there’s an album waiting for me in this home. it consists of the songs i started writing when i went away to college, and now that i’m back with my parents i can feel them creeping backup. they’re soft and thoughtful - from a bygone part of my life that i feel i have the chance to recapture through their completion, it gave me the chills the other night when i added a single lyric to my song ‘young blood’, a melancholy banjo tune i started 4 years ago. it felt like how i used to write, when i’d play a lick over and over until the whole song came to me in a flash, then i’d cry during a strange mixture of joy and sadness. feelings were coming out that needed to be felt, and though its was traumatic i also felt immensely proud and excited that they had taken shape in the form of music. fucking music! and this batch of songs has that quality, the texture of transcendence that fed my young hungry self to make my first solo album, and pushed me through many teary-joyous moments of creation until i had a finished thing. i feel myself going that direction with these songs, something i would build from the ground up by myself until I felt ready to bring in other people to help with my vision. the writing stage would demand a lot of alone time and self-reliance, and would require me to stay at home due to the size and fragility of the instruments I’m writing on (upright bass, piano, uncle’s old banjo)… but i just can’t bring myself to delve into that at this point in my life. i feel the need to go out and get a job, live independently for a while, during which i’ll probably forget about the songs because the environment just won’t be there for the delicate banjo lines or upright bass and piano ballads that blend so perfectly with the climate at home. i make different music up in the city (where i’ll be moving in month), its faster, more energetic, more in line with my current musical interests. back home i enter this old, nostalgic, romantic self that writes songs for the theatre and my parents. i play songs from my real book and dream about cole porter.
musical identities shift depending on location and the people surrounding you. some identities i dream about having is moving to new york, surrounding myself with theatre circles and composing for plays… or working my ass off to audition for CalArts and spending a couple years in Valencia working on my piano technique and some massive composition project like an opera or art installation…. or delve into hollywood, brush up on my orchestration skills and make music for big hollywood films… or learn some more songs on my accordion and join a minstrel or circus group… or pack up my volvo and move to san fran to start up my punk band again… and now i have this idea of being a guy that makes this album, which resides in the instruments and feelings i get whenever i’m back home! for now, though, my musical identity will be spent in my studio up in LA, and in the apartment I’m renting just down the street from it… among the outskirts of the skyline, in the alleys lining the train tracks a cement river, where everything is dark and yellow. i don’t have a name for this identity like I do for the others, because my life will be so much more than “guy walking to and from studio to make music”… but with time i’m sure it will become clear how my surroundings affected my sounds and through which means.
i think this spatial dimension of writing songs comes out of the autobiographical nature of the art form, but it also deals with the circumstances surrounding a song’s production, such as instrument storage and studio location. if i were completely convinced that the album i feel bubbling up at home was the right one to make at this point in my life, there’s nothing stopping me from getting a job near my parents house, moving my recording equipment into my childhood home, and making it happen. the city simply has more to offer my current self. i think that in this day in age, its not about having a single artistic identity - anything is possible - its about following the one you desire most.