Listening to ‘Funeral’ by Arcade Fire was one of the first times I realized how influential and awe-inspiring music could be. I understood how much emotion could be stirred with the appropriate melody and lyric, and finally everything clicked. I wasn’t writing to impress people anymore. I attribute my ‘click’ to this record, but it wasn’t the only momentous thing that happened while listening to the album. While listening to ‘Crown of Love’, I wrote my very first Spire. I thought it only appropriate to write my final post with Arcade Fire blazing through my headphones as well.
When I was writing, playing shows and collecting friends to help me, music ingrained itself into my life. It wasn’t just something to do in a friend’s basement anymore. It was a conduit for all wholesome, ignorant, self-serving, loving, introspective, kind or hateful things that you and I harbor everyday. And I clutched it tighter as time wore on. I remember worrying and worrying over whether I would be any good by the time High School ended, because at the same time that I thought highly of my music, I compared it to that of my friends’ and that of my inspirations, understanding full well that I had miles to go in growth. I at some points was even worried that I would end up like one of the many adults I have met that “used to play music. It just got too hard to play and balance life at the same time”. The majority of people that I met gave up or joined stupid jam bands in their 40’s. So when Shay approached me the summer before my Senior year while I was asking myself everyday how I was going to handle writing, playing and practicing music as well as getting into college and eventually going there, I jumped at the opportunity to set goals for myself and approach my situation realistically, the way an adult would. That being said, I’m going to reiterate the list of sub-goals I made for myself one year ago and condense the best and worst parts of my year into one post.
1. Work with Lauren O'Connell
, Will Sturgeon
, or Jack Conte/Nataly Dawn/Pomplamoose
2. Earn 1000 Subscribers
3. Be featured on Youtube
4. Get played on the radio
5. Have a song played on television or through the media in some way.
6. Sell a song I wrote to a major artist
7. Have 1000 downloads of my album, Vessels
, on Bandcamp
8. Have 1000 PURCHASES of my album, Vessels, on Bandcamp (way different, trust me)
9. Release a new, 3-song EP with songs no one has heard.
Around February, it became apparent that my attention had shifted away from the ultimate goal, which if you can even remember, was to record with professional bands of some sort. Most of my focus was attributed to my sub-goals, and several other sub-goals were added to the list from things that I wanted to do for years but never got around to. Some of these things didn’t require as much effort as I thought, but several required more. The list is as follows:
10. Form a cohesive and standard group of musicians to help you perform your songs.
11. Create more shows for yourself
12. Emote at shows. Invoke more emotion in yourself and your audience.
13. Create a significant music moniker and stick with it.
14. Show your music to other musicians and be proud of it.
15. Learn how to graciously accept both compliments and criticisms.
Of the new sub-goals, 12,13, and 15 were the most difficult, but I actually completed all of them. I learned how to do #12 when I wrote Color Collector, and I perfected it on accident when performing Reservation Blankets.
Of the original sub-goals, the very first one, which seems to be one of the more difficult, I completed. Will Sturgeon was kind enough to give my music a chance and contributed his excellently varied musical expertise into Reservation Blankets, which has in turn became one of my favorite full songs of the six that I wrote this year because of its ability to emote. I also had the great fortune of being played on not only one radio station, but 4 of them. The University of Dayton, Bradley University, North Central College, and College of DuPage were all kind enough to feature my music this year, ranging from Powerlines to RE: Blood.
I’m halfway towards my seventh goal with 528 downloads from bandcamp, although a number of downloads have come from other sites such as Last.FM or ReverbNation, so I’m estimating around 700 to 800 total downloads of my music have occurred this year, which is only 200 shy from the goal. Perhaps the most exciting almost-achieved-goal is the 9th, which states that I wanted a 3 song EP with entirely new material on it by the end of the year. I don’t have 3 songs to record because I have 6.
A comment made by an early supporter of SpireSpire named Dave inadvertently helped guide me throughout the year, and it said that the best way to get recognized by other artists was to have a vast breadth of material for them to choose from. So with an average of about 1 song per 2 months, I have a complete 6 songs to record under my new moniker, Sun Brother. They were written in this order: Electric Feather, Divide, Reservation Blankets, Color Collector, RE: Blood, and Bible. Bible is a song that needs only one more verse for completion, but has been in the works for probably 6 months.
All of these accomplishments are relatively tangible, and part of Spire’s original agenda was to succeed quantitatively. Can I check on my Bandcamp site to physically look at the numbers and figure out how many plays and downloads I have? Sure, but these results are only significant because of the qualitative principles that allowed them to happen. For years I struggled with the fact that my music in High School wasn’t taken seriously because it sounded like it was written by a High Schooler, and I expressed that frustration many times this year. I always believe in my words, and they are the most important aspect of my music. I might never have fixed that problem had I not written Divide, though. When writing it, my goal was “to use the music to create the emphasis that the lyrics are attempting to convey; to use the music as a vehicle, not just something to accompany the words.” That concept guided my material for the rest of the year.
So, I spent my year writing really worthwhile material, but of course with each success came a bigger hardship. I was plagued with writer’s block the majority of the time, and grew frustrated often at the rate of success I was having. But, SpireSpire forced me to sit down and try to come up with logistic responses “to combat the ever-growing sense of writer’s block. I decidedly went about my writing process differently. Before when experiencing Writer’s Block, I usually just wait it out, but a sense of urgency existed with SpireSpire ending, so I experimented with the actual process.” That particular method included a combination of techniques I learned from friends Colin Borows
and Chris Keckler
; writing with the lights off while crouching next to my amp for a few hours.
Sometimes the process wasn’t the only thing that needed a facelift, however. The blockage was so bad at times that I couldn’t write anything at all. No inspiration came and I had nothing to say. So I had to approach it like an equation. Problem: Writer’s block
Solution: Write as much as you can, and don’t think about it so hard at first. Turn your base ideas and observations into something articulate and clever later. You need fat before you can slim down. Gorge yourself in words, and hone them later.
When the block was done and I finally had some quality tunes again, I still had the problem of distribution and sharing. I usually spent lots of the time promoting it to people who had already heard it before or knew that I was a musician. Water becomes stagnant and tepid when it stands for too long, and so does music if it stays in one place, especially if it’s not in a stimulating environment. One of the weeks when I was feeling particularly under accomplished, I realized that “I am a wimp. I suppose it’s a lot easier for me to aspire to things while sitting in my room rather than actually doing real life scary things.” I learned that if I didn’t start playing shows more frequently and inviting people new to the genre or my music in particular, I would just be the musical equivalent to a bog. In short, if I really wanted new ears, I had to find them and jump out of my comfort zone.
So I ended up playing some really incredible shows this year. I played a full set to over 350 people, and I played a longer set to a crowd of 6. I played music at school to crowds over 800 people who barely listened at all and I played remarkable shows to 60 people who listened hard. It no longer mattered where I was or to how many I was playing to as long as someone new heard me. In the very beginning, I addressed the real struggle for my Spire journey, saying, “I can’t help but sweat a little bit over the idea that I’m not in control over the end result. I can only continue practicing and promoting and playing and praying that I will ascend to my dreams and hopefully beyond.” This encapsulates my fight all year. It was my job to get people to listen and play my heart out to them. After all, if I don’t act like my music is worth listening to, why should anyone else?
But to win this fight, I had to better understand the importance of performance. I used to go to shows because they were fun, and I invited people because they would have fun, but there is an entirely different motive behind a performance, as I learned watching Jeff Tweedy of Wilco or Arcade Fire or Bon Iver or S. Carey. I no longer invite you because you’re going to have a good time, even though you will. “I invite you because I want you to know me. I invite you there because we're all on the same team. I want you to be validated in the way you feel about things, because I feel that way too, and so does everyone else in the room. The best way anyone can get to know you or me is to pay attention to music. It will tell you everything you want to know. Musicians analyze the best and worst parts of you and me with it. So pay attention.”
I learned how to believe the paradox of writing as entertainment and writing as art. “My music is wholly personal and obviously belongs to me. It is also utterly and irrevocably yours. I write for myself and I write for you, because none of us are so different that our lives can't relate.” We are not separated by our different outlooks of the world, but united in the fact that we have them at all. And because we are all so inter-related, we naturally aspire to each other’s achievements. Very early on in this project, I was flattered and humbled one week because “I’d wager over 10 people have mentioned to me that, as a result of reading all of the aspirations on here, they themselves have ‘unofficially’ started their own goals to see if they can achieve them through hard work and passion!” To be told that I had any sort of impact on someone was simultaneously validating and mind-boggling. I have felt that way many times about other artists, but never did I dream it would be said about me that I served as an inspiration. This reoccurred throughout the year, leading me to, when preparing for a speech about music that I later posted, glimpse the strand of humanity in music people often miss. I feel as if I’m on the coat tails of countless talented musicians, but at the same time I know of kids who aspire to do what I do, so if we’re all on each other’s tails, it should be inherent to pay attention to one another as I mentioned earlier because really we all want the same things.
With all of the learning and growing I was doing this year, it wasn’t surprising that by the end of it all I was absolutely jazzed to share my music, and with it my thoughts with everyone else. And, excited about the increased number of shows and people interested in my projects, my momentum skyrocketed. At least until I moved away from the area I had been helping to musically cultivate for years to start all over again somewhere else. And this somewhere else had a seemingly worse music scene than Naperville. This change taught me probably one of the most important lessons of my Spire quest. I needed to learn how to be patient. Feeling aggravated and neglected for the first several weeks here, I was worried somewhere deep down that this whole year was for nothing, and that maybe no one really does care about my music. Such was my thought process until I realized that people were beginning to be interested here as well. I knew then that all I needed was time. People will give you a chance if you give them time, and we have all the time in the world if we learn to let it take its course. It’s much like the concept behind a difficult breakup or death in the family. You can understand all you want that things will get better, but you won’t feel quite right until there has been a sufficient amount of time passed, and you don’t control that.
So now after an entire year you can find me in Peoria, and in some unbelievable time-warp/act of god/destiny’s child, ‘Crown of Love’ by Arcade Fire has started playing again while I finish my last Spire post just as it did for my first. I suppose you can say that I failed my goal with flying colors. I did not record with a professional band, and in fact I didn’t even get close to meeting one. But as it turns out, I didn’t even have to because I knew them the entire time. I saw shows and connected with the bands and the audience; I met musicians and made lifelong friends; I solved problems and grew within my music. And finally, I played for you. I drove to farms, basements and living rooms and we got to know each other, me with my art and you with your attention. I will never forget this year of my life and the people who helped make it so important. If you’re someone who read this all the way through or stuck with me for these 49 weeks (give or take a few), I want you to know that I learned all of these things because of you. If this is what failing feels like, I’m going to try failing more often.
All good things forever and always,
Mark Christian Lyon
I had my first microwavable Raman this week.
I’ve been waiting for several weeks to start eating the boxes and boxes of Raman my Mom bought for me. I didn’t wait for any particular reason; I have really just been focusing my bowels on adjusting to college food and PB & J. In any case, I felt it was time to unleash soup into my system. So college.
The reason why I gave this any thought is that it just felt like with each slurp, I was completing the transition to college. Every noodle I was digesting equaled my digestion of the crazy change to college. Noodles= Transition.
Not really. That sounds really lame.
I do think that it draws an interesting comparison, though. The last time I ate Raman was probably around 10 years ago. I didn’t even listen to music then, and my biggest concern probably had something to do with what I was going to use for my 4th grade hobby fair. So now I’ve found my hobby, and it’s taken me places I never would have anticipated as a 9 year old. There will always be places for music to take me, and I’ll try to always be ready for them.
I don’t know if you can tell but I’m pretty sentimental about my Spire journey ending next week. I’ll save my thoughts on that for then, though. In any case, this week was pretty good lyrically. I have 4 stanzas of lyrics and I’m considering leaving it at that. We’ll see if I need more, but I’m hoping to keep it short and sweet. Here they are thus far:
I want to love you like my Father’s Father
Might have loved your Mother’s Mother.
You can lean on your parent’s door,
Ingrain the organ fight from your belly to its frame.
The pretty girls that might have had me all excited
Let their shins grow cold.
I read them like the scripture my Father recited
When he was growing old.
Have a great week, I’ll see you for the last time next time.
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I think I have a tendency towards impatience. The post from two weeks ago (I didn’t post last week, it was my birthday and I got back to school late in the evening) proclaimed that no musician that I had met wanted to talk to me and that I was standing in a retention pond of people who are talented but disinterested in me. A little bit of a harsh outlook on my situation, I would say.
To an extent, I think it makes perfect sense that I felt that way, though. While everyone else is adjusting to the classes, rigors and free time of college, I was adjusting to a seemingly proverbial (excuse all of my water metaphors) draining of the rich musical talent pool I was blessed with in high school. Being surrounded by excellence all the time and having the confidence to know that you had multiple options if you wanted help with something was a indeed a blessing; it also makes an adjustment all the more difficult. Understanding that my school isn’t a ‘music’ school, of course there was going to be an adjustment. It was very difficult for the first two weeks, as you read. I did, however, start being proactive after I posted. I actually went out onto the quad (it pains me to say this) and played some songs and hung out with my roommate and mutual friend of ours, just so that I would be doing something, anything, to play my music somewhere that wasn’t a practice space. In doing that, someone actually came up and listened to me play, and then in turn played a few things for me. It was blues, and he wasn’t my kind of guy, but at least it was something new.
I started forging a new cover, as well. I’m very excited with it, but I’m not telling anyone what it is except Ryan (roommate). In any case, I tried to be productive in the best possible ways, and I laid in wait for something to happen in the meantime. And something happened.
I’ve been sending my music around to any musician I meet here so that they know what I’m all about. Generally, I just get a vague ‘nice’, which is fine. Some people really will love it, most won’t. I knew that when I started writing differently. However, after several weeks of this, I finally got a bite. One of the guys who was previously under the category of ‘talented but disinterested’ has switched to interested. Which makes him possibly very important. We have since played around a couple times and our collaborative efforts have been working out very well. We have been fleshing out ‘Electric Feather’, a song I wrote junior year for the original Sun Brother group, but never actually did anything with. By any means, I think it’s sounding really really good. So, if it keeps proving to be successful, Max and I will be looking for a bassist and drummer pretty soon.
So, all, thanks for listening to me gripe last post, because now I’m all excited and ready to make an impression on Peoria, IL.
Listening to certain music really makes me want to get productive. I’ve had more people talk to me about Mumford & Sons as well as Florence and The Machine in the past week than I ever thought I would. It makes sense though; for most people those two bands are the most accessible artists from the realm of music I am in. Although I don’t listen to either of them fervently, I do enjoy a few of their songs so I understand why people would really tend to love them.
An artist like Florence and The Machine has a really unique quality. Besides her energetic and enveloping stage presence, many of her songs have an overwhelming feeling. When I listen to ‘Blinding’ in particular, it makes me want to be extraordinarily productive and almost hurts my feelings with how hurt she is in the song. The problem with feeling so passionately about playing is that when you have no one to play with, you sometimes lose motivation.
That’s where I am right now. I chose Bradley partly because it was smaller, so the likelihood that I would be ‘lost’ as a musician in a sea of musicians was less of an issue. The problem now is that I’m standing in what seems less like a sea and more like a retention pond of talented but disinterested musicians. The people I want to get to know the most don’t seem to reciprocate that sentiment, and the people who I presumed I would hangout with don’t seem all that curious to get to know me.
All in all, college is fine. I’m really frustrated musically, though. I’m used to having incredible guys and gals play around me, and although I know I need to be patient with finding new people, my thirst for relatable friends and passionate artists is taking over my thoughts right now.
I’m considering taking desperate measures, playing out in the quad by myself or taking my guitar to random social functions. Something about people doing that for attention never sat right with me, so saying that actually hurts a little bit; I just don’t know what else to do at this point. We’ll see where next week takes me.
I’m in the process of writing another song that’s based off of a riff I’ve had for almost a year now, so be on the lookout for that.
I hope you’re having a better week than I am,
I’m writing this to you technically on Monday, but it’s 1:37 in the morning so I’m still counting it as Sunday. What a whirlwind. In only one short week, I’ve moved to college, written down a melody I really like for a song and had an epiphany about a unique sound I might pursue.
First things first, we’ll begin with college. It was really rough saying goodbye to all my friends. We had a final blowout celebration type thing that involved lots of fried rice and bugspray; ending with lots of tears and explosive expulsions explaining the exasperation and anxiety we’re experiencing about our mass exodus from home. And, guess what all of these anxieties brought up in me? A song.
Yep, you guessed it, the makings of a song has spun out of this torrential monsoon of happenings leading up to College. The lyrics are incomplete but the song itself still brings tears to my eyes when I try to write it. Seriously though, my throat swells up each time (although that may also have to do with my lack of vocal health-I’ve been yelling a lot since arriving here).
Interestingly enough, this song is pretty characteristic of my old acoustic stuff in it’s barebones format. However, I’m hopeful that I can apply this new idea for sound to it to see if it might work out. I was explaining to a recently made friend tonight how I was looking for a unique sound while we were discussing music she wrote years back. And for some reason, in that conversation, I heard clear as a bell in my mind the tones and styles that I’ve been trying to meld together in the past several months, a sound that’s unique to me. I’m really excited to see how it all meshes.
So, while I’m waiting for my parents to come visit me in a couple weeks (bearing my amp and several other musical necessities in hands), I’ll continue to work on covers and such. Speaking of which, I put out a new video and spoke about it in last week’s blog, and true to my word, you can watch it here:
Have a good day all,
3 days from now we’ll all be gone,
All our friends will move away.
And they’re going to better places
But our friends will be gone away.
Excuse me for quoting a song I’ve covered, but ‘Rivers and Roads’ by The Head and The Heart has a special knack for hitting directly on the vibe many of my friends, including myself, have been feeling lately. It’s really happening, we’re all leaving for our respective schools in the upcoming weeks; I leave on Wednesday.
Last week was my final Wheatland Café, and it was out of this world good. Colin’s leaving for a new job, so it truly was the last WC ever to be held. Two nights ago I played a show in Geneva (interestingly enough it was only about 5 minutes away from my roommate’s house, and he actually took me to the exact part of town where I played that night weeks prior when we were hanging out with his friends). I’ve got to admit though, that show absolutely blew. There was a bunch of technical misfires that resulted in lots of strange noise during my set; not the good kind. So, being bummed about that show, I set out to make last night’s show a good one. To be completely honest, I think we definitely succeeded. In my dad’s words this morning, we as a group were ‘loose and having fun. No bad transitions and it just sounded good’. That, to me, is a good show. Beyond my set though, I was getting SO into Alec’s Band and The Satellite Eye. TSE has a new record coming out soon so they played some from that,
and Alec’s Band has recently started mastering their live sound to create soundscapes. It’s absolutely beautiful, if not a little loud.
In general, I was really getting into the music. Then came AKA Foxy’s time.
I already have said many times how much Dom and Connor mean to me as best friends and as musicians, but when I see them perform, it’s something else. They LOVE to play for people and you can tell. It wasn’t a perfect set by any means. There were plenty of mistakes, broken strings and wrong chords. But that wasn’t the point. The point was that probably over 60 people came to this small house show and experienced music with all of us bands on our terms. I woke up this morning with a sore neck and back, remembering the sheet of sweat that was covering my body from the show, most of it being mine, but a good mixture of it being everyone else in the room.
All in all, this show was the best possible closure for many of us musicians who may never play together again. I’ll dearly miss them. One friend, when commenting on the shift, asked me this question, which I have seriously been considering for some time: “What are you going to do to replace Connor? You’ll need like, 2 or 3 people just to fill his role”.
They couldn’t be more right.
Next post you see from me, I’ll be in Peoria. I’ll post a new video in the next couple days so I’ll post that next week.
Goodbye and good luck to all of my friends who are going away. I love you all.
What is talent?
I’ve been led to believe my entire life that talent is the fixed aptitude to certain skills that are invested at birth. From natural talent, there grows skill. I’m halfway through reading The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle, however, and I’ve got to say, I’m supremely excited for the future.
In this book, Coyle blends science and reason to create a new system when thinking of talent. Essentially, there is a substance in our bodies called Myelin. This substance’s entire job is to insulate neuron strands, much like rubber insulates wire so that no excess electrical output is wasted. The more myelin that wraps around your neuron strands, the faster and more precise that strand becomes. Neurons are entirely responsible for skill sets, as they control the signals from the brain and send them to the muscles and other body parts to do the task. In essence, as myelin wraps around the strands, the signal grows faster; as the signal grows faster, the skill becomes more advanced.
More myelin=more skill.
To grow myelin, someone must be wholly focused on whatever task they are doing. Myelin can be sent to any neuron strand, so focusing intently and habitually approaching the task can advance virtually any skill. As you can imagine, however, this takes a lot of time.
This is where it gets really exciting. You look at two students of the same skill. We’ll take guitar for example because I have real experience teaching it. I’ve had several sibling pairs begin lessons at the exact time. In every case, the younger sibling rockets ahead of the elder. To some people, this is fascinating. Shouldn’t a child with more life experience and more knowledge in general do better? The answer to this has everything to do with motivation. In some cases, the two siblings begin at the same level, but when the younger discovers that they have a real potential to best their older sibling at something, they focus. And when I say focus, I mean FOCUS. They don’t have to spend hours a day practicing. When they practice, however, they make certain they fix the mistakes they made. They go slow, and they piece everything together like a puzzle. When you practice this way, the myelin begins to wrap itself around the neuron strands to help the signal grow stronger in order to fix that mistake. The best news with this is that if you actually find the right motivation for you, deep focus becomes easier and easier to achieve, and the time you spend working doesn’t feel like you’re spending time working.
On this note, have you ever been just absolutely awed by someone’s creativity or achievement? I experienced that yesterday, and not for the first time, when with my friend Blake Grigsby. I want to take a moment and talk about Blake because he perfectly represents someone who spends time cultivating their craft.
Not only is Blake a fantastically funny improv and standup comic, he is also a recurring magician at our high school. But what I want to talk about with Blake is his incredible skill with film.
The film classes at our high school are great. I say that because the teachers care, and we are blessed with really good equipment and software. That doesn’t mean that every person who goes through the program comes out great. In actuality, there are only a few rising stars, one of which being Blake. I wondered for years what made this kid so great at everything he did. I only discovered after having spent time hanging out with him recently what it was. Practice. He spends a large portion of his day working on film techniques. Part of the reason why he has so many projects is because he volunteers himself for nearly anything that comes his way. He practices his improvisation at second city, he has won scholarships to take film classes and he has even reached out of his usual humorous motif to help me film a music video of sorts.
The most interesting thing about this pattern is that Blake seems barely cognizant at how incredible he is at everything. He definitely is aware of his progress, but he has his sights set on the future, (planning on moving to LA next year to pursue work and education with film), rather than dwelling on his present.
Just being around Blake yesterday made me feel kickstarted back into writing. I’ve already jotted down a few ideas that I’m particularly excited about. Be on the lookout for that stuff.
Oh, by the way, I’m filming two videos before I go to school in less than 2 weeks. Kind of a whirlwind of music, but that’s fine by me.
Check out this sweet video Blake made. Remember, he doesn't have twins. That's all his video editing. The slap is out of this world.
I think I’ll begin this post with a story, but before I do that, make sure you turn off whatever music you're listening to at the moment. This will be explained later.
I would like to direct you firstly to the picture on the left. When I was in 7th grade and this picture was taken, I played my very first show. I had never played my music in front of anyone at a venue before, and a band from my middle school, AKA Foxy, approached me and asked if I would play with them at their CD Release show. This happened to be my CD release show as well, as I had just finished recording a few demos out with my guitar teacher. So, I played my first show with the boys who would later become my best friends.
I continued to play shows with them through the remainder of middle school, including improvising a song with Andrew Tout onstage at the 8th grade talent show about how much we loved them. Interestingly enough, from the very first moment that I heard AKA Foxy play a show, I envied them. They were, comparatively, the best band in our grade and stayed ahead of the curve for years. With Connor and Dominic writing really solid songs each year, and their live performance being hilariously entertaining without fail, it was no surprise that they stayed a band up until now.
Fast forward to yesterday, and we have almost exactly the same story, minus the show. Since December of this year, they have been working on their final album- a culmination of the best songs from the past 2 years.
Finally, they released it yesterday, coincidentally the same day I released the new song I’ve been recording all week. We really didn’t plan it, but it got me thinking back to that very first show. Without them I really don’t know if I would have worked up the guts to play. I left a part out of my initial story. The reason why I accepted the show request is because Connor was the one who asked me. I heard him play several times at school and had been so awed by his talent. He was markedly better than anyone else at our school at that point, and in my opinion, that hasn’t changed. I wanted to prove to him that I could play like him. That’s a huge part of why I accepted his show immediately.
And so, as I was listening to their album, a huge wave of nostalgia swept through me. AKA Foxy was part of my beginning. And now they are part of my end. I’ll forever remember the band as it was, and I’ll forever remember the days I got to spend with them. Below is an audio track off of their new album that I happened to be listening to as I wrote this post and while you were reading it. Please download their album!!!!!!!
This being said, Sun Brother has been initiated! In earlier posts, I’ve explained slightly what it is, but to be clear I’ll give you the lowdown. Ben Thomas and I have talked at length about the strangeness involved with promoting your music. I have never been afraid to show anyone what I do, and neither has he, but there is often times a feeling of arrogance when promoting your own name. Even more of this comes in when you’re thinking about merchandising…your name. I’ve never felt quite right about exposing my music to the public through a t-shirt with my name or face on it. I kept it as Christian Lyon in highschool because that’s what everyone was used to. I tried a few other adages but they never stuck because the music stayed the same and so did the lineup. But, with my fast approaching shift to college, It seems like now is the best time to change monikers. I’ve been writing more sophisticated (in my opinion) music all year, and I think with this latest release, it really shows. I have been rooted in the idea of ‘Christian Lyon Music’ for a year, and it hasn’t allowed me to really branch and try new things. So, I’m shifting my attention and focusing on Sun Brother, an outlet for my experimentation and hopefully growth as a musician. And so, I did also release a single this week! Please check it out! It did take an entire week to record and mix, so hopefully the time was well spent. I’m hoping to have a bunch more ideas for the other new song this week, so wish me luck!
I would have never had this problem if I didn’t meet those dastardly kids from Wheaton.
So, as is custom when I write songs, I typically will focus on some sort of realization or personal truth that can relate to other people and write off of that. However, I’ve got two different things frustrating me at the moment. I could write a song about both of them, but they are completely unrelated besides that they both incite anger.
On a similar note, I have two different moleskins that have bunches of ideas in them. This is why I say I wouldn’t have this problem if I didn’t meet those Wheaton kids. I didn’t use moleskins at all until I received one as a gift, and it revolutionized my writing process. Now I can take observations I made weeks prior and include it in a song with observations I made off hand immediately. It’s a beautiful organizational method. This being said, I’ve got a bunch of gunked up writing in both books, and there is no connective tissue with any of it. So now I have to decide what to write about.
But as promised, I will at the end of this post include a few of my favorite lines that might end up in songs later. Hopefully Colin Borows doesn’t steal these like he stole the lyrics to RE: Blood.
Speaking of RE: Blood, recording starts tomorrow with Justin. We’ll be spending a week recording this new song. There’s a bunch of opportunity to have this bad boy sound incredible, so I’m excited. Darien taught Connor the drum parts and I’ve performed this song so many times now that I’ve almost got it memorized.
I don’t know if I ever posted this, but I’m changing my moniker from Christian Lyon to Sun Brother this fall. Any new music posted will be released under that title, so remember it!
Have a good one, here are a few of my favorite lines from the past couple weeks.
I want to love you like my father’s father might’ve loved your mother’s mother.
Pretty girls are all out taking pictures of each other.
I know this.
Shins in the grass, way back.
A contrast in the nights
Where soft, staining light
Clutched her side; and so did I.
If I take you, it must mean everything and nothing.
What an intriguing week! To combat the ever-growing sense of writer’s block, I decidedly went about my writing process differently. Before when experiencing this, I will usually just wait it out, but a sense of urgency exists with only a few more months before the end of Spire. So, I experimented with the actual process. My friend Chris from Alec’s Band writes, records and practices with the lights off. I don’t exactly know why he does it, but I thought it might be a change of pace. Colin from Arco Bandera has been known to practice sitting directly next to amp. I combined these two processes’ the other night and worked on different guitar tones for a new song I’m working on.
I came out with something distinctly Tokyo Police Club, so I’m not complaining.
To help with the actual lyric block that I’m in, I took another slightly different approach. Instead of waiting for something to happen, I did exactly what I said I would do last week. I wrote as much as I could, no matter how disconnected or ambiguous and filled 3 pages of my moleskin with ideas. And tonight, I’ve found a drive to finish it. I can just feel the ending coming, which is why I’m rushing to finish this post. It’s all coming together. Wait for next week, fellas.