Third Eye of the Tiger
On Earth Day, April 22, 2020, Mystic tiger released our first song, "Third Eye of the Tiger". I had time to do some reflecting about why Wednesday (Earth Day and Mystic Tiger's first song release) was so important to me. Here goes...
In Summer 2018, Taj, Akemi, Sarah, Rina, Ava and I went camping in Sequoia National Forest. That place…is simply magical. Fresh clean streams flowing over gorgeous granite slabs forming natural pools, butterflies everywhere, the clean air and blue sky, the pines and sequoia trees, the infinite stars, the abundance of life. We cooked together, sang a lot, meditated, basked in granite pools, had campfires, and at the end of the trip we all felt…different; in touch with a deeper inner peace, inspired and connected, grateful and in awe. These are the gifts that nature gives us if we allow her the space in our minds and lives. It was a type of heaven-on-Earth experience of bliss and unity.
Taj wrote Third Eye of the Tiger spontaneously a few days after this trip. He showed it to me after a long day spent at the Venice Beach drum circle on the same day Sarah and I first met with our future landlord regarding a new apartment, which is where all the instrumentals for the song were eventually recorded. The chords and form of the song came easily and naturally. This was before Mystic Tiger was even a thing, so in some ways the song birthed the band.
The third eye is the source of wisdom, creativity, and universal connection. When I meditate and focus on it, after varying amounts of time I become overwhelmed with the same feelings I experienced in the Sequoias- peace, gratitude, awe, love, empowerment, and humility all wrapped into one, for which there is no English word. This state of being is available to us at all times, and nature is one of the best ways to access it. Taj had put the feeling to words with a beautiful melody; now, to capture this feeling in a sound recording and offer it to the world.
The musical production of the song has been a journey of growth for me. I was working on producing the song for about a year, adding keys, bass, guitar, and programming the drums. We were working on what we thought would be final vocals, when suddenly there was an issue on my computer and I lost all the audio files (from the external hard drive and computer). I still had most of the programmed drums, but everything else was gone. It was quite a blow. The universe put a hard stop on our forward motion. But this allowed me to slow down the tempo from 85 to 83bpm, which gave the song a new opportunity for a little more chillness. I also realized that if I was gonna take production seriously, I needed a computer more powerful than a 10-year-old MacBook. So I bought an iMac, which was an investment and commitment to a future in music production. This song made me take that leap.
What I realize now is the best way to invest in my future is to grow in my own artistry and continue make higher quality art; and a significant part of that is having the right tools. So I remade all the keyboard, synth, bass, and guitar tracks with more attention to detail. Added the live percussion and nature sounds as well. Music production is such an interesting process of letting creativity flow, refining what you’ve done, letting it sit for a while, adding/taking away elements; it requires full participation of both sides of the brain and intense patience.
Finally, this past January, we felt like the track was ready, so the band went into Blue Dream Studios with Sam Brawner to record the vocals. There was a guy visiting the studio that day with four tigers on his jacket. We got some good takes! Then, of course, we dig in and listen to all the vocal takes and find the best ones. After this and a few more final tweaks, the song almost was almost ready for mixing and mastering.
By chance, my friend Santino DelatoreFamilia had just mentioned to me that a friend from his martial arts studio was a great mixing engineer, and used Logic, which was the program I used. I connected with Bobby Rich at his house and gave him the files just a couple weeks before quarantine hit. Bobby absolutely killed the mixing and mastering process, and I am very thankful to him for making those final crucial parts of the process go so smoothly. Then Akemi tapped into some creative genius and drew the stunning artwork for the song in the week before we released it. She wrote a post about that recently if you want to check it out.
I also want to give a shout to Forrest Kazuo Mitchell, Orlando Thompson, Mason Sacks, Andy Abad, Ryan Thomas, Brendan Kersey-Wilson, Eva Orbuch, Nivedan Nayak, and Sarah Mori, who have helped to evolve the song in the live band setting. And a huge shout out to the whole Tardigrade Tribe community and camping crews for the guidance, love, and support.
We released it on Earth Day 4/22/2020 which is apparently a cosmic 444 portal, a new moon, a meter shower, and there was an earthquake right at midnight at the beginning of that day. Then Taj texted us that morning that the song is exactly 4mins 44secs. Wild. None of this was planned. Was this all chance? What is chance? Either way, it feels like the beginning of a new chapter! Mystic Tiger has three more songs coming in May/June, which will complete a four-song collection. And much much more in the works.
This may be my longest post ever! And that's totally appropriate!
I hope you enjoy the song and stay connected with Mystic Tiger.
Here is the Spotify link, and you can also find the song anywhere online that you get your music.