I’ve been reviewing the body of work I’ve created over the past few months and I’m so excited to share it with you in due time. Some songs are finished, others are pulling into focus.
The cycle is strange; you chase an inspiration and immerse yourself in a vision so wholeheartedly that it becomes almost philosophical to you, but eventually you must deconstruct it and unlearn everything you thought you knew in order to begin anew. For me, music is funny that way. The more I study it, the less I understand it.
The next chapter of OC is filled with wild goose chases and extraordinary twists and turns — through old familiar fancies and across new frontiers. I’ve been lucky to capture some magical ideas, a few of which are so eccentric, they are borderline strange — dark and beautiful.
I’ve decided 2014 is a solo year for me in studio. Not that I tire of collaborating, quite the contrary — but my universe is rotating at such a pleasant rate that I find myself inspired to investigate and explore the endless unchartered expanse of imagination that remains unmapped in my own head, absent of outside contribution. Thus I stray and wander, all alone, during the early hours of the morning, after the city retires and the world is fast asleep.
I think a lot but I don’t say much, and so I write.
Once upon a time there was a super ugly witch with a wart on her nose and she rode around on broomsticks and rake handles and golf clubs and fishing poles and old rolls of carpet. Nobody liked her because she was mean and she never brushed her teeth.
One day a grizzly bear was trying to catch a fish in a river for his dinner when the witch flew overhead and burned all his fur off with a lightning bolt. “WHYYY???” shouted the bear. The witch just laughed and turned up her headphones.
The next day a nerd was alone in his room playing WOW on his laptop. The witch flew by his window and disconnected his internet and flew away shrieking as the nerd shouted “WHYYY???”
The next day an old man was in the woods duck hunting when the witch flew by shouting and cackling to herself. The old man was so old he almost died.
The next day the witch was flying over a town when her broomstick ran out of gas and she crashed through an open window and into the bedroom of an incredibly loud and annoying girl. The witch panicked because the girl immediately started yelling and talking and squealing and screaming and crying and shaking and asking questions at the top of her lungs and no matter what the witch did, she could not get the girl to shut up. The girl was in fact so annoying that the witch swore she would never be mean to anyone again for as long as she lived. The witch is still alive today. Some say she lives alone in the woods and headbangs to techno music.
I’m in a rare place right now where everything is lining up perfectly. I don’t have anything on the books except to make the next OC record a reality and I’ve got new inspiration and ideas flowing faster than I can jot them down or demo them out. Usually when I schedule studio time, I also get writer’s block and it’s a mad rush until I run out of time or leave for tour, but right now it’s all clicking. I’m thrilled to be returning to an old familiar approach of making a record which is all about letting it live and breathe and pull into focus naturally. No time limits, no restrictions, no deadlines, no scrambling last minute — just letting the music emerge and unfold and evolve organically. This is my favorite part. Gonna be awesome.
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 NLT)
Meet me by the garden gate because dark apparitions lie in wait for lonely angels who cannot fly away in a swirl of endless mystery. Scatter the swarm of crows and you’ll find a screw spinning in the spotlight after everyone has fled the big top to their lofts and apartments downtown. I try not to be the cynic who deflates his own hopeful aspirations but sometimes unbelief besets me and I wander. I miss you so much it hurts, and by definition I am in love with a ghost. Though the deep longing I have for your presence all but kills me, I’ve discovered a cool melody feels good on my throat and in my ears and somehow it does the heart good. All tunnels lead deeper underground and some of them are flooded with saltwater so it will be a fight all the way, but if you listen closely, you can hear the ocean is calm on the other end.
But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NLT)
Summer was the roman candle that took my favorite color up into the air. She splashed rainbow after rainbow across the sky and let them crackle, flicker, cool and eventually fade into silver metal flecks that floated above my head so far out of reach. Teenagers set off cherry bombs in parking lots and kids ran around backyards with sparklers in both hands, illuminating the evening in irregular streaks. Music was playing but from somewhere far enough away that it sounded like a dull heartbeat — only if you plugged your ears, you could still feel it because it was in you. Burnt orange and baby blue hung suspended in a mist for what seemed like hours even though there was a breeze blowing down the length of the coast. In the valley far below, a glowing galaxy of streetlights cast blurry shadows around the city, through alleyways, around corners and across the sides of buildings. You could touch the shadows and if you did, your hands came away black and sooty. You could walk through shadows hanging in mid-air like sheets on a clothesline and you could feel the tiny grains touch your open eyes before you blinked and they fell to the ground like dust. I imagined I was somewhere in the sky, running my hand down a moonbeam like you would a staircase banister but rather at an upward angle. I followed it across the sky from one star to another, connecting the dots until it led me through the deepest darkness I’d ever known. Finally the morning light turned over on the horizon like an ember in a fireplace before it glows and eventually catches fire. I made it home and you were there waiting for me and it was then that I realized it was you who stirred the fire and guided me through the blackness. I’ve been called a moonlighter before but this may be the first time it all adds up.
The more I create music and chase the high I get from it, the more I realize the worst thing you can do is become a prisoner of your own style. To do so places you under a tyranny of self-dependency to ultimately sustain yourself which is impossible, and without innovation or regeneration, artistry becomes a black hole — joyless and insipid.
I’m learning to tear down and deconstruct everything I think I know about music before writing a new album and there is a real beauty in feeling no need to attempt a continuation or extention or follow-up to any body of work previous. At the onset of another new chapter, I realize it has become harder to satisfy the inner craving I have for a melody that feels good to me. Because “experience” is full of its own pros and cons, it’s harder to capture something that makes me feel like I’m floating three feet above the ground — yet the astounding thing is that when I discover a new vein of inspiration through experimentation and exploration, I realize there are indeed infinite melodies I’ve not thought of that give me the high I long for. And through reinventing one’s approach, there is suddenly more beauty and splendor and grandeur than ever before because it’s all in how you look at it — entire songs in the same chords I’ve played over and over and I’ve not looked at them this way until now.
Regardless, the thing that makes me excited is the knowledge that there is all sorts of magic just waiting for someone to fall in love with, waiting to be unearthed, and I have the immense privilege of digging it up.
You do not lose your own personality when by faith you take your place with Christ in death. On the contrary, a transformation takes place within your personality. You simply come under new management.
"Therefore if any person is ingrafted in Christ, he is a new creation; the old, previous moral and spiritual condition has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come." 2 Cor 5:17
This new life which has begun is the Life of Jesus and your personality becomes His means of expression. He is “all the while effectually at work in you, energizing and creating in you the power and desire, both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” Phil 2:13
When you are prepared for the Lord Jesus Christ to change your heart, you will not want to be anyone else. You will be far too excited discovering what He intends you to be.
Wow. Tonight was the kind of night you remind yourself to soak it up — the vivid colors, raw energy, and waves of emotion, because you’ll want to savor them when they’re gone. I’m so honored to be here, so blessed to know the people around me, and so thrilled to live by the grace I’ve been given. I feel undeserving to know I’m part of a plan that’s so much bigger than I am and it’s truly mind-boggling. As the most average, ordinary person, it’s so cool for me to be able to do the extraordinary things I get to do — and nights like tonight are poignant reminders that life is pretty darn beautiful for a dreamer in a crazy world.
Thank you for the endless support you’ve given me over the handful of years I’ve been at this. I feel such gratitude and heartfelt appreciation for those who continue to support my music and various projects that mean a great deal to me. To know there are people out there who feel inspired by the things I dream up is more valuable than any artist royalty or music award. I so treasure your support.
Life is short, beauty is fleeting, the glitz and glam comes and goes… it’s exhilarating to soak it all up, hold onto the good, toss away the bad, and continue to live according to what’s truly important.
The itch of self-regard craves the scratch of self-approval. That is, if we are getting our pleasure from feeling self-sufficient, we will not be satisfied without others seeing and applauding our self-sufficiency.
This is ironic. Self-sufficiency should free the proud person from the need to be made much of by others. That’s what sufficient means. But evidently there is a void in this so-called self-sufficiency.
The self was never designed to satisfy itself or rely upon itself. It never can be sufficient. We are but in the image of God, not God himself. We are shadows and echoes. So there will always be an emptiness in the soul that struggles to be satisfied with the resources of self.
This empty craving for the praise of others signals the failure of pride and the absence of faith in God’s ongoing grace. Jesus saw the terrible effect of this itch for human glory. He named it in John 5:44, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” The answer is, you can’t. Itching for glory from other people makes faith impossible. Why?
Because faith is being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus. And if you are bent on getting the satisfaction of your itch from the scratch of others’ acclaim, you will turn away from Jesus.
But if you would turn from self as the source of satisfaction (repentance), and come to Jesus for the enjoyment of all that God is for us in him faith), then the itch would be replaced by a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14).
01. Grab a mirror and look into it. 02. See yourself and realize how legit you are. 03. Punch the mirror and smash it because you’re that cool. 04. Listen to the Rocky soundtrack. 05. Get pumped. 07. Do push ups. 08. Realize I skipped step 6. 09. You just checked. 10. Now you’re smiling. 11. You’re smiling even bigger now.