Many years can go by, and one would have just a faint idea at best of what was going on in the midst of those rote routines, cycles, ellipses that engulf the conscious mind on a daily basis. The constant whirring of the gears, the hum of the system casting a tint across one’s attention span to prevent any particular deviation from the expected routine of the machine as it rolls along in its tread.
An observation of Tennessee Williams’ characters that seems inescapable to me is that of the unconscious voice that breaks through that cacophony of time rolling along. It’s the precarious tendency of the soul to drive the outward behavior against the will of the conscious mind, and it’s inside this space, the point of contact where the winnowing drill of the conscience irks the daily systems in one’s life to force itself forward – that is the locus of creativity to me. A slow moving, but insistent, generative focal point.
Listen to the song while reading the text.
If I’m drawn to the soothing, chill aesthetics of the Dreampop genre, that’s nothing compared to the exploration of the unconsciousexperience in general, as a creative catalyst that drives me forward. Dreampop, for me, is about the burrowing up of under-realized thoughts that have yet to find their voice. The concepts and raw emotions that form at this level of the human experience seem to ferment in these dream states, when in a Flow mindset, or when half-remembering what one saw in the minutes after they’d awoken. What is it, exactly, that we’re insisting from our very core, to tell ourselves in these moments? Whatever it is, it belongs in a song.
This process, for me, takes ages. I mean, the process of conceiving of a song, from start (which I cannot pinpoint) to end (which I can also not pinpoint). I have spent a long time in my life, probably from when I was goofing around as a young child, creating songs. I have also been plagued with some curse that pushes against that force that seems to have many heads and take many forms throughout my life, and more often than not, winning.
Today, I believe, the good guys won. It’s been many years, and it takes a lot of trial and error to whittle away at a process, a pathway forward, creatively. There are many slings and arrows. I have had many attempts and near-successes in the past, only to be thwarted by the tough rigidity of the frontier of the cocoon, of the edge of the dome of the televised version of the life that’s running along and living itself in one’s place. The door, however, has been opened, the final branches have been hewn away. A light shines through.
The process of songwriting is properly seen as one of self-actualization, manifest through the healing process. The voice of the self breaks through and speaks its truth, and this allows for healing, for an ascent out of the previous state, to a greater level of self-knowledge, self-acceptance for good and bad, and wisdom in how to move forward.
The debut single of The First Humans, Stunned, is the champion of this quest at this point in time for me. It’s the first, brave explorer through the final gateway of the unknown. It takes a look at the common human headspace of naive romanticism, embodies it in a tragic hero that is driven by a prolonged, obsequious yearning for the sublime. Sonically, it’s intentionally overexposed to the blinding softness of naive expectation, and it takes an adjusting of the eyes to see it properly, with the layers of the song starting sweet before shifting to salty.
It took time for this dream sequence to hit the surface, and it might continue to rise in ever-starkening relief from the depths, hell if I know. For now, it can stand as a snapshot of the grasping of the current and a pull towards the light.