73 minutes | Jul 6, 2022
BONUS EPISODE - "STEPHEN MALKMUS"
Ever since he heard the Trigger Cut 7" in high school, Emil has been a big fan of Stephen Malkmus' contributions to the American underground. Emil stopped by Stephen's house while visiting Portland a few years ago and had a rare conversation about his younger years and early experiences in Pavement.
51 minutes | Jun 14, 2022
BONUS EPISODE - "RON GETS FAN MAIL!"
Ron & Emil recently began a ritual of Sunday brunching at the same family restaurant they worked at back in 1992. After a pleasant brunch Ron is granted his customary 'hard cider' and the mics are fired up. Questions were posed by listeners on Patreon and, while Ron is initially shocked that he's gotten fan mail, his storied wisdom comes rolling out just the same. It begins with the unwrapping of some rare 8-track tapes Emil's just added to his collection, which to Ron's astonishment and inevitable arousal, contains the entire Bob Dylan discography. And then when the cider eventually starts hitting, Ron regales the true, unknown story behind his friendship with the, now un-locatable, "Ecstasy Damaged Chef".
74 minutes | May 17, 2022
LONER LEGENDS III
"LONER LEGENDS III" is the final episode of Season Five & features:: *an overview of Eden Ahbez & the writing of Nature Boy* *a difficult dive into the dastardly world of John Phillips* *an overview of Alan Hull's work with Lindisfarne and his solo LPs* *a section on Basil Kirchin and his pioneering of 'ambient music'* Thanks so much for listening
54 minutes | May 3, 2022
Emil has a mid-life crisis... and records it. This episode is a sequel to "The Outsider", the other purely philosophical episode that anchored Drifter's Sympathy into a hardcore existentialist stance. This cast uses the holy trinity of American Country Music, Taoism and the Twilight Zone to illustrate our fruitless attempt to resolve the perpetually unfinished nature of consciousness itself. In the form of a classic Existentialist thesis, 'Four Walls' puts forward that escapism only erodes what integrity and strength we have... and that the only way forward is straight through the murk & confusion directly. At the very least, you'll never hear the song "Hello Walls" the same again... and at the very best, this cast helps demonstrate why Kurtz's last words in 'Heart of Darkness' are "The horror, The horror."
72 minutes | Apr 19, 2022
THE DAWN OF SELFISH MUSIC II
The sequel of "THE DAWN OF SELFISH MUSIC" goes a little darker into the consequences of gaining total freedom. On the other side of this new frontier, Dylan finds people breaking into his house to find their leader, Miles Davis tries to shake off imitators chasing his every aesthetic move and a never-ending supply of drugs causes David Crosby's life to fully crash and burn. Gene Clark is the patron saint of this episode, while managing to commit various sins no saint has ever conceived of. If this particular cast ever seems overly negative, its really just an attempt to grapple with the true ugliness that went on behind the making of some of our favorite music. Because treating that music as a product alone doesn't really honor the spiritual confusion that came alongside the "me generation" and selfish music's announcement that anything was now fair game. When does being too selfish cause total destruction...? - All of the characters in this episode flirt with total freedom and some don't make it out.🔥
65 minutes | Apr 5, 2022
THE LECTURER II
Duncan Trussell returns to Drifter's Sympathy for the continuation of "The Lecturer". Emil and Duncan get into the archaeology of their friendship, their early development and how they were molded by completely different forms of trauma to come to a similar internal place. The second half dives into their artistic process and how Taoist methods have helped lead them towards creating their body of work over the years.
70 minutes | Mar 22, 2022
THE DAWN OF SELFISH MUSIC
Tracing back to the beginnings of when music on the radio began to slowly fracture and morph in the late 50's, Emil returns to a small fleet of songwriters in the Teen Heartthrob era that began to dream of a coming world of freedom and evolution in the art of songform. Driven by the seizing of a personal power outside of the need to please the crowd, these writers leaked actual emotions into their recordings which set the stage for bands like the Beatles to flex an intellectualism that couldn't have been hypothesized a few years before. This setting is established by the epic meeting of Bobby Vee and Bob Dylan in a record store in Fargo, North Dakota in 1959. Dylan lasts two weeks in Vee's band after greatly misrepresenting his skill set and then Bobby Vee goes on to become an international superstar without him, showing Dylan that the dream is really possible. Then when Dylan makes his return to the market with a fully developed image, he ends up eviscerating Bobby Vee's entire genre and the world would never be the same. This is part one of "the Dawn of Selfishness".
60 minutes | Mar 8, 2022
MOVING TO PORTLAND
The new season of Drifter's Sympathy picks back up at the end of the last episode. 'I Want to Live a Peaceful Life' was about the sudden malaise that can descend on you at the end of college. Emil moved in with Duncan Trussell in LA and only lasted a summer before he realized that it wasn't the right place to start a music career based on hyper-honesty. This episode approaches the emotional field of getting to Portland in 1999 and experiencing cultural confusion after having spent four years recording up in the mountains of North Carolina. The cast wades in what it feels like to be 22 years old... simultaneously out of your depth, while also having something to offer that no one wants any part of. There will be a part two of 'Moving to Portland' next season that gets into the beginnings of starting to play music in front of people, but this episode is centered around the sensation of arriving in a foreign land. Its a meditation on the true deflation one feels when they grasp how ridiculous scaling the vertical wall that trying to make art in public can be... and the harsh reality of trying to achieve what you think your heroes did. There are important references in here to the earlier episodes : 'Moving to LA',, 'The Satan Seller' and 'I Want to Live A Peaceful Life'...
26 minutes | Feb 15, 2022
*Q&A and 5th Season Announcement*
Season Five of Drifter's Sympathy will be dropping on March 8th! - This is a special mini-episode meant to announce the new Season, but it includes a section of last season's special Q&A episode where Patreon listeners were essentially able to guide their own episode. Emil dives back into the 90's and navigates the difficulties artists face from an extremely personal perspective.
57 minutes | May 21, 2019
I WANT TO LIVE A PEACEFUL LIFE
We've reached the Final Hour of this season... for now... Emil went out to his mother's farm and recorded the finale of these 6 episodes in the middle of the night while drinking a significant amount of moonshine. He enters a strange and dazed state of mind, temporarily entering a flashback of the 'religious episode' he experienced in 1998. After several years of being held captive inside an extreme and crippling depression, he had a dream where God came to him and said that it was finally time to experience what actual happiness is. This cast is about the epic struggle to appreciate life itself, and how, if we are lucky enough to achieve any kind of peak experience of what enlightenment is, we have no idea how long that insight will stay before releasing us back into the world as it is generally seen. The cast ends in 1999 with Emil moving up to Portland where his artistic life began all over again. Because of the eerie quiet and meditative quality of this cast, its best listened to while alone, late at night.
66 minutes | May 5, 2019
*RARE SOUNDTRACKS III*
Emil and Alex recently got off a massive Grails tour that took them to places as disparate as Poland, Turkey, Estonia and Lithuania, ending up in Copenhagen where they recorded this cast at Alex's apartment. It begins with the two reflecting on how traveling as a band can reach heavy emotional impasses that require a kind of comedic release and Grails have established a dense list of guilty pleasures that've eased their morning hangovers after touring Europe for over 15 years. The conversation eventually moves into their love of British and Italian library music and ends with record shopping in Greece underneath the Parthenon. Because this season has been consistently thematically 'heavy', "Rare Soundtracks III" serves as a necessarily lighthearted entry for this run of 6 episodes. The next episode will return to Emil's breakdown, gradual breakthrough and eventual move up to Portland, Oregon to begin the next chapter of his life.
62 minutes | Apr 22, 2019
This episode dives completely into the field of extreme, paralyzing alienation and the hovering spectre of the failure of your childhood dreams. It also features a tribute to the healing power of the music of Daniel Johnston... a singer that has the power to build a profound bridge out to you when you are in the most debilitating pain. Although this cast unrelentingly focuses on the sensation of floating in the space of a certain kind of loneliness, it posits a central wager that if you follow that Alone-ness ALL the way through to its logical conclusion, being alone can eventually transform into a kind of superpower... and point the way towards a crucial kind of inner redemption and spiritual understanding.
71 minutes | Apr 1, 2019
*THE RENAISSANCE OF HOME RECORDING*
This episode brings the Drifter's documentary-style series on the history of Home Recording to a close for now...🍏 The sheer amount of info in this one could've easily gone into a 300 page book, given that the 'lo-fi'-era has barely been acknowledged as existing as a legitimate form of expression at all. As home-recording has historically only been seen as a stepping stone towards more traditional forms of music industry careerism, Emil tries to re-frame the impulse and phenomenon as its own real and beautiful sub-world of vital documentation in itself. Whereas the previous episode "The Dawn of Home Recording" examines the impulse of Les Paul's initial invention of the overdub, this cast investigates what happens when you hand that technology over to tomorrow's freaks to make their own private, warped fantasies undeniably real.
60 minutes | Mar 18, 2019
Emil has a nervous breakdown in New York, packs everything into his car and starts driving south. He takes a sabbatical in his childhood home in North Carolina thinking it will offer some perspective, but it only brings on a full mid-life crisis which he realizes he's been needing and fully embraces. While cleaning his mom's old house and looking at baby pictures, he has a revelation about what truly carves a person into their eventual individuality. On a lark, he begins to fantasize about reconnecting with his very first guru Ron... the gay deadhead who initially got him into LSD 25 years beforehand. Luckily, Ron is quickly located and ends up being exactly as forthcoming, sweet and helpful as he always was. This episode features special spots on two other Chapel Hill gurus Dexter Romweber and Mac McCaughan, ...thank you for inspiring younger kids like Emil in their small towns to try and think bigger than their regular programming. And apologies to Link Wray, Max Roach and many more for not remembering that you were from North Carolina... ALSO... WTF!! 💥 >.....WE FUCKING FOUND RON!! 🍻 [for timeline clarification, this episode jumps out of the lineage of previous episodes about the 90's into our current time and looks back on our development & our earliest decisions...]
52 minutes | Mar 4, 2019
*THE DAWN OF HOME RECORDING*
Season 4 opens with a historical dig into the culture of home recording, beginning with Les Paul's initial invention of the overdub and then down the winding path of loner practitioners who seized his technology to exorcise their demons. Les Paul couldn't get electronic companies to listen to his ideas on multi-tracking for a couple decades so out of pure frustration, he assembled the ability to overdub in his garage using his father's old car parts and two lathe-cutting machines. After scoring 7 number one hits from his garage using the power of the overdub, he innovated a new way to add extra heads to mono-recorders and forced the Ampex Tape Machine company to accept that a new era had arrived. This changed music production forever and eventually put the power of recording entire records and exploring one's own imagination into the hands of the lone individual. The focus and frustration that pushes someone towards invention parallels the same dynamic we experience when pushed to a breakthrough during spiritual struggle, which this season's odd-numbered story episodes will discuss. The advent of home recording opened up new channels and possibilities in private expression while inadvertently creating an 'underground' in-itself. This episode explores the beauty of this new free, independent world with R. Stevie Moore as its core underdog hero, someone who exemplifies the ceaseless searching and private alchemy of the home recorder.
1 minutes | Feb 11, 2019
🧛♂️4th SEASON DRIFTER'S PATREON ANNOUNCEMENT🧛♂️
There's only 2 weeks left now until the 4th Season starts ROLLING OUT🌊 Episode 36 is a very dense & detailed, historical cast called "THE DAWN OF HOME RECORDING" and will drop directly to Patreon users on Monday Feb. 25th >> as usual, the cast will hit Itunes on the following Monday (March 4th) and then on March 11th the first story episode will drop on Patreon that features a very SPECIAL guest interview💐 The 'I Want to Live a Peaceful Life' LP re-issue has been mastered and the art is complete while a KILLER new shirt design is being put together and all rewards are on track!🍏 Almost everyone on the Patreon has chosen their rewards for this season but there's still a couple people left who are signed up and free-floating from last season that haven't chosen a new tier... so choose one in the next 2 weeks when you have some time! - I should note that its really easy to CHANGE yr reward tier,, just click on the one you want & make sure you're allocated to receive whatever you prefer >> and don't worry,, if you're somehow not signed in correctly I'll figure it out and ship whatever you want regardless!💘 This season has been labored over to an obsessive degree! I moved back down to North Carolina to record these episodes & go all the way back to the BEGINNING 📖 >> Most of it was recorded solo so there's a very LATE NITE, one-on-one vibe that gets down to a level of DEPTH I wasn't quite able to achieve before. The content was GREATLY inspired by all the ideas that were sent in when we did the Q&A episode so thank you so MUCH for yr ideas💫 ...we can do another one of those as a bonus episode again this season if you'd like >> just lemme know if these next episodes provoke more IDEAS🌌🔦🌌10-4 https://www.patreon.com/drifterssympathy
62 minutes | May 31, 2018
THE SATAN SELLER
✨🐍✨Episode 35... this is the finale of Season 3✨🐍✨ In 1998, Emil has been living deep in an alternate universe with the other campus leper 'Crazy Jeff' up in the mountains of North Carolina. Jeff is almost a decade older than all the other students at school and he's been ordered to go to prison on the weekends after getting one too many DUI's. Eventually spring break arrives and Duncan has become fixated on going up to Boston to see the Guru. Duncan and Emil hitch a ride to find the Guru knowing that they might be asking for trouble. When they finally meet, Duncan randomly hands the Guru a book on the Satanic Underworld which skews the entire light of their visit. While the boys are running around Boston during the day, the Guru reads the book at work trying to discern the true intention of their visit. At the end of the trip Emil and the Guru venture out into the woods on acid and the devil comes home to roost.🔥
59 minutes | May 6, 2018
This cast opens up the vault exposing all of Grails' early International influences. Turkish, Polish, Greek, Brazilian, German, Japanese and Dutch records are dug through in an effort to overturn the most satisfying junctures of experimentalism and tradition in the 1970's. Somewhat coincidentally, Emil is posting this episode while on tour in Istanbul, Turkey with his band Grails.✨🌴✨
54 minutes | Apr 23, 2018
WHAT HAPPENS TO A GURU
...One of the most important chapters of our tale!📕 The towering myth of Ron's benevolence is put into perspective as his trust with Emil becomes fractured. Emil begins to see Ron as fallible and human just like the rest of us while his second guru begins to grow darker and darker. A new theory is posited... that the pull of the guru is fueled by a tension that comes from risk. And that putting one's trust in them can inevitably go very, very wrong... but the dare to follow them away from safety simultaneously functions as a life-affirming leap of faith. The end of this cast wrestles with the mentality of the second guru and admits that we can't understand someone who does not want to be known in this world where everything is about exhibition. Comparing him to Kafka won't do because Kafka is LEGENDARY. What great artist has successfully avoided being received entirely? Kafka wanted all of his work burned on his death... and he was defied by his best friend Max Brod, who decided to preserve his writings for future generations. This is such a complex 'betrayal'... but being able to look inside the mind of someone who existed without the most basic sustenance has created a small fire that the most alienated of us continually get warm by.
57 minutes | Apr 9, 2018
*PLASTIC FLOWER PEOPLE II*
Emil heads back down to the initial crossroads where we naively wander across the dividing lines of various sub-cultures and get sucked under their psychological tide. He sees a somewhat unfortunate Grateful Dead show with Ron at around age 15 which bores and frightens him in turn... and that experience begins a strange fascination with the dark side of the hippie movement. 'Plastic Flower People' has become a depository for speculation on the 60's and the rise of modern bohemia. This episode features a fascinating moment where Roger McGuinn talks with Hugh Hefner about the fact that long hair and hippie attitudes are ALREADY played out in 1968. Revealing a puritanical distrust that started to mount as the underground first began to be bought up and sold back to itself.