Day two got off to a bit of a bleary start after guitar tracking (and a bit -- well, if we're being honest, a lot -- of Mariokart) kept the crew working into the wee-hours the night before.
Having received a text from MJ letting me know that things were getting going a little later than expected, Elizabeth and I decided to grab this opportunity and try for a little sight-seeing. Knowing a holistic look at San Diego was going to be impossible, we decided to focus our efforts on La Jolla, an area we knew little about but that had been highly recommended for us to "check out". And so began the morning ritual of coffee, brisk park walk to breathe in the fresh Pacific air, sunshine to help combat jetlag, and requisite lunch of "even-more-authentic-than-Mexico" Mexican food.
Fantastic day of solid, rock-hard work/play. These west coasters know how to chill out. Yet still get work done. Note to self: handy trick to know.
Doesn't seem like we are going to get to see much of San Diego this trip, but the intensive studio vibe that we are all co-creating is sure not only to spark plenty of creative moments, but likely to provide ample opportunities for musical and personal growth as well. I am already feeling nervy about having to record lead vocal tracks while dealing with the effects of plane travel and mild jet lag. But something within has the sense that I, like all of us here, will rally despite whatever challenges there seem to be.
The following is an essay written by John Payne. I came across it rather serendipitously, a chance head-turn to the left, that pointed me towards the box of leaflets containing his writings, outside his school. Funnily enough, this was after a meeting with a colleague during which we both found ourselves often getting caught in exactly the trap John writes about.
The piece touched me as not only does it speak to my past experience and ongoing journey forward as a musician, but I feel it contains in it, via metaphor, a seed of wisdom on how I, and possibly we all, might approach our lives, as times they change so quickly these days, and the things that once might have given us structure and validation no longer seem quite as relevant. Please enjoy this eloquent (yes, eloquent; it is not a dirty word ) piece that speaks from the heart:
Welcome to 2012.
Where on earth did January go? The thought that this year might move even quicker than 2011 did fills me with a mild sense of panic. Something for me to keep in mind: how to stay grounded and calm, or else learn to surrender to the roller-coaster that life seems to have become.
I have to be honest with you all. I really hate blogging. I’m actually painfully shy when it comes down to it, unless of course you really get to know me better, in which case, I’m only somewhat shy. So this whole culture of sharing every single thing that happens to you is a big challenge for me to even participate in, even on a professional level. I tell myself that if I structure the blog entries down to the word, and plan their releases down to the second, I’ll be able to control or tame my emotional response to creating them. No such luck, I’m afraid. Every entry last year was produced with no small amount of terror.
And now, as irony would have it, I find myself going through the same process while creating this blog entry. It feels a bit like that scene from “Throw Mama From the Train”, where Larry (Billy Crystal) just can’t get past “The night was...” – it’s absurd, and also a little frustrating, though in this moment I’ve decided I’m just going to accept that it’s happening. A good first step perhaps.
But still I have to ask myself, why do it? What’s the point? Why put yourself through all that pressure of trying to participate in a process that seems so stressful?
Happy Holidays 2011
I just wanted to say a quick thank you for all the comments, posts, and messages in support of this season's releases! It was a blast of a time, fully beset with challenges and growing edges, putting these three songs together this past fall, and there will be more musical goodness to come in the new year. Four more songs are in the works -- we wrapped up tracking in November -- with more amazing work by brilliant musicians once again with whom it is my utmost privilege to work. I've set an intention for the upcoming year to write some reflections about the process of working together with these wonderful and talented people. I am much humbled and inspired by their light and the beautiful musical constructs they channel so intuitively.
A number of other ideas have started percolating up in the old noggin' as well, ideas that haven't been part of my consciousness for months, years, and in one case over a decade. It seems to me in some way to be par for the season this year, that as the light started to fade more and more into darkness, those old dreams and visions began to appear more clearly; I suppose rather like stars in a clear, moonless night sky. They are all quite nascent right now, so I'll hold off on further spoilers, but watch this space, with once again more to come in the new year. Thank you for joining me on this creative journey.
Wishing all of you much light and joy this holiday season.
When I think about Find the Sun sometimes it’s hard to separate the facts from the feelings. I remember this time of my life as being one marked by a strong sense of displacement. My third relocation in five years saw my idea of home turn into a bizarre combo of downtown Kuala Lumpur, upstate New York, and various airport lounges. Through all this I remember sitting at the baggage claim at Syracuse airport, waiting for the bus to arrive that would take me back to Ithaca to start my second semester at college. It was pencil and paper back then, and Find the Sun was one of two songs that were inching ever so tremulously towards completion. I remember the paper starting to wear thin as I tried out numerous different rhymes and worked on the patter of the lyrics, hoping that they would sound at least vaguely cool, or at least wouldn’t sound completely lame. I had little experience, and thus confidence, writing songs then; Find the Sun was only my second full attempt. The first had been a winding folk love-ballad, and I was eager to put down a tune that had more beef, something that stood a chance of being one of those songs that people hum in the car on their way home from the concert.
Other than that, I wrote with very little sense of direction back then, mostly relying on what little instinct I had, combining it with the unquenchable zeal of a teenager still new to the whole game. There was a lot of just stringing words together and hoping they’d fit, and on occasion perhaps even rhyme. I poke fun now, but in reality there is much from that process I can and do still bring into my songwriting today. Back then I didn’t think too hard about what I was writing about. Now, there are times I can get so lost in the rat-race of trying to say something significant, that seldom is it not helpful for me to take a step back and remember those early days, when the entire point was to have fun making interesting shapes out of words, melody, and harmony.
We're back. I know it's been a while (bit of an understatement really) but there's been much that's had to simmer and sift and marry and macerate, and at last here we find ourselves, back, saddled up, with a season of new material, new releases, and hopefully new faces and connections made through this creative practice.
My main focus as of late has been a new set of singles that we'll be releasing one at a time between now and December, with a follow up set to be released beginning early next year. This collection has been both a joy and a challenge to work on. Collaborating with Crit Harmon has been an exhilarating experience, and once again I've been blessed by the company of a talented and wise cadre of musicians, technicians, and artists, all from whom I feel I've learned so much.
Further reflections will come soon. For now, thanks to all who have stuck around during this unexpected sabbatical, for both your patience and your continued support. I'm thrilled to be back. Let's keep the creativity alive in these uncertain times.
Travel safe and talk soon.
I just posted a new demo on my facebook page’s music player. It’s a first sketch of a song called Still Walking. Strange feelings abound.
There’s a big part of me that thinks I’m nuts for having shared something so publicly so early on in its development. Surely you should wait, the voice says, hold off until it’s perfect, or at least more ready.
Yeah right, whenever that is, I reply.
I’m excited about having taken this step for a number of reasons. For starters, this is the first new song in a long time to be added to the cadre of musical numbers that make up the amorphous creative project that I’ve for the past ten years been calling States of Matter.
States of Matter, for those who aren’t familiar with it, started off innocuously enough as a musical revue, the first working draft of which was produced in the spring of 2000. It has since become a ten-year study in cognitive flexibility for me, a project that can’t seem to be contained (is it a revue? a book musical? a concert piece? heck, a movie?!), yet a project whose manifestation as a finished work has remained painfully elusive, time and time again, for the better part of a decade.
So, I’m excited about this breakthrough; ten years on and finally some new blood has arrived that might shake things up and shed some light on how to raise this project to its next level.
But there is another thing that’s getting me stoked, and that’s the exploration of this new relationship with the idea of process. That doubting-Thomas in my mind, that voice telling me to hold off, to wait until things reach that impossible moment of ultimate readiness, has had me blind to the idea that when it comes to creative projects there might in fact be stages of ripeness. And at each of these stages, there are components that can be shared without dissipating the energy of the project as a whole. That’s about as much as I have for now, I’m still feeling this out. So there we have it, another grand experiment! :)
Still Walking is very much in early-draft mode, in fact I’ve already changed a lyric (as you might spot in this latest version that I’ve included)! But sharing it now feels right somehow, despite the warts, the nakedness, that an early-stage demo such as this cannot help but exhibit. I hope you enjoy it. As for States of Matter, yes, the gears are turning again, and my intention is another round of exploration, whatever the process yields. Ten years on, in honor of the work, I’m going to give it another try. This new song might only be a small step. But I’m still walking.
Travel safe, and talk soon.
at a glance
Adam Farouk (born April 6, 1978) is a Malaysian musician, producer, writer, and entrepreneur, currently based in the United States. He is known for his integrative approach to the creative arts, and frequently infuses his works with unlikely combinations of style, influence, and genre.
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