At the ends of weeks, I post interviews with people who know a lot more about aspects of the proverbial business than I do. Two weeks ago, theater blogger Jaime Green told us she would blog professionally if given the opportunity. This week, we have Jerry Yeti, who blogged at Yeti Don’t Dance for just about three years before (sort of) giving it up, possibly for good.
On November 8, 2007, you posted that you would not 1. become a blogger blogging about not blogging and 2. that your blog, Yeti Don’t Dance, was not dead. There are six posts after that, from the same day, from November 12, 2007; December 5, 2007; January 28, 2008; December 31, 2008; and March 10, 2009. Have you officially called time of death?
Is this a deposition? Every once in a while I still get a delusion that I have something to interesting to say and that people other than my mom want to hear it. Like most, I started blogging because I had perspectives about things but no outlet. One of my first posts (pre-music) I blogged was about this medieval toilet you could buy, and as an architect (during the day) I dreamt about specifying that someday for a client. If I ever design a castle, I know the perfect throne.
I eventually became over conscientious of my audience. What killed my blog in the end -if it is indeed dead- was self-doubt. I began to feel that people didn’t care what I had to say. The response I had during the blog’s heyday was that people did care, but somewhere along the line I myself no longer believed it. I was like Tinkerbell, but it was me who failed to clap for everyone else.
Let’s do this interview like The Notebook and flash back to the very beginning. Why did you start writing a music blog in 2005? Your first post reads, “As reported in Pitchfork today, LCD Soundsystem will hit Webster Hall (cringe) on June 10… but without M.I.A. I guess. I wonder why?”. You really jumped right into the content there, didn’t you? No “I’m X and I’m starting a music blog now” introduction? Do you think readers cared who you were and why you were doing this, or is content and access to information all that really matters?
I didn’t need an introduction because no one was reading. I was trying to emulate other music blogs and in order to rise to their level, I had to exist as if I always had existed. Maybe I started blogging in 1996 and simply deleted the archives? In fact, yes, that it what I did. I’m the oldest music blog in existence and no even realizes this. And that is why it continues even in its state of suspended animation. It’s waiting to go to the fu-ture. What’s the Notebook?
What’s your day job? Was blogging an escape from the day job? A supplement to the day job? Something you hoped would some day become the day job?
Architecture. Blogging was supplemental to expand my social life, discover new music, and meet new people. I knew the love affair would only last a couple years. One day I’d wake up and be burnt out and move on to something else. My current obsessions are training for a marathon and solving puzzles like Rubik’s Cubes and higher order cubes. Neither of these things is conducive to a social life.
What, if anything, did you do to promote the blog when you launched it?
Really complex marketing strategies like commenting on other websites by leaving on-topic thoughts and including a hypertext link in my name. Everyone loves to post anonymously on BrooklynVegan nowadays, but people are missing out on some serious traffic. Back when I was a blogger, we posted our names proudly next our comments, and called each other names to our faces.
Can you explain the “indie rock” blogosphere to us? Does everything filter down from Pitchfork? Or does no one care about Pitchfork. From Brooklyn Vegan, maybe? Are bloggers generally friends/ly or are there Blog Wars?
It’s a network of friends really. Everyone knows everyone because you all go to all the same shows all the time. Are they friendly? All but two.
Nothing filters from Pitchfork other than nonsense. People pay attention to it because it’s there, like the weather. It fills a vacuum.
Even though you write about a lot of New York-area shows, did you find you had readers from all over the country? Is there a more national focus to a broader indie rock scene, or do bloggers tend to focus on bands from or who come to their area?
NYC is the cauldron to boil in if you want to make it . We have the highest density-per-capita of music bloggers of anywhere, maybe. Indie rock is local in that we get to see out favorite bands repeatedly, but the love for the music transcends state lines. New York State demands sales tax on music love acquired from out of state, but that’s a single line on form IT-150.
In your opinion, how relevant are printed music magazines like Rolling Stone, Paste, and Spin today?
I still think there’s a place for printed music reviews in newspapers and places like Reader’s Digest, but definitely not dedicated music periodicals.
Why did you stop blogging?
- Self-Doubt as explained above
- I saw over 220 concerts in 2006, and even more bands. I was burning myself out.
- Already seen most bands I liked – some many, many times each.
- It’s a lot of work. Finding new music, going to shows, reading blogs. I prefer to be lazy.
- Too many emails from publicists – I couldn’t filter what was good
- Finally got a girlfriend -unlikely, but true
- Got a Metafilter account. I saw how smart and funny people over there were and I immediately felt dumb and humorless. Much like how I stopped playing guitar after 10 years when I started going to indie rock shows. The last time I played guitar was a song for my Grandma’s funeral.
Have your Twitter and Tumblr accounts replaced the blog, or are they completely different? I hear you signed up for Twitter before anyone knew what Twitter was. Do you feel vindicated or annoyed that it’s so popular now?
Twitter is easy because it’s so brief. Yet, even there I have to concentrate hard on what I have to say and not sound trite. I started it as a joke with reports on BMs (very high level of concentration), but I quickly saw the merits of it beyond that.
In the heyday of Yeti Don’t Dance, how often were you pitched by bands and publicists to cover shows?
About as much as I get now. They don’t seem to care I haven’t blogged regularly in years. It boggles my mind.
What’s the most annoying thing a band or publicist ever did?
I’ve been contacted on instant messenger to follow up on the dozen or so emails I ignored.
How often do you still get pitched?
I got 45 emails from bands and publicists today alone. 35 of them went directly to my spam box, and 10 of them I had to delete personally.