Tag Archives: Affect

Extended Family

The Cousins are playing tonight in Prescott, AZ for the first time since the IndieFest in Vegas on April 28th. I have been in Chicago working on new music and other creative ideas to further the Cousin Affect project since the beginning of May, and I never could have been prepared for how much I would miss playing with these six people. Over the years, we have had some different lineups come and go, but these people you see here…this is Cousin Affect. I can’t begin to describe in words how much I enjoy playing music in the live setting. On top of that, to be able to share that experience with the unbelievably talented people in my group is almost unreal.

Scotty C. is one of the most talented kids I know. His energy and charisma on stage make it impossible for our fans to not have a good time watching us play. He’s my longest friend in the group and it’s been incredible building so much musical chemistry over the years. When I first started producing music on my own, I was always jumping at the opportunity to get Scotty C. on a track. The kid always kills it.

I’m not sure I would do her singing ability justice by trying to contain it with the English language. Jessica is soul. She’s an unbelievable talent, and I’m lucky enough to now call her one of my best friends. She has an awesome husband and two wonderful kids, and their family has been so much a part of Cousin Affect. There’s nothing better than writing lyrics knowing that Jess is going to be the one singing them in the final product.

Sax man is one of the best people I know. He has been an extremely positive role model to me and to the rest of the Cousins. Dan and his wife Denise have done so much for this project and my appreciation for that is endless. He puts in long hours for the success of this project and doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves. Aside from that, he is the most talented musician in our group. Sax man can take over a show. I feel so lucky to be able to play shows with that level of talent and call him one of my closest friends.

Timo. We’ve been playing shows for about 4 years now, and I’m not sure any of us could find a time when Timo messed up. He just doesn’t ever mess up. He’s such a rock on the low end for us. I always feel like his talent isn’t recognized enough. Timo on the bass is a huge part of why Cousin Affect sounds like Cousin Affect. I knew from the second I saw him pick up the bass that he was perfect for our sound.

D believed in this project when no one else did. He was there in the beginning. He was the one up on stage with me embarrassing ourselves at our first few shows. He has always believed. That’s given me so much confidence and strength spearheading this project forward. He’s an ill emcee and a fantastic writer. He’s a great story of perseverance. When this project gains the success I know it will, D will be there.

The first experience I have of Meche is him dunking all over my face on a fast break in a men’s recreational basketball league. And to make it worse, he was so nice about it. So I couldn’t even secretly hate him inside. Tragedy. He’s also an incredible talent on the drums, a good man, husband, and a solid father to his kids. He may play it cool back there on the drums but trust me, he’s having the time of his life. Don’t be fooled.

As this project moves forward, I’m not sure if the lineup will always stay exactly the same. That’s something I’ve learned about the business. It’s a tough industry. Unfortunately, it forces you to make a lot of poor life decisions in order to even have a chance for success. I know because I’ve made them. Not everyone has the opportunity to put themselves out there like that. I understand that. I have so much appreciation for these six people for embodying this project and believing in it. In a perfect world, the seven of us will play to sold out arenas all over the world. I have hope because sometimes things work out perfectly. But even if the lineup changes in the coming years, I will never forget these six people. We share something indescribable. If you’ve been to a show, I hope you’ve felt it. I’ve been in the music business for a long time, and I’ve seen countless bands play live music. I’ve never seen a group have more fun on stage than us. At the end of the day, as cliche as it sounds, that’s what it’s all about.

We’re playing a few shows in Arizona in October. I will keep everyone posted. And I’m going to try and post some video from the Prescott show in my next blog entry. Show day.

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A Change is Gonna Come

This is Oscar. We ran into him while filming in downtown Chicago last week. He was nice enough to let us film him singing. In fact, he may have been the nicest person ever. Excluding my mother, that is. Nice try, Oscar. Anyway, he shares his music performing on the street every weekend. You can see his love for music in his face. And you can see it in the face of the man sitting on the wall behind him. He is an incredible singer. It’s crazy to run into talent like that on the street singing for change. I exchanged information with him and am working towards collaborating on a track soon. Stay tuned. For now, enjoy this classic from Sam Cooke.

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I Want To Be Ordinary

Kenney and I walked around downtown last weekend and captured all sorts of cool footage. We were trying out some different settings and techniques on our camera. Some of the shots turned out pretty interesting. I love the “I want to be ordinary” sign. Sometimes I think people need that reminder. I threw this video together quickly to share with all of you. Once the video was completed, I transferred it to my laptop, took it into my music studio, and recorded myself playing piano while watching it. I had not written the song prior to watching the video and let the images directly inspire what I was writing. Everything was made up on the spot, and it was all done in one take. It was a fun challenge. Enjoy the video and leave me a comment if it inspires you in any way.

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4 Pictures Are Worth…Lots of Words

I must admit that I have been on a slight writing drought since I moved to Chicago. Not that I haven’t been spending time doing it, just that I haven’t been particularly enthused by any of the overall packages of lyrics I’ve produced. Sometimes that’s just how it goes. I can go weeks without writing something I wouldn’t eventually change significantly, and then I can write 3 or 4 full songs in the span of a couple days. However, I find it just as important to write through the off times as I do through the on times. Sometimes I feel like I’m emptying out my pencil of all its bad ideas so I can get to the good ones faster. Quitting when it’s not coming easily sets a precedent for yourself as a writer. You limit yourself to what writers call “divine inspiration.” When all the pieces fall together and everything makes more sense than you planned. When I’m able to discipline myself to continue writing through 15 bars of useless lyrics, it often leads me to an idea I wasn’t expecting to develop. And lots of times I will draw an aggressive “X” through the first 15 lines, use the 16th line as a starting point, and begin a completely new set of lyrics.

Another thing I do to break out of a slump is called train of thought writing. You put your pencil to the page, and you start writing, and you don’t stop until you fill up the entire page. With my microscopic writing, it’s a tall task. It seems quite simple. The real challenge is not stopping. The idea is to free your mind absolutely and completely of worrying whatsoever about any semblance of sense that you are able to continue moving your pencil when you “run out of things to say.” Maybe it sounds easy. Try it. You will stop. I am always very excited when I’m able to fill up the blank page with my mind’s garbage. And it usually goes a long way towards breaking a slump. I’m sure you can guess the quality of this style of writing is rarely top notch, but I thought it would be cool to share the most recent one I did. I’m not sure where it ranks (I’ve done this thousands of times), but it’s certainly an uninterrupted look into my mind at that exact moment in time. I’m going out on a limb sharing it with everyone. I’m a perfectionist, and this is light years from that. I know it’s long, but enjoy it if you are at all intrigued…

I fell out of the habit of loving you and I know that’s rubbing you the wrong way but if I was an old tape player you’d keep rewinding and pressing play if for no other reason than to hear what I had to say. But what I have to say is way more than you want to hear because in your heart I still feel near and close but in reality I’m close to gone and on to something new. You were one of the few that stuck me in my tracks so thank you for that. Stopping me to smell the roses as they say but it’s time for another journey. Learning as I stop as much as learning as I go to one more time in the sheets are cold and I won’t stop again for you even if I struggle with where to point my nose. Flowing as smoothly as the river of your tears. I’m upstream and lost my paddle. I only have these words to rattle off and hope that they will be enough to cushion the rough fall you’ve been taking for years. But tears can be slippery when they find their way to the floor and fears can be typically what’s in store when the next few suns disappear into the ground. But a new star will light the way tomorrow and maybe it will take a closer listen to your wishes.

Leave a comment. I love hearing honest reactions!

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InstaChicago

I’m slightly addicted to Instagram, and I’m not afraid to admit it. These are some of the very specific Chicago pictures I’ve taken since I’ve moved and felt it appropriate to share them with you all. The one frustrating thing about Instagram is the inability to zoom in on the pictures. Click the image thumbnails here to see an enlarged file. Some of them turned out very cool. Phones these days…

1. Dimo’s Pizza – If you want to party on pizza dough, come to Chicago and eat at Dimo’s. Boom.
2. The view from the top story of the Metra train. This is often my ride to and from visiting the Peterson family (my sister and brother-in-law for those of you who don’t know) in Northbrook.
3. Taken just outside of Union Station downtown.
4. I saw so much of Wrigley Field on WGN with my brother Kevin growing up. Being there in person was surreal. A.J. Burnett throwing 23 hitless outs before giving one up in the 8th wasn’t bad either.
5. There was a model doing a shoot in front of the bean in Millennium Park. I thought I’d be one of the 500 people taking a picture of her on my phone.
6. The Willis Tower. Although our boat tour guide refused to depart from the original name, the Sears Tower. Either way, it’s decently lengthy in the vertical sort of way.
7. The Blue Man Group. One of the best shows going. If you haven’t seen it, stop being lame.
8. The bean again. I’m almost positive I’m the first person that has ever had this idea for a picture there. I’m certain. Nice hand(s), V.
9. This was also taken in the Metra. It’s cool when that many lines of perspective are all leading to the same place.
10. Outside of Union Station. A sidewalk divided.
11. Blackhawks Hockey Camp with Jack Peterson. He’s focused enough for the both of them so the other kid’s over it.
12. Just. Chicago.

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The Real Work Starts Now

I have been in Chicago for almost 3 months now. It is finally starting to feel more comfortable. It’s still hard to believe it’s not just an extended visit. After getting settled, I have really felt inspired in the last month or so. The neighborhood I live in is quite an inspiration to say the least! If you have ever stumbled across the intersection (specifically the NE corner) of Belmont and Sheffield from the hours of midnight to 5 am, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Either way, my business and creative partner and I have been working on some huge ideas. We are looking to release about 10 videos of varying concepts, a full length record, and a documentary in the coming months. I am constantly thinking about it. For those of you who know me well, I already have trouble sleeping. The prospect of these visions coming to fruition is doing a number on my already unfathomable bed time! I’ll sleep when I’m…ya, it’s cliche…you know the end. I am loving it here in the Windy City. I have a feeling it won’t look like this in the winter though…

Tell your friends to prepare for some big things in the coming months. My mind is spinning and it can’t be stopped.

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Pentatonix – We Are Young (Fun. Cover)

I love this song. Sometimes it’s difficult to love a song that’s so popular, but there’s no getting around it for me. It is fantastic. I really enjoyed this cover. Parts of this video give me goosebumps. It inspires me to give that same feeling to others through innovative deliveries of music. I can’t wait for some of my creative and innovative ideas to come to fruition in the next few months. For now, enjoy what makes me tick. The bass man is quite impressive, so try and give this a listen on some decent speakers if you can…or headphones will do. Trust me.

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State of the Cousins

Hey All!

I wanted to give you a quick rundown of the current state of things with the Cousins.

During the last 12 months, we’ve run into some interesting challenges as a group. Thanks to your support, we were able to experience huge success on our West Coast tour. Our success bread lots of momentum for the group. Our fan base was growing, in Phoenix as well as other cities, and we were seeing major opportunities to tour extensively. Unfortunately, success as a band doesn’t always coincide with financial success at first. We found ourselves in the middle. The elevated state of the band was calling for higher commitment than a local show or two a month. However, we weren’t bringing in enough capital to ask the other members to leave their jobs, families, and lives behind. Without any 3rd party capital, touring with the same full 7 member lineup has proven to be unrealistic. I have decided to take this project in a slightly (and it is only slightly) new direction. That brings us to now.

I am still continuing this project with the help of Dan and Daniel. Cousin Affect has been a dream of mine for almost 10 years now, and I’m not ready to give up on it. I’ve also enlisted help from Mike Kenney, a close friend of mine. In May, I packed up all my belongings in a Budget van and moved across the country to Chicago. I am excited to see what a new culture can do for this project. I am in the midst of writing another CA record, as well as producing videos, maintaining this blog, and focusing on our presence in all the social media markets. My goal is to downsize the project temporarily to make it a little more manageable, gain momentum, and eventually expand back out into the full live band setting you all have supported so faithfully. In my ideal world, I would have all the same members we started with because I love all of them so much. But the world isn’t ideal, and I’m not sure that will work out. I am hoping that all of you will still support this project in the next few years, even if the lineup goes through a few changes. Mike Kenney and I are figuring out lots of interesting ways to become more a part of community service with Cousin Affect. After all, giving back was always more important to us than anything else. I hope we can keep you all engaged. I hope you still visit our website, Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as this blog every once in awhile, say hello, and stay up to date. Although we won’t be playing live as frequently, we will still be releasing lots of new material and community service campaigns. If you believe in our project, please keep up your support. We have no chance without you.

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Welcome!

Hey Folks! Mike Woods here from Cousin Affect. I’m excited to finally have my blog finally off the ground. It’s been something in the works in my head for quite some time. I feel like I was waiting for it to be perfect before launching. I’m changing gears and launching now because if I know anything at all about the entertainment business, I know that nothing is perfect.

I am hoping to connect more personally with all the CA fans through this blog. Most all of you have experienced a live show. Perhaps this is what attracted you to our group. A great live energy has always been something dear to me. I have more fun performing music than I could accurately describe with words. A performance is a mere blip on the timeline of life in the entertainment business, and it happens to be the most enjoyable part. I will give you a look into what goes on behind the scenes. I plan to be all over the place in the beginning. If a theme seems to be working as time goes on, maybe I’ll move in that direction. I plan to make my entries short and sweet. I will include behind the scenes videos, poems, pieces of developing songs, pictures, videos or songs that are inspiring the writing of this next record, as well as some lighthearted anecdotes that we experience over the next few months and beyond. I am excited at the prospect of our virtual relationship! Please leave comments and interact. I will do my best to respond. Please share this blog with anyone you know if you like what you see/read. All the support helps the Cousin Affect project move forward. Check back every Wednesday and Sunday for new posts! Keep it fresh.

Woods

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