Behind the song Life Is Strange by Vandarth
If there’s anything we’ve learned the past couple years, it’s that life is just… strange. That’s how I felt in October 2019 when I moved back into an empty home. My home. It wasn’t always empty. But now the furniture was gone along with my two dogs. The walls were empty. I no longer owned a couch or a bed. I slept on the floor on a camping mat until someone gave me a youth bed. Periodically, something in the house would break and at the most inopportune time, I would realize that I no longer owned a toolbox. Not even a basic crescent wrench. I was starting over.
That’s what divorce is like. You’re starting over, but you’re often starting in the hole. You can reinvent yourself, but you also have some nice new baggage in the form of emotional trauma. You might even be afraid to connect with new people for fear of reliving this experience again in the future. That’s where I found myself. There was more; in the middle of the divorce, I lost my job. I happened to work at a church, so naturally I lost my connections there too. Between those three forms of loss, nearly everyone I knew in the state of Kansas exited my life. I don’t have any family here. Talk about a weird experience.
So I moved back into my old home and began redecorating. I wanted to make it “me.” I thought it might not be the best time for me to live alone. The first thing I did was adopt a 3-year-old German Shepherd dog from a local animal shelter. Her name was Dolce. She had been at the shelter for two years waiting for someone… anyone to take her home after her previous family brought her in. She’s a fantastic dog and often tries to cram under my desk while I’m recording music, which is quite humorous. I planned to spend the next year learning to heal from these experiences, but I’m sure you realize by now that I picked the worst possible year to work on emotional healing; it was 2020. In February of 2020 I got very sick, which I realize in hindsight was probably Covid-19. At that time though, nobody thought it had reached America yet. One month later, the government issued a stay-home-order. It was surreal. No one could have predicted this.
I’m at my best when I’m writing and recording music, so I thought it’d be wise to write a new album during the pandemic. One of the first songs I wrote was Life Is Strange. My goal with this song was to sing about what I was feeling over upbeat music as a mental exercise to help keep my spirits up. As it turns out, the line about adopting my dog is what everyone remembers 🙂 The song had a totally different feel than my previous, more angsty rock albums, and the rest of the album would follow suit.
Life is Strange became the lead single for my album The Way Through, an album that helped me process some very difficult life circumstances in the middle of a global pandemic. The Way Through was one of several key steps towards my own emotional and spiritual healing. I hope the album will inspire and help others find hope during hard times, as it did for me.
Stream Life Is Strange on Spotify:
This song’s influences: Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers (particularly the drum part).
Where to listen: Life Is Strange and the album The Way Through are available on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, iTunes and more. Check out the behind-the-song video below!
Before I began recording this album, I released a poll asking what kind of music my listeners wanted me to make. I’m cut from the garage band mold of Foo Fighters, Chevelle and 90’s Weezer, so I was surprised when my listeners voted for an acoustic album as their top choice. The original plan was to create an album that featured only acoustic guitar, vocals and strings but it gradually morphed into a full-band experience. The acoustic guitar remained the centerpiece of the album though; the new album titled The Way Through is like taking an acoustic singer-songwriter and adding a rock band to back him up. I enjoyed the challenge of writing an album in this way and the album wouldn’t be the same without my audience’s feedback. Thank you all for being a part of this journey!
Nathan (aka Vandarth)