Scaring The Children 1:550:00/1:55
“Fun and introspective psych-pop-rock tracks that recall ’90s Britpop and place Graham on the same plane as modern heavyweights like Portugal. The Man. and Spoon.”
-Jack Anderson, KUTX 98.9
When I was little I would watch my grandfather take a moment of inspiration and fashion it into a song. My grandpa, Robert Drasnin was a touring jazz musician in the 50’s, and went on to become the music director for CBS. He wrote or picked music for popular television shows in the 60’s like mission impossible, hawaii 5-0, the twilight zone, and scored movies soundtracks.
He even wrote a tiki exotica album in the same vein as the jungle books soundtrack. Some 50 years later he found out his album was a cult classic. A jazz festival in Florida offered to fly him out from California, hire the college band to learn his album, and have him headline the festival. He agreed on the condition that they fly out his wife and percussionist. It was a white lie. He gave them my name as his percussion player. The other percussionist toured in Shakira’s band. It was a real treat to be on stage as his album was performed live for the very first time.
In his 70's, he came out of retirement to tour with a small jazz band. I was too young to go to the club so I got invited to the rehearsal before a Seattle date near my hometown. Practice was at the organ players house. He looked as old as my grandpa. The hired drummer was in college. The guitarist and my grandpa had flown up from LA. These four musicians made introductions, picked the first song to start with, and flawlessly performed what they’d studied. I suddenly had a new level of musicianship to aspire to.
My grandfather set an example for me. Work your whole life on the things you love and work with talented people. I’ve had the good fortune of befriending some of Seattle’s great musicians. My new single features David Dowda (fruit bats), Alex Westcoat (Noah Gunderson, Pickwick), and Producer/mixer Steven Aguilar (The Head and The Heart, David Bazan). I can’t wait for you to hear what I’ve been cooking up in my rainy Seattle warehouse studio. I hope it becomes a cult classic.
My new single, In The Morning (out 2.21.20) is a collection of memories from high school parties I attended even though I wasn’t actually invited. One of my favorites is when someone came into the house carrying a stop sign. It seemed like a giant metaphor to slow down. The stop sign was thrown off the balcony into the backyard to triumphant cheers. Party on.
“Think I’m gonna leave here. Think I oughta leave here. Think I’m gonna leave in the morning.” The chorus of, In The Morning is about the moment you surrender to the adventure in front of you instead of letting anxiety or fear get the best of you. It’s about experiencing life and relationships even though it can involve some level of risk.
The last few Summers I’ve been trying to live this out by going to Cambodia to teach English and music with my wife. She leads these camps where kids can learn about connecting to themselves, others, and planning practical steps to achieve their goals. The bonus is that the content is in English which is a huge draw for the students who rarely get to practice with a native English speaker. I tagged along, helped lead one of the classes, and had an afternoon music class where we sang Beatles songs and pop hits about friendship.
When I learned about the Cambodian genocide in the 70’s and how they lost their artists I was heartbroken. Going and teaching and promoting songwriting feels like a way to help invest in the arts. Supposedly there's less than 50 pianos in the nation. Me and my wife are doing a small thing, but it feels really meaningful to the people we bring as volunteers and the students we serve. It’s always a huge financial risk to go, but our community helps chip in and we do car washes and fundraising events. It’s a real team effort.
Showing up for life is hard. I often find myself detached while staring at a screen, or just not engaged with my feelings throughout a day. Singing songs, journaling, and going to shows and parties is a nice way for me to reconnect with myself and others. That’s the deeper message behind my song. Here’s hoping In The Morning has the same effect on you.
“The second solo album from this Seattle-based artist (and Motopony member) is a well-crafted set of brightly colored power pop, New Wave, and psych-pop.”
-Don Yates, Music Director KEXP 90.3