Who the hell is this Mike Lazarev guy?

The universe has an interesting way of re-balancing itself. I’ve noticed that more and more, specifically when one tries to push the boundaries a bit. The universe has a way of interrupting and saying “Nuh-uh… get back in your place.” You can try to rebel, but the universe always succeeds. So although I am incredibly annoyed, I’m not surprised about the way things turned out. What is this that I’m talking about? Let me explain…

Just when I was about to unleash upon the world my next project, called UNDISCLOSED, which is a series of anonymous releases curated by yours truly, allowing a hand-picked roster of contemporary artists to explore a particular sonic territory, while remaining detached from all of the previous associations with their notable name [scheduled for January 16, 2015], I am being ‘forced out’ of seclusion. After 8+ years of writing about music anonymously as HC, I am finally revealing my name. So here it is. I am McLovin!

But it’s not the fact that I am making this decision that got me all riled up – it’s how I am being coerced into this position that gets me pretty angry. It’s all thanks to Facebook, which overnight decided that Headphone Commute is not my ‘authentic’ name, and locked my account until I furnished a real one. My initial knee jerk reaction, of course, was to say ‘Fuck you, Facebook! Who are you to tell me how I should be perceived on a social network?” and then cancel the account. And yes, I could have just started a Headphone Commute page, as opposed to a ‘personal profile’. The problem is that I already have a Headphone Commute page (and now also that Undisclosed project page) with many valuable followers (you!), which was owned and managed by that locked personal account. I would have to give all those up! And I was almost willing to do just that, if it wasn’t for the upcoming Best of 2014 lists that I can’t wait to unleash upon you, and, most importantly, the upcoming UNDISCLOSED project, which I owe to properly execute to all of the participating musicians! So my hand was almost forced. So fine, fuck it, here I am. With my all-authentic-name.

Remaining anonymous for over eight years allowed me to get rid of my ego, and separate my real life from the one I live in my head. Over the years, these lines drifted further apart and then eventually flipped. My ‘real life’ became the music, and my job on Wall Street a means to keep it up. For almost twenty years I’ve worked on technology in the financial sector, at hedge funds, prop shops and banks, never once revealing my ‘musical nature’ – but then again, I never found a person who would understand, let alone know a single artist I admire. I would commute to downtown New York with my headphones, and then spend a day working on a low-latency infrastructure of moving orders between exchanges at the speed of light. Working for some regulated financial institutions in US, I was a bit hesitant at revealing some of my ‘outside’ activities (even though, you must admit, Headphone Commute is 100% legit). So, I guess you should see all the reasons why I’ve kept a low profile.

And now it’s over. In a way it’s also somewhat of a relief. All of the artists and labels and even coordinators that I have met over the last years already know me by name. I want to personally thank them for maintaining my anonymity for this long. I could almost hear the collective “finally!” exhale as I type this. I’m still mad at Facebook for this ‘liberation’, but mostly I hope that it wouldn’t change how you feel. I wouldn’t want our relationship to be tempered by this unexpected snafu. Right? So let’s start over. And let me reach out my hand. I’m Mike. Nice to meet you…