Totally Free was recorded over a 3 year period between the fall of 2013 and fall 2016. During this time I battled with being a shut in. For me the experience of listening to this is like burying myself under large weights. I've never spent such an incredible amount of time finishing any project and it's definitely a dense record. Most of the records I've made were recorded over a weekend or a season. I have heard of people who experience periods of prolific creativity when they are feeling low. This just isn't the case for me. I make art when I am feeling okay. To be prolific I have to be able to deal, and that's why this album has received a flurry of progress in the passed 3 months. Throughout its creation, the album felt fractured to me. Each vocal and instrument track were recorded at different times, often years apart within the same song. Songs average between 50 to 60 individual tracks but always begin and fade with tracks recorded in 2013 or early 2014, and always climax with the full weight of recordings from across 3 years. I thought it would be a mixing nightmare but I guess it actually defines the tone of the album. During the recording a couple of memories stand out. On February 15, 2014 Oliver left the band. Around the same time my gear, especially small stuff, was always disappearing from our jam space. I was experiencing a lot of paranoia thinking that everyone wanted to steal from me. I was not right so I don't remember the details, but one night I took permanent ink marker and scrawled a terrible profane message on the wall of the jam space calling out everyone at the jam space for taking my belongings. It was written in 12 inch tall letters and signed with my name. I have had episodes like this before but I am never able to remember anything. This time something happened which did trigger a brief memory I could recall later. I was walking on Jean-Talon near Saint-Denis and wanted to know the time. When I took out my phone it was like it wasn't a phone I was looking at, maybe I only thought I was holding a phone. I looked down at the object in my hand and it was this glowing brick of white radiant light. It was clear I wouldn't be able to know the time so I just kept walking. I woke up the next day and was politely asked to leave the jam space. I never did leave though, just went back and whitewashed the message. A month or two later I awoke to loud knocking at my door. It was a Saturday in early spring 2014, about 6:00 am. Assuming only my landlord would raise me at such a ridiculous hour, I opened the door in my underwear and saw two police officers. In French they told me put on some pants and served me an arrest warrant. Due to a clerical error, I had not been correctly informed of a trial date that had happened two years in the past. A warrant for my arrest was served when I failed to appear in court. I have been to jail several times for graffiti art. Usually I'm processed within six hours. This time was totally different, I was held for several days and I slept in a room where the lights remained on 24 hours. I'm a software engineer, I find math comforting. I like when problems are solvable. Being in society and interacting with people involves endless heuristics. All emotional states are NP problems, they are technically unsolvable or non-deterministic from a scientific point of view. That's terrifying. When I spent a few days in jail I had the same dream over and over. My brain would be an interpreter solving the same simple set of math problems. Each time it was solved I would wake up in a state of aphasia, fall back asleep, and just solve it all over again. When I was processed and released from jail the following Monday, I wanted more than ever to be a shut in. I simply gave up on forcing myself to go out. When there was a knock at my door I would quietly turn out all the lights in my house then remain very still until they stopped knocking and went away. Many times I'd tried to go back to forcing myself to go out but by the time I showered and put nice clothes on I'd already given up all over again with renewed committment. I don't know what changed this year, but something did. I'm honestly saved. I'm still struggling but now I have hope. I just quit my job and now I can do whatever I want. It's the next step. And I truly believe I can do something incredible now. I'm moving cities for a while to get a fresh dose of inspiration, and a different point of view. That's how I became totally free...with some strings attached.
Thanks so much for reading this and for your support.
October 4, 2016.
$2.00 from each digital album sale will be donated to Ladies Learning Code (ladieslearningcode.com