Never Stop Improving: On The Subject of Inspiration
Admittedly, it gets tiring trying to be positive and optimistic all the time, but it’s easier to persevere with the help from my friends, and by friends, I mean with music that makes me feel good about myself and makes me, well, want to be better. That said, the music that makes me feel better isn’t always happy music and it doesn’t always make sense. Most of the music that I draw inspiration from is so far out of my own genre that I often wonder if I’m doing things wrong. I always end up coming to the conclusion that good influences are good influences and that I'm being silly.
All of these tracks are special to me in a multitude of ways, but allow me to tell you about the ones are setting me up for what I’m sure will be a good year.
Nonnsha - Are You Sold: In a fit of weird internet magic, nonnsha has been a distant friend since 2008 or 2009. She, I think, is maybe the only one of my myspace-era friends that’s still staying true to the DIY music craft. Without her, I don’t think I’d be the musician I am today. I always find myself excited to listen to whatever new thing she’s working on because everything she produces teaches me something about writing and recording, as well as stuff about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. (And honestly, I don’t think I could ever express how glad I am that she exists.)
Ash Meteors - Only You (Demo): I am so frustrated at the amount of talent Thomas Rees has musically. Only You is well done in every way that I can think of. I’m a really big fan of the chord progression in the chorus and I’m an even bigger fan of the storytelling in the lyrics. It’s hard for me to believe that, like me, Thomas is DIY/bedroom musician and listening to the tracks he puts out challenges my abilities as an artist. I recently discovered that he was a student at the University of East Anglia at the same time I was (and he still is, but I’m not) and that really puts the icing on the cake for me.
Mitski - First Love/Late Spring: I loved Mitski the first time I heard her. Mitski’s progression from her more formal and orchestral first album to the more Bury Me At Makeout Creek gives me a lot of hope for my own musical progression. The whole album makes me pretty emotional. It may seem silly, but one time Mitski gave me some brief words of encouragement via twitter and I went as far as printing out the tweet and putting it above my desk. Now every time I get ready record, Mitski is sending me good vibes.
Nana Grizol - Cynicism: I love love love the way listening to Nana Grizol makes me feel. Cynicism in particular makes me want to call up all my old friends and drive hundreds of miles just to see them. Cynicism makes me want to buy my new friends plane tickets back to England where we met so we can take a walk around a lake in the countryside. I think if someone ever made a movie about my life, Nana Grizol would make up a fair amount of the soundtrack, which is fitting because I actually discovered them when I pulled out Shazam while doing homework at my favorite local coffee shop.
I’m Glad It’s You - Minor Acts Of Cannibalism: This song is incredibly fun to sing loudly during my morning commute. It makes me happy to know that these talented folks are from the same town that I'm from and I'm excited for whatever is coming next. I'm such a big fan of their songwriting because they have the ability to be sincere, complex, and devastatingly catchy at the same time. Local talent makes me emotional in general, so I'm Glad It's You definitely has a special place in my heart.
Love Song For My Best Friend is one of a number of tracks for the project that I’m working on at the moment. I’m hoping that the songs I write from now on are, if not a reflection of my overall optimism, a way in which I can contribute something positive to the world I’m doing my best to exist in. I was excited to release this song because it’s very blatantly for the people I love. I hope you also find a way to express your love for your friends! I'm emitting rays of positivity your way always.