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A Musical Gift for You From Alex Henry Foster

A Musical Gift for You From Alex Henry Foster

I hope you are doing well, and have the chance to enjoy summer, although it is quite strange without music festivals going on. I hope this actual crisis isn’t too hard on you. Already ten days have passed since we all gathered around the "Snowflakes in July" concert... Hard to believe, as we’re still inspired and moved by what happened that day.

I had to share a special conversation I had with Alex at some point this week, after we spent numerous hours making sure every detail around the vinyls and Alex’s personalized handwritten letters were all perfectly aligned. Nothing is easy, but we don't trust easy anyway. As I previously shared with you, "Snowflakes in July" is the most personal and intimate song on the album for Alex. It was a song we couldn’t really talk about with him, as it was a very sensitive topic. We only played this song live 3 times before, and I was wondering if we would even play it again following Alex’s decision to share the entire album with you via our live streams from The Upper Room Studio when it became clear our headlining tour would be pushed to 2021.

Ever since the release of his album “Windows in the Sky”, Alex and I had a few intense conversations about concerts, touring, interviews, exposing himself, and so on. Alex and I are best friends and have been so for more than a decade, so we know each other’s blindsides and personal challenges by heart. I can testify to you that friendship has no boundaries at all, especially when it’s deeply rooted in love and respect. Knowing all of what Alex has gone through, which I’ll take some time to explain more in subsequent cult missives, I have to say how proud I am of who he became through this journey, as it’s been a long and a hard one. I can tell that there’s no better way to migrate from this musical journey than playing “Snowflakes in July” and immortalizing it on a vinyl for us all to go back to when we face a distressing moment or what looks like never-ending despair.

So I had the chance to ask Alex about the writing process of “Snowflakes in July”, if he remembered some details about how this imagery came to life… What was going on in his heart and mind following a live concert that honestly moved us all pretty deeply? Time had come for my best friend and me to have another soulful conversation, which he of course agreed to share parts of with you!

HOW DID YOU REALLY FEEL ABOUT PLAYING “SNOWFLAKES IN JULY” LIVE

“How do you feel” is probably the most complex of all questions when we are really looking for an honest answer. I don’t know how I feel, other than saying that I’m at peace somehow, which I guess is quite a statement coming from me. “Windows in the Sky” has been a long and difficult journey. It felt like looking at my dead self from outside my body and screaming “Wake up! Wake up!” without being able to make a single sound. I felt trapped in a buried box all my life, so I’ve learned to live with darkness, I’ve learned to be hopeless in a way. “Light” was like a stranger calling my name. For me, it wasn’t to be trusted. I just learned to conceal everything and kept going. No matter what, I kept on going…

So for me to scream “I will conquer darkness and make it shine, I will conquer night and make it mine” is like I am talking to my own personal demons more than a feel-good slogan. It’s the admission of my own desperation, as much as the acceptance of my affective bleakness. There is no shame in being broken and no disgrace in being fragile. There is no humiliation in saying we are discouraged and no degradation in admitting that we feel dead inside. I know that now... but it’s half the battle for me. I know I still need to compose with the same emotional illness I have always struggled with, from as far as my childhood memories can go. The song “Sorrows (If Only I Had Known)” that opened the live stream we had on July 26 addresses that…

As far as how I feel about playing “Snowflakes in July” live, I think it’s been liberating, emotionally speaking. I was concerned about losing it live, crying, being incapable to keep going, or having to stop the broadcast… But at the same time, I was ready to accept it if it would have been the case. That’s what live is about for me; a complete abnegation of self and its most secret ambitions. My concern was for others; all the work behind those live streams is quite phenomenal, and so is the affective involvement of the people I commune those live with.

I don’t talk much about myself. I’m a writer and I feel more equipped in expressing myself that way, or maybe more safe and secure in that intimate environment… So I was wondering if I could - or if I truly wanted to - share that part of me with anyone in a live setting. Once it’s shared, it’s no longer mine, and it is perfect that way, it’s how I believe it should be and why I have prepared myself to let go the weeks prior to the live stream. Prepared myself to remain honest, to respect the integrity of the song itself, to honor that moment with anyone joining me, to make sure I wouldn’t let my demons stand in the way of what is blessed for me to dwell on in order to be part of something greater than myself and even the music itself with everyone… That’s why I say that I’m in peace. I don’t know if I “touched” something special during that live, it’s not for me to decide as it’s not for me to define the nature of what there is to “touch” or be “touched” by… But it was honest in every possible way.

It’s difficult to comprehend the most profound nature of the heart... Human essence is so fluid that it makes it almost impossible to understand the emotions we are experiencing. We are the products of moments, of flashes and glimpses, part paradoxes and contradictions, part decisions and denial, let go and resilience, as much as we are filled with our own measures of illusions and make-believes, truths of our own and dream-like fantasies we tend to hide in… Human feelings are as complex as they are absolutely stunning and repulsive at times. Some like to remain by-standers of their own lives while others like to dictate other people’s existence. We are all trying to figure out a balance in it all, and since music is so intrinsically spiritual and intimate yet collectively lived and communally embodied, that’s why it’s the most fascinating form of expression for me. It’s like a snowflake, uniquely magnificent and grievingly impermanent.

- Alex

SPECIAL “SNOWFLAKES IN JULY” DIGITAL EP GIFT FOR YOU

Here’s the “Snowflakes in July” digital EP for you! The heartfelt artwork has been designed by Alex, and you can see it before everyone else can! This “Snowflakes in July” EP is coming out on Friday, August 7, but it was important for Alex and me to share it with you right now!

Please, keep this for yourself, but listen to it as many times as you want... And especially as loud as you want!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Your host,
Jeff

DOWNLOAD YOUR EP HERE

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