When I left home this afternoon, I was reluctant, there was weight in my steps bearing down from my shoulders. I didn't really feel like going for a walk, but if these past 8 months have taught me anything, it's that a walk in the morning or afternoon sunlight can really change your attitude, not just about your day, but about yourself as well. These past months have been a battle as I've struggled to return to health after my episode of Pericarditis and with the grief of losing my dear sweetheart Mum. I've had some concept of the connectedness between the two; the pericardium protects the heart after all and it is no wonder I was vulnerable there in Mum's final days. To watch her struggle with Emphysema was so heartbreaking- like watching someone drown, even though they are not immersed in water. She was a beautiful woman with a heart of absolute gold. She'd give you the shirt off her back if she thought you needed it and wouldn't take no for an answer. There was some peace to her passing. Some relief for her after many years of struggling. I have dedicated my most recent double album 'Sunshine Avenue' to her and everything that she gave to me and the making of me as a human and as an artist.
But back to the walk.....
I'm always uplifted by this process of putting one foot in front of the other and gaining momentum - it's very life affirming - and brings with it a natural high - the only high I'm interested in these days.
Whenever I walk my brain wanders with me, not necessarily in the same space as me, but with me, I mean I might be looking at the sunlight breaking through the branches of the trees, but I'll be thinking about life, about adapting to change, about how technology is changing the animal we are- at which point I might even take an ironic selfie and reflect on our culture for better and for worse, but also notice that my steps are somewhat lighter now, that i feel energised, awake and have a positive view of what is achievable and possible in my life. #selfie #narcissism #blamefergo #makingmywaybacktofeelinglikeme - a gratitude for existing comes over me and my sufferings have more purpose as I notice the inspiration they have given my direction.
I might be looking at a river reflecting silver sunlight, but my mind is thinking about Derrida and associations of language and symbols and sounds, or rummaging through old souvenir thoughts about semiotics, or Fromm, our fear of freedom, sadomasochism in cultural interrelations, or Jung, archetypes and how Arnold Mindell visited my dreams so that I might remember the magic in a magpie's call- the message to write down your feelings, to express yourself, to give your sufferings a creative outlet if only to move on and restore health and vitality - and to once again find balance through art and self expression.
Anyway yes..... all of this and more may swim through my consciousness as I walk and breath and be.
I highly recommend it.
Today I met up with Sal Castro from Turtle Films, (a heartfelt gentleman who's inner child is still very much creatively alive) and we jammed on the idea of doing a live DVD shoot of Andy Jans-Brown & COZMIC.
We talked it over, we tried to get to the very core of the thing.
"Why?" He asked.
"What's it about?"
"What is the story you are a telling and to who?"
"Who is your target audience?"
In part I want to do it to reach out to Festival organisers and Promoters and give them a taste of what it is like to be in the audience of one of our gigs.
Launching the new double album has been a lot of fun, especially the pyjama party at The Rails and The Royal Mail Hotel at Goodna with all them salt of the earth people out there.
The feedback I've received has been great, but so often I hear the same thing. "Andy I love the new album, I'm so wrapped to have been a part of your crowd funding campaign at www.pozible.com/sunshineavenue , but seeing you guys live takes it to a whole new level, it's like these songs were written to be performed live!"
The album was recorded in that old school way- four guys in a room and press record in an attempt to capture something true about the way we as a band relate to each other through the songs, but of course listening to the CD you can't see us looking at each other and feeding off one another and the whole process that is the making of our art. We always have some space in our live shows for spontaneity.
I'm a big believer in the magic that is made through communion with each other, with the audience and the spirit of the song - it truly is something shamanic.
That's another thing we've heard a lot through out the tour - "watching you guys and listening to you guys is a healing."
Music should be a healing.
Two of my favourite festivals are Womadelaide and Bluesfest Byron Bay. At both of these festivals I've experienced true catharsis.
It's the very reason I was drawn to making music in the first place. Like a young man with burning hair seeking a pond - so was I when I approached music, literature and art- and I'm grateful to say I still have hair :)
I was also lucky enough a few years back to work through The Royal Children's Hospital and Berry Street with the kids who survived the tragic Victorian Bush Fires.
If ever I was in doubt before then about the healing power of music and the arts, I was certainly left with no doubts afterwards.
I believe that when we authentically express the experience of being alive with all it's beauty and sufferings- that during the process some kind of self awareness is born, some kind of objectivity of our situation is discovered and we are liberated from the suffering.
Art is transformative! Some kind of transcendence is gained from viewing or listening or creating art.
But I digress....back to the Live DVD shoot - there are som many reasons I want to make it; I hope to somehow capture some of the spirit and heart that has been poured into the making of both my double albums, not just by me, but by everyone who has been a part of this whole COZMIC adventure. I want to continue with the pyjama party theme - it goes with the latest album - the idea that life is the pyjama and death is the sleep to come afterwards. I remember as a kid how we all loved sleepovers and how we'd stay up all night and laugh and have deep and meaningful conversations - and we'd all truly connect with one another - this is my kind of party. :)
And there's another reason to do it - simply to document a friendship, to contribute a page to the history of folk.
Sure, I don't play folk music, but in it's essence it is folk music - there's something in what we do, and what I write that is all about connecting with the audience, about building community, about welcoming all the weirdo's and making the audience feel at home some how in the world of our songs.
Too much of our culture leaves us feeling alienated, self doubting and afraid, just like Fromm discusses in 'Fear of Freedom' or Naomi Klein discusses in 'No Logo' or 'The Shock Doctrine'.
I believe as artist our role is to bring a person closer to themselves, not to alienate them further and this is the energy we work with as a band and as individuals.
I feel blessed on a daily basis to play music with COZMIC, not just for their individual talents but for being in communion with the good natured, generous souls I know these people to be - that is one of the things that gives me energy to continue the hard slog of being an Indie band leader - a very demanding job I guess that only other Indie band leaders could appreciate.
I really believe that COZMIC deserve to have the experience of playing the songs through the best sound systems technology has to offer with that wonderful in ear fold back and to an appreciative large festival audience- and so this is my goal - this is what I aiming for, to hone my art in music and music business to perform a COZMIC healing on a festival audience.
I hope you can join me on my adventure.
I'm really looking forward to our Melbourne CD launch at Bar Open Fitzroy on Wednesday March 18th with the wonderful SiB whom I was lucky enough to play with in the band IRIS, and whom I know to play with absolute conviction of soul and heart, and also Phoebe Jacobs and Stellafauna whom also shares the same kind of passion. Tickets are $10 on the door.
Sincerity- which of course escapes us when we name it - for sincerity is as ever changing as the wind, you can not try to be sincere or you'll miss it - but yes something like sincerity - SiB refers to his music as 'Salvation' , I can relate to this deeply - music is a healing, music is a transformative process - if you're in Melbourne mid March come and be a part of it, come and join our community spirited inclusive event where you don't have to be cool to be cool, where you are simply invited to loafe, to dream, to wander, to dance, to express your own authenticity as we do the same, capturing some light in self reflection.