During these two interviews something happened to me, as a person, that essentially broke me. In an attempt to share more (since I’ve been told this is the way “up”), years later, I’m slightly taking this half ass advice.
I know I have a way to go finding my own voice as a music critic/writer. Though, I am more confident in my selection of what I want and how I’d like to build it all, I can’t deny that I am very proud of my growth. Similar to a musician, I too play with sounds and throw shit at a wall seeing what sticks. I also mediate on the creation and curse this addiction to tell a story, fill it with color, and invent hues along the way. There’s tears, frustration, and no sign of what the next “gig” will be. I am not, contrary to popular belief, rolling around somewhere on a bed of stability. I have a couple of wooden planks and a lazy eye: a blessed and blissful feature.
Which leads to the first interview: Aloud. This was a three-hour conversation, with only two documented. It was natural. It was honest. It was the type of conversation that comes from an odd meeting within time. No alcohol needed, just coffee. The Los Angeles-based band opened up and presented a reality that many might not realize. What is the price for a dream? What is the price for a goddamn dream?
This sat with me for a month. Thanks to quarantine, I had a pressured knife of lack of self-worth that stabbed my ears during the transcribing process. Not on their behalf, but of what they stirred. And that alone spoke on their latest album. It’s beautiful, to say the least, and in an attempt to separate any natural form of friendship from the listening process, I couldn’t help but carry these shared philosophies.
As any other human, or artist, I am my own worse critic. I will rarely revisit past work. At times, I begin to hate what I wrote. Once the words came out for Aloud, there was relief, but not what was needed.
It rattled my existence and left me looking for frames and spare words that would tighten the bolts. It left me wounded. I stared at what I created and it didn’t seem to reflect the tone of the artists. I scrapped many pages of lines etched by my tired hands — which to me is the only way to capture the texture onto paper.
It fell by the second half of the article and didn’t sing the song I had in my head. I assumed it was my ego whispering, but it was the old static noise of others. The article took on a new life that I intentionally left. A gamble of sorts, hoping to not be crucified later. By who? Myself?
I’ll probably never revisit that article until I’m ready. Not because of the band, in fact I encourage you all to listen to the album, but of my self-infliction. I wish I did more justice to the conversation. And in the end, the talk was so human it reminded me that I too am human. That’s when you know there’s magic, I guess.
José Pasillas of Incubus struck differently. It was my biggest moment as an unknown music writer. It seemed to glow with opportunity. I’ve paid my price for my goddamn dream.
Planning, praise, and good vibes followed. It seemed impossible to kill this. I ended up drafting up three versions, contemplating of who should tell the story. Pasillas’ tone was gracious and humble, something I’ll never forget or take for granted. A relatively short and timed interview didn’t weigh the article. Once the gears started turning and I pushed aside my fears, a lengthy draft of inspiration took form.
Then it happened. I waited by a computer. I waited on social media. I waited for acknowledgment. None to be had. It was thrown under the rug. It was rolled up in the “next page” of today. Where Aloud left me wounded by my own hand, this article saw another bleed me dry, removing my vocal chords.
This was a timed bomb. This came from being passive and cordial among others to simply keep the gig, and being told I wasn’t social enough for this, to finally standing up for myself. This came to a sarcastic slew of words thrown together to get someone from the publication to share my work, days later. This hurt more than I could ever explain.
I don’t get paid for this. I’ve lost so much for this. Don’t take away my voice.
I took my screenshots of Incubus’ re-share of the piece, forever thankful and humbled by the band, and quietly left. This being the first time I “briefly” tell the story.
These two pieces did something very special for me. It somehow removed the fear of the unknown. It made me realize my worth. It made me hear my love. It made me want to be better. Different in sound, but each humble and talented, they will both teeter with emotions for me.
And of this unknown? I don’t have a fuckin’ clue. And that’s the point.