Friday, December 2, 2016

One Year Later / Twenty Years Later

Today is the one year anniversary of the shooting at the San Bernardino Inland Regional Center.  This post is about how a certain part of my life has unfolded over the last year in relation to that horrific event.

This post is also about a friendship that goes back over 20 years has become crucial to my musical and personal growth.  If you've read the "about me" part of my website then you know that I started taking bass lessons with a fellow named Ed Heppenstall around that time.  His influence on my musical tastes was immediately a positive one and it became apparent very quickly that we had a LOT in common in that realm.

Well, life happens, and my career path involved leaving my home town of Redlands for many years for school and to work for Steve Azola and then Suhr Guitars.  Eventually I moved back to my home area about 14 years ago (dang! - almost to the day) when I started Nordstrand Guitars and Nordstrand Pickups in my garage.

This return was a good thing for me musically.  I had in mind from very early in my friendship with Ed that I wanted to make music with him.  It always seemed like a very natural fit.  But, I was simply not ready.  My abilities were severely lacking.  And I knew it.  And I was very insecure about it.  Have you ever wanted something so bad that it hurt?  Well, this was a version of that.  I've wanted to express myself musically for my whole life.  But I was too wadded up to even know where to start.

Anyway, Ed and I started to hang out more and more often.  A lot of these hangs would involve us each frantically scouring our respective iPods looking for the next tune we'd play for each other in an attempt to elicit the chills that would indicate that we were listening to something that really hooked up for us.  Back and forth we'd go for hours.  Sharing our love of our favorite music and hoping to find something the other had not heard yet.

In all of this the allure of making our own chill inducing music was growing more and more powerful for me.  So I got to work.  As I could afford it I bought a recording interface and a ProTools license.  And I started learning how all this newfangled stuff worked.  Again, if you've read the about me page, you'd also know I went to school for recording engineering and worked in a professional studio (Devonshire Sound) shortly after high school.  So while I had a foundation of skills for recording I was also learning how to record into computers in a somewhat new and unfamiliar way.  And the entry level gear was just not that good yet.  I struggled to record anything that was even remotely compelling or anywhere near what I was hearing in my head.  But I kept at it.  And kept at it.

Over the intervening years my sonic journey lead me to finding and creating some very compelling products in my day job.  It also lead to the gradual acquisition of legitimate recording gear and instruments (read - Universal Audio Apollo).  And a little more than two years ago it lead to me being able to put together a space near my shop that was purely dedicated to making music.  Over the last two years that space has become instrumental to the advancement of my musical pursuits (and my product line).  Finally I had the space and the gear to make what I had in my head come out of some speakers.  But still, I had a lot to work on as a musician and I had even more to work on in terms of unleashing my creative energies and learning to get out of my own way.  (There's a very large spiritual component to this evolution, but that's another story for another day.)

Ed was and is a huge part of how this all happened.  At some point, the musical relationship really started to gel.  He'd pop in for lunch and a couple hours in the studio and I'd show him an idea or two that I'd recently come up with.  He'd "get" it instantly and start hearing words and melodies in his head so of course I'd throw up a mic and hit the record button.  Then we'd hash things out a little at a time over the next couple years.  He'd also start bringing in ideas here and there and and we'd work from them.  Or sometimes we'd start with a blank session and pull up a drum groove and just follow it where it wanted to go.  It was everything I knew was there in me and in him, finally emerging into the air.  It was, and still is, an incredible experience and one that I'm profoundly grateful to be a part of.

So this brings us back to the somber anniversary that today brings.  I'm sharing a song here that was a product of both what happened so very near to us (the perpetrators lived not 1/4 mile from my shop) and also what happened in Paris only a few weeks before with specific personal relevance for Ed as he had traveled to Paris at the end of the year and was able to witness the makeshift Bataclan memorial in person and was deeply moved to tears at the huge display of loss and love lining the street.

The song I share here came from the profoundly painful and yet somehow deeply encouraging reaction we had to those two horrific incidents.  I hope it moves you in some way.  I hope you get out of it some sense of what we put into it, which is that even in the face of unspeakable tragedy, as a global human race, we will come together in the aftermath of such terrible things and emerge stronger and more powerfully connected with love and compassion for all.

With Love,
Carey and Ed (Moba Jones)

If you like what you hear here you'll be pleased to know we have a full album worth of material in the works.  Also, a website and a video for the above tune - Disappear.  Please contact me if you'd like to be on our mailing list.  We're hoping to have more for you very soon...