on my notes, it says, “successes vs. failures.” So I guess if I was to ask you in the form of a question, it seems as if by virtue of the fact that you’ve been on this path and you have continued to gain a certain level of momentum, and you have continued to walk around with falling Boulders, as per your dad — which by the way, is really funny because I love your dad and Mister Carbone has the most deadpan delivery of any human being I’ve ever met, so I’m loving the visual, but that said — it seems that when you are doing things that bring you success, you are doing it almost in the face of… ignorance is the wrong word. But you’re walking around with a blind eye to all of the things that could be going wrong, and by virtue of doing that, you’re having all that success. When I say the phrase “successes vs. failures,” does anything come to mind? Is it like there’s one instance versus another? or could you say… 

John Carbone [01:00:29]You said something very interesting to me. You talked about this idea of maybe acting almost in ignorance, this, this kind of blind leap forward kind of thing. And as soon as you start talking about it, I started thinking about the Tarot deck. The fool card. It’s the zero card. It’s at the very beginning and it’s the depiction of somebody basically dressed like a jester, more or less, who’s got a bundle on their back and they’re wistfully not looking where they’re stepping and they’re basically about to walk off the cliff. There’s a happy puppy just kind of jumping along. It’s a powerful card because it describes this total innocence and  maybe ignorance but you know, the power of a child and their innocent ideas is that they don’t think of “Well, I can’t do this.” A toddler or something is just this boundless potential, this blind kind of “let’s go for it” kind of thing, you know? Which is what is necessary for an artist, to take that blind leap forward. And that’s been a huge part of everything I’ve done personally, and I think any artist really does, because you can call it a risk. If you’re certain in yourself and your abilities, and if you tell yourself “we’re going to fucking win, we’re gonna do whatever it takes to fucking win…” That’s a risk. You don’t know what’s going to happen, but it’s all about that thing. I am throwing myself to the winds here because this is innocent and this is pure, what I’m feeling, and I trust in that and I’m going to walk blindly off a cliff, and then I’m going to fly, basically. Going through this, there are so many levels of successes and failures every step you go. I can definitely talk specifically about in the music industry and being like a DIY band and like trying to take a DIY band to the next level, but it’s really relatable in any craft. You know, I’m sure you can relate to the same things. You get a breakthrough. It’s like two steps forward, three steps back, or three steps forward, one step back. It’s not the same everytime but there’s always however far you make it, there’s always something that like will knock you on your ass. “It’s great! This is great! We’re doing great!” and then BLAM! You just get knocked on your fuckin’ ass. It always happens and it’s going to keep happening and that’s really a good thing because you get better from getting knocked down like that. That’s where you learn what works and what doesn’t. That’s where you learn who you are. That’s what separates the people who really want to do this stuff and who really don’t ’cause if you don’t want to do it, it’s not going to work, you know? There’s this bullheaded idea that I had that, you know, maybe there are specific cases, but sometimes I think, if it didn’t happen, you didn’t want it bad enough. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you didn’t try hard enough, but maybe it means that you as a person in your soul, you weren’t creating enough for that to happen. So you just didn’t… I don’t know, something didn’t click? But I don’t know, that’s an arrogant kind of thing to say.

Paul Motisi [01:03:57]You know, I can see why you would take that sentence and think somebody might think that, but I do want to kind of buffer that, and I want to say by not wanting it bad enough, there is something to that. Now, I know you as long as I have, and you did not always — and I’m just using singing because that’s what people here are going to know — you as a singer, you’ve made yourself that singer. You were not a naturally gifted singer that like showed up on American Idol at age nine and got the golden judge or whatever. That’s not who you were initially. That literally was you sitting in a studio hours on end repeatedly pushing your body to a point that it was never going to go on its own. So when you say want bad enough, I’m not hearing “well, you know, you didn’t wish it into the world enough.” I’m hearing “you didn’t push yourself hard enough into doing the thing as well as you could have” and part of that is to do with your ability to accurately assess yourself and remind yourself, at least in my opinion, that “all right. I got a lot more to do. I’m not done growing it. I’m not exactly where I need to be.”

John Carbone [01:05:15]Exactly. Yeah, it’s interesting that you raise the point. Whatever my vocal ability is now in 2020 is not anywhere near where it was when I started with Moon Tooth or even before that, and the physical way that my voice and my body changed is a good example of pushing forward. Before Moon Tooth, I sang in the songs that I wrote on my own, just like in a solo way, but it was much different. It was much softer. I joined Moon tooth and they’re coming through with these powerful fucking huge ass, “bullhorns on fucking DMT” kind of levels. 

Paul Motisi [01:06:14]That’s the name of this episode.

John Carbone [01:06:14]Bullhorns on DMT? (laughs) It demanded a voice that belted and stuff like that. So I would hear these things in my head and I would write things that I couldn’t play and that’s something that people hear a lot. Just write something, if you’re a musician or something or even an artist, think of something you can’t do and then work on it until you can do it. And then you will have raised your plateau ability. And it’s all about like those plateaus. They just keep getting raised and raised and raised. I can remember the first recordings that Moon Tooth did, the first EP. Whatever point on that EP was just like, “oh, yeah, that was tied to my voice, like the highest register, the biggest, the most I could push my voice was at that point. I can’t believe I did that.” You fast forward to the next album, the first full-length and I went miles beyond that. And there were points on that first album. “Oh my God, I barely got it out. My muscles, my body, my throat, my lungs, my vocal chords barely able to hit those notes or this and that. And then you fast forward years of touring thousand songs and singing them over and over again and you work. You stretch your body and the next album, that highest point on the last album was just like, “oh fuck, I can go miles beyond that now.” It’s just been that over and over and over again. I didn’t anticipate being someone who belts notes out or this and that. This whole Endeavor has shaped my voice. I think that’s a really good metaphor for the whole process of going for something. It’s just like if you can’t do something, just fucking do it anyway, because you will be able to do it. If you just do it, you’ll be able to do it. (laughs) It sounds like it doesn’t make sense, butI swear it does, you know? 

Paul Motisi [01:08:08]Yeah. I think the people who want to be pursuing that thing, whatever that thing is for them, are going to hear that and know exactly what you mean and the people who have had successes in that respect also know exactly what you’re talking about. You don’t know if you don’t know and if you don’t know, now you know.

Paul Motisi [01:08:31]So I mean, yeah, man, I’ve got nothing else really to say. You’ve spoken quite eloquently about this and some of this is eye-opening to me. I learned a lot here. I don’t know. Is there anything in particular you want to address or say? Is there anything that you might want to share? 

John Carbone [01:08:53]Just to sum up, and it’s more or less everything I’ve been saying, I think it’s cool that you’re doing this and it’s helpful to artists of all kind to be able to find kinship with people. Not only heroes who have made it, but people who are in the same trenches that you are especially people who have not “made it,” you know? First of all, the line of like making it and not making it, it’s not so specific a line. It’s very blurry and there’s a lot of like in-between involved. It all comes down to the fact that if you want it, you can get it. If you have some kind of truth in you, if you’re honest and not a piece of shit, you will get there. You will fucking get there. If you’re not really pouring your heart and soul into this and you’re not making the sacrifices to make it happen… because it’s just going to be uncomfortable, you know? You have to deal with it. But it goes back to what we’re talking about with those failures. Everyone of those failures, discomforts, it’s all going to separate people who make it from the people who don’t.

Paul Motisi [01:10:11]Oh, discomforts is a huge part of it. And that’s the thing. The amount of like English muffin pizzas and ramen bowls you’re going to eat… I mean, I’ve lost count. But yeah discomfort is huge. People are afraid to be uncomfortable. And so it suddenly is too hard. It’s not that it is inherently hard. It’s that you’re just incredibly difficult to face change, you know? 

John Carbone [01:10:40]Yeah, they’ll be financial discomforts. They’ll be physical discomforts. But the big thing will just be life discomforts. I’m 32 and a lot of people I know are getting married and things like that and I’m single now in my last serious relationship ended pretty much because of this, me going after this. The glory will be evenly balanced by the inglourious. 

Paul Motisi [01:11:13]Oh my God, this hurts

John Carbone [01:11:18]And you have to and you have to be willing to… If you’re, true and if you really want it, then all those hardships, it’ll be worth it. When you get those victories, there’s many different victories of many different levels, every one of those victories, once you get there and you feel that and you taste it, it’ll be like “Fuck yeah. This is worth all the discomfort. I’m where I belong. I’m home.”

Paul Motisi [01:11:41]Yeah, victory is relative. Success is relative. Really, “are you able to to do this another day?” could be enough, you know? 

John Carbone [01:11:49]Yeah. Yeah, it’s not so black-and-white. 

Paul Motisi [01:11:52]Yeah, I think what you described earlier as you were talking about slowly work your way up and things slowly turning your direction and things kind of happening gradually is a little bit more of a realistic expectation of what somebody can expect when they put the effort in. I appreciate you opening up about that because I know not a lot of people are willing to.

John Carbone [01:12:15]Yeah. And the last thing I will say is just, I think about like Muhammad Ali as an example… the idea of Muhammad Ali… if you’ve got family pressuring you to get a day job, think about Muhammad Ali. You think he listened to family pressuring him about getting a day job? Or if that even happened, you think he was going to listen to them? You got a significant other who like doesn’t want to hear it? The greats got there by sticking with it. So that’s all comes down to.If you need to do it, you will do it. Don’t listen to anything else.

Paul Motisi [01:13:00]John. I just want to let you know, this is the perfect thing to close on. Another example of that weird kismet I was talking about before, you mentioning something… when I described you with the intro, I said, you have an “unparalleled stick-to-itiveness” and you just rolled it up in a ball. That was amazing John. Thank you. 

John Carbone [01:13:28](laughs) It’s… there you go! 

Paul Motisi [01:13:30]Wow. John, thanks man. This has been a blast.

John Carbone [01:13:33]This is great, Paul. I’m glad you’re doing this, man. 

Paul Motisi [01:13:36]Oh dude. I mean, you’re making it easy. This is fun. I’m looking forward to it. Just to be a little bit transparent, this whole situation right now that we’re all dealing with COVID and being cooped up, it’s difficult. You know, you’re alone, isolated, your energy levels go down, your passion goes down, your will goes down. And the reason this exists is because, frankly, I’m looking for a reason to keep going and talking to you John, I have a fire in my belly I haven’t had in what feels like a millennia. So thanks.

John Carbone [01:14:14]That’s great. Me too! Yeah. Thank you.

Paul Motisi [01:14:18]All right, man. I’ll talk to you later. Have a good night, all right?

John Carbone [01:14:20]All right, peace!

Paul Motisi [01:14:20]Later.

Paul Motisi [01:14:20] All right these later years.

Paul Motisi [01:14:24]All right, guys, that’s the whole thing. I want to wrap this up real quick. I want to say thank you to John and Nick and Vin and Ray from Moon Tooth for everything. Thanks to John for a long time and thanks to the band for letting me use the music on the intro and outro here. Make sure you follow them on Instagram at @moontoothshreds. Album, merch, and tour dates, all that and moontooth.org, and keep up with them on their stories on Instagram and stuff because I know they’re staying active and engaged during this whole thing. And speaking of, I want to say thanks to my girlfriend for letting me run this off of her kitchen table during this pandemic because this whole thing is pretty bleak and this makes it a little bit better. If you want to follow me, you can follow me. I just created an Instagram account it’s @deathbeforedeskjob. That’s pretty easy to remember. Sharing the podcast, that’s available on Spotify and a couple of other places. Sharing and subscribing and all of that that really, really helps. One last thing for you guys: when John and I got done on the call. He did mention that there was a thing he wanted to work into the process section, but we didn’t get a chance to and so once the interview was over he mentioned this to me and I accidentally kept the whole thing rolling. So I was able to catch it work it in at the end. So it’s a little treat for those of you who made it to the 1:16 mark. That’s it for me. I’m out. Thanks so much. Stay safe.

John Carbone [01:16:01]Today, I woke up, you know and like ten middle of pandemic land and I’ve also been self isolating because I felt like a little feverish  two weeks ago and it turned into a throat and I went through a cycle over the course of a few days. So I’m just playing safe. I’ve been fine, but it’s also driving me fucking crazy. So I woke up today and just kind of puttered about, made some breakfast and then just doing whatever and then just took a long nap because I was tired for no reason… and woke up like almost 4:00 to a bunch of text messages on the band feed and like, you know, Nick put this demo and this guitar, basically like structured song. Just guitar… and I’ve had this vocal idea that I’ve had in my head the past couple of days and I went, “I need the right song to come along. None of the stuff that we have so far is right and I heard that in my boxers as I’m listening to it waking up from a nap and I jolted up like “oh fuck” and immediately, I got up, I just like threw my clothes on and then I like went in my car and I drove to the beach and parked in like an empty parking lot and and just sat in my car and wrote and recorded this whole fucking thing and just like it was totally magic that came along. I was going to say if there were so many points to make. I forgot about that. It’s funny, just because like the day that we’re recording, this happens.

Listen to the episode here.

Read Part 1 of the transcript here.

Listen to the episode here.

Read Part 2 of the transcript here.

Answering Machine [00:00:01]Thank you for calling Death Before Desk Job. If you are this week’s guest, please leave a message and Paul will call you back once he finishes the intro. 

John Carbone [00:00:10]”This is John Carbone, wishing you furious hope.”

Paul Motisi [00:00:18]Hi, this is Paul and you are listening to Death Before Desk Job, the podcast geared towards people who are pursuing or who want to be pursuing their creative Endeavors to their hearts content. and just a heads up, if you hear more background noise than you did in the last episode, I’m recording this in the middle of the afternoon this time. Last time I did it in the middle of the night, but I realized it’s going to be impossible to do every episode at that time and have a normal day the next day. So until I get a proper sound booth setup, you just have to deal with some birds and traffic. I’m very excited to be talking to one of my best friends in the whole world today. I think he encapsulates a stick-to-itiveness that I rarely see in people. You probably know him as a singer from the band Moon Tooth, but I know him to be much more than just that. I affectionately call from John Boy or Wang Kabang. My very dear friend John Carbone will be on a call with me today and we will go into the things that him and I have done together as well as the things that he’s done on his own, what he’s learned all that but before I get into all that, I think it’s worth noting that John is one of the only people that I brought the name of this show up to before it became a thing. I trust his opinion. In the beginning of the last episode, I gave a whole explanation that it’s not a problem  just having a desk job, but rather it’s a problem taking a desk job instead of pursuing the things you love out of fear, and that was part of my introduction because of a suggestion from John. He said to me, “well, you know, I love that but I think you might alienate some people who actually work at a desk.” I’m not trying to alienate anyone so I gave that little preface. So while we’re talking about the name, it does have interesting origins. And since this show is about process, I thought I’d take a few minutes and just kind of give you a little bit of insight into how this show got its name because there was an “aha!” moment, but that was only after I followed through my process. I knew that I wanted to make this podcast and cover motivations, inspirations, and influences. And so I thought about calling it The Swipe Files. It’s an advertising term. You collect clippings of images and text for a campaign that you’re working on. They call that a swipe file, but it turns out that there’s a podcast that uses swipe files in its name. And that led me to see that the term swipe was being used in the e-commerce world a lot. I mean I want to get into how creatives make money but I don’t want this to be some sort of thing where it’s all about conversions and funnels and everything else. So I bailed. Plus if I isolate the name or the word swipe, it just sounds like it’s a show about Tinder nightmares, but I really don’t want to get into that on a weekly basis. So we moved away from that name and I hit the thesaurus. I started going through synonyms for swipe, searching for terms on Google. What is the word for X? One term I stumbled onto was “pastiches.” For the definition: It’s an artistic work in a style that imitates that of another work, artists or peroid. It turns out that’s already a show, but it really only focuses on the influences element and it also sort of sounds like a celebrity rehab facility to me. So I go back to my book. I wrote down a bunch of names. I wrote down Creative Heist, probably because “heist” came up as a synonym and I just like the word “heist,” but it doesn’t really make sense for the show and there is no episode of this show that I could ever make that would live up to a name like that. I would listen to that show. Let’s see, I wrote down “great artists steal.” Literally stealing a quote and go figure, it exists already, but I do think that also narrows the conversation too much although I like the concept. I wrote down “paste-up” … Sounds cool. It’s not super descriptive and it leans very heavily on the visual arts. Those of you who are not visual artists and don’t know the term, think street art. It’s when someone takes a print and slaps it on a wall, so it’s not really brought enough and it doesn’t really cover it, but we’re kind of on a trail here. We have parameters. We’re close. So I know that it can’t be super specific to one occupation. It needs to be broad. So I need to find the thing that anyone in my ideal target audience would be united on. What are they for? What are they against? And by doing that I did hit my “aha!” moment. I had designed a t-shirt that said “death before desk job.” The file was sitting on my desk top because I had come up with it a few weeks before. I remembered it right here because I remember that moment of frustration, feeling stuck and that feeling resonated with me and I know that that feeling resonates with a lot of creative people. So there’s the idea. I think it talks about work. I think it talks about all of the things that show is set to talk about and I think the name fits for that reason. The reason I’m telling you all of this is because there is a process and I’m going to try to boil it down. So let’s start: you take your initial idea run with it for a second, right? And then put on the the mask of the critic. A good way to do this I’ve found is let’s say you take this idea that you think is really cool. And now you picture that idea coming out of the mouth of somebody that you think is a hack. I think we all have a person or people in our lives that we think are kind of cornball. Let’s be honest. We have this person that we know and whenever they do something or say something, it’s a little cringy, you know? So if you can imagine that person saying it and not cringing at it, you might be on to something. We’re unable to be critical of ourselves a lot. So it helps to picture it coming from somebody else. I think when it comes to our own criticism, we’re immune to good advice sometimes and I don’t think that we think that we have bad idea sometimes, but of course we do. We’re human beings. So that’s one really, be self-critical. Tear your own ideas apart. Because if you can’t be honest with yourself you’re doing yourself a disservice. So here’s two: I’ll say do something with that criticism, right? Go down the rabbit hole a little bit. In my case it was going to the thesaurus. Find similar things, break them apart, explore them more. It’s one thing to just Google “what’s the word for this” and then use that in this example, but you know, when you look for an answer for something, you can get just the answer or you could explore the the topic. When you’re Googling something, there’s your answer and probably ten other doors that you can open at least to keep exploring the realm and that door that you pick could go to 20 more doors and forty more and you can keep going down the rabbit hole. You’re going to find interesting things because there’s just so much out there. So getting lost is my second piece of advice in the process. And lastly I would say, find somebody in your life who’s a good barometer for taste and somebody who’s going to be honest with you. You will obviously make the final call and you’re going to do what you want to do, but it does not hurt to show your work to somebody that you trust and get an opinion. Ask yourself: “Am I communicating the point? Is this effective in selling my message? Am I just stroking my own ego and being self-indulgent here?” In my case, having to present the show to the public, I needed to make sure that somebody who doesn’t know who I am and doesn’t know what I’m up to would see the name and know what my general message is. So that’s it. Let’s not waste any more time and get right into it. This is my conversation with my very own dear friend be incredibly talented John Carbone.

Paul Motisi [00:09:38]John, it’s amazing and strange to talk to you on mic. This is… 

John Carbone [00:09:43]Shut the fuck up. Shut up. 

Paul Motisi [00:09:45]Great start.

Paul Motisi [00:09:53]Yeah, seriously, it’s exciting. 

John Carbone [00:09:56]Yeah, the first one that you did was really cool. I was telling you off mic about that, but it was cool, I even learned a couple of things about you that were really impressive, and it’s really useful for anybody that’s struggling as an artist of any kind. I think they all understand, you’ve just got to find those things that like, “all right. I need to watch a behind-the-scenes, making of the album, or documentary, or something like that. I need to see the other person  doing their thing to just remind myself so I’m not alone. So this is a really cool thing that you’re doing. I’m proud to be part of it. Thank you for having me. 

Paul Motisi [00:10:35]The pleasure is all over here, man. It is weird that there is anything about me that you don’t know. Just for context for anybody who’s listening, I’ve known John since we were thirteen years old, maybe?

John Carbone [00:10:49]I barely had any hair on my body at the time. 

Paul Motisi [00:10:52]Yeah, that’s saying something. I think it grew when you first saw me. I think it just like popped out.

John Carbone [00:10:58]Yeah, I just turned into a carpet as soon as I laid eyes on you. 

Paul Motisi [00:11:02]Well, that’s saying something I think. So, yeah, to kind of cover that… I mean, having known you for as long as I have, it’s been really weird and interesting to see you may become, dare I say, the Goliath that you are because I remember a very… you were infectiously funny, but you were also in some ways very meek at that age. And I know that we have gone through our share of tribulations as people together, but something happened somewhere I think, that for you, you went from being shy, you know it maybe you could talk about our early bands, like middle school bands versus, you know, where you’ve come to now where you front this band and you are known for your on-stage energy and antics. Where does that motivation come from after all this time? 

John Carbone [00:12:03]Yeah, it’s really fascinating. So I’ll talk about our first show together for the people that don’t know the story, but that was going back to… What would you say? It was like 2003?

Paul Motisi [00:12:21]2003. And I don’t tell anybody this story. So this is all new. 

John Carbone [00:12:26]This is a band we played in at the time called Pox Populi. And that was your idea wasn’t it? 

Paul Motisi [00:12:35]Yeah. That’s that was a dictionary search, I believe. 

John Carbone [00:12:39]Should I say the other end name that’s one of my favorite band names, you ever made that came up with? You know the one I’m talking about?  I don’t want to stay in case you want to keep it in the banks but… I’ve told you that this is one of my favorite band names. 

Paul Motisi [00:12:55]Well, if anything, I’ll just change my current band name. I’m not using it. So whatever. What do you got? What was your favorite? 

John Carbone [00:13:02]Do you remember Eu? 

Paul Motisi [00:13:04]Oh, how can I forget? 

John Carbone [00:13:06]Yeah. Spelled E-U.

Paul Motisi [00:13:08]Like the European Union.

Paul Motisi [00:13:13]Yeah, like euphemism, euphoria… I thought that was the coolest shit ever.

John Carbone [00:13:20]Well before we get too into the aggrandizement, thank you. But the reason that that doesn’t work is the same reason that Bono from U2 is such a jerk move, because you know, you’re saying you’re good? I don’t know. Bono is good. So I guess there was sort of a pomposity about it that I didn’t like.

John Carbone [00:13:47]I always thought of it as like, you know, just feeling good and good things that came from the music. Which is interesting because I was incredibly cocky back then. I mean, I’m still incredibly cocky. But anyway, I’m going off on a tangent here. But what I want to bring up here, which is interesting what you’re talking about… The first show that we played together was in this band Vox Populi, and it was like… nu-metal-ish? Borderline screamo kind of, right? Is that fair to say? No rapping or anything, you know, it was like, screaming and it was drop D…

Paul Motisi [00:14:26]It was the product of a couple of kids who listen to nu-metal and started the band of year later. Yeah.

John Carbone [00:14:32]And I had such bad stage fright that when we finished, I quit the band on stage, I went up to Matt, the guitar player, and I just said “Listen man, I can’t do this. This is too much.” I was horrified the whole fucking time. And then yeah, fast forward to now when I am King Shit of Turd World every time I step on the stage. 

Paul Motisi [00:15:04]Well, I mean at least you’re humble, I don’t know man. That is very interesting. That’s what I’m saying. I’m baffled by that because yes, I remember. I used to have a camcorder and I would hand it off to our friend who would film more practices and he would just pan around the room and film all of us playing and this man I’m talking to would face the other way while he was singing he wouldn’t make eye contact and he had the voice for it at the time and I was just so so baffled by that fact. And then cut to now. Where does that motivation come from? Was it a moment? Was it a an evolution over time? That you went from being so meek to being so bold?

John Carbone [00:15:49]I think what it came down to was, when I… started playing music in general, so there was there was that period of time that was like the first stint that I had in “playing in the band” and then some time went by and then I started playing drums for you guys, and then it turned into whatever other different bands it was at the time. But the more and more I started playing music, even though I turned into solely a drummer for many years after that, the the way it made me feel really gave me my confidence. Fast forward to a band called Rice Cultivation Society, the brainchild of Derek Smith, who would be great to talk to you for this…

Paul Motisi [00:16:46]Yeah. Don’t let too many cats out of the bag.

John Carbone [00:16:54]It’s actually weird because Mike Kennedy was playing bass at the time… I just posted like a memory thing, it was ten years ago a couple of days ago that we played our first show together in a bar called Sinclair’s in Westbury, and I remember being so fucking nervous. Before that set, that was the last time that I’ve had like crippling nerves because you know, it was like a first-time really playing before I took like an open mind before that as a fluke. But this was our first like book show and I was so fucking scared and then as soon as we started playing I felt like I just turned into a fucking dragon and I felt like a million bucks, and I was just beating the shit out of the drums. I bust my hands open. The drumset and my pants were covered in my blood and I just I felt like a fucking eagle soaring. It was just amazing. Ever since then, that was kind of like, “oh, this is home. This is where I belong. This is where I’m safe. And this is where I can do anything I fucking want.” So that kind of evolved over the years, and you know, several years later when I joined up with Nick Lee and Rae Marte and Vin Romanelli as we were forming Moon Tooth, then I was the frontman and the singer. By then, I had years of playing behind the kit in Rice. It had built up my confidence and bravado, so when I jump to the front of the stage, I was just like “oh, yeah, I’m not afraid of you fuckers. This is my room right now. I’m going on this fucking place.” I think it just comes from playing. 

Paul Motisi [00:18:40]Well, that’s amazing because that’s almost instantaneous. You go from the moment of being scared to play and then suddenly feeling as if you have some sort of Excalibur, so to speak, that nobody else has and that’s really wild. But I did want to say that you making mention of the guys and how you got involved with moon tooth. Even in the way you became a part of that band is somewhat historic. I mean, I know this wouldn’t be the first time the story was told, but I’m pretty sure you wrote the guys and just said, “I am your man.” Is that right? 

John Carbone [00:19:27]So, brief history: Nick Lee and Ray Marte played in a band called Exemption with Tom Moran, and they were a band for about eight years or so, and they were just the absolute fucking best, one of my favorite bands I will ever see play live and I love their music. They were part of our scene, you know, they were the shining pinnacle of our scene, really. I might be a little off with this time frame, but roughly the last year or so of Exemption, Nick played second guitar in Rice Cult with me and Derek and Joe Sanders at that point. So, that’s why I met Nick. We played a show with Exemption and then Nick played in Rice for a while. I loved exemption and then they broke the news that Tom was going to leave. Tom’s a brilliant singer/songwriter and that was more of the direction he was going so he left. Tom was the bass player singer for exemption. When he left, they made a choice, I think publicly too, they said like we’re definitely going to keep going with something else, you know. And I just wrote Nick this this long message and just talking about like my influence, what drives me, why I love what him and Ray were doing at the time, and you know, why I just kind of knew in my heart I’m the guy for the job, worded politely and without as much arrogance, but it’s basically saying like, “I know I got this.”

Paul Motisi [00:21:13]Right. Well, that is a perfect spot to land on my next line of questioning which has to do with your influences, and I know they change over time. So if I’m going to ask you about your influences are, I know I’m going to hear something from when you were six years old and I’m going to hear something from a year ago. Like I understand. I know that your influences are always moving around. 

John Carbone [00:21:37]Yeah

Paul Motisi [00:21:37]And I did tune into the the moon tooth live story where you were doing a one-on-one Q&A type of thing and you had made mention of some books to your audience. You can bring those up if you want. I wrote down that you mentioned The Magician’s Nephew by Joseph Campbell. And… 

Paul Motisi [00:21:57]Whoa! Hold on. Let’s back track. the Magician’s Nephew by CS Lewis. 

Paul Motisi [00:22:03]Oh, okay. So…

Paul Motisi [00:22:07]It’s a Narnia book. The one that everybody knows is The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. But The Magician’s Nephew chronologically takes place first in that seven book series. But I was also talking about a bunch of Joseph Campbell books. Non-fiction

Paul Motisi [00:22:22]You know what? I wrote them on one line. So I was like, “Oh! The Magician’s Nephew by Joseph Campbell.” And I don’t know enough about literature to correct it.

John Carbone [00:22:33]Nobody ever talks about The Magician’s Nephew. It sounds like it could be a Joseph Campbell!

John Carbone [00:22:38]But when you bring up Joseph Campbell, the one thing I wrote down that you mentioned is that “everyone is living their own hero myth.” 

John Carbone [00:22:45]Well, I think that is kind of a lot of what was in my head and heart, probably always, but especially in the time of starting Moon tooth and when I was writing lyrics for songs that were going to reach other people. That was the whole thing. It was all about, you know, this call to adventure kind of thing. and I don’t really remember when or how I got to Joseph Campbell, honestly… thought was probably around then but it’s basically like his philosophy. It’s all about this idea of “mythology is just a mirror to every person and their own life, a person’s life.” There’s these arcs and these archetypes that happen and you know, you go through these trials and you pass or you fail them. Sometimes you get this opportunity, maybe you ignore it. Maybe the opportunity is knocking at first and if you ignore it will fucking knock your door down. Maybe you don’t ignore it, you know? But I just love that because that’s always kind of how I looked at life. I was like… I wanted more. I didn’t have it in me just fucking settle down and get a job that I didn’t give a shit about, you know? I remember before we kind of started playing music, you know, I had this vague idea, like maybe I’ll go to college and and be a history teacher, you know, I think I would kind of like that, but I wasn’t like, “oh my God, I’m already a history teacher. I’m the history teacher!” or anything like that. It was until I started playing music that I was like, “oh my God, this is it!” and it was like the bliss that Joseph Campbell talks about where he says, “follow your bliss.” And that’s the kind of thing. Sometimes people if they’re lucky enough… I don’t think lucky. I don’t believe in luck, really. I just think it’s if people listen to themselves enough and learn enough about their own brain, their own heart, and their own spirit, then they’ll hear that call to whatever bliss and they’ll follow it. So that’s what all those Adventure myths are all about. They’re all just metaphors for a person’s life. That’s when they’re called to what their true calling is. That kind of ties into a lot of what you’re talking about with this podcast. It’s this Quest, this dangerous mission to go on this path of this unorthodox life, or unorthodox at first, you know? But really, when you look at it, we’re talking about having careers, people like you and I. But you look at the specifics of it and when we’re younger and we’re first getting out of college and high school and our parents are expecting us to get full-time gigs, wherever that has benefits, you know? I’m going off I’m going on a tangent here, but another very careful line to stride is — and I think you talked about this in the first episode — it’s not about like putting anyone down that wants to have a desk job or anything like that of course… 

Paul Motisi [00:25:48]Or certainly not for doing it out of absolute necessity, you know?Survival is key and I’m not here to judge you and neither are you, and I know that.

John Carbone [00:25:57]Yeah. What I what I kind of rally for, and the people I kind of rant at, preach at, are the people that like… say you are working some desk job that you fucking hate and you do have some kind of calling that you know that you were born for. You know that makes you feel happy and you know that if you really went for it, and risked your neck, you could turn it into a career. Those are the people that are talking about. Those are like the people that hear the Call to Adventure. I don’t know. If you’re a budding artist, read Joseph Campbell. That shit will inspire you, you know? 

John Carbone [00:26:33]And you’re talking about this Call to Adventure that he puts forth and and that being applicable to one’s life. Would you say that that time that you performed at Sinclair’s, the first time you played drums with Derek, in that example, that wasn’t the first call. Do you remember the first time you heard any call to it?

John Carbone [00:26:54]Oh yeah, I can remember things throughout my whole life. Even from when I was a little kid of weird… like, this is gonna make some people close their ears, I know… but they were like… call ’em whatever you want to call ’em, but there were weird synchronicities. I can remember from being really little, where I would be in the backseat of my car listening to something and there’d be weird lyrics, whatever song I was listening to was like, basically, saying what I was doing exactly. Weird shit like that, like, “What was that? That was weird!” It’s this weird kind of moment where like something strange happens and make you focus on this one thing but it always involved music. There were a lot of times. I remember one time I sat behind a piano in the Cub Scouts when I was in fucking probably third grade or something like that and it was a piano and cafeteria when the meeting was over and I was just bashing away in the piano and it sounded like garbage, I’m sure. But at the time I was like “This sounds amazing and I’m a master of piano. This is the best. I don’t need anything else ever. This sounds great.” And the first time I sat down behind the drum kit, at a friend’s older brother’s… It was actually Larry Bernardo’s drum kit, which is funny because I’m involved a certain projects with him now, but yeah, I was friends with his little sister Jenna, we were in his basement, and I sat down behind this kit and there was just something that like… It’s hard to describe but you felt something in you were all your attention and all of your focus and everything in your brain, all the strands all went to one thing and just like something grabbed said like “Hey! Dipshit! This! Pay attention to this!” And I never got that really with anything else. But as time went by and I started playing music more, it really started. Going back to Joseph Campbell, another part on that “hero map” if you want to call that is, you know, once that person opens that door answers that call, while there will be obstacles and trials and whatnot, there will be help. More doors will open, you know? A lot of times, the scariest thing is just making the first choice to pursue this stuff, you know, and it’s horrifying, rightfully so. But once you do doors that you couldn’t have imagined will definitely open up. It’s not about like, “I need to know where every door is and then need to check them and make sure they’re unlocked.” It’s not about that. It’s just, like, if you see one door, go through that fucking door. Eventually the next door will pop open. 

Paul Motisi [00:29:45]I have to pause you here because so far, in this whole conversation…. I want to talk about weird synchronicity things. You have specifically brought up two things or three things in this conversation to this point that I did in the recorded intro that I did for this episode before I spoke to you.

Paul Motisi [00:30:07]Oh really? 

Paul Motisi [00:30:07]Yes. Specifically, finding all these doors and things like that. And, to me that’s very interesting that you gravitated to the same metaphor and…

Paul Motisi [00:30:15]I told ya!

Paul Motisi [00:30:16]Yeah! See? And there’s some sort of thing that like points me, as if to say “this is what you’re supposed to be doing right now.” Not to go too off on myself, but as you say, you know, all these doors that point to you and these synchronicities and things like that… and there are plenty of other things around us that are telling us not to do these things and sometimes those are not to be ignored, you know? Those things are there for a reason too. But I do find it very interesting in that particular example, because if I were to apply this, listening to this loud voice of “Hey! You! Dipshit! This!” If I apply that to my life, me seeing the synchronicity in what you’re saying talking to me, for example, I’m seeing that maybe I am supposed to be doing this and I don’t know why I’m supposed to be talking about being creative with you, but I’m supposed to be for whatever reason and I have to trust that. Did you always trust your intuition? Or did you go through moments of doubt? Did you go through moments where you felt it was wrong to follow that voice? 

Paul Motisi [00:31:22]You know, it’s foggy. Everything’s kind of foggy when you look back a little bit, but for the most part

Paul Motisi [00:31:28]I did always trust it but to more severe degrees as time went by. I can remember playing drums. Like when I like first learned how to play drums. I learned how to play drums because you guys like called me up and said Brian, our good friend Brian, who was a brilliant drummer, he was too busy. Brian’s too busy, learn how to play drums. And I learned how to play drums just from basically learning how to rub my belly and pat my head and just figuring my limbs out. And then I learned drums by just jamming with you guys. But from those early days, it’s funny because I knew so little, but the way it made me feel made me so fucking sure. I can remember in those early days thinking like, “I could make a career out of this!” Which is hilarious now to think about because we’re talking about a time where we barely had a band, you know what I mean? It was just like garbage music, this and that… but that feeling was just like, “oh this will work,” you know? The trust was always there. It was until it got to the point where I was basically flunking out of college because I just stopped doing the work. I stopped going. I just didn’t give a shit about going. So I just kind of dropped out. That was like the hardest time in terms of the pressure to not… even at that time, there wasn’t a set game plan like there is now. I don’t want to say I wasn’t afraid, but I wasn’t as concerned with as you might think someone would be. The point I want to make is because of the way it made me feel, that’s how I trusted in it. Think of a relationship. I always kind of thought that like when you’re really truly in love with someone, that love is the thing that tells you, “We can make it through anything because we love each other.” You know? And that’s kind of know what I felt about this stuff. Like it doesn’t matter. If I don’t know how this is going to work. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do. But I know that I’ve tapped into some kind of fucking current. The lightning has found its lightning rod. So that’s all I need. So that kept my attitude pretty sure from the get-go, I would say.

Paul Motisi [00:33:45]I’ve never really heard anyone compare it to romance in that way. That’s very interesting. It’s pretty astounding. I mean, whatever you’re doing seems to be working for you because going from where you’ve gone from to where you are now, and I know there’s many more Mountains to climb for you.

John Carbone [00:34:12]Oh yeah.

Paul Motisi [00:34:14]And I know you ain’t done! But with that in mind, I am curious about… okay, you’re in a position now where there is an expectation of some sort of, you know, in the design world you’d call them deliverables, but you know, there’s output, you know, there’s expectation of output. I’m curious in more ways than one, or in relation to multiple projects: How does your process work as far as writing? With you, I’m gonna say “summoning words.” I feel like that’s more appropriate for you, knowing  you.

John Carbone [00:34:59](laughs) Yep! 

Listen to the episode here.

Read Part 2 of the transcript here.

Hey, I just made that up! (It’s not very good.)

It’s been a long week of getting this together, but the site is online. A little buggy in the style department, but I’ll call it a work in progress. As long as the site can get you episodes as they drop and get you to your preferred listening location, I’m happy.

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Please let me know if there’s anything you want to see here, and I’ll add it to the List of Things I’ll Get To, Eventually.

Thanks for the outpouring of support thus far. I’m humbled and inspired.

—Paul