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Thinking Aloud

Best Friends, Europe, and Becoming 

*disclaimer: I use a lot of big words and toy with some fundamental ideas in this little post, and it might be confusing. I write in a stream, and don't have a lot of time to edit these posts. This is sort of just how I think, and I hope you can appreciate it to some degree.*

 

Good afternoon, March 31st 2019. You've been a pretty good day.

 

Today was typical. I woke up to a debate about the concept of faith over text, got to doing some things, blah blah, then realized I'm headed to Europe in just 2 days on a flight all by myself. I'm going there not so much to be a tourist, but to be a person. To explore, play music, meet people, and hang out with my best friend, Nick (who woke me with the debate). It's my best Christmas present I've given or received, and I hope that it's dangerous and terrifying. An adventure.

 

Nick studies law in the midlands of the UK, and he's been one of two of my very best friends for about 6 years or so (the other being Daniel, who I also love and will probably talk about someday as well).

 

The idea of a best friend is a person that I think develops in your life, and you sort of intuitively choose. A best friend to me is someone I engage with on a playful level and I can tell all my best and worst news to. Ones who hug me and challenge me and think about me. I have a lot of best friends, but those two I just share the longest history with of deep connection, so I call them my Very Best Friends.

 

We're quite different, truth be told. We share a love for the intellectual and humourous, and love to argue about anything and everything. But our differences spring eternal. He doesn't quite understand music. I deeply appreciate music and make my living from it. He has an abhorrence for the expression of the spiritual and subjective. I live in the realm of subjective expression, although I'm still quite deterministic and empirical. I love him because he's my constant nemesis in wit. We both play a game of trying to crush each other's position, even if we secretly agree in principle, with varying degrees of success (it takes time, but we've shaped each other for sure). We love to play games together. This morning we had a debate about faith that really exemplifies the evolution of our positions across time. It was about faith. I think faith is part of the process of becoming, where you have to sacrifice (even things you like) in order to attain anything of value over time, and enjoy the process of that sacrifice. I think this is encapsulated in the tagline of the western Enlightenment, 'Dare to Know!' It takes a leap of faith to commit yourself to something, even when it's justified across time. Our theory of the world is often correct, until it isn't, then what do we have left to keep us going? I think it's just trusting in the process and realizing you don't have the power to know its outcome. He thinks faith is just believing things without evidence, which spits in the face of empirical knowledge and the power of rationality. I often am fast to adopt newer modes of being, and damn is he ever an astute critic. I love him, and I'm excited to continue this conversation face to face.

 

The goal of this trip isn't purely pleasure (although legally speaking, it is). I want to meet people and play music, and try to set up connections to tour over there. I'm going to be posting a lot of video content of my escapades. My goal is to learn about what people value, artistically and emotionally, and where music fits into the global landscape. I study a lot of psychology, and there's a fact that portions of the population are more open minded than others (to put it simply). That's said to explain rises in nationalism and populism in all these countries that are experiencing economic plateaus (again, to put it simply). My theory is this: music unites and reminds people that the suffering they experience is universal. It's an empathetic solution, in my mind. I think it's dangerous to assume it will be easily received. But that's why I'm starting in Europe (quite an open minded place). The music I write I try to make moving and feeling provoking. I hope its sentiments resonate with those people there, even just individuals I meet.

 

Risk taking is a part of the process of becoming, and I realize that my process is the most important thing to my life and my working. I don't care about outcomes. I'm not interested in curbing disapproval. I'm interested in exploring the world of process, value, and my own expressive instincts. There's no room in there for caring whether people don't like it, as much as I wish there was. Although, arrogant as I might be, I'm sure there's a lot in there that will resonate with folks.

 

I embark on a month-long journey soon, but I like to think it's an official beginning of a new chapter of bravery and truth in my life. I feel my momentary self diminishing and in its place is a process of becoming.

 

I've been thinking of starting a podcast. Join my mailing list to get an idea of how that's going to look. It'll be about music. philosophy, process, history, geopolitics, love, fitness, questions. I hope to build it as a long-form podcast that people can enjoy, and I'll probably do it with someone else.

I Think I'm Changing 

In about a month, my first single is coming out, entitled 'Changes.' I produced a video for it with my friend Braedan Houtman (writer/filmmaker extraordinaire) and my good friend Elijah Marrett Hitch is working on me with the mix side of things. I feel great about it, and think it will be spectacular, and I hope all who listen to it enjoy it and relate to it. I'm currently sitting here with Elijah over facetime, listening to mixes, and the more I listen the more I'm mesmerized by the feelings produced by the person who wrote it.

 

I mean, the person who wrote, produced, and sang the track is still me. It was in my bedroom with my gear and my girlfriend playing nintendo switch on the bed. But that was months ago, and when I listen to my voice sing the lyrics over and over again, I feel more and more like it's not quite me anymore. The song is about the subtle terrors of change, which makes that feeling pretty ironic.

 

In other words, it feels like I'm writing about a song someone else wrote. So here's a short essay about it.

 

I often feel this way. My songs, after writing, don't feel like mine as much because I feel so much while I write them it's hard to keep track of that whole experience. The music definitely transports me, but I know that the moments that caused me to write that song I worked hard for and aren't going to come back with any ease. Besides I'm a changed person now. Even if I tried to recreate those moments, it would probably be a different song that I wrote. And that's ok. This song worked itself into the world, but the me who wrote it can't quite get back there.  That's reality.

 

And is it ever a meaningful song to me. The progression of it really lines up with ways I often feel. I can demonstrate this lyrically. The song starts off like this.

 

I’m going through changes 

It’s going faster that I need it

Because life is such deep water baby 

It gets colder as you swim farther

I feel uneasy 

Cause this reality ain’t breezy 

But when I look back on my history 

Maybe I’ll miss how it all used to be

 

I don't feel the rush of selfish genius when I listen to this. I feel some sadness. Some emptiness. More like I'm reminded of that emptiness. Life is hard work, and getting what you want out of it takes a lot of toil sometimes. All the things you once thought were good for you are spoiled by realizing that you have things you want to achieve in life, and that can be conflicting. Maybe you'll look back on your history and miss how it all used to be.

 

Oh and baby 

Lately I’ve been wondering who I am to you 

Cause changes 

Changes got me feeling like I’m another dude right now

 

The hook is just a refrain to the central idea of the song. I framed it with reference to a relationship because, well, it sounded cool, but also it make sense to me in my life as my relationships can be a real touchstone for who I am becoming. It also personifies change as a thing that's becoming part of the subject, and making him feel different. Maybe redundant to point out, but I think everyone goes through bouts where they just realize that change is happening and it makes them think about how it changes everything else. FUN STUFF. Moving onto the best part (verse 2).

 

Last night was crazy 

And today I’m feeling hazy 

I don’t think that I want this again 

Even if I lose all of my friends 

Saying it hurts me 

I’m wanting more than they can give me 

And maybe I’ve always felt this way 

Changing just make us all so afraid

 

Saying it really does hurt me. It's hard to accept that some things are no longer good for you. Now, I haven't hung up my partying hat, but there are some people who I just don't want to share indulgence with anymore. It isn't because I don't love them or think they're worth my time. It's just that it hasn't been good for me. It makes me feel like I'm not being true to who I am, which is still something I'm in the process of discovering. Once you say it, you realize it's true, and it hurts. I'm wanting more in my life, and I'm scared of it. Every time I hear this verse it hits me and rings true.

 

The groove and chords in this song are also super fun. I wanted to make sure there were a lot of changes to give good movement but not so much that it wouldn't be relatable. It definitely strikes a balance, and I think the risks I took in the songwriting really paid off. When you listen to the track, you'll get how the music really contextualizes the lyrics well.

 

I hope I'm changing, but at the same time I know I'm changing, and at the same time I'm scared of changing. Change is a great spirit in the Pantheon of Truth. As we age through life, we know that our capacity to change is immortal, and that never sleeps. We can either harness this for the good of ourselves, or we can allow it to happen to us for

 

better or for worse. The onslaught of Change rages on, and we are both master and slave to it.

 

I hope whoever reads this listens to the track. Keep an eye on my instagram and this website. It'll come out in late March with a fantastic music video.

 

Thanks for reading. Feel free to email me if you think there's a conversation to be had about this.

 

Kubla

 

 

For contact, contact Kiaran McMillan, kiaran.mcmillan@gmail.com