“I roam across the land. I wish to seek and understand the truth about life. And about who I really am…”
Today I learned that one of my favourite lyricist/vocalists Adrian Fitipaldes has stood down as the front man of Sydney Metalcore outfit Northlane. For those of you who have been following my blog for a little while the name probably rings a bell; I’ve drawn attention to Fitipaldes’ work numerous times throughout the history of this site. The man’s brutally honest, intricate, and often raw verses form in my humble opinion, some of the most beautifully constructed pieces produced within the last decade of hardcore and metal music.
Big call. But totally justified.
Fitipaldes and the rest of Northlane completely redefined how I view music, my writing, and the world at large with their 2013 release Singularity (Yep. That’s where I first learned of the concept I consistently bang on about). Through the album’s rolling crescendos, melodic break downs and guttural vocals, the band delivered a message of positivity and ambition that captivated this struggling author and showed me that with unrelenting passion and determination I could become the architect of my own destiny. Sadly though, citing mental and physical exhaustion suffered through his art, Fitipaldes will no longer be continuing to produce the mind altering music that inspired more than a handful of posts on this site.
While I’m shattered to hear that he will no longer be fronting the metalcore outfit, I know that with a mind as chaotically creative as his, he will bounce back soon enough. Fitipaldes will return to the world of music in some capacity. You can mark my word. But his departure has got me thinking about the correlation of art and life, and how far an author, artist, lyricist, or musician can push themselves before their passion begins to become their detriment. How much suffering can one endure in the name of art? And at the end of the day is it all worth it?
The question of suffering is a moot point. Look at some of the greatest artistic minds in history and the suffering that they endured to push themselves and their respective fields forward. Vincent Van Gogh cut off his own ear and eventually killed himself. Hemmingway took his own life with a shotgun. Beethovan was condemned to a prison of silence that robbed him of hearing the beauty of his own work. The lists are endless and the point is that in this life we all suffer. But the best of us take that suffering and turn it into something beautiful and unique.
So is it worth it? Is suffering for your art really worth the hassle? You can bet your fucking arse it is. There is no better feeling in this life then seeing the joy that your words, paintings, music, thoughts, feelings and actions has on another man or woman. There is something so selfless and so intimate in reaching out to stroke the chords of a loved one or fan’s heart. There is something so humbling in being afforded the opportunity to take their hand and lead them along a path of self-discovery and enlightenment that makes all the suffering and all the torment so worthwhile. That’s why artists do what they do. They push themselves harder and harder not because they want to break (although I will occasionally do this), but so that they can have that impact on the lives of those they are fortunate enough to touch. A man like Fitipaldes quite literally exhausted his body and soul so that he could deliver a message of hope to his fans.
It’s a commendable act and one that sometimes isn’t always recognised within our modern day society. We have come to view ourselves as consumers of art rather than fans, and as such we expect and demand that level of self-sacrifice and dedication from our artists. We expect them to produce until they falter and fall, sometimes forgetting just how much enrichment they have bought into our lives before we simply discard their now fractured works in search of something new to captivate us.
I know that all of this must sound rather frivolous coming from a man who hasn’t yet had the opportunity to touch the hearts and minds of as many people that he believes he can. But I truly believe that there is something to be learned from an artist’s sacrifice and willingness to self-implode.
No successful artist has ever achieved without first experiencing some form of hardship. Be it through rejections, depression, lack of determination, or whatever else, every single one of us suffers at some point. Not because we want to, but because we have to. You can’t have a heaven without a hell. You can’t have black without white. And you can’t have the elation of success without the lows of failure or exhaustion. But the successful artists, the Hemmingway’s, the Van Gogh’s, the Fitipaldes’, they make a conscious decision to succeed. In those moments where they are stretching beyond their limits and pushing themselves to breaking point they are faced with a decision; rise up and be something. Or give up on everything you ever dreamed of. So they rise; no matter how hard they have fallen, or how insurmountable a task that may seem.
Right now, the lyricist that has inspired this author beyond all conventional measure is exhausted and stepping down from the limelight. But with a talent as bright as his, and a desire to alter the world for the better, it’s only a matter of time before Adrian Fitipaldes returns. And this author cannot wait to see what he produces when he does.