San Diego’s Tim Dehnert aka TRACES released an enduring ballad titled “Waited” his latest offering in anticipation of his forthcoming debut album, “6 HRS”. TRACES is known for openly discussing his inner tumoil and his struggles with depression in his songs on distinct innovative soundscapes of R&B, Pop and Electronic elements. The singer-songwriter puts everything on the line on “Waited,” ripping off old bandages of hidden truths and confronting the dark parts of his inner demons.
We recently spoke with Dehnert about the nerve wrecking songwriting and recording sessions of “Waited”, songwriting during lockdown and the various ways to find inner peace in a during a global pandemic.
In a midst of unprecedented year full of sorrow and darkness, humans look for a silver lining or a pocket of hope to get us through each challenging day. Music has played a major role for society to remain hopeful. Music artists have all been heavily impacted by the lack of physical in person connections with their music making teams and feeling the emptiness of not having any fan interactions during live concerts. Dehnert struggled with the global reality of the new normal in the beginning stages, “It’s been a bit of a rough go but I’ve been doing well all things considered. My family is good so that’s all I can really ask for. With a almost year long lockdown, outside hobbies have been out of the question. “Unfortunately, hobbies feel pretty limited right now not being able to go outside but I’ve definitely used the time best I can to make some music and do some looking inward. I guess therapy is my new hobby,” he joked.
While it’s not an ideal time for promoting new music, Dehnert felt encouraged to release his new material because he realized what role music played for him during these strange times to get through the days, “You know it’s not preferable releasing music during this time but it had been a long while since I had put anything out and I just couldn’t keep holding onto these songs and not doing anything with them anymore. For me, I’ve been listening to a ton of music during this time. It’s been an area of joy, emotional fuel, and comfort whilst everything is locked down.” Dehnert hopes his music gives his fan a moment of escapism,”I feel like it’s good for artists to put out some music and connect with their fans right now, give people some entertainment or background noise to chill out too for a moment.”
“Waited” finds Dehnert at his most exposed, facing the realities of a relationship where he is unable to give himself wholeheartedly due to the trauma caused by his inner demons to his psyche. Dehnert admits being afraid of how vulnerable the song is, “it felt like a journal entry. It was emotional haha. Some songs take a bit to finesse and this one didn’t. It just kind of all came out.” Dehrert further explains how using outlets like writing can be a learning experience, “I think when you’re in a highly emotional state and channel it correctly you learn a lot about what’s going on internally through outlets like journaling, writing, or creating songs. It took a while for me and David Burris to go back and forth on the production notes but besides that, it was a quick process.”
The concept of the song stems from a road trip taken in 2019 during a difficult period of Dehnert’s life; “The song came from a journal entry I wrote while I was on a road trip up the coast of California. It’s odd with this year being so unprecedentedly challenging and I don’t mean to downplay its severe difficulty for many people, but 2019 was a much harder experience for me. I was just seeking any sort of help or clarity I could get and I never found any. I guess I got so overwhelmed by the emotions/pain of what was going on in my life that I lost the ability to get clarity on what to do.”
The track documents Dehnert’s courageous journey of battling his fears, laying them all out there for the world to see. Dehnert’s tells us how terrified he was making the song, “This song was one of the most nerve-wracking songs to release because of how real and vulnerable it is for me. I had a pit in my stomach just writing out the lyrics which means I’m definitely heading in the right direction but it doesn’t make it comfortable to release to the world. It’s important for me as an artist to document the undefined feelings rattling around my head so that I can start to process them. It’s seating all your fears on the other side of the table to be able to speak directly to them.”
The quarantine has changed the way Dehnert writes music, strictly collaborating with others on zoom, “I’ve been working with people through zoom a bit more which in my opinion is a terrible way to create music. There is something about being in the room, feeling the vibration from the instruments or speakers, and being able to connect to a collaborator face to face that is just missing from zoom. I’ve been able to make do and still write great stuff but it’s just a little less of a cathartic experience. “ Dehnert adds that not everything has been bad, “…good side is, I’ve spent a lot more time writing by myself which has helped me get a lot more confident and freeform in my lyricism/ideas.”
The pandemic has brought on a lot of honest conversation about anxiety, depression and mental health, Dehnert is no stranger to sharing his personal experiences not only in his music but also sharing his personal emotions on socials. These days Dehnert tries to shares much needed encouragement for anyone who is having a hard time, “I’ve always felt pretty open about my issues with depression even before this time but I’ve tried to use my socials more just to encourage people. Life is a mess right now for a lot of people. There are those that are feeling trapped by circumstances (some places darker than the others) and I think it’s just important to highlight little bits of hope as much as we can. A lot of people are being forced to be alone with their thoughts for the first time too and I try to share stuff that encourages them to make the most of this experience even though it feels grim.”
Dehnert offers advice to those listeners who are dealing with heavy emotions described in his song “Waited”, “Take a road trip or just take a break for a second. Find a few moments where you can seek peace and joy. I know it’s challenging to find those moments or even be able to financially justify it to ourselves but I think we need space to rest and check-in. Also just reach out to people. Have some fun with your friends and ask to talk if you need to. We tend to keep too much inside.”
As the world feels like it’s crumbling beneath us, we can all connect by hearing music that takes us away from the bad moments and gives a moment of clarity or peace of mind. Dehnert has a raw talent of creating immensely honest music while hypnotizing his listeners with the colorful textures of his voice and intricate music productions that will stick with you for days on end. Dehnert confesses he has more music on the way, “I have a lot more coming out, that I just wrapped up this month. I’m not slowing down on putting out music for a long while. Looking forward to the holidays and the new year.
Photo Credit: Dave Berg