Over my summer break I had a lot of time to think and I’ve decided to shift the nature of Vehlinggo a bit. Impermanence and such. This affects the publishing schedule and medium (switching to online and print) and also means the end of The Vehlinggo Podcast. Worry not, my friends. I’ll elaborate below.
I published the first Vehlinggo post close to nine years ago, in November 2014. (That seems like 30 years ago at this point.) After a couple decades of using the Vehlinggo name for other things, I got serious and developed an online music publication — this one! — that showcased a blend of unknown artists and those whose music has graced the film, TV, and venues you love the most. The name ended up being tied to a podcast, events, liner notes, Obi strips, a documentary, and even the release series, Vehlinggo Presents. Pretty wild!
This site started out focusing mostly on certain types of electronic music, most stemming either directly or spiritually from Drive — synthwave, modern synth-pop, disco, house, and scores and soundtracks heavy with the synths. By Spring 2020, as the first wave of COVID-19 kept us all locked down, I’d been covering film and TV scores so much that I ended up shifting the focus to them, with about 20 percent left over for just the synths. This marked the creation of the Synthwave.net section, which I have been pretty bad about populating as of late.
And since then, that focus proportion has largely remained, even as I hired freelancers to help out with interviews and reviews — including the eminently talented Rachel Reeves.
What has been consistent throughout is the site reflects my and my writers’ musical tastes. Furthermore, what’s been consistent is the quality of the work: We strive to apply the practices and ethics of professional journalism to the site in an age when a lot of music sites (and blogs) post a lot of error-laden fare, if they write anything original at all. (Not to be an old man yelling at a cloud, but there’s a lot of copying and pasting of press releases going on, along with an utter lack of any fact-checking or quality control. Oh, and some very shitty ChatGPT-generated fare.)
Vehlinggo isn’t the only thing that’s changed course, though. The various scenes with which this site has been a part for nearly a decade have changed considerably during this time. Synthwave is much larger — its presence is all over mainstream visual and musical art, along with retro brand resurrections — and there are other websites, podcasts, and platforms much more dedicated to it than I’ve been since probably 2019. Furthermore, the scores and soundtracks world has a host of quality podcasts and websites dedicated to interviewing composers, and there’s no way I can keep up with that pace. Even with assistance.
Add to that the fact that regular Vehlinggo partners are either gone or changed beyond recognition. Death Waltz Record/MONDO are still around, but key principles Spencer Hickman, Mo Shafeek, and Shannon Smith left amid a rather public and uncomfortable shakeup since Funko purchased MONDO and its brands. Burning Witches Records is done. (Notably, both, like Vehlinggo, straddled the worlds of scores and synths.) Those are just a couple that come to mind.
So we have a changing musical landscape, a changing world really. It used to be easy to get my material out to the world — Facebook and Twitter generated healthy engagement and traffic and Google search was no slouch either. Now, of course, well, it’s all so fragmented and most platforms’ algorithms are designed to bury posts with links faster than you can say, “Billy Batts.”
And amid all of that I have changed, too. I’ve taken this break to work on a physical, printed anthology of my interviews with Electric Youth, augmented with photos and new material. Removing myself to slower, more engaging projects has been a revelation.
I don’t want to be beholden to increasingly irrelevant promotional deadlines or release cycles in a rapid-fire environment of diminishing returns. Competing with better-funded publications or sites run by people with more time and energy on their hands just isn’t my idea of a fun side gig. I can’t imagine readers have loved or will continue to love the obvious struggle I have with this. (Thanks again for the likes of Rachel, Andrew, and others, whose deft writing skills have kept Vehlinggo afloat since at least 2021.)
A New Vehlinggo
On that note, I’ve decided to shift around Vehlinggo’s publishing strategy and focus. Basically, there are four key points to mind:
- A shift to a quarterly publishing schedule, beginning with a January 2024 “issue” with new issues following in April, July, and October. This means you’ll get a bunch of articles — deep, high-quality interviews, reviews, and such — in the manner of a quarterly magazine, rather than regular or sporadic posts. It’s thoughtful, deliberate, curated, and put through a robust quality-control regime. (Between now and January, I have some articles planned under the current iteration of things.)
- Coverage of scores and soundtracks and electronic music will remain, but I’m also bringing back coverage of more offbeat music from more genres and artists in a fashion I used to have years ago. (It was a common practice of mine to top-load a recommendation post with more well-known artists and then follow that with more obscure folks.) This will naturally mean an expansion of the diverse set of contributors to Vehlinggo.
- There will indeed be occasional print “products” coming out of Vehlinggo HQ. The one about Electric Youth will be the first, but certainly not the last.
- The Vehlinggo Podcast is over. I’m not ruling out another podcast, but the one you’ve known since 2016 is done.
That’s the gist of things as they are. I appreciate you sticking with me and my website since 2014 and look forward to riding this new wave with you for years to come.
If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on social media or comment below.