When the album was done the idea was to celebrate and rest my undoubtedly fragile, if not faltering mind in a sleepy Spanish village. Albums are a tricky thing to finish. Every decision is final, until it isn’t, and you wake up in the dead of night convinced church bells may just work on the opening track, or a banjo played with a bow, or the sound of an old coffee machine – (sadly, only one of those is made up). In short, we’re not finished, but we’re in Spain – having booked cheap as hell tickets in a more optimistic, naive mindset over Christmas. We’re damn close, but there’s still a few parts to polish, mix and master yet.
That leads to another tricky thing about albums: they’re expensive. I had this self-assured, self-destructive and utterly ignorant idea that I should crowdfund the album – thinking a return to patronage the only way to support art that won’t cut off the edges to please the populous palate. I still believe that (and you can read my arguments as to why here), but I certainly know why my route ain’t the norm. Frankly, I’m lucky to have made it this far, just over half way to the target. An utterly unknown artist who somehow has around 100 patrons, a few of which give regular monthly installments?! That’s fantastic! But it’s also terrifying, with so many well-wishing hands at my back. When all money that briefly brushes mine goes straight back into making the music, it often feels like you’re living out of step with time. You’re living in anticipation of an end at the expense of now – turning down friends, dinners, and anything whiffing of expense unrelated to getting IT done.
So here I am penniless, petrified, and eating platos of tapas in a white-soaked cliff-edged Spanish village: Arcos de la Frontera. For a musician, this is as rare as it gets: a trip, albeit the cheapest we could find, that’s just a trip – no gigs, no music, no guitar to trek around. But even though the studio’s booked out, and I rented my room to cover costs, I feel like I should be back in Berlin, back grafting. It dons on me, that I really do need a break. I’m fried, again, and very bad at realising when I am – evidently. Thankfully, this is the kind of place you can buy food and two drinks and still get change back from your fiver… so Steph and I are alright for now.
The sun seems unphased my winter, still managing to colour my face that traditional Irish red. The walls awash with white, and hills everywhere you look. There’s just over 60,000 people in the greater area, and during siesta you have the sun and streets completely to yourself. We spend our days walking trails, petting gatos, our nights eating tapas, drinking wine and damn near crying at how beautiful it all is. It’s all too much. The Spanish know how truly live. Every fruit is bursting, every greeting and day is warmer than the last, and they take naps at the expense of the economy for 2 hours every damn day. We have that in common, for a short breath, before I get back to Berlin, and back grafting once again.
Adios, Acros. Next stop: Mannheim, Germany.
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