The month of July is gone… long gone, at this point. Shoot, it might as well be 2010 the way things are movin’. I’m realizing I gotta write shorter updates more often. Trying to mash over a month into one go shorts out my circuits. But the upside is that you can enjoy this less-than-epic prose like a warm glass of milk before hitting the sheets. Set your sails for R.E.M. and wake up a shiny, happy, person.
I spent the first part of the month in Holland with the fam. I’m usually back there for Christmas/New Years, so it was nice to be back with the sun out doing its worst. Almost every day was mid 70’s to high 80’s (that’s mid 20’s to low 30’s for the Celsius world), so if I wasn’t helping out with the renovation of the upstairs at my folks’ place, you could find me on the Wassenaar beach getting baked. The remodeling process was actually a bit sentimental, ’cause the top floor of our row house there was my (and my brothers’) room during the high school years. One of my jobs involved tearing down the ceiling we’d painted to look like a giant American flag when we first moved to the place in ‘97. At the time, it was a way to feel at home; it’s only since then that I think I’ve become a patriot. And swapped the brush for the pen.
For the Fourth of July, by the way, we grilled up some chicken and hot dogs on the back patio. Our house is one of 5 attached houses in a row – a row house, if you will – and we’ve got some great neighbors. Two houses away, our friend Petra and her family were also enjoying dinner outside, heard us (no surprise…), and started an impromptu sing of the Star Spangled Banner. We couldn’t see each other through the hedges, so it was cool to sense the camaraderie with only our ears. Ears that didn’t hear any fireworks that day… the Dutch save those for New Years… and it is CRAZY!
While I was back, I also had the chance to meet up with a few friends from the high school days. I had great conversation and chill time with Dave S. and his wife Marcha in Leiden, aka “Little Amsterdam.”
They recently got a killer pad — after 10 years on a waiting list! — in this beautiful, vibrant, 16th century city. A canal boat parade cruised by a couple blocks over this evening and not even Marcha, who’s Dutch, knew what it was about. The idea of a spontaneous parade gave the night an extra good vibe. Dave and I hope to do some collaborative work together in the future, as he’s a graphic designer and we share similar opinions about a lot of things.
My other HS reunion was with Arthur R., who I call Arturo, and the rest of Holland calls DNA. He’s the producer and 1 of 3 MCs in the hip-hop group L4. Before I hit him up a few weeks before heading over there, I wasn’t aware Arturo was in music, too – it’d been nearly 10 years since we’d seen each other. At that time, neither of us was especially active in music, so it was rad to connect on that level and share our experiences producing and performing music. We linked up a the Zwarte Ruiter (Black Rider) in The Hague and ended up meeting up with the other 2/3s of L4, Stam and Niffy. The night wrapped up with a jam session at a local spot where I joined the fellas on stage alongside the host band. I found a tambo and chimed in with some vocals to suit their free-styles. The place was packed, the atmosphere was right, and it was super dope to do a bit of performing with DNA and the fellas. Click on the pic to rocket over to L4’s myspace.
I crashed on Art’s couch – Dave’s couch got some Seume stankonia, too! — and in the hazy morning, out of the blue, we started putting a track together in the home studio. A few hours later, we were pleased with a demo and called it quits to grab the best Turkish pizza in town, right down the street. Arturo and I got together for one more session a week later during which he and the boys laid down their verses. We’re doing the back and forth online to finish it up and will have it for you to hear soon!
I’ve got another collabo cooking with KC’s best hip-hop ’09 nominee, D/Will. I invited him up to perform our co-produced track during my set at the Pitch Music Awards Showcase on Aug. 6th. The performance got a mention in the Wayward Blog by Pitch music editor, Jason Harper.
OK… go catch some Zzz’s.