Jacob Schaffer, “Hawk Eye”

Jacob Schaffer

by Ben Townsend

With this self-created music video, Jacob Schaffer’s “Hawk Eye” features drums by Ava Luna’s Julian Fader and keys by Noisebody’s Noah Barker. Here is the 2nd of monthly memoirs + video/singles leading up to Good Chi, Jacob Schaffer’s debut full length album.

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Last month we left off at me discovering my Good Chi, ass-naked screaming off the edge of a cliff, in the mystical Costa Rican rainforest…

To simplify a deeper meaning, Good Chi = Good Vibes.

Back then, I was restarting my life, breaking through mental barriers of the past, beginning to plan my big move to New York City. To pursue a music career, I landed an apprenticeship at Quad Studios. A place where Tupac was once shot and radio hits are still made.

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 2.35.08 PM

New York City, far from the rainforest, is an urban jungle of passion, chaos and desire. I truly learnt that the city never sleeps watching my studio mentor who claimed he could go a week without sleeping.

Even though I grew up in Jersey, the suburban backyard of the city, it was quite a culture shock to start living in it 24/7, trying to make connections and meet people. The closer we got, my new mentor and crew were hooking me up with studio time and getting me into clubs for free, underage. This was a proper introduction to New York City. A complete flip-turn from the zen life I had just been living in Costa Rica for a month, searching for some deeper meaning. Which leads me to a question…

What are the deepest desires of your greater good? The instinctive ‘Hawk Eye’ inside that knows better.

It seems in written history that mankind has always been on some search for enlightenment in one way or another. Various paths of thought say this is only achieved by abstaining from desires (sex, drugs & rock n’ roll), yet abstaining would be taking action on the desire to become enlightened itself. Part of me argues that this “desire-fearing” is a way to control societies compiled of humans who are innately programmed by survival mechanics, to in fact, desire.

I believe there are people in this crazy world who do possess some understanding, but I don’t believe there is just one way to get there. There is even the Tantric Yoga school of thought that encourages seekers to indulge mindfully in life’s desires, attaining a conscious unity of body and spirit. Yes, Tantra is much more than just crazy sex positions from the Kama Sutra!

I like to think the key to life has something to do with balance.

Partaking in desires can certainly help you see life from a different perspective, but it is important to reference this new found angle from a clear and sober state of mind. One can’t un-see what they’ve seen. If you keep searching for what you’ve already found, that can be a one way ticket down a dark and hungry path.

I was waking up to how uncomfortable my studio friends’ club-life made me. We shared a bond between our hawk eye’s. Seeing eye-to-eye in the spirit of things, there was a divide in our lifestyles. I am not saying that my way was better than anyone else’s, we were just different. My surroundings were no longer aligned with the artistic path I envisioned moving to New York City for. I felt conflicted, knowing some people would be envious of the position I was getting ready to escape.

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 2.35.38 PMImagine, a naive new-age rocker kid in a smoke machine filled, EDM blasting club surrounded by rolling, face-painted, self proclaimed “fetish-freaks”. I loved the free expression of these people, but where was I? The v.i.p. entry didn’t make sense to me for all of the favors I was doing and drugs were not an acceptable form of payment for my time. Waking up to my surroundings, the studio sessions weren’t the main event anymore. Even if it meant ditching the studio time, I had to leave this chaotic situation for my greater good.

My time at Quad Studios felt like an opportunity of a lifetime, it was very much a daydream. I learnt 2 very valuable lessons: How to produce records and how to avoid being swept away by desire. I do look back fondly on those crazy days.

So, my then east village bedroom became the recording studio and I started working at the Grand Central Apple Store, where I met Noah Barker of Noisebody who played keys on ‘Hawk Eye’. Some close friends started migrating to Brooklyn where I eventually ended up. That bedroom in Bushwick is where most of the album, Good Chi, was made over the past year.

DIY, recorded solo in my apartment, I did spend a few sessions at Gravesend Recordings co-founded by Julian Fader who played drums on a couple of Good Chi tracks, including this one. I highly recommend this studio located at the Silent Barn for anyone who needs help recording in New York City!

I made Good Chi hoping to bring some clarity to my own human experience, reflecting as a mirror for your own. It’s been quite a trip. Creating this project has been a true reflection on my life so far, through the good and the bad.

Remember, Good Chi cannot exist without Bad Chi… Living in New York City certainly reminded me of that. Please stay tuned next month for more Good Chi leading to the album release springtime.

Peace,
Jacob Schaffer

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