Holiday: A Backstory
“This song was written in two parts, in two different times. The first part began in January 2016 during a loved one’s extended hospital stay, which turned out to last the first four months of the year. I found myself there daily, watching him fade in and out of the real world, surrounded by colored lines and graphs on monitors, tubes and machines, and other apparatus. I felt like I was in a sci-fi film, like I was in a room with D.A.R.Y.L., the scene on loop like in Moon, each morning the same but different. In the first month, I read his articles and stories in place of conversation, a short voice memo on my phone reminding me how his voice sounded like. A playlist of his favorite music was on constant rotation, one that included songs from The Blue Nile and The Pet Shop Boys, occasionally interrupted by bleeps from one or more of the digital devices in the room.
In his story And You Tell Me ’87, Luis refers to hotels and hospitals as “lands of the in-between”. This place also seemed to me like an airport, another in-between zone, with interconnected seats in the common areas, people lugging bags and trolleys, announcements on the speakers, attendants behind a counter, waiting to help you check in. I often came with an overnight bag, my laptop, and a small controller. I wrote this track slowly, phrase-by-phrase, in hallways, cafes, elevators, and parking spaces.
A few years ago, he and I watched the film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and there was a part where the female character tries to remember her lover who left, but all she could imagine was his image in a photograph. This troubled both of us, the idea of photographs being so incomplete. In death, many pictures re-surface, and in my mind they appeared as scenes in multiple-exposure and out of sequence, the times, places, and details becoming increasingly blurred.
Everything was on pause, and I was only able to resume writing the second half of the song mid-year. My brother produced it, seamlessly connecting the two parts and making it an apt soundtrack for this surreal experience. The short footage that accompanies the release of this track is of a photogram being developed in a darkroom. There is a thread connecting the songs on my half of this record, an odd coping mechanism in which I pretend my lover was only about to go away on vacation. Later that year, I finally went on holiday myself, lost in memory in a dreamlike city.”