From the Philippines to Scotland, to Nashville and Detriot, C. SHIROCK  – the solo project of Chuck Shirock – has travelled and lived in varied spots across the globe, yet his music, undeniably an extension of those places and his experiences there is cohesive, streamlined, and purposeful. His slick, intelligent pop is rooted in the synth-heavy work of Bowie, Peter Gabriel, and The Cure, but it also glimmers with modernity; a beacon of romanticism in increasingly harsh times. A perfect snapshot of this sensibility is Shirock’s recent single, “All We Have is This Moment”, which dropped on April 10, 2020.

The ethereal tune is a plea to hold onto the present moment, not in a hedonistic or nihilistic sense, but as an exploration of the surprising tranquillity found in admitting fragility. The song pulses as arpeggiated synths carry listeners to sonic vistas while C. SHIROCK sings with a practiced command that is at once a plaintive lamentation and a hopeful manifesto.

C. SHIROCK commits to his art to a level that is somewhat philosophical, and, as such, his music interacts with the deepest and most pressing questions on his mind whilst navigating the work of a myriad of influential writers, artists, and thinkers. Fittingly, we now arrive at a transition as Chuck takes over this article and explores some of his favourite quotes which have influenced his life and art.

“Some of my favorite thinkers, writers, and passages – reminders and inspiration for me… ‘All We Have Is This Moment.’” – C. SHIROCK

1. Seneca – On the Shortness of Life

“You are living as if destined to live forever, your own frailty never occurs to you; you don’t notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply – though all the while that very day may be your last. You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire…How late it is to begin really to live just when life must end!

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested…life is long if you know how to use it.”

SHIROCK: These are some quotes from my favorite philosopher, Seneca – from his thoughts on the ‘shortness of life.’ This book and these ideas were honestly life-changing for me. I tend to miss so much looking forward to some far-off future, and in doing so I miss the present. I put off living, and forget that I have no promise of any moment other than today. Such a poignant and important reminder. I have the words ‘LIVE IMMEDIATELY’ tattooed on me from this passage.

2. Alan Watts

“In music, though, one doesn’t make the end of the composition the point of the composition. 
If that were so the best conductors would be those who played fastest.
And there would be composers who wrote only finales.
People would go to a concert just to hear one crashing chord, because that’s the end!

Same way in dancing – you don’t aim at a particular spot in the room, and that’s where you should arrive
The whole point of dancing is the dance. …And all the time that ‘thing’ is coming. It’s coming, it’s coming. That great ‘thing.’ The success you’re working for.

Then when you wake up one day about 40 years old and you say, ‘my god, I’ve arrived. I’m there.’

And you don’t feel very different from what you’ve always felt…”

SHIROCK: This lecture from Alan Watts was another life-changing idea for me – ‘dance while the music was being played’ – what a beautiful way to say it…the journey is the dance, not the destination. 

Artwork for “All We Have Is This Moment” by C. SHIROCK

3. Rainer Maria Rilke – Letters to a Young Poet – (translated by Stephen Mitchell)

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves
as if they were locked rooms
or books written in a very foreign language.
Don’t search for the answers,
which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps then, someday far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer.”

SHIROCK: A beautiful reminder that it’s okay to have questions – to not know – to ‘live your way into the answers’…you/I/we don’t have to have it all figured out. All of living is a process and a journey.

4. Marcus Aurelius – Meditations

“Human life.

Duration: momentary. Nature: changeable. Perception: dim. Condition of Body: decaying. Soul: spinning around. Fortune: unpredictable. Last Fame: uncertain. Sum Up: The body and its parts are a river, the soul a dream and mist, life is warfare and a journey far from home, lasting reputation is oblivion. 

Even if you’re going to live three thousand more years, or ten times that, remember: you cannot lose another life than the one you’re living now, or live another one than the one you’re losing. The present is the same for everyone; its loss is the same for everyone…you cannot lose either rate past or the future; what you do not have, you cannot lose. The present…is all you have.”

SHIROCK: Don’t dwell in the past or worry about the future – all we have to lose is this very moment.

5. Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist

“ ‘What’s the world’s greatest lie?’ the boy asked…

‘It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.’ “

SHIROCK: One of many important lessons in The Alchemist – it’s easy to be a victim in your own life sometimes…to feel that life is happening to you.  But it’s just a shift in perspective. 

6. Mary Oliver – The Journey

“One day you finally knew 
What you had to do, and began, 
Though the voices around you 
Kept shouting 
Their bad advice‚ 
Though the whole house 
Began to tremble 
And you felt the old tug 
At your ankles. 
“Mend my life!” 
Each voice cried. 
But you didn’t stop. 
You knew what you had to do, 
Though the wind pried 
With its stiff fingers 
At the very foundations‚ 
Though their melancholy 
Was terrible. 
It was already late…..”

SHIROCK: One of my favorite poets, with her gentle and gripping way with words.

7. Solomon – Ecclesiastes (Bible)

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven – 
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search, and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent, and a time to speak. 
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace.”

C. SHIROCK: There is a time for all things, and every season will change.