Five Years: Reflections on Hijacking Your Fiction

It is probably not advisable to start my first post in five years negatively, but stick with me and it’ll all turn out alright. For me, listening to Hijacking Your Fiction, even five years on, is not fully enjoyable. Enthusiasm for my own work waxes and wanes unpredictably, and objectivity is impossible. Nonetheless, I relistened to it in its entirety for the sake of this post, and wondered at how it ever became an album at all. It’s a question to which there is a simple, happy answer: I am lucky enough to have people around me who encouraged its completion, knowing if it were entirely up to me, there would likely be nothing still.

The original concept was three separate EPs, each with four songs, but as each section was inconsistently worked on, with no set deadline, the order of track completion just made it logical to release it as a whole. Considering it has been five years since the album’s release and I have yet to release a second, it was probably the right choice.

I like to think that the three parts, or chapters as I like to think of them, of my story are still delineable to the listener. It is not, as the name may suggest, a fully realized story. It is instead more of an emotional arc. Before the album was released the cover artist, Jennifer Kover (website under construction, here’s a link to her old video page, including the incredible 1000 leaf video for “Ruin”), was working on ideas for the artwork. She asked me for a description of not just the concept, but any abstract ideas, smells, or visions I may associate with the album. These are the notes I hastily put down:

  • One is primarily dealing with loss and confusion
  • Two is shock/escape
  • Three is hope, restoration
  • Free to make a life from ruin
  • Entanglement theory
  • React in spaces”
  • oranges old abandoned buildings and books
  • cold stone carvings broken…so you can smell the wet inner stone
  • all these grey, decaying things with hints of flowers and fruit beginning
  • oranges and purplish blues amidst the grey
  • patches of florals and citrus among the decay, death and ruin

Some of these songs were already over a decade old when this album took shape. No wonder I was sick of them (“Gate 36” was probably originally written around 2000 or 2001 with a keyboard, an acoustic guitar, and an old electronic drum kit in the back room of a run down house ). Truth be told, despite previous statements in this very post, I do rather like the songs now. I am proud of my work and I think it holds up better than I imagined it would. The small things that bother me are probably things most people won’t notice. To me they are huge. This is the life of a musician, filled with self-doubt and misguided focus. Yes, of course there are things I would change. There are some mixing issues, places I don’t like the effects or balance, and I still loathe the vocal performance of “Electricity.” But I don’t want these things to haunt me. It was a first effort, a dozen years in the making. It was only in the last couple of years that the album really began to take shape. By the end I was exhausted. I hated everything about the album. I left the final touches to my co-producer, Scot Bessimer.

And then there’s the name: Hijacking Your Fiction. Where did it come from? I am honestly not entirely certain. I think it came from some of my early musical experiments, wherein a friend later added vocals distorted to a point that I still do not know what they were, and neither does he. But these words stuck out, whether or not he actually said them. It somehow seemed thematically appropriate.

There are things I do love and am quite proud of: The synth solo on “Voices,” my vocal harmonies on the closing track, “Sweet Victory.” Lyrically, I am quite happy. I was making changes to some lyrics right up to the actualy recording. I remember sitting in Scot’s house editing “Reconnect” moments before stepping up to the mic. Scot then wrenched out of me my favorite vocal performance on the album.

Several of the songs lack a chorus or hook of any kind, something I didn’t realize until later. But where a chorus was missing, I felt it was usually filled with the appropriate emotional weight. I still think those songs work without a hook in the context of the whole.

I have much to say about this album, so I don’t know how to close. Despite how this reads, I am quite happy with Hijacking Your Fiction. I’ll leave it at this for now:

Favorite songs: Ruin, Hospital Girls, Voices, A New Man, Gate 36.

There is more coming. I’ll be doing a more thorough discussion of this album and more soon. New music is on the way. More updates. And as soon as I relearn how to work with WordPress, a newer, better site.

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