Postrockstar State of the Union Part 2: How Postrockstar came to be

…This is a continuation of the beginning of my three part blog series that started on Sunday. You can read Part 1 here.

In 2011 a little site called turntable.fm was quickly becoming my go-to for internet music streaming as a way to pass my monotonous days of GIS based mapping at my job working for Google Maps. I happened to stumble upon a room called Post-Rock & Beyond and I quickly realized I knew nothing about Post-Rock and had been barely scratching the surface all these years. The bands I was introduced to produced some of the most unique songs I had ever heard. I had never heard anything quite like Cloudkicker, MaybeSheWill, The Calm Blue Sea, Friends of Dean Martinez, the list goes on. I was being introduced to dozens of post-rock bands on a daily basis and I couldn’t get enough. I was snatching up full discographies left and right and learning everything I could about the roots of the genre and all of the subtypes within the post-rock stratosphere.

In early 2012 I was asked by a couple friends if I would share the albums I was listening to at the time and what I thought about them. I obliged and began writing and maintaining a facebook note containing my thoughts on every album released in 2012 that I had checked out. A lot of these small blurbs would later go on to be the first reviews hosted on the site. Postrockstar was based on an idea that was always passed around in our Turntable.fm room but never went further than mild discussion. After my contract with Google ended, I had the entire summer to myself. With a plethora of free time, Postrockstar.com was born through WordPress as I have little to no web development experience and wanted something simple.  I created this blog with the intention of directly comparing post-rock albums released in 2012 to one another in an effort to determine the unquestionable best albums of the year.  I used a zero-100 percent rating system to rank albums, a system that worked well for the original intention of the site.

I never quite fathomed Postrockstar becoming relatively popular in a short amount of time and it was never actually my intention to become an influential part of the post-rock community. I was simply reviewing the music that I liked and ranking it accordingly to my own tastes. Averaging over 5,000 hits a month, the site was receiving significant support from bands eager to have their work reviewed. We were delving deeper into the post-rock scene and I was trying to cover both the bigger bands in the genre and the smaller regional bands as well. With so many bands seeking our approval, Postrockstar began to evolve as it snowballed into something bigger than myself.

In October I took a full time position for a local tech upstart here in Seattle and my free time quickly dwindled.  I needed help, so I turned to the people who helped me discover the post-rock genre on Turntable.fm and asked for help. They obliged but it still wasn’t quite enough, so I began recruiting others who were fans of the site. In theory this worked for awhile, but with no real structure or expectations, reviews other than my own came in sporadically, meaning I still had to produce a large sum of Postrockstar’s content. With more and more bands sending us material for review, backlogs quickly became unmanageable. In January of 2013, the site peaked when it saw nearly 15,000 hits following our spree of year ends awards and lists. Discovering and sharing new music was still fun to me, but the rigors and expectations of running a popular blog was taking its toll on me mentally.

At the same time my motives for what I wanted Postrockstar to accomplish were drastically changing. No longer did I want people to either listen to or not listen to music based off my reviews alone. I wanted to share music but have people discover it on their own. I didn’t want our readers to listen to albums with an idea of what to expect or listen for the imperfections and gripes I had with albums. As a person who lives each day with a postive outlook and shuns negativity, it was growing increasingly difficult for me to be ultra critical of musician’s work. I would rather not review an album than waste time giving an album a poor review that will benefit no one. You can read more about that in the blog I wrote this last May.

I’ve done a pretty good job up to this point of keeping my personal life separate from Postrockstar, but I think I should mention that major events in my life have drastically consumed the large majority of my free time in the past six months.  I routinely work 50 hour weeks at my job and have my hand in many other projects and hobbies. There are simply weeks where I no longer have the time to write reviews, post news and do anything other than share very brief descriptions of albums that were sent to us by bands asking for review or promotion. This blog has always remained high on my priority list and anytime I can devote an hour or two to the site I usually spent that time producing these unreviewed album postings you’ve seen the last few months to ensure that the site had its regular 3-5 weekly updates our readers have come to expect.

This last August my life was turned upside down in the culmination of a yearlong venture into the world of competitive trading card games. I won’t even began to explain my fascination with card based games but to make a long story short I spend most of my weekends playing Pokemon competitively. No Shit! It’s not as crazy as it sounds and it’s an absolute ton of fun that has brought me fame, fortune and has brought a ton of amazing friends into my life. Fame and fortune you say? How? It’s just a children’s card game isn’t it? Not exactly.

I’ve traveled to Indiana, California, Oregon and Canada to play this crazy card game. In playing competitively throughout an entire season, I was one of 200 or so players who qualified to play in the 2013 World Championship. In the World Championship, I cemented my name into the history books by finishing in 3rd place, receiving over $10,000 in scholarships, prizes and travel awards. On top of that, I instantly became a “named” player known worldwide by both competitive and casual players as well as fans of Pokemon in general. Much of my time lately isn’t taken up playing, but rather being something of an ambassador to the game, chatting and talking Pokemon with anyone and everyone who has congratulated me on my performance and is interested in hearing my thoughts about the game . It’s been a whirlwind last few months that I never saw coming and is as equally important to the essence of who I am as Postrockstar is.

Before I go any further, if you’re reading this and thinking “this guy is lame, he plays fucking Pokemon? What is he, 12 years old?” Well, here’s a question for you: Do 12 year olds own their dream car? I own mine thanks to the money I made through finishing 3rd at the World Championship. Sitting behind the wheel of a 2011 Dodge Challenger is all the reassurance I need in my decision to play Pokemon competitively. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it

And that will wrap up part two of my three part blog. In the next blog I’ll discuss the current state of Postrockstar, the future vision for the site, what you can expect from us going forward and the changes we’re going to try to implement to make Postrockstar better than before in 2014. That blog will be posted in two days so stay tuned.