[infobox maintitle=”Editor’s Note” subtitle=”Hola all ! In today’s blog we are tackling things from an entirely different angle. Lex Low (or commonly known as Alex in real life) also happens to currently write, and has blogged a number of articles for this very outlet (sodwee.com) on upcoming, established and new bands from around the world, Alex is part of our team here at Sodwee.com and we genuinely think he is an integral part of the success of it. He usually writes from Los Angeles (USA) and is often seen roaming the streets of London in the UK where he was originally born and grew up. This article was bizarre for me (Ben) to come to grips with as I hadn’t had any hand in it at all except for the final note that you’re currently reading and the final edit. The entire piece was written by Lex Low / Alex on his own accord and initiative. We genuinely liked the approach and the honesty he poured in these words. We could have asked an entirely different guest or staff member to write about his new track ‘Drifting’ to comply with traditional methods of journalistic ethics… But after reflecting on the matter and seeing the work Alex had put in the track itself and the actual written piece, we thought, ‘what the heck we’ll roll with it and who better than the songwriter HIMSELF to write about his own track’…
So here it goes, Alex reflecting on the songwriting process and the therapeutic benefits of doing it yourself as experienced first person… We know it might look/sound a little edgy, but rest assured, we have already turned Lex Low down on numerous occasions prior to today’s post and we genuinely thought the track had a very interesting approach. So go spin it. Alex, thank you again for opening up like that, you have our stamp of approval on this one, and we’ll stand by it.
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[dropcap letter=”M”]ost of us will struggle with some form of anxiety, depression or mental illness throughout our lives. As a boy the idea of emotional expression is beaten out of you, sometimes literally, and it does lasting damage to one’s ability to communicate effectively – both with others and oneself. As a result, it becomes difficult to move past negative feelings and they are allowed to fester over time. By no means is my anxiety crippling, nor is it the most severe case that I have experienced first hand. My friends, family and even some of my childhood teachers have displayed more acute forms of anxiety; however it’s still there and it’s still real. Recently someone who cares about me pointed out that I’m always telling others that they shouldn’t feel ashamed of acknowledging their mental struggles but I rarely take my own advice.
Those who are close to me know that I very rarely talk about my emotions. Whenever someone asks ‘how are you?’, I’ll usually reply with a rehearsed line of, “Alright, you?” or “Not bad, a little tired” – and sometimes it’ll be the truth. However, it can feel like I’m stumbling over my own feet. I’ll block myself from being open with those I care about because I’m afraid of recognising that sometimes I feel down. Those rehearsed responses are emotional spackling paste, I’m filling the cracks with a temporary fix so that I can put off the inevitable. I know that at some point I’ll need to vocalise my actual feelings otherwise, as is often the case, I’ll erupt into a blubbering volcano of overflowing self-criticism. It’s not a healthy approach to life and, at 23 years old, the time had come for me to find a sustainable form of expression.
Something interesting happened last week. As I was putting the finishing touches on my new single there was a moment of realisation, I became aware that I was detached from the process. With the constant monster of stat-based pressures looming over one’s shoulder it can become all too easy to forget about writing music for the sake of expression. It dawned on me that I had an amazing opportunity; namely, the chance to transfer my inner feelings to something greater than the thoughts themselves. I had a chance to explore my psyche through the guise of music.
Looking at the signs you draw / Returning to a place I know I wasn’t running from
Whilst I enjoy my earlier releases and stand by them as moments in my life, they were emotionally one-dimensional. They were declarations of my feelings towards a chosen subject. It had become evident that I had never built a track to explore feelings that I had towards myself. So, newly energised, I re-drafted the lyrics. The overall tone of the song remained the same, wanting to pull something back that was drifting away. In the track’s first iteration that ‘something’ was a lover, the idea of a relationship slipping through one’s fingers. Elements of that first theme have endured the re-write and that message is still in there. However, with a bit of tweaking, the lyrics also became self-reflective – I started to acknowledge that I was drifting away from myself.
As I was combining words with melody, I could feel a weight being lifted, I was finally letting my thoughts roll out of my body. They were no longer just marbles rattling around my brain, trying to find an escape route. They were there, singing back to me through speaker cones; I could hear myself think and appraise those feelings, recognising them as my own. Whether you channel yourself through poetry, keeping a journal or writing music the effect is the same. You’re allowing yourself to process information that is otherwise fleeting. Thoughts are there one second and gone the next, they are fundamentally ephemeral and transient. By taking note of those thoughts you can open up an emotional dialogue thereby allowing yourself to tackle, accept and move past them.
There’s a section in the second verse which captures the journey I took during the writing process: “Hold my breath in / Looking at the signs you draw / Returning to a place I know I wasn’t running from”. I haven’t been consciously running away from myself, things have just gotten in the way. I’ve been working more, exercising less and not appreciating that life is occurring around me in beautiful ways. Every so often I’ll draw myself a sign, I’ll remind myself to start going to the gym again or I’ll tell myself to eat better. However, I haven’t returned to a fully-present version of myself for any considerable amount of time recently. The unimportant daily distractions drag me back inwards. This is the first time that acknowledging the need for personal reflection has taken a form with any permanence. It is now enshrined in a song, written in permanent ink on a small corner of the internet’s wall forever.