Apathy; Again

This screen means nothing to me now,
it’s just memorabilia of a past life I resent.
An ironic background of a bright, sunny countryside drive…
it’s just like my younger days.
Caramel walls and seaside views.
New, changing, old; it doesn’t mean anything anymore.
It’s just another year.
a new set of days, weeks and months to keep track of things.
I guess I’ll move out,
start things over in Christchurch.

Forget about the girls who never cared,
keep the family close instead.
Forget about the late nights in their flats,
keep the music closer instead.
Forget about the games,
keep the experiences closest instead.
Maturity starts when the drama stops.
Repeat it like a mantra.


Greyish Blues

On the borderline of my pride, we connected our humility again
after a year of messy progressions and cleaning myself.
The ravenous tides have stopped crashing along my living room’s couch
in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings, with the stench of cheap sex.
It took us too long to acknowledge the importance of closure for our separation.
As we stumbled for months along the streets we strolled on teenage-feverish nights,
with people who were merely chess-pieces we strategically used to replace each other
and we’d alternate in taking turns at chipping away our fortitude and stronghold.
Arrogant, weren’t we?
Perhaps I was the heart-breaker my mother warned me about, but it was really you
who set my uninspired soul on fire, for a summer which seemed to last for years
and just to keep you satisfied, I hurt myself like a child running with scissors
and irrationally, I resented you for not advising me with some common sense,
but now we’re at peace again; I can’t hate you anymore,
even if I didn’t tell you everything I really wanted to…
even if you knew you were once my Moon and Sun.

Remembering Capital Steez (2017)

On this day 4 years ago, New York rapper and co-founder of Pro Era – Capital Steez committed suicide at the age of 19 when he jumped off a building’s rooftop in the late hours of the night. Hip Hop and its newly-formed “Beast-coast” movement suffered a significant loss of one of its most-promising talents by the hands of mental-illness and a severe social issue – especially amongst our youth.

As a 19 year-old now myself, I think I’ve recently been able to identify and relate with the ideas in Steez’s music that I couldn’t exactly connect with before: the character of a misunderstood introvert pushed into an environment that forces them to interact, the motif of a person with profound thoughts and feelings they can’t translate into exact words yet, the theme of a person finding solace in the culture of their city, and the belief that “the world is mine” yet everyone else around me has it better than me despite my efforts. All of these elements in Capital Steez’s music formed an underlying narrative of an artist tackling their own identity, their own culture, and facing personal tribulations like lust, envy, greed, and hate – something that resonates with most people.

Finding yourself (particularly at this age of our lives) is a process of critically analyzing, understanding and re-interpreting your past, your influences and whatever else has shaped you. Some things you find while on this process are hard to come to terms with; maybe it’s because certain discoveries challenge our perceptions, and pressure us to make (uncomfortable) changes to deconstruct our identity and rebuild it. I’ve been through it all this past year though, and it was always a struggle to confront my closest circle of friends and family about these ideas and feelings within me; so I can only assume it must’ve been even harder for Capital Steez, and any other artist really, to express his feelings to not just his closest circle of friends or family, but to his fans and whoever hears his music too.

RIP STEELO (all-caps when you spell the man’s name).

Amerikkkan Korruption still holds one of my favourite intro tracks of all time 

Jivin’ the Voodoo Down

Moments of truth,
as we sat in your car on a hot Saturday afternoon,
I told you
“A year ago, I faced a calm before my storm…”
the calmest peace before the hungriest storm…
You look at me with an honesty in your eyes
I’ve seen it many times before in fact,
You tell me I’ve matured since then,
you’re happy for me,
and you’re proud of me.
I didn’t need your confirmation about that though.

I see clearly now,
more than ever,
how peoples’s moves create ripple effects,
like a game of chess.
I used to play so hastily.
Those rainy afternoons I spent being restless;
Those quiet nights I spent listening to music;
Those long mornings I spent without you.
Some of my fondest memories were quick moments
yet their personal significance stay timeless to me
No wonder you’re always on my mind.
Intuitive and impulsive moves make more sense
only after you’ve made them.
(My avatars exemplify that)

Here’s a personal Top-10 to let you feel and/or understand the narrative of my past few months, (and through that, perhaps you could form a narrative of my year so far too.) Let’s call this one “The Chaser’s 2nd Finale, Part III” for now, it’s to pay homage to a lot of things I’ve kept close to me, and will hopefully continue to, years and years down the line as part of my ethos, pathos and logos. (My avatars also exemplify that)


Swaying, Everywhere

Laying on my bed on a scorching Saturday; I don’t wanna waste my money this afternoon on something I could get from my friends with ease. These Bluetooth headphones better do me good though. I spent $25 on it this morning and saved the rest for tonight or perhaps the next week. Last night I saw one of your friends at a function though, we smoked a couple cigarettes and talked about how our years went. Your name came up again as usual; I keep giving her signals that we’re not exactly on good terms, nor have we been for almost half a year now, yet she carried on talking about you and she showed me this one picture of you and her in the front seat of a vintage car in Europe; I remembered how you always told me you loved those types of cars.

I asked more and more about the trip you both went to in Europe, and your friend went started narrating her personal travels there rather than your collective’s one instead. You were occasionally brought up though, she said something about a man you had a fling with in your time there.
“Ah yeah, that’s cool…” I reply to everything she said.

We went off on our separate ways for awhile that night, I saw her again an hour before my bus back home came. She saw me at a smoking room, laying my lips on a woman unknown to her; unknown to me too. I think her name was either Therese or Clarice? I couldn’t really tell the difference between the two at the time. I think it was either an accent or an intoxicated-slur? Your friend teased me shortly after I walked the unknown woman out of the Bar’s door
“Man, I didn’t think you were out here like that” She said.

I caught a few hours of sleep back home before Mum woke me up in the morning to visit a doctor concerning my illness. I was stubborn for the whole week about visiting one, but after last night’s many adventures and circles, I decided I have to be concerned about my well-being too. We went, got some prescription antibiotics, payed a few albums’ worth for them, bought my headphones from a nearby Gas Station, payed an album’s worth for it, and drove our way back home.

I jumped into the warm embrace of my bed, and let the cool wind of summertime through my window. I connected the new headphones and instinctively listened to some Bossa-Nova because I felt as though it just fit the ambiance of my bedroom and the day so far. I tried to let those Tenor Saxophones, melodic Piano keys and light Classical Guitars put me to sleep. I thought about you once more before that though; even on the car ride to the doctor, and the car ride back home too.

I thought about that picture of you in that vintage car in Europe which your friend showed me the night before; you looked so positive in that picture, with a radiant glow in your smile which I hadn’t seen in awhile. You were happy, and it took me awhile to recognize it for myself but I was happy for you too. I remembered only a fraction of what she told me about your fling with that man in Europe, but it didn’t linger on my mind much this time. You were happy, and as your friend, or someone who was your friend, that’s something I would’ve wanted for you too.

I took off the headphones to save its battery and charge it for later. I turned over to my vinyl player beside my bed to try play something else instead, but it was unplugged so I either had to disconnect my phone’s charger or my electric-fan to get it working. I couldn’t choose which one had to go from the two, nor did I have enough energy to plug and unplug cords from the power-socket, so I thought to myself some things are better off left unsaid and not done,; I made my peace and quietly slept myself away for the afternoon with the wind and the heat.

“When she walks she’s like a samba that
Swings so cool and sways so gently…”



Lacuna, Onwards

South of the border of my fingertips, there I made peace with you; not because you mean anything to me anymore, but more so because it’d mean something to me now. Digging through wooden crates before Saturday, it’s not liquor that I’m looking for; I’m looking for some memorabilia for this year instead, I seem to have forgotten a lot recently. I just need a reconnect before my sickness turns terminal.

Making friends with the gatekeepers who used to kick me out and deny me entry. Making new friendships with women I thought I’d never see again. Making relations with my city and its artists. Breathing underwater, hoping my lungs don’t mess up now. The beach’s sand in my hair or the shampoo burning my eyes; this afternoon’s rain reminds me of my innocence more than my sorrows.

I always hated how my brothers rolled their windows down as we would drive down the waterfront on a cold, rainy, late night. I’d always be in the backseat, attacked by the continuous gushes of icy winds. I hope my children experience that with their brothers though, it’ll be a good character building exercise. They don’t have to be inherently related through blood either. It wasn’t exactly like that for me anyways.

I sound like I’m dying with each passing day, and a dry-cough which won’t die down despite the weeks worth of medication I’ve taken. I haven’t gone senile though. I’m not celebrating my life nor am I foreshadowing my eventual death; if anything, I’m celebrating my arrival, and foreshadowing my arrivals after that.



Freudian, a Visual

Recently Grammy-nominated artist Daniel Caesar released a visual for his latest album’s title-track today.

Directed by Keavan Yazdani and Sean Brown, the video opens with a close-up of the Toronto-native’s eyes, and conflicting sounds of hazy instruments and crickets; seemingly portraying Daniel’s wilder, late nights and his quiet, simple nights. The Directors further add to this theme of juxtaposition by split-screening Daniel as he’s seated in a blue, dimly lit room and sings, “[You are the reason]
The reason I sing
[I have to preserve you]
‘Cause you’re my everything”
 as a woman crosses the camera’s view and another woman enters the other screen, and sits beside a less-emotive Daniel Caesar in the same room, but with brighter lighting and company with many cheerful females. Fast cars can be seen passing across the rooms’ windows as the camera fades further away from Daniel.

Through this, audiences feel a sense desperation from Daniel, and form an idea of isolation of some sort; an idea that perhaps the women staying in his room(/life) and leaving him haven’t inherently given him the same sense of joy he assumed they would’ve because he’s still not over his previous lover(s) nor ready to move on from them. The fast cars passing across the rooms’ windows signify Daniel’s days passing by, and his newfound lifestyle of being “on the road”/travelling; contrasting that with a slow zoom-out of an empty and crowded room hints at an idea of desolation – a state of complete emptiness or destruction.

Daniel Caesar doesn’t want a renewed connection the previous lover(s) he sings about though, he’s already acknowledge that it’s over between them for good anyways; he sings, “Babe I know I fucked up
Fucked with some empty cups
But you got your friends too
Better believe in it
Truth I’m up on my luck
Can’t stop running amok
But you got your friends too” which reveals to us that both Daniel and his past lover(s) have had their fair share of infidelity towards each other before too. He ends on a good note though by singing, “I just want to thank you for saving my life, Yes
I just want to thank you for all your advice”, it is somewhat-ironic of him to sing these lines because of the damage they might’ve done to each other, but it could also highlight the positive side(s) of their relationship which Daniel fondly remembers, and perhaps it also hints at Daniel longing for good closure between him and his past-lover(s) about their relationship instead of an argument.

The second half of the video shows Daniel Caesar playing as an angry coach to the previous women in his room who are now jogging on a long, secluded road. The women and Caesar sing, “Send me kisses when it’s grey skies
Its been so long, look how time flies
If you love me won’t you let me know
I’ve been trying to learn let you go
Call my name whenever tears fall
When you face your fears you stand tall, oohh, ooohh
Send me kisses when it’s grey skies
(can’t you see…)
Its been so long, look how time flies
(I’m spending all…)
If you love me won’t you let me know
(…This time)
I’ve been trying to learn let you go
Call my name whenever tears fall
(Come with me)
When you face your fears you stand tall”  which reveals to us the nature of their relationship; they both don’t “love” each other and they have been trying to let go of each other because of their meaningless acts of romance, yet they depend on each other when they’re lonely or facing “grey skies” because they fill a hole in them that they can’t necessarily fill alone.

A woman in the front of the crowd of runners slows down and stops the crowd when she attacks Daniel and begins to berate him; singing, “Know I’d take a bullet for you
No you don’t know what I go through
And I know you think you’re kind of nice
Do you remember when I saved your life?
Don’t come at me on some weak shit
It’s time you stopped displaying weakness” and through this, we are given a new angle of someone being “the other woman” to Daniel. This woman sings that she does care deeply for Daniel and accepts him regardless of his shortcomings and past, yet Daniel’s too caught up about his past-lover(s) for her to keep compromising for him, so she tells him how she feels through a harsh tirade. Audiences are now given a new way to perceive the lines before of “I just want to thank you for saving my life”, because now it’s revealed to us that Daniel may have been writing about this woman who kept compromising for him instead; he’s writing that it may have never worked out between them, but he is very grateful that she gave him strong advice to move on with, and she saved his life figuratively.

This type of song-writing and execution also reminds me (and could may very well be a homage) of Stevie Wonder’s Ordinary Pain from Songs in The Key of Life (1976)

The credits roll as the camera moves back and zooms-out somewhat-shakily; Daniel and the women stand still on the undisturbed road. This could allude to the idea that Daniel is moving on; driving forward but looking back; leaving that image of him and the women behind, regardless of loose-ends between them, romance and unsaid feelings.

Sean Leon sings on the closing-sequences of the video with a verse that shows him talking to his mother, and telling him how he feels about his current life. This further adds to the subtly-explored idea of Daniel’s newfound-fame and lifestyle changing him, and also being a new presence in his life through fast cars and roads. In a way, his room was representative of his personal life where he could freely observe his fame/lifestyle through a clear window, be alone, listen to music, or just sleep and forget about his troubles. However, he let too many women into his “room” and now he can’t distance himself away from them, so he has to take them with him everywhere he goes, even on the road, and teaches them how to behave/control themselves in relation to his fame and lifestyle. Eventually, a woman has enough of Daniel’s detached, resentful treatment and scolds Daniel because it’s unfair for her to make these compromises for someone who was naive enough to ignore the repercussions of placing someone into your personal life, and not expect yourself to care about them the same they care for you. Relationships do go both ways after all .

Freudian is an adjective which relate to the ideas or methods of Sigmund Freud, particularly his ideas about people’s hidden thoughts and feelings influencing their behaviour, and the importance of sexuality in molding those behaviours. Daniel Caesar’s Grammy-nominated album of the same name also explores and plays around the ideas of this word, with Get You (ft. Kali Uchis) from the same album also receiving Grammy nominations for Best R&B Performance and reflecting ideas of sexuality influencing our view of certain people in our lives.

Congratulations to Daniel Caesar for his Grammy nominations. I hope he wins them both because he truly does deserve it.

Warmer November Days

People take it personal when you no longer fit into the box they created for you in their mind. Don’t let that stop you from growing. Don’t let that stop us from growing.

People take it personal when being authentic and true to yourself  means you can’t participate in their life the way you once did, and could’ve been. Keep going. Strive for perfection.

People take it personal when they see how comfortable you are with yourself. It irritates them and could also inspire them if they let the feeling in. Be yourself. Know yourself.

I’ve been on both sides of that story before and for awhile. I’m sorry about that; one of us has to be. You know we’ve learned though.

I Can Sleep Better Now

5:50AM in mid-November; When the sky is just the right shade of light and dark blue, the lack and movement of clouds become noticeable, and the music feels so much more sombre and eerie.

Somewhere in the South of Auckland City, a reluctant golden-child can’t get out of bed because of a depressing nostalgia of his formative years in the East; talented but also under his neighbourhood blues.

Sleeping alone with a large duvet-blanket, way too many pillows, a closed window, slightly open curtains, and a heater on full blast; it wasn’t always like this for him. He recites Radiohead lyrics to himself to remind him about certain times. He couldn’t catch much sleep last night at all.

He wrote a heartfelt apology all night to a friend of his yet he never sent it.

He wrote this stupid, meaningless text in mere minutes yet he posted it anyways.

Why am I like this?