I’m good at procrastinating— like really good. A case in point: yesterday I slept in until around 11:30am, enjoyed a long breakfast of coffee, pasta, and eggs (I decided yesterday that its ok to eat pasta for breakfast), proceeded to play about 7 games of Super Smash Bros with my roommate, and then watched an episode of Breaking Bad. So by this time, it had begun snowing outside, and having been cooped up inside all day, I decided to go take a nice leisurely walk in the central park snow. So I packed up a thermos full of coffee and a book to read and set out. I found a nice dry perch under an awning (pictured above) where I could drink my coffee and watch the snow fall.
Now, keep in mind, I still had a song to record this day. I was just blissfully putting this off, the way any great procrastinator does. By the time I got back to my apartment, I had worked up an appetite again, so I had to eat a salad. This took me all the way up until about 7pm. Now, any reasonable person would know that they needed to begin their work immediately. And I did attempt to. I settled in front of my computer in my tiny bedroom/recording space with every intention to start working, but lo the Saturday spirit had taken too strong hold on me. So I made sure to stream some NBA All-Star weekend for an hour or so before I actually touched an instrument. I finally finished my Saturday song at about 1:00am, which as you kiddos know, technically isn’t even Saturday anymore. Oh well. I think it turned out pretty alright anyway. I hope you like it!
So Thursday evening I was all set to play a show with my band Kangaroo when I learned that the venue double booked the stage that night. They had recently moved their weekly drag show from Friday to Thursday and somehow that fact didn’t reach the ears of the guy who booked us to play. And apparently the drag show has a little more clout than four unknown Brooklyn rock bands because they got the spot. I wish I could say that this is the first time one of my bands got bumped for a drag show… but its not.
The good news is this gave me more time to work on my daily songs. Hope you enjoy them!
A couple weeks ago I predicted that my biggest challenge as I tackle this goal of recording a song everyday would be to overcome the discomfort of sharing work that I’m not exactly proud of. Well, you can call me Nostradamus because my prediction came true. I flat out do not like two of these songs, one of which I considered playing completely in reverse, because at least that would be artsy and cool instead of bland and lame (but I chickened out of that). If I wasn’t so stubborn I wouldn’t share these with you. But I am stubborn, and so I’m sticking to this goal I’ve set for myself.
Luckily this week also produced two of my favorite songs I’ve made during the course of this experiment, so I think it all evens out in the end. Now I’m not going to tell you which songs I love and which I hate, because you might love or hate a completely different set of songs, and I don’t want to sway you in anyway. However, I do want to introduce a simple new element to this project of mine: I’m going to start naming the songs. Because who wants to listen to a boring old song called January 31? Not me. But do I want to listen to a song called January 31st — Bumpin’ Gumballs? You bet your britches I do.
This morning I read a profile in the New Yorker about the writer William Melvin Kelley (pictured above). There are many remarkable things about Kelley’s life and personality— the fact that he attained literary success with his 1962 debut novel A Different Drummer when he was only 24, that he was a black man who often wrote from a white perspective in order to expose white America’s contradictory views on African Americans, or that he essentially coined the term “woke” that we all use so much today. But the thing that I admire most about him is that every day he sat down at a desk facing the wall and wrote— first he would write in pencil, then he would edit his draft with a pen, and finally he would type it on a typewriter. He repeated this ritual everyday, even after he fell into relative artistic obscurity later in his life. The man simply loved to write. As I tackle this task of writing and recording a song everyday it is helpful to draw inspiration from other figures like Kelley who have gone down a similar path. I really don’t know where this path is leading, but I do know that, like Kelley, I just love to write and record music. Hope you enjoy this week’s work.
Alright kiddos, this week I want to talk about string theory. Just kidding. I’m going to talk about myself. So tomorrow marks the first day of my last semester of grad school at NYU. And thus begins the true test of my New Year’s resolution of recording a song a day. It has been relatively easy to record these songs these first few weeks because I’ve been able to spend as much time on them as I’ve needed. Now begins the difficult task of spending less time on each song and still managing to create something that I feel is worth sharing. Or, more likely, thus begins the even more difficult process of creating things that I do not feel are worth sharing, and still sharing them. Because dammit, I made myself a resolution and I’m going to stick to it. Anyway, here’s this week’s batch. Enjoy!
I was at the Comedy Cellar over the summer when one of the comedians (I wish I remembered his name) told this joke: “So I saw a girl crying on the subway recently. Whenever I see someone crying in public in New York I always think the same thing… Why aren’t more people crying right now!?” I thought about this joke a lot this week. Because in addition to the usual high levels of rats, rabble, and rent, it was also just painfully cold. But come to think of it, the question “why aren’t more people crying right now?” is probably valid anywhere in the world. Life is hard man. It’s ok to cry about it. And at the same time, it’s ok to dance about it. So watch this video if you need some bodily inspiration, and be sure to check out week two of my daily song project below that! See you next week kiddos.
It’s New Years Eve and I’m sitting at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. At my current perch, the Starbucks at the end of gate H, I’ve witnessed one impromptu wrestling team practice, two adorable psychiatric service dogs, and about 17 people who resemble Larry Bird in some meaningful way. I’m familiar with this land of a thousand Larrys— a decade ago I spent a semester of college at nearby Lake Forest College and I remember believing for a time that Chicago could be my permanent home. Now its just the middle point between Little Rock and New York.
I wrote that a week ago today, thinking I was going to post something that day, but I quickly got swept up in the New Years eve festivities as soon as I landed back in New York. I really enjoyed being back in Little Rock for the holidays— it still feels like home. While it used to be the place where I worked hard to patch together enough gigs and lessons to earn a musical livelihood, now it is a respite of relaxation. It is always replenishing for me to come back and eat home-cooked meals with my family, take hour long baths, watch an enormous amount of NBA basketball on TV, and get properly drunk at least once with my friends. Yet there comes a time during every trip home when the relaxation has turned into stagnation, and I’m ready again to hustle in the bustle of the big city. Thus, it was from the warm depths of my parents’ comfortable couch that I hatched this ambitious New York City sized New Year’s resolution:
I will write and record a song* everyday*.
I know what you’re thinking (because I can read minds). You’re thinking “Lucas, you doofus, you’re not going to record a song everyday— that’s crazy! I bet you only last like four days….”
First of all, there’s no need to call me names. Words hurt, man. Second of all, you’re a hater. Third of all, I’ve already lasted more than four days so you can go suck a lemon.
Next, you’re thinking, “why are there asterisk next to the words song and everyday?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s start with the word song. The traditional definition of the word song is a piece of music that is meant to be performed by the human voice with or without instrumental accompaniment. That is, songs are meant to be sung (of course there are famous exceptions to this rule such as Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words). Instead of the traditional definition, I’m using the word song in the way 99 percent of Americans use it, simply to mean any standalone piece of music. For instance, the 1999 crossover techno hit Sandstorm by the Finnish DJ Darude isn’t technically a song by historical standards, but people the world over still call it a song whenever they exclaim “I fucking love that song!” or “I fucking hate that song!” Similar to Sandstorm, most of my musical works will be instrumentals that aren’t necessarily “songs” per se, but I’m calling them songs just like your iTunes library would. For I’m not quite pretentious enough to call this project something like “Daily Opus” (although I am clearly pretentious enough to write a long paragraph demonstrating that I know what a song is).
Yes, there’s also an asterisk next to the word “everyday” you noticed. I think we all know what everyday means (define everyday: every day). That asterisk is there because around day six of this adventure I realized that I needed to heed some old testament advice and take a day of rest if I want to sustain this level of output. So here at Lucas Murray Music, everyday actually means everyday except Sunday. I make the rules!
Anyway, it would be easy to write and record these songs, just tell you I did it, and then pat myself on the back. In fact it would be even easier to just straight up lie to you and say that I’m writing and recording these songs, when I’m really just on the couch watching the show Big Mouth over and over again. But for better or worse I’m going to share these songs with you every Sunday. Just check them out on my homepage or at the bottom of this post. I hope you like them! Also, if you want to use any of them for your personal projects please let me know! We can work it out.