JOURNAL: Inspiration behind the lyrics

Declan+Fontillas+flew+out+to+Los+Angeles+this+past+summer+to+create+his+first+album.

Photo by Ryan Lopez (Instagram: @ryn.lopez)

Declan Fontillas flew out to Los Angeles this past summer to create his first album.

Declan Fontillas, a junior in the College of Communication, originally went by the stage name Crusader, along with a screamo vibe. But he switched to Tar Lvng, name that comes from both the movie “Kung Fu Panda” and cigarettes.

Tar Lvng is a play on “Tai Lung,” the 2008 movie’s antagonist. “Tar” alludes to Fontillas’ smoking habit.

“I didn’t like music for a really long time.” Fontillas says. “I was one of those people who were like ‘Oh, I don’t listen to music, I’m so countercultural.'”

Then, during his senior year English class, more similar to a general art class, the teacher assigned a final project where everyone had to make … something.

“I said ‘You know what? I’m going to make a little EP,'” Fontillas says. “I released three just really stupid songs, and I was like ‘This is kind of fun.’ Some people were like ‘Hey, this is really good, you should keep going,’ and I was like ‘no.'”

Until the following semester, when he turned in an album for another final project. Again, that was the end of his songwriting career.

Then he wanted to ask a girl to prom through a song. She said no.

“And that was inspiration for another song,” Fontillas says.

Thirty-nine songs later, including two features and eight tracks on an abandoned page, it continued to evolve. Last summer, Fontillas flew alone to California with hopes of creating an album.

“I was really nervous. I hadn’t written anything in about three months. I hadn’t released anything. It just wasn’t going great for me. I was going to quit music,” Fontillas says.

But something in California clicked. The sound system carrying subtleties, the beats from producer King Theta, and the despair of missing his girlfriend all combined to create songs Fontillas actually liked.

When finding inspiration for another song, Fontillas thought about performing live and in person, something that hasn’t happened yet.

Fontillas’ first gig will be Nov. 27 at the Miramar Theatre. He says he wanted a song for that exact experience, and that’s when “showstopper,” the last song on the album, was born.

“If there isn’t a story behind it, I probably won’t like it just because I’m not as enthusiastic about it,” Fontillas says.

The album “Cities Burning,” along with the track-titled music video, premiered Sept. 11.

“I’ve gotten further than a lot of people thought I would’ve,” Fontillas says. “And, when I say that, I’m trying my best not to sound like, ‘oh, I’m a rockstar’ type thing … I felt like I had gotten somewhere pretty cool.”

This story was written by Randi Haseman. She can be reached at randi.haseman@marquette.edu.