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Ask Jonathan Coulton About the Transformation From Code Monkey to Internet Star

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the isn't-it-enough-to-know-that-I-ruined-a-pony-making-a-gift-for-you? dept.

Music 122

Even though he created the definitive guide to enjoying yourself outside, Jonathan Coulton is best known for the programmer anthem Code Monkey, his Thing a Week project, and writing the theme song to Portal. In 2005 Coulton left his programming job to pursue his music career, and has since become a successful one man music label. Jonathan has agreed to answer your questions about robots, life, and internet stardom. Normal Slashdot interview rules apply.

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Have You Been Approached by a Label? (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36218822)

Some current stars have made a career out of much less than what you have simply by signing a record deal with a label. Your song "Still Alive" from the Portal Soundtrack could easily have some filler phoned in around it for a 10 track album. Have you ever been approached by a major record label with a multi-million dollar signing? If not, what would be your response to such a proposal? Since you've already experienced success, would you admit to a point in your career when you would have been vulnerable to such an offer? Have you considered throwing your lot in with an independent record label? There are hundreds in Brooklyn, what stops you from joining one or forming your own to foster more artists like yourself?

Re:Have You Been Approached by a Label? (1)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219906)

And, if you are self-publishing, you should put up a few of your songs in the public domain via BitTorrent.

While reading these comments I became curious about your music, and went directly to a torrent site to see if there were any samples.

Nothing but crickets, man.

Nothing but crickets.

Re:Have You Been Approached by a Label? (4, Informative)

Kredal (566494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220034)

Why not go directly to his website (when it's not slashdotted, of course), click on "Songs" at the top, and have a listen, for free, to his whole catalog (minus a few songs he wrote for other people). No need to pirate when he gives it away for free.

Re:Have You Been Approached by a Label? (3, Interesting)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220204)

If it's given for free, then it's better if you get it from a torrent. That way, you don't use (potentially) expensive bandwidth that the artist has to pay. Cheap content distribution is what p2p is made for.

Re:Have You Been Approached by a Label? (1)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220328)

Bravo, my man.

Re:Have You Been Approached by a Label? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221384)

If it's given for free, then it's better if you get it from a torrent. That way, you don't use (potentially) expensive bandwidth that the artist has to pay. Cheap content distribution is what p2p is made for.

I dunno...the times I've tried BT...and granted this was a few years ago...I found it to be horribly slow for me...I could usually download from USENET much faster. I've got a pretty decent speed connection..usually about 15 down and 7 up or so...and BT just took FOREVER to download things. And this is aside from the fact it is much easier to have 'them' trace you and get your IP...not as much a problem with USENET.

I don't think I had anything set wrong with my BT set up...but I've never gotten the speeds other people mentioned with it.

Re:Have You Been Approached by a Label? (2)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221572)

Your post has nothing to do with what I was saying, but anyway...
You think nothing's wrong with your setup, but you're saying it doesn't work like it does for most people... Think again?
Your ISP might throttle you, maybe you tried torrents with few sources?
Using usenet for downloading is like pulling a truck trailer with a moped. It works, but it was not meant for it. There are tons of protocols made for downloading large binaries, and NNTP is not one of them. (sfv files? Really?)

Re:Have You Been Approached by a Label? (1)

RobDude (1123541) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221534)

If they wanted to distribute with p2p, they'd seed it and upload it to torrent sites.
If they want people to visit their site and download it, they'd create a site and host it there.

Even when it's *free* people are still unwilling to give the creator of their entertainment any control over it.

Re:Have You Been Approached by a Label? (1)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221598)

Well, right now, his website is apparently down, so it seems he made the wrong choice?
If he had put up bittorent/ed2k/... links instead of hosting the files himself, he might have avoided death by slashdot.

Where Do you Do Your Recording? (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36218846)

You've released a number of studio albums, where are they recorded? Your own place? Do you have sound engineers or is it all DIY? If you have sound engineers, how do you reimburse them? How did you fund your setup if you use it yourself? Are things like an expensive mac hardware, isolation booths and Pro Tools a requirement to get decent sound quality or do you just wing it with whatever and some Sure microphones?

Re:Where Do you Do Your Recording? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219608)

The last part of your question is general stuff and makes assumptions that are not true.

Are things like an expensive mac hardware, isolation booths and Pro Tools a requirement to get decent sound quality or do you just wing it with whatever and some Sure microphones?

With any 24bit soundcard and audacity, you're capable of recording audio with a dynamic and frequency ranges greater than all but the best tape machines (2" 8 track). You don't need an isolation booth to record loud instruments with condensor mics or at all if you use dynamic mics. Were Quincy Jones and Micheal Jackson winging it when they used a shure SM7 for the lead vocal on Thriller?

Not a bad question apart from the last bit, perhaps you could revise to ask about the specifics of his setup instead?

Re:Where Do you Do Your Recording? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219928)

Sorry, I was referring to Shure's SM57 and SM58 mics that often sell for well under $100, especially if you buy in bulk and haggle with a small business ... my guitarist would often get a used one thrown in with a guitar he bought from shops. Great mics, just not studio quality.

Re:Where Do you Do Your Recording? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36220572)

Sorry, I was referring to Shure's SM57 and SM58 mics that often sell for well under $100, especially if you buy in bulk and haggle with a small business ... my guitarist would often get a used one thrown in with a guitar he bought from shops. Great mics, just not studio quality.

There's thousands of studios worldwide using the 57 on guitar cabs, snare and vocals. There's plenty of records where the lead vocal was cut using a 57 or 58. They certainly are "studio quality" even if I don't care for them myself.

For mics where the snr is high, they wouldn't typically be used on quiet exposed sources but there is no such handy definition as "studio quality". If you want that larger than life LDC sound, then yes, it is going to cost upwards of $1000 for something decent (and those cheaper Chinese mics pairing a clone of the neumann k87 with a copy of a schoeps amplifier are quite awful sounding).

Just one question.. (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36218854)

Who is Jonathan Coulton?

Re:Just one question.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36218906)

John Galt's cousin.

Re:Just one question.. (2)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219640)

John Galt's cousin.

This was a triumph. I'm making a note here, "Huge Success."

Re:Just one question.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219002)

Who is Jonathan Coulton?

Some guy who let SamzonPus suck his cock...

Re:Just one question.. (2)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219110)

Ditto. This is the first I've heard of him. Let me wiki that for you. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Just one question.. (0)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219490)

The summary wasn't clear enough? Is Google down or something?

Re:Just one question.. (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219734)

This one came on Pandora a few months back - it was just background music, then I recognized the lyrics. Enjoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyJeC99QO8A [youtube.com]

Re:Just one question.. (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219838)

Duh, he's that jazz saxophonist who used to work with Miles Davis.

Re:Just one question.. (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220238)

Duh, he's that jazz saxophonist who used to work with Miles Davis.

I think you mean . . . oh, now I get it. Funny. Ha ha.

Re:Just one question.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36221860)

Hand in your geek card on your way out.

Do You Apply Programming to Your Music? (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36218868)

In music theory, there are a lot of things that tempt developers to "algorithmize" it. Coming from a programming background, did you/do you experiment with that? What about making your own patches or tweaking audio effects? Do you still code at all or is all of your time devoted to music and writing now?

Re:Do You Apply Programming to Your Music? (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219432)

I recall reading that Yuzo Koshiro used such a method for Streets of Rage 3. And since that was easily his worst soundtrack...

Re:Do You Apply Programming to Your Music? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220776)

Always on the look out for decent music which was created from an algorithm, I haven't ever come across anything that's even remotely worth listening to.

Well, I guess the best I heard was a 'music' AI from a weird Amiga PD bat and ball game which had a sparse texture, and rhythmic, funky bassline, with occasional interspersed chord. Wish I could remember the name.

I love harmonies too, and I bet there's nothing out that creates decent harmonies.

Saturday Night Live (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36218966)

I have seen you perform live and have often thought you would make a fantastic musical guest for Saturday Night Live. Have you ever been approached by them and if you were, would you be interested?

One Question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36218970)

Why does your music suck so much?

My favorite song by him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36218974)

I like his zombie song called "re: Your Brains".

Lawsuits? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219012)

You've done many parody songs like the recent song about Tom Cruise being crazy as a Scientologist [thingaweekredux.com] . Have you faced any lawsuits because of subject matter or parody? How have they been resolved? Have you ever been forced to discontinue with something for fear or threat of litigation?

Re:Lawsuits? (3, Funny)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219126)

Response from j.coulton:
    MESSAGE REDACTED

Hi Jonathan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219040)

Will you write a song about me?

Re:Hi Jonathan (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219056)

Sibby?

My Question (4, Funny)

imadoofus (233751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219062)

Where you promised cake for completing "Still Alive?" Did they deliver?

Who shot first? (0)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219066)

Han or Greedo?

Re:Who shot first? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219732)

It's Han of course. That's what makes him a real man.

Who? (-1, Troll)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219082)

are you and why should I care

RTFSummary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219566)

[Who?] are you and why should I care

Umm, let's see...

Even though he created the definitive guide to enjoying yourself outside, Jonathan Coulton is best known for the programmer anthem Code Monkey, his Thing a Week project, and writing the theme song to Portal. In 2005 Coulton left his programming job to pursue his music career, and has since become a successful one man music label.

Is that not clear? He's a guy, he used to be a programmer-geek type, and now he writes songs for a living instead.

Slashdot summary pretty good for once, read it.

Redacted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219102)

So is it "maybe I'll stop feeling so bad" or "maybe I'll stop feeling so GLaD"?

Re:Redacted (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219152)

It's 'bad', if you have subtitles you can see the whole lyric.

Re:Redacted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219336)

Thanks

Creative Commons (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219104)

You've released some (all?) of your music under the CC-BY-NC license. What are some of the coolest things you've seen done by other people with your songs?

Re:Creative Commons (-1, Redundant)

SarekOfVulcan (133772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219136)

Oops, that was me. Reposting.

Odd way to sell music... (1)

sargon666777 (555498) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219108)

Why does your website only say Error establishing a database connection? This seems an odd way to sell music.
Slashdot 101 - Beef up your webserver prior to doing a interview :-)
Love your music BTW.

Any advice to us current code monkeys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219112)

While the contents of "Code Monkey" probably shouldn't be taken as a sort of moral compass or serious life guidance, I can guarantee you there are people reading this on Slashdot who feel like "boring manager Rob" is their boss. Any advice for a current code monkey, who maybe doesn't have any other skills or internet-sensation status to fall back on? How does one deal with the pressures?

Re:Any advice to us current code monkeys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36220082)

How does one deal with the pressures?

I hear copious amounts of booze help.

Re:Any advice to us current code monkeys? (1)

kingsqueak (18917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36222516)

Don't be unreasonable, don't eat their eyes. Everything else is fair game.

Hello (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219134)

I've been to a dozen of your shows and I'm always left wondering, why aren't you writing more songs about giant squid or other intelligent mollusks? If you're going to have one (and I don't count Octopus because it really isn't about... you know, an octopus) why not go all in? As everyone knows, the giant squid is the unofficial marine invertebrate mollusk of the current pro-nerd trend that has contributed so much to your popularity, and deserves more recognition in song form.

Haven't the giant squid suffered enough? Can't you find it in your heart to reach out an additional tentacle and maybe feature a super-intelligent robotic cuttlefish or a nautilus that has realized that it's species hasn't evolved in 25 million years?

Perhaps you'll be the one Mr. Coulton, to help America, and the world, put this sad chapter of not writing more songs about squid behind us.

Re:Hello (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219212)

Specially in light of the fact that the Squid is the official GNAA mascot!

Re:Hello (1)

Kredal (566494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219920)

Perhaps you've missed "I Crush Everything"? That's the only song I know of about giant squids. From any artist.

TMBG's Apollo 18 had a giant squid on the cover, but no songs about one.

Re:Hello (2)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220000)

Oh, I'm well aware and I'm kicking myself for not making that clear. What I was asking is why Mr. Coulton thinks one song about giant squid is enough.

Creative Commons (2, Interesting)

SarekOfVulcan (133772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219148)

Reposting my accidentally-anonymous question from earlier:

You've released some (all?) of your music under the CC-BY-NC license. What are some of the coolest things you've seen done by other people with your songs?

Best Video Game Song Ever? (4, Interesting)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219184)

"Still Alive" is considered by many to possibly be, "the best video game song ever." Were you surprised by the acclaim that it has received, and did that put any additional pressure on you while creating a song for Portal 2?

He's such a star (-1, Troll)

ThurstonMoore (605470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219270)

Noone has ever heard of him.

Re:He's such a star (1)

PFactor (135319) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219350)

I guess I'm "noone" then because I've not only heard of him but I have several of his albums and have seen him in concert (which I recommend wholeheartedly btw).

Re:He's such a star (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219354)

you are incorrect, of course.

Re:He's such a star (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219382)

Lots of people have heard of him. Just because you haven't doesn't mean nobody else has. Everyone that attends PAX certainly has.

Re:He's such a star (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219550)

He was interviewed on Planet Money (NPR) a few weeks back. "In 2010, Coulton's music brought in about $500,000 in revenue"
I think a few people know him.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/05/14/136279162/an-internet-rock-star-tells-all

Re:He's such a star (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219710)

I guess I'm happy to be a "noone" then. But then again I'm a nerd, and proud!

  My six and nine year old daughters are huge fans (we do avoid a few songs, First of May for obvious reasons and Creepy Doll because it makes my six year old sob and scream in fear), they are hoping to meet him at PAX this year.

Re:He's such a star (2)

pluther (647209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220370)

At some point in your childhood somebody, possibly a parent, should have informed you that you are not everyone.

Re:He's such a star (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220372)

Noone has ever heard of him.

I don't know who Noone is, but even my father-in-law's heard of him, man. You've probably been down in the basement with the shop vac [youtube.com] and didn't hear.

Re:He's such a star (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36220554)

He's such a star, and yet I haven't ever heard of him.

Fixed that for you. It's true: people who don't sign with the labels don't get quite the same level of incessant, annoying publicity and radio coverage, so you're less likely to hear about them. Mind you, this is his second slashdot mention, so I guess he's doing all right. And as of today, you have heard of him, so there you go.

Seriously, though, Jonathon Coulton is awesome, and I'm pretty sure he's popular because even I've heard of him, which appears to be the real test. He most famously wrote the ending theme to Portal, and if you haven't beaten Portal, I believe I have grounds to revoke your geek card. That song is available as downloadable content for Rock Band, so yeah [xkcd.com] .

Re:He's such a star (1)

ThurstonMoore (605470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36224614)

I guess my definition of "star" is a little off. Apparently a "star" is someone who most people have never heard of. I've never played Portal so I didn't hear the song. What would someone like Micheal Jackson (what I would consider a "star") be, a "supernova"? Mr. Coulton may have written the best song I've never heard, but calling him a "star" is a bit much.

Re:He's such a star (2)

Noone Thirty (1314485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221944)

Noone has ever heard of him.

Oh yeah, Johnny and I go way back.

Loved Code Monkey and The Future Soon (3, Insightful)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219330)

Which I heard as the soundtrack to these youtube videos:
    "The Future Soon"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDiDK_yBCw0 [youtube.com]
    "Code Monkey"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4Wy7gRGgeA [youtube.com]

The general truths about loss of freedom as a coder working for others brought some tears to my eyes, after having had to stop running our own company making educational software and work at IBM Research for a time (even if, as places go, that was a nice place to work). It's also easy to turn to junk food when you are under stress -- even as eating a lot of vegetables, fruits, and beans, and getting adequate vitamin D is what keeps us healthier and more productive in the long term (along with stuff like omega-3s and iodine). Did you have any deeper comment in mind about food issues when you wrote that? It really seems like a lot of young programmers don't eat well.

And The Future Soon really gets at some truths about the transhumanist movement. I've sent that link to at least one. I'm not sure if you meant it specifically about transhumanism though?

I guess everyone probably asks you where you get your ideas for those two, or what sorts of things you may have meant, and sometimes art is intentionally ambiguous, so I'm not saying you may want to answer to those questions. I applaud your decision to make that stuff available for free, rather than create more artificial scarcity.

So, I guess my question is, did you have any thoughts when you made those and put them under a free license that someone would make great videos to go along with them? Do you have any comments on the videos?

Also, I'd love it if you did a song in relation to my sig line, which in it' full form is "The biggest challenge of the 21st century is the irony of technologies of abundance in the hands of those thinking in terms of scarcity." Feel free to do what you want with that idea if it goes under a free license. :-)

Code Monkey (5, Interesting)

j33pn (1049772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219414)

Did you ever hook-up with that receptionist?

Re:Code Monkey (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220234)

Extending on that question: now that you are into music instead of bytes, do you find it easier to approach ladies (or men, whatever you prefer)? Or is the mark of software indelible?

Re:Code Monkey (2)

Hultis (1969080) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221214)

Fame can counter almost any deficiency, even having been a software developer.

Re:Code Monkey (1)

goosesensor (1431303) | more than 3 years ago | (#36222228)

I never really understood this viewpoint. Sure it's fun to joke about the social skills of us nerds, and indeed many of us are severely lacking, but there is nothing wrong with being a computer scientist in and of itself. I am proud to tell ladies that I am a programmer, and it's usually well received. Just use some confidence, know it's cool, and they will think so, too. Disclaimer: There are some r-tard women out there that you simply can't win this battle with. But in my experience, these people generally aren't worth much to society anyway, if you now what I mean.

PROs? (1)

cheesyfru (99893) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219458)

What are your thoughts on Performing Rights Organizations? Do you collect royalties, and if so, how does it interact with Creative Commons licensing?

Re: Your Brains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219462)

No mention of that one from the L4D series?

Laughed my ass off the first time I heard it. Definitely my favorite track from him.

Songmonkey? (1, Funny)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219506)

Now that you've stooped to epic lows and have arrived at Slashdot, how did you arrive at our nerdy doorway? Do you find that you represent a generation of solitary coders, or are you actually a cool person disguised as a nerd? In other words, do you feel comfortable talking about how many cycles various move instructions take and whether the x86 instruction set is at once one of the universes's greatest achievements and also a momentous failure?

Lastly... have you ever met your southern doppelgänger?

Re:Songmonkey? (1)

Denogh (2024280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220842)

Epic lows? Didn't JoCo do a "live" Second Life show?

Re:Songmonkey? (1)

Denogh (2024280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220848)

Oh, right... I guess /. does qualify.

Do code monkeys evolve? (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219556)

You made Code Monkey several years ago; do you ever intend to revisit this unfortunate soul to see how he's developed in his career? By now he may have progressed from a code monkey to a legitimate software engineer.

Re:Do code monkeys evolve? (1)

ShadyG (197269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221326)

Turns out he is de-evolving.

No question but for those... (4, Informative)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219592)

...interested in more about Mr. Coulton, NPR did some pretty coverage on their Planet Money blog:
Internet Rock Start on NPR [npr.org]

Where do you get the inspiration for your songs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219606)

I get the impression that although a lot of your songs might be viewed as being "nonsense songs" you could relate your own personal experiences to a lot of them. Do you really feel sorry for Tom Cruise and Betty and Me... where did your inspiration for that one come from?

Luke

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219610)

What kind of dirty tip did you have to give to end up in my browser window?

If you could change one thing about copyright law (5, Interesting)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219758)

If you could change one thing about copyright/IP law in the USA, what would it be? If you can't think of only one thing, two or three would be fine. You license your music under a Creative Commons license, which is great as I support Creative Commons and other, similar licenses very much.

Second, optional question: Who are some of your favorite independent musicians (like you)?

Can I buy you a beer? (1)

h4x0t (1245872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219784)

If so, what kind and at what public venue should I drop it off?

Personality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219918)

Using the standard personality categories that psychologists say everyone can be divided into, would you say you're more of a Cave, a Chell, a GLaDOS or a Wheatley?

Slashdotted (2)

el_gordo101 (643167) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220006)

Jonathan, how does it feel to have you site slashdotted just minutes after your slashdot interview goes live? Does slashdot or Geeknet offer any sort of compensation to replace your poor little melted-to-slag web server?

Revenue percentages. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36220176)

It's my understanding that if I by music (in a store or online) that the musician only gets less than 10 cents out of every dollar. As a do it yourself act, what are your costs like in proportion to your revenues? I don't want to know how much you're making, I want to know the costs/revenues ratio. Say hello to Scarface for me.

Do you still write code sometimes? (2)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220224)

You used to work as a code monkey. Now that you don't have that job anymore, do you ever write code in your free time, or are you happe never to use a compiler again?

ps: Are there any plans for rock band 3 pro mode guitar for some of your existing songs (Please :}

favorite position? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220300)

What's your favorite sexual position? Also, how do you feel about fisting?

Rock Band (1)

Hidyman (225308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220340)

I was introduced to your music through Rock Band.
Do you plan to release more of your songs on Rock Band?
Will they have Pro Guitar support?
Thanks,

Thing a Week Progress (4, Interesting)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220428)

Your year of "Thing a Week" resulted in many great songs. With classics like "RE: Your Brains" on week 26 and "Code Money" on #29, from the outside and in retrospect it seems obvious you'd already reached serious momentum halfway through. Was this apparent to yourself, and did you ever consider ending the experiment early based on that progress? I think it's interesting to consider schedule vs. goal oriented development as something applicable to a self-improvement context.

Your favourites? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220694)

What are your top 4 favorite songs that you created?

Mine are:
1: Mandelbrot Set
2: Chiron Beta Prime
3: Todd the T1000
4: Blue sunny day

Gen-X (parody), wolf in sheep's clothing (manager) (1)

spads (1095039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221010)

I mean, we all know how subjective taste is, and though I didn't much take to Still Alive, I was quite taken with a couple of others, Your Brains and Code Monkey. These two captured something about the corporate IT experience better than I have ever seen, from a perfect Gen X-y mentality, which it also seems to brilliantly parody.

The thing Your Brains did which I have never seen before was to couple the corporate manager killer mentality (eg. Office Space), with such an all around, nice, likable guy, and it is the combination of the two ("hypocrisy") which is the true killer.

My question is did you ever find the use of humor to sustain you in stone-walling their bs insufficient to carry you through? I mean, I have had this fail in other corporate fields, where I was normally terminated, but since I hit IT, so far, so good!

Also, great line/delivery with: "This job fulling in creative way, such a load of crap." I know that in truth it is some of the most creatively satisfying work ever, though ultimately canceled by the crucifixion factor. The thing is though, the Code Monkey just can't fathom that situation (ie. what ultimately kills it (pleasure) for him), which is his un-doing.

I keep thinking the Gen-X perspective will eventually pass, but it always seems to resurrect itself with such stuff as yours. Do you see any movements on the horizon showing promise to supplant it? And do you agree with my perception that you parody it to a degree, exaggerating its softness and corporate squeezed/coerced optimism and suppressed angst?

Fanmade music videos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36221138)

What do you Jonathan think about fanmade music videos?
Like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W_wd9Qf0IE

The State of Geek Culture (1)

UberOogie (464002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221172)

Joco,

As some one whose career has pretty closely paralleled the "popularization" of geek culture (and perhaps benefited from it), how do you feel on the subject?

There seems to be a strong divide amongst nerds about public acceptance of larger swaths of what are traditionally "outcast" culture, and not a little bit of backlash against it (a'la Patton Oswalt). As a nerd who can't help but benefit from the continuing popularization (and, perhaps bastardization) of nerd culture, what are your insights?

Thanks.

Career longevity (3, Interesting)

ElMiguel (117685) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221460)

Are you worried that at some point you won't be able to support your family by writing (and performing) music? Do you have any plans for that situation?

How much research do you do for songs? (1)

jafo (11982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221698)

When you're writing a song, how much research do you do into it it ensure accuracy? For example, in the Mandlebrot Set song (excellent analogy "Rorschach Test on fire", BTW), were you just playing the odds, or do you KNOW that it wasn't an unseasonably warm November evening for his birth? Thanks for all the great music.

In it for the long haul; staying the same? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36221756)

Another favorite group of mine, They Might Be Giants (whom I think you like too), has been active for almost 30 years now. Do you envision continuing like you are for that long; do you think your style or content will change as you go?

Chuck Norris (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36222608)

Chuck Norris song requests anyone ?

PS: posting AC for fear of Chuck Norris

Do your raunchy songs ever get you into trouble? (1)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 3 years ago | (#36223194)

Your body of work seems to have a remarkable split personality. A lot of your songs are perfectly kid-friendly, while others are rather raunchy. ("It's the first of May, first of May...") Does that ever get you into trouble?

For example, do you ever look out into the audience at one of your posted adults-only shows and see kids? If so, what have you done? Have you ever had to decide on the spur of the moment to "redact" an R-rated song from your playlist at a show?

I feel like the guy in code monkey, most days. (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 3 years ago | (#36224390)

Manager is an idiot, boss is a fool. Secretary is hot, and pretends to be interested in what you have to say.
Honestly, I think she's a little creeped out by the way you hang around the desk.

Being delusional comes with the job, and you start to think she might be interested in you, but she's not.

Work is miserable. And it doesn't matter if you're the lowest technology guy on the totem, or the highest.
No matter what you do, you'll always be a codemonkey as long as you're here. Underpaid, never appreciated, and locked away in the closest cubicle to the printer closet. Count your blessings, they could have stuck you in the basement.

You keep on working because you find solace in this.
The code is a easy, and it's an escape from the reality of the job.

The worst part is, that the art of it is completely inconsequential.

Nobody wants art. You've been shot down every time you ever try to improve something, and now you save invention for your own time. It'll pay off one day, but you can't see the end in sight yet.

They want fast.
So you give them fast.
Then they decide they don't want that either, but you're good enough at what you do not to piss them off enough to fire you.

Then there's the new guy who hasn't been totally dehumanized yet; the one who feels the constant need to talk about standards, and clean code. The one that has aspirations of being appreciated. At the end of his third day of training, he tells you how your code is technically sound, but very ugly.

You can't help but laugh to yourself about it. You used to be him. It's so long ago now that you can barely remember yourself though. He's a code monkey too. Or he will be, soon enough.

You tell him to wait two years.
His code won't come fast enough for management either.

As for you... nobody realizes it yet, but you're on your way out.
And the only way out is to find a business guy out of college who will worship your technical ability, and do something new yourself. Soon, it'll be time to reclaim your soul from the soulless marketing company or devil of a corporate entity you sold it to all that time ago.

Soon, you'll be free.

In a decade, the company you've left won't change one iota.
If they survive that long.

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