Just before setting out on “the road”

After taking care of administrative matters and going for a nice 5-mile walk, I’m back in my studio and ready to take ownership of “La Strada” and begin the process.

The first thing I did was to create a project file, which revealed that I have just 5 months from tomorrow to have all of the music written and ready for recording and mixing. This feels like a good amount of time to me, especially considering that “The Day I Met Myself” took about that long. Like that project, I already have some concrete pieces of music (demos) that I created recently. They sound good, but not great, and they definitely need to be developed into “real” music. I do feel good about the main direction that I’ve chosen, which is better than where I was at this time in 2011 when I was getting started on TDIMM.

Wow! It’s been 3 years since then! That’s incredible to me. So much has happened since November of 2011. My music has gotten much better, and I’ve become much more disciplined in the studio. It’s kind of been a necessity, really. Working with Russel on that project was really hard on me, but it produced something that truly is amazing. It’s probably the strongest record I’ve ever made, and I want this next one to be even better. I want it to sound better. I want it to be even more cohesive, and more concise. I want it to be just as emotional, and even more innovative.

But all of this is just talk.

What is my inspiration for this music?

From a creative standpoint, it comes from my desire to shake things up, and to make music that is more exciting, more “in your face”. I have a real desire to break through another barrier of fear and “holding back”, and make music that is not “safe”. I have a strong desire to make music that is amazing, incredible, and deep, and I don’t care if it fits into a “genre” or not. That doesn’t matter at all to me.

It is important to me, though, that the music not lose that special sound that I’ve built. Even though I want to use more electronics and more production, I want to make sure that the music itself doesn’t suffer. I want to be sure that the harmonies and melodies and arrangements are just as incredible as they were on the last album. So, it’s not so much a “re-invention” that I’m going for. It’s a clarification of my sound, and an evolution that I’m working towards.

Emotionally, the subject matter is still autobiographical. I almost think of this album as my “midlife transformation” album. We all reach an age where we come to terms with our own mortality. This has certainly been the case for me in the last couple of years. I’m 47 years old, and getting closer to 48, and there have been some events in my life (some good, some bad) that have gotten me to stare death in the face.

Lightning hitting remote roadWhen I started the preliminary work on this music, I compiled a gallery of images that expressed some of the emotion that I wanted my new music to exhibit. I found photos of fire, lightning, blurred roads, laser beams, etc. The one photo that really got me inspired was that of a lightning bolt striking a remote road, as though one were driving on that road, in a very fast car. Then, the title “La Strada” came to me, and it quickly took on a very deep meaning. Besides its literal translation (“the road”), “La Strada” also became a metaphor for my life, the figurative road that I’ve been traveling on. Perhaps the music wanting to speed up had to do with my own perception of time. Perhaps, instead of buying a sports car (like the stereotypical midlife crisis-stricken man), I was creating this car in my imagination, and taking it down the road of my future life.

But every road has an end.

And, obviously, the road that is my life will also have an end. No matter how quickly I drive down that road, I will never escape my own end. It is inevitable, and it’s my own coming to terms with this thought that is driving my creative muse as I dive into this album – with a deeply held, intensely personal desire to really deal with my own mortality, to reflect on the road that I’ve traveled so far, and to think about the road that lies ahead.

And, in the mean time, to make some seriously kick ass music!

So, here we are, at the beginning of “La Strada”. I’m excited, and (I’ll admit it), a little scared of where it will take me. I’m ready to completely give myself to this journey, and to immerse myself in the process of creation.

I want to start driving on the road, without a map. Into the unknown!

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