By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
His appearance on the record happened in such an organic way, it was not premeditated or preplanned in any way. Gael does happen to be one my favorite actors, hands down, and I’ve always felt a strange connection with him – this is from a distance, of course, just someone that you’re a fan of. I am a fan of his.
But he reached out to me write a song that would conclude his first film that he’s written and directed. And the main character’s name happened to be my cousin’s name, and I could relate to the story, and we ended up talking about our personal lives, and we were equally traumatized by having mothers who were models. We had a lot in common and we really got along and kind of instantly liked each other.
And I wrote the song, trying to create this nostalgic, well … there’s a key moment in the film when an insult is given to someone, and the insult is: You Indian. And it’s the harshest thing you can say to somebody in Mexico. And that was so heavy to me, and it was a mixture of my emotions and my cerebral approach to why that is such an insulting thing.
And at the same time, it was putting myself in the shoes of me when I was eight and my grandmother had to watch her soap opera, and listening to that soap opera music. I wrote the flute part to sound like – dadadadadadada – it’s romantic soap opera music from I suppose the ‘80s in there, but really in my mind it’s a different thing.
Anyways, Gael was doing the Oscars, so he called me up, he’s in L.A. He says, “You wanna hang out?” I say, “Come out to the house in Topanga.” So he’s just sitting on the couch – actually, which happens to be Jim Morrison’s – and he’s just singing along to the song. I kind of gave him a look, and we pressed Record. He just did it; there’s no direction whatsoever; this is all his own, he was just singing. Then I went over and did another vocal track that wrapped around his first take that we kept. We didn’t get into “do this and this and that” – he had to be at the Oscars by like 5, you know?
(Photos by Lauren Dukoff)
So within this initial narrative of absolute contentment, buried beneath that is an unattainable desire. And buried even beneath that, I’d been messing around with that lick every soundcheck, and that was born from a jam that I had with Greg Rogove, who’s sitting to my right, showing me these elephantitus photos...
I started thinking of this song as like a trinity of levels: of consciousness, of deeper consciousness, and subconsciousness, unconsciousness – I guess the trinity of life, death, birth; the mother, the father, the holy ghost; Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva; Earth, heaven and hell. At the same time, Greg and I were reading this book about astral projection, and I started thinking about how the third part of the narrative should be sung: According to the Tibetan monks, there’s like 16 months until you’re reincarnated. My idea was singing from this perspective; it’s during those 16 months, and “I’m scared, I’ve never been born again.”
And then the eagle comes out. “I want to know how, where and when.” And then finally, the last line is a sentiment of love, of some sort of compassion and love: “I want to see you be the bright night sky, I want you to come back as the light.” I’ve decided to let go of how I’ll come back or what’s gonna happen to me – and shoot that out to you.
But the last section is more electric and aggressive and –
I’d like to add that that is me soloing at the end; it’s my first solo that I’m very proud of ...
Structurally, “Sea Horse” is an interesting song for the way you establish distinct perspectives on yourself; you’re seeing things from different angles, and the song progresses along those lines. It’s surprising, too, when you break into a “modern jazz” segment somewhere in between. I guess that makes a kind of sense…
I won’t lie to you, “Take 5” was an influence. Brubeck was floating around my stereo for a while. I just felt like a jazz dirge needs to be either floating or bobbing, and I think that was appropriate to the oceanic imagery.
In fact, you combine so many different approaches in your music that that hoary old “freak folk” sticky tag must be yawningly boring for you right about now.