Last week I went into the woods for 4 days with some of my closest friends and my brilliant friend Matt captured pieces of this trip. We had no connection to the outside world and just took in the majesty of this place. Here are a few unreleased photos.
Today’s “Raw Emotions Vault” release is an unreleased demo I wrote called “American Psycho”. This is a really important song for me and explores the experiences I’ve had when I’ve felt embarrassed and afraid of my depression. This song is a reminder for me to be bold, transparent and honest in the words and music I write.
Listen and comment below to let me know what you think of the song.
Final product - the #CureStigma PSA for NAMI. Airing on CBS and CBS VOD all month. Check me out at :13 and :43.
Growing up... That's the theme of this months song. For the single cover we shot my 4 year old cousin Finn dressed in my clothes. He is AMAZING and here's a little video of Finn talking about life. Song will be out next Friday!
Here's the final artwork image from our photoshoot for my new single "Grow Up", coming out NEXT FRIDAY April 27th. I think Finn really captured his "electric guitar rockstar" look he was going for. What do you think?
The Emotion: Excitement. As a baby and a 3 year old it looks like I was excited about everything. And I’m pretty sure I was. But underneath all that excitement is a flood of overwhelming emotions that was impossible for little me to comprehend. Now I look back at these photos and periods of my life almost as a map of how I became who I am, both the good and bad. This month’s release is all about “Growing Up”, how does growing up make you feel?
Here's my April "Exclusive Vault Release" - it's a throwback called "Simple As That". I took this off itunes as my sound was changing and looking back I feel like deserve it's place in the world. Welcome back "Simple As That".
Suburbia. New Jersey. Essex County. High School. First kiss. First friends. Baby brother being born. First time singing. Baggy jeans. Rap music. Skipping class. Trips to the shore. Coors light. Falling in love. Sneaking out. Prom. NYU first day of school. Seeing mountains for the first time. Starting a band. Radiohead obsessions. Sucking at Basketball. Mentoring under crazy artists. Getting depressed for the first time. Many more memories than I could possibly list here.
After 6 months of the Raw Emotions Project I’ve officially spent a lot of time thinking about how we are affected by our emotions. I’m proud to embrace the lack of control over my emotions and continue to be shocked by the unpredictable power of our minds. This month’s emotion is a weird one for me: nostalgia. I can’t tell if it’s the fact that the majority of the previous emotions were very heavy, or if it was writing hundreds of sad songs last year or if it’s finally seeing the light at the end of a depressive New York City winter, but I’ve reacted very positively to this emotion. I’ve consistently noticed myself finding the positive in any nostalgic moment. After MANY conversations with friends, fans, artists and even psychologists it is clear to me that feeling nostalgic is not that simple for most people.
I was looking at a photo today of myself on my 17th birthday. I was so happy, you can literally feel it through the image. It made me happy. I instantly posted it on my insta story. Then, a flood of other thoughts came through. I broke up with a girl the next day. My favorite director in high school died suddenly at 29. I had my first set of deep depressive episodes 3 months later. I had suicidal thoughts only 2 years later. Suddenly this same photo scared the shit out of me.
So is feeling nostalgic something to resist? How many times in life does something happen that makes us feel an uncomfortable emotion and we divert, block, hide or run? I’m a pretty open person (as you can see) but the monster in my mind still finds fascinating ways to close off and stop me from feeling. Do I also need to protect myself from the past?
If I’m honest, I really don’t know the answer. I think nostalgia might just be melancholy. For me, any emotional experience I can remember has a spectrum of “positive” and “negative” energy. I remember being at my grandmother’s funeral and cracking up afterwards drinking whiskey with my cousins who came back from college to be with the family. My grandmother was everything to me, and losing her was so hard for our family, but whenever I drink Bullet it brings me back to that moment, and it’s both joy and sadness. It’s really complicated the more I think about it.
This month’s song, inspired by nostalgia, is called “Suburbia”. If I were to psychoanalyze myself, I’d say I handled writing this song in the same way I handle nostalgia. I kind of hid all of the sadness deep in the bones of the song and highlighted the good. It starts with pretty dark lyrics about being “in a daze for 6 week spending all my nights alone”, and then moves into words about pushing away anyone good so I can stay isolated and detached. The music represents a subconsciously positive reaction to nostalgia though, it has a driving beat, complex pulsing rhythms, interesting chord inversions and hints back to old influences of Passion Pit, M83 and vibes that I’d imagine driving to in a convertible with friends. At its core, “Suburbia” is a song about emerging from a very dark place, but you’d have to dig deep to find that. It’s hidden under what I would describe as something that simply “feels good”.
So with these last two weeks of the month of nostalgia I’m going to be looking back at old photos, asking my parents about the memories I think I remember, watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and trying to feel all of the corners of any nostalgic moment. I want the good, the bad, the exciting, the ugly and the painfully sad. Oh, and go blast “Suburbia” driving with friends, and if tears come up… F*** it, let em flow.
In 2013 I started the project that would become Raw Emotions. I had no idea what I was doing, who I wanted to be, what I wanted to say or what I wanted to sound like. I dove in headfirst with my friend Jason and we produced a full album called "More Than We Think." Looking back I'm really proud of this album. At the time I was still searching and I ended up pulling it from the internet. Today, in the month of nostalgia, I put it back. So here is More Than We Think, almost a year of my life in 10 songs :) Let me know what you think.
So... A couple years ago I edited a video to an unreleased song called "Just An Animal" where we sourced unseen footage of bears from Maine. I then edited these videos to have the bears dancing to the song. It's genuinely one of the most ridiculous things I've ever done haha. I only got to the 3 min mark after we decided the video was a little too out there. Looking back I should've just put it out. So... hear it is for you. Enjoy :) Happy nostalgia month.