Pastimer - Paper Moths
Andrew Frank writes:
About a year ago, around the time I started recording this album, I took a strange job giving tours of a museum in Massachusetts. Strange, because the museum, which was really just an old house once occupied by a wealthy family, was (and is) falling apart: lead paint peals from the walls, mold creeps up the corners, spiders and moths cover the windows, and the whole things slants dramatically to the north.
The work itself also had its fair share of absurd moments: orchestrating elaborate tea parties for elderly locals; getting accosted by ghost hunters and condescending history buffs; guilting local businesses into donating pastries to our events. Add to that the sense of always performing—repeating the same partially-fabricated history to visitor after visitor, telling stories about a family as though it were my own—and you might begin to imagine how daily life there could sometimes feel like an elaborate farce. I got to know a lot of local eccentrics in the process, but they didn’t get to know me.
In reality, though, most of my time at the museum was actually spent alone, wandering through the house or around the grounds, trying to make sense of the changes that were happening in my ‘real’ life. Which brings me to the second half of the story, and the part that certainly covers more familiar territory: My time at the museum corresponded pretty much directly with the end of a four-year relationship. Or, with the beginning of the end, so to speak. She was leaving for the other coast, and I wasn’t following her, and we knew, for months, that the end was coming. I began to treat my time at work as practice for being alone. I wrote lyrics there, and I even tried recording my voice in the empty rooms once or twice, half-imagining that I’d hear the sounds the ghost hunters claimed turned up on their hidden tape recorders.
Many of the songs on this album were begun far before that end came into sight, but all were arranged and completed at some point during our protracted stumble toward closure. Few songs were intended to be as big and complexly orchestrated as they are now, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself from pushing each and every one toward a breaking point. As my job petered out and then ceased entirely, writing and recording became an increasingly desperate act of filling time—hence the name Pastimer, at first a sort of dark joke made to myself. And as I moved from subletted room to subletted room in the months afterward, that feeling of being alone in a space that wasn’t my own, and of rewriting history (in this case, through song), stayed with me.
This email got real long, real quick. Hope you made it through. At any rate, as I mentioned above, the Bandcamp has made the rounds with friends, but a post would constitute a premier for any of our songs—in fact, it’d be a premier for the band itself. Please know that I appreciate you taking the time to read and listen. Thanks again.
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