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. Which 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
Rainfall is often used as a metaphor for enveloping someone in sadness. That's exactly what Rainfall is in Pure Blue. The instrumentation is narrowed down to a single piano, alone. I thought it would be a nice creative touch to also make the upper notes strike randomly across a wide space to give the illusion of notes raining all around you. Rainfall also foreshadows the album and sets the tone for the songs to follow.
Smile was actually the hardest song for me to write in this album. It's about a deep, personal pain that I tried to leave behind me now that things are better now. Smile is about being separated from your child for years at a time, and to have your relationship with them reduced to something as impersonal as a cell phone. No matter the situation you’re in, it’s hard. In my case, my son was born just a month after I turned 16. I was still a naive high school student with no job, drivers license, parenting skill, or any sort of things you’d need to be a good parent. So (very) long story short, what ended up happening was that I was separated from my son for a few years. Even though this ended up being an opportunity to get myself together, it didn’t make the calls in between any easier. Smile is about finding my strength through him to do all I could to have him back again, to make him smile again like I did when he was a baby.
To preface, I grew up in the sketchier part of Albuquerque, I lived around a wide range of drug use and saw how it destroyed peoples lives. I wrote Gone because my mom was a hard drug addict and it constantly messed up my relationship with her. Honestly, It really sucks because drug addiction Isn’t as black and white as people see, it’s complicated and it’s hard to help someone who legitimately struggles to help themselves. To watch someone you love destroy themselves while you cant really do anything about it is hard. My mom relapsed with her addiction a several times in my lifetime and while we're on better terms now, it’s one of the many reasons I will never do any type of drugs. To this day I haven’t, I’ve not even smoked or drank alcohol, it’s just what I want for myself and my family. I want to get away from that life people struggle to escape, and prove that you can live a life completely clean and still be happy in the end.
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 just last 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 first, Little Song was supposed to be a little love song about my Wife, Talitha who is a big part of how I got my life back together, she kept me out of my thoughts when I needed it, and helped me get my first stable job, drivers license and so much more, she never gave up on me, even when I was being a jerk or distant…But! Love songs are cliche, so I thought I would make it something a bit more personal. Talitha had to deal with a lot of depression in me and at times I could tell it frustrated her quite a bit. That gave me the idea to write a song exploring my self destructive, depressive state of mind, and how I need her to get me out, even when Im pushing her away. Im not the only one who gets this way and I feel like those people need a voice, to reach out when they really, REALLY don't want to.
Let Go is an argument with my own brain. It's written in a way that's resenting my own train of thought, for the longest time, I had a really hard time moving on from the past and it only ruined things. It’s really easy to build walls and live your live cautiously and hopelessly based off your past. It just sucks because those people can be the strongest when they find the strength and will to...let go.
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.