Monday Motivation: Ernie

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If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.

I tried harder than I probably should have to find a selection for this post that was not tied directly to my feelings in response to the recent terrorist attack(s) in Paris. No matter where I looked for inspiration however, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being drawn to a particular record, artist, or sound because of how I felt about everything happening in the world around me. We all know by the time we’ve reached adulthood that the world is generally an awful place, but most of us are fortunate enough to live a life that keeps most of the horrors of existence far from our daily lives. The recent events in Paris changed that, blasting mankind’s negative side through every social media channel around the globe instantaneously, and because a large portion of the terror took place in a concert venue during a sold out rock show everything that happened hit a little closer to home than most music professionals would probably like to admit. Anyone working in this business has long lost count of how many nights they’ve spent watching bands perform in one space or another, but practically everyone can count just how many times they feared for their lives in those situations. Most of the time, the answer is never, but after this weekend I’m not sure that will ever be the case again.

So, after I got over the idea that it would be better to pick a record that spoke to me any other day of the week I decided instead to focus on the music that reminded me why it is I do what I do, even in the wake of tragedy. Attacks like the ones in Paris are enough to make anyone question their decisions in life. Simply knowing that such awful things can happen at any moment in time, tearing us away from the lives we thought we were supposed to lead and planting us instead in an early grave, gives anyone reason to pause and reflect on the decisions they’ve made. We can’t let the fear of the unknown stop us from living the lives we desire, but we also have to be smart with how we choose to spend our time. There is a certain level of uncertainty accepted any time you step foot out your front door, and I would argue most of the time we never think twice about it, but when the global media shines a light on chaos taking place in or around an activity we ourselves regularly engage in it only makes sense that we as creatures fighting for survival would respond by reconsidering some of the things that have, until that time, felt like second nature.

If we give in however, the terror wins. If we close our doors and hide from the world we were so willing to embrace just a week ago we will never be able to say we didn’t let our fears get the best of us. Our lives will pass by, unchallenged and uninteresting, until we whither away to dust. That is not the life I want to live, and though it might take a little more guts than before I know I must find a way to push on and continue living. The same goes for you and for everyone you know. We can’t let the fear of the unknown win.

I wish so very badly that I had an album to recommend today that could serve as a constant reminder of our need to fight our fears, but I don’t know that any one release could provide that kind of reassurance for all music fans. The albums that give me strength may not be the ones that give you strength, and vice versa. All I can really do is share with you the album that helped me walk away from the cloud of fear and negativity that had been hanging over my head all weekend long and hope it provides some sense of peace or freedom or even fun for you as well. If not, I’m sorry, but I do believe such a record is out there for you as well. Just keep searching.

For me, the album that reminded me why it is I do what I do and have chosen the life I lead came from a band known as Ernie. Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina with a sound that is equal parts pop magic, raw rock, and indie fuzz, Ernie (formerly Aggrocragg) are recent Soft Speak Records signees who have a new EP titled Dog Park set for release later this week. The four-track album boasts a collection of material that is both fun and engaging, with unabashed takes on the prison-like captivity of toxic, abusive relationships. I know that explanation may seem a little crazy given the subject material at hand, but once you hear the music on Dog Park I think you will understand what I am talking about. You can stream a bit of the record below:

While I wholeheartedly believe the material on this record to be good and powerful I must admit I did not choose Dog Park because of its unique approach to conveying what it feels like to be trapped in a bad relationship. In fact, I didn’t actually know that was the point of the album when I first discovered it. The reason I chose Dog Park this week is because once it came pouring through my speakers I was able to disconnect from the fear and terror waging war on our everyday lives just long enough to enjoy the record in full. There is some great, intangible quality to the work of Ernie that is found within the sound of every great band. You can’t describe it, or at least not in full, but you know it when it hits you. It’s the kind of thing that strikes your ear drum like a tidal wave crashing down on your entire body, forcing you to move away from wherever you were (in a mental sense) and become one with the flow of nature. Ernie’s music begs you to escape with the band, and before you can make a conscious decision whether to follow or not you might notice your feet have already begun to move. You can’t fight it. The music is just too good.

Most of you probably are not familiar with Ernie’s music, but I have a feeling that fact may soon be changing. The material on Dog Park showcases a promising young sound with huge potential, and for whatever reason I’m convinced the best is still to come. This record won’t make you forget everything that has happened in recent days, but it does remind you of music’s power to provide comfort when nothing else seems to work. What more could you ask for in a new release?


James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.