As The Light Keeps Shining On

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As published in the Japanese magazine BEEAST

March 2nd, 2016 – New York City

In my life, a simple gesture has often revealed itself as being something quite significant. So when Ben, bassist in Your Favorite Enemies and someone I consider my brother, offered me a writing book with a fabulously uplifting quote from Ernest Hemingway engraved in golden letters, I knew it was as special for him to give as it was for me to receive, Hemingway being not only one of my favorite authors, but the words themselves being profoundly significant for me. Ben knows I rarely allow myself to profoundly dwell into most of the adventures I myself invite brothers, sisters, friends and loved ones to not only share with me, but to live to the fullest. It’s while meditating over the nature of those words that I’m writing my very first column for BEEAST magazine, and it’s while contemplating my resolute decision to write as I feel, rather than how I want you to perceive me through words, that I’m opening up today.

I’ve been in studio for several weeks now, and I’m leaving for New York City in a few hours… and as sunrise awaits its invitation to expose its colors to what looks like a reluctant dawn, I’m pondering over those words over and over again:

“In order to write about life
first you must live it”
– Ernest Hemingway

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It’s a little past 5pm, I’m in New York City where I played the iconic venue Pianos the night before with my band Your Favorite Enemies. It’s been an incredible concert filled with a pure emotional uplift and an absolute devotional let go. I have only rarely felt so atoned with the invisible essence of music than last night. There’s a spiritual reality to music that simply can’t be touched, explained, nor envisioned; you can feel it, but you can’t totally explain it, nor portray it. It’s a genuine kind of sensation that is impossible to emulate, or, at best, to fake. Last night was like that… A generous gift of love communed between people, all different by nature, but who surrendered themselves to the collective intimacy of the moment. Again pure, again absolute. If truth had colors, I would say that I saw more shades of its distinctive freedom shine last night than I have ever allowed myself to see the vibrant luminosity of happiness in my life so far. It was bigger than New York itself. It was a journey to the end of our illusionary need to control what we can’t explain, the other end of our shadowy perception of what needs to be as we can constrain. Last night was everything I’ve ever longed for… needed.

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The last couple of months have been quite intense for me and the band, both emotionally and physically. We are a true “Do-It-Yourself Artist Entrepreneurs” unit, as we manage everything from songwriting, album recording and video production, up to every step of our merchandising creation and every single aspect involved in being part of the music business. I haven’t seen time go by, and time has the cynical ability to play with our situational perception of fantasy and facticity, turning our vision of life into a blurred motion of sensation measured through affective dizziness and wishful state of confusion. I haven’t seen daylight in a long time, and it’s not that I haven’t set foot outside my nightmares; I have. But sometimes, night shivers become a tearing plague for silent lovers on a late morning goodbye. It doesn’t have anything to do with how high you might stand; vertigo can be a matter of heart and soul. It’s a wolf howling in an indistinct and vague prose to a moon we all tried to run away from at one point in our lives. That road trip to New York City came as a blessing for me, as a perfect canvas to reinvent the colors I so often tried to escape, as an invitation to die and be reborn without thinking about the consequences of losing myself for good… to feel human.

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When we left from Montreal early in the morning, in the cold of what looked like the birth of another gray and foggy lonely day, I didn’t exactly remember what outside shimmers looked like. I’ve been in studio for the last couple of weeks, working on our latest album, “Between Illness and Migration” Deluxe edition, revisiting all sorts of vivid and vibrant feelings from one song to another, facing the joys and desperations that gave birth to what became a very personal album, seeing faces of people long gone, hearing the unaltered reflection of the broken man I was through the voice I had hidden my misery in, putting light on innocent senses I used to reveal only once immersed in the false security of the dark… The sounds of a drowning soul looking at the reverberating color of the surface undulating in peace as it falls deeper down.

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I don’t believe in regrets. But if I did, I would have plenty to outlive. The melancholic tones of those songs, of those words, hit me like a faithful tide reaching shore on a regimental beat. It’s like revisiting a picture book filled with the images we hated the most, only to realize or to admit to ourselves that every picture is a reproduction of everything we are deep inside, revealed in a cruel but accurate way. If stories can be rewritten, life cannot be reversed. It’s what we do with it that makes us grow, it’s what we accept and let go of that makes us free from our deepest fears, our darkest secrets… just like a journey where blinded confusion becomes a radiating rain of colors gently falling over our head before blessing every single one of our footsteps into a lit path back home. Besides all the technical aspects that come with crafting a deluxe version for “Between Illness and Migration”, the affective dimension beneath such creative revisitation and explorative reappropriation is the blazing honesty that gives birth to such an artistic journey’s incandescence. Not the loudest amp, nor the heaviest noise can fake itself into such truth. For me, art is about that journey through the bleakest and most cheerful seasons of your soul, a pilgrimage to touch the invisible, to witness the intangible, if there’s such thing as impalpable eloquence and beauty… to capture time, to fondle impermanence.

I have always loved those band road trips. I never travelled as a kid, coming from a very humble family, but my imagination always had the ability to transform my difficult childhood into the most fabulous expedition I could have dreamed of. So I guess I kept that hopeful and dreamy open-minded spirit regarding travelling. I find every single one of our band’s trips a wonderful reflection of where I am, not geographically, but in my life, a pure reflection of the man I became, both as a bandmate and as an individual evolving within the intrinsic culture of being in a group. I knew that short trip to New York would be incredibly significant for me. Once again, it goes way beyond music. It’s another invitation for me to totally immerse myself in the essence of what it means to be human, to be touched, to be fragile… to believe. And for me, everything revolves around that same waving disruption of faith and doubts, in finding a way to transcend every single time I failed myself attempting to surrender my dreadful whispers to the altar of someone else’s gentle caress on my desiring senseless face. That’s why I’ve never seen my road trips as early morning runaways. I might have tricked my heart into becoming a blinded skyfall over my permanent self-indulged miseries, but I have never disguised a smiling au revoir into an everlasting goodbye. Even if I have often wished I could become the lies I told myself so many times, I am nonetheless thankful I have never been able to do so, to convince myself to capitulate. The furthest trip is an inside one.

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Last night’s concert has been an inside journey made of an equal mesure of vulnerability and intensity, a pure state of heart and soul giving the iconic venue Pianos a slow motion stream of eternity and a delicate nuance of whispering fervency that only blooms in the reflection of all emotional uninhibitedness unfolding itself through the fragile balance between feeling free and being set free. At least, that’s how I felt. Elevated by brothers, sisters, friends and loved ones, by a singular fellowship, real, honest, humble, a unique heartfelt agape defined by its sacred kind of unconditional abandonment… whatever it means for each and everyone of us present in that venue, well-known for its artistic broken dreams and its instant fame. But last night was not about stardom and make-believes, not about fallen stars nor unthroned kings and queens. It was about that dazzling epiphany where noises and innocence become one effulgent voice clamoring its soulful resolution to live. It was an emotional landmark. At least, that’s how I see it.

Therefore, I’m incredibly thankful for the peaceful vibe we breathe in as I’m writing… our New York City trip has been truly peaceful and deeply contemplative, which is a perfect representation of the stunning sunset that still showers the whole island of Manhattan in a bright display of yellow, orange and red, all simultaneously reverberating in the magnificent American East Coast’s early spring’s blissful blue sky. That magnificent view felt like home and the profound sensation of serenity floating around undeniably defines every grateful word we confessed at the Bushwhick Inlet Park a few minutes ago, as the band gathered earlier for its traditional toast to friendship, to devotional grace, let go and faith. I don’t think I could have found a better moment to start writing my first “Beauty of Noises and Waves” personal column.

Just as the light keeps shining on… and if “in order to write about life, first we must live it”… well that’s what I have lived in New York City. Next stop: Austin, Texas.

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Comments (1)

  • Melanie Laberge

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    ”In order to write about life you must once live it”
    That is such a powerful quote. Ernest Hemingway has always been someone that I looked up to as an artist, growing up, I read and studied his stories and thoughts on the world and they truly ignited this extreme passion I now have inside of me today. He taught me about the hardships of life and how you can still identify the light within all the shades of brutality your reality might drowning in during that period…

    I am currently staring at the emptiness of my screen, trying to formulate into words how such profound emotions could be interpreted or even elucidated in a language that is not invisible, but one that declares the most honest colors of the heart and reaches the horizon of cherubs dancing in the sky from its light that radiates truthfulness and faithfulness. I just finished reading your column, and once again I am left in this deep state of reverence and astonishment, because what you verbalized within this voice that you have given to your paragraphs is a heartening melody that should be sung to every fragmented soul and blistered person out there. Ethereal beauty, defines your words. They elevated my once troubled spirit to a condition of complete tranquility, because I now am aware that I was not the only one consumed by this daily overcast of gloom. It’s more than comforting to know that without knowledge we were walking down the same road, and came to realize on our own how the flavors of life we’re more magnificently pronounced when you savor each moment and live every minute to the fullest. Once I completed the viewing of your many sentences, I was left wonderstruck by the fact that I thought, how could someone see nuances of this world so vividly when he is thought to be lost in candlelit moments, I then realized that colorful tones were always present within the most sacred of parts of him. The evidence was right here, even when you think you are submerged in total obscurity, the hues of your heart fueled by your deep love and affection for others can lift you out of any permanent state of loss.

    Your written article opened my eyes to so much beauty that I was unaware existed before this very day, what a gift is it to see the treasures of life through your soulful eyes. I thought for an instant that I was rising towards another state of consciousness and accessing another part of myself; where true exquisiteness could only be viewed by being absolutely vulnerable and only in motion of complete surrendering do you get the key to see the revealing of that pure artistry. That is how I felt, like I was witnessing the birth of something greater than myself, the death of fear and the deliverance through the fire burning inside the desires that reside in you. I felt like I was one step away (purely coincidental to the release of the song lol) to knowing what letting go solely means in the vision of a person that has been imprisoned for so long, and is finally swimming in the waters of utter liberation because he is giving to others what matters most, himself entirely without holding back.
    Although your heart has been battered, crushed and torn, it is still functioning and its pulsations are echoing through the sounds that your voice makes by speaking truth through this column, and just by sharing daily. Therefore, you can never be buried by Cimmerian shades when light within is the path to absolute freedom.

    I can’t even begin to understand the immense mental and physical strength, devotion and passion it takes the endure such a lifestyle, from what you do on a day to day basis: creating sounds, being part of the music industry and constantly crafting hand made products, and so on. My heart goes out to you, because in a way a person has to suffer to achieve greatest which has always saddened me, but nevertheless I know the powerful significance YFE has for you, because it is something that feeds your drive and longing to chase after the brightness of the sun, to capture that radiance and carry it along your journey so you can share it with every single person you meet. I would gladly undergo tremendous painful tribulation to bring hope, love and happiness to a nation of people, for it is such a substantial gift to influence the world and to see it bloom in the most blissful complexion because of our selflessness. Honestly, I think you are the most caring and selfless person, which is why you are everything to me and to our brothers and sisters, therefore, please take care of yourself. I know it’s challenging for you to slow down, and appreciate the colors of the sunset but it is essential to glance from time to time and take in its beauty. Promise that you will breathe, even if that is all you can do to unwind…and let God’s embrace take care of the healing. We love you dearly brother and we want you healthy. You know how sensitive of a person I can be when it comes to you, as always I will continue to pray for your health, happiness and safety.

    I am quite enthusiastic to witness the release of the Between illness and migration (Deluxe edition) and I know that with everything you had to relive through the process, sculpt out of your very core to pour into the element of this album will be present among the notes of purity and wholehearted tales of a once broken heart. Upon its sharing, it will be another transformative occasion to discover through your perception the complexity and beauty of life. I am impatient to see it’s unveiling.

    Travelling for me, has always been an activity mastered by the wealthy which wasn’t part of my family’s values growing up, and also being ill most of my youth I didn’t have the energy to do so, but it’s funny how life works out when you desperately require something it comes knocking at your door and provides you with the exact one thing that was missing. For me, that was love. I found it along that journey of self-discovery going to Quebec city for the first time to see the band play in January of last year, it was a turning point for me and a deep revelation also, because I experienced the purest essence of liberty; it was extremely freeing, especially our first encounter truly evoked this endless blossoming. It reminds me of the painting that I gave you, I may have painted the colors but you shaped the image into the most beautiful of moments by simply being who you are. Thank you.

    Every concert and instant shared is entirely felt through the heart and soul and, I am more than joyous to read that this show at the Pianos uplifted you in countless ways.

    I am deeply moved by the ending when you talked about the sunset seeing that I mentioned it above without thinking, you took a moment to caress its beauty and that to me is profoundly meaningful. At no time, forget how to appreciate the precious treasures that are around you every day. I couldn’t possibly be more proud of you.

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