Auriol Hays

Awareness through music

Archive for October, 2009

True Love Waits…

I am going to write about Sushi. Mouth watering, you-can-kill-me-on-the-spot-and-I-don’t-mind-going-to-hell-even-though-I-don’t-believe-in-it-and-it- just-happens-to-exist-anyway-kinda sushi.  Only now do I know why Eric (from True Blood) mocks Vampire Bill because he drinks synthetic blood. After that first bite – you just can’t go back, can you?

A few years ago I decided to be a vegetarian. I believe I had some moral and ethical reasons for doing so. Being a vegetarian made me appreciate food. I certainly paid greater attention to what I put into my body. Then I said, “fook that” and went back to my old chop loving, biltong eating, crazy barbeque chowing evil ways!  So far only music and Capoeira has managed to give me that deep feeling of satisfaction. (Well, there are other…unmentionables) Sure, I love chocolate and all things sweet and delicious – but Sushi has changed everything.

In fact it really got me thinking about how we nurture ourselves.  I know when my mister comes home with a slab of chocolate that something is very, very wrong. Stressed out and fed up – all he is looking for is something to sweeten up his day.  So I leave him and his chocolate in peace. Only when I know that it has been eaten will I talk to him…lol! Yes, we are more affected by what we eat than we would like to admit.

And it has been a while since any food has had that effect on me. Sushi makes me want to close my eyes and switch off the music. I want to eat it slowly and not talk to anyone. I write this because I just had sushi and honestly… I can’t fight the compulsion to hug someone, say nice things to strangers give the car guard more money than I think he deserves, make love, write songs and to lounge on the sofa like a cat. I am madly and terribly addicted to sushi…

posted by auriol in life in general and have Comment (1)

Down and Dirty

Whatever happened to just having fun? We are all so serious these days. So busy trying to be positive and focused that somewhere along the way we loose our juiciness.  I envy people who can just laugh, let loose and tell a good, filthy joke!

That seriousness finds its way to everything.  People love bitching about musicians who write pop music or those who sing only cover song. I have often heard some saying, in response to such musicians, “They are not being serious enough”.  Who cares!!! I don’t always want to hear songs that are politically sound or have a revolutionary edge to them. I am not always going to be interested in  the latest political intrigue, massacre or injustice taking place somewhere in South America!  Lord man…sometimes I just want to shake my damn ass and have fun.   If I actually liked beer – I would drink a few and pass out.

Yes, I am trying to sort out my life and become a whole person. That is what I really mean when I say I am looking for balance. So no, I can’t always be concerned with esoteric truths or the seriousness of life. I can’t always be dealing with friends and their life and death issues. Sometimes we have to just stop, drink a few glasses of wine and get down and dirty! What’s so wrong with that?

posted by auriol in sanity's overrated and have Comment (1)

I might be wrong

Everyone has a soundtrack. For me it has always been Radiohead. When I was depressed I could always find a song that would honestly make me feel worse. If you are wondering why I would want that – allow me to explain. People either switch off or turn down the volume on a negative emotion. They drink, drug or find toxic people that need saving….so that they can feel less and be distracted. Those options were never really open to me. Whenever I was feeling down I would wait till I was alone and put on Radiohead so that I could understand what the hell was going on in my life.

For a while I actually believed that I would never feel anything other than that dull nothingness. And then the unimaginable happened; years passed without a note or bar of Radiohead. Along the way I discovered new musicians that could make me feel light and breezy, bright and bubbly and down right happy whenever I wanted to. That’s when it hit me – one of the things I was being asked to do was control my emotions. All I had to do was look at what was going on in my life to see that I was not doing a very good job.

Look we all are guilty of living in our heads and with stewing in our own bullshit and sometimes it takes a shock to the system to change that. Sometimes your world has to be turned upside down for you to realise that you were never really standing the right way up in the first place…lol! If you get to that point…and work through all your stuff…then and only then can you afford to think about the good times and never look back.

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Guiding light

Watching certain TV shows can just get you into trouble. It all started with LA LAW when I was a kid. I watched those guys make long poetic speeches and I actually believed that I could do the same thing. So I studied law and hated every single second of it…and that’s why I am super careful about what I let my daughter watch…lol! We once had a major argument about the Disney tv channel. She loved Hanna bladdy Montana and all those cheesy Disney movies way too much to care about what I had to say about global dominations and evils multi nationals get up to.

This is why I think babies are just boring. They don’t really say much at all. Then there’s all that green poo you have to clean up…lol! I am being silly here. Kids are fantastic and a lot of work. Some days you want to kill them. In fact I threatened to kill my daughter just a few days ago. After the terrible villain speech she made at the pool someone just had to. “You think you defeated me….”she said. I just laughed at her and then threw her in the pool. I licked her eye and she retaliated by licking my boob….. I had to call her a lesbian after that….lol!

I realised that I have been having weird conversations with her since she was born. The other day she told me what some kid said about sex. Somewhere the belly button was involved. She set them straight, naturally. Then she looked at me and said, “Mummy, don’t you remember you told me about this with the banana and the condom?” I packed out laughing. It sounds like something I would do! I just didn’t remember it! LOL

So every night (except when my favourite TV shows are on) we have our chats. We talk about everything from the German boy named Max to religion, movies and farts. A while back I spoke to her about District 9. I told her why I thought it was such a fantastic movie by explaining the political and social references. By the time we said good night she knew exactly what the movie was about. I thought that she forgot about it until we went to a parent teacher meeting. My daughter had quite a few things to say about District 9. In fact she was the only kid in her class who could.

Once I dropped in on her watching some sloppy chick movie. I gave her the evil eye and just as I was about to say something she looked at me and said, “Yes, Mommy. I know that in real life people don’t act like this. It’s just a movie and I like it so leave me alone!” And I did…

posted by auriol in life in general and have Comment (1)

Screenager

There are people you try to forget, some you wish you never met and finally there are those very special souls that hang around no matter what you do. You don’t answer their emails, don’t call them on their birthday and pretend you don’t see them even when they are looking straight at you! Don’t pretend you never did that…

Maybe I am just naive. Scrap that, for a while I was naive. I actually believed that all people were inherently good. Hell, for a while there I believed that I was inherently good! Still, people can’t always be either “good” or “bad” can they? Sometimes they are a sad mixture of many undesirable traits and you just never know what you will get on a particular day! My father is one of those people. Two weeks back I was asked if I ever call him when I am in trouble. I was taken aback. Call him? It never, ever crossed my mind. Sometimes you just have to face the fact that people are who they are.

Another friend recently started dating an addict and asked me for advice. I was hardcore. “This little person has done nothing to earn your trust. The fact that very few people trust her means that you should tread carefully. Don’t be so eager to hand over your entire heart and soul.” Sometimes people come into your life to remind you of what you want most. My best friend, above all else, wants someone to love him and so has to believe that she will be different.

I often go on and on about balance. Even when it comes to your deepest and darkest emotions or your brightest and breeziest experience – having your feet on the ground matters most. When it comes to people I no longer believe that they are inherently anything. Balanced thought and balanced action. I wait and watch.

posted by auriol in human nature and have No Comments

Release me

Life is messy. People are messy and we all lie to ourselves at some point. And we do it because it gets us through the day. It justifies our actions and dammit all – it feels good. Still all good things must end and when they do most of us crash and burn. We wonder if we can ever really trust anything or anyone ever again…

The one thing I learnt is that you can only run for so long. You can’t always look at the mistakes of others and say, “I am not that stupid! I won’t do that.” When other forces are at work and there are things you need to learn about yourself – you will get caught out eventually. That’s when you discover for just how long you have been lying to yourself and why. Now finding a workable solution too all those issues is another question altogether. With me music helps.

I remember stepping on stage once feeling so deeply, deeply hurt. I knew that there was no way I could sing anything  light or upbeat. I simply felt too defeated and ruined. The band sensing something was wrong played the jazz standard called God Bless the Child.  And when I was ready I took a deep breath, put every bit of sadness, each little disappointment, all my regrets and despair on to that stage with me and sang. For the first time I had a place to put all those fearful emotions….

I discovered that I can’t really write music when I am very happy or very sad. I write best when I am somewhere in the middle. Some people think I write too many dark and depressing songs. What they don’t know is that those songs even me out. Anyway, I just wrote a new song called Lie To Me  and through it I ask to be released from all my crap and messy emotions….At the end of the day that is all you can hope for; that you learnt something valuable and can move on.

posted by auriol in insight and have Comment (1)

Entertainment Africa interview

This was a fun interview. She called, we chatted and this is what Bulelwa Languza from Entertainment Africa ended up writing about the band and the new single Turn Up The Volume.

If anyone is the master of disguise it has to be Auriol Hays. Not everyone can pull off hiding their talent throughout their childhood and adolescence only to reveal it four years into marriage. The Cape Town-bred singer spoke to Bulelwa Languza about breaking out of her musical shell, passion for writing dark songs, her new single and much more, finally giving her effortless jazzy music the voice it deserves.

BL: Your vocals are amazing and you sound a whole lot like Amy Winehouse on the single ‘Turn Up The Volume’. Would you cite her as one of your influences?

AH: No! Are you crazy? I’m from Cape Town and I simply love jazz music. Watching the TCM classic movies channel gave me my light bulb moment. I also love Ella Fitzgerald – she has a smooth voice. My biggest influence is jazz music.

BL
: Your first single ‘Take It Slow’ was successful and ‘Turn Up The Volume’ looks like it’s going the same way. Is there a full-length studio album involved?

AH: Yes. The album is called ‘Behind Closed Doors’ and it’s due out in November. It’s called ‘Behind Closed Doors’ because most of the songs on it were recorded in the study or the bedroom. Andre Scheepers, who’s a songwriter and producer, would bring his gear and set up. The process was about intimacy.

Andre used to work with Tasha Baxter and he’s amazing – if I give him a song he knows exactly what to do with it. It’s taken a lot of work for us to get where we are. These two singles are a springboard for people to hear more.

BL: You knew you were talented from a young age – why did it take you so long to break out of your musical shell?

AH: I liked singing but I didn’t know about my talent. I have gone through a lot of things in life that have made me a better person and a songwriter. Growing up I was quiet but when I fell pregnant at 21 I stopped and reflected. I also studied law at Stellenbosch and I hated it. I would often bunk.

Certain things have to happen for one to break out of their shell. I’ve learnt to deal with my baggage through music. At 21 I was a Loskop, but I like that things have turned out the way they have at this stage in my life.

BL: Now that you’ve thrown your talent out there, what are your plans and where do you hope it will take you?

AH: When you do something you want to do there are always hang ups. This isn’t about me. When I sit, write and sing I become a vessel for something bigger. I sang at a wedding once where I was very nervous and when I took a look at the bride she was crying. Music is about reaching out and touching people. It’s lovely that as a band we have each other’s back. Everything else comes as a bonus. Music is a form of expression.

BL: Tell us about the single – what inspired the upbeat track?

AH: Andre writes a lot of the pop stuff. I’m not that light. My husband recommended that the album needed a variation of tracks. I phoned Andre and asked him for a vibey upbeat track and I went up to Joburg and recorded it.

posted by auriol in My music and have Comment (1)

Kill Bill

Yesterday I was going to doing something out of character. It was going to start off with some nasty phone calls and end up with someone being broken and bruised. I would have called a friend who would call another friend (and so on….) so that the person who beat up my sister could get his ass kicked.

I am not a vengeful person. I am not nasty.  Years spent looking after my daughter at home has chilled me out significantly but when I got that call from my sister I was so very, very angry and all I could think of was knives, pliers, a drill machine and hot oil.  Anyway I called home, my parents fetched her and a case was made against the bastard. Good – the legal bit was taken care of. For a few minutes I felt better – until I spoke to my sister. Hearing how scared she was and probably will be for the next while was alarming. And this asshole is not a big man. He does not look menacing. Good lord I could kick his ass! Again my mind was tick, tick, ticking over…

It’s strange how the universe or God makes you face your demons even if you had no intention of ever doing so. I wondered if my father felt any guilt as he looked at my sister. I wondered if he could see that this was the way he made us all feel so many times. Did he get that he is no different from the “thing” that hurt my sister? Or did he conveniently forget?

So yes you could say that this little episode is teaching my sister to stand up for herself – because she never felt she could. It is giving her the opportunity to free herself of a person who used and abused her so many times. It is giving my father another chance to heal himself…and all of us the opportunity to move past our anger. There are many silver linings that you could theoretically find. The only trouble is that when you are in the thick of things sometimes you can’t see it. All you feel is scared…

I am not going to talk to her about bullshit like finding perspective and gaining balance and being careful about what she thinks. I will try to be there for her as she has always been there for me. That man thing will learn (like we all have to)   that there are consequences to every action….

posted by auriol in sanity's overrated and have Comment (1)

Being Human

People like pretending they know the answers.  We love telling our kids or anyone who will listen “Don’t do this!” “Stay away from that!” I have accepted that life is littered with arbitrary rules and bullshit.  With people who refuse to understand. People who act righteous but aren’t and those who are blinded selfish desires. I can understand because I have been on the giving and receiving end many times….

To say that this world is filled with damaged people is an understatement.  People are damaged and damage others. We all have reasons to feel justified…. chip that we shoulder and resentments that we cling to. It’s easy.  You just sit there and stew in your own crap year in and year out. Recently I came out of a trying ordeal and honestly I was 100% responsible. It was all my own doing or (if you like) undoing.  And sure I fell to pieces many times and in fact still do – but there have been many unexpected silver linings and pots of gold along the way…

When going through a rough time many things are forgotten along with common sense and reason.  I was lucky because I had friends who did not preach at me while I was being a complete idiot. They did not point fingers and judge or give stupid advice. Instead they showed me how to deal with my failures…. to understand my weakness…and how to move away from my justifications, bullshit and anger.

And when you are going through your own little apocalypse there is no greater gift  than being surrounded by  people who can remind you what it means to be human…

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Somewhere over the rainbow

We’ve all done really stupid things. Things that would shock; things that seem out of character. While it’s happening everything seems just fine. You wake up with a smile on your face, greet your neighbors, call friends and then when you think you have a few minutes to spare you make more questionable choices…

I always wondered about those moments or events that seem to turn your world upside down. Sometimes they seem too fantastical to be real or to have happened to you. So you wonder, “Am I just stupid or is something else going on here?” Any other person would stop and say, “No, something is off. I should not do anything.” But you react because you cannot help but to …because those moments are entangled with your deepest desires and fears. So you do the instinctive; you react…and in hindsight those things seem almost fated to happen.

I hate it when people say things like, “Those moments of undoing come at a great cost and with great lessons.” I hate it because I know those esoteric mofo’s are right.  I should not focus on the who’s and how’s. Instead I should focus on what I am being asked to uncover about myself.

Sometimes I think we all have a bit of a Pinocchio thing going on. We are all just trying to find some way of making our deepest wishes come true….trying to find peace…. or any kind of joy.  For some it’s as simple as being understood, being cared for, finding a place to belong or someone to belong to. All those questionable choices  are a part of the search for that everlasting moment… when you will finally look, feel and be  – real.

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