Today we’re Making Meaning with John Huxley! John is the lead guitarist, backing vocalist, and primary composer/lyricist for the stoner rock band Jakethehawk and Rainscape. Keep up to date with all of John’s musical journeys by following his projects on social media.
Let’s make some meaning…
Making Meaning: The Background
Jakethehawk plays stoner rock with blues and psych influences. This Pittsburgh, PA-based band formed in 2016 and released their debut album Year of the Hawk in January 2018 on Blackseed Records.
They plan to release their sophomore album on Blackseed Records this Fall! If you like heavy music and high-energy performances, be sure to catch them live soon!
Jakethehawk is: (Left to right) Jake Ferranti (vocals, guitar), Jordan Lober (drums), John Huxley (vocals, lead guitar), and Justin Lober (bass).
You’ll definitely want to see Jakethehawk at Descendants of Crom, but you shouldn’t wait until then! Catch Jakethehawk on Saturday August 11th in Pittsburgh, PA at Howlers with Brimstone Coven, Horseburner, and Faith in Jane. To learn more about Jakethehawk, listen to music, and find out about more shows visit them on Bandcamp, Facebook, and Instagram.
Making Meaning: The Song
Listen to the song “Syzygy” from Jakethehawk’s album Year of the Hawk and learn what meaning John makes:
“Syzygy” was written by John Huxley, recorded by Justin Lober, mixed by Justin Lober and John Huxley, and mastered by James Plotkin.
Lyrics to “Syzygy”
I spill through the countless depths and craters / Twilight, moonlight, morning sight / I flow over sandstone / Ancient furrows / A journey of aquatic nematodes / Memory etched in this sleeping sunscape / Longing now to escape
Non sum qualis eram / Words in these walls and my head / From places and lifetimes without / Non sum qualis eram / Your story and mine are by photons / Prism shattered, splayed in time and space
The spectrum bleeds lifetimes of nonsense moments / Love beyond our human measure / But madness is void in the sunburst / And our disparate paths are split beyond reckoning / But the math of these angles doesn’t bring comfort / In this, our cosmic syzygy
Can’t get a grip / I’m slipping in the space between us
“It was just one take of me standing in front of my cab with the fuzz cranked and letting the feedback crawl its way into the cracks in the walls…” – John Huxley on “Syzygy”
I was actually thinking about the riff in “Sin is a Good Man’s Brother” by Grand Funk Railroad when I started writing this… this track doesn’t sound anything like that I think, but I always laugh when people tell me the riff sounds like a riff in “Iron Man,” and it does… but I was trying to be like Grand Funk! I wrote it alone in my home studio at the time as is my usual M.O. I had a blast recording the guitar solo. It was just one take of me standing in front of my cab with the fuzz cranked and letting the feedback crawl its way into the cracks in the walls… (and in ourselves?)
“It makes me feel hopeless I suppose… I know the heroic thing to do in this case is probably to continue to struggle to find common ground… but eventually one becomes exhausted of that.” – John Huxley on “Syzygy”
Lyrically, this song has a couple of things going on. Broadly, it is about the idea of being unable to coexist with someone. Whether it is their fault, your fault, or no one’s fault at all… sometimes it is impossible to have a deep relationship with someone because of differences in fundamental things about you. Sort of the tragedy of realizing that as much as you want to, you’ll never be able to really love or respect someone. In my mind, this is a pretty relevant topic since I feel like there are a lot of folks and groups of folks who will never get along. It makes me feel hopeless I suppose… I know the heroic thing to do in this case is probably to continue to struggle to find common ground… but eventually one becomes exhausted of that. I suppose this song is about realizing that all you can do is agree to disagree and go your separate ways… finding that point where the struggle is pointless. It feels like a song about tragedy to me. I didn’t write this with an ex in mind or anything… by the way.
“The first verse basically just describes the main character sitting alone during a desert sunrise… truly the Coca Cola of locations for self discovery.” – John Huxley on “Syzygy”
There are some images in here that illustrate this point. The first verse basically just describes the main character sitting alone during a desert sunrise… truly the Coca Cola of locations for self discovery. The chorus partially describes the cover of the album “Dark Side of the Moon,” in which a beam of light is split by a prism… the different wavelengths sent in different directions forever.
“I suppose all the free will in the world can’t make you be close to people.” – John Huxley on “Syzygy”
Also, there are some references in here to a book called “House of Leaves.” In particular, the protagonist of the book during a sort of psychotic episode finds himself repeating the words “Known some call is air am.” This is how you would, in English, pronounce the Latin phrase “Non sum qualis eram,” which means “I am not what I once was.” That kind of struck me because it felt like his free will was being eroded by things in his own mind that he didn’t have any power over. I suppose all the free will in the world can’t make you be close to people.
I believe I’ve gone on entirely too long. [Editor’s note: I don’t think so.]
It drives me freaking crazy that the guitar lead at the very end is a little too loud. – John Huxley of Jakethehawk
Thanks to John for sharing the meaning he makes from their song! There are so many threads of inspiration that have come together to make this lyrically and musically heavy song. Thank you for making meaning with us.
If you like what we’re doing, please support us by subscribing to Of Music and Mind, following us on social media, and telling others about us! Are you an artist who would like to share the meaning you make about a song? Contact us! Be well!