It was blazing hot, and not like "oh-yeah-turn-that-hot-tub-up." It was like "instant-armpit-stains-and-BO-on-the-train" hot. We had just arrived in Turkey after a long flight through the night from South Africa and connected up with our contact Jason. He drove us two zombies back to his place where he lives with his lovely wife Joy, and their two boys. We both face planted on the sleepable surfaces they had prepared for us and we were out.
The next day we met up with the charming fellow you see above known as Mehmetcan. We had plans on going around to see Istanbul a bit and Mehmetcan jumped on the train and came along. He was enrolled in a university nearby but found that there were sometimes better things to do than go to class. In other words—we had a lot in common, and hit it off well. It also helped that he spoke great english and was a cheerful dude. He led us around meeting all kinds of awesome new people and helped us communicate to them in the native tongue; Turkish. He also made sure to sign up for a seat at the table for breakfast the next day when we made pancakes for the family. It was a great time. Thanks Mehmetcan, Jason and Joy!
Two guys flip floppin' pancakes all over the globe,
–Andrew & Austin
When the first taste of 50days50meals was fresh on our tongues we knew that to make a beautiful collaborative project happen we were going to need some musical masterpieces. In my personal opinion the steak is only as good as the wine you have with it, and so are the visuals only as appealing as the sounds shaking your eardrums. What we didn't know is that we were going to be graced with working alongside the Golden Goose- James Childs. James is one of those guys that everything he touches turns to gold so when he called us up and asked if he could be a part of the team and create the music behind our video elements we jumped on that like a free meal with perfect strangers. Early last month I shot James some questions to help write this blog post, but honestly his answers are so perfect I thought it would be best if you heard the words of the master craftsman yourself. Meet James Childs:
Start from the basics: What do you do?
To put it simply, I make music -- In some form or another I write, compose, play on, produce, engineer, and mix songs/records. I wear a lot of hats partly because I love all aspects of music, but also because these days you need to be a jack of all trades to make things happen.
How did you get started in music production and engineering?
I've always played instruments and played in bands, but I discovered the other side of the glass in college, read all I could about the producers of my favorite albums and fell in love with the production side. When I saw guys like Ed Cash who would develop artists, write with them, record their music, play every instrument imaginable on their albums and then mix them, I knew that was something I wanted to pursue. I'm still chasing that down. It's not a full-time thing yet and I don't know exactly what it's going to look like, but I'm just trying to do and learn as much as possible and get my hands dirty in any way I can.
What inspired you to write the music for 50days50meals?
I've always had a fascination for instrumental music, soundtracks, film scores, etc. and when I heard what you guys were doing, I immediately called up Austin and asked if I could compose the music for the video you guys would be producing. Thankfully he agreed, and I was relieved that he didn't really ask for examples of my work because I had never really done any music for video before - ha! So I didn't really have any idea what I was doing but things are going well so far! As far as inspiration for music, Austin introduced me to the amazing videos that Kinfolk Magazine is producing and the beautiful music that La Liberte (http://lalibertemusic.com/) composes for them. Also finding musical inspiration in Jónsi, Trent Reznor, Explosions in the Sky, and the Drive soundtrack.
Where do you write/create most of the music?
99% of it is in my simple bedroom studio in my house in Nashville. On the 2nd Dispatch (3rd video) for the song called "Spaces" I recorded piano, rhodes, & a Yamaha CP70 at Ben Shive's studio called the Beehive.
What goes into each song you have written? (ex. for the last track you made)
First, I discuss vibe and tempo with Austin to make sure what I have in mind matches the tone of the video. Then I just build a track layer by layer. Each song sortof has a featured instrument. First it was acoustic guitar, then wurlitzer, piano, this latest was electric guitar and synths. So those will be the foundation and I'll sprinkle things around those to create the feel of the song. They're only each a minute long so I have to be intentional with building them and making dynamic intros and outros to keep things interesting. And then a very important thing in each song has been to incorporate what I call the 50 Days 50 Meals Theme, which is a 4-note melody that is repeated in some form in each song. The idea is that it's a jingle or trademark that represents the entire project and ties all the music together. Basically just musical branding, giving it an identity. As people continue to watch all the videos, my hope is that someone could hear that 4-note melody and instantly associate it with the project. For audio nerds, I go into a lot more detail on my Soundcloud page.
Nerd moment: what is your favorite piece of equipment that you use?(anything from sticky tack to a sound consul)
My favorite piece is an old electric piano from the 70's called a Wurlitzer 200a. It's got a great vintage sound that instantly adds vibe to a song. This is the main instrument you hear on Dispatch #1 called "A Glimpse".
What wakes you up in the morning?
One of three annoying iPhone alarms that I still manage to snooze through until the last minute. Honestly though, it's a goal of mine to be better about waking up early to spend time with Jesus, reading the Word and in prayer. If you and all the blog readers would call me every morning at 6am to hold me accountable that'd be great.
Anything you feel like saying to the people of the world who read this nonsense? (famous quote by -James Childs?)
I've been inspired by the 50 Days 50 Meals project as well as everything else that Austin and Andrew touch. They're the definition of go-getters and I'm trying to hustle half as hard as they do. Pursuing something you love isn't always fun or easy, but it pays to take the initiative, cold call people, put yourself out there, work for free, be humble but work hard and try to learn from those who are where you want to be one day.
We are so completely thrilled to be working with James and are confident to say that without him on the crew we wouldn't be where we are today. Thanks James! To find out more about James and the work he does please go check out his work at: http://childishmusic.com/
From the unmusical side of the team,
The coffee shop was buzzing up a storm. There were people all over drinking coffee(obviously), talking, and working away; and then there was him. He was just looking at me from his comfortable leather chair. Now to most people that would translate to a smile, nod, and get on with your business. But I couldn't help but saying "What are you waiting for?" He responded with "Nothing." Me: "Well alrighty then." We get to talking and he pulls up a seat and I close my laptop. Get this:
His name is Guillermo Gomez and I asked where his accent was from and he told me from Cusco, Peru. Naturally we got to talking about how I had just been to Lima recently and he told me I had to go to his hometown sometime. We continued to talk about many other things including that he was meeting up with a guitar teacher to continue guitar lessons that day. I told him I was encouraged that even old dogs are still trying to learn new tricks. His friend showed up after a bit and we went our separate ways, but not without snapping a quick image of a new friend.
I really want you to know that going around the world to give away meals to complete strangers was just the beginning of this project; it was the launch. Now is when the project really continues. If what we have been talking about for all of this time is really true then won't it have changed something within us? We are different, we have to be, because we have learned what it means to love others in a spontaneous and phenomenal way and be loved by them without them even knowing it. I Andrew Vanover am just getting started on my journey. Who knows maybe it will turn into 50 years 5k meals. I sure hope you will join me on as much of it as possible.
From one young cookie trying to learn tricks from an old dog.
Here we were. South Island of New Zealand. Kilometer after kilometer of landscape after landscape. Snow capped mountains, rolling plains with heaps of sheep and cattle. I have never seen anything like it! We were driving along and saw this beautiful lake. It was early morning and the water was like glass. You could even see the reflections of the ice peaks on its surface. We pulled up to the shore and saw a young couple enjoying an early breakfast by the shore. I popped out to say hello and tried to strike up some sort of conversation.
This is where we met Robert & Xenia. They had been traveling away from their home in Germany for over 7 months. I was amazed by this couple. Both hospitality majors out of University, they picked up and left home on a whim and decided to see a bit of the world for themselves. A couple months prior to our encounter, they had been to Malaysia and Thailand, and after some time there—decided to come back to South Island to bask in the beauty of the landscape. Couldn't blame them. They had no idea where they'd be in 3 months, and looked forward to the adventure of the unknown. Evidently both their parents back in Germany were a bit concerned for their lack of a "plan."
They have learned to get extremely good with living out of the back of a car. We happened to catch them as they were making the trip up the west coast tin hopes of finding a job. They were interested in maybe being vineyard keepers, (this is taking car and maintaing wine vineyards) in exchange for housing a or something similar.
Robert and Xenia were happy to talk for a while at the lake. Like us, they could completely relate to striking up conversation with whomever seems to be closely. It was refreshing to share a moment with a couple that seemed to be like minded in our effort. They smiled when we asked for a photo. We joked that they would finally have something to send back home to family to ensure their loved ones of their safety. Every encounter with the people of New Zealand had been extremely pleasant. We had a blast covering some serious ground in our camper van.
From 2 guys that thought 5 days was a long time ,
_Austin & Andrew
Its a peculiar feeling when a large page in your life is turning right beneath your feet. Today marks the 50th day of the 50 days 50 meals project. We have flown, driven, trained, and boated to so many spectacular places and have met the most colorful and unique people of my life. It has been so refreshing learning to ask people about their story and engaging in conversations. Sometimes it doesn't always turn out but when it does it is a beautiful experience. It is almost as if we have been filling in one at a time the stories of the sea of faces out there.
Today Austin and I split ways for the final leg of the journey has arrived. He must go back to school and I must go back to.. well, life. This is the first time that we have been apart for over an hour in just under 2 months, and i'm glad to report that we didn't kill each other while trying our best to love others. A few hugs, a secret handshake, and some milk money for the poor boy and he was off to catch a flight.
The road has been windy and bumpy at parts but the view has always been worth the journey. The chance to sit across the table with someone you have never met and share love and a meal has been an honor. The tour doesn't end here however, there are still loads of photos and blogs to come. Keep an eye out!
From two guys with a new outlook on stranger danger.
–Andrew & Austin