Who Is…HTRK (via Wondering Sound)

There’s a scene in Fire Walk with Me with a woman walking into a room full of men and there’s a sense of doom in the atmosphere. I remember Sean mentioning that he wanted his bass lines to sound like what she would hear while walking into that room.

I definitely see pictures with my music too.

And within all the flat-line atmosphere there’s a lot of emotion. To me it feels like if you let the floodgates open it could pour emotion all over you, but by keeping it tight there’s a kind of tension there.

And it’s exactly that tension that pulls me asunder, and why I love HTRK so, so much.

We’re always getting called dark, but darkness is not what we’re thinking about. We don’t want to take that away from people, but darkness is kind of boring to us. We’re after a rich truth, not some stylistic stance.

You really sense that there’s more to HTRK than what’s on the surface. In fact, the music is just scratching the surface. Reacting to HTRK’s music, that’s where the magic is. A lot of uncomfortable emotions and thoughts surface whenever I listen to their music, it’s almost like their music whispers and goads you into releasing your inner psyche.

In the wake of Sean’s death, we became kind of obsessed by Sean’s interests, like all the books he listed on MySpace and Fassbinder films and comic books and graphic novels. There was a lot of mystery to Sean that we were trying to unravel while making the album.

Work (Work, Work), still stands as the most fascinating HTRK piece of work for me. It’s complex in its mood and treatment, it too has helped me grieve, either through something vicarious, or by being able to both numb or provide exegesis all at the same time.


It is for me the eventual truth
Of that look of the lioness to her man across the Nile
It is that look of the lioness to her man across the Nile

I want to feel my heart break if it must break in your jaws

I want you to lick my blood off your paws

You can’t get here fast enough
You can’t get here fast enough
You can’t get here fast enough

You can’t get here fast enough
You can’t get here fast enough
You can’t get here fast enough

I will swim to you, I will swim to you
I will swim to you, I will swim to you

Whether you save me
Whether you savage me

Want my last look to be the moon in your eyes
Want my heart to break if it must break in your jaws
Want you to lick my blood off your paws

It is for me the eventual truth
It is that look of the lioness to her man across the Nile
And you can’t get here fast enough
I will swim to you

Songs: Ohia – Lioness (Live)


It seems that the older inhabitors never got out of you
The phantom broods were wronged in body
And in a state they will make their soon escape
By building a new inheiritence
S’likely more not to be
Than sin and death and vipers to fill our beds
And as for liberty she will work or she will suffer
I am dense with the light of women
and I insist I’m not confused
I will not be going

Molina died on March 16, 2013, in Indianapolis as a result of alcohol abuse-related organ failure. He was 39.

Songs: Ohia – Blue Jay (Sin and Death)


Last night, I accidentally dropped a glass of water on the kitchen floor.

I immediately knelt down to clear the large shards of glass that were on the floor, those were easy enough. I had some trouble with the smaller shards, and it was near impossible for just fingers to clear the “grains” of glass that were left behind. Picking up a wet cloth, I tried to wipe it away, or at least get it on the cloth so that I could wring it dry.

I was determined to clean this up right, because someone else might step on a shard and injure themselves.

And that’s when it hit me. That’s just like our hearts after they’ve been broken.

Broken Glass and Hearts

Creativity, Leadership

Here’s How Henry Rollins Writes (Slightly NSFW)

In-depth interview with Henry Rollins, frontman of Black Flag, and one of the hardest working people on the planet. Love or hate his opinion on matters, I really respect his work ethic and approach to the craft of writing.

I am not all that interested in being more creative. I would like to be clearer.

Definitely. I wish this for myself, everyday.

More notes. Every date, record played, show gone to, what he said, she said, what songs they did at practice, etc. Hard information. You can never take enough notes.

Something I don’t do enough, or at all. Even if I do, I rarely have a filing system for this, and I’m powerless without a gadget to help me. But this is so important when writing, because it’s the anecdotes you collect and subsequently publish that imprint your work.

You know all those people you admire? They didn’t wait around for anyone to tell them it was okay to go. They just went.

Initiative, leadership and clarity. Consequences be damned. Act, don’t react. I’ve definitely been trying to better my own life and pursuits with this attitude.


My Arms Let Loose The One I Loved

This then, is what it’s like to break up with someone.

After mutually agreeing to break up about a month back, my brain had pretty much intellectualised everything it needed to. There was a logical loop that kept playing in my scenario, that whilst she had broken up with me because she didn’t have feelings anymore, she still needed time to let go because feelings don’t just go away.

In my situation, I was stuck in limbo. I respected her decision to break up with me, and yet, was I expected to return those residual feelings? As I said, it was a logical loop by which there can be no answer, or there is a clear answer. Microsoft Excel calls this a circular reference, whereby you can either have it say ERROR; or you can program the spreadsheet to refer to this reference as a value of “0”.

Either way you lose.

My heart took awhile to catch up. Intellectualising a situation is my self-defense mechanism. It provides some sort of structure, or Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to deal with disposable emotions. Things we don’t mean to say at the time. Some might call it being reasonable. While I hold that in high regard, it is also an incredible illusion of security. If you don’t address the heart in time, it will crumble under the house of cards built by your brain.

For me, one of the most arresting things that I had to deal with in my heart, was at how irrelevant I had become. Maybe this is self-imposed, but when I was in a relationship, I found meaning in the daily grind, because I was doing it to build a future with someone. When I met up with friends, it was as part of a healthy dichotomy between meaningful one-to-many and meaningful one-on-one relationships. When I indulged in my hobbies or personal pursuits, there was an added joy to share life’s victories with a loved one.

When you break up, there is no one to share that anguish with.

but lady epiphany
whispered a sweetness unto me
what i had always known
‘you’ll have to do this on your own’

So after a month of still having our Facebook statuses reflect our expired relationship, I pulled the plug. I told her my plan to do it, and then I did it. I didn’t wait for permission, and did it as an independent agent. Consequences be damned. I asked later, why she had left it there for so long, and at the end of the day, it’s sentimentality. While that’s understandable, it’s a terrible yoke to live under.

They call it the burden of hope.

So it scares me that I’ll be alone the rest of my life, or that I’ll never find a partner quite like her. But I’m not going to let fear issue me a rebound, or to keep me from ever loving again. It’ll take time, but I’d rather roll with the punches, take the hits, and learn along the way; than to say that I’d never been in the ring before.

When a colleague asked me how I felt today, since I was looking particularly stressed (It was work-related), I didn’t just smile stupidly and say everything was fine; but I told him exactly how I felt, with the point about being irrelevant. It was something to confront, and I’m glad I did.

I told him as well, that the analogy was like being in either the mid- or late-game of a Starcraft match (popular real-time strategy game), and it was that moment when you had just lost your base and most of your units, and you didn’t know if you should graciously bow out (gg) or try building another base for Round 2.

He understood exactly what I was saying, and he joked,

You’ve got too many SCVs (resource gathering unit) and not enough minerals (resources)

We laughed. True that. I have all my life to live, and the opportunity to schedule whatever I need in my life again. There are things I have to rebuild, and things I’ll need to readjust. Whatever. The important thing is to keep living. And if there’s a lesson, it’s this.

If you can be honest with yourself, you can be honest with someone else.

And perhaps vice versa.

I don’t know what the future holds, but whatever it is, I’ll go down swinging till my last breath. That’s the only reasonable and rebellious response to an uncaring world gone mad. I loosed one final salvo to her about how I was feeling at the time, and how it seemed like in this entire aftermath, it felt like she was the one who had everything she wanted for herself, and I was left with nothing. She apologised, and I understood.

In the end, I wished her well and hoped that she would find what she was looking for. And my last words were to her and to myself were,

I hope when you find what you’re looking for, and if I’m invited to your celebrations, my heart would have healed.


Cool memories from the Marry Me Tonight vinyl liner notes

I remember Sean dragging me out into the kitchen at Birdland and playing me on his unplugged Fender Jazz, the bassline to what became ‘Panties’, grinning impishly like he’d just written the most ridiculous, dumb, perverse thing ever.

HTRK is easily becoming one of my favourite bands from the 2000-era of music. It took quite awhile for them to grow on me, but I think that’s perfectly natural, as their music’s not meant to be rushed, and it does require a particular state of mind to let the music and atmosphere sink in.

If I had to explain it, I’d say it’s like “falling in love with an artificial construct.”

The re-release of HTRK’s ‘Marry Me Tonight’ is 28 April 2015 on Ghostly International. It will be released in LP format.