“This is my struggle to manifest feelings and spirits into sounds and words.”
I suppose that behind every story, there is a story within itself. Every body of work has its own life to it. The inspiration, birth, creation, struggle, moments of clarity, release into the world… And if the creator gets lucky, their story becomes a living narrative that is retold over time. And time is a funny thing to me. An unfolding of the ever-present current moment wherein all projections of past and future might be manifested into the eternal now.
This is now. This is a story of what was, what might be, and can only exist right now. This is a time machine of words and ideas where we can use the present moment to travel anywhere and to any moment: the stream of consciousness that we all flow into each other. This is my busy mind making nonsense of spirituality. This is my struggle to manifest feelings and spirits into sounds and words. This is Rainbow Brain.
Last year really sucked. And even as I write this the glimmer of hope on the horizon becomes clouded with a storm of uncertainty. I became a meteorologist for hope with a keen understanding. I have no idea what to make of it all. Certainty has a shadow of uncertainty within it. The reality of it all entangled betwixt unreal things and not things. Things that are ideas, that become beliefs. Shit, it’s only what you make of it right?
You ever looked at something, held it in your hand, and decided that… yes, this is definitely my phone, that does this or that, lights up, connects me to people or whatever. Then taken a dose or some psychedelics and not been able to decipher what it is you’re even looking at? Drifting symbols and colors across a dizzying screen. And at that point it doesn’t even feel like the right size or shape in the palm of your hand. It’s chaos. And who’s to say that shift in perspective isn’t real?
To draw a different correlation here, what about watching your favorite show in different states of mind? I was feeling happy, turned on my favorite comedy and it made me laugh out loud. Or, I was sad and watched that same thing and the humor felt empty, cold, even distasteful. It’s like that for me. Reality is what you make it. And our reality was fucked up. I don’t think I’ve even been nervous to go outside and hit the grocery store. But all of a sudden, I’m staring at people in the aisles like they’re rattlesnakes. Stay the fuck away. That was a stressful time. I needed a break. I needed to build a new reality. I needed to escape. So… I built myself a place where time does not exist. And if only for a moment, for those creation moments, stepping into my studio and writing Rainbow Brain became my time machine.
Like almost all my bodies of work this album started not as an album or with a title, but just a few starts of songs and energies. Like kindling to a fire. I needed first to figure out how I was feeling and let the thing come to me. At the start of the Q I think my general position was like, “Wow so much time to create, what an opportunity.” I was scrambling to make and make and make. It was trash asf. Keep drawing and tossing in the garbage. Trying trying trying. Forcing myself to see productivity as positive. That’s where I landed. In a state of blind ambition.
That shit made me feel really sad and I couldn’t figure out why I felt so empty. In a way I had detached my spirit from myself. So I stopped. Thought about it less and felt about it more. I let myself get out of my own way. Which really looks like a day gardening or playing video games or skateboarding or reading or just being. That’s tough for me. I’m a busy body boy. I love doing, making, planning. I feel really lost without those vices. Not to say I wouldn’t be musical on a semi daily basis at that time, but I learned to stop trying to be better than myself, stop competing against this “only so much time in the Q so better get to it” idea and leaning into that feeling of being lost. And through that process of being lost and exploring, I found myself in a new place along the way which was the most beautiful part of the whole thing. A few songs in and I started to really find myself in a new headspace. I felt refreshed and took that energy into the rest of the album.
I found myself making music that transported me to a place where I could tune out and enjoy myself again. Even in that dark asf time, I naturally was making music that was loud, groovy, bass heavy and just fun to listen to. I needed to dance, get a release, find an escape, to express the depth of that transformation. Rainbow Brain really started to take shape in early fall of 2020 around that vibe. It was around that time that I sent out an invite to ProbCause and Chrishira. I missed my friends. We linked up in Chicago for a session and wrote the title track “Rainbow Brain” which was just a blast to write and record. We really caught a wave with that one, which then really informed the final tracks on the album.
At this point I had the whole concept and just a few more tunes to write. One of them, “Burn Up The Floor,” was one of those long time coming kind of things. I hit Jantsen a while back I think to just click up at some point. I remember the first thing I sent him and listening back to what we came out with its a completely new tune. It’s not always that collabs happen where both people can make studio time. Shit, the Internet is an awesome connector and I’ve been able to make tunes with friends thousands of miles away. But, blessed that J lives out here in Colorado and we could make time to get together on it. I’m pretty confident the song wouldn’t have happened without that hang. We just got a chance to hang out and open the project and within a few minutes the entire thing changed – tempo, chords, key, etc… And we were both like too excited about the direction of it. There was this moment where it just clicked and from there it took not long to have the whole thing finished. Love when that synergy happens.
I think as humans we live for shit like that. Those small moments that inspire all those connections to our emotional feeling selves in ways that if we really tried, forced to make happen, just wouldn’t connect to that organic spirit. That’s the essence of this whole album. Letting go into the universe. Letting the moment happen. The more you try, the less you be and the less you see. Let go and you become the universe. I wrote that as the opener to Chasing The Golden Hour Pt. 3 (the album/mixtape that came right before Rainbow Brain in early fall 2020) and that is the lesson that—even though it’s not always comfortable to continue to relearn—will guide my life.
Nothing learned or lived lasts forever. Eventually yes, we will perish, we will forget that thing we learned and told ourselves we should never forget. It just kinda works that way. The now moment is constantly and infinitely changing. I am constantly letting go into that moment and always finding an opportunity to relearn that lesson. There’s no destination, nowhere I’m trying to get to. I’m always arriving. Right here, exactly nowhere. And of that I’m certain…
P.S. sorry I didn’t talk a bunch about each song and the creation of it or whatever. What kind of plugins I used. That kinda stuff. Maybe for a later time. Was just writing what came to mind and reading back… hopefully it helps. Hopefully next time you feel lost, it might prove to be an opportunity to find yourself again.