Virtuosity, fatherhood, or composing. Pick two.

Our son, Dorian, was born in 2015. In the month of Rocktober. He wasn't super psyched early on about being out and about in the world so we did what we had to do to stay not only as happy as posible humanamente but alive.

 

In the months leading up to his birth I was on my nylon string A game, teaching a ton, writing and recording music that had been described as flamenco (but, in hindsight it drew on too many influences to be considered purely as such), and considering the idea of pursuing a full time career in film composing; which as any of you know who do this even part time know how hard it is to forge relationships, find work, and deliver a killer score without having kid(s) in the fold.

 

So, in our Portland, Maine apartment there was a newly spawned life form (requiring full time attention, love, and sustenance), our professional musical lives (requiring the same), and the perhaps ill-timed decision to shift focus, learning, and practice to film scoring (again, requiring the same). Item one is non-negotiable. You have to love your spawn because no one else can do it like you and your partner. Item three, do it right or don't bother. You have to study, practice, compose, produce, make connections, cold calls, asking friends for favors, all to get a director or producer on-board with giving you the opportunity to work for free so your 'reel' has anything on it at all for a potential new client to view and listen to.

 

My life and relationship with the guitar, consequently, has been changed entirely. It was as if the guitar was the aging dog in the house and all of the sudden someone brought home a kitten that was commanding everyone's attention. Actually, that analogy is not terribly spot on. Not at all, really. How about this then: my Basset hound, Daisy Mable, was the non-wife light of my life and as she grew old and started to fail I never loved her and appreciated her more. I guess that is more aligned with my feelings about the guitar in a sick way. Guitar was a tremendous source of positivity, exploration, musical discovery, triumph, anger, sorrow, elation and now that I am composing in a reasonably prolific sense I can with certain truthful fervor attribute the development of my musical brain to the time I spent with the guitar whilst listening and studying the music of other players and composers.

 

Perhaps at some future moment in time, something or someone will flip the switch back on in the desire quadrant of my mind and I'll spend my time again interpreting, appreciating, and performing the music of Albéniz, Tarrega, Mangoré, or whomever. However, for the imaginable future I feel aligned with organizing sound and silence, managing the degrees of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic tension and resolution, timbre, dynamics, organic instrument combinations verses hybrid orchestras verses minimalist and solo works, and on and on. Even more intense and complex than all of that is how to marry them to on-screen dialogue, the mood of a scene, color, shadow and light, landscapes, oh my goodness now!

 

Now, I have been metaphysically sling-shat back to the time where between my daily practice, weekly lessons, and leaping off my bed as if it were a Marshall half stack, I mixed down my favorite tunes from 33's to cassette, pushing the input level precariously close to zero. No matter which way I turned I was hearing something new, discovery a new technique, and learning of a new band.

 

This whole endeavor, composing music for film, is what I wish I was guided toward earlier in life but what a completely amazing and fulfilling way to spend the rest of it.

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