Auriol Hays

Awareness through music

Archive for January, 2010

Joe the Plumber

I get writer’s block from time to time and use to think it was perfectly natural – until someone said something so simple and obvious. “Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block.” Damn straight, those guys know they have a job to do while half their asses hang out of their pants, so they get on with it. But if you are a writer/ musician these things are acceptable. You can have writer’s block for years or not write a song for decades…

When I made the decision to be a musician I wrote one new song everyday for three years. On the odd occasion that I did not write music I was busy reading, talking to people or researching music on the net. Music was on my mind all the time. Now, I can relax a bit. So I write one new song a week, but I still music related projects or ideas are on my mind 24/7. The only reason why I can do that is because I am inspired…

And it’s the strange and bizarre that seem to do it for me. The other day I caught the tail end of a old boy band concert. Yes, you read that right – a boy band. Although I did not like their music I found what they had to say very interesting. I enjoyed the way they interacted with each other and all the backstage antics. All I needed was 10 minutes of that and I hauled out my keyboard….

At this very moment I am devouring any reading material about the Dark Ages. It all started with a book called Millennium by Tom Holland. I got a mouthful from my mister because I scribbled and made notes all over the book. “Auriol, what if I want to read that book.” I looked at him as though he was from another planet. The only thing I had in mind was that I wanted to remember what I was reading and making notes always does the trick. Anyway, it was my book.

My daughter and I have a tradition of talking about important things at least once a week  before she pops off to bed. She calls these her “lectures”. Lately I have been regaling her with all the insane and gory things those people got up to during the Dark Ages. Needless to say she no longer wants to hear anything about that era! And all that reading has influenced my song writing. The songs I write now are more epic and darker still. I plan on writing a song about a certain Viking crossing the sea. It will have a Celtic feel to it.

I made a drastic decision to no longer have writer’s block. In other words I decided I won’t be a lazy ass anymore. Yes, I will buckle down, pull up pants and get on with what’s important to me. In fact you can call me Joe from now on…

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Take it Slow…

On Facebook you can be whoevever you want to be. You can photoshop the hell out of any picture and come out looking like a glam god. You can fabricate, lie and reinvent yourself. You can accumulate friends and be as nice or bitchy as you choose. My mother goes to church to be social but today we simply switch on our pc or our phone.

Thanks to my mister I have to hear about Seth Godin and his gang left, right and centre, but the one thing that I took away from Seth this morning is this –being sincere about what you do counts a great deal more in a market where everything can be obtained easily and without fuss.

These days everyone wants to “build their brand”.  With a bit of money you can project any image of yourself  - even one that is far removed from who you are.  Some want to come across as people who have their shit together and know where they are heading. I am none of these.

Here are the facts: I am a deeply flawed human being who swear too much, am very cynical and loose my way easily. I hate cooking (so I plan my meals), hate ironing (so do it while watching movies so I don’t kill anyone), and sometimes forget to have a bath because I am so busy writing music.

Look, I have been blogging for ages. Before that I was writing. In fact I have tons of books at home filled with complaints about the state of my life, jokes about my daughter and plans for my future. I don’t blog about something for self promotion (ha-ha check the title out) or to be trendy. I blog because I am affected by things or people at a particular point in time. The same is true for music also.

That’s what I like about the people I interact with on the net. It’s about the sincerity and humanness that comes through regardless of the medium. That’s why I go to certain sites over and over again.  It’s not that the information is new but I dig the way it’s being presented.

And I hope that’s what people will get about me. I am not perfect. I call my sister “nigga” on Facebook and wage wars with my mister online. I leave my daughter silly notes in the morning because she is a super grump when she wakes up and demand that my mother and family visit me at least once a week.

This is who I am…the rest is just bullshit

posted by auriol in insight and have No Comments

Dream a Little Dream…

A few nights ago I dreamed of  the Devil. We were sitting at a table and we were being very civil to each other – almost as though we were business partners. I don’t know exactly what we were negotiating but we were having a serious, civil and very intense conversation. I know what you’re thinking already…“Dreams are just a bunch of crap mixed up thoughts jumbled together.” Of course I do not believe that at all. It has never been that way with me.

I do remember the first music dreams I had. These dreams came at a time when I felt lost and out of place. Ella Fitzgerald was the first.  She sat on her wheelchair, looked at me and said, “Now listen to this…” Then she started singing and …yes, it was mind-blowing. She then stops midway in the song, looks at me and says, “Now sing!”

Then John Legend dropped in for a while. He was wearing that white suite and standing a few feet away from me. In the dream I was surrounded by people wanting to talk to me. He then raised his voice slightly and said, “When you are ready, I will be here.” He then gave me these complicated directions – none of which I remembered.

Now the fact is that at that point in time I had so many things going on in my life that music had taken a backseat. So that dream was a bit of a wake up call. And with each big-ish step I took John Legend would appear close and closer to me physically.

But for the last few months I have not had one single dream. I would remember nothing and it was so frustrating. I reckon that “my people upstairs” needed me to stand on my own two feet and fall hard on my ass. All of which I did, mind you. In the meantime my sister keeps having these “block buster movie dreams” that are so dramatic and filled with mad, scary shit. I would either get a call or a text from her asking me to puzzle it out. That just irked me and I had a few very harsh words to say to my “people”.

Now my dreams are back and my recall is near perfect. Again this comes with its own set of problems. Last night I was taught how to deal with grief and the aftermath of someone close dying. And sure it worries me but what can you do. People live and die and it’s just something we all have to deal with at some point in time….

posted by auriol in life in general and have No Comments

Some People have Real Problems

There are a few things I know about myself. No matter how nice I might seem, at my core I am a cynic. Oh, and I get annoyed easily by Disney movies, Jane Austin and bad Afrikaans music.  And if my daughter is to be believed I am also rude and swear too much. Of course I do not believe one bladdy word she says ….

Anyway, a good and fabulous friend popped in for a visit today. This guy is so full of life that I just felt dirty and ashamed (and not the good kind either) sitting next to him. As he talked I had to ask myself just what the hell happened to me. Where did all my spark and lust for life go? These days all I am is one ball of seriousness….

Sure there are many reasons why I have been in a bad mood for the last few years. Don’t worry I won’t bore you with all the details. I will say that I do think I am in trouble. My sister, looking for a pick-me-up on a really bad day, went through my DVD collection while back. In the end she opted for one of my daughter’s DVD’s. “Lord, Auriol, you have no happy or funny stuff to watch.”  

People tend to die in the movies I like. It’s either that or there’s a lot of blood involved. And my music is just as dark. In the last few months I wrote only one really happy song.  Either way I think I have lost the bladdy plot. And in an attempt to get my shit together I have decided to shake things up….

With the help of my best friend I made a list of things I would dare myself to do. Yes, they are uncomfortable things like…trying to cook a new dish every week. Dammit-all I hate cooking! So to get over my troubles I planned my meals for the next two weeks and littered them with new dishes.

It is a long list and I hope to come out of the process a sunnier person. Perhaps I might even smile a bit more and crack a joke or two. I will do my best to forget that saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions…..wish me luck…

posted by auriol in sanity's overrated and have No Comments

Don’t worry, be happy

It’s so easy to do nothing or be uninspired. To sit on your backside and moan about the state of the world and all the people in it. You’ve done this….I’ve done it. Some people will do it for the rest of their lives. Now that it’s January everyone’s talking about New Year’s resolutions, how this year will be different and why they will remain inspired and motivated.

As a songwriter/musician you would think it is easy to stay inspired. I mean people are dealing with serious issues every second of the day…all I have to do is pick one and right a song about it. Haha…if only it were that simple! Right now the earthquake in Haiti is giving us all a lot to think about. I asked my daughter this question last night. “Do you think that everything happens for a reason?” Yes, she said without blinking. Then I explained how a family member returning from a war lost faith in not only people but in God as well. “What would you tell someone like that if they spoke to you?” she paused for a few seconds and then said, “I don’t know Mummy.”

Now that is the most honest thing any of us can say. Shit happens to us all. Whether you are caught up in an earthquake of a geological or personal kind….shit happens to us all. Staying inspired and motivated during those times is a serious matter and we all tend to loose the plot if we are not careful. I went months without writing a single song and when I finally could write a song….I listed all the ways I could kill myself! It was awesome…lol!

Right now I am very inspired by a book I am reading. It has given me so many ideas, for not only music.  And it’s a history book…lol! So many of us think that if we just get that one thing right then we will be happy. Get that job, get married, loose the weight, move out….I have ditched that kind of thinking. I am going to do my damndest to be happy right where I am now.

Yes, I will sneak in bits of happiness in wherever I can. Maybe try cooking a new dish here and there. Every so often iron once the clothing is off the line and not wait days until it piles up and I get depressed by the sight.  That shouldn’t be too hard….

posted by auriol in human nature,life in general and have No Comments

Flash Forward

After watching all ten episodes in one sitting I am forced to admit that I am addicted to Flash Forward. Basically everyone blanks out for 2 minutes and in that time  get a glimpse of their lives 6 months from now. That the dark, intensely brooding Joseph Fiennes is the lead character and I won’t lie…it most certainly helped my addiction but honestly what I really liked was the mystery and all the weird bits. This is one show where I don’t mind suspending my disbelief.

Being a regular visitor to the psychics, I know how the concepts of “DESTINTY” can fook with your mind. I was told that I would have three children (two were destined) while the third was a choice child, along with a whole bunch of crazy things that I will not repeat. And yes, I do believe that we make agreements with each other to play out a scenario before we are born.

In fact I had a dream where I was walking with my guide and we discussed why I would choose a certain body type. And why my daughter would be the way she is and all the lessons we would learn from each other. I have had dreams like that about every significant person who came into my life.

Even if you don’t believe in that kind of thing (I mean who needs to worry about another life when this one has enough drama) we all know when we have to do something. Some call it intuition or just a knowing. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have ignored that feeling because I was scared or simply because I didn’t believe enough.

I hate it when someone tells me something obvious. “Blah, blah, blah.. ..you need to make that change and this change.” Hells bells I know what it is I need to do! But finding that right space and time is a very personal matter. Sometimes that right space and time comes hand in hand with mad drama simply because you need to be pushed off the edge and out of your comfort zone. Yes, we can only change when we are ready too and no amount of someone telling you shit day in and day and out or or flashes of the future  is going to change that.

So yes, I know I have made an agreement to have another child. Hell, I even dreamed of her and was told when I would be pregnant. Heck, I even know her name. It’s Layla by the way. Still only when I am ready to take that step will I. Fook destiny is what I say… Doesn’t mean I won’t take advice though….Ah, I think I am due for my next appointment at the psychic…

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Where the Wild Things Are

I just watched the movie with my daughter and was rather upset by the experience. It wasn’t the movie or the acting. It was the realisation that I am loosing my daughter. Becoming a mother at 21 does strange things to your head. It changes the way you look at everything. It took me a while to realise that she was just the start of everything…

So I created a host of imaginary friends for her, a radio station  that only aired when we were in the bath together. After a few months it was taken over by a multi- national and became a news station.  We would pretend to be rappers – she would rap and I would beat box. All her favourite bedtime stories were turned into musicals, we read all the Dr Seuss books in Woodstock library and threw all her dolls into the air like lunatics while singing a made up song about gravity.

As I watched that movie I realised that soon there will be no one to read to. No one to play Director-Director with, no one to force onto the Chair of Doom. No new dolls that would have to pass the crazy rules implemented by the Head of Security – the unicorn A-moonious Ra – before gaining entry into her room.

And yes, it does make me fee better knowing that only yesterday I got her to taste my face mask (while still on my face) by convincing her that it was made of cream…lol! My daughter filled my life with all kinds of magic and now she is growing up

Am I worried? Of course. Soon she will be a teenager. I know how unreachable I was back then and how long it took me to find my way back to my mother. But then again, I am not half as crazy as my mother still is, so there might be hope. After all my daughter is the best choice I have made so far.

posted by auriol in Uncategorized and have No Comments

I Belong to You

So many people ask me about the music industry and how to get in. It seems everyone is trying to get somewhere. When it comes to music the one thing that is vital is that you love what you do. I always made it a point to write a new song everyday. And for three years that is what I did. Lordy, lord I loved every second of it. The good, bad and even the terrible songs. I would spend hours just writing music…and forget to bath, make food and occasionally feed my cats…lol! While I thought it would be nice to have a record deal, I never made it my goal. I just enjoyed where the music would take me.

Here’s a secret…my record label turned me down the first time I went to them! Chris, the boss, asked me a series of questions. I walked away from the meeting realising that my first passion is song writing and that I have so much to learn about performance and just being around people in general…lol! So that is what I did for nine months. And when I was done learning – they found me. I was ready.

Still I am surprised by how many things musos get wrong. We are talking about basic things here. Musicians don’t register their music, don’t do homework about what’s going on in the industry or take any kind of advice. The one thing I do know is that I always want to get better at what I do. So if anyone has anything of value to say I will hear them out.

People love making fun of old Lady Gaga…and sure is a weirdo. But I must admit I like the balls on that chick. She is out there – just being her weird old self and working it. I reckon it’s easy to sit there and judge, “Those musicians are so shit! My music is better.” It’s easy and those who do are just being bitches. There is more than enough space for everyone.

Still, if you want to make a go of it there are basic things that you need to think of. The one issue I always had was whether my music would sound outdated. I must admit I worked with one musician and thought, “Hell this guy is going to create music that sounds like it is stuck in the 80’s” And I was so glad to be proved wrong. I guess that is what I love most. Being around musicians who are so talented and don’t mind working their asses off. It is very inspiring.

So if you want that record deal then don’t waste your time hanging with no good friends and getting drunk at bars – go out there and graft. It’s that simple.

posted by auriol in My music and have No Comments

MUSE

I did not get motherlessly drunk on New Years Eve. I did not count down the seconds or sit in front of the TV screen while others did. I didn’t bombard people’s walls on Facebook or text everyone I know. I fell asleep after a light supper. I don’t know about you but 2009 was hard.

I guess I should celebrate the fact that I got through it, didn’t throw myself off a cliff and happened achieved a few things along the way.  By the looks of it this day is going to be a slow, silent one. As my daughter likes to say when I am feeling introspective, “Mummy, you lost all your fun juices”.

So I will start my day by listing a few unusual things I am grateful for. A new member of the family, Chuck aka Monkey, our crazy kitten. After a few unfortunate incidents she became known as ‘the little pisser”. Now she bites foreheads, munches on hair and attacks anything that moves. She also finally knows where the toilet is.

Sushi has brought unexpected joy into my life. I dream about Sushi and when hungry it is the first food that pops into my mind. If you want to start a conversation with me recommend a great sushi joint. The only problem is that I no longer can eat or enjoy any other food as much. Everything else is “just okay” in comparison – cake, sweet things and sometimes even people.

There is nothing as comforting as being surrounded by people who know you. And being loved and accepted in spite of all the crazy shit you get up to. Maybe comforting is the wrong word. Still having people you can call home is irreplaceable. They are the first and last thing you think about. And when I play or hear a chord that sounds just right they become my MUSE.

Some things never loose their appeal. My daughter, the comedian, is truly from another planet. Two nights ago we were having an all out battle of accents. She is very talented at faking certain accents – the high English, Indian and Afrikaner – but cannot touch my Cape Colored accent! While trying to catch her breath she says, just like she did when she was younger, “Can I have my real Mummy back now!” Yes, my fun juices were overflowing that night…

In 2010 there are certain things I never want to be without – empathy, balance, family, and friends. The rest will take care of itself…

posted by auriol in life in general and have No Comments