Throughout my days sitting behind the piano I have experienced many beautiful moments. Certain times I will breakthrough the chitter-chatter of my mind and experience the music and moment in its most incredible form. In Zen, this experience is known as Satori, or suddenly enlightenment. It is a brief glimpse into what truly is and when it happens, all the BS that we get wrapped up in is meaningless. You may have experienced this while on a hike, or while cleaning up the kitchen, or at some random moment in time when you least expected it. It was in one of these moments the idea for RUNNING IN STREET CLOTHES finds its source. I was sitting down playing some chords and it was so beautiful. I played until reality faded back in and then texted my good friend Mitch about doing a solo piano project on the Grand piano at his recording school, Expressions. He was down and all about it. About a week later we got into the studio and laid it down.
It was quite the experience. I didn't really have any songs to play, but went off a few chord progressions in various keys that I'd been jamming on the years leading up to that day. It was a trip to be sitting there at the keys and realizing that the only thing there would be in each piece was the notes I was playing. I started off strong but then grew insecure and tried to do too much for a bit. Then, after some encouragement from Mitch, I got into the groove and played as best as I could. The tracks are sometimes meandering and some extra bars make their way in when things probably could have changed, but for the most part, there are beautiful moments that happen. A girl I know from school plays this in all her yoga classes at the end. And funny enough, I was at the cafe the other day listening to Bob Rabbit radio and after a few tracks from other artists, one from this project came on and for about 30 seconds I sat there and thought, "This is such a beautiful song, whoever made this is dope. I've got to make a track like this at some point". I realized after one distinct phrase that it was actually an older version of me that made it and it was a wonderful realization. This one will always have a very special place in my heart.
The sounds you hear in the background were recorded by Mitch in the San Francisco about a week after we recorded the piano. Listening back to just the piano, it seemed we needed something to fill in the cracks. The original idea was to go out to the John Muir Woods and play them out of speakers and record the result with two microphones set in just the right places. We didn't quite have the technical means to do and so pivoted to a new idea. Mitch was able to rent a nice microphone and field recorder from his school and we hit the Embarcadero. I always remember how much joy it brought Mitch that day to be discovering new sounds in new places. If anything matters about this project, it was that experience he had that day. He's taken that idea much further and has a growing bag of works on his site https://mitchsworldofsounds.com/. I took the sounds and layered them in with the piano and then cut out the distinct tracks from the initial recording sessions. I didn't spend too much time on that part because I wanted the element of chance to come into play, hoping that certain parts would fit in just the right spots. I think for the most part they did, and the results have a beauty to them I still strive after with all the projects I've done since and plan to do 'til my days on Earth are over. Along with the music, I got out to the city and shot this video of myself meditating on the Embarcadero as the crowds passed by. It was a good experience and to see the stories of life unfold in the background left an incredible impact on me and the videos I've made ever since.
The name, "Running In Street Clothes" was inspired by a moment I had in the city one day. I was going to see my sister, Elli, and the sun was getting ready to set. I fervently walked up each block hoping to get a glimpse of it, but the buildings were just a bit too tall. I arrived at a street corner and turned to see a park that was getting direct sunlight. I didn't have much time until the sunset and so took off running in the street clothes I had on. I made it to the hilltop and caught the sunset while sitting on a bench. It occurred to me that to run in street clothes marks the most meaningful times in life. People don't do it unless they absolutely have to. It means there is something of utmost importance to attend to. Sometimes something beautiful and sometimes something tragic, but always meaningful and worth the effort. I relish in the moments I see someone running in street clothes, knowing they are on their way to the mountain top.