Right now I am working on my debut album. The record is called Reflections in Real Time and it’s a loose conceptual project delving into the quirks of interpersonal relationships, work, frustration, fears, and shame. This time around, I tried to pull from every corner of feeling besides love and romantic infatuation. I tried to go into the things that embarrass me and look at the parts of humanity that confuse me at a basic level. It’s an interesting territory to be in. I learned a lot about what I like to make by working alone for the majority of this year, but as you know solitude really gets you thinking.
So my first question as editor-at-large is, “When is the right time to stop thinking in art?” I work in a lot of mediums and sometimes find myself “designing” the music I make. It’s one of the biggest art-related struggles I’ve had to balance. My head sometimes feels like two six-year-old girls are playing tug of war with a wad of bubble gum in my brain.. Sometimes I wish one of them would just squish it under their shoe and put me out of my misery. I also happen to be an extreme perfectionist, type-A personality, which can be detrimental when looking for creative freedom. Humans in general are in constant search for freedom, they jump from airplanes for fun, they dye their hair pink, and sometimes they threaten to run away from home and never come back (some actually do). Especially for artists, this “freedom complex” is that itch you can’t scratch. I’m going to take this opportunity to use all the cliche phrases I couldn’t on the record, so sorry in advance.
I see this type of thinking like running a high school track. I just run around the questions and concepts I’m working with, and at a certain point, I hit a stride within the parameters of what I’m meant to be thinking about. But if I keep running beyond that, the question begins to turn in on itself and the parameters warp. The next thing you know, the track is a figure eight, or a portion of it has lifted like a Hot Wheels track and you’re running upside down against the laws of gravity. But within this exercise of thought, you get some really interesting effects. Your logic is skewed; and while it is kind of the opposite of freedom because it’s all bound so tightly within a fictitious world you’ve built, there’s this whole weird world that you’ve uncovered that is uniquely yours.
It’s 6 AM. Picture the old dude with the shorts that are slightly too short, the mom escaping her kids for the half hour she’s allowed, the runner “just doing it,” and there’s you. To me, overthinking is sometimes a super useful tool for uncovering the unthought.
Below are some scans from my notebook. You can follow the laps of thought I have run in creating the lyrics and concepts for Reflections in Real Time. Enjoy the humanity.