On the release of his first track from his debut album, I caught up with creative powerhouse Jack Tracy to talk break-ups and moving on.
Why was this the right time to create a debut album?
It’s always been on my list. I was a huge collector of albums when I was growing up - CDs at that time - and I loved listening to albums from front to back, imagining a stage show. When I started Necessary Outlet Productions and decided to do everything I’d ever dreamt of doing, I was already 31. I started with writing, directing, and acting, but at the same time I did a little dance tribute to Janet Jackson where I also sang some of her hits. It was fun, but I didn’t really have the right equipment to get the song mixes right on my own.
Learning from that experience, and making connections with sound engineers through recording songs for my web-series History, I decided I now had enough of a base of knowledge to really give it a whirl. Also, my music comes with a dance spectacle, so I need to get it done before my knees start to give out!
What was the creative process like for the album?
I wrote two of the tracks over five years ago. Even before I started creating content for distribution, I would do it as a hobby. I would mix little tracks on some cheap equipment and see how far I could push it. Two of those songs I loved so much that I wanted to recreate with real production value.
The rest of the tracks come from doing my web-series History. In the second season, I really didn’t want to screw around with music licensing so I learned how to make my own basic beats. Those beats then became the skeletons for music on Older, which took a few months to flesh out.
Most of the songs were written over three or four months, as I was editing other projects - usually on a mental break. However, Worst Way was an idea I had right when we finished recording, so I whipped that one up quickly to add before we moved into mixing.
The fist single, Satisfaction, is a break-up song? Was it helpful to use your creative outlets to work through that pain?
There’s not a single thing that I write that isn’t directly connected to something that I’ve gone through. It’s the only way I know how to write honestly, and in a way that connects with people. Even if I mutate it into something else, there’s a kernel of myself and my experiences in everything.
Satisfaction isn’t so much a break-up song, it’s more of a I’ve-said-what-I-had-to-say-and-I’m-not-going-to-keep-fighting-with-you-go-away song. People love drama, it fuels them, and there’s no greater satisfaction than denying someone your participation in that.
The specific situation this references is old and cold - I worked through that in History - but the emotions are powerful and memorable and a constant source of content.
The choreography in the video for Satisfaction looks complicated - did it take you long to nail it?
I choreographed it! I am first and foremost a dancer, and this is my first real piece of choreography. The way I do it is often very connected to lyrical content, I think of moves to do on key lyrics, and then connect the dots.
For Satisfaction, I booked a studio for five hours and just hashed it out over and over until it looked right. I put the dancers through hell, because to get this dance right you have to know the song inside and out.
How does the narrative of the album Older, connect with the narrative of your web-series History?
History and Older, and most of what I do, is all about introspection. Taking a step back to look at your life, look at your patterns, and try to learn something.
History does that by juxtaposing the past and the present, to let the audience figure it out as the main character figures it out. Older does it by reminiscing, by regretting, by vindicating - Older is the reckoning of a life of introspection
What next for Jack Tracy?
Perform, perform, perform. This album screams for a high octane dance-fuelled concert. I hopefully have a few Pride gigs coming, to start working it out and building my audience, but I hope to get on the road with Older.
I’m also running my comedy series Big Law through the festival circuit - we just premiered at the Big Apple Film Festival. I’m about to start crowd-funding for season three of History. I’m finishing editing my first movie, Snowflake. I’m also writing my next web series, a movie, and a children’s book.
I’m just going to keep showing the world what I’ve got and wait for that big break.
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The men of Edgar Murillo
I caught up with artist Edgar Murillo to admire the men that have been inspiring his work.
When did you discover and begin to explore your passion for art and illustration?
I discovered it from birth. I was born deaf and it was difficult for me to communicate with my family, so I used papers and pencils to draw to be able to communicate something. I draw every day, and I’m very happy.
How would you describe your style of illustration?
Honestly, I don’t know what my style is – I draw different types of drawings and I keep making more drawings with new styles. The important thing is that people like it a lot.
Who are some of your heroes or artistic inspirations?
SilverJow, Kimjunggius, and Nesskain – you must follow him!
Are the men you draw hyper-masculine?
Yes – I’m a pogonophile – I love furry!
The inspiration comes from my imagination, friends, movies, and social networks. The majority of men that I draw are from Barcelona, others from America.
Do you accept commissions?
Not yet. I’m focused on making movies, and several other projects.
What do you expect people to feel when they look at your work?
Hypnotised! Some people have told me that they find my drawings arousing.
“I was walking straight into a trap…”
“I was now earning £12 per day…”
“I wasn’t about to crawl back into the closet…”
“I felt like I had turned a corner…”
How do you masturbate?
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