As I’ve walked around Europe,mostly in Switzerland, I just feel like a ghost. Watching people happily going about their lives together, the most important part of cultures is how people interact with each other.Quietly writing things down in my notebook, reflecting on what’s around me but not actually experiencing it. I can’t understand anyone or really interact with anyone, people just sort of look past me. Shed my cumbersome skin of my life in America to become a lost wraith floating through a foreign land searching for perspective by surrendering myself to the undeniable transformative powers of being uncomfortable.Experiencing other people’s cultures alone can be so strange, especially if you’re me.There is some solace in being so invisible but the inability to connect can be maddening. I spent so much time inside of my beanie wrapped head as it vibrated against the window of a train headed to a destination I can’t pronounce. It's such a lonely feeling to be so close to many people but feel so far away from all of them.Bern was very quiet and reserved, well besides the train stations because they were ragin. Just 17-18 year old kids pounding beers, listening to music. It was very expensive and I spent most my time traveling to surrounding areas.Switzerland is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. You have to just go see it for yourselves. I will say though after hearing romantic languages like French and Italian the whole trip, switching to hearing German was rough on the ears. A delicious little croissant with chocolate is called a schoggibrötli which instantly makes it sound unappealing.
Solo travel is definitely a good thing and can help you grow but no one is around to share the experience all your stories are just stories, there’s no real validity to them.Of course,if you are a social butterfly and good with people you may find your experience different. I’ve met people along the way but our paths just veer in different ways. Now with the rise of social media, being alone kind of just feels like you are doing it to look cool on social media.Many times on this trip I’ve felt that way about myself. The question comes up why are you here? What did you come all this way to learn?Honestly two reasons 1. To break my writers block and 2. Traveling brings a very attainable sense of accomplishment.Writers block for me is like having a puzzle in which you know how all the pieces fit together but the tiles are all blank. I’m not trying to totally swear off solo trips but definitely shorter ones and probably ones where a beach is involved. I keep telling myself to stop treating this like a fucking homework assignment but this blog has also given my trip so much meaning.
Reflecting on my experience through writing gives the trip a deeper purpose.also, anyone reading this I truly appreciate it.i loved this trip it was amazing but I will say if you’re going to backpack or go on a long journey bring someone you enjoy along. Otherwise, it’s just lookin cool on Instagram. By being alone I was able to give an interesting insight. I kind of hate the whole backpacker identity. Aimlessly wandering is not exactly admirable. What’s admirable to me is building a community with culture and roots, not just being a tourists of others doing it. Travel is important I would do it endlessly but I hate the backpacker mentality. It becomes a game of “ well look at all the places I’ve been, where have you been?”. Okay but what did you learn or take away from any of that besides Instagram pictures? Travel always helps me get perspective though, now back to America to finish my EP which during my trip I have named. Let's call it "Caveat", I've been writing so much again, starting to feel like myself.
The minute I stepped off the train the warm Italian sun welcomed me, seeping through my skin to warm my bones. France had been cold and windy so weather wise this was a nice change of pace. As any American tourist bro would do I immediately set off in search of pizza, which was obviously easy to find.I struck out on my first two attempts, I was just so tired so I settled for whatever was close. Pizza is done by weight here, there’s a big pan of pizza you define how big of a piece you want they cut it off, weigh it and price it based off that. Now initially I was like wow that’s a dumb system but ya know it really grew on me. I would just hop from pizzeria to pizzeria (11 in three days) and get small slices so I could try a wide array of pizza.also tons of great pasta. I have a lot of working out to do when I get back ,dear lawd.
Romans are cool they just do their thing and let you be part of it,I dig it. I also got mistaken for Italian non stop, being racially ambiguous in Europe is quite fun.You got the feeling that romans were so proud of their city, that they were excited for others to see it. Of course as it goes with any awesome place on earth it was inundated with tourists, which made seeing ancient Rome very difficult and you really have to pay attention to the time you go to popular places. Usually a good rule of thumb to know if you’re in a touristy area is to obviously look for souvenirs shops but they never ended. The area I was staying in had ten on every block. Only good part about tourists is I siphoned so much knowledge off following tour groups around. I ventured to some parks on the outskirts of the city center and they were beautiful.The best surprise about Rome though was all the incredible busking, I saw so many talented musicians. I’m not a big fan of the idea of busking but Rome has certainly changed my mind about it, it can be done tastefully.Rome is so much more than it’s history, it’s a living breathing entity with so much culture here in the present. I took zero metro buses which was I will admit lots of walking but totally worth it. Be careful walking though because in Rome they have what I call “Good Luck” intersections. No lights, no real system in place it’s just play roulette with your life no big deal. Just have to hope cars stop for you or else you just don’t get to cross that street, dope.Aside from the tourists I loved Rome, I learned so much, grew as a person and left inspired. Now unfortunately I have to move on from Rome to Venice.
Okay Venice, well hmm, uhh let’s start with positive things. It’s beautiful, it’s the perfect day trip and uh lots of gelato. Now on to the not so positive stuff. The streets are so incredibly annoying to navigate, you literally have to have a map in hand referencing it on every single street. The tiny little streets are flooded with tourists and every idea you have 40 other people have already had it and beat you there. The locals seem to just completely ignore us tourists like pestering ghosts they try to pretend don’t exist. In such a small place it’s literally impossible not to impede on their lives. The vendors couldn’t care less about Venice or the tourists they are sharks out to get their money, which I guess I understand but Jesus at least fake it. When a single guy like me sits down they begrudgingly take my order and shove me out the door. Now if a table of four older white women come in holy shit, grab the accordion,put on this Italian chef hat and our Italy aprons,oh momma Mia let’s lay it on thick.Lots of it felt like a caricature of Italian culture, just so over the top, force feeding that “genuine Italian culture” down tourists throats. Bottom line is three days is entirely too much to go there as a tourist. Do a day trip, take some pics of the waterways, take a gondola( if you’re rich because it’s 80 euros for 20 mins) drink some wine, eat some food and move on with your life. The food was also all mediocre and overpriced. I hate to be negative but I hate being dishonest even more. After three days I was running off that island. In closing I’d like to say this, the best pizza I have ever had was in Italy but I still like pizza in America better overall. Sue me.
P.s I heard a woman give her dog commands in English and in Italian, I then thought “ that dog is more bilingual than I am”.
Ah Paris, I’ve waited so long, my trip was short but I wanted to reflect on somethings I picked up on while I was thereI didn’t get much sleep on the plane, a common occurrence in my travels because the amount of times I’ve declined a free cup of coffee is zero. Real quick let me get this out of the way, I know when they start boarding the plane you want tor immediately get up and stand in line but don’t. I mean they aren’t going to leave without you if you are right there. Just stay in your seat then when the line dies down just board and go straight to your seat,no lines. I mean this is also if you travel by backpack which you should, so you don’t have to mess with overhead storage. people act like other countries don’t have laundromats.By some miracle I was out of the airport in ten minutes and that is not an exaggeration. When I got on the train though,an entire day of buses, trains and planes caught up to me and I was a goner. In typical Hythum fashion I slept through my stop(which i was legendary for doing in LA) and my phone died. Luckily,since I’m a bit more well traveled and I know my life is one hilarious calamity after another, I grabbed a paper map for insurance. After getting off the train from the airport a strange wave of loneliness washed over me. I was so tired, lost and everything just felt so foreign, it didn’t help I kept passing happy couples traveling together, I’m only human I guess. In order to lift my spirits I went to a bakery ordered a Jambon-Beurre (French ham baguette sandwich) and a raspberry macaroon, so good. I did finally make it to my hostel, got some sleep and I was reborn. I set out as quick as I could and walked through the streets until nearly morning.Bakery after bakery, I would go to windows and point at things I couldn’t pronounce and was never once disappointed. My favorite was definitely the French classic Pain au chocolat, which is pretty much a croissant with little chocolate pieces. So simple, so French, so good. If you are trying to avoid carbs lemme tell ya, stay away from Paris,it’s carb heaven. I also absolutely loved the baguette sandwiches, they were everywhere, they were delicious and cheap, what more could you ask for? A realization I’ve come to is brewed coffee is not very popular in many places besides America, it’s all just espresso drinks. Now I’m stupid and thinking “ I know how to say coffee in French,check this out”. “puis-je avoir un café” I said,after having a giggle at my American-ness he comes back with a shot of espresso, okay lesson learned. Next place I go to I think okay, say americano that’s known here. I order an americano to which he replied and this is verbatim “I don’t speak nothing” and walked away, hmm that didn’t go as planned,I’m now 0/2. Next place I go to I try explaining to the man I just wanted espresso with hot water to which he then replies with the magic words “ahhhh Café alongé” ( which I later found out translates to long coffee) and with those two sweet words I cracked the cipher. I had a crepé each day but so many different options in this realm. I usually go for sweet(banana Nutella, strawberry, chocolate) but I once I said I’ll have one of those and pointed at whatever the guy next to me was having and it was delicious. Not sure what the meat it was to be honest but lots of cheese and very delicious.A great surprise I found that I hadn’t really read about anywhere was the amount of delicious kebab in this city. Where I was staying near Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, there was a kebab joint on every block and run by immigrants from all over the world. 5.50 Euros for a delicious kebab sandwich with fries? Sign.Me.Up.
Okay begrudgingly moving on from food.Paris has one of the most defined identities of any place I’ve ever been to. It’s like every street has a robust story to tell.America is such a melting pot that sometimes it’s hard to nail down concrete aspects of our culture. I don’t mean that in a bad way though being a melting pot is a good thing, it’s just hard to really define American culture for me.here it felt culture wasn’t divided by race or social status, it more felt like everyone was kind of united by their frenchness.Even immigrants serving food from their own country had a French twist to it. What a beautiful language,I found myself staring at people wishing I could understand. It was inspiring even watching people talk because they do so with so much passion and depth in their speaking. And my god they are all so happy to see each other. I kept seeing friends kissing each other screaming like they hadn’t seen them in a decade. In America it’s more like” sup bruh”.Now usually museums are kinda whatever for me, I’ve just been to so many and they never really do much for me but the Louvre was way different. If you go to Paris take a day to really appreciate it, there’s so much to see and so much information to retain. If you are only an English speaker though beware a lot of the descriptions are only in French but they offer Nintendo 3ds guides you could take with you in many different languages. Seeing the original Mona Lisa is kind of surreal, I never really cared about it before but up close there is something to it. I started thinking that painting is over 200 years older than the United States, that’s kind of mind blowing. Paris seems to have such a high respect for arts and being an artist here seems to retain more respect than it does back in the US or at least that’s the feeling I got.
The best advice I can give is to walk Paris. I cannot stress enough how many little hidden gems you’ll find by walking. Some amazing bakery, incredible graffiti,a street performer, some historical something or other. Of course, nothing wrong with using the metro to get certain places and even that in itself is an experience. Now I’m off to nice for two days which there probably won’t be much to talk about because I’m going to chill real hard, Paris wore me out.
Recently I've been thinking about people who move to other places with an elitist mentality that they are somehow above the people they left behind (aka myself). I moved to Indianapolis from Los Angeles awhile back and I've been realizing a lot about myself and my move to Los Angeles. My biggest take away is that people make a place and also that you cannot lump an entire group of people together based on the place they live. I've been avoiding the Midwest like the plague for the past couple years and while yes, it isn't my favorite place in the world, it deserves much more respect than I have given it. I do believe that we always have to chase opportunities wherever they are, so if there's an opportunity to improve your life somewhere take it. Some people just want a change of scenery, nothing wrong with that. I guess i had typecast people in the Midwest as small minded and short sighted but since I've been back I've seen so much art and heard so many dreams and so many stories that have really inspired me to realize that I'm dead wrong, as I am quite often. I thought if i got to LA people would see me differently and I'd be somehow cooler. I could paint a social media picture that would impress others, at family functions they would talk about me as if I were a myth. Through depression,poverty and unrest I continued to fake it for Instagram, desperately trying to convince people that my pilgrimage to the land of the misunderstood was fruitful but it was not. Honesty isn't coveted, results are. Living selfishly and distancing yourself from others to get them to envy you isn't cool, it's sad.
LA killed lots of bad parts of me and for that I am very thankful. No longer do i desperately try to publicize my identity as an artist, it's something I know and feel deeply and I no longer need to convince others of it. It's so off putting to look around at everyone trying so hard to convince each other that they are this or that, its fucking exhausting. Social media has created this awful pressure on all of us that we aren't living the lives we should be and I fell victim very hard. LA gets a bad rep though, I do have a special love for that city. Honestly, my favorite people I met were locals, the cancer on that place was all of us transplants with our hands out. Wanting the city to validate us and give us our identities, wanting everything and not offering much in return. Reinventing ourselves into how we want to be seen instead of seeing what we actually are inside.
Everyone has a different journey and I would never want to discourage anyone from moving to a new place but more so just questioning the reasons behind it. The question I keep getting is "why would you ever move back from Los Angeles to indiana?" Besides the obvious financial reasons, this will sound weird but I missed the bleakness. There is something profound about silence on a cold, grey day, it's like a warm blanket for me. I think by nature I am just a melancholy person, so endless smiles and sunshine wore on my soul. I yearned for the richness and depth of dreariness. LA was sort of one dimensional for me, I don't want just sunshine and happiness, I want the whole spectrum. With large cities though, you'll never have two stories that are the same, so it's really hard to take anyone's word for it, you just have to roll the dice for yourself. I want to also touch back on that fact that people make a place. In my mind, Pretty much if you put all the people you love in one place it doesn't really even matter where that is.
There was such an tremendous pressure to feel happy in LA that you almost felt guilty on days you just weren't feeling it. Which leads to lots people just faking it or else you get pegged as negative or just not good enough to be there. We live in a time where we are spoon fed FOMO and it honestly just takes confidence to know who you are and where you want to be. This took lots of time and traveling for me. I never know where I'll end up from year to year but I do know this motivated, amazing people are everywhere not just on the coasts, not just in the places you've heard of. They are in small towns, they are hidden in big cities, the world around us is what we make of it. To me, the true heroes are the people putting effort into their hometowns, asking what they can do to improve it, instead of just abandoning it. It's not as flashy, it takes more time but it's so incredibly important. So wherever I end up from year to year I want to ask myself, How can I give to that place instead of just expecting things out of it. I will be posting more often and apologize for the long gaps between posts. I'm traveling through Europe next month and will most definitely be writing reflections on that!
Alright before I get in to this post I need to get something out of the way, Asia come in and take a seat we need to talk. You should never be able to pour coffee into a cup of hot water and stir it in, that's called hot chocolate. Finding a cup of brewed coffee was near impossible, I respect that a lot of places offer Americanos but Jesus somebody has gotta step up and have some actual brewed coffee. I digress, I recently traveled to Thailand and wanted to collect my thoughts on the experience here and I dunno maybe some humans will read it. What a gorgeous country Thailand is. I first arrived to Bangkok which is a gigantic sprawling city even more so than Los Angeles which is saying something. My first goal when getting off the plane was getting Pad Thai and ohhhh boy did I get some. I literally ate it every single day, I mean for even the most simple Pad Thai in Los Angeles it'll run you at least ten bucks(besides one very questionable place I know of in Macarthur Park) but here I could get a heaping pile of delicious noodles for under 2$. Another hilarious thing is Thai restaurants have the most ambitious menus I've ever seen, I saw one menu that had 35 pages and a fucking table of contents just in case you get lost.Thailand gets lots of westerners so you have the typical street vendors whom all have very flexible prices and similar merchandise(elephant necklaces, bracelets, shit like that). Now one of the first places we went was a place called Nana plaza, dear god. If I could sum this place up in one word it would be...... prostitution. Quite literally hundreds of prostitutes in a couple block radius, women and ladyboys alike. You are being yelled at to come into bars left and right, people grabbing your arm, with enough money you could kind of do whatever you want in this place(kind of like westworld without the murdering). I feel as if you have to kind of not take Nana plaza too seriously or it will just bum you out.I also tried to keep in mind that prositution is different here and doesn't carry the stigma that it does in other places. Outside of that place, Bangkok is busy and overwhelming and made LA feel like a quiet suburb. I was in Bangkok twice during this trip, we were only here for a couple days before we headed south and we returned for the last couple days before flying out. We'll get back to Bangkok now lets talk about southern Thailand an island called Koh Lanta.
We went during the raining season so at times it sort of felt deserted which I was all about after spending a couple days in Bangkok. Little family run restaurants with the same menus the size of a small novel packed full of all different kinds of food. Lots of small rasta bars with posters of Bob Marley and Che Guevara with little pillows to sit on that felt like someones house because the people who own the place actually do live there. It didn't really feel too touristy I felt more as a guest in someones home rather than a customer at a hotel. Laws don't really exist here I don't think I saw a cop once. You could walk right up to the bar order a beer, a joint and some mushrooms if you so desire. Here every time someone would try to sell you something they would say "Why Not" which is actually harder to respond to than you would think. Two words could not describe a place better, I mean think you'e a decaying piece of organic matter trapped inside of a world you don't understand constantly being crushed by the pressure of a cruel curse called consciousness sooooo why not do some stupid shit take your mind off of it for awhile. It was so easy to lose track of time here and really it didn't matter no one really has anywhere to be. We all splurged on a nice villa and spent our time here playing cards avoiding rain and sitting at rasta bars and honestly Id totally recommend it. Being a tourist is much cooler when there aren't a million of you. so if you're every in Thailand during the raining season grab some people you really like go to Koh Lanta and chill. Now onto the third part of our trip and my favorite part by far, Railay Beach.
Now despite me calling it an island 7 million times it is in fact not an island but certainly feels like one. we got on a very tiny boat and crossed through some extremely blue choppy water surrounded by cool rock forms. This place really only exists for tourists, the whole place was centered around tourism. The beach was right in between two big landmasses which were very popular for insane people to come rock climb. Once again I'm so happy we went during the raining season as it was calm and not crazy busy. of course the curse of instant coffee was heavy on this place but there were lots of delicious Thai pancakes in all flavors ( especially banana Nutella, oh fuck yeah).Plenty of similar Rasta bars where time stops and nothing really seems to matter. I don't think I saw one police officer or any real need for one, there seemed to be no laws but everything was peaceful and ran smoothly.Once again the catch phrase of my trip resurfaces, why not?Most things you are offered are followed with this but it was used more as a statement than an actual question which is a cool way of thinking of it. I don't think it was meant to be taken as deep as I took it and this should also be treaded upon lightly but fuck it go to Thailand or go somewhere you've always wanted to go. The beauty of it is the answer to the question doesn't matter, don't think of it in that sense, think of it as a shield against the nagging little voice that tells you that you can't, or that you don't have enough money or you aren't good enough.Bangkok could very well be the entrance to hell BUT it has it's own vibe it's kind of like a flaming car accident you can't turn your eyes away from. Or like a piece of cake with all of your guilty pleasures baked in.If you're uptight conservative or judgmental Bangkok will shake that shit out of you reeeeeal fast. Outside of Bangkok, Thailand is a beautiful place I really only got to scratch the surface of, my next trip there I want to venture up North and see more of the beautiful nature the country has to offer (and maybe wash an elephant or something). Also now that I'm back I will be relocating focusing more on playing live shows and continuing to spread the gospel of Old Major. In closing, do what you want, think about things less. I leave you with these two powerful and beautiful words, Why not.
P.S Monkeys are dicks.
No labels, No agents, no managers,no street team, no sponsors. From my small apartment in Hollywood I scribble ideas on a white board,send hundreds of emails, pound coffee and plan how to make this album into something. The DIY route is certainly a rewarding route but can at times feel fucking impossible. You have to be almost insane to believe in something that no one else believes in but it's just something you feel, something unshakable and undeniable. I've been recently planning a tour up the west coast which has been met of course with road blocks and obstacles but to obtain the rose we must brave it's thorns. They tell you you need a draw in the area in order to play but you can't get a draw unless you play there, a troublesome conundrum indeed. It seems the only way this tour will actually happen is to make promises I cannot keep, which not living up to draw expectations can ruin a relationship with a venue so I must be careful. The final song of the album "Away" is in the final stage of mixing and as the album comes close to being finished, I'm torn. On one hand this is by far the best album I've ever written and I'm so proud of myself , on the other hand I know the impending doom of it's release. With such a small reach it will be listened to by a small amount of people become old then swept off into the never-ending void of forgotten music. The other option is to hold on to the album until I feel I have amassed an appropriate fan base which could take years, millenniums, or eternity. This would also mean postponing the tour until I have grown my reach which may be inevitable.Since I was a kid I've dreamt of taking a band on tour, while I've gotten to do a handful of small tours they pale in comparison to the scope I have in mind.
Now the only thing that matters is growing my reach so I've allocated every bit of my budget to dong just that. Instagram is my strongest social and the only one I've really gave a shit about for the past year but I'm trying to divide my attention evenly between them all. Honestly though I just don't have the budget to work all the angles I want to so I'm launching a merch store to help me raise money for the tour and further expansion. This won't work very well currently because my reach blows but I have no choice I have to at least give it an effort. I'm also going to be working on producing more content to help engage people in the release of this album, such as videos, pictures and even this blog post. This album is truly a type of music I don't feel has been made but in this day and age being different hurts you way more than it helps you. Growth is the only thing that excites me, seeing this project I started from nothing grow into something that can positively impact humanity. Music is so multi-faceted and its so easy to get lost in all the various elements you have to focus on but I've boiled it down to the most important one for right now, engaging people.
With that being said, you are my only hope, anyone reading this or anyone who's ever listened to my music and shared it with someone else. Without your support I will never be able to achieve what I have in mind, only when you stand with me will my voice be heard. It hurts but the honest truth is no one in the music industry wants anything to do with my music, mainly in part because there is no fan base interested in it. So if you dig my music or what I do, show another person, talk about it or else it will die. I'm pouring every ounce of me and every dime I have into this album but alone I can only do so much. I've gotten increasingly bad at being social and networking mostly because industry LA people are the literal worst BUT I'm working on it. LA will not get the best of me and I will find a way to be better and DIY the fuck out of this album release. I would also like to add I'm not completely without luck, I have an incredible band behind me (Joe Rodriguez and Chris Patocka) who have been extremely supportive and one of the driving factors behind my resolve. When no one backs what you do you have two choices, accept what they believe to be true about you or define yourself through your actions, let us choose the ladder and let no one define us.
P.S I usually run a song on repeat while writing these posts, today it was" too many humans" by Buckethead, which his whole Population Override album is fucking awesome.
My former employer, Manuela, a neglected little money pit conjured up by artsy millionaires who prey on the moths that are blinded by the flame. The place is ran by humans who live on a different continent and have no idea they have put their business in the hands of extremely emotionally unstable alcoholics. Mostly stolen recipes and extremely over-priced food you are tricked into buying because of the aesthetics of the space. This is what these people are masters of, creating worth out of thin air for things that have no worth.One would think since the food is so overpriced they are at least paying their cooks well but that is far from the truth.
They have put their business in the hands of a talentless ladder climber who should be commended more for his deception skills than his cooking. The worst kind of slime that found a way to schmooze the right pockets. Who melts down at least once a shift because he cannot even expedite food in his own kitchen.A man who verbally and sexually abuses his staff and can't make it though a shift without being drunk because deep down he knows he is a fraud and projects his inadequacies upon others. No one would ever come to eat food made by such slime, so he has to rely on the art gallery and it's fake ambiance to get people to come eat his garbage.
Of course this slime needs help keeping the rouse intact so they can continue tricking you out of money, enter the skeleton queen. A sad skin wrapped skeleton who's dreams have been devoured and who's soul has been ripped from her chest. The skeleton queen gives the slime shape and makes it look good for everyone.The skeleton queen's bones are only capable of obligatory motions. Her meaningless days are filled by dredging through the restaurant world with her undead cronies, trying to fill the stark void in her chest with money. Passionless, directionless, chain smoking cigarettes eagerly running towards her grave to escape her sad reality. Although I pity them I ask you to not be a moth, open your eyes, let Manuela crumble until we see the slime in it's true form and the skeleton queen can finally have her rest.
It's not something you can control, it's something you get to be a part of for short bursts of time. At times it can be like a faucet, something endless that can be turned on and off.Sometimes It's like trying to hug a cloud, just as soon as you embrace it, it dissipates. So many factors affect it , I've tried my whole life to find ways to bring it out of myself and now I need it more than ever. It can't be faked or imitated, nor can it be forced. It's something you know lives inside of you but you never really know where. It seems sometimes though, the more you look for it the further away from it you get, which seems to be my current situation. I'm so close to finishing my first full length solo album but this last track is so important I can feel the weight of it. Even if I release it and no one cares about it, it matters the world to me. Inspiration is like a drug, I spend most of my time waiting for it or trying to coax it out of hiding.Life is so dull and uninteresting without it. It unlocks that part of our minds that is beaten out of us daily by the monotonous elements of everyday life. I used to think that inspiration was the bridge to music but after all these years I've learned its actually the opposite. Music is the vessel that brings me to inspiration and unlocks that potential inside of me. Inspiration is the goal, that's what all of this is about. The beautiful thing is though, it's literally hidden everywhere and in everything, one of the songs on my album got started because of the hum of my refrigerator. Inspiration can be applied to anything as well, it doesn't have to just be an artistic endeavor. Our methods of finding inspiration are different between each and every single one of us, so what works for me may not for you or vice versa. I want to share with you some of my methods of tapping into the elusive power of inspiration.
For me reading has always always inspired me more than anything(George Orwell in particular).To me that's the purpose of the writer, to share with their reader their stream of inspiration and let them feel it. Anytime I'm feeling uninspired or unmotivated reading is my go to.Sometimes even a combination of reading while listening to music can help me materialize what it is I want to say or do. There are times too when simple logic can help inspire me, by asking the simplest question of all, Why am i writing this? What am i trying to accomplish or say with what I'm writing, purpose is a powerful spark. Take this blog post for example, the purpose of this is to talk about inspiration and even as I write this I feel closer to understanding my own inspirations. Another huge one for me is nature, something about looking upon it and feeling how small you are in all of it can be beautiful. I've started doing something I call "writing retreats" where I escape from the city and go be in nature with a notebook, I always feel better afterwards. Our minds are limitless, we can always learn and grow so progress is another major driving force for me. Finally, I want to talk about the most interesting catalyst of all for me which is thoughtlessness. Nothingness, emptiness, complete bliss that can only be obtained by clearing out your mind. Now this is something I've been practicing since I was a kid and have only scratched the surface of. How do you think of nothing? Even when you are thinking of nothing you are still thinking about trying not to think of anything which seems like a paradox. It can be obtained though through lots and lots of practice.One of the ways I can achieve this is I sit in a quiet room with a candle and I'll have a fan or little running water fountain on and focus on that sound. While I'm focused on that sound I'm not really thinking of anything, time passes without my knowing and for a brief period I'm no where else but inside of that moment. That clarity always helps me focus on the things I actually want to concentrate on instead of all the pointless things that cloud my mind.
Just because we can't harness inspiration doesn't mean we should't go looking for it. We of course won't always find it and it won't always be there, if we make a conscious effort to open your mind up to it, I think it will find us much more often. I'm on the final song of my album and while inspiration has been fleeting recently, I stay positive and patient while I search for it somewhere inside of me. It feels good to be blogging again, this has always been a very therapeutic outlet for me. This is in itself an exercise in the hunt for inspiration. Just hearing your thoughts out loud or seeing them in writing can help it all make sense. It's not easy and I've had to crawl through lots of days of just not feeling it to coax out the inspiration to write this album. I'm so close to finishing I can almost taste it. Finishing this album will only fuel me to want to write more and find new ways to evoke the euphoric touch of the fickle mistress that is inspiration.
First let me apologize for the long hiatus but I'm in the middle of writing an album so give me a break. Man I needed a vacation so badly.. I recently traveled to Taiwan which was extremely eye opening and made me only want to continue traveling but I must be in LA for I have a debt to pay to my music and blah blah blah. Now, falling asleep on airplanes for me is like trying to catch a shadow with a flashlight, it's quite impossible. I slip on my headphones and close my eyes. Then, as me and Doris Day danced on the wings of the plane,I look over at the sky exuding this incredible purple/blue indigo color and it really just made me feel free. It was the color I would imagine heaven to be. Traveling can make you feel so free, for after all exploring is in our blood as humans. I realized, until this moment I had been dreading the flight and just constantly worrying about everything going on back in LA. Excuse the gigantic metaphor but my life was just like this flight, just trying to get through it until I get to something better. For once I just wanted to enjoy this flight and be there in that moment, not just block it out and try to get through it.
Taipei was a modern amazing little city full of some of the kindest people I've ever met in my life. For the love of god some dude tapped me on the shoulder and warned me that my shoe was untied. Are you kidding me? I almost hugged that bro. The Metro in Taipei was the cleanest most efficient thing of beauty I've ever seen. Now if you've ever taken public transportation in NY or LA then you know how terrible it can be. There was no one screaming about killing all of us,no one trying to sell you things and above all it was.......clean. Everyone was so respectful and actually honored the rule of no food or drinks while riding the trains(which is why it was clean).I don't mean to rant about public transportation but it's part of my everyday life and anyone without a car feels me. Some of the things I saw just blew my mind. People just leave there helmets on their scooters and bikes unlocked wherever they like and no one steals them. I got my bike tire stolen in ten minutes while getting coffee in Koreatown. There is just this amazing respect everyone has for each other and their belongings. I would walk by temples or shrines that had offerings that laid undisturbed. One of my good friends lost his wallet in Taipei and it was returned to him a year later, shipped to America with all of his belongings. Anyways, I digress, Taiwanese people are nice as fuck, you get it. Somewhere along the way America has lost this sense of kindness towards each other and it took me traveling abroad to really realize how bad it's gotten. Now on the other hand ,I'm not making excuses for America but we are a melting pot and we have many many different kinds of cultures from all over the world so realitsically cohesiveness can be a bit harder. Honestly though I couldn't really pinpoint a reason why things are so different in America. Another thing I noticed was I saw literally maybe only 9 homeless people in a two week span. Coming from downtown LA thats mind-blowing but the homelessness situation in LA is a whole other ball of yarn that we will pull on another time.
Now on a lighter note lets quickly talk food. What the fuck, the food in Taipei was all so delicious and cheap. Now I'm not the most adventurous eater I'll be honest, so i stuck to a couple things I really liked. A pretty much daily must have was something called a "Bomb Egg" which could be completely wrong but that's what I was told so we'll run with that. A super simple delicious piece of heaven that consisted of a fried egg , a fried wonton type shell, some mysterious black slightly sweet sauce and "spicy" red stuff. now you could have the yok runny or hard ( figuring this one out was an uphill battle), which I fully suggest getting it runny. The best part about these is they cost 30 NT which is roughly a Dollar US.Aside from the 10 million delicious potstickers I had, I also got to go to Din Thai Fung which lives up to all the hype you've heard. Xiao Long Bao is great across the board but they have really perfected it. One can only hope to attain such greatness at anything in life.Aside from all the incredibly reckless eating I did the past two weeks, I also got a chance to travel down south of Taipei to a place called Hualien. A cool little touristy town surrounded by incredible majestic mountains. The night market there was expansive and had some really cool music(not to mention of course a shit ton of cheap awesome food).The highlight of the trip though was undoubtedly Taroko National Park. This may be my favorite place on the planet I've ever been, aside from my generous donation of blood to the local mosquito population. It was so peaceful, from the ancient ground we walked on up to the sun drenched tree tops. I was lucky enough to visit a couple Buddhist temples in the mountains that made you feel a profound sense of peace even walking through them. I was so envious of the stillness here and I hope to find a way to replicate it in some sort of way in my daily life.
All in all it was an incredibly eye opening trip and honestly I can't wait to explore more of Asia. Great food, extremely kind people and plenty of nature porn, what more could you ask for really? I learned a lot really, mainly to live more in the moment which is a notion I'm constantly trying to adopt and to also take my headphones off every once in awhile and just be kind to other people. Im always so cold, cut off and distant here, which means I am part of the problem.I hope to travel and learn more and contribute to the places I find myself. I miraculously fell asleep in the plane on the trip home, until I was awakened by a warm beam of sun shooting through the window. Instead feeling trapped by going back to the grind of the city I felt a sense of freedom. As the sweet voice of Doris Day serves as the soundtrack for my vindication, I smile at the sun and slip back into a slumber to dream of all the more places i'll soon go to tap into the wisdom that travel provides.
It's been awhile, I'm writing a full length album that few people will hear because I am abysmal at promoting my music. Lately I've been so unattached to social media and blogs and blah blah blah. It used to bother me so much when my songs had low play counts and there was no excitement behind my songs but honestly I've just stopped caring. I love the music I'm making and I will continue making it regardless of who listens to it. I'm excited about the new stuff I'm writing, when you stop caring about the outcome of what you are doing or what people are going to think of it you find this beautiful appreciation for what you are doing. You can actually appreciate the moment and really be inside of what you are creating. I have internet again which has been a life saver. I'm not saying I'm completely giving up on promoting my music, I'm just not going to be so affected by the outcome. I'll do the best I can, outside of that it's beyond my control.
I'm training for the Los Angeles Marathon next month primarily because I want to battle myself. I want to remember I can do anything I put my mind to and remind myself of what I'm made of.I'm releasing a music video for Beyond the Plains and shortly after i'll have hard copies of the EP. I've been still endlessly banging my head against the wall when it comes to performing live. If i run into one more flakey spineless guitar player I'm going to lose my mind. I mean how hard is it, if you dig the music we go in a room practice then I book shows.
Many people here in LA don't actually care about art they care about what they can get out of it. It shouldn't ever be looked at like that. Music is like fight club, it's a reason to be better, to wake up earlier, to strive further and further. You should be asking how can you enhance the art, not oh man this can get be laid and get me money. If I run into one more girl with a hula hoop who's like " I want to go see this dj festival and do mushrooms" I'm also going to lose my shit.Musicians are carpenters with tools, DJ's are children with glue. That has no bearing on what I've been talking about but I thought that was clever so you're welcome. Somedays I look around and I think "Fuck this place" other days I look around and think "there is a dope little existence somewhere in this city for me " only time will tell. I will say though I have had the feeling more and more every month that I just don't fit in here. The people who make it here are personable and go out and get drunk with "cool music scene people" and stuff until they become your friends and help you out(and kiss tons of asses) I've fought it my whole life but I'm an introvert and I'm just too prideful, it just is what it is. I'll be posting more often I apologize about the long silence.