Sorry – I’ve fallen a bit behind on my writing lately because we’ve all been so busy. It’s going to be hard to explain everything that’s been happening, but I’ll give it a try…
Recently we took a trip to Madrid on one of Spain’s high-speed trains, and as soon as we’d unloaded our bags at a hostel in the very heart of the city we were whisked off to three days of nearly non-stop activities: Along with plenty of sightseeing, we got to admire paintings by Dali, Goya and Picasso at two of the nation’s finest art galleries. We also went to some flamenco shows and jammed with local musicians at jazz clubs. One afternoon a few people went to go visit Javier Limon at his studios to lay down a track or two…
One of the highlights of the trip was definitely our visit to EMI records, where we met again with the president of the label who gave us a nice presentation about ‘what EMI can offer to artists’ like us in the current incarnation of the ever-changing music industry, and answered lots of our questions. I always had this vision of big record labels being stiff and corporate, but EMI actually seems very relaxed with very down-to-earth people who are trying to adapt to the times like the rest of us.
We also got to tour an abandoned slaughterhouse in the middle of the city that has been converted into an amazing facility for fine and performing arts! In association with Red Bull Music Academy, the ‘Matadero Madrid’ offers a wonderful place for young artists to play, record, and establish themselves – along with plenty of gallery and exhibition space and public art classes. And oh yeah, they have the crushed yacht of Francisco Franco in a meat locker! Gaws.
I also explored the city on my own a bit – whenever I’m in a new place I have to go on some little adventures of my own – and I found out that Madrid has some stunning public gardens. It’s a great city as long as you keep your wallet in your front pocket!
When we came back we all played a big show together at café Mercedes to a packed house! It was great to hear everyone’s music and feel so connected. It’s also nice to be at the Palau again. I can’t overemphasize how picturesque our campus is: yesterday they were shooting a movie there, and three different bridal parties were all having their photos taken by the serene pools and the iconic opera house. This past week I’ve had a chance to get acquainted with some of my favorite Valencian street artists. Their bright, elaborate, colorful murals on city’s crumbling walls will be one of the little things I will miss most about living here. Sole Gimenez also took a few of us singers to a recording studio outside of town to record some vocals. She’s so kind, and has really helped us improve this term.
Last night we rented out a very cool, exclusive nightclub for our goodbye party. It was so bittersweet to see all of my good friends and colleagues all together in one place, maybe fore the last time. The crew had a wonderful surprise for us – they are going to decorate part of our campus with big silhouettes of us playing our instruments! I am speechless, I just feel very honored to be literally be a part of this place that has come to mean so much to me.
As I wrote on my Facebook last night: “I’m Laying in a four poster bed in a grove of palm trees at a night club on the roof of a building in Spain surrounded by my friends… Can life get any better?”
Right now we are all at the beach together, it’s so nice to swim out beyond the waves and tread water in the sea, then come back and bathe in the warm sunshine. On Tuesday we will leave for Belgium to go play for the Congress of the European Union… and I can’t wait to see what happens on our final trip together!