From A Stranger To Another
Dear brothers, sisters, friends, and loved ones,
It’s been a little over a year that I had the humble privilege to share the personal and intimate album “Windows in the Sky” with you all, a year marked by a great period of doubts and profound introspections, during which I might have been a little more discreet than I usually am, maybe even more contemplatively distant than I used to be. This is a moment that ultimately allowed me to keep on mourning my father, but that would consequently lead me to muse a little more about the elusive meaning of my own existence, and somehow, as cliché as it might be, after all those years spent hiding sorrow and despair in noises, slowly dwelling into the quietness of silences I kept on denying myself for so long has turned out to be a necessity turned salutary for me, even though I knew that being a bit more solitary, if not slightly remote, could have been a matter of worries for you. If so, I’m very sorry and forever grateful for your heart and patience towards me.
In fact, it’s inspired by the unique and heartfelt connection we established together over the years that I finally decided to give life to the open journal I promised to share with you following the release of “Windows in the Sky”. I know that I kept you waiting for quite a while, along with all the questions you so generously sent me, but it was important for me to do it when I was ready to joyfully do so, which I am now for so many different reasons.
To be honest, I initially envisioned the idea to start a specific blog about the album with a lot of enthusiasm, as I would be able to share about the songs, offer some insights about the process and the whole background that led to its creation. And after hearing Nick Cave talk so highly about his own new “conversation” blog, I was earnest about the sole idea of having the privilege to answer your questions and to commune with you in a more direct motion regarding the matter of what is still for me a very conflictual and paradoxical album. However, the enthusiasm changed when “Windows in the Sky” began to create its own beautiful high wave and became a top-charting seller… I started being concerned that such a personal blog could be used as a promotional endeavor supporting commercial purposes and I didn’t want to feel trapped in any potential marketing appropriation.
Therefore, the interest that so many people gave the album led me to take some kind of a step back. I needed to determine how deep I was willing to publicly expose myself, knowing how difficult it has been for me to write those songs and even more to release them. It made me wonder how compliant I would be to assume and incarnate those songs in front of people, may it be in live concerts or through interviews, how ready I was to experience the isolating anxiety and panic attacks I had to constantly deal with while fronting Your Favorite Enemies. I needed to be honest with myself. Was releasing this album a mistake? Was I weak to admit I was scared? Was it selfish to acknowledge I didn’t feel capable to face the same ghosts once again on my own? Was I even emotionally ready or even able to give it a try? I wondered… So I did like I used to for more than a decade and completely closed myself off, blocking everything from coming in or getting out. Again, a slave to the fear of losing myself even further than I knew I was.
The time I would spend reflecting about my self-imposed contrition and self-pity allowed me to fully dwell in the incredibly moving messages you sent me, messages in which you so generously and honestly shared how significant every piece of shadow and gleam of light shining all over “Windows in the Sky” has been for you, how it helped or empowered you. In what your own words can define:
“Let go. Find peace. Face your own grief and sorrow. Forgive yourself and/or others. Stand before your own reflection staring right back at you. To scream. To pray. To cry. To smile and laugh. To call an old friend in the middle of the night. To look at someone sleeping right beside you before the morning comes and feel blessed for him/her. To wonder why it’s been so long since you last took the chance to say “I love you” or to welcome another person’s affection.”
I have to admit that every one of your testimonies and confidences deeply moved me, so much that it actually gave me the courage I didn’t feel I had to keep on exploring the emotions floating way beyond the album’s lyrical and sonic textures. You gave me the courage to keep on losing myself on a journey made of unknown whispers and intangible, to drift into its yet timeless yet impermanent nature without trying to hide behind some intellectual justifications, without holding everything back like I usually do to protect myself from confusion, rage, powerlessness, and depression as much as any potential flashes of joy, peace, and serenity. I might always have to struggle with my own demons, but your messages showed me I wasn’t alone to do so, that it was ok to be scared and confused, but mostly, that it was time to embrace life for what it is.
Adding to your messages and testimonies, I decided, at the time of the release of the vinyl format of “Windows in the Sky”, that I would begin to write personal letters to anyone ordering the album… and I mean everyone. So I would spend days writing intimate and probably way too long messages to people; some old friends and faithful Your Favorite Enemies supporters, others discovering the music through their friends, many people I had never talked to before or ever wrote to in other circumstances. Every message was some sort of a precious opportunity for me to open up without any filter: it wasn’t about being perceived as special or cool or mystical or else, it was only about initiating something real, honest and human through which a connection could be made beyond the realm of perceptions and projections. My closest friends thought I was crazy to embark on such a colossal enterprise, but I found a great comfort in taking a chance to connect with people on a different level, knowing it could have been seen as totally weird. In retrospect, it probably was, and on so many levels, I guess!
I believe that writing that innumerable number of letters led me to a better understanding of what it means to be alive, to evolve within a communal reality, rather than trying to revolve around any so-called established safe zone keeping us within the realm of shallow conversational conjunction, perfectly defined and delineated by what we learn to accept as our social environment, rejecting at the very same time what makes any potential fellowship so singular, so fulfilling, so miraculous, somehow. Even though delicate, fragile, complex and never really atoned with our individual beliefs and paradoxes, taking a chance in someone else, in ourselves, in our ability to give, to receive, to trust, to be trusted, to love and to be loved in return, without truly knowing what it all really means nor implies… this is what it’s all about… At least, that’s what I found in my life, that regardless of how deeply connected I could be through all the social media platforms, a disruption between the “others” and me had slowly taken the place of what used to be so simple and rich. Some people told me that being a public figure inevitably creates such a degree of separation… Maybe, but I nonetheless believe in the ability to decide otherwise, just like Nick Cave proves it through the “Conversations” tour he recently did.
To do so, I decided to go along with the initial journal idea I had, but to do it with a different perspective. To make it less constraining, less organized, to make it somewhat more of an open journal, where I can post about “Windows in the Sky” , its songs, its lyrics, and sounds, but also about the particular nature of what lays underneath it all. I want a more genuine type of format that will allow me to share about impressions and sensations that inspired me, to ponder about events that led me where I am today, that shaped the person I became, the artist I am and the meaning of the art I create. In other words, to reflect on the album, but also about the life of noises and chaos that I live in, that bleed on me and whatever I create. All that along with answering the questions you already sent my way and those you might ask throughout this new collective voyage.
Titled “From a Stranger to Another”, as a leitmotiv to remind me of just wonderful of an opportunity we will have to discover and rediscover each other under the light of different topics and exchanges, I can’t say how many entries that open journal will have, how short or how long they will be, nor how often I will post or if I will back away from any of those good intentions I now have. But I want it to be the reflection of the spirit that ultimately turned disorientation and mourning into “Windows in the Sky”, into something aligned with what I just shared with you, as I’m not interested in what may be true or right, but only in what’s honest and genuine… one spark at the time.
Again, thank you so much for offering me the gift of your friendship with so much generosity, it means a whole lot to me, really.
Much love always,