Good evening! On the eve of such an important day (both for me, and the world), I find myself wanting to say a few things about this upcoming album of mine, and how it’s come to be.
When I first started talking to the Matts at Lefse (my wonderful record label) about The Inner Mansions, I spoke about how I wanted this release to be something different from the norm. Earlier in the year, I released All Of Us, Together, and I followed the guidelines of releasing an album in 2012 pretty closely: premiere a single on a popular music blog, get some remixes, maybe a video or two, do some interviews, tour the album around the release. This process was a blast for me; I’ve never been one to complain about getting to run the gauntlet of releasing an album. I really do enjoy that sort of stuff. But after the eventual lukewarm critical reception of the album, I found myself disillusioned with the process. Were the critics right? Was I wrong in thinking this was a good album, an album I should be proud to have created? I worked hard to do what I could to get the album the reach that I thought it deserved, and I wasn’t alone in that process either: Gloria at Force Field PR, my publicist, and the guys at Lefse, worked hard alongside me. With all that hard work, at the end of the cycle, I felt unsure if this system was really working, and unsure of my artistic capabilities.
So I asked the guys at Lefse if we could do something different for the release of The Inner Mansions: Let’s release this album by the end of 2012; let’s not take any interviews, as to not over explain the album; let’s share as much of the album, if not all of it, before the official release date; let’s do whatever we can to let the music take the focus. Here I sit on the night before it makes its official debut into this world, and I feel so proud and thankful for the way that everything has happened.
So before I say anything else, I want to thank those people behind the scenes that made this album possible: Matt Halverson, Matt Kim, Gloria Lee, Daniel Gill, Oshi Kuni, Nathaniel Whitcomb, Landon Speers, Hrishikesh Hirway, Frankie Rose and Carl Saff. All of you, whether you realize it or not, are incredibly special to me, and have helped me to share something that means a lot to me.
As I said, I turned down the few interview requests that came through. This was not done in order to avoid talking about the record, because I feel like this is actually an album that demands explanation. So I want to tell you a bit about the story of this album:
In May of this year, I had some spare time in between tours, and my girlfriend and I decided to road trip out to the center of Canada, to visit some close friends of ours. During the week leading up to the trip, I was receiving some of the initial reviews for All Of Us, Together. One website posted a pretty scathing review that I happened to read, and in it, it said something along the lines of, “this is just computer music with no soul.” I was pretty shaken by this; anyone that knows me at a somewhat deep level, knows that “having soul” is something I take pretty serious. Still, these bad reviews, teamed with the all around rough year I was having in my personal life, actually lead to some forward movement: Rather than let these critiques, and these awful few months, debilitate me, I decided to take it all as a challenge. I began to write and record “Spirit”, the second last track on The Inner Mansions. A week later, as I sat in my friend’s kitchen in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, I finished the first mix of the song, and knew that the next month of my life would be devoted to creating an album, with this song setting the tone.
I got home a few days later, and began to think: how can I express the spirituality that runs so deeply through my life, through an album of “electronic music”. How can I create an album of “computer music with soul.” Almost immediately, my mind was drawn towards a book that I had read in my third year of college: A Life Of Prayer, by St. Teresa Of Avila. This book is the combining of two of St. Teresa’s works, one of which is titled “The Interior Castles (or The Inner Mansions)”. This book explains a theological theory, based in what is called “Christian Mysticism”. Teresa describes her journey through the “inner mansions” of the soul, each one representing a different level of closeness in intimacy to God. My muse was set, and I began to create songs that would represent those different places in that spiritual journey.
Between May and June, I wrote and recorded the nine official songs on the record, sending first mixes to the guys at Lefse, and some close friends along the way. (The one “unofficial” song, the Brian Eno cover, was recorded a few months after, and just felt like a perfect bonus track for the release.) I felt an immediate support from those people, which is something I will always be thankful for, and before long, we were discussing album art, mastering and the press cycle.
It all happened very fast, and I’m so glad the way that everything has turned out. This album is the sound of me working out things that affect me in a very deep way. This isn’t me trying to be relevant, or hip, or popular, or Chillwave, or any other ridiculous label or misconstruing that internet media loves to tag my work with. This has never been a project that I’ve used to further my social worth. I love music, and I love creating, recording, and performing music. I love taking the things I can’t say in words, and saying it through a song. In the short bio that came along with the initial press release, I call The Inner Mansions a “spiritual and musical journey” and that isn’t a lie. This album is my proudest work, because it speaks to something that is very deeply a part of who I am.
It’s my proudest work because I feel it’s my most honest work.
If you’ve read this entire thing, my thanks go out to you for spending the time to help enhance your experience in listening to the record. That’s all I’m trying to do with this; I want to provide a bit of context to the songs your hearing. I feel incredibly blessed to be an artist with an audience. There are so many talented people that don’t have the reach that I’ve accumulated, and I feel so honoured to be in that position.
Thank you for reading this, and I truly hope you enjoy the album.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again! Know that you are loved!