"Var. on Endless Handbag" pt. 1: Emotion
Updated: Jun 29, 2021
Hey folks! Given my excitement over Variations on Endless Handbag, it feels only right to talk about the processes and feelings and collaboration that went behind it.
This is gonna be a multi-part series of posts, where I talk about a different aspect of the creation process of that track.
"Authenticity of emotion": what's it about?
If you have encountered me and my music before today, you'll know that I'm all about the emotional honesty in music.
After all, music is communication -- and if I cannot be in tune with my own emotions when writing pieces of music, then I'm not going to be able to communicate well with you, the listener. Something about the piece and its intent (and its lyrics, if any) would be lost without that emotional honesty.
When people get blown away by video game soundtracks such as those of NieR, Halo, or Xenoblade Chronicles, they recognise something that isn't conveyed enough in most other soundtracks. To me, I recognise that the composers behind these soundtracks are incredibly emotionally literate. And that's all there is to it, a lot of the time. People can share the same plugins or software or resources, but some will be able to convey things that others might not have thought to do. There is a je ne sais quoi, as some put it. That, to me, is emotional honesty.
What's your story then, Trois?
My emotions, and my music, have come from a place of strength through turmoil.
Over the years I've fought and overcome a slew of mental traumas owing to physical, mental, and sexual abuse.
Without going into the specifics of the things I have faced, I went through very dark times where, without intending to hurt those I loved, I did -- so much so that I hardly even remember these events, and have needed them to be recounted to me. I have had a lot of help from friends and loved ones to finally be in tune with myself and my emotions, and to fight the effects of what I'd been subjected to in the past. From something like this, one never truly recovers -- one can only keep fighting. While I feel I haven't changed, those around me say that I am getting better. There is plenty of emotional weight in my songs, as a result -- plenty of sorrow, deep reflection, and even anger.
There is also an undercurrent of light in the midst of all that emotional darkness. Some of you have picked up on it before today, and told me as much -- and I can't thank you enough for having picked up on that.
Today, however, I want to talk about one particular emotion that became the driving force for Variations on Endless Handbag -- anger.
But isn't anger destructive and a bad motivator?
When undergoing therapy I was encouraged to see the true reason as to why we get angry. Anger is a response to something being wrong and unjust, and in desperate need of change.
People take to the streets in protest out of anger over injustice. Some write protest songs. Some undertake projects to blow off steam, or to prove what they are capable of.
Minority, poor, and marginalised gender friends: many of you know what it's like to be underestimated because of who you are, or because of your background or lack of resources. It shouldn't be happening in this day and age, but it still continues to happen and we infrequently hear horror stories along these lines. Many of us who go through these things use anger as a motivator to make some of our best art, or to otherwise inspire change, however small.
The original Endless Handbag, from which the Variations are derived, is a quirky, light-hearted piece of music. The Variations, on the other hand, had plenty of emotions, especially anger, channelled into them. I, and a number of friends of mine who played parts on this piece, were angry and we wanted something to show for our anger. We were angry because we saw numerous examples of musicians, both with small and decent followings, being consistently ignored and underestimated.
And friends, you may argue with me that networking should solve the problem. Let me make it clear that it does go some way to solving the problem; the more one's name is known through candid conversation and sharing, the more one's work is known. But it doesn't solve the kind of underestimation brought about by prejudice, small-mindedness, or hatred. Anyone going through this situation is bound to feel anger and frustration. We felt that our best way to channel that anger and frustration was to turn it into something awesome.