Like many good songwriters and composers, I like to know who else is out there in the industry. I want to know who’s doing what I’ve done and who’s doing what I’m doing and who’s doing something completely different.
Back in 2007, my then 11-year-old son introduced me to Jonathan Coulton who, a few months earlier, had wound down his Song-A-Week Project. My son — whose nickname is “Codeboy” — took a liking to Coulton’s song “Code Monkey” and I have to admit that after the first listen, I was hooked on the catchy tune.
Jonathan Coulton is the sort of musician my son and I can appreciate. He’s an Indie Artist with more than a nod in the direction of that esteemed group of computer people who are lovingly referred to as geeks. To clarify what is meant by geek, a geek is a person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity and who passionately pursues skill — especially technical skill — and imagination over mainstream social acceptance.
A Yale graduate, he left his day job as a computer programmer to follow his passion in music. And he’s been wildly successful to that end. According to my son, Coulton arrived when he wrote the music for the end credits on the video game “Portal.”
Johnathan Mann has had a similar and yet very different journey. I happened upon an interview with Mann on the news program “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” Rather than write a song a week as Coulton had done for a year, Mann has decided to write a song a day for a year.
A Berkeley graduate, Jonathan Mann claims he cannot find work in the current economy and has turned to writing songs daily, offering them for sale on his website. By his own admission, he cranks out most of his songs in less than an hour.
Does the quality suffer? Each person has to make his or her own mind up on that question.
As for me, I’ll keep asking my son his opinion on music and I’ll keep checking out new artists he mentions to me from time to time. He hasn’t steered me wrong yet and I doubt he’ll steer me wrong in the future when it comes to interesting and intriguing musical talent.
And so, with this entry, you will find two videos from Johnathan Coulton because I just couldn’t decide between these two after having listened to so many excellent options from Coulton. For your listening pleasure, “Code Monkey” and “Still Alive” from the video game “Portal.”