It’s an ambitious project, full of heart and passion. British songwriter JIM KROFT will travel the world within the next two years, armed only with his guitar and a camera. The idea behind it? Celebrating independence and showing the connective force music can be between all different kinds of people and cultures. The whole journey will be accompanied by new music in the form of six EP’s and two longplayers plus regular videos, filmed by KROFT himself. Just check out the recent premiere of ‘Waiting For The Gods’ we celebrated.
Even better: in the next months the musician will give regular updates exclusively on NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION about the trips, documenting all the aspects of his epic Journeys project. The first issue in his digital diary takes us right to the initial position of JIM KROFT‘s project as he tells us why he started this big adventure in the first place.
We have moments in our lives where we are cut adrift from our past, and when the vision of our future has yet to gain shape. In rock ‘n’ roll history it has always been called the crossroads. In mythology this period is always beset with danger, even fear of one’s life – hence often the appearance of the devil.
The reality is that we come across many crossroads in our lives, and for that reason, we had better get used to our conversations with the devil. When I entered my crossroads I had in my backpack the label of failure, the untenability of a future, and, for the first time in my life, the loss of hope.
When I emerged, it was with a sense of having been transformed from the inside out, my values renewed, the relationship with my path reaffirmed. My ‘Journeys’ project was born at my very nadir – and it is for this reason that I am grateful to the crossroads – and the dialogue the devil insisted upon.
In the last year I have played shows on the rooftops of Nairobi, under the dystopian skyline of Chongqing, upon the endless white sands of Jambiani, before the Soviet architecture of Vladivostok, and in the deepest slums of Kampala. It has been a time of learning, of challenging myself, of eye balling fear, and rediscovering the great power of music to bring joy.
But Journeys began with an ending. I spent a long year between losing my deal with EMI – after Universal bought the label – and stepping out once again on my own into an unfamiliar world.
Losing the deal made me confront anew the reality of the conditions of the music industry. I had seen it die a slow death; like hyenas picking away at a carcass. I was over the age of 30 and I knew that from any rational perspective, I should walk away.
And yet I knew that I had more to give. I could not walk away. It would be like walking away from my very own self. To follow a dream, to express a talent, to realise a potential – these are things that are not governed by prudence – but which are governed by gut instinct.
I thought long about prudence during my time at the crossroads. But ultimately, I deemed that I would rather take the risk with my future, than live an unrealised life.
Thus I sat in my room in Berlin, and I considered my options. I could no longer afford to take my band on the road. I could not afford to work with film makers for my videos. I could not afford to promote a record. But I was writing. I was in a purple patch as a songwriter, and I knew the material was the best I had written.
I thought about the nature of dependence. Are we really so bound to labels? Do I have to feel sad about the death of record sales? Is feeling bitter about streaming going to help my musical future?
It struck me that I had been a part of a culture of crying about the record industry. There has been a revolution taking place. And rather than rejoicing within the anarchy, and joining the masses as they stormed the Bastille, I had been resistant.
I looked across the room in my apartment and I saw three things. A guitar, a camera, and a mirror. I realised that all the tools I would ever need are within me – within us. It is a matter of getting our heads right. Of letting go of how we would like reality to be, and getting to grips with how reality is.
It was at that moment that the Journeys project was born – one man, one guitar, one camera.
I realised that it was up to each and every musician to revolutionise the industry by revolutionising themselves. I stepped out, knowing that I wanted to explore what is possible with self reliance – and a faith that if you are willing to explore your potential, the whole world is available to you.
Find all previous parts of his Journals right here.