That 2 AM Sound 

One of my favorite times to record is at 2 AM. Regardless of my energy level, there's always  a relaxed, quiet sound to the recordings I make then. Here's an example.

Recordings I make then are usually challenges, seeing as most of my recent recording spaces contain people sleeping at that hour. I have to keep quiet, and that's a challenge for me because singing quietly isn't my strength. I was recording my newest release at two AM and I ran into an interesting problem related to that. 

The song that I was working on at the time, "Someone Else's Problem", is a very angry song. Had I been able to record it at top volume, it would have turned out far differently than it turned out on the final take. The forced quietness of it all makes it sound almost sarcastic and angry instead of raw rage. Combining the 2 AM sound with the anger created something cool. 

If I want to nail a song in one take and am full of emotions, the best time in my experience to record is midafternoon. Many entire albums of mine were recorded straight through in midafternoon along with notable songs like my covers "Heroes" (David Bowie)

and "Letters From The Sky" (Civil Twilight).

The key here is the emotion behind it. Since my songs are almost always tracked live with one microphone, the entire thing really depends on emotions. If I record a song and don't feel it, the take can be musically and structurally spot on, but will seem flat and stale. I'm usually deep in my emotions by the time I record something. It shows. 

The emotions still come out at 2 AM, they just come out differently due to environmental constraints. That's part of the magic of recording. 

Love,

MJ 
(they/them)

Into The Hall of Mirrors 

I'm taking a break from hanging out with my Alaskan family because I'm frickin beat and need a minute to myself. It's been an important, but hard realization that alone time is important. There's a lot of pressure to be present and social all the time, especially if you're usually known as an extrovert. People tend to wonder if I'm not okay when I don't want to socialize and then get worried about me. I do need time if we're hanging out for several hours to get away and catch my breath - it doesn't mean I'm angry at you, distressed, or even anxious most of the time. I do deal with anxiety and deep sadness, but they're more rare than you'd think and I'm able to bounce back relatively quickly. They don't like to stick around. The most likely scenario is that I'm out of energy.

Taking alone time is something that's hard for me because my mind when I'm alone becomes like an endless hall of mirrors - echoing, empty, with only myself staring back at me no matter where I go. I'm working on self love and it's getting there, but I'm nowhere close to loving myself unconditionally. I still beat myself up a lot, I don't forgive myself for mistakes, I'm hard on myself for things I shouldn't necessarily be. I still associate self love with vanity in many ways, and while I know they aren't the same thing, they're connected in my head and heart still. I'm still working on separating the two and I'm slowly realizing that it's okay to speak highly of and speak up for myself. It doesn't mean I'm some narcissist, it means that I care about who I am and have a voice I know how to use. I'm re-learning how to use my voice in my music and to tell my own story.

Writing has always been cathartic for me, but now it's become so much more powerful in my life as I become less and less afraid of speaking the truth. "The guilt is gone," I wrote once, "because I don't need it anymore." I was right. I don't need it anymore. I kind of want to walk this hall of mirrors as night falls, stay up through that night, and write about what I go through during that time. That would be cool. 

I was talking to someone today and they suggested I journal whenever I cry. Journaling is incredibly difficult for me emotionally because it can easily slant towards the dark side of things and I get trapped in there. But I think in order to confront myself in the hall of mirrors, I need to give my thoughts power. I need to let my mind do its thing. No light without dark. No dark without light. Wish me luck.

-Meg
(they/them)

 

Something More Inviting 

Hey, rebels!!
 

If any of y'all are new here and don't know where the hell to begin, try this!

This is the ultimate intro to my body of work, with one song from each of my releases with vocals. Instrumental one coming soon. 


Love,

Meg Jam, they/them
Candy For Trees

If you liked this intro, click here to hear more!

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Rebel Folk 

9/1/2019

 

I've been thinking about meeting targets in life - finding one's target market, meeting goals, etc.. That's something that I struggle with. My desires are generally all over the place and change at the drop of a hat. Sometimes I work on my book, other times I'm writing poetry, and still others I'm working on music. As you saw in "Some Thoughts", I was dealing with some bad writer's block for awhile, but finally broke through it by writing what I wanted to write at last instead of seeking the approval of others. 

I've never known how to define my art, though - sometimes people ask me how I would define my style and the closest thing I've been able to say is "early Regina Spektor, but with more depressing lyrics". I realize now that that's just in regard to instrumentation, seeing as Regina's early music was just her and piano, that's it. I love Regina Spektor, but saying my music is like hers is a bit untrue unless I say "take the themes of her song "Samson" and apply it throughout the entire catalog", but even then that's a bit off. My lyrics deal a lot with rebellion, sifting through my beliefs, and finding myself. That may come across to others as depressing, but as one of my friends put it, it's up to the listener. Some might take it as hopeful and relatable, others may take it as depressing and negative. I'm not really looking to appeal to those who think it's only depressing. That's why the Regina comparisons aren't really accurate. All of them fit on the surface, but when you go deeper, you'll find that there's more than that.  

So perhaps it could be best described as rebel folk. I'm gonna go with that for a time. My music can be really chilled out, but if you listen to the lyrics, you find that a lot of it deals with some kind of struggle or tension. I write about tension best, and I think that that's why my time at the Mormon college I went to yielded some of my best work. 



So to the rebels trying to figure life out, to those branded as black sheep, to those with something to say, I tell you:

You're safe here. 
I understand you. 
If you relate, you're in the right place.  

Love,  

Meg Jam
Candy For Trees

To listen to my music, go here.
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Some Thoughts 

8/29/19 

Dear whomever happens upon this post, 

I have a lot on my mind, mostly good things. I’m listening to Skrillex’s “First of the Year (Equinox)”, which is a huge throwback song for me – late 2012, evenings, awkward text messages, teen angst, being 15. That sort of thing. I only listened to dubstep at first to impress my friends, who ended up being impressed and I ended up taking a liking to the genre before it fell off the map. It used to be too hard on my pop-attuned ears, but I admired it in a way. 

My mind is full of these throwbacks. Little things will bring one to mind. I met my husband for the first time in 2011, and 2011 and 2012 would be the last good years of my life for a long time. I get a lot of throwbacks from then, especially. Things started going downhill later in 2012, and I half-seriously wondered if I had fallen into the wrong universe, as though I had taken a wrong turn, or something. One of the lines in my song “The Last Of A Good Universe” is as good a descriptor of the years after 2012 as any: 

“You are the last of a good universe that parallels the life I live.” 

This line is about someone in my life during that time that knew me before everything hit the fan in about September 2012. I think I saw him as a source of stability during those years and latched onto him because he was familiar. I did that a lot. I think it’s a natural, human thing to do, but that wasn’t the healthiest thing to do. I was also very desperate during that time and craved any attention people would give me. This got me into some bad situations, but in the end I’m better for them and I learned my lesson(s). Most of them. I’m human, I have problems, I’m still learning and growing. 

Since meeting, dating, marrying, and being married to my husband, I have grown immensely. We have grown immensely as a couple. It’s been almost 11 months since I left Texas, and I have become someone different than the person I was on the day I left. I have fought certain things here that I shouldn’t have fought, but I have given in to other things and ideas and I don’t regret a damn thing. I’m convinced that there are people who call me, still expecting the me from before my marriage to pick up – doubtful of myself, easily swayed by outside opinions, accepting of the notion that I was “bipolar” and “crazy” – and instead are unprepared to face the new me when I proudly declare (paraphrasing Taylor Swift, of course), “The old me can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because they’re dead.” 

This is also reflected in my art. I have merged everything I enjoyed from my Meg Jam catalog with my CFT catalog and made one unified site. I’ve also started writing music again, music that’s for me and speaks my truth. I was so afraid to write a lot of music with words for over a year because I worried that the songs that I wrote didn’t help people, that people didn’t want to hear it, that they were just complimenting me because they were kind and not because they really cared. Do you know why I thought that?? 

Because I was told that by people whom I’m sure meant well.It ended up choking my art. I got so caught up in trying to write what I thought would help other people that I lost my own voice. After my 2018 album The Places We Come Home To was released, I wrote a handful of new songs, not even enough for an album. I was halfway through the arranging phase of an album tentatively called Light On The Final Day when plans changed and I taped Places in its place. Light was effectively shelved indefinitely. Two songs (”Carthago” and “Tambora”) originally slated for release with the album snuck their way out, one as a single on streaming services and the other on Midday. Light On The Final Day was neck and neck with my album Mago for being my favorite even while only in the lyric writing phase. Why did I shelve it, then? 

The answer was that I didn’t believe in myself, so I most definitely did not believe in my art. It took writing “Never Mind” a few weeks ago after a fight with my husband to really, truly believe in my art. Playing “Gone” for a YouTube video reminded me of just how fucking powerful writing and singing and playing should be. The recording I took really captures “Gone”’s essence. I missed that. 

So to those asking for happy music: No. Stop that. I’ll write happy music when Ifeel like it, not when you feel like I should. There will be a time for happy music again, just not now. Stop asking, please. 

To those who are like I was 11 months ago: The people around you are not deities. Your voice is just as valid as the voices of those around you. SCREAM, if you must. And if the people around you still don’t listen and you deem it a waste of your time to scream further, walk away. You get to choose who you want to have in your life. Nobody gets to choose that for you. If you find yourself in need of a friend or family member, I’m here. I have a goal to be the best aunt in the world. My inbox is always open. 

Love, 

Meg 

(they/them)