Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A new look for Zak Claxton

The newly redesigned Zak Claxton site.

If you're a regular visitor of this blog, you may be wondering, "Where am I? And what did you do with Zak?"

Well, there's no simple answer for that, so I'll give you the long story and hope you're patient enough to read through it. When I signed up for the 3D virtual world known as Second Life in 2006, I needed to pick a name. Without giving it much thought, I rather randomly chose the surname "Claxton", and picked "Zak" since it seemed to sound okay with the last name. Keep in mind that at the time, I had no idea that one could perform live music in SL. So, I was just picking what I thought was the equivalent of a screen name.

However, at the same time, I was starting to work on material as a solo artist, having recently departed from my last band. I considered releasing music under my birth name, which I like just fine, but isn't very marketable (being kind of clunky and German and long). So, I found myself with this name that sounded good, and at the same time started developing a bit of a fan base for my music in SL from people who knew me as "Zak". At some point, I made the decision to have "Zak" change from being the name of my avatar to being a stage name. It seemed as good a name as any, and I kind of liked the fact that it came to me in such a non-purposeful way. Sort of cosmic, if you were thinking along those hippie lines.

But none of that is relevant to anything. As time as gone by and I've ever-so-slowly come closer to completing the album, I knew that framing myself only as a "virtual musician" was going to be a limiting factor in how I market my music. Sure, it's kind of a cute little gimmick, but I've never been a fan of that stuff... it just takes away from the actual music, which is what's really important to me.

So, finally the reason for the big update to the web site and my blog and everything else that's associated with me. I wanted to promote the Zak Claxton name in a way that was more focused on the person, rather than the SL avatar. While the story of how Zak came about will always be attached to SL, the actual music itself comes from an actual person. Therefore, I updated the site (and all the other digital representations of myself, from Facebook to MySpace to Twitter to ReverbNation to you name it) to include more of the real me, and less of the SL me. I probably could have told you all that in a single sentence instead of multiple paragraphs, but I thought you'd like to hear the thought process.

The new look I put together is interesting to me, since it tends to draw from actual photos of me that are stylized in a way that makes them almost look sort of cartoonish. In that aspect, it kind of blends my virtual self with the flesh-and-blood me, just the same way my music crosses a couple of boundaries, and also speaks to my fan bases both inside and outside of Second Life. And that, my friends, is why this blog and every other online representation of me looks different today than yesterday.

As the album release becomes imminent, I will be previewing the album art here on the blog. Keep your eyes open for that sometime in August.

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