Track 12 - We Can Be Dreamers

 

Recorded: September 23, 2001 (Note: This song was recorded in 2001, but was filed in the 2002 audio journal archive)
Instrumentation: Acoustic Kay Guitar, Electric Bass, Vocals
Tempo:
Audio Stems: No

For the final song on the record we are going all the way back to 2001. I was living in South Slope Brooklyn near the corner of 7th and 17th street. I had moved to this apartment in August, just weeks before 9/11. It was my first official apartment in NYC after a year of couch surfing. Sharing a small two bedroom with two other friends, this apartment birthed many new thoughts and experiences of which the Audio Journal was one.

When I started releasing songs for Audio Journal Vol. 1 I never intended to release “We Can Be Dreamers” mostly because of fear. Fear of what people would say, what people would think. Fear of not having a singer’s voice, fear of presenting something so old… fear of judgement. That said, allowing fear to hold me back is not what this project is about. This project is about being honest, embracing aspects of myself that aren’t like everyone else, getting behind the parts of my personality that I don’t always like and in a sense, being free.

“We Can Be Dreamers” came from a month long ‘song a day’ writing burst I had when I first moved from the city. With my trusty 4-track, my kay guitar, my bass, and a pump organ, I recorded song after song after song. With every new song I was learning how to sing, how to break out of my head, and how to not give a fuck.  Often times I would press record, grab my guitar and simply start singing. Improvising lyrics and chord progressions on the spot. Sometimes the words would come out right, most of the time they would only graze past my thoughts, capturing a glimpse of what I was feeling. This song was recorded and mixed 100% on the 4-track. (Tascam Porta 2).  The guitar and vocals were recorded at the same time with one mic, then doubled.  The bass was plugged in direct and overdrive by cranking the input gain. Still to this day the sound of my bass through that 4-track is one of my favorite distortions.  

This time period was also around September 11th.  On that clear and blue-skied morning I was walking to return paint that I had purchased and decided I didn’t like the color. My father had mentioned on the phone that a plane flew into one of the towers, and as terrible as that was, I had no idea of how actually devastating it would become, so I carried on to the paint store. People started gathering in the streets where you can catch a glimpse of downtown Manhattan. The feeling on the street was tense but nobody knew what was to come. Soon a dark cloud came over Brooklyn, and soon after that the debris came in the form of snow, covering everything with a white and pungent powder. The phones stopped working, people were running, screaming and crying in the streets. The scene was truly apocalyptic. 

When I finally made it home, my room was covered in that same debris. My bed, my instruments, my 4 track, everything. It was an experience that forever changed me. Fortunately for me it didn’t harden the way I approach life, it actually did quite the opposite. Compassion, understanding, diversity, dreams, and love are the only way to combat fear and hatred. And it’s with that mindset that I have approached everything I have done in my life since. 

Lyrics
I am a dreamer
I see that today
With my eyes as deceivers
and nights turning gray
Open what? a full circle
A train ride to place
all the memory banks searching
Behind distant days
Where I locked all my enemies
Too far away to pull up to the surface
To live in a daze
called childhood
Lookout
A world still unfazed

And how long to fight till our memories fade
Yes and how long to realize our bones were engraved
When we fell from the rooftops
Just like all our friends
And joined hand clenched circles
And for this we stayed
In a world called imperfect
A feeling with senses
Attempts to break reason

Oh, to stand on our heads
To pass through the dead looks
To notice the trees are turning from green
And the see the dirt passing
And fading as glasses
And we're just the same
As our differences shining

Our parents gave everything for us to live
And at this time it's our turn
To give back the gift
That we started to package
And share with our friends
Before all of this started
to make too much sense
In a hand written letter
Simple and perfect
Says we can be dreamers
We can be dreamers
We can be dreamers