This past week, I’ve been living in an old adobe house nestled deep in the red rocks of Coyote, New Mexico. The house was built by a prolific artist named Don Roach, who painted the Northern New Mexico landscape his whole career. I feel his spirit in the walls of this place, inviting me to bring my vision into being.
The vision has become more and more clear to me. This album I am making, Peaks & Valleys, is set out here in the red rocks of the Four Corners area of the Southwestern US. As the title suggests, it is a balance between the high euphoric energy of the dance floor with grounding elements that bring us into a warmer heart space. The message has come to me: slow down, tend the fire, make it right.
In dreams recently, I have been faced with my own death. When it becomes clear to me in the dream that I will die, the first thing that comes to mind is “I haven’t made it yet.” And by “made it” I mean actually created it, not “made it” in the socio-cultural sense (though that might be nice too). So I am motivated by this desire - to make the thing that I was called to Earth to create. This work I do here feels like the tip of the spear, a first incision into a much larger body of work.
Soon, I am leaving Santa Fe. People ask me where I’m going next. I have some ideas but the most honest response that I can give is that “I’m following the album.” I will let Peaks & Valleys lead. I will stay as close to the four corners area as I can - specifically Northern New Mexico and Southeastern Utah. Red rock country. This terrain, I believe is the well spring, the source of creativity that will move the music forward.
It’s funny - I know that at the end of the day, at least in this particular season of my work, I am making dance music. Party music, traditionally associated with clubs, drugs, drinking, and all that. But I believe that it’s the integrity I find out here - in the handmade realm, with the horses, the connection with sun, moon and stars, people good on their word, who rise with the sun and live at a slower pace - that will carry through the loud speakers and bring a kind of genuine magic to the dance we experience today. An ever-deepening connection with spirit on the land so many of us inhabit but do not really understand. We all want that - deep meaningful connection. But we also want mischievous fun too. Maybe that’s why I’m creating in a town called Coyote.
That, to me, is the essence of Peaks and Valleys. A search for equilibrium in a world of opposing forces.