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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

One year in Oakland

The past year in California has been one of dynamic change for me. It's been a year of new things like singing in a band, beaches, hikes and making friends. It's also been a year of loss for me. 
Please know that I don't write that to draw away from the overwhelming majority of positive, really amazing experiences that I've had here. Along with Charles and James we've done some things that I wasn't sure were possible. We moved across the country in one piece, immediately started a new band, found affordable housing, found jobs, found people here that like us, made a record and now we're going on this new band's first tour. And we still get along with each other.

My mindset has been affected by the clash between the excitement wrapped around new experiences and the darkness of seeing one of my close friends, Seth, die of cancer. I guess I haven't been able to adequately write about this because I still don't understand it. I've experienced bad times before and I know that they'll make more sense in time, within a larger context. So I've been paralyzed, waiting for that larger context to appear.

This overall attitude has been a gaping wound in my personality for a long time but it took an unfortunate series of circumstances in March to send it into overdrive. I've struggled with it for long enough that I feel comfortable calling it depression. Two months ago it was worse. Seven years ago it almost killed me. I've had some time to decompress and I've put a lot of that energy into music. Now that I'm older it's not as powerful because I can recognize and react to the feeling when it comes on. It's like somebody turned off the lights while you were still in the basement, and you're stuck in the dark by yourself. I get anxious and frustrated and I shut myself into my bedroom and lay very still. I can't switch it off and I can't ignore it when the heaviness comes on, so I quarantine myself – a tactical retreat.

All that I know to do is stay busy. I'm working on recording some songs on my own and some writing projects, but mostly I'm trying to figure out myself in California. At times that seems impossible. At other times I find myself at the beach or at a show and I can sense that the ennui is drifting further away.

Our new record is the first LP vinyl release that I've ever written and recorded on. Working on this record helped me to deal with a dark time in a scary new place. Music has always been the driving cathartic force in my life whether I was searching for something to listen to or creating myself. Now that we've put this into the world I feel a weight lifted off of me. I feel light for the first time in months.

I hope to see you this summer. We're going everywhere.

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