My summer music project has come to fruition. What started out in a basement studio but then blossomed in a spare bedroom with lots of light and plants has turned into a 8-song set of weird, sad, and quirky electronic songs. Hobbled together with a couple synthesizers(one analog, another a cheap Casio), an occasional Rickenbacker bass, a cheap multi-effects guitar pedal, and an old Tascam 4-track cassette recorder, these songs were a meditation. A meditation both on making things on the fly and then looking a little deeper at what these improvisations were coming from on a subconscious level.
The title, ‘New Psychedelics For Old’ also plays into the album itself. In my mind, it means finding new things to inspire creativity. After awhile those old tricks stop working, so you need to find new ways to spark that creative fire. For this set, it was merely moving out of my old creative space and going upstairs to a smaller bedroom where I was sitting in front of a window every time I was creating. It opened something in me. I find a dark basement studio to not be the creative space it once was. It’s been pretty much taken over by my son and his friends for their band practices and general teen hangs, and I think that’s how it should be.
I don’t need as much space to work on music anymore. I like being above ground these days for those endeavors. Sunlight and a dog in the next room barking at squirrels in the yard was all the inspiration and “new drugs” I needed to find that fire again. It felt good having this project to look forward to every week over the summer. The excitement of walking in that room, turning on a couple synths, and pushing record on my rickety old 4-track gave me the feelings I had nearly 30 years ago when I first bought a 4-track and began experimenting with sound, melody, and songwriting.
What’s the meaning, man?
Going through the mixing process with these songs I found myself looking back at my childhood. The hazy summer nights watching a fuzzy channel 9(WGN) out of Chicago so I could see The Twilight Zone at 10pm, or staying up really late eating a frozen pizza and watching some sleazy horror movie I rented at Video World. Dreams of finding passageways in my childhood home that had been long boarded up to find old toys I remembered(but really never had in reality.) This album is about looking back and seeing my Midwest upbringing through a fish eye lens, I guess. Or rose-colored glasses.
Seeing myself 40 years ago just as the psychedelics kick in.
I also wanted to do something wholly from me; from the writing, performing, recording, mixing, and half-ass mastering. To the artwork and layout. I wanted to grow the crops and make a meal from them myself, if you will. I had just as much fun at album art concepts and making things with collages, construction paper, and glue. As well as in sketch books and coloring like a 5-year old again. It felt good. It felt constructive and healthy.
Vol 1, you say? Yes, there will be a Vol 2. I have lots of ideas working this way that felt that they needed to be explored on another album. I think the next one will be more “song” songs. Guitar, bass, drums, vocals, and more of a garage rock vibe. Still hazy, melancholy, and kind of weird, but in more of a rock and roll context. It’s been a minute or two since I’ve written rock and roll songs, but I’m excited to jump in. I’m excited to get noisy on a guitar.
So if you feel inclined, please check out the album below. I hope you find something you like, but if you don’t I get it. May not be your cup of tea. Or Sanka. That’s fine, and I thank you for giving it a listen. Much appreciated. And maybe, just maybe, Vol 2 might be more your flavor. We’ll see.
The theme of this summer for me has been finding the creative fire and stoking it. There’s really nothing better than jumping into a project and seeing it thru, regardless of whether it’s some pristine, shining example of museum wall-worthy excellence, or just some hobbled together works being held together with Elmer’s Glue, scotch tape, and a questionable frame. It’s the spirit from which the art comes, not so much how professional it looks. It’s an extension of your head and heart in physical form. It’s for you. If others dig it? Well that’s just the icing on the creative cake. The process of bringing something to fruition that began as tiny glowing embers in your mind, that’s the real magic. That’s the kind of sleight-of-hand that never lets you down, and always brings a gasp of awe.
That’s the real thing. So is New Psychedelics For Old, so please give it a whirl below.