World Inside My Head


  • For many years Sister Hazel frontman Ken Block struggled with alcohol and drug issues. And during that time he became frustrated by the idea that he felt misunderstood by a lot of people. "I wrote that song before I got clean and sober, actually," he says. "There's a couple of lines in there like, 'Strange is just a different point of view,' and if you could come in here, inside my head, and see what I see, and how beautiful I see this, or how much potential I see here. I might get distracted by this shiny object," he laughs, "but sometimes I look down and I get into this little world of creativity or emotion or whatever, and I think that's where the beauty lies. And I think a lot of times people just kind of leave you because they don't understand what you're dealing with or what you're going through. And so I just kind of felt like if people could come in and see the way I saw the world and how much beauty and intensity and passion and struggles and triumph, they could get in and they could relate and they could understand."

    "I never really was a praying person. And one of the reasons for that was because I got caught up in the language, and I felt like if I didn't use the right language, or I said something wrong, or that more importantly I was stuck in the mortal framework of language, and I couldn't get past that, that I was saying it wrong and that I was going to mess up or something. And then all of a sudden one day it occurred to me that if there's a God or a higher power of my understanding, then he's just taking a look in there, and all I have to do is let him look in there. It's not about words, it's about seeing the world that's in my head, or seeing what's in my heart. Because you can't really put a word, or words, to explain a feeling or an experience. You can try, you can really try, but if you could get inside my head, or I could get inside your head, then maybe I'd get it more. I'd understand it more. And I felt like at that time I was really struggling with a lot of things and feeling like people weren't able to see where I was coming from, and that was kind of what that song was about."
  • A self-described scatterbrain, Ken says it's sometimes challenging to take his philosophical thoughts and put them in a form that multitudes can relate to. "I don't think it does much good to try to be clever just to be clever," he says. "It's about being clever in a way where people can plug in. I always try to write ambiguously where people can plug their own story in. It can be my story or my life or my thoughts, and it could be fiction or non fiction or both, but whatever it is, I try to leave language that's open enough where people can plug their own life into it. Just general enough to where it's not super specific and it alienates a ton of people. I try really, really hard to make sure that there's those windows there."
  • Block is a prolific songwriter who writes from the heart. Whether it be an emotion that he pulled from his distant past, or something he's experiencing in the present, he says when he sits down to write it's never because he's in a great mood. So why are his songs so upbeat and happy? He explains: "They turn out that way sometimes, because it's the process. It's who I am and who I want to be. I want to acknowledge struggles, and I want to acknowledge life on life's terms, and I want to acknowledge emotion and all that. But even if it's heavy or if it's challenging or if it's whatever, I don't want to stop there. I think a lot of artists stop there and just say, 'This sucks.' I want to say, 'Okay, this is what's going on,' but then stick my hand in a little bag of optimism and sprinkle some dust on there for positivity, and maybe live in the solution a little more than living in just the void." (Read more in our interview with Ken Block.)


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