I’ve started a musical adventure and we’re quickly sloping into uncharted territory….Each month this year I’m recording and releasing a previously unrecorded song of mine, available on my website. At the end of the project, the compilation will be released on vinyl (pending demand).
I’m working with various musicians and producers to bring each song from the curly depths of the imaginatorium into the bright and unforgiving light of the real world for your aural ingestion and inevitable judgement. Various lovely and talented people are involved – check out the song credits each month to see who’s been part of it, and keep posted for what’s coming up next!
The way ‘we’ listen to music has changed, so ‘they’ tell us (you tell me!). The song is King, again. I wanted the freedom to explore each song, without musical decisions being affected by the pressure to mould all the songs into a specific genre category or definition. The 12 Months 12 Songs project means recording each song with only the song in mind. Each song it’s own little musical sculpture and a hell of a lot of fun in the process.
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…in the end, is a story.
Hello! Welcome to my webpage. I’ve been meaning to publish this for years, literally. But I think too much you see – that can get you stuck. When someone asks me ‘So, what do you do?’ (that lazy, barrier-building, box-ticking, question we are all guilty of asking at one point or another) I falter like a fool; with ‘but what is the most relevant bit of me to tell you about?! Which part (summated in a couple of sentences over this stupidly loud music) best communicates the essence of my me-ness? …‘
We are the stories we tell. We are complex, walking, transient, ever-changing stories … in our own eyes and in the eyes of others (good for you if you’re an adept and succinct story teller!).
The apparent need for a music website led me to discover my capacity for procrastination, the extent of which I hadn’t previously explored fully. It’s been an adventure spanning many years down an obscured path tempting me onwards to the real possibility of becoming quite properly lost. It just seems like such a big ask, and a strange task: to summarise who I am and present it in a concise and entertaining package (to the entire interwebs none the less!) in order to sell my music. I’d rather do it face to face over a glass of wine to be honest. So who am I and what is my story? Or, at least, which parts of it should I tell you?
I find it fascinating to ponder the implications of the stories we tell; the stories that we build about ourselves and tell each other, the fragments of our story we choose to tell a stranger when we first meet, the stories that people believe about us and then tell back to us in various ways reinforcing the weight of the story. We are walking story-books, continually written with every moment, by various authors. And we are stories that can never be read in entirety by any other single human being. There’s just far too much text, and the timescales don’t match up anyway … All we can ever get from the people we meet and love, is snippets.
I began to wonder how much of our self-narrative can be constructed and how much of it represents the bare and raw truth of who we really are? How causal is the repetition of self-narrative in the formation of aspects of our personality we consider unchangeable? Can self-delusion become reality? (if I and those around me consistently tell me I am a superstar, do I eventually become the superstar?). Is our reality constructed entirely of things made up – authored? Or is there some essential and immutable ‘me-ness’, my sub-conscious plot-writer, that is impervious to the insistent dialogue of my conscious mind? If you are convinced of Sam Harris’ argument that ‘free will is an illusion’ and that ‘we are no more responsible for the micro-structure of our brains, than we are for our height’ – then we are definitely not authors; we are no more than a sum of our biology, our histories and habits. He argues that thoughts arise in our minds from the obscured depths of our sub-conscious mental machinery, un-written by us, and completely out of our control.
Regardless of ‘who’ holds the pen, these internal and external narratives have a powerful influence on the unfolding events of our lives. Our thoughts, actions and experiences create our story, our character history, and hence the choices we make. Those persistent narrators in our head and from the outside world affirm our belief in our strengths, vulnerabilities and Achilles heels.
We write ourselves deeper and more solidly into our own character every day. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are distilled and then told to the world (through conversations and websites), which are further amplified by the people around us and sent straight back like a mirror; a positive feedback cycle. So be sure to tell yourself a great tale (I remind myself). At least aim for one you might not mind spending a couple of weeks reading in the winter of your life.
Since you’ve landed on this page and persevered to read this far, I should return to the point – an introduction; I was telling you my story. I have the opportunity to tell you the story I want you to hear. If I were business-minded I would try my hand at a little hero-making, it’s almost expected these days. But ultimately it’s just not part of the story I tell myself about myself. I can only tell you the story that I believe. And the only thing I believe to be important lately is honesty. Curiosity. Open-mindedness. Integrity. That’s what I’ve decided to strive for, in my own small way.
The world doesn’t need another false idol. Throughout the mind-boggling majority of human history, music and dance have been as integral to being human, as have been walking and talking. It is only a very recent development for our musical experience to be segregated into two categories – ‘those that perform it and sell it’ and ‘those that watch it being performed and buy it (or steal it)’. We have the recent rise of the religion of consumerism and marketing to thank for that.
We are human. If you talk, you can sing. If you walk, you can dance. It’s an evolutionary gift.
So that’s my introduction I guess. It’s not neat, and it’s still being written. In the end, all this is simply one more exquisite, messy, confounding, almost-already-over
life story. So, even though you may have missed the beginning, welcome along. I’ll try my best to make it as non-fiction as possible.
…in the airport lounge in Melbourne, caressing a cup of coffee. It’s 6 am on Friday and you’re on the way to Hobart to play a couple of gigs with your band Let The Cat Out. You feel a little like a victorious thief about to jump in the getaway car – having escaped the office and the world of urban water politics, climate predictions and catchment models a day early. A thief, and a fraud – the beating heart and restless pen of a song-writer hiding amidst the anonymity of office hustle – you wonder how long it will be before someone calls you out. With 3 albums recorded and a fourth on the way, you are beginning to think this song-writing caper isn’t something you are going to grow out of – quite hopefully the opposite. Perhaps there is some validity in telling people your name, getting this website together….
You are roused by the buzz of possible futures… like a circuit that’s not fully connected. You look forward to playing with your old band. It feels like coming home; to the the musicians who helped you cut some of your musical teeth, and home to the roots, blues, funk and soul. But your mind is full and busy in the background with thoughts of the next album: the possible sonic-scape, who to work with…. The unfinished chorus of your latest song is on constant rotation on the record-player of your subconscious; a lump of clay, showing hints of a shape, spinning on the wheel waiting for hands to create form and sense from the raw material.
You are tired, but happy. It’s going to be another long day…
This is it, folks. First post. Have a look around, there’s plenty of songs to listen to, lyrics to read, videos to watch. More soon!