LANGUAGES. | FILMS. | SHOP. | CONTACT. | HELP.






BUY LANGUAGES.: DELUXE CD / DIGITAL | CD | HQ DIGITAL | iTUNES





For ten years (2000-2010), Owen was lead singer & songwriter of influential American rock & roll band THE ELMS. The band performed 1000 concerts worldwide and released four critically-acclaimed albums.

Currently, Owen is a sought-after film director and designer, and has founded Absorb. -- a unique new creative house which enables him to daily maintain a fertile creative universe for himself and the diverse group of progressive musical artists and companies that he develops film, design, and aesthetics for. Yes, he stays quite busy.

LANGUAGES. is being issued by Absorb. as a multi-disciplinary offering, in several exciting formats for fans and of music, design, and film. We truly hope you enjoy the work.



AS I WRITE THIS, IT'S NOVEMBER 24, 2012. 9:26PM.

To my compadres, family, friends long-time and new.

Hi. I'm thrilled to announce today the release of my debut solo album, LANGUAGES. Well, to speak technically, it's called: LANGUAGES. {OR: GET DARK & FIND YOURSELF.} It's a fun record... about the worst kind of heartbreak. HA!

Here's the scene:


The last two years of my life have been full of spectacular occurrences. Spectacular. Some were wonderfully joyous, and others totally disastrous. Many principles that I've held as the most stable in my life regarding love, faith, destiny, and family were challenged. I found myself in relationships and patterns that created the most compromised version of myself that I'd ever known. And my heart... got smashed-up, full-on broken.

"Hi. I'm Owen, and I'm a recovering heartbreakaholic."

Life, people, passions... they all have the capacity to surprise us. Your investments of energy and love can turn up dry. You watch the ones you love go through trauma and heartbreak, and you experience your own. It's really tough. TOUGH. I know you've been there. We all have. And when these things happen, these intense traumas and heartbreaks, what do we do? Well, I don't know about you, but...

I got dark. I really let myself feel the things that were happening. All the way. I didn't skirt or suppress the darkness, I didn't act as if it wasn't happening, didn't get proud, didn't deny the realities. I allowed myself a period of time to stare it all down. I decided that I had to properly hurt before I could properly heal. It was an experience of the deepest kind of discovery. It was brutal. And it changed my life.

From the dark, I really got to know myself. Time passed. I got healthy. I learned to let my life be be governed by the truth in my disciplines, not the inconsistency of my feelings. And that it's what you DO, not what you SAY, that defines you. The very same principles that seemed shaken to me revealed themselves as steadfast, true, and resilient.

The last two years have been my life's first true renaissance.

I lost my rock & roll band, but built a wonderfully fertile new creative universe that keeps me far busier than I could've ever imagined. I lost a beloved grandmother, but gained a beautiful-beyond-words nephew. Some of my most valuable relationships ended, and others became more galvanized than ever. My heart got completely confused and lost its way -- but then found its course again.

We humans speak to each other in bizarre languages. They have no words, but are as clearly spoken. We let ourselves settle into roles, and the wounded parts of our lives become the normalities, the habits. We find ourselves in relationships where we become accustomed to violations, they become commonplace.

But dishonesty, disloyalty, disrespect; these aren't things that we're supposed to grow acclimated to. They're supposed to shock us, to dismay us, to deeply affect us. Why? Because we're patterned after righteous material. Made in the image of One who is truly kind, truly compassionate, who doesn't default. So when someone is not loyal to you, not faithful to you, not kind to you... it should hurt.

Don't ever identify, or get comfortable, with the violation of your heart. You have value, and you have quantifiable ways to know if you're being respected and honored. Know them. Know you.

To say that this album is a personal one would be silly, an understatement. The truth is, LANGUAGES. never would've been made if not for the most personal of occurrences. And it's from the darkest moments that life has a chance to redeem itself, and it does. And in those moments, you have a chance to get to know the most humble, most authentic version of yourself.

So, now the title LANGUAGES. {OR: GET DARK & FIND YOURSELF.} now makes complete logical sense, yes? This album, these songs, are like big brass bookends on a period of time that I'll remember as one of the most formative and important seasons in my life.

Whew.



HOW WE MADE LANGUAGES.:

I never intended to make music outside the context of a rock band. Quite honestly, I spent nearly 18 months feeling like music was something I might never return to, and I was okay with that. I loved my band, and I didn't feel like making music otherwise. So, my creative obsessions migrated over to film, and to design. And I do a lot of both of those, daily. And I like those things, too.

But when life gives me things to write songs about, you'll never guess what happens. Indeed.

One day early this year, I asked Thom to come to my house and listen to a bunch of songs I'd written, probably 40 or so from over the period of two years. (That's always how I've done it. Write 'em, then show Thom. I don't do anything musical without him.) So, he came over. I think I made coffee and snacks. I was terrified. I gave him a bunch of disclaimers, told him that I was rusty, that I wasn't really sure if the songs made any sense or anything. Told him I didn't like playing guitar anymore, but that I still liked writing songs.

He (lovingly) told me to quiet myself and just play the songs for him. So I did, and I started to relive the aforementioned moments above. The darknesses, the frailties, and the actualizations all came back in a rush. But the melodies, the feeling was still sorta fun. So, it was interesting.

Thankfully, Thom liked the songs. Even said we should record them. That was nice of him, wasn't it? I told him that there were sensitive things woven into all these tunes. He said, "Let's go all the way there, then. Let's tell everyone about what happened to your heart." Transparency. Yessss.

Now remember, I've worked non-stop for other fantastic artists and companies in the last year. My time has been spread paper thin, and Thom has been producing records like crazy and playing guitar for others, too. We decided we'd take our time, work when we could, and try to make this the least pressurized creative situation we'd ever been in. No release dates, no promotional deadlines. We'd just work on it 'til it felt done, then put it out immediately, without some big three-month rollout. Just let it go, let it find you guys.

And so, beginning in April 2012, it became an afternoon here, a weekend there. I'd call Thom and ask if he had an hour to spare, and we'd squeeze in some singing or guitaring, getting it to fit into the cracks of time in our lives. We even let my brother come play drums. These little heartbreak songs came alive, and we were just doing the things we thought were cool. It probably looked a lot like it did when Thom and I used to sit in his room as fourth graders and bang on guitars and keyboards into cassette tape machines.

Still, the whole process also felt very new to me.
It was wonderful.



AND FINALLY...

I like minimalism in design. I like wordplay and double entendre. I like hard punctuation and capital letters. I like beats that pulse, and singing words that bounce out of my mouth in perfect rhythmic time. I like stereo magic and lo-fi, boomy instruments. I like dry, bare-it-all wit, and looking back at life and having a laugh... or a cry, I suppose. And I LOVE sweating over the little artistic details. I like to think of it as well-stewarded OCD.

And I had no choice but to go heart-on-sleeve here.

So as you look and listen, you'll notice that the whole LANGUAGES. world is a direct product of my experiences, tastes, and the things I've let influence me, artistically and otherwise. Regarding quality, I had nobody to answer to, I've got no laurels to rest on. I'm responsible, for better or worse, for everything said or unsaid with LANGUAGES. I like creative responsibility, and it turns out I'm as big a critic of my own work as anybody else could ever be.

This wasn't a plan hatched in a laboratory. This is not me behind a curtain, launching a solo career. It just happened, because life happened. And I'm glad it did. This is as pure a form of art and narrative as I can offer you at this moment in my life!

Nevertheless, it's been a process of almost a year getting to this point, and I'm so excited. And a little nervous. This is not rock & roll music. It may not even be pop music, or alternative, or whatever. But it is authentically me, these are sounds and beats and melodies and feelings that I love. So let your body move a bit, feel these songs with me.

I decided not to make music videos for the music, but rather lyric films for each song, so that the songs and the words played their proper role in all this. The first film, for the song "HOUDINI." is over on the films page. Yes, I really did it. And yes, it was a total blast to film.

I've worked obsessively on the LANGUAGES: LIMITED edition of the album, which I'm so proud of. It really is a wholly inspired offering from me to you, which I designed, plotted, and hand-packaged for you just the way I meant it to be. And I even met a wonderful artist in Portland who handmade the envelopes that the whole thing is delivered in. I did everything I could to do to make LANGUAGES. a cool experience for us all, and to keep the best stuff as cost-effective for you as possible.

Will there be shows to support this record? Well, let's just cross that bridge if we come to it, ok?



So, as stated earlier, I think we've made a really fun album about the worst kind of heartbreak. Cool, right? Take the songs, let yourself sink to the bottom with me. And if you like it, I'd be so honored if you'd help me spread the word about it. I expect to earn your interest, and I'm eternally grateful to you for it.

I've missed you guys. I love you, and think of your faces often.

It's lovely to sing for you again.

K.O.K.O.
Owen