There comes a time when all the skills we've got culminate into one thing. This project marks one of those times for me. I'd recently done the ADELAIDE EPin the garage at my Dad's house and while it was a nice project, it didn't involve any beat making and had little groove to it. But it wasn't really supposed to either, for that matter. I wanted to do a project that brought the surface my skills for making beats while incorporating live instrumentation. The project started out as 12 songs, one in each key, and after the trimming the fat, ended with these 6. I still want to record vocals on them someday, and I've tried, but nothing has stuck, and the project files are long gone at this point. Without words, I think it still stands on its own. I did this one quickly, which is my favorite way to do projects. I've found when I do about 80% of the work at one time, and then put off finishing it for 6 months to a year, it goes stale and loses the love. I try to stay true to that insight whenever I am doing a project, but it still tends to happen. I'm actually struggling to finish a couple projects now that have me facing that same dilemma... but past experience has me better equipped for taking them home sooner than later.
The first track, "Louva", is named after my good friend Bijan's mother who passed away while I was finishing this project. His family had a party at their house one night, it was around the end of February, but we had an early Thanksgiving feast. That was her favorite time. It was a beautiful night and I was able to say goodbye to her. I did not know her too well, but I knew she was a saint and committed her life to the service of others. She was Beautiful an incredibly loved, and no doubt still is. I woke up the next morning and made this track.
The next track, "Friends", is one of my favorites and also one of my friend Mitch's favorites as well. It features concertina my Mom got me at an estate sale and the chord progression has the super cool French feel to it. It inspired a great vision in Mitch of an animated short that I hope, in one form or another, will come to fruition someday. The rest of the tracks tie things together and I hope speak for themselves, as any song deemed "good" should.
The artwork for this project is a photo I took of my Mexican Grandpa, Ray Martinez, with a disposable camera while still living in Tucson. My senior year of college was an incredible time for me. From the time I was about 17 I'd get blacked-out drunk on a regular basis. I was usually one of the most fucked up people at the party and have a rotting basket full of memories that go with those times. I'm not sure what compels people to destroy themselves with drugs and alcohol, but I certainly felt the pull. I think its pain and anger and shame that keeps it all going around in the vicious circle. I did that for years and years until one night, upon returning back to Tucson for my final semester, two friends and myself stopped in Scottsdale to party with some bros who went to ASU. I ended up getting completely blacked out and doing a bunch of blow. I woke up the next morning and was hurting worse than I'd ever had in the morning. We made the drive back to Tucson and when I got home I took a shower and broke down like a scene in a movie. I didn't ever want to do that to myself again. I asked God for help and soon enough it came. After 2 weeks or so of sobriety, I had a horrible panic attack one night and was shaken up pretty badly. I talked on my Dad for a long time that night and the next day went to the campus health center and talked to someone. They connected me with a great therapist named Mike. He was a really great dude and helped me in those days more than I could ever have hoped for.
I was dealing with some extreme anxiety and so would wake up each day and go to the gym to expel some of the energy. I had no car at the time and so I'd ride my bike everywhere, but anyone who's ever rode a bike around Tucson knows that flats are a common occurrence. One week, after a second flat and the frustration that comes with them, I'd lost hope. I ran to the gym next day and on my way back, right around the corner from my house, was greeted kindly my an old man in a bright red, sweatshirt-sweatpants combo with a big stain on the top half. He was watering the dirt in his front yard when he said in a big, joyous voice, "Hey Guy how's it goin?". I said hello back and someone we got to talking. We were talking for about 5 minutes when somehow I mentioned that I'd been trying to be free from drugs and drinking and was having a pretty rough go of it. The compassion that poured forth from him after that has gone unmatched by anyone I've ever met since. He offered encouragement and turned my life around. No longer was I doing something that seemed off to all the people I knew... I was now doing what was right for myself and my life. I walked home and rested.
The next day I saw Ray again out front and he invited me inside for some tea. He had a real small house but kept it nice and had a seat waiting for me on the couch. We drank tea and talked more about life and our experiences. For the next 6 months we would have tea and talk and support one another in what we were going through. Ray had had 5 or 6 heart attacks and was not doing too well with his health. He'd been a boxer his whole life and the heart attacks had really taken their toll. He grappled with regrets and all else that comes with looking back at the life he lived. His company and words helped me so much, and the time I spent there at his house eased the loneliness I could see what killing him. He saved my life and I saved his. It is incredible the friendships we form in this life. Towards the end of that summer, I was finishing up my TEFL (teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification course and Ray was closing another chapter in his life and moving down to Mexico to spend the rest of his days. I was heading to the campus in a suit ready to teach my first class and stopped by Ray's. He was moving things around and we chatted for a moment. He was proud of me for how far I'd come and how guapo I looked in the suit. I was about to ride away when Ray said over the fence. "Remember Guy, no one is better than you. Everybody has their problems their dealing with." I said, "Thank you, Ray", and broke down in tears as I rode off to the future. I knew a chapter in my life was closing too and that my time with Ray had come to its end. It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life and still chokes me up to this day. I don't know if Ray still walks the Earth, but I do know that his love and compassion lives in me and will until the day I don't walk the Earth. Thank you for all the love you showed me and so many throughout your life. Your heart and soul will no doubt influence generations. I love you.