FOUR more years
In September 2009, I was 23 years old, starting my final year of college in Abbotsford, BC. I had just finished the first tour I'd ever organized myself (a two-week jaunt with eight of my friends to Winnipeg and back) for my main musical project at the time. I had been writing and recording electronic music for years, and this tour was the culmination of my most "high-profile" (heavy quotes) release to date. Not many people came to the shows, and not many people listened to the record, but I had an amazing time with my friends on that tour, and I came home energized and excited to make another record.
It was around this time that I also heard Washed Out's "Life Of Leisure EP", and I'm not ashamed to admit, it changed my life. I studied recording in college, and while I'd been doing lots of recording at home, the idea was always to try and create the most "hi-fi sound" as possible. Then I heard that record, and my world kind of got turned upside down; it was electronic music (which in my ears had always been a very slick, hifi) but it felt like it was from a different era. The lo-fi vibe was not only nostalgic and "cool", but it was liberating. I could make music like this! I was about 10 songs into the process of a new record (which was sounding very...blog house-y) and I started to make music that felt more like that Washed Out EP. I slowed down the BPM, I started to sample more and I started recording vocals with long held notes, drenched in reverb and delay.
Fast forward to April 2010. I had six songs finished that stood out from the rest. I decided to abandon the four on the floor, 128 BPM, arpeggio-laced dance songs I had made, and really, abandon the project. During the recording process, I had been exchanging emails with a new friend, someone I had met on that tour the summer before. Cecil Frena, and his equally life-changing project Gobble Gobble, had headlined the show we played in Winnipeg, and we all struck up a quick friendship. Cecil was definitely in touch with a scene that was new to me: the world of MP3 blogs. I started reading seemingly big players like Stereogum, The FADER and Gorilla Vs Bear, right next to smaller, more niche sites like Stadiums & Shrines, Smoke Don't Smoke, and The Road Goes Ever On. There seemed to be this amazing community of artists and bloggers that all seemed to be fans of each other equally. It was utopian, and innocent, and incredibly inspiring. As I was working on all this music, Cecil was giving me not only constructive criticism, but also the encouragement to send my music to these sites.
I graduated from college in April 2010, and released my first two songs as Teen Daze two weeks later. Two months later, Four More Years was released. A month later, I joined Cecil, and Gobble Gobble, in San Francisco, where we began a week of shows down the California coast. Two months after that, I flew to New York to play CMJ for the first time. It was after that trip that I decided to make Teen Daze my full-time career.
When I think back on the summer of 2010, I have only the fondest memories. The way things played out with this release, and its quick success, are still incredible to me. I had been making music for a very long time before Four More Years was released, but for the first time I really felt like there was an audience that was listening. I had fans for the first time; people were making unofficial videos for songs. It was all very new and exciting, and I'm so thankful that it was this collection of music that made it happen. When I listen to this record now, I hear pure excitement and innocence. I felt no pressure in the making of this record, and I think that youthful energy and optimism that I alluded to in the name of the project were on full display.
I'm so thankful to everyone that listened to, and supported, this record over the years, and I hope it continues to find an audience in years to come.