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Exactly one year ago, my life changed. While trying to drive home drunk from a local show that I performed at, I crashed my vehicle head on into a tree, totaling it. If not for the airbag, I most likely would have been killed, and it was pure luck that nobody else was on the road around me at the time. This single event, the result of my own stupidity and poor decisions, has made a large impact on my life. The obvious effects are all of the time and money wasted due to the legal repercussions, but really that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Part of the consequences of my actions included a falling out with my creative partner and friend of 18 years. This, in turn, resulted in my departure from Triple Vision, a group that I co-founded and a name I have been representing for a decade and a half. Between all of this and a sudden forced sobriety, I was kind of lost. It felt like a big chunk of myself was torn from me. And getting fed through the system didn’t help matters at all. My heart was full of sorrow and my mind was clouded with anger.

I could have let all of this negativity devour me, as I knew it wanted to, as I might have done in the past. But I didn’t. Instead, I used it as a learning experience. And with the help of a few loving, supportive people, I transformed that energy into positivity and rode the wave of momentum. I booked a summer of shows, rocked them all and collected lots of clothes and food that was donated to those in need. I got my defaulted student loan paid off and went back to school. I finished my drug and alcohol counseling without a hitch and even learned some things in the process. Slowly but surely, I made progress on music for three different projects. I even scored my first (and second!) television appearance. Plus, I got back into my writing, which I’ve been wanting to do for years. And all of this while maintaining a great relationship with my awesome girlfriend, which is an amazing achievement in and of itself, considering I was single for 9 years prior. Oh yeah, and I remained completely clean and sober throughout it all, which I still am.

Don’t misunderstand me as bragging when I say that I have accomplished great things against the odds this past year, because I’ve also sacrificed a great deal. In retrospect, I realize that what I lost was mostly my own fault, but I must also acknowledge that what I have gained is largely the results of my efforts and desire to not slip into the downward spiral. And I don’t want any recognition, because personal gratification is more than enough for me. The only reason I even share this story is in the hopes that you will read this and, maybe one day down the road when the darkness becomes almost unbearable, remember that you are not alone. The people close to you can help you find the strength to overcome. But also remember that, ultimately, that power lies within yourself.

JVB a.k.a. DOE, etc.

Keeping with its long-standing tradition, Sykophunk Productions is dropping a release this coming Friday the 13th. Random Acts of Epic Awesomeness by joe DOE will be available June 13, 2014. This digital album is a relentless onslaught of lyrical insanity – 69 minutes, 24 tracks, spanning the last 6 years of the Sykophunk madman’s career, including some previously unreleased alternate versions. In the words of DOE himself: “This isn’t necessarily all of my best songs, but it’s a damn good collection that hopefully shows off my skills as a lyricist and my dedication as a 100% independent underground artist.” The album will be available exclusively for download on the Sykophunk Bandcamp page.

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OK, so what can I say? Running your own label & publishing company + being part of several projects and having a day job half of the time – it all gets hectic. Sometimes you take a step back and realize oops, I haven’t updated my blog in months. But now, we’re back (again)! Here’s what’s what:

Our most recent release is the newest in the Mood series. Sort of the opposite of Dark Moods, which we released in 2012. This one is Emotional Moods. Fifteen mellow and mood-altering pieces of music flow through time and float through space, pulling the strings of the heart and pushing the limits of the soul. Through a unique mix of organic and electronic elements, VanBuren takes the listener through a variety of emotions and moods. At once thought-provoking, mystical and sensual, this collection of music stimulates the senses through repeat listens that weave in and out of new age, ambient and chillout soundscapes. Check out the News page on sykophunk.com for the growing list of places online that you can listen to and/or download this album.

Our other recent releases from Dostah Shilailee & BL8 are available on our Bandcamp page. Plus all our older stuff as well. Dive in and enjoy…

So what are we working on next? A joe DOE video mixtape, a solo release from Misfit of Triple Vision, and the Democalypse prequel Happocrisy, for starters. Also, we’re going to let Dostah Shilailee take over the artist2artist interview series and unleash him upon our friends and foes alike. Oh yeah, and Triple Vision will be opening up for some established underground acts and performing live on Outlandish Reality for their first television appearance ever! Keep your third eye open & stay tuned to the rEvolution Underground.

Last post, I did a detailed recap of an absurdly productive 2011 for Sykophunk Productions. And we won’t stop, cuz we can’t stop… What’s in store for 2012? Allow me to break down the plans according to my various aliases and projects:

Joseph VanBuren – I will be reorganizing my licensing catalog, adding more tracks to it, and pursuing jobs in this area. I have already secured one gig as the Lead Composer and Sound Designer for the upcoming video game Precipice. I’ll most likely be bringing my man Randy (GrimWitcH) on board to collab for that. I’ll also be working on treatments for a few more screenplays and some new fiction and poetry.

Dostah Shilailee – There are some Dostah tracks in the licensing catalog as well. He’ll probably release one album in 2012 that nobody gives a shit about, yet somehow get song placement on a cable TV show (never mind, that already happened).

joe DOE – Jahg (Black-Jack) and I finished up the tracks for our collab album right before he was deployed for the Army, so that album will surface sometime in early 2012. There are also collabs with Christel South on the table; we’re hoping to have one song in particular released in January. As for DOE’s next two official solo albums, they will be the prequel and sequel to Democalypse. The trilogy will finally be revealed.

Triple Vision – We have been slowly but surely working on new material all throughout 2011. By the spring, we should have a mixtape and/or album ready for release, and possibly even a small tour to support the release(s).

Mother Prick of Misery – Anyone remember this? Well, my first screenplay features a band by this very name, and I’ll be writing and recording the songs to appear in the film. So even if the screenplay never goes anywhere, some MPoM music is likely to surface sometime in 2012.

Dark Domain – My oldest and biggest project. Every year I make progress on this work, only to find that it somehow grew beyond my former expectations. It’s a whole world of fiction, taking on a life of its own. Will 2012 be the year that this project finally gets presented to the world in some shape or form? Only time will tell.

Once again, from the bottom of my heart: eternal gratitude to all of my fans, friends and family that stuck with me throughout a sometimes rough 2011. Sykophunk is only getting stronger, so stay tuned for more epic awesomeness in 2012!