Words by Tomo Nakayama

On a ferris wheel
The city sure looks real pretty now
From above

The first show I played in Seattle was a Weezer tribute night at a venue called Sit & Spin in 2000. The Sit & Spin was at a really cool venue/cafe on 4th Avenue that was attached to a laundromat. You could wash your unmentionables, eat a big slice of pizza, and watch your friend's band fumble through "Buddy Holly" in the same night. My bandmates and I were all underage at the time, so we had to sit in the cafe after we played. Between sets the other bands came out to refill their drinks and a few of them even talked to us. It was the first time I'd felt really seen and welcomed into the Seattle music community. I was really bummed when the Sit & Spin closed a couple years after that. I miss that place. I think there's a condo there now.

Counting birds of prey
Aren't they born that way

Am I just one of them?

I think I was thinking of the Sit & Spin, and places like it, when I wrote "There Goes the Neighborhood". All the cool, weird little venues that used to be around before they were priced out by tech money. I think a lot about the relationship between art and commerce, the role that I've played as a musician in the gentrification of Seattle over the years. We do our thing, make up songs and play our shows and create a nightlife that makes neighborhoods like Belltown and Ballard desirable places for people with money to live in. It feels sometimes like the better we do our jobs, the quicker we get pushed out. It's a cycle that I've witnessed many times over, and it's what's made a lot of my friends stop playing music. It's a strange dynamic.

I got a feeling inside of me
Something that nobody else can see
I'm not gonna fake it
Can't get away from the mess in my heart and my head

After I recorded the song I played it for my wife. "Huh," she said, "It feels like you and I are growing in very different directions." I thought I'd written a fun, dancy synthpop song about gentrification but she heard a song about how unhappy we were in our marriage. And in a way I think she was right. We spoke honestly for the first time maybe in years, talked about feelings we'd bottled up and ignored, the things we wanted out of life going forward, and decided we shouldn't be married anymore. Songs are weird that way. They mean different things to different people, and they can show you things you didn't even know were happening inside your head.  

Maybe I'll see you on Saturday
Maybe we'll wake up and make something good
There goes the neighborhood

It feels odd and awesome to finally play shows again, celebrating an album that came out a year and a half ago. Even longer since I started writing these songs. I've had enough time and distance to process it several times over. I feel like a totally different person from who I was back then. Or rather, I finally feel like my own self again. So many people have told me that "Melonday" helped them survive 2020, and it did for me as well, quite literally. Having this album to focus on and promote while my world was falling apart helped me process going through a divorce and a global pandemic simultaneously. I'm super grateful for it. And once I can give it a proper send-off, on a real stage with real musicians, in front of a live audience of real human beings, I'll finally be able to say "Thank you" and let it go. I can't wait.  

Using Format