Monday Motivation: Kindling

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 love quotes. People may be incredibly flawed creatures, but every now and then one of us says something so profound that it echoes throughout time as a lesson everyone needs to hear. Sometimes these comments are funny, but more often than not they are simply heartfelt sentiments on existence itself, and it never ceases to amaze me how something uttered by someone who died ten, twenty, or even a hundred years ago can still be applied to life today.

Recently, the phrase that has stuck with me like a pop song I cannot shake is one that proclaims “life is for the living.” A number of famous people have uttered this phrase throughout time, but I think the example that bests connects with all existence is the one shared by the late great Langston Hughes. “Life is for the living,” he wrote in a poem. “Death is for the dead. Let life be like music. And death a note unsaid.”

You can take what you want from that saying, as everyone should, but for me it’s a reminder that our time on this planet is far too brief for anyone to hesitate over whether or not to act on something they feel compelled to do. We all have a little voice inside our mind that tells us what to do next, and every so often that voice suggests something so unusual and/or surprisingly that we cannot help hesitating for a moment or more. Maybe you feel you should quit your job and travel the world, or maybe something is telling you that one or more of your personal relationships are dragging you down. Whatever the case, life throws us curveballs, and it’s on us to make a decision about how we will react. Our guts demands action, and more often than not it provides a solution, but whether or not we listen to our own intuition is another ordeal altogether. Some do, but most do not, or at least not often enough to drastically improve the quality of their lives.

This brings me to a band known as Kindling. Hailing from Easthampton, Massachusetts with a sound that is drenched in fuzzy guitars and pop sensibilities Kindling are a one of a kind band creating some of the best indie rock found on the planet today. Their existence is the result of two friends coming together on a whim, and it’s because of their willingness to see where life might lead that they’ve been able to establish themselves as a need to know band in America’s incredibly crowded underground music scene. I’m not saying they’re the next Billboard chart-topping group, but then again they almost certainly could be if they cards of life fall in their favor. They write good songs, perform admirably, and work everyday to refine their craft. They clearly would like to be bigger than they are now, and in time they will almost certainly get there, but for now they seem content being able to create and tour as they please.

Kindling began when Stephen Pierce asked Gretchen Williams to contribute to a fuzz pop song that he had written and recorded over the preceding hour. The pair hit it off right away, and the next day they met to record a different song. The same thing happened the next day, and the next day, and the next day. Before long, the friends had almost inadvertently formed a band, and once they realized the power of their creative collaborations they began to take their efforts far more seriously. When this happened, the world started to take notice, and it wasn’t long before the music industry at large wanted to know more about the duo from Easthampton that was taking the online music community by storm. No Idea Records came calling soon after, and the rest, as they say, is history.

This week, Kindling will release their No Idea debut, Galaxies. The album is rich with dense indie rock conveyed through reverb, fuzz, and a wall-of-sound style approach to volume that would make Phil Spector squeal with joy. More importantly, the album serves as a reminder of the possibilities that come with taking a chance on life. It would have been incredibly easy for Gretchen to tell Stephen she was too busy to record when he came asking for her help, but instead she took a chance on recording something that could have gone nowhere except Stephen’s hard drive. By doing so, Gretchen placed herself and Stephen on a new path in life that lead both of them to national critical acclaim, a record deal, and many more hours of time spent making music. I highly doubt she expected any of that to come out of obliging Stephen’s request, but I also doubt she would want to live any other way at this point. Taking a chance gave Gretchen and Stephen a chance to do something very few are ever even offered, and based on the material they deliver on Galaxies it seems clear they’re not taking this opportunity for granted.

I want to challenge all of you reading this to take a chance in your life this week. Don’t put yourself or others in physical danger, but take a chance on something you’ve been debating forever and simply live your life. You might fall flat on your face, but you might discover a path to new opportunities you might not have otherwise experienced. Whatever the case, at least you will have listened to yourself and done something because it’s what you really wanted to do. You would be surprised to know how many people never take steps like that in their life. Many people don’t understand the point of trying something new when the life they have is keeping them content, but that is only because fear has made them shy away from the possibility of positive change. Please don’t live your life like that. Our time on this planet is too short to be scared, so crank up Kindling’s new album and do that thing you’ve been wanting to do. Trust me.


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.