“Today I choose to take a stand.”
An explanatory podcast interview about what happened with Across the Atlantic & where things currently stand amongst the band moving forward.
“Today I choose to take a stand.”
An explanatory podcast interview about what happened with Across the Atlantic & where things currently stand amongst the band moving forward.
At the moment I’m riding a delayed flight from LAX back to Houston to hopefully pick up my car and maneuver myself back to San Antonio through the flooded highways. At the same time, it’s important to note that as it stands we’re also roughly 16 Hours away from the release of our label debut ‘Works Of Progress’ and about a week away from our first tour in Europe. All exciting stuff right?
Well as cool as it all may be and sound, you might think I’m crazy to admit I’m not thinking about any of that in this moment. Yeah, that’s right none of it.
I’ll be real with you I almost feel guilty in a way, I know the significance of all this great stuff and how rare things like these happen to people like me & I definitely know we’ve worked a long way to get here but I still can’t help but feel a little undeserving. I know, I know this sounds a lot like humble brag but seriously the whole sentiment of all this awesome stuff coming my way hasn’t necessarily satisfied me in the way that I expected or that it should.
Bare with me here before you storm off about how ungrateful or naïve I might be sounding right now but honestly the thing that’s been dominating my thoughts the last week, the thing that’s been weighing me down in bringing me the most excitement/anxiety combined is the people.
The people that have sacrificed, invested, believed & busted their asses just so I could be here. You see, I recently came to the realization of something I probably already knew but didn’t necessarily accept until my visit out to LA…
The times that I’m happiest are the times I’m able to impact someone else life for the better.
In the band that means booking our tours and growing our brand, in my relationship that means taking my girlfriend to new places, as a son that means giving my parents something I hope they can be proud of me for.
Oddly enough its been particularly strange for me over the last year or so because I feel like now more than ever I’m taking more than I’m giving in the grand scheme of things. A lot of awesome stuff has been happening to me since the signing. It’s always about “SO I can succeed”, “SO I can put out a great album” “SO I can have this status of luxury but never about the people who are putting me in this position.
I can’t help but feel grimey about it. I know this is probably me feeding into the melodramatic emotional dude I am but it just feels unwarranted. In all honesty the more I think of the things I’m proudest of, the more I realize that my own personal responsibility in those things isn’t all that significant.
Let me elaborate:
The point I’m trying to make is that, contrary to popular belief it’s no coincidence that I got here. Look at the people around me, look at the work they’ve put in. It was never me, it was them… It is them.
That’s why as all these accolades and milestones start coming my way I can’t shake that bitter sweet feeling… It’s nice to be recognized and it’s cool to be the dude in front of the camera but you got the wrong guy!
Those people are the ones who should be praised. The people who believe in me, the people who constantly put themselves second so that I can prosper. The ones that are constantly grinding there asses of solely for the benefit of something other than themselves. The true unsung heroes.
I haven’t written much in here recently because quite honestly I’ve been shook. Ive been asking myself at times recently if I’m doing the best job I can? If somehow I am letting these people down by getting a little to comfortable or enjoying my poisition just a little to much?
I don’t think most people understand just how much has been invested in my success, or just much has been sacrificed for the opportunity.
It’s sometimes daunting to think that I could fall short.
I wanna be the guy that always does right by everyone.
With the internal clock of the album release ticking down from months to weeks to days and now hours, I just hope that sentiment can ring true.
If there is one thing I wanna say before Works Of Progress comes out, it’s thank you.
All of you.
Even you reading this right now.
There’s been countless people who have attributed to this single moment and I just hope you can share in the pride and glory of tomorrow just as much as I can, because honestly you deserve it.
I don’t know how it will be received or how many units it’ll sale but my only hope for this album remains the same as it’s always been.
I hope it inspires you.
I want to make it publicly known that aside from life in my band I hope to one day make a living out of helping other people conquer the once thought impossible.
I’m really interested in both the PR & A&R sides of the music business and I hope to one day pay forward even a portion of all that has been done for me.
Thanks for the read, see you in Europe.
“A celebration of life.”
At first breath we are all presented a blank canvas.
Intimidating in size, daunting in mass it is much to take in! At this time we are not able to sketch let alone paint, the task seems impossible!
Nevertheless we are baptized by fire. Coached by our families, lectured by our teachers we slowly but surely come to understand what our canvas should be compromised of. Hues of empathy, fill our palettes.
We take our brushes; reluctantly. Stroke by stroke we attempt to outline the foundation for which our masterpiece shall be built upon. All of this is carefully monitored and regulated, never to be misconstrued, Every error to be repaired.
We fill the gaps between the lines.
From infancy through grade school we are supervised.
As we grow we are exposed to a grand collection of canvas’s just like ours that have been completed by millions of others! Some grungy and eloquent, some damaged & some pristine we now have a full understanding of the context of where our canvas shall fit in-between such other works of art. We celebrate the immaculate, we sneer at the damaged.
At 18 we are presented color and brush and we are left to put mind to paper.
Then, most often we fall astray, our colors robust, our strokes violent. Quickly we realize that creating a masterpiece isn’t as simple as following the sketches of others. Mistakes are frequent, lines are broken. This art that started as canvas soon becomes something far removed from what we envisioned after all.
We look at the celebrated work of others and we retreat discouraged. “I could never paint something so magnificent as my neighbor abroad.” We fear our mistakes are permanent, fatal as a plague. “I will never be able to recover from this.”
Days turn to nights, nights to weeks. We sulk. “I should of known better.” “Maybe if I would of done this, I could of avoided failure.” Fully settled in nadir we ponder. Hopeless & spitefully, bitter & reluctant we pick the brush back up.
Slowly we attempt to move forward. Not erasing our transgressions but burgeoning from them. All is not lost. Slowly but surely rhythm is found once more, the feeling in our fingertips restore, promise is re-instilled.
It is then that we truly discover the beauty of life.
Not in it’s perfection but in it’s adversity, Not in its permanence but in its uncertainty.
There is no set path, there is no failure. There is only opportunity.
If things aren’t going the way you originally envisioned, change them.
There is always more story to write, songs to sing & lessons to be learned.
We are all Works of Progress.
“And so it begins”
Tomorrow I depart the country in route to Europe for the very first time in my life. I’m very excited/relieved to have finally made it to this point. School is finished, the album is done. I can exhale. Among other things I absolutely cannot wait to visit the Sharptone/Nuclear Blast offices in Germany & meet so many of the awesome people behind the scenes responsible for all that is about to happen next.
I’ am traveling “Across the Atlantic” (no pun intended) by way of cruise so the slower pace & abundance of food will be very well received after what seems like one of my most busiest years EVER. Stay tuned as I will be checking in bi-weekly with new content & stories as my journey continues.
… And please hope for my sake, I don’t over do it on the macaroons.
“A bittersweet farewell to an old friend”
It’s been a long time coming, for you & I.
We’ve had our quarrels & It’s been a ride.
You’ve brought me friends and Spring Break weeks,
You’ve taken my money & cost me some sleep.
20 years were lost & I cursed your name.
Tours were out, semesters back in.
I always thought I wasting my time,
Investing myself in this 6 letter lie.
But truthfully it was me, who had to learn,
I never quite gave you the credit deserved.
You gave me opportunity,
Inspiration & a hope to do right.
You introduced ambition, culture,
Understanding into my life.
& though its not the textbooks or the powerpoints that I’ll miss most,
I cant help but fight the feeling of grieving a path I never chose.
You knew who I was before I ever did,
You saw me through trials of real life & death.
You met me a boy & tailored a man,
A heartfelt Goodbye to my age old friend.
“My weekend R+R in the Rocky Mountains”
This is my first of two entries chronicalizing my weekend trip to RMNP & Denver over the past weekend.
After the stressful ordeal that was last week it was the absolute perfect timing for this getaway to Denver & RMNP over the weekend. I took the trip with Carmen & a small group of friends and acquaintances that brought the head-count up to 6 total. Admittedly, it was hard to turn things off into “Full Vacation Mode” but as the weekend went on I could not help being truly captured by the serenity of the mountains.
We flew frontier airlines from San Antonio to Denver International, if you know anything about Frontier you know they’re no frills to the max. Given the strike late last year I was a little bit skeptical but other than the ant-size table top I really had zero complaints about the flight, it was on time & relatively clean which is more than I can ask for on a $100 round trip ticket.
Shortly after arrival we picked up our rental car from Hertz, a Nissan Rogue 4×4. Definitley a bit roomier than the Corolla I was expecting & a nice touch for the trek up the mountains for later in the day. I gotta say I was completely impressed with the rental process from that Hertz. Upon landing I received an email with a stall number where the rental was located & the keys were in the ignition ready to go. Literally no hassle & no time wasted! Having fell victim to hour long rental waits before this was truly valued to make the most of vacation.
The first trip we made after getting settled into Denver was first picking up a 2nd rental from another Hertz location and then a local cafe called “Waffle Brothers” for breakfast. The fare was good & really set the tone for the overload of carbs I was about to consume for the rest of the weekend. I had the “Full Monty” & was not disappointed with taste but the serving side was a little underwhelming. From here we went directly to Mount Evans. About a hour and half from the city center of Denver & home to the highest paved road in the USA, we hoped to make it to the summit but the snow was just too heavy the road was blocked off for the season (probably till late May/ Early June). Still though, we made a lackluster effort of heading to the top on foot but got about a quarter mile till we turned around. The snow just wasn’t packed & the depth mixed with the altitude just made for a real challenge. ON TOP OF THIS, my snow boots that were ordered from Amazon earlier in the week did not come in on time so I was roughing the hike with some “Old Reliable” Nike Basketball shoes that got wrecked by the water & absence of ankle support. Still though, the drive was scenic and we saw a couple of foxes on the way so no complaints there.
From Mount Evans we made our initial commute towards Estes Park where our hotel would be over the next couple of nights. We stopped in Central City on the way & ate at this literal ghost town restaurant called Millies. When I say we were the only ones in there, we were literally the only ones in there. The decor was a mix of Moulin Rouge & your grandmas house & ironically the wait for the food was LONG. For the six of us we probably spent a total of two hours at the restaurant. I had the bison burger (a must) with sweet potato fries, so I was satisfied but definitely ready to get out of there by the time the checks was given. Immediately after this we stopped at Century Casino right across the street. The advertisements promised “Many” Table games so I was surprised to find one room containing a table each of Blackjack, Craps & Roulette. I thought about enticing my roulette addiction but ultimately held off- The Europe trip is in 3 weeks so cooler heads prevail, at least for now. Back on the road!
The drive to Estes was beautiful. We passed an abundance of small-towns and ski resorts and the peaks & valleys coupled with the wildlife made for a rather entertaining trip. It took about 2 hours but we finally made it to Estes Park. Our hotel was “Murphy’s Resort” a modest mid-tier motel. The staff was all super generous upon check-in and the room was definitely cramped for 6 (with just 2 queen beds & a sofa sleeper) but given budget and the time we were actually going to spend inside the room it was doable.
By the time we got settled in and dinner started calling it was about 8pm. Our flight arrived at 8am so it had been a long-day & so gathering the energy to leave the room was quite the task. Eventually we did & we took our first tour around Estes it was a perfect time to visit as crowds and traffic were virtually nonexistent and the charm of this small town really shined at its brightest. Having only been to Estes once before in the Summer it seemed vastly different from the traffic-jam tourist trap it appeared to be then. Still though we searched for somewhere to eat and were surprised to find out that about 90% of all business were closed and had been since 6pm. Maybe this is due to the off-season but the only options available in the evening seemed to be Bars & Pubs so we made our way for Lonigans- an Irish Pub & Grill that would be a nice place to end the night. Here I had the Elk burger. The taste was pretty gamey & the food overall was sub-par but the rest of the party enjoyed it after ordering a couple rounds of “Car-Bombs” to drink. There was a bit of a fiasco as a credit card was lost after the waiter picked up our tabs but the staff was very helpful and eventually checked the cameras to find it has slipped out and fell on the floor after being processed at the stand. We went home for the night and prepared for day 2.
Saturday was all about hiking, the snow and weather really limited our options but research told me too of the more accessible trails in this time of year would be Gem Lake & Emerald Lake. We started our morning with a 3 mile venture up to Gem Lake at about 8am. Ironically enough this was probably the hardest hike of the entire weekend. Getting acclimated to the elevation was a challenge and though the hike itself was calm with modest elevation gain and no snow it ended up being quite the work out. This trail-head for this hike was actually located in Estes & not RMNP so the views were tremendous & the trail was mostly vacant. On the way up there were a couple of Chipmunks & plenty of opportunities to go off trail & rock climb but the trail was clearly marked to get on and off at your leisure. We finally reached Gem Lake close to the summit and found it to not be having one of its better days. The season brought a lot of debris and murkiness to the water but the trail was still a great way to start the weekend & the views really helped set the context for what would be coming next at Emerald.
Immediately after Gem Lake & right before Emerald we stopped to regroup & have lunch at Smokin Daves BBQ. Residing from Texas I can sometimes be quite the BBQ snob but I was pleasantly surprised in the quality from Daves. Carmen & I shared a 3 meat platter featuring Brisket, Ribs & Pulled Pork with sides of Green Beans & you guessed it! Sweet potato fries. I just gotta start off by saying the Brisket was PHENOMENAL and probably ranked around the top tier of any brisket I had back home. The taste and the texture were perfect! Everything else was good but not great but overall the ambience and pricing for the food would definitely leave me highly recommending Daves to anyone who finds themselves in Estes with an empty stomach.
Back to the Hiking! After about 30 minutes getting through the gates of RMNP & the trek up to the trailhead at bear-lake we met up with the rest of our group who were just leaving the trailhead for Emerald. They told us the trip was just not possible without snowshoes or spikes & they were done for the day as their hiking experience proved to be too much for them… Naturally, I talked Carmen into a little adventure and back down we went to rent our Snowshoes ($5 a day from Estes Park Mountain Shop). By this time it was 2 so we knew that daylight was waning so we made our way back up quickly in hopes of finishing the hike before night time and things got even colder. Reluctantly we started.
Immediately we found out this hike would be a lot more difficult. Winding in and out of the woods & up and down in elevations was definitely not easy. But things got most rickety when we lost sight of the trail. With so much snow and different tracks it was difficult to navigate. This was vastly different from Gem lake earlier where everything was so clear. Eventually, I pulled out my phone (typical) and found that the trail was actually labeled on Google Maps! This helped out so so much. There were very few people on the trails and even fewer headed to Emerald so I am not sure we would’ve been able to find our way without the phone. Though the deeper we got into the trail the more challenging the hike became.
Inclines got steeper, paths got narrower. Physically & Mentally this was intimidating. I was certain that at any moment Carmen was going to say “Lets Turn Around”. To my surprise she never did & every time I would ask how she was holding up she said fine. I know that prior to the start of the hike she was skeptical we would be able to complete it so seeing her persevere and power through those 3 miles was another major reminder of why I love this girl.
We crossed Dream Lake and then eventually made it to Emerald lake which was without a doubt the highlight of the trip. As Carmen put it pictures just cannot do justice for the moments we spent there. Physically, I was drained but still I felt a strange sense of serenity. It’s hard to put into words the freedom & euphoria you get exploring places of isolation like this in nature. It’s just so damn easy to get caught up in the hustle & grind of everyday life that getting some REAL time away with the people you love helps put things into a different perspective. You gain a deeper level of appreciation for life as a journey, you reflect on the things you’ve experienced, the places you’ve been and the people you love and in those moments I feel you find yourself at your absolute best.
Humbled by the oppurtunity, awed by the experience.
“Inspire Yourself to Inspire Others”
If there is but one thing I hope to achieve by life or by music it is to inspire. To influence others to chase their passion’s and find their own happiness. The route may not be short & the journey may not be easy but what better investment in life is there than investing in yourself?
This is my story
Growing up I was fortunate in having a family that encouraged & invigorated my dreams. No matter how wishful or far fetched, they always said it was possible & I believed them.
After high school I halfheartedly enrolled at UTSA with no real direction or goals- other than humoring my parents. Around this same time, I joined a band called “Across the Atlantic” really just to keep myself busy, honestly. We were bad & when I say bad I mean horrible. Still though the practices with my friends made it bearable. On a whim we played our first show. Besides getting booed off stage I really didn’t have any expectations of it. But it was there that I unexpectedly discovered my first true love of public speaking. Immediately after that show, I emailed my advisor to declare communication studies as my major. I didn’t dwell, I didn’t contemplate. I just did it.
As years went on I endured school but adored music. Climbing the ranks; from playing local shows to booking tours, from booking tours to recording across the country. I had never had so much fun losing money in my life! It became clear that this whole band thing was growing into something much more refined than the hobby I envisioned at my mom’s house. Growing pains ensued, I was nearing judgement day (or college graduation as some like to call it.) With still no plan or “career” in mind I did what any reluctant graduate would do. I KEPT GOING. A Masters program for Mass Communication from Texas State, ehh why not?
I continued to juggle both school and the band, the band and school but this time on a much more strenuous schedule. School was much more detailed and concentrated & the band was requiring more time & investment than ever as popularity rose. As you can probably imagine it became quite tiresome and downright depressing. I wasn’t just getting by anymore I was falling behind. I wasn’t just broke anymore, I was collecting debt. I reached an absolute breaking point of exhaustion and anxiety. I wanted to quit at least one, if not both. Still though something told me to keep going, to keep studying, to keep writing.
So I did.
After days, months, years of hard-work, commitment & quite frankly a little luck I made it through. Honestly & humbly I made it through & the best part is so can you!
You see, we live in a world where nothing is guaranteed, moments are precious & time is limited. At birth we are all given an opportunity to simply fill blank pages or to write stories.
What will you choose?