For one year between October 2013-2014, I posted a song a month on my website. They now form my fourth studio album, This Marauder's Midnight. An illustrated short story was included in the special edition of the record where an infamous serial hair-fetishist in fin de siècle Paris manages to get himself caught red-handed by an unlikely heroine while trying to obtain yet another trophy for an abominable collection. The Marauder realizes he has broken into the wrong room when he encounters a 10-year-old girl who demands that he tell her a story in exchange for not screaming. This comes close to describing one of the feelings that I both enjoy and dread when writing and performing music: almost on command, a song has to be able to move a stranger.
I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and relocated to Ghent, Belgium at a young age to make music and study painting. After fifteen years and three albums I decided to move to New York City for what would become a three year songwriting sojourn in the city. Almost upon arrival, I was introduced to the world of Rockwood Music Hall, that little place on Allen Street where people go to find great music. The slightly daunting reality of all that talent and all those powerful songs became a motivation rather than a deterring force. I realized that, just like everybody else, the only thing I had to do was come up with the best I could muster and show up to play a nd sing to whomever happened to be there that night; no soundcheck, no curtains, no introductions. I knew that if I did this for a couple of years, the album would write itself.
One of those present one evening was Ruben Samama who would eventually join me on double bass and go on to produce the record. After trying out several line-ups we asked his wife, cellist Amber Docters Van Leeuwen, to accompany us on a couple of songs. It quickly became clear that we had found the right set up. The idea then came to make a record that would sound like little more than just the three of us in a room. When the time was right, we booked a week at Dreamland Studios in Woodstock and returned with half the record. I began posting a song a month on my website while simultaneously playing concerts and recording later additions to the batch. This allowed people to preview the record during the course of the year, getting to know the album inside out, track by track. The success of the album's first single “Gold” gave us a goo d start back in Europe and a dance remix version of the same song, made independently by Thomas Jack, went viral, opening doors for us by unexpectedly introducing people to a record they would probably not have found otherwise.
When you take away the drums, there’s a lot of empty space in a song. The listener’s body has to react to the pulses in the music and connect the dots. I like watching faces change as they grow accustomed to the sounds, especially when it’s a brand new audience. It's like adapting to a pitch black room just before shapes and subtle tones become visible. An overwhelming attraction to words and melodies led me to this place -- a place of dimmed lights and expectation. I like believing that what moves me is going to move you.