Make It Real, actor Brian Gaskill’s debut spoken word album, brings us into a world of wolves, artists, dancers, femme fatales. We have Hollywood, we have bars, we have houses full of ghosts, maps on the kitchen floor leading to heaven. We have Janis Joplin and Houdini and Van Gogh. We have a punk-rock mermaid who is a healer, a woman with a body made to hold all that’s soft, private.
With the spoken word, Brian explores the importance of moment, decision, choice, wish. Of running, falling. Of rhythm and music. His voice is strong, determined, vulnerable.
Brian’s album is not just honest, but personal. These recordings bring listeners in to a certain element of human that is intrinsically private, an interior complexity we feel that we shouldn’t be allowed to navigate because it doesn’t belong to us. We are brought into birth here, ocean. Abandonment. Creation.
But yet the truth is, she didn’t come back, Brian reads in the opening poem, “M Street.” But this is my pencil and my paper and my art—and yes even my rules—and whether it’s life or art I don’t care, it’s still alive and the only me I know today so that will have to do for now. And that’s the way our story begins.
Ashley Inguanta: Tell me about the beginnings of this album. When did you start writing, recording?
Brian Gaskill: The poetry is a mix of stuff from mostly the last 8 years, though much of it I wrote in December or last year, as I forced myself to write every day because I felt very raw, and I wanted to get that out and see where it took me. There is much that is not on this album; it will be on another album, or maybe a book eventually, once I figure out the whole publishing thing. I recorded the whole album in about 5 hours on a Saturday afternoon in February. I wanted to “make it real,” make it happen, and let it be as raw as the writing felt.
AI: What is the biggest difference between writing your poems and recording them? Describe the connection you receive with words as you write them and as you speak them.
BG: For me there is little difference. When I am writing I hear it. I say it out loud. I want to like the way it sounds. It’s inner monologue, maybe in a way. I am a slow reader for the same reason. I read with my mouth moving and say every word. I love first-person narrative for that reason. I escape; it becomes my story. Of course this album is my story, so it’s not so much an escape as a finally facing myself and not censoring myself.
AI: In terms of your journey recording this album, what was the most freeing poem to write? Record? The scariest?
BG: All of the newer ones were all of these things, but the title track, “Make it Real,” it’s brutally honest in terms of looking in the mirror and showing that reflection to others, and because of the details it surprised me; when I read it back it chokes me up. “Fall into Heaven” was the most freeing to record, in terms of sort of living out rapper fantasies (haha), but frankly releasing this at all was all pretty scary. I wanted to finally admit in public that I am a writer, and a creative soul, and I really had nothing left to lose. The only thing I haven’t tried is just being myself in my creations, so I figured it was time to start
AI: What do you hope your writing will do for the world? Where do you plan on going next with your poetry?
BG: For the world? I cant possibly pretend it will reach the world, but whoever it does reach I hope it inspires them to create, to open up, to be themselves, to face their faults and face what is great about them, and inspire them to be fully human for better or worse, and accept themselves and others. I guess that would be my goal in whatever art I pursue. I hope I can taste some of that.
AI: If you could collaborate with any artist (actor, musician, poet) who would it be? What would you create together?
BG: Tough one. If I could travel back to the early 60’s I might collaborate with Jean Luc Goddard on a film that would be the story of an American poet in Paris struggling to be understood, and who finds himself while getting wrapped up in a crime syndicate. Soundtrack by Miles Davis. And also starring both Anna Karina and Brigitte Bardot.
AI: Is there anything else you would like to say?
BG: I said what I needed to say for now on the album. I’m still just out here trying to “make it real.” I hope people will listen. I hope some will be inspired and make some dream real in their own life. As for me, I’ve barely begun.