On Getting The Ball

When I was in school, I was one of the smallest guys in my year. For, like, the whole 12 years. After grade 10, I picked only solo sports like running and squash because losing a race or a game on my own was better than never getting the ball.

It's only now that I'm beginning to see how much this aversion to any kind of external competition has affected me. I see injustice everywhere. Rigged contests, ruthless politics, dishonest business, buying likes. That's how you win the crowd, the profit and the applause. At worst, you cheat, lie and steal outright. At best, you represent yourself in a fashion that is anything other than fully true. Those who try to compete otherwise are destined to be drowned out by the indifference and hostility of survival.

For this reason, I'm in the process of making a fairly big decision in my life to continue pursuing the creation of music only under circumstances in which these underhanded short-term success strategies are not required or respected. I have no interest in (or means to) making a lot of money, despite the paternal role that advertising has taken in demanding that I do. It is simply not what motivates me.

I have come to the point where I realize that even if I somehow managed to beat all the odds facing me to become financially successful without trying, I would still not be happy unless the work I was doing had real value to people without:

* misleading them further into superficiality

* capitalizing on their insecurities and vulnerabilities

* reinforcing patterns of behaviour that are not sustainable

* encouraging them to behave in any kind of self-destructive behaviour for my own benefit

I don't think I would still be making music under the name PRAVDA if the word didn't mean TRUTH. It is what I stand for, and unfortunately suffer for. But, I can't defend living by such principles to others. I can't recommend being chained to your own morality. Having such a stiff, immovable compass has, for the most part, resulted only in lucrative opportunities being missed, potential fans being disappointed and business relationships sabotaged. It's not that I don't understand how you need to be drinking buddies to get the business. That's obvious. It's that I can't abide by representing myself as a friend when I'm only after a share in the deal.

If nothing else, I feel it's worth mentioning that these words most fully represent the spirit of the music I am making with these boys down here in South Africa. The lyrics are written to reflect matters of substance and value to society ("What about your soul?" "The angels high maketh me fly" "I'm bound to pay the debt I owe"). That is why I continue to be quiet, despite the hourly temptation to throw my voice loudly into the useless chatter of a billion merrily inane messages to like, subscribe and follow. This reluctance to conform to a system in which I can't see true value is why I have failed, despite my best efforts, to be a music businessman. But it's no longer important to me. At the very least, I've left behind something of substance. That's what getting the ball means to me now.

- Johnny

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