Jan 1st - Finally - My Story And Apology Letter About Fateless Flows
Updated: May 29, 2021
This is a letter to the public, especially to anyone who remembers everything I'm recalling in it. I’m writing this letter so you can know me and my story a little bit better, but it’s also an apology letter. It’s an apology to everyone who remembers my old plan to relaunch Fateless Flows Records a decade ago. I hope it reaches any who remember, be it friend, fan, colleague, and especially those who were a part of the launch attempt and who contributed to it. This is the most appropriate way for me to kick off the year in my opinion, and is also the least that I owe you all. I feel I just need to finally get all of this off my chest, for my own sense of weightlessness and freedom if for no other reason, but I also hope many of you find it well and understand it.
Don’t worry, I’m not “submitting my power” to you or “cowering” or “crawling” or anything like that by apologizing, I promise. This just needs to be done in my opinion. Enjoy it now, because later I’ll probably write about plenty of things in public that aren’t the slightest bit apologetic (insert winky-face here).
So, let's look at this subject for a moment. I truly do apologize for my old botched plans to resurrect and re-launching my record label Fateless Flows Records roughly ten years ago. Believe me, I wouldn't bother apologizing if I hadn't made so many announcements about it and gotten as many people involved as I did back then. I really did an excess of both at the time. I'm not ashamed to admit how it kind of occasionally boggles my mind in a cringe-worthy way whenever I remember this.
The launch almost happened, but as it turned out, was not meant to be. I held on as long as I could at that time, but then I had to let it go, and I still feel bad about this, because of how many people I got involved.
I know for a fact that some of the artists involved were waiting for the launch to help them with their own music and artistic plans,. Perhaps they were only a few, but that's still something. To those people, I’m really and truly sorry about what happened, or I should say--what didn’t happen. I hope this mishap didn’t inconvenience those particular folks too much, and I hope you get a chance to read this letter either way. I would like to ask that you read the entire letter, as my story is more than just an apology. For those who aren’t the slightest bit interested in hearing about another person's hardships, I totally understand and I don’t expect you to read any further. I simply apologize for not delivering on those promises of the past, and thank you for your attention today.
For those who are interested in knowing or understanding more, I will recap a little first, so that everything I'm saying is in decent context.
In 2007, I began planning and announcing that I would relaunch my own personal record label, Fateless Music, which had carried only my own music and no one else's for several years. This new relaunched label would have a slightly new name, Fateless Flows Records, and it would now carry artists other than just myself for a change. The name Fateless Flows would also serve as a hat-tip to my old ex-collective, The Fateless Flows Collective, which was a collective of electronic musicians that I previously formed and ran from 2003-2005. The new label was also going to serve as a way to reconnect with those artists from my ex-collective, by releasing and carrying their newer albums and newer material in addition to my own.
At that time, many people didn't know this about me, but I had previously experienced an excessive amount of loss and transitional upheaval, all at once, right around the year 2000. The type of depression and loss-of-focus that followed this traumatic transition was so prevalent that it would effect everything I attempted for many many years to come. I tried my best to shake it that whole time, attempting to follow through with all of my dreams and plans and ambitions with vigor (sometimes I laugh to myself when I remember this), but I found out the hard way that this was not possible. Rather than recover from each defeat, it just seemed to keep toppling everything else over, like a domino effect that I couldn't control. It was a strange pattern, and it took almost two decades before I would finally shake it. I think a certain amount of this was youth and inexperience, but I also know how much existential crisis was involved. The worse I did, the more I would lose irreplaceable things in my life. The loss almost seemed endless, and so did my heartbreak, which continued to fuel my depression and insecurities. During that time I even developed a fairly bad case of social anxiety, which didn't help the struggle either. Don't get me wrong; of course I experienced many moments of joy and even euphoria during this period, inevitable to some degree over long periods of time, but any forms of elation that transpired didn't change the overall mood and the overall nature of events during this long stage of my life. Again, I think this is just something that happens to certain people when we don't have enough experience or wisdom yet to be able to emotionally detach just enough to stay healthy.
From the year 2000, essentially I didn't fully snap out of this state for another 20 years. During that time, failing to run a collective and failing to launch a label was actually only a fraction of the damage that seemed to occur. I'll spare you the long and private story about everything else that happened during that period, but I will say that I'm very happy and relieved to finally be out of it. I mean, my life may still not be perfect, but it's worlds better now, which is saying an awful lot. Regardless, I'll explain a little more about the dropped label launch, for clarity's sake, since that is the main reason for this letter anyway.
Luckily, I had at least a little bit of relief by the end of 2014, when my good friend, idol and music colleague Ian Boddy gave me the best advice I could’ve received at that time. He said that unless I have a very stable and organized life, being an artist and running a company at the same time is a really bad idea, and hardly possible. Ian had been an artist all his life while running a record label at the same time. I knew he spoke from experience. He helped me to realize that I had no business trying to run a record company if I was also a musician/artist who struggled to the degree that I did. I would have to choose between being an artist or being essentially a businessman/manager/owner.
I'm not sure if this is common knowledge yet, but being an artist, whether it's for a living or for a full-time ambition, is strangely one of the hardest struggles a person can possibly experience when the objective is specifically to create things that have never been created before. It's very hard to explain why this struggle is so intense, but I can say it probably has a lot to do with how hard it is to think of your very soul as being something separate from you work. When you are a serious artist, everything you create feels kind of like it's your own child, and you create quite a few of these children over time. The perils of this are somewhat self explanatory. Trying to manage a life like that, amidst everything else I've explained, was quite a struggle. I’m very glad I listened to Ian Boddy, and took his advice, because continuing to try and be both an artist and a company leader was almost literally killing me. I had to drop it. I had to let go of the idea of starting and running a record label, simply to survive.
Life got a little bit better after I took Ian's advice. Of course, more obstacles continued to arise, but that’s just life. And well, because the entire decade was basically still a struggle, I couldn’t muster up the bravery to tell everyone that I was no longer continuing the launch, and that everyone involved would no longer be a part of it. I suppose I was too scared to say anything, because I could find neither the strength nor the right words to announce such disappointment. So, I just let it go. I know this made me look like a flake, but I really was struggling in ways that would require writing a book to explain. I suppose I just hope that people understand this on some level, that I was struggling with a lot of personal crisis over the entire decade, and perhaps most people reading this have experienced something similar. I’m just sorry I didn’t get you the whole story sooner.
I’ve also made a clear decision, from now, on to avoid biting off more than I can chew, whenever possible. I really hope this is a decision I can stick to, and I will do everything in my power to stay solid with it. My ambitions are still as high as ever, even though they’ve morphed a bit, and have grown a tad more realistic.
Sadly, a lot of people lost faith in me as an artist during my years-long existential crisis. Oh well. No use crying over spilled beer. Some even lost faith in me as a human being, which is truly unfortunate, considering how honorable my intentions have always been and how apparent I've always attempted to keep them. I apologized to some of these folks for what mistakes I knew were mine, but their harsh judgements were somehow solidified, as though I had killed their dog. So in the end, I take little-to-no responsibility for how they feel. Their ultimate impression and opinion of me was their own decision. At the very least, I can walk away knowing this.
But hey, seriously, for those of you who maintained faith in me as an artist, an intellect, and an all-around-good human being that whole time, fans and friends and colleagues alike, I really can’t express how grateful I am for you. Truly. Thank you, once again, from the bottom of my heart, for your support. Your faith is doing someone a lot of good in this world. It serves as true encouragement for someone who always means well and who strives to do his best through all of the adversity life throws our way on this planet. I will use your belief in me as best as I can, to climb from here as high as possible. Thank you for your attention, everyone. I hope to see you before long (hopefully at one of my gigs and/or events), and I hope you have a very good new year (and beyond).
-Dean De Benedictis