Influence Behind The Album Pt 2
Around the same time I was bang into the hardcore stuff I heard a song on commercial radio - Eels - Last Stop This Town. To be honest it wasn't really my bag, I thought the jaunty intro and pitched vox fx were slightly sweet and gimmicky, had it not been for the vocal it would have completely passed me by.
The first line "you're dead but the world keeps spinning" just struck a chord - sat on that bed of music declaring yours, his, my life completely irrelevant is beyond great. That juxtaposition is again cemented with "what if I was not your only friend in this world, can you take me where you're going if you're never coming back?" a bridge and a half before vinyl scratches and guitar stabs churn over into a poor mans Beck. The great thing about this is that the music didn't need it, didn't want it, or even see it coming.
Mark "E" Everett's ability to paint pictures so poignant and then undermine them in such a way it leaves you pondering your mortality and it's validity is genius. Electro Shock Blues is full of these, and considering the story of his life it really is no wonder. He lost the majority of his family to various tragedies - father to heart failure, mother to cancer, sister to suicide and later on a cousin in a 9/11 plane that hit the Pentagon. Beyond fucked.
What struck me most was that lyrically and conceptually he never hid from any of it, he let you under the table where he was hiding and bore his soul. That is fucking commendable, and that has probably had the biggest impact on how I approach my lyrics to date. I always strive to make honest music about situations I know personally and with that I want to invite someone into my world, warts and all, no matter how delicate a situation is. As long as it's authentic I'm happy to let the chips fall where they may.
My Position In Hip Hop
I absolutely don't feel like I should hide anything through fear of being judged, labelled or condemned. That includes my position in hip hop. I am very vocal about the fact I don't freestyle, it's never been a part of my culture personally and I choose not to be judged on what I can come up with without any real consideration. I don't battle, because I refuse to look at what I hold in such high regard as competition. This music has given me what I thought wasn't possible -the ability to regain control of my life from the grip of mental illness that has popped up periodically since I was a young lad. Hip hop showed me the truth, therefore it's only right I do the same.
That whole Electro Shock Blues record was an experience and it spoke to me like few albums ever have. I remember I was struggling mentally as there were a lot going on at the time -I didn't have a secure place to live and drugs had crept in and exaggerated any problems to where I couldn't see a way out. Unbeknown to E he became a sort of wounded brother in arms, a fallen comrade who had taken twice the shrapnel I had, I felt his struggle and that seemed to lessen mine. For that I'm grateful... Cheers E.