Listening to Kevin Mark Trail speak, in a rapid fire English accent over the roar of a train and excited shouts in the background, my internal monologue was singing Good Charlotte's Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous quietly to itself, interjected with a deluge of snide comments. (Mum says I need to work on my people skills and I'm finally beginning to see that).
Always see it on TV Or read it in the magazines, Celebrities want sympathy Joel Madden sings defiantly over the train in the background and Kevin's long story about how he ended up in Titirangi to mix his new album. All they do is piss and moan Inside the Rolling Stone Talkin' about how hard life can be.
Lifestyle is what our conversation is about; quality of life and how exactly you can country hop to record and mix an album. From Kevin's position he reckons that money is no object, that's not to say he's obscenely rich (or that he's not), he just doesn't think that the bearing money has on life is all that important.
"Worrying about [album sales] is one thing but the reality is that I do have to sell records but is money the most important thing life? Quality of life doesn't stem from money. You [You, being me] can go to the beach or have a barbee and go and look at a tree but when you step outside in London, it's always money."
He's not wrong, if you live near a beach or near a tree you can usually get there pretty cheaply and have a grand ole time splashing about in the waves or tree gazing. But Kevin wants more to life than that. The proverbial more that only money can bring.
"Having money does give you that quality of life [the quality that allows for travel, new cultures and spending days creating art] but I worked hard for it, I paid for my tickets to Australia and New Zealand."
I'd like to see them spend a week, Living life out on the street, I don't think they would survive If they could spend a day or two Walkin' in someone else's shoes I think they'd stumble and they'd fall...
Joel continues in the back of my head.
"There have been hard times. Times where I would play to 70,000 people with The Streets and then go back to working an ordinary job. That's what I love about artists here [being London], they're happy to keep working."
"I'm not saying," Kevin continues, though he doesn't really stop. Like a rapper you can't catch the moments he takes for a breath and his brain seems to work at twice the rate of his mouth. "That it's not about money but it's also about life... The world should be all about community but instead it's all about money and instead of exchanging services, where someone does something for you and you all eat, it's about money. I'm not saying people shouldn't be paid if there's the budget for it but you have to give a little."
Alright then Kevin, I say, what's your minimum? What's the balance between not needing money and having a quality of life that is at Tree Gazing Level?
"If I only [emphasis mine] had a roof over my head and enough money to eat and travel, that would be cool, I'd be happy." (Yeah, only enough to travel, I know.)
He says this after briefly recounting a trip where he hoped across Europe and then down towards us and back again to London.
Lifestyles of the rich and the famous They're always complainin' Always complainin' If money is such a problem Well, they got mansions Think we should rob them
"What do I want from life?" He asks himself, more than he asks yours truly, "I want to make good music and be around good people. And that's aconstant battle because your environment, especially in London, can be filled with negative things but it's good to be transparent and keep writing good music."
The Knight, his new album, is a sonic and cinematic answer to what he's been saying all along: the balance between quality of life that money brings and the tree-gazing-wave-splashing-quality is difficult to find.
"I was waking up here in the city [of London] and feeling the madness. Over here there is a lot of consumerism and it seems like everything that is negative; consumerism and money and fame over talent is celebrated and everything that's good and sustains us, like the planet and nature isn't."
"So I thought, ‘if all the negativity is the light then what is good and true must be the night.'" For Kevin, in this case, it's the night that's important. "I like sex and drinking but it's the things that sustain us that are important and the things that inspire others and make them feel good that are important."
To paraphrase the man himself, if fame, lust, consumerism are the light of this world then love, equality and freedom must be the night.
But for some reason, perhaps it's Kevin's balancing of the light and night on the tip of a knife, even while writing this Good Charlotte keeps playing in the background...
Lifestyles of the rich and famous They're always complainin' Always complainin' If money is such a problem You got so many problems, Think I could solve them.
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