It’s hard to believe that it’s been close to 15 years since I first started an online publication. It was a steep but incredibly rewarding learning curve- talking music, film and culture from the perspective of a third-culture kid who had just returned from a lengthy stay in the US.
I loved punk rock, I loved Hollywood and I had a lot of stories about growing up in Indonesia to tell. The outlet, Sound the Sirens Magazine (born from a Kid Dynamite song), was my way of reconnecting with some of the bands, friends and life I had left behind in Philadelphia and Stockton upon my return to Jakarta.
Online publishing was a different beast then, pre-out-of the-box content management systems meant the landscape for web publishing was relatively sparse, but ripe for those looking to find an outlet for their stories.
I connected, I wrote, and I communicated with old friends, new ones, bands, labels and writers who shared the same focus.
At its apex, Sound the Sirens Magazine received some 3000 unique visitors a day and interviewed artists and bands biting at their chance to find an audience. Some of the bands today are some of the biggest in the world, and looking back, it was a privilege to have connected with them during their ascendancy.
Travel and time changes a lot, and as the magazine shifted countries again to Australia, it had to evolve and change as the life around me did. It changed its name, to The Marshalltown, it spent a lot less time being updated, and somewhat found itself like many of its contemporaries- uneasy with transitioning from content and substance to journalistic instant gratification.
I tried it, and I hated it, and I still do.
Autopilot off is my way of keeping that writing alive, maintaining a connection to those years spent working on a magazine and bond all of that with my love of driving.
Every idea here, every story, every piece of writing is about a connection through shared, interesting, and sometimes towards-the-fringe ideas.
Welcome. Let’s make the act of reading and writing on the internet enjoyable and personal again, all of it.