helping you through everyday
on walls that surround you
can't confine you to any place
Let your mind drift far, far away
There are a lot of traps and mental prisons in writing. Rules and limitations from society, genre, friends, band mates, producers, and even ourselves. Each one boxes in the writer a little more. The creativity becomes a little more restricted. The possibilities less. The outcome more solid. This can be great. It is necessary to wrangle imagination in, or songs become unmanageable.
Prisoner is about living inside the cell. Understanding the condition. Moving beyond without violent resistance. But with creative resistance.
There are no worse punishments than ones given to ourselves.
No greater depths of hell than in our mind.
And freedom is only granted from within.
Wanting success can be one of the toughest cells in a creative prison. On one hand the writer -usually- wants the audience to like the work. But writing what you think people want often produces the worst ideas. Writing for money does even more damage to the spirit. The other hand, writing for completely for the self, can give some of the most creative ideas a chance to live. It is the hand of the bold and the dangerous. It is the abstract. The mysterious. But that can leave piece indigestible. Flighty and over intellectualized. And worse yet, writing for an audience of One, leaves the writer with an audience of One.
I wish we had more time to work on this song. But that is the consequence of working fast. Our albums were all recorded in under the span of two weeks. This pressure can provide great conditions for spontaneous creativity. The pressure drives the mind. The imagination. Reaching new places. It's tough. It's exciting. It's not for the feint of spirit. But it does have draw backs. Sometimes the songs are just beginning to cook, but we are on to the next piece. I wouldn't say I have regrets or disappointments- I love all our songs and I have pride about the work we have done on each one. I feel lucky to not have a song that I am embarrassed about releasing. But sometimes I wish I could work on it more. I am really happy with the new arrangement we are using for Prisoner live. I wish I could record that. Maybe a live record would be good for us...
Songs suffer from trying to do too much. Trying to cover too much ground. Trying to express every side at once. That's when rules help. But which one's to listen to? Which one's to fight? It's hard to take outside criticism because it feels like a personal attack. It feels like the idea wasn't given a good shot. You can fight for every inch an idea, but I think songs will suffer more. I've learned the problem is not the prison. Just how we feel inside of it.
Gone are the old friends
whose time they won't spend anyway
here are your new friends
who you can depend, won't go away
Let your mind drift far, far away
The truth is, there is no right answer. Only what things we can live with. There are some limitations we shouldn't tolerate. Some walls must be broken. Some amount of personal identity must be asserted. It is up to the artist to decide what is tolerable. Knowing that: resistance to others only further alienates the project.
There are times I have felt trapped. Stuck. Like everything is moving on a schedule. Like I'm unable to move for myself. It is not a good feeling. It's also not easy to break out of it. The worse part is you want to blame others, but it's only the self. It's only the mind confining itself. This song is to remind myself: let your mind drift far, far away.
never knowing a part from the self,
the water, and the rain
we are bound
racing to end, heavens of earth and black tar
they will take us, but at least we can go together