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Release Date: June 16th, 2023
Music, for me, has always been a spoonful of honey easing the intermittent and inescapablebitterness of the human experience. It’s been a thick sweetness in my loneliest moments. Inmy earliest memories of playing music, whether alone or in a group, the feeling of beingconnected to a greater force beyond explanation is the one that shines through. I’ve beendeeply committed to the path of conjuring this elusive yet poignant feeling through playing guitar, through makingsongs and sounds and sharing them with others. Before I started writing songs with verses and choruses, improvisingwas primarily how I found myself in musical settings. It is still a bright beacon of my approach to songwriting andcomposition. Sonny Rollins said that improvisation is about forgetting, not remembering. That when one’s mind goesblank, the ideas that come are from an untraceable source. I find that the songs I feel the most connected to come fromthis source-from the voidal space of the unknown. There is something euphoric to me about entering this void withintention, with other people, in a studio setting. The desire to disappear within a song or a melody or a groove orunexpected dissonance is what keeps me always listening, always searching. I believe this desire is inextricable from the risk of ‘failure’ or making ‘mistakes’.
In August of 2021 I was asked to teach amonth-longclasson songwriting atSchool of Song. It was bothinspiring and terrifying. I hesitated to consider myself a Songwriter, despite having released 3 records, let aloneenough to teach others how to do it my way. In preparing for this course I examined my own approach with a closeeye (at times too close for comfort). I realized how vital improvisation and collaboration are to me; in life and insongwriting. I was asked to design writing prompts, and although this was not typically how I would write left to myown devices, I found it to be a wonderful way to get the wheels of inspiration turning. I also cherished how special itwas to see all of these other musicians, some new, some contemporaries, rising to the occasion and following themselves into the unknown.
For Sugar the Bruise, I had no plan other than to let my mind go blank, and lean into the playful side of things. To laugh a little, to lighten up, to shift the focus off of my own experience a bit. What if making a song didn’tmean dredging up the abyss? Of course, at baseline I am pulled towards nourishing the unfolding of memory intosomething beautiful, something archetypal/universal, and sharing it with you. And like all good muses, it’s easy top roject whatever narrative you are carrying onto them.
The record was co-produced by my dear friend Luke Temple (Here We Go Magic, Art Feynman). We hadworked together before ontwo of my songsand I feltinspired by the open plan, present moment, open approach toproduction Luke has. As a chronic over-planner, this got me out of my comfort zone of feigned control. I loved whatwe made and how I felt during those sessions, the doubt and fear being equal characters to the euphoria and pride. Ithinktrustwas the herald to transcendence. I wascurious about exploring this further- making something out ofnothing, with even less of an idea what might be birthed from the void. Alongside engineer/producerJeremyHarrisand brought over the finish line with additional production, arranging, and mixing by beloved collaboratorPhillipWeinrobe, this record turned out nothing like I’dimagined it would.
So I hope you enjoy this collection of songs. I like to think of them akin to a novella or short film. My wish isthat these songs provide a mirror to those who can’t find their own ways to explain the knots of twisted emotions weall deal with.
I offer you a little sugar to the bruise of being born. A little sugar to the bruise of existence.
1. Something Wrong
2. The Gift Of The Human Curse
3. Andy In Stereo
4. Private Life
5. The Book On How To Change Part 3
6. The Bust of Nefertiti