I first came across Katie Bennett a few years back thanks to her work as Free Cake for Every Creature. Since then, we’ve met in passing on a few different occasions at shows, usually stopping to make small talk. I’ve also been fortunate enough to see Bennett play in a separate project, i tried to run away when i was 6. Through everything I’ve seen, she’s displayed a quiet tenacity in the pursuit of simply making (and performing) music. An inspirational artist and an important voice in today’s musical landscape, Bennett turns her attention here to CE Schneider Topical’s “Dreams”, moving to Philadelphia, and more. Read the piece below and remember that there’s an untold level of value in the most common of struggles.
Dreamin’ With CE Schneider Topical
For two weeks in June, I got up early and walked a mile and a half to the University of Pennsylvania medical center, where I participated in a pretty embarrassing study related to me being vegan. The study, along with money I’d saved substitute teaching throughout the school year, would help me finance the recording of my band’s first record and a two-week west coast tour.
By 7:30 on those June mornings, it was already eighty degrees and so muggy I sometimes felt like I was gasping for air. My ears sweat beneath my big headphones, and the sweat dripped down my neck and back. My thighs rubbed together below my black jean shorts and burned slightly from the friction. I was usually rushing, stinking, hungry, and, yep, carrying a small cooler containing a fresh stool sample.
Some of those morning walks, I thought of my partner, who had done the study a few months earlier. I thought of us: what were we doing? Maybe I’d let out a quick laugh, or imagine we were the stars of some crappy indie rom-com: “20-somethings doing weird things for money but happy and in love anyway.” Most of the time though, I felt kind of stupid about the whole thing, like maybe I should have just sucked it up and gotten a job, let go of my DIY pop dreams, and penguin-dived into suit-and-tie adulthood.
Halfway through the study, I downloaded CE Schneider Topical’s Look Who Showed Up Out Here and popped it on my iPod for my morning trek. I didn’t know what to expect, but, in continuing with the my-life-as-a-movie idea, everything seemed to stop around me as I listened to the first track “Dreams”, and a sparkling ray of hope, in the form of Christina Schneider’s lovely voice saturated in tape hiss, reached down from the bandcamp heavens to fill my spirit. I’d hadn’t realized how much I needed the song until I heard it.
If nobody wants to hear about your dreams
Just make sure they hear about them
You’re a lot of things,
“Worthless” isn’t one of them
-CE Schneider Topical, “Dreams”
My dream: to play music. “Dreams” helped me realize I was more than my empty pockets and sweaty pits; my music dreams were real and important, and I wouldn’t back down from them. Walking home from the medical center that morning, I blasted the song, already singing along to every word. I looked around the city, my new city of Philadelphia, and I felt like a champion, my future shining and expansive before me. I punched and kicked the air a couple times, nominating myself as the Rocky of DIY pop music.