There’s no greater pleasure than discovering a new obsession, whether it’s a band, book, movie, instrument, machine, or learning to make something in a different way. Immersion in your own world is rejuvenating and necessary. At the same time, it’s isolating, and the lengths you can go to and the depths you can sink are now practically infinite. I’ve spent more time reading, watching, or listening to certain artists talk or perform than with my close friends. Living vicariously through someone else’s past rock tour or press junket, one recently uploaded YouTube video at a time. Routines and closed loops make life bearable. I’m lost trying to narrow my focus and am constantly looking for ways to make the world small, overwhelmed by self-imposed deadlines and timelines I set to kick myself in the ass and get out of my room. Going on tour (the longest I’m ever away from home, constantly traveling) always makes this back and forth feeling fry me alive, torn between experiencing life and being a brain in a jar, or a muscle memory monkey sliding faders and running scales here in my room.
“Passions” are considered good and noble to have, but “obsessions” are suspicious. I’m not sure what the difference is. I guess passion is what we call something when it’s healthy, and obsession is when it becomes all-consuming, self-destructive and alienating. Politicians and actors are passionate; the Unabomber was obsessed. I feel like Chauncey Gardner, I like to watch. And be watched (sometimes). This is reading a bit like a horoscope. Removing myself from the equation 90 percent of the time is easy and comfortable, but inevitably lonely, and not necessarily in a sad way, just not being able to communicate something that would be impossible to share except in person. Throwaway lines, gestures, body language and phrasing—I listen to Longmont Potion Castle and laugh until I’m red in the face. LPC’s “phone work”—recordings of bizarre prank phone calls—is pretty hostile but more or less the positive outcome of a Unabomber type personality.
“Regardless, you gonna smoke me out, or what?… It’s just me and a little closet type situation, I just wanna smoke out in here… I mean, I’ll just come to you, and then we can really get things flamed out.” The Longmont Potion Castle Ultimate Session Bundle, his complete works 1987 to now, has been announced and is available here. Buy it! The anonymous artist is beloved by loners and stoners, and even though his work usually borders on harassment, the poor people he’s talking to and riling up probably deserve it for being so quick to anger and insults to an obvious prank caller. Then again, if it wasn’t for the voice or the complete mastery of the English language as an art form, LPC would just creep me out, and I’m pretty sure I would become riddled with paranoia, convinced the murderer was three feet behind me. So with an obsession comes guilt and doubt about whether or not what you’re doing is healthy/unhealthy, or art/creepy.
—Follow Nicky Smith on Twitter: @MUGGER1992