I Paid This Guy  To Write a Song About My Dog. Here’s What Happened
Music

I Paid This Guy $35 To Write a Song About My Dog. Here’s What Happened

I’m only human—I want the best for my dog. That’s why when, one seemingly ordinary day, I opened Instagram and a rickety video popped up featuring a roundish, Chihuahua-esque dog named Ham, with silhouettes of her likeness running, suspended, frolicking, free. Photos revealed Ham peering doe-eyed and adorable, sticking out her tongue, and eating pasty-white crackers like royalty.

The video was accompanied by a song with deep bellowing vocals, its lyrics…inspired (“Ham runs as fast as the wind / Even with a leg pointed sideways…”). Through the course of the 60-second track we also learn that Ham is afraid of thunderstorms and (curiously) breakfast. All to a tune that embodies a Bo-Burnham-like songwriting essence, a distinct flavor of home-grown D.I.Y., and a definite passion for the wacky and absurd.

Over the top of the video are the words: “A follower asked me to write a track about their pet for $25. DM me if you’d like a personal song.” So, naturally, I sent a message to @axolotlmusica1’s account immediately. My dog deserved a weird song too.

Within nine minutes, a message came back. It would take one to two weeks to get my personal song in honor of my 14-and-a-half-year-old Maltipoo Alfie. I’d have to fill out some questions first—Alfie’s loves, hates, hobbies, talents—and, oh yeah, the price had gone up to $35. After sending in the answers to his questions, along with some pictures of my dog, I waited. Seven days later, Alfie’s song arrived. 

While it didn’t sound exactly like Ham’s, the two songs could definitely be on the same album. Alfie’s is set to an electro-pop dance beat, though the song itself, like Ham’s, defies genre. I like to call it ridiculously wonderful. Not a Top 20 hit, but something that would have made Dr. Demento proud. Needless to say, it’s perfect.

Come to find out he’s a comedian, fellow dog owner, and all-around enigma who goes by the artist name Axolotl Musica. His real name is Jasbir Singh Vazquez, and aside from pets, he’s previously created songs about cicadas, sippy cups, traffic cones, and a follower having his colon removed (“Losing my large intestine was hell / Now how am I supposed to poop my Taco Bell?”). Poetry in motion.

Read on to find out more about the man behind the music.

Sample lyrics from Alfie’s soon-to-be hit single, via his custom video.

Who are you???

I’m originally from Guadalupe, Nuevo León, Mexico. I was living in Chicago, performing full time at The Second City, and writing jokes for The Onion and Cards Against Humanity. Now I live in Los Angeles. Merilla [another professional handle] is an old inside joke, but my artist name for this music project is Axolotl Musica. 

How long have you been writing songs? 

I’ve been writing goofy songs since high school, where I was in several joke noise bands in the late 2000s.

Musical inspirations?

All of Neil Hamburger’s music and comedy albums. Also, Tim Heidecker and the Very Good Band, and his whole discography. Fred Armisen’s Comedy for Musicians special and Adam Sandler’s 100% FRESH special. 

How long have you been writing these wonderful little songs? 

I started on TikTok about two years ago. 

Jasbir Singh Vazquez performing during a musical comedy show. (Credit: Jasbir Singh Vazquez’s private collection.)

What got you started?

After writing sketches and jokes in Chicago, I wanted to go back to writing absurd comedy songs. When I moved to L.A., I had to start from scratch again, which was nice in a way because it pushed me to make stuff without any expectations. I used to do musical improv in Chicago, making up songs on the spot, but I never really got to make the songs too absurd since it was more geared toward the general public. So it’s been nice to just make more outsider stuff that fits my sense of humor. 

Where do you begin writing a custom song, like the one about my dog? 

I take your answers, and then I try to improvise lyrics while reading the answers. Then I write the stronger ideas down, and tweak them until they’re a little more fleshed-out and specific. I compose them on an Omnichord and guitar.

What is the weirdest request you’ve ever gotten for a song request? 

Someone requested an entrance theme for a couple’s group therapy session.

How do you choose the actual genre/music to accompany the lyrics? 

I thought it would be funny to do my awful Johnny Cash impression while singing over something that sounds like really bad, cheesy YouTube travel vlog music. I think the result sounds kind of goth/post punk. 

Aside from people’s pets, you’ve written about pickle soup, cicadas, and a worm someone found. Could you write a song about anything? Are there any subjects off-limits? 

I love to write songs about anything, but I won’t write songs that punch down, bully, or “other” people.

What are you doing when you’re not writing songs?

I like to take my dog to the beach, and eat.

Originally Published Here.

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