Tag Archives: Lyrics

Artist Feature: Gavin Dunaway

Libel

Standard operating procedure. When something stimulates a reaction, we must reflect – on our personal feelings and experience as well as all available information – before formulating our reaction.

– Gavin Dunaway

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

GD: I was born outside of Washington, DC, in Northern Virginia, and spent 27 years trying to get out. I kid, but it’s very hard to get away from the DC area – there are good schools and government jobs; the suburbs are safe and comfy. And a little dull. On a professional (for a living, I’m an industry journalist) and on an artistic level, I needed something more, something bolder. I still love my hometown, and the choice to move to New York (really Brooklyn) was a tough one, but I’ve been here six years and have never felt more at home. A few years ago, I found an amazing deal on a big apartment in Bushwick near the Jefferson L, and I’m sitting pretty near my rehearsal studio as the neighborhood rapidly transforms.

 The main reason I migrated to Brooklyn was to extend my rock’n’roll dreams: I’ve been playing guitar since I was 7 and jammed in bands for longer than I can remember. While I jumped around from band to band for a while, my main focus now is the group I lead, Libel. I try to blend my love of 70s glam (e.g., David Bowie) with 90s post-punk (e.g., Fugazi), while sprinkling socially conscious lyrics on top – examining the contemporary state of identity; the decay of the middle class and domination of the plutocrats; the slide into hyper-reality; and even the volatility of love amid cultural confusion.

Libel

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

GD: Standard operating procedure. When something stimulates a reaction, we must reflect – on our personal feelings and experience as well as all available information – before formulating our reaction. Technology has encouraged us to respond without reflecting (I’m looking at you, Twitter), turning so much of our culture into a series of knee-jerk reactions with little depth. Indeed, I think many of us are so lost in the flood of information that we desperately seek guides to follow and allow them to tell us what to think – about politics, art, etc. Reflection withers, response dominates – we’re all desperate to be heard, and ultimately validated, in an ocean of voices.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

GD: I tend to let songs gestate for years; crafting both music and lyrics require a great deal of reflection before finalization. For example, I’m finishing up lyrics to a song focused on gentrification. When I finished the first draft, I thought, what is this trying to say – gentrification is bad? No, it’s more complicated than that. Am I just merely describing what I’ve seen in Bushwick the last few years? If so, is there a message below the straightforward chronicle? In the end, I realized the lyrics reflected the callousness of the gentrifiers (which includes me) to transform areas without any – wait for it – reflection on the environment they are disturbing. And then we move on when we get priced out or just… bored because the area turns into something we don’t recognize (or like).

 So my creative work feels much more dedicated to reflection, and encouraging others to reflect and develop their own responses.

Libel

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Artist Feature: Naïmah

I had the good pleasure of meeting Naïmah at a local coffeehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn a couple weeks ago. A Washington D.C.-based singer-songwriter, Naïmah is currently working on her own EP, writing songs for a handful of other artists, and playing shows in the DC and New York areas. We’re happy to welcome her to the Collective as she discusses her understanding and application of Reflection and Response, the creative process behind her song Wolf and I, and various other topics. We’re looking forward to a lot more dope work from Naïmah in the months and years ahead! Check out the dialogue below.

Naimah

Support each other. I’ve witnessed too much animosity in the art world, especially jealousy-driven. Everyone has their own gift, their own individual way of looking at something, and at the end of the day, no one can replicate that.

– Naïmah

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

N: I’m from Washington, D.C., and after going to boarding school in Boston, and college at USC in Los Angeles, I’ve made my way back to the District. A bit surprising to some, as I’m emanating those California vibes “for sure”, but it’s nice to be home and planting my roots and growing where I first got started.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

N: Within the harmony of those two actions I find the creative process at its best.  The thing about art as I see it, or at least how I approach my music, is that it is always a response to a reflection on a moment, a person, a feeling, and so on.

Whether I realize something is on my mind or not, songwriting helps me navigate through that process of reflection, and to figure out just how much that subject meant—or means—to me.  Each song is me saying, “This is my response about X. This is how I feel.”

And the incredible part is when that individual reflection and response, my response, captures the way someone else might also feel in their own reflection, or to allow them to see their feelings in a new light.

It’s hard to make this intangible transaction into a tangible explanation, but I hope that all makes sense.

How does ‘Wolf and I’ fit in with that definition? 

N: It doesn’t get more “reflection and response” than in Wolf and I. Well, it does, but prior to writing the song I’d been in a phase of day-dreaming and imagining and writing songs based on these scenes I made up when, after a trip to New York, I was headed back home on the bus, feverishly free-writing in my notes on my iPhone (let me say how restrictive auto-correct and that little screen is) as I attempted to capture how I felt about the events that had just occurred, and all the moments and experiences making up my relationship with this particular person and situation.

Wolf and I is a love song in its most basic interpretation, but I think the fact that it’s really so much more than that below the surface is why people have been able to connect with it. It’s about perception, the way you look at something, the good and the bad all at once.

Wolf is a simile I used to describe someone and something both close and distant, endearing, and in the process of change; and Wolf and I was my reflection, my attempt to articulate, all these thoughts in some kind of compact organization that I could store them in.

Since writing the song, I’ve opened back up to the realization of how important reflection and response is, and how my songs come to life when they are created in this frame of mind.

Photo by Alexandra Howland

Photo by Alexandra Howland

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Feature: Christian Garcia Fonseca Secher

The LIFESTYLE Collective expands. Were going going, back back to Madrid Madrid. Christian Garcia Fonseca Secher balances a life of many facets: various cultures, experiences, and mediums make up this one man. His work as an instrumentalist and vocalist through various projects bring out the different tones that Reflection and Response can exude. Christian shows us how creation is a genre in itself that can spread over eclectic places and spaces. Peep the dialogue below with examples of this artist’s work!

Christian

I only write when something happens, but when it does, the pen can´t stop.

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

CGFS: Well, My mother’s family comes from Denmark, and I was born there, but I grew up in Madrid Centro. Is good to have two natural born cultures, it makes you see things in two different ways, have to sights to everything. But if there´s no big changes, I will stay in Madrid as long as I can. This city provides me all what I need, and sometimes it can make you feel small at the same time, but I have my small town in the mountains, an hour from Madrid, to breathe and chill when it´s necessary. I must recognize that I see to many things going wrong in the country I live in, and I fall many times in comparing with the good things Denmark has, but in spite of it all, this is where I come from and I will stay while my situation is sustainable.

 What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

CGFS: I think is a good opportunity to get to know myself and the little artist I have inside, who don’t show up that often. It´s funny to think that before we made our first video clip (8.A.M.) with my band (Welt de Klasse) there was not that many that knew that I had a band or that I had been making music since I was 17 (even my family). I must recognize that the big change came after I met Peter Müller and Vivian Garcia a year ago. They invited me for the first time in my life to get on the stage (and I´m 30 years old). To work with them is always a pleasure, because there´s absolutely freedom to do what comes from inside. They are so talented that makes you feel so grateful when they ask to collaborate in their songs. It´s a gift and I try to do my best, this is the reflection.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

CGFS: Right now the other half of the band (Turco) is living in Chile. The situation for the youth in Spain is horrible, so he decided to get a life in another country. But we have still projects in mind. We are planning  at the moment a new video that will be recorded on July 2013 for our new song “Carne y Chocolate”, produced by Fermin Bouza and with Vivian Garcia as special guest making the chorus. This song is part of a new project we started called Mugre, where we try to separate our music of the Rap style, making the beats sound different, dark and dirty. In the case of “Carne y Chocolate” I can say that this is a real scary song, I´ve never listen to anything like that. I guess there will be many that will not be in the mood to listen to it, and that´s why we wanted to make a video for the song, to explain the scary moment the youth are living, the no future feeling. We will be working again for this clip with Luis Plaza (Luis Plaza Films), who also made our first video 8 A.M. We have been friends since school, and working together is easy because we understand each other really well, and the workflow is fast as hell. So check out our facebook, Welt de Klasse in the next few months!!

Next in mind is to finish the Mugre project with Fermin Bouza. And beside Welt de Klasse I´ve started a new band called TPCE (Totally Political Christian Experience) with Moez Khan and James Jarman, two good friends and musicians, where I play the spanish cajón flamenco, and do some raps too. The idea is to make music that makes you moove, but with lyrics that makes you think. We are working with many talented musicians, with a lot of instruments and beautiful voices, and the results can´t be better. At the same time Luis Plaza, is video recording everything we make, with both of the bands, so we have plenty of good stuff that will be ready soon!

Who or what inspires you?

CGFS: For writing, the big inspiration is living. I normally write when I have something to say to myself, or just to understand a little bit better my own situation. Is not always easy, I only write when something happens, but when it does, the pen can´t stop. About the music, the inspiration of our new songs is close to the music of the 90´s as Portishead, Kosheen, Skunk Anansie. We try to extract this dark sounds and reconstruct them to the times we are living in. Trip Hop has been dead for too long. It has to come back and hit again. Hard music for hard times! But in my basics, the real inspiration that made me start writing has always been The Spanish beginners as CPV, 7 Notas 7 Colores, Solo los Solo, Bufank. I still remember myself listening to this tapes with the only friend I had that loved hip hop, and thinking, this has to be my way of expression.

 Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

CGFS: Don´t close the doors of your style to anything. The musical freedom is the key.

 Shout out to…?

CGFS: My brother Turco. So long distance between us and still the same connection! Me quiere sonar Perra!

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Original Mondays: Ability

Ability

I remember you’d stare, or at least I’d think I’d see you sneer even if you were looking

at the ground.

I swear I’d see you stare from all the way over there even if turns out there was

no one around.

I’d breathe in the glares/Sideways glances/As my family ruins your dinner/We’re not romantic.

Two little pretty prefect people, evidently hyper aware: With their eyes wonder:

“What’s that retard doing with crumbs in her hair?”

While Rebecca Eats.

She just wants a coke but ma rarely lets her have it.

Tries to make milk and OJ a regular habit.

While Regular people can’t grasp it.

“That kid is throwing a fit at this restaurant!”

“Some spoiled North Berkeley daughter gets whatever she wants.”

But that, this is not.

6 Brothers and sisters/ All with perfect genes but my mom got the special mixture.

Once she got the ultra sound it painted a special picture.

Shortened life expectancy/”Limited” Intelligence.

With a gift to turn the boys around her into better men.

And the girls into better women.

And the capacidad to make inspiration a daily thought.

She thinks: “I’ma stay on this basketball court all afternoon, Cold or Hot.”

500 shots.

500 misses/A few touch the net/ No one listens/ To what she Says.

Soooo she prefers to watch musicals while I learn my 5th grade play’s five lines.

Used to yell at her for singing only to marvel later her ability to memorize.

Cats the musical in it’s entirety.

West Side Story from beginning to end.

She’d put in the VHS/ Head upstairs to her bed/ Sing the chronicles of Sharks and Jets.

Reflection and Response

-P

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Original Mondays: Pay

This track came about from the Berkeley Sessions that V, Megan, and I had back over New Years. Cue banjo, Synth sounds from Massive, Reason 5 drums, some electric guitar work, Ableton mixing via this new crazy Akai Apc 40, Megan and my vocals and you have “Pay.” I’ll be debuting the track live at an upcoming show at Andy’s Bar in Madrid this Wednesday.

The lyrics came from two sessions. My first verse was recorded a few days before we did any work with Megan. However Megan, V, and I went out for some food at Lilly’s, the famous North Berkeley Chinese food spot and we discussed family and how sometimes at the beginning of our twenties we can think we’re ready for huge responsibilities. The lyrics I recorded during the previous session deal with age- it was almost serendipitous that we had that conversation at lunch. We later touched on these ideas in the chorus.

 

“I don’t ever wanna pay for aging that is just something that I don’t do. And I don’t ever wanna laugh for ages, I just wanna hold you.”

“Pay for aging, not enough. Insane we make things, let’s live for once.”

 

Megan

 

Pete

 

Reflection and Response

-P

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Daily Flows From the Phone

Whatup!

Last year when I got to Madrid I bought a Blackberry Curve which I bought because I had the same phone in the US. I use the phone to write down flows in various places around the city: the school I work in, the metro we all use to get around, different apartments of friends.

I’ve started posting a flow a day from the phone on my twitter feed.

Some recent words:

 

“yells I haven’t paid rent/useless to contest/a brute whose Franco’s roots determine/to establish power over much more progressive servants” 10/8 (Focus: old landlord)

Daily Flow: “the stage is a set/lights, camara, reject/ or better yet/ no one attends it’s a bore/ the show goes quickly to return no more 10/5 (Focus: Music in general. Location: bus to work 8:15 AM)

Flow From Class III “Autism stops focus properly/take ur glasses off down a liter of coffee/and try not talking/better yet try not rocking/” 10/4 (Focus: School. Location: Metro after class)

Flow from School II: “Alvaro’s mouth serves as a glove/ his hand constly stuck in it/ fearful of sickness/ his ma tells him to quit it.” 10/3 (Focus: School Location: Metro after class)

 

 

Stay tuned to see Flows From the Phone on the daily!

 

Reflection and Response

 

-P

 

 

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Blanca

This post comes live from Córdoba, España. While staying with friends in this city in Andalucia, I met Blanca, a woman who lives in the apartment where I’m staying. We spoke briefly about our lives and she told me that she’d like to return to her home in Ecuador next year. As I gear up for making moves in music in Madrid next year I’ll be writing songs about human interactions that have occurred throughout these last few years. Peace and gracias for reading!

 

 

Blanca sits eyes deep and explains/How in her youth she spent her Italian days/ Among eclectic groups in parks as they’d play/ Music from Paraguay to Bombay/

Now she knows she’ll go home/ Back to su pais/ Work is increasingly slow as she wears down her knees/ Looking after the senora whose only a few years older/ But affords her to come arond to cook and brew Folgers/

Is is the wrinkle/ Or the twinkle in her eye/  Or her slow step that represents knowledge of a whole life/ Search for the fountain of youth/ Empty handed you’ll arrive/ But lend a ear to those who’ve lived and find timeless advice/

While we mindlessly drive on/ Autopilot through careers/ pay for diversion costs rise every year/ Your life is meaningless if that’s how you want it to appear/ If you were given a choice you were given power the hour is here/

Flash back to Blanca as she flashes back to Milano/ leans back on the couch that props her up a touch of sorrow/ but only that much because she always makes it to tomorrow/

Blanca sits eyes deep and explains/ How in her youth she spent her italian days/ Among ecletic groups in parks as they’d play/ Music from Paraguay to Bombay/

 

Reflection and Response

P.

 

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Photo Flows STM

Whatup! Upon receiving the Shake This Maze Second Edition in Madrid I found a surprise in the package. V’s printer started to lose ink while printing LS photos that come with each edition of Shake This Maze. Inside of an envelope I found 4 of these unique prints with various lyrics from songs throughout the album written on them to tell a story of STM in the form of a montage. V’s use of seemingly useless materials was a dope way to create from found materials.

And as all else slept and tired of that bass/In it’s beautiful hum I found a place…That’s the power that’s behind the lines I spit/ Hard to catch like a line drive hard hit….So if it wasn’t for this pen and this pad and this beat/ I would have been as mad as I was sad at seventeen…Give some reason to the path under our feet…So many piles of poo/ Cover the ground defiles the truth/ It took a while for me to see the meek inside your cool…In a one man room playing the blues getting pennies in this straw hat…Now it dawns on me the futility/ of passing judgement on other societies..This night this night this night it wears on/ Know I should sleep but the time to care is gone..SHAKE THIS MAZE TO THE CORE WITH THESE CHORDS AND VERSES…So here we are the scars are shown? And it feels so nice to be finally home…The city’s a lonely thing when it’s only you living.. Search for the spark to start this shit flaming/ Burn the house of cards down all in and sick of playing/ Then flip the table over all the chips fall down/ Return to the night before the dawn clouds..

-Live from Comillas, Cantabria, España.

Reflection and Response

-P

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Shake This Maze: The A Capella Tapes

For the upcoming release of the Second Edition of Shake This Maze I will be recording and uploading videos of a capellas of key tracks from the album. I think this process shows a dope, stripped down picture of the lyrics on the album. These A Capellas were recorded in my bedroom in Callao, Madrid, España. More will be on the way!

Jade Eyes

These jade eyes are straight lies that bind us

These jade eyes

These jade eyes are straight lies that bind us/ One mind we design our own island/ Or so I thought as I thrust my paw on her/ Didn’t think that I could do her such dishonor/ Back away and I nod my head/ These pretty lights can really play and they’re rocking it/ And these kids eat it up like Lox and spread/ As the clock is lost and we forget our beds/ The jade eyes stay with me and I see her/ Kissing on the dude who arrived in the beamer/ Guess I had weak pop tonight Elisa Steamer/ The jade just caught the light and all disappears/ But she stays florescent cold as December in this northern state that’s the greyest in the hemisphere/ Just like lemmings I follow the trap/ Wonder if she gets off on withholding that vag because

These jade eyes are straight lies that bind us

These jade eyes

Contradiction many been up her blouse/ But my fingers are some splinters she can do without/ This week’s been weak grime and grout/ Games every day every way tagged out/ But I’m glad for the no’s the strep and the colds/ The effect of the soul/ Is it’s left invincible/ Try me all you want these jade eyes still haunt me/ Thought if I got her I’d find some sense of belonging/ After the show all filed out to rides home/ Chose to feign fatigue said peace to the folks/ Got home restless with the image in my mind/ Of her curves her shirt and her perfect jade eyes/ And I dealt with it the only way I know how/ With the guitar and drums turned up way too loud/And as all else slept and tired of the bass/ In it’s beautiful hum I found a place

These jade eyes are straight lies that bind us

These jade eyes

Wake Up

Wake up/ But it’s so hard to do/ The floor’s cold think I’ll stay up inside this dew/ This pillow provides more support than you/ And I’ll stay in bed till 6 in the afternoon/Wake up/ But it’s so hard to do/ The floor’s cold think I’ll stay up inside this dew/ This pillow provides more support than you/ And I’ll stay in bed till 5 in the afternoon/

These mind games she plays are amazing/ Every time I find gains turn out to be lies lately/ Been too many years/ Not to see it clear/ Though she might flirt and veer/ The thing is not changing/ Used to be long and lanky/ Now I got cheeks/ no exercise exacerbates angst greatly/ Painstakingly wait patiently by the phone/ Waste hours just watch Hoarders and drone/ But I swear to god I’m over it/ I entered this war alone/ And on my own/ I’m done with the soldering/ I don’t deserve it and neither do you/ As you fuck whoever cuz I’m tired and through

Wake up/ But it’s so hard to do/ The floor’s cold think I’ll live up inside this dew/ This pillow provides more support than you/ And I’ll stay in bed till 5 in the afternoon/ Just wake up/ But it’s so hard to do/ The floor’s cold think I’ll live up inside this dew/ This pillow provides more support than you/ And I’ll stay in bed till 5 in the afternoon/ I wake up

My invitations seems to be a game/ Imitations pixelated frames on your playstation tres/ She sees me in a friendly way/ And just seems to say things that a friend would say/ But I let the winks and smily faced texts get to me/ Stupidly imagine actions we don’t end up doing/ Telling myself lies as my mental health slides into fantasy attraction chosen so randomly/ No use looking for accuracy/ Cupid shoots and the damage done collaterally/ So if it wasn’t for this pen and this pad and this beat/ I would have been as sad as I was mad at seventeen/ Let’s get it all out and throw it on the table/ Don’t know if I loved her is a twenty year old able?/ But her burn once hurt so painful/ Until I turned the scar into my angel

Wake up/ But it’s so hard to do/ The floor’s cold think I’ll live up inside this dew/ This pillow provides more support than you/ As I’ stay in bed till 5 in the afternoon/Wake up/ But it’s so hard to do/ The floor’s cold think I’ll stay up inside this dew/ This pillow provides more support than you/ As I stay in bed till 5 in the afternoon/I Wake up

Reflection and Response

-P

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