I tried many times in the beginning and the first few months I was here to understand the feelings I was experiencing being in China.
One thing that hit me was the weight I felt from an invisible force that saturates. A weight that I could feel on my body pressing against me almost like the thick pollution that surrounds you sometimes on bad days. I think that weight I was trying to put my finger on then and still am now is just the feeling of a person who grew up in America being in a strange psuedo/capitalist communist country for the first time? Either way it feels real, palpable, like something that could be measured. A stifling feeling that you get used to after a while.
After being here for a year now I don't feel that oppressive element as much. In the beginning I tried to explore that feeling a little bit while at the same time trying to stay positive and not really be judgmental. I really wanted to understand the difference in cultures and history. The essence of it all. At first I wrote a song about them spraying trees at the gated community and how toxic it was and how awful. Reprimanded by Laura and then myself I decided to focus on the beautiful strawberries that they sell and how sweet and how bright they shine on a grey day. I wrote a song called “Chinese strawberries.”
You could also call it "Parallel Universe." I also wrote a song about shopping at the giant Chinese IKEA and how depressing that was. Of course I made it sound fun so people would actually want to listen to it. I also wrote a song in the spirit of New Orleans songwriter Dr. John a song called, "Every time I talk in Chinese."
Eoin and Becca Farrell hired me to write a song for a docudrama they might create about their off the grid house that burned down. It turned out to be one of the best songs I have written in a long time. It's funny how that works. When someone orders a song, you tap in to a part of yourself you don't enter without that coaxing from an external force. The song is called, “Rise Up”.