the making of "Blip"

"It's just a blip." - And this blip was a mighty wave. Sometimes we are blind to the beauty and purpose of our pain until after the completion of its cycle. Until we have given light to what we keep hidden, it cannot be released. We must shed skin to be reborn. 



IN THE MIDST of it all, a desire to create was born. it was A Friday in early June, and the feeling of needing to birth something brand new still has so much clarity. I was pulled by some kind of force, an aspect of my higher self, perhaps, to make a promise to myself. A need to embark on a big change that had been culminating for some time.


That flame carried me to make a call on that Friday, and the following week I was standing in the violet-lit studio, panorama view of the mountains, recording the first track for the album, "Simmering" which tells the story of how I moved from a life in the city in 2015 to embark on the crazy adventure that took me out to Colorado. With that song in my hands, I had no idea what recording an album would mean. All that made sense was that I absolutely had to be singing these songs, and I was going to find a way to show them to the world.

In my mind, it was probably going to be ready by the end of August. I was excited, and I thought I knew these songs like the back of my hand. I just wanted to see the ball rolling already. But see-the process of recording puts everything under a giant magnifying glass. It's both terrifying and empowering. You re-question every word, syllable, chord, and melody. When you're a solo artist, you have so much freedom to refine and refine and re-record as many times as you want. This can also drive a recovering perfectionist damn crazy.  

The songs I was set to bring into this project are songs that tell the crazy, winding journey over the years. I go into greater depth in the album description on the CDBaby website, where you can listen and view here. Every lyric comes from my personal journals. There are edits and refinement, but no filter to make things land more softly. NOTE-this has been heavily inspired by my heroes, Fiona Apple, Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, just to name a few. 

Let me backtrack to what led up to this. In December of 2016, I was consumed in another wave of anxiety and an eating disorder that had only changed form through the years. A voice from my higher self, or some celestial guide, told me that I wouldn't be able to accomplish half the shit I've come here to do without kicking this monster's ass. For good, this time. I had no idea how hard recovery would be, but I knew it had to happen. Being constantly consumed by anxiety didn't leave much space for music, and I felt this creeping vacancy in my life. 

the air is getting grey-trees turn to black and white
i think the scariest part about depression is that you don't even know you're in it 
most of the time
little feet up on those red rocks told not to climb too high 
so you lower elation down from your sky
live in fear of dissapointment
live inside a shell
you wait to be picked up off somebody else's littered shore
i can't wait for these tides to rip me open no more 
writing "Push & Pull" or "Mend" out in Utah, summer of 2016

writing "Push & Pull" or "Mend" out in Utah, summer of 2016

I was so sick of being sick. I was sick of sitting on years of material and putting this gift on the back burner.

The way I saw that I was waiting to start my life made me feel so infuriatingly powerless. I was looking for permission to really be myself from some outside force. So, I started to allow the music to transform me. Like it always has. There has been a consistent pattern through my life of being pulled out of my own darkness by music. But this time, it was much bigger. It followed a period of hermit-like hiding and silence where I almost convinced myself that I didn't actually love and want music. 

Little by little, I was reclaiming the voice and coming home to myself. And my god, the first half of 2017 was... wild. The kind of emotional crises that completely tears you into a thousand pieces, over and over again, just when you think it's over, it hits you again. I hid from life in my little shell for so long that when I finally opened, the universe hit me with what I had been turning away from. I knew I wasn't going to make it out of those crises and conflicts by "fixing" them, and I knew I wasn't going to stay intact with the same idea of self that I went in with. 

This time was filled with so much change, pain, and resistance to both. But through all of it, I couldn't stop writing. (Check out "Behind the Blip", an online scrapbook I put together, to see journal entries and photos from this time!) I remember laying in my bed, completely frozen. But in that three week period of dark murkiness, songs were somehow born. "Rewind" and "Meet Me in the Middle" were both written in this space, and they were what pulled me out of bed. Soon after these pieces came together, It was obvious that I had to make something out of this giant wave. 


Now, something felt complete. The songs I had been brewing up in the past couple of years finally made sense. I remembered saying to myself years prior, when I wrote "Take Me There", that it would be the first track for my album (which felt sooooo far out of reach at the time). I wrote it when I was living in Boston, where I attended school for a year and a half (that's a wholeeeee can of worms). In short, it is the anthem that gave me the guts to follow the call I felt to the mountains. (Again, more details here). After recording "Simmering" and "Take Me There" the rest started to pull itself together. 

The order of songs stays fairly true to the timeline of everything. You can go deeper into the lyrics here. This is the kind of album you can listen through, track by track, and be taken on some kind of wild ride. It is a sonic journey that will take you through the full spectrum of emotion. I think of Blip as a celebration of what it is to feel.

What is a Blip?

The abstract drawing you find on the cover was birthed from pure intention to capture the bigger picture of these songs. The image of the twisting snake in the bubble-like capsule is representative of transformation, as snakes reflect life cycles and primal energy. "Blip" came through when I was seventeen. I just started drawing these weird wave - bubble things. I didn't even know what they were, and it certainly didn't feel like I was the one creating them. Making some sense of them over the years, it seems that these blips are about cycles. And as you can probably draw, the idea of calling this series of songs “Blip” came from the way the songs captured a phase of my own transformation in 2016-2017.  

I insisted on doing the art for the whole disc, which was a very fun process. The photos you see are taken by my producer, Prassana Bishop, out on his beautiful land where Blip was recorded. The photo on the CD is of a park by the house I grew up in, County Farm Park. 


We started recording mid-June and didn't finish until mid-October. Then the mixing and mastering and all the things I didn't even consider. Being the first time I had engaged in the process of recording, there were SO many firsts-which can be intimidating, but it ultimately tested how badly I wanted all of this. My nature of impatience just wanted the album to be out there ASAP. But- I am so glad I have waited this long. I have been sitting on this, simmering it on the stove, increasing the heat day by day. 

I believe the best work came out of those gruelling days where, with torn up hands and a hood over my head, I had to face myself. In those moments I wanted to crawl into a ball and hide, I kept singing. I started to remember why this gift, passion, and need for music had re-emerged in my world. It was completely necessary to step away for it for as long as I did, perhaps to see it's unfolding purpose in a different light. 

Ultimately, my goal with this album is to tell a story of empowerment. Blip is a celebration of what it is to fully experience and embrace emotion. It is a gift to myself and to the world at large. I could go on, and on, but I would just be doing that for the sake of filling space. I welcome you to listen with me and to let the music speak for itself. 

"It's just a blip." - And this blip was a mighty wave. Sometimes we are blind to the beauty and purpose of our pain until after the completion of its cycle. Until we have given light to what we keep hidden, it cannot be released. We must shed skin to be reborn. 

Liv Phoenix