A few sentences about the album >>> The life of a man in chronological order. From his birth, through his death, to the rest of his life. The story of all chapters. No one in particular, a common person, with common happenings, normal conflicts and natural fears. The beauty of commonalities, of the “usual”, of the every-day life.
This album was written throughout 2019, 2020 and 2021. The first song that was written was what eventually became “Chapter 2: Memories of a Child”, a self-reflection of a person recalling what was like to be and feel a child. From then onwards, the album took off and little by little more chapters were written, completing by spring 2021 the account of all chapters of the story. A story of no one, and therefore the story of everyone.
CHAPTER 1: A NEW DAY
The man wakes up and starts with his daily routine, kitchen, water, moka, coffee. Turns the gas on. It is early and he didn’t rest well. He had an unsettling dream. Suddenly he starts remembering. A dream about his own life. What it was, what it is and what it may be:
“I was dreaming I was born
Now that life is almost gone
In my dream I became old
Too fast, too short…"
While coffee is being made, he stares at the window, looking outside; cars, bikes, trees, asphalt, people, a new day. But his mind is elsewhere, taking him back to his dream. He hears a cello, a guitar. The journey starts.
About "A New Day" production
Weirdly enough, this song, the first song of the album was one of the last that was written. It happened right after my roommate showed me the song "Tienes reservado el cielo" by Sen Senra. Here Christian very beautifully presents a simple vocal line as an intro to his album "Sensaciones". Inspired by this I wrote the main vocal line for this song which later incorporated guitar and cello as support. On top of all this, I wanted to make the album very theatrical by incorporating sounds from the scenes to which the songs were referring. And so, for this first chapter, I recorded myself entering the kitchen and making coffee with the moka. To make my yawns and the morning bird sounds credible I woke up at 06:00 am and recorded that scene then.
CHAPTER 2: MEMORIES OF A CHILD
He opens his eyes. He is a baby. He can’t talk. He sees his parents staring at him. They both look happy and sad about the newborn. Tired but excited, angry but loving:
“And you cry when he is laughing
And you laugh when he cries...”
He Closes his eyes. It’s black. Opens them again, and he is a child. Time moves fast. He is traveling through his memories. He now has a brother, he is no longer the only one:
“And you smile when his sadness
Makes you feel like a star”
Another flashback. He is now a young teenager, he experiences his first love. But who was that person? What did she look like? He can no longer remember, he was 12:
“Her Name, was no name
Her eyes you couldn’t see
Cause she looks like those
Who don’t seem
Steep but not afraid
I’m falling with faith
And I don’t know since when”
And with that the other side of the same coin, the first heart pain. How could he understand, he was young, the first lesson, the main lesson, and the start of an ever-learning journey. How could he move on and forget?! Impossible…
“And you run to the future
but the future is now
And you want to forget it
Or learn to remember how”
He had a childhood, like nobody and like everybody.
About "Memories of a Child" production
This was the first song of the album written in December 2018 when I met Ronald de Waard (bass player of the whole album), a good friend of mine. Back then, Ronald and I played very often together in Rotterdam where we both lived, we would jam for hours at his house in Charlois. One day he showed me this guitar riff he had come up with (02:27 on the song). I fell in love with it, right after we wrote the high-level composition for the song. I went home that night very late, still flashed about what just happened, and finished up the lyrics. We called it "Smoking Inside". We would play it many times, only with an acoustic guitar and a bass (and vocals). Always very small and very intimate, with few people around. It was our favorite. When we recorded this in the studio we initially decided to go about it the same way. Halfway through we asked Quirijn (producer of the album) to add some Analog Rhodes to the song, to add some depth. We were all amazed by the sound of the Rhodes with Ronald's bass and therefore we decided to make the intro to the whole song be carried by Rhodes and bass and only, later on, include the guitar as the main instrument.
CHAPTER 3: BACK IN SCHOOL
Back in school. The man starts remembering how was it like to be a teenager surrounded by teenagers. The sweet and the sour. Trying to fit, trying to belong, trying to be noticed, trying not to be made fun of while making fun of others:
"If your shadow
No fool will make
Fun of your name"
Was not particularly an easy time, it never is for anybody. Was not bad, but it wasn't good either:
"Cause God knows what it’s like
To be a king without a crown
And nobody will tell
How is life up in hell"
About "Back in School" production
This song was soon written after "Memories of a Child". Those weeks I was particularly hooked with "The Freewheelin" by Bob Dylan. That is perhaps why the song sounds a bit dylanish. It eventually became one of the flagship songs at every concert I would play. The way I originally brought it to the studio was with drums, bass, and percussion lines. After we recorded it somehow it didn't sound organic and so we decided to make the song sound the exact same way it sounds live, which was guitar and vocals only.
CHAPTER 4: 20's
He finished high school, grew up, and turned 20. But his dream is now blurry, he doesn't remember much. He only sees a bunch of human-like creatures, with heads like animals, dancing in a circle, like in a ritual, repeating over and over again:
"Don't you wanna smoke inside?
Let's seat here and let's relax"
About "20s" production
This song was particularly fun to make. It was the last one to write from the album, literally 5 days before going into the studio. At that time I was done with the album, done with folk, and pretty much done with romantic-nostalgic songs. It felt like too much whining. Talking about it with some friends, I was decided to start shifting from folk to loopy-viby songs, like the ones I heard in artists like Daniel Norgren and Angus Stone (Dope Lemon). I closed the door, grabbed my guitar and made this demo in 3 minutes: And that was basically it. In the studio I asked my friend Jasper to play some drums over it. Later on, Quirijn (the producer of the album) recomended to add some other instruments and he invited some artists he knew (the guys from Wisemen), who eventually became good friends, to play some piano and guitar over it.
CHAPTER 5: AGEING
He is now a full grown adult, life granted him all he thought he was wishing for, a family, a partner, a house, a career. Now, whats next? He thought that would make him happy:
Are your dreams already over?
Is life heavy on your shoulders?
He starts doubting all the decisions that took him to where he is, while he sees the end of his life approaching:
Does that love make you feel lonely?
Are your fears getting closer?
Is all you know dying slowly?
While you become the one and only
I guess, middle life crisis.
About "Ageing" production
Winters in the Netherlands are difficult sometimes. Things get dark, nights get long. One of those nights this song came up. I wrote the main riff long time ago but never dared to put vocal lines to it, when I finally did I was pretty happy with the result. During the production process I met a very talented Spanish cellist: Candela Mier-Teran de la Flor, that helped me elevating the dramatic feeling of this song by writting some lines "sul ponticello" that starts right at the begining of the song. We recorded it straight away. Also, she wrote a beautiful solo.
CHAPTER 6: DEATH
He is now laying down, he sees all people he doesnt recognize comforting him (or at least trying), are they strangers or he just doesn't remember them? Everything feels confusing, something is calling him away but he wishes to stay, to fight. Little by little he accepts his destiny, he listens to his body. He wishes to comfort the people around him but he can't no longer talk, nor see, it's dark. He smiles, he doesnt feel any pain.
About "Death" production
Some months before finishing the album I was mising this chapter, the "passing away". I felt no inspiration to write it since I had not experience death in a long time. But then my grandmother turned for the worse and we all prepared ourselves for it. During that preparation this song came up. The connotation of this song is a fight, a fight agains death, a battle, a horseride towards your destiny.
CHAPTER 7: ASCENSION
He leaves his body while staring at it still laying down. Everyone still there but now there are more people, the invite him to go with them, they all look so old.
He can finally move, he feels his legs again, he can dance and he starts to dance, he doesnt care anymore, while he dances he is ascending, he'll just dance forever.
About "Ascension" production
It was difficult to picture the soundtrack for how the ascension should be. In Europe we have learned the methaphore of the Christian Ascension, the existence of God and the Heavens. And so, for our imagination it's pretty straight forward the thought of someone magically levitating while a light iluminates them from the sky. Funky. Even if you are not a christian (I am not) that episode it's pretty cool. And so, I tried to put music to it, a buildup: voices, flamenco guitars, claps, chaos, silence.
CHAPTER 8: REVELATION
Still ethereal, the man is now looking at his whole life watching what has happened, what he would have done differently, and which kind of mindset he would have rather had:
"Nobody knows It’s worth it
To waste a lot of time
You can’t be always thinking
Your thoughts will tangle up"
CHAPTER 9: THE REST OF YOUR LIFE
The man shakes up, wakes up from his dreamstate, comes back on himself, he is still standing on the kitchen, waiting for his coffee, looking outisde. Coffee is ready. He still hears guitars. He just remembered the revelation he had on his dream. He now carries on with his life, with the rest of his life.
About "The Rest of Your Life" production
This was always a small composition I had. I loved it, simple, easy and fresh. I decided to us it as a closing statement for the album, to leave the listener with a good ending note.