With my series on Rediscovering Music giving you an idea of where my head has been over the last few months, I figured it was time to go ahead an announce my latest project, The Mayor of Strawberry Hill. I'm using the project name as a way to separate myself. To sort of be an outer personality. In full disclosure, this is the most personal music I've ever created. If for no other reason, because it's so different from what I've ever done. I needed the name to help me feel like it was okay for it to be different. I've forced myself to create music for me. To not allow my concerns of what other people might think to creep up behind me and convince me to abandon ship.
I think popular music has lost the art of the process in a lot of cases. People aren't interested in digging deeper into the meaning of a piece of music, because it's primarily spelled out though the lyrical content. Maybe it's just me, but I think a lot of people are running out of things to say. When I started this project, words began to seem limiting, so I just went straight for sound.
The source audio is a series of field recordings that I took when we were touring Europe, and I composed accompanying musical parts around it. Some pieces are chance, in that the two parts were thrown together to see what would happen. Others are carefully placed. But all of it was done without over-thinking. Just creating for the sake of creation and enjoyment. Working so quickly allowed me to listen back to the pieces, often as if it was for the first time.
The title of the album is "A Great Offer". There are 5 pieces in all, and I plan to release them sometime soon. No date has been set, but it's all wrapped and finished. All 5 pieces have accompanying video, like the one above. The video content is from someone's home movies of Europe, and they often show some of the same cities that I recorded the source audio from. From the moment I started this, I wanted to give new life to those sounds that I had captured while we were there. I loved the idea of doing the same for the video content that someone had taken so many years ago, quite possibly without any intent of anyone else ever seeing it. A marriage of two things created for completely different reasons.
My goal was to write something that couldn't be judged the same way pop songs can. Maybe I did that, and maybe I didn't… but none the less, I went out on a limb with certain things. I took some of the chances I've wanted to take… and that's what The Mayor is all about. Taking chances, and pushing people to listen to music in new ways.
I made this for me. Now I'm sharing it with you, in hopes that even if you don't enjoy it, you'll think differently about the music that's coming out of the speakers the next time you're prepared to dismiss it, and think about what the musician himself might have been thinking. There could be a reason that music makes you feel uncomfortable in the same way it may bring you comfort...