At the start I just wanted to tell my story, to make a sappy album about all the struggles I’ve been through. I had all these collaborations and ideas in mind. But over time, I realized that I wanted to make something more. I’ve learned a lot about how those struggles changed me as a person. This is when I decided to concept an album with a chronological arrangement of songs, not only telling my story, but what became of it. I also wanted to write it in such a way that embraces the sadness in a more productive way, rather than asking for pity. There are people out there that need to hear that their sadness is okay, and that it can be the thing that turns their life around.
Rainfall & Smile
I wrote Rainfall as a major plot device in Blue, it’s a foreshadow to the rest of the album, compositionally, emotionally, and artistically. Everyone just knows, Rain is sad, and I wanted that device to introduce the first half of the album, as that’s the predominantly sad or dare I say, blue. Rainfall is also meant to close the album in a way, a way that shows that sadness will always happen, but it’s what you do WITH the sadness that makes the difference. Which is why in the final “main” track, From Above, there’s a break referencing Rainfall, and proceeds to use the climactic melody in Rainfall to bring light and explanation to the album, as we’ll later see.
There was a 4 year period where almost all my contact with my son, was with a phone call. And each time I would just hurt hearing his voice, because he should be here, I should be able to see him smile and that’s never going to happen because, at the time, I had nothing to show for. No job, no car, no home, no parenting skills, cooking or cleaning skills, plus I was still in high school. It was hard to find the will to pick myself up when all this was happening. But Max was always happy to talk to me, and after a while, it inspired me, because he believed I’d bring him home one day, even when I thought I couldn’t. I just didn’t think I could accomplish all these tasks to prove myself in court that I could be a fit parent for him, but he believed. And when I realized that I started trying harder in school, and that led me to an internship, which led me to a job, and with the help of my Wife and family, a better job, a car, a home, a college education, suddenly I had accomplished everything I needed to get him back. And I would soon be able to fly him back again, so I can see him smile, again.
Smile is the inspiration behind making this album in the first place. It’s the event that brought my life to the beginning of who I am now.
Originally this was written in a very resentful manner. About how much “your” addiction affected my life and How I wish you’d just let me get away from it… But I ended up changing that. I realized that writing this song would just add more negativity, and I’d hate for someone to relate to this song and ruin their relationship with whoever it was with the addiction. Because the fact of the matter is, those addicted need support, and even though I’ve been hurt by it so many times, let down to the point where I don’t even want to get my hopes up anymore and I became cold. It just doesn’t make recovery on their end any easier, think about everyone around you losing faith, trust and any hope that you’ll ever be okay again. And I want other people going through the same thing to understand that, so that they can move forward. And not be stuck in this toxic cycle.
Around 6th grade I met this guy named Antonio, but everyone called him Tony. He was this super energetic guy, who was always trying to make people laugh, maybe not always succeeding but he was persistent. More importantly, he was always drawing the weirdest, most interesting creatures, but there was one style he had drawn the most and that was star creatures. Looking at them you could tell that they had a lot of darkness in them, but to me it felt like the light to his life. His art and music were his outlets and he definitely needed them to stay sane. Ask anyone who knew him, regardless of what their terms were with him, they knew art was his life. Which is why It pains me to say that in the year in 2018 he was sadly, and violently taken from us. It's been hard because all we have left of him is his art, that's what Stars is about. Growing up with someone, spending many years with someone, and seeing their creations, only to be left with nothing but his creations. As a tribute to him, I recreated one of his pieces from scratch digitally.
I actually recorded the first iteration of this song a few years back when I was just finding the will to move forward with all bad years I’ve went through. Reflection took me a long time to get right, because I really liked my original recording of it, it had a metric ton of mistakes in it, but it was such a genuine, off the cuff recording where I could really hear myself in it, I could hear all the the sadness buried underneath and it inspired me to make this song, where the instrumental would tell the story without words. Reflection is about taking the deep, unrelenting sadness and anger and turning it into the will move forward again.
At the very beginning I wanted this to just be a love song about my (now) wife, mainly because she helped turn my life around. I don’t know why, but when I tried writing that song, it was cute, but it just felt out of place in the grand scheme of this album, because this album is about sadness and finding the strength to overcome, if I placed a happy little love song in there it would feel almost insincere. So I ended up re-writing it about being saved from myself. A lot of depression came from feeling like a useless parent, or person even, and that depression kept me from doing anything productive, essentially anything that I would have to do to get him back, was being paralyzed by myself. I didn’t know it, but I needed to get saved from myself and inspired to get back up and try harder for the things I want better in my life. And she did that for me, Escape is about her helping me escape myself.
From Above is a song ultimately about God, all my life I was an atheist, I thought God couldn’t exist, it made no sense, scientifically, logically, and honestly it felt like common sense not to believe in God. It wasn’t until I looked at my life as a big picture did I notice the impossible amount of coincidence. It's funny, I used to blame a God I didn’t believe existed for all the bad things happening to me, only to find out that everything ended up happening for a reason, and that I never would have became me if none of these things had happened. That’s the weird thing, Is that everything seemed like a traumatic script designed for my character development. That’s when I realized what faith is, to trust in God that things will be okay, that everything that happens, even the bad, is for the creation of the big picture, and that big picture is what we need to be better in the end. From Above, like many other songs in Pure Blue, tells it’s story musically on top of lyrically, I designed it so the melodies were ultimately the same in the second half as the first, but it’s the DIRECTION of the melody that changes, and I think that’s something I wish people would understand. That it’s not what happens to you that makes you, it’s the direction you take with the hand you’re dealt, that makes you.
Pure Blue is about finding peace with all the things that have happened to me. To translate that into a song, I decided to recreated the album itself, but in it’s purest, musical form, on a single acoustic guitar. Like reflection, it doesn’t need words to tell what it is. It just is. If you listen to the entire album in chronological order, this song just makes sense.