A Changing Tide
Greetings! Wow, the year has really started to pick up pace! I have a lot of different projects going on right now, but Odyssey has been comforting to resort to when I’ve needed to find touch with my expression. I am also running a community service project for NHS, where anyone from the school can perform online for a coffee house for senior citizens in nursing homes. If you’re interested, don’t be afraid to reach out!
Recording my album has been difficult, as I don’t have access to a studio or a proper recording space, but I’m managing. I have my microphone and pop filter propped on the edge of my bed, while my instruments and cords are decorating my floor. I plug all of my equipment into a central unit or my computer, which works, but I wish I had an enclosed space to preserve the quality of the sound. This is my first album, though, and though the quality isn’t what I expected and I am basically doing everything myself (along with my rockin’ audio engineer Ryan Hughes), I have come to appreciate the process. Years of ideas and experiences are finally coming to life and not just circulating in my mind, desperate to escape. It was torture to withhold my recording ideas, but I feel such a deep satisfaction now that it is a tangible sound. This kind of cultivation can’t be rushed, and I’m appreciative of the time and support I’ve had.
I’ll be posting some poems and interviews soon, so stay tuned if you’re interested. I’ll continue to update on the production of my album, but it’s coming together faster than I thought.
Stay safe and take some time to breathe. You’re worth it.
The Beginning of a New Me
Here I am again, coming to you from the bowels of my cluttered room. I must admit, it’s hard balancing school, work, and my album, but I’m trying to hang in there, as we all are. That said, the recording of my album has begun, along with many other parts of production like advertising ideas, album cover shoots, photo and film idea shoots, and even practicing my music in the mirror. (I haven’t even come to terms with the fact that I am releasing music of my own, so I have to constantly remind myself.) It’s hard to believe that all of my ideas that have lived in my head for years are finally coming to life, with the help of other minds, too. I have felt so trapped by developing my songs in my head, as I didn’t think anyone else could envision the rest of the instruments and tone that would later (now) be added, but I am extremely relieved now. Even so, I have a lot of work ahead of me.
To give you a sneak peek, we want to make the album more psychedelic (using plug-ins and effects with a faded tone or distorted vocals), but we also want it to have more diversity than simply being a psychedelic folk album. I am combining different musical inspirations of mine, such as influence from Radiohead, Lana Del Rey, Grateful Dead, and various other bands that have a nostalgic, spiritual presence to their work. I want my music to have a similar effect, but through the expression of my memories and scenes of my imagination.
I am not sure whether I’ll have time for a concert between now and May, due to this production, but if I have spare time, I will set it up and you can find the information here. I am most definitely having a concert to conclude my project (probably sometime in May) as well as a final presentation that will highlight the findings and research in my project, so please stay tuned!
Lastly, whether you’re a teacher, student, or parent, or whether you're working, unemployed, or struggling to survive in any way right now, please know that everything will turn out. The world is harsh and will spew a never-ending amount of stress onto us all, but we will make it out together. Remember to drink water, feed yourself, and get rest. Maybe try to get some sunshine and take a walk. Be alone with your thoughts, or just let them drift away. Whatever you need to balance your mind.
My Nostalgic Journey
Look how far we’ve come through this year! Can you believe the earth’s layers haven’t eroded away and a meteor hasn’t fallen from the sky yet? Well, I won’t jinx it. I had a concert last night, tonight’s the last night of finals, and though things have been stressful, I really enjoyed myself. I talked extensively about a few songs that I want to put on my album followed by my performing them. I loved the intimate, cheerful audience I had. It was sweet and uplifting to share my music again, and if you want to come to my next concert, keep your eyes open on your Prep email or ask me.
In other news, I have started a new job making sushi and though nobody really asks about me, I enjoy existing without thought for part of the day. The only time I really need to concentrate is when I make food, but I find comfort in a quiet mind while doing kitchen duties and preparing fish. It is also a perfect platform for dwelling in poetic spirals or hypothetical situations of me performing for big crowds, yada yada yada, the same old “dreaming to be a rockstar '' stuff. We all need some time, though, to be alone with our thoughts and I love that I can do it while making sushi.
When it comes to my project, I’ve done a few interviews within the past few months and have a few papers on the books I’ve read and videos I’ve watched. First off, I interviewed my dear friend Slade Cordero, who was a local musician of Albuquerque until he moved to Chicago to study audio engineering at Columbia College. He was my first real introduction into the local music scene, when it comes to bands, and I really valued his input about his experience making music as a high school student continuing into college. I also interviewed a friend of a friend, Paul Castle, who used to make music with a James Taylor vibe but now maintains a blog from his home in London called “Over the Pond'' about his musical experiences. He mentioned a lot about memories that he associated with music, which leads me to believe that is a key element in his song-writing because of its nostalgic feel. Paul’s website is http://www.paulcastle.co.uk, if you want to check it out, and Slade just released a remastered EP on Spotify and Apple Music under the name S.M.I.T.H.W.F.A.N.G. (shooting myself in the head with flowers and nail guns). Go check those rockstars out!
As for my other research, I wrote a paper on an interview with Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead. Yorke’s creative mind is really intriguing and he is one of my biggest inspirations, so if you’re looking to learn more about the behind the scenes of Radiohead or the story of a musical genius, stay tuned for the paper. Otherwise, I also wrote about Armageddon Rag, which I read originally to prepare for interviewing George R.R. Martin, but that fell through. I still enjoyed the novel, thoroughly.
That’s all I have for now! I will continue to prepare for recording my album over break and take some pictures for the cover, but otherwise, I’m so excited to take a second to relax. I hope you can, too, and take the time to live happily. I will try to put up a link to a recording of my concert, if you’re interested in watching. If I end up putting it up, it should be under “Concerts” on my page.
I don’t know about you all, but everything has been so tense for me. I’ve had school, expenses, college admissions, and other obligations that have been clouding my brain, and though I’m trying to have optimism, I feel like I’m burning out. This is why I’ve not been working on the requirements of my project as much, but I have tried to continue attempting to record my music and set up interviews. I also am continuing to read the “Armageddon Rag” by George R.R. Martin, who may be a possible interviewee as well, but we’ll find that out later. When I’m finished, I’ll post a response paper about this book. I definitely recommend it if you like murder mysteries and ‘60s oriented music history.
It’s been quite an adventure to begin recording on my own, and though I have hope that I’ll finish my EP, I haven’t had a lot of time to work on it. I mainly just mess around with small parts of songs that I’ve written to get some experience with different music software, which I think are necessary experiences in my effort of mastering it myself. It’s a long shot, and I don’t mind having someone else master it, but I take pride in learning these things on my own. It would be a contradiction to the pillars of this program to not try things out before committing to something completely, which is my effort exactly. With that being said, I’ve been working on a lot of new songs that have come in a variety of emotional forms as well. I spend hours of my time perfecting the lyrics and playing songs over and over in the mirror to find a light that hits it just the right way, giving my thoughts just the right exposure.
With all of this on my mind, I’ve been trying to let my mind breathe and go for walks. After class every morning, I go to this park near my house and sit in the sun. Letting my brain catch up with my schedule has been enormously better than detaching myself. Accompanied by this realization, though, I’ve further noticed the fast pace of not only our current society but our technology. The fundamentals of every current marketing strategy is for fast and easy obtainability, an especially noticeable change for the music industry. Now, music and podcasts can be played with one touch. Though this can increase artists’ discovery and popularity, I feel a disconnection with online music. Looking at an album on a screen isn’t the same as holding it in my hands, remembering when I bought it and reliving the feeling of hearing it for the first time. In this way, this has also made the music experience more isolated and disposable, allowing you to skip anytime to whatever you want. I want to promote the decomposition of this loneliness and help people connect more to meaning in music. I suppose I have to fully do so for myself first.
Well, if you read this far, thank you for your interest. I pray things are well for you, and if you need something to look forward to, I’ll be having a concert soon! Stay tuned for the date.
An Overwhelming Autumn
Hello, good people,
Man, what a wacky Twilight Zone episode we are in. I pray all of you are in good health and are staying safe out there. Fortunately, my project has been preserved even through all this mess, as all I do is write songs and that can never really be taken away from me. I was, however, planning to begin recording in the spring with several different places, as it was going to be a sort of trial. I also didn’t have a computer at the time, so I couldn’t record or edit my music on my own. Even so, over the summer I continued to write on my own and with my friend Pandora, a member of my band and did as much as I could on my own to improve my guitar skills. Quarantine actually helped strengthen my dedication to playing and forced me to live face to face with my work every day, unable to leave it behind. I relied very much on the rush I got from songwriting, as it was the most exciting thing happening while locked up in my room. This habitat I constructed also helped me cultivate ideas I don’t think would have been as prominent on the surface, but I was truly able to dig deep and try new things. I had several concerts before the summer and spent a lot of my nights face-timing Pandora to write songs, and with my friend Ryan, who would edit little recordings I made on my phone.
Over the summer, I looked for more resources to look into and people to interview. I also worked as much as I could, and by August I got a computer (with the help of my grandma). This was a big deal for me as I had been attending Zoom classes and writing papers on my phone, plus I can record and edit my music on my own now! I plan on perfecting a few of my favorite originals, recording them, and uploading one of them as a single. I think this will help me get a feel for the process before I release an EP, and I’ll get some experience with marketing. In the background of this, I’ve been reading The Armageddon Rag by George R. R. Martin, a fantasy style meditation of the ‘60s rock/folk music scene, structured also in the form of a murder mystery. It’s a very exciting and insightful work of art, but what makes it even better is that my friend’s grandma knows Martin, and I will be interviewing him in October.
I plan on having another concert when I release my single, so stay tuned for the dates for my releasing and my performance. I hope you all can stay strong and positive. If you need to relax or take your mind off things, you can read my other blogs and my poetry! Or take a walk. Walks are good.