You know what’s strange? Listening to essentially five years worth of music all summed up onto one album. That you’ve made. That you’ve poured your heart and soul into. That you’ve put your blood and (literally) tears into completing. And it all boils down to one 11 track album – each track a snapshot of quite a significant time (or moment) in your life. Each word specifically placed to try and portray the happiness, ecstasy, torture, heartbreak, stubbornness, frustration, confusion or sheer joy that you were feeling at that point in time.
Performing these songs can almost be like acting – because you’re placing yourself into a role where you get to recreate those emotions in the song – and connect with an audience through those lyrics. But listening to an album you’ve created? It’s almost like you’re allowing yourself to reconnect with yourself. It’s strange.
I realize that many people reading this probably have no idea what I’m talking about – some are potentially glad they don’t – so I’ll break it down a little bit.
I’m currently listening to the fully mastered, final product that is the next Static Era “Fit to Fight” album, and truth be told, I’m getting a little bit emotional. Next Friday 17th April is our last show for the forseeable future, before I head off to the States on the beginning of my OE / trip of self discovery / getting to know my family, and I’m really going to fucking miss playing in my band – but what a way to leave NZ; by releasing our debut album as a tribute for the last five years of hard work and achievement.
So I thought I’d take you through some more of our songs on the album, and what they’re about/what led us to write them…
When I first moved to Auckland, I frequented an open mic night in Ponsonby. Ponsonby is often affectionately / not so affectionately referred to as “Pon-snobby”, but this particular bar was a little bit alternative. Not in a hipster kind of way (no, thank you!) but more in the “I just want to kick it with some good beer, good music and good people” kind of way, as opposed to “check out my labels and my swag and my dolla dolla bill yo” kind of way. Haha. Anyway, it was at this open mic night that I met a range of beautiful people – musicians and music lovers alike – whom I became very close with. One person, in particular, and I hit it off (after I gave him absolute hell for smoking), and we became a sort of a thing…. but not quite… and I could never really get the balls up (as the saying goes) to actually DO anything about it. Truth is, I’m still incredibly awkward and shy when it comes to relationships. Seriously. Ask any of the men I’ve dated. I’m pretty strange. Ha. Anyway, eventually things kinda just dwindled, and he ended up moving overseas. We’re still good friends now though – even though he is WELL aware that that song was written especially for him!
The thing that tends to annoy me the most about creativity is the fact that it can strike at the most inopportune times. Sleeping Dogs was one of these songs. Back in 2012, I was staying at my then-boyfriend’s house, and I couldn’t sleep. The entire house was REALLY quiet, but I suddenly got this lyric and melody stuck in my head “I am the queen bitch, I am Ms Cynical…”. Before I lost it, I grabbed some paper, and literally 20minutes later, I had the song completed. El Boyfriend at the time mumbled something about what I was doing, but thankfully he seemed to understand creative madness, and when I shyly showed him the lyrics the next day, he was well impressed, stating that there were actually no suggestions he could make to improve them. I took that as a good sign, and since then, I think the only change I’ve actually made is adding in the third verse “I am a nightmare wrapped in candy…”. Truth be told, I’m not sure what inspired the song initially. It’s a cynical love song, that’s for sure. A definite “don’t fuck with me, cos I will eat you”… which is not really my style at all… but I think that everyone who falls in love has a tendency to bite back when they’re feeling threatened. Love is scary shit.
Warning: this one’s a little bit more sensitive. In 2013, contrary to my 2012 romance and opinion on relationships, I found myself in an abusive relationship. I’ve talked before about Te Whare Tapa Wha, which is a similar concept, but it’s relatively common knowledge that there are five parts to a person: the mental, physical, social, spiritual and emotional. This particular relationship failed miserably in all of those areas, but the thing about abuse is that it is often done so subtly that you have no idea that it’s actually happening. Something might seem a little odd from time to time, but we always seem to shrug it off as our own minds playing tricks on us, or we’re overthinking things, or we misinterpreted something. One day you wake up and barely recognize yourself. This relationship was like that. Mentally, my intellect was always questioned. My ideas trivialized and my thoughts were discounted. Socially, my friends weren’t good enough to hang out with, so I was discouraged from such things. Spiritually, my beliefs were belittled. Emotionally, I was ignored, or made to feel like something was wrong with me if I questioned something. But the physical side of things was the worst. I was made to feel severely overweight and not good enough. I had to take fat burning pills, work out with the aim of getting skinny (I now do crossfit and weightlifting – I’m all about muscle over being thin!), and wear clothing that he approved of… and that was only the start. Never mind the violence, intimidation, or sexual abuse that occurred.
Anyway, it took a while for me to cotton on to what was actually happening, and by the time I DID, I had, thankfully, the support of my friends and coworkers to say goodbye, and “Denied” was born. It’s rather aggressive, I guess, but it was important for me reclaim myself, and songwriting is the best way for me to do that.
And now I have this album – this little musical offspring – a momento that represents the last five years of my life – and I get to share it with you. The actual CD will have all the lyrics as well, so that you can read, sing along, understand, connect (if you like), and share this adventure with me.
Bring on April 17th!