It’s the summer of 2016 and I’ve felt more energized than I have in years. In addition to writing more frequently than ever, I’ve rediscovered my passion for mixing and recontextualizing music.
I make mixtapes that I’d want to listen to, sharing music the way I hear it. This one is a night drive for future ghosts.
This is the first time I felt compelled to make a mixtape for people I’ll never know.
Ballroom is dedicated to everyone who lost the fight of their lives when someone tried to silence an entire culture. It’s also a dive through my own personal history with dance music, exploring the deep end of the electronic ocean, the sounds that come out as everyone’s going home.
I began this mix in 2011, when I last returned to Michigan. In the midst of feeling directionless and alone, I was trying to start again, build something, connect myself with bigger ideas. Instead, I nearly ruined my life.
I was on a collision course with something terrible, and I had no idea it was coming.
When you lose a beloved pet, it’s a lonely experience. No one else feels the crushing sense of loss like you do, and no one knows the unique shape of the hole left in your life.
I created this mixtape as an emotional balm. It’s the soundtrack to mourning, chilled softness with a hint of wide-eyed wonder.
I made this in springtime, as I was coming out of an anxious, fearful period of my life. It’s the sound of an airlock opening, of stepping outside for the first time in years. It’s my fucked up, weird nostalgia for the future, and it works. This is the sound of me beginning to feel OK again.
The future’s going to be alright. Things have changed. This is Progress.
So I made another mix. Close friends have heard it, and I feel it’s time I shared it here. This was an attempt to capture my outlook right now. Or then, rather. There are distinct first and second halves, and I feel that the latter could be a “healing” side. It’s definitely a warmer, rising sensation. There’s more than that, but the sound is what matters.
It’s called In Heaven.
Change begs itself.
I needed to do something different here. Too much has happened to remain the same. This will now be a home for mixtapes. I will still write about music that I love, sometimes even in the same fashion as before, but this place will change. I have a large mix backlog that can and will be shared, but I assembled one special for this occasion. Here is the inaugural Optimistic Underground mixtape: