One of the most memorable trips in my life was backpacking in Mexico, taking a semester off from college. And though there's a myriad of experiences that rank high, including playing music on the street during carnival in Mazatlan, learning the subway system of Mexico City getting around one of the biggest cities in the world for pennies, and standing atop the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan; the spring equinox at Chichen Itza was probably the most amazing. I had been in San Cristobal, Chiapas for some of the peace talks between the Mexican government and Zapatista rebels. Then caught a ride with some Canadians in a VW bus up to Chichen Itza. I sat in the back with a guy from London who also hitched a ride, he proceeded to roll up huge spliffs all through the night on the way there.
Arriving the next morning on the day before the equinox I found the place to be out of rooms. But it was fine because the few hotels there allow people to pitch a tent or lay out a sleeping bag in their grass lawn area. I had no idea that many people showed up there, it was easily 20,000. You have your run of the mill tourists whom the locals would call "human carbon copies". But then there's all the cool Mexicans from all over the country joined by an international croud of people from all over the world and all walks of life that makes it a unique event. I had the epiphany there that, rich or poor, from whatever part of the world people seek some kind of fun and meaning with their lives. And all the wars, death, and destruction comes from clinging to a bunch of baggage we've been taught to believe. Whether it's religion, government, or pursuit of money, it's all just human concepts passed down through the generations, but all illusory. The great equalizer is death, no matter how many houses you own and no matter how big your bank account is, it won't matter when you're dead.
So you sure as hell better use the short time you have in this world to put out something positive and find what really makes you happy, because when you're at the end and facing death wondering where your life went, you don't want to look back in regret realizing you just spent it all serving someone else's agenda and that you're nothing more than something you invest in.
Marfa Texas. The most amazing place we’ve ever toured. We found it by accident on our first-ever road trip from NYC to LA.
While crossing the deserts and open plains of west Texas into New Mexico, with a day in between our shows in Austin and Phoenix, we set out for the state border. We stopped at an old gas station and met up with another band randomly. They recommended that we swing an hour out of our way to Marfa, Texas, the city where No Country For Old Men was filmed, and home of a mysterious unexplained phenomena called “Marfa lights”. The little town of 1,000 people sounded just strange enough to try going to check it out.
We drove another 5 hours into the setting sun and landed in Marfa. It was dark, and there was nothing but a couple of rows of houses and a pizza place. iPhone internet had one bar of reception, barely workable. We decided to talk to the locals and ask around to see if there was a bar or any place we could try setting up and playing a gig. We found one place.
Planet Marfa, a fantastic little bar and restaurant with an old-school rural Hawaiian feel to it. We drove up and there was an employee waiting for us and ushering us into the driveway , where there was a giant Norwegian flag. That freaked out our singer, Ben (from Norway), a great deal. And we all knew it was an omen of some sort. Validation that we were meant to play here.
Turns out one of the owners is from Norway too. They treat us like long lost family from minute one. We played a whole set, and then we played blues with the owner. Even though only 20-25 people were there that night, it was astonishing that a band can still roll up into a town and play blues somewhere in the middle of west Texas, like a folkloric tradition of rambling musicians. Considering that our band members come from Norway, Finland, Malaysia, California, and Seattle, with thousands of performances collectively, and yet still we all agreed this was the most memorable of all. It may be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, but we plan to return there soon.
The song Most of All is the result of a text between Walter Jerk and a former girlfriend, whose parents were less than supportive of the relationship. It was written at a time when The Jerk was going through the typical teenage angst and anarchy stage. One night he texted, "I hate everything" to his girlfriend, but followed up with, "But most of all I love you." He then packed his song book in his backpack and struck out on a lonely walk to try to finish the writing for an upcoming recording session. The Pinz had just won Battle of the Bands at their high school with the grand prize of studio time. Prior to the even, drummer Leon Black and The Jerk made a pact that if they won the Battle, Leon would not leave for California with his family, as planned, but would stay and see how long the momentum would continue that the band had been experiencing. However, even after winning, Walter Jerk did not trust Leon to stay and thus scheduled recording session AND a CD release party before the songs were even completed. Most of All was originally recorded at Greenteam Media and released on the band's first EP, Short on Time. It has since been re-recorded and released on Anti-Complacency League EP, produced by David Kalish and Grammy Award winner Chris Testa. Leon Black did eventually leave the band. He resigned just after The Pinz returned from a Florida tour with the Dead Kennedys.
Sometimes things are just meant to be. Just ask country/soul recording artist Apryl Evans who just completed recording her new EP at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennessee with Grammy-Award winner David Hall producing. The new EP is entitled "Things You Left Behind" and it seems that the only thing Evans left behind was anything that was holding her back back at home in New Jersey.
"Country has always been who I am, but something I feared trying. We didn't even have a country station in Jersey until a couple years ago!" says Evans, "But once I let me be me and stopped listening to everyone around me, I knew I had found my place in this big old music world. So I left it all behind, hopped a plane to Nashville and found myself working with the best of the best."
And the rest is history. The song that Apryl is most proud of is "Should've Been Here By Now", which she co-wrote with award winning and chart topping songwriters Rachel Thibodeau and Jason Sever of Little Champion Publishing."There is nothing more incredible than sitting in a room with two people who have written songs that you've been singing along to for years and collaborating on a song for your own project. There are just no words for how surreal that moment was," Apryl says with a smile.
And so the fun, upbeat and somewhat sarcastic "Should've Been Here By Now" was born. The song is one for anyone who's been out there looking for "Mr. or Mrs. Right" for sometime and keeps coming up with duds. Evans even got to call out some of her own exes in the song in a moment she likes to call "A Taylor Swift Moment".
The song joins two others on the EP by Thibodeau, including "Gonna Be a Good Night" and the title track "Things You Left Behind", as well as two others that Evans co-wrote - "Why" and "Stripped Down". The whole EP is bound to give listeners a country-flavored peek into the psyche of the multi-layered artist that is Apryl Evans.
Kissing in the Darque was inspired by a number of things. We've always been fans of Trip-Hop and other down tempo music, so we wanted to write a track with similar instruments, organ sounds, etc. We also wanted it to have a 90s California Hip Hop vibe too, so we wrote a catchy G-funk synth line for the chorus. We have a certain nostalgia for that music; we grew up with it. The motorcycle scene sounds were early inspirations as well because we would eventually like to score music for film.
The Story Behind New Spell's 2012 Single, Become the Road
When compiling the songs for our debut album, the obvious choice for our album single was "Become the Road." Both the subject matter of the lyrics and the sonic elements of the music convinced us that this would be a song that people could connect with easily. Overwhelming feedback from our fans has proven us right so far.
Having grown up in Los Angeles surrounded by freeways and buildings, road images appear frequently in Leanne's lyrics. The titles of songs such as "Stop & Go," "Rear View," and "Become the Road" illustrate this. Rather than thinking of the city's concrete jungle as possessing only negative and ugly qualities, Leanne explores the interplay of modern man and nature, and explores the idea of the road as a metaphor for life as a journey.
The opening lines, "Become the road, you travel, grip the wheel and hold on steady," is about the almost compulsive desire for today's young adults to travel, to wander, and to find themselves, but suggests that it's not always easy. "The wanting, the waiting, to fucking get there already," is about the desire to attain success in life, in career, and in love after all the effort put in and all the miles driven. The second verse opens with, "Fragile lives splatter on glass, the dingy town attractions roadside," in which we use an image of flies on the windshield and speak of the meaningless distractions one encounters. "Your soundtrack, your vigilance on a journey of unclear signs" is about the music, the art, the memories, and the love that provide the emotional "soundtrack" as one travels on the road of life, which isn't always necessarily a clear and straight path. "Say goodbye" in the second chorus is a reference to the fact that we are always saying goodbye to what's behind, to the past. It's a melancholy thing, but change is constant and life is always moving forward.
Musically, "Become the Road" is distinct from a lot of our tunes. We decided to use auto-tune on the voice to give the song a smooth, electronic sound and to appeal to potential remixers. In contrast to Top 40's club songs which overuse this unmistakable sound (sometimes to a laughable degree), we felt that it enhanced our tune, especially as it warbles with the song's lithe vocal melodies. In addition, we played around with a simple arrangement that uses only one chord progression, which is very different from our other songs that have verses, choruses, bridges, and transitions of varying chords and time signatures. This simplicity, coupled with catchy melodic hooks, a powerful driving keyboard solo, and meaningful lyrics, makes this song a memorable and poignant tune that many of our listeners have said is their favorite New Spell song to date.
Mountains Go is the title track from a seven song EP just released. The song was written while I was spending the summer in a small town in the wilds of Alaska. The town is very remote (even by Alaska standards). No paved roads, no electricity, no running water and tons of bears! It is a magical place with many eccentric towns folk. This is song is based around a conversation I had with local about the simplicities of life and the eternal quest to see what lies beyond. It is about how our past doesn’t have to define us. The real truths are seen in our present. I hope that this song resonates with people’s innate need for wilderness and desire to see where the mountains go!
Currency was one of the first songs David and I wrote together and at a time when we were living and working in separate countries. I was acting in a few productions up in Canada ('The Vow', with SpyGlass Pictures, and Steven Spielberg's, 'Falling Skies) while David continued his day job teaching guitar and piano back home in LA. Recognizing we had formed an unlikely union we were still dedicated to our collaboration. It actually became clearer with geographical distance that David and I were committed to writing music together, and that our partnership could take the music we had written independently to the next level. Our artistic strengths and weaknesses complimented each other, but there was also an odd sense of purpose, even family, as soon as we started playing.
We were sharing bits and pieces of musical ideas over email when I sent, 'Currency', the original poem. Truthfully, I had no idea what to expect, and was anxious when I didn't hear back from him right away. But he reached out the next day suggesting we do a Skype session where I learned he felt equally as humble sharing the music and song structure my poem had inspired in him. I loved it. We were so turned on by the ease of our creative relationship, we decided he should fly up to work with me in person. Together we discovered the vocal melody and harmonies for 'Currency', began work on 'Magdelin', a love song David brought to the band, and also produced our first two music videos for songs off of our ep record, 'Carnival Tracks'. The videos for 'Brand New Truth' and 'My Reflection' were two miraculous guerilla shoots in just two days with no budget thanks to our good friend and great director, Randy Ross, who just happened to be in Toronto at the time. Those shoots are a story for another article, but I'm mentioning the videos, which have become quite popular on youtube, only to say that the stars were aligned for SanguinDrake at the time 'Currency' was written, and our time in Toronto turned out to be instrumental in building our foundation as a band.
When one of us is solely responsible for lyrics, as was the case in 'Currency', the first thing we have to do as a band is analyze the poetry to discover what it wants to say through and start feeling it's expression musically. When I write, I tend to let it be a stream of consciousness at first as opposed to launching into a theme or any kind of structure. Recognizing 'going with the flow' isn't a sure fire technique to create a valuable piece of work, 'Currency' happens to be a success story for this somewhat effortless process, but with this style, even I, as the writer, have to study what the words are actually saying. Ultimately, I do like to practice creative deliberation, vision, intention … but it has to be said, 'Currency', the poem, came through pen to paper, over coffee one morning in it's almost exact final form.
To pin point the specific moment of lyrical inspiration simplifies the story even further. It's conceptual context is certainly not romantic or dramatic. It's just that when I went to pay for my coffee that morning I realized I had forgotten my wallet. It was a cafe I had been to several times before and developed a familiar rapport with the barrister. He said it was no problem and didn't charge me. I was lit up by his generosity, then noticed I felt indebted to him. The exchange triggered a realization in me that generosity of spirit is empowering, more empowering than anything material. Having been a part of several communities of artists I was already accustomed to the practicalities and possibilities of human beings surviving off of trade. It continues to frustrate me that money has become the only respected currency in most of the the world outside these somewhat enlightened communities. People, for the most part, have forgotten the power of kindness, gesture, endowment, encouragement, inspiration, and skill trades. There are several ways beyond money we fulfill and nurture each other's needs and desires that we habitually allow to money trump, and often to our detriment. So while I was enjoying my debatably 'free' coffee, I opened my journal and began to write: 'Nothing in life is free …'
There is a driving, even haunting, tone to the song, especially in the bridge, as it paints the inevitabilities that come with our human nature: manipulation, interdependence, greed … we are all vulnerable to temptation, we all have needs ... but the blessing that comes with our condition is that we each have something to give, the catch is recognizing and contributing. The bridge describes an equally available choice, complete isolation and blissful dissociation, but in that place comes a powerful connection to death and perhaps an epiphany that life is about the give and take of it all no matter how painful or risky the trade offs may seem. It is up to the individual to discover their value and also limitations so that one can live life without a sense of entitlement, or the egoic flip side, a fear of being inconsequential.
This is why it made sense to me to build a music video for 'Currency' set in the Warhol Factory. Andy Warhol seemed to thrive on his understanding of how to manipulate by feeding into shallow temptations and weaknesses in exchange for devotion to him, which ultimately became tragic exploitation. To me, this is not unlike the financial superpowers and systems we are subject to today. The song illuminates our individual propensity for power corruption, as well as the sweetness our human condition allows us to experience when consciously honored.
It does not go unnoticed to David and I that the song can also be interpreted as a metaphor for SanguinDrake. As in all great poetry, however, it's meaning to the listener is what matters most, our relationship to the song will surely grow and change as we evolve, but it's a great first single to enter the world with as a band.
We were a little surprised as producer, Adam Levy chose "Flower Girl" to be the first single released off of the record. While the song was danceable and seemingly lighthearted, the content and inspiration behind the tune felt like the opposite of celebration.
"Flower Girl" is the first and only political song I've ever written. It's not party driven or even one-sided. It's more or less a look at the United States from an outside perspective, all laid out in the spirit of "American Woman" by The Guess Who.
Being an American who has been fortunate enough to experience extensive travel, I've routinely been in the position to be asked, "You are from America?" I, like many others, have struggled with the answer. Do I lie and say I'm from Canada?
With this song, I wanted to take some time to explore that pause. I mean, I come from the “land of the free and home of the brave”, right? The reality is that the rest of the world doesn’t chant that mantra when picturing the United States and it can be easier to set American pride aside and hide from my country of origin when outside the security of it’s borders.
While waiting for a room to be prepared at a hotel in Marseille, France, I was in the middle of a pleasant discussion when the inevitable question arose. On the wall of the beautiful lobby was an art deco painting of President Obama. Feeling that the bust of my Commander and Chief looming over my head might grant me some kind of political asylum, I proudly announced the pedigree of my passport.
The discourse that followed was, while civil, one that may have given an answer to my reasoning behind concealing the country I come from. The gentleman described a power hungry nation that chews up and spits out anyone who comes in it’s path, a worldwide political leader who has very little regard for the ethnic makeup of the countries it has soldiers stationed in. In short, this man described a bully. And I, one who avoids confrontation, finally faced his viewpoints as an eventual reality. But I had to make sure he wasn’t the only.
Therefore, in further excursions outside of the United States, I welcomed any conversation about America. In many cases, I even asked for opinions. Most discussions were mild-mannered and a few were quite animated. However, the trend of an insensitive and bullheaded empire found it’s way into each examination. My friend in the hotel lobby was certainly not alone.
Being that this journey started in France, I opted to use the phrase “off with your head” as a reoccurring theme. During the French Revolution, the guillotine was a very popular form of capitol punishment. Additionally taking the phrase from Alice in Wonderland, where we have Alice far outside of her comfort zone. The title of “Flower Girl” came from a childhood game of popping the heads off of dandelions.
From there I simply recounted some of the most repeated motifs of my unknowing interviewees. The message that was supposed to be uncomplicated took on a life that was just the opposite. With very few words the lyrical content of this song became confusing and murky. I believe that this is because the journey to discover one’s own ethnocentricity is perplexing and slightly humiliating.
So while this upbeat jangly tune might just be a series of guitar riffs to one and it might be a political fight song to another, to me it was an exploration of how big the world is and how very small I am.
The Randy Vera song: “Here Made of Gone,” 2012 finalist for the John Lennon Songwriting Award (Jazz category) is a song about “The Gardner Heist” in Boston, MA. The robbery remains the largest property theft in recorded history.
What’s significant about this song is how it positions the Art thief in dialogue with “Aesthetics” itself. It questions the very laws of perception and beauty. The musical framework is full of meanings. Examples here are too many to mention. Some are the “creeping” and “tip towing” Bass lines which represent the thief and his accomplice. The flute and oboe nervously whisper a woodwind conversation. This represents the two tied and gagged night watchmen. Many of these subtleties were composed by Producer Anthony J. Resta (Twilight Films Soundtrack, Elton John, Collective Soul). Resta, 14 times Platinum and Gold, was living in Boston during the time of the storied heist.
Over a decade of Vera’s research into the life and Art acquisitions of Isabella Stewart Gardner, the Heist, and organized crime in Boston went into the song. “Here Made Of Gone” was originally part of a dark comedy musical Vera composed about the Boston underworld. However, when rumors of a major Hollywood studio optioning a film about the Garner Heist began to circulate, Vera reworked “Here Made of Gone” for potential soundtrack placement. He contacted Resta, who agreed to produce the track.
Vera: “I knew Anthony (Resta) was at Berklee College of Music in Boston around the time of the Heist. I hoped he would give this his attention. I was floored by the final mix. I went to him with the song. I played it on his classical guitar for engineer Karyadi Sutedja. We recorded one take on that guitar and vocals into an old ribbon mic. Then Anthony and Karyadi worked on it over three days. Our few quick conversations over those three days were vintage Resta. When he starts talking about what he “hears,” you have to let him work. He played almost every note on this busy track. He interrogated the song; it gave up the hooks you hear. He then played every instrument except the cat-gut guitar and bass. He had a few different drum beats for each part; the ones we ended up using had the coolest kick drum I have heard in a long time. By the time I went back to track vocals, the song had a life of its own. Karyadi had so many tracks on his screens that I thought he was recording The Boston Pops.
The ending was toughest. Anthony came up with the atonal keyboard riff for the last few measures. This was perfect. If you listen closely, it’s purposeful lack of “center” and atonal movement, peaks and drops. It’s the perfect conclusion to a song about an unsolved crime. That’s why Resta is Platinum, again and again.”
The lyrics could have endless footnotes, and read like a book about the heist. Vera first gained interest in Art through his farther who owned a nostalgia shop & gallery, on Cambridge Street in Boston’s Beacon Hill section, when Vera was a child. His interest in Gardner came during Vera’s graduate studies in Philosophy at Boston College. It was then he learned that the American Philosopher William James held a close friendship with Isabella.
Vera: “He (William James) was busy becoming the founder of American Psychology, and writing “The Verities of Religious Experience” while Isabella was serving him champagne and doughnuts. You can’t make this stuff up.”
The lyrics were written mostly during a series of visits Vera took to the Fenway Court, today called the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, with his young daughters.
Vera: “I have to credit my daughters Liv(8) and Grace(6) with the line ‘Titan’s ‘Europa’ still hangs, the mirror to my Pièce de résistance.’ See, the two thieves left the most valuable painting behind. It’s Titan’s ‘Europa,’ one of the world’s real treasures. Liv, during one of our visits was sketching Europa. I told her it was the most valuable painting in America once, yet was spared by the thieves. Liv said: ‘It’s the painting of a robbery!’ Grace, her sister added: ‘Ya, and it’s looking out at a robbery!’ I have read every book on the heist and every book about ‘Mrs. Jack’ Gardener too. It took two little girls from Boston to find the coolest tid-bit of info missed by the FBI. Namely, if the thieves knew anything about art, then they must have a sense of humor.
The Painting’s white bull (The god Jupiter) is running off with – stealing - the goddess Europa . (The painting’s real title is ‘The Rape of Europa’ though it’s hardly risqué) In it, the white bull’s eyes look in the direction of the Museum’s Dutch Room, where the priceless Rembrandt’s and Vermeer were stolen from. The chorus of the song ‘Titan’s Europa still hangs, the mirror to my…’ shows this irony at the center of the ordeal. If you draw an imaginary line from the bull Jupiter’s eyes, he runs off through the empty frame of Rembrandt's self portrait.”
Vera: “It should be added that my daughter Liv says she feels safe in the museum. My daughter Grace, the wild one, will sit and draw for hours in the long hall. When I told them that “FENWAY COURT” is the only place like it on Earth; that it was designed by a woman, where every piece of Art, every manuscript, and every brick, was acquired by a woman, and left exactly as a woman directed in her will, my daughters Liv and Grace never wanted to leave. We have never met the ghost of Isabella Stewart “Mrs. Jack” Gardener, but the girls love it there.”
Vera: “It’s tough writing about this event. I edited out verses that mention organized crime, Charlestown and Southie. Blue collar Boston, where I live, has taken enough abuse by pop culture. My friends who grew up in Mishawum in Charlestown are firefighters now, not criminals. They certainly don’t rob banks, or art museums. If I were them, I would be tired of the stereotype. My friends from Southie are not Whitey Bulgers. They work for Fidelity Investments and have families. One of them couches our old High School Hockey team at BC High in Dorchester. He has a law degree from BU, he’s from Southie, and he is what they're like. They're good people, not gangsters. I could not, in good conscience, write about the speculation of who robbed the Gardner.
I wanted this song to evangelize the miracle that was Fenway Court. Isabella was crazy. This is a monument to her wild courage, and philanthropy. Other families like hers have a giant trust fund. The Gardner estate? Most of it is right there at Fenway Court. She left it here, in Boston, for us. I can’t wait till the real crew who did the heist is caught and we find out they are from out in Newton Mass (one of the wealthiest enclaves in the United States) Mitt Romney country…There is a lead, and public speculation, that two brothers from Newton MA, reputed antiquates smugglers, did the Gardner Job. If so, it would be the pan-ultimate irony from a Bostonian’s perspective. Imagine: It was not Whitey or Pat Nee. It was Barry & Elliot. (Bostonians will chuckle at that one)”
Vera: “We also found, and should mention, though it’s not in the song, that Isabella did lose her only son to an illness when he was a little boy. A small shrine to him is on the left after the main entrance to Fenway Court. What’s more, it’s rumored that she was knocked up years before her son was born. It’s said that she and Jack Gardner, before they were married, when she was in school “on the Continent” in Europe, eloped through a window at her finishing school. One way for rich folks to cover up a scandalous pregnancy back then was to say the child was a “younger sibling.” Well, Isabella’s mother gave birth, in her 40’s, before the long ocean liner ride back to the states with Isabella after finishing school. You don’t need to be an investigator with the Boston Police to see that kid could have been Isabella’s. There is loose speculation that her brother was actually her child. This could account for some of her, say “eccentricities.” How loopy she was at times. She also had devotion to Boston’s children’s charities. To say her presence is defiantly felt in Fenway court would be the mother of all understatement. It’s no play ground, but on a hot day in Boston, the Gardner is a great place to take your kids.”
Randy Vera and Anthony J Resta team up again this February on a new album. “Here Made of Gone” will be available on ITunes after its 2013 release. Today it can only be played on Randallveramusic.com or Bopnique.com
I have always had a fascination with songs about writing songs, so when our principle songwriter left the band just before we started to write new songs for our album I knew that this would be the perfect opportunity. I had dabbled in lyric writing before but I was extremely nervous about taking charge with the lyrics, so I decided that I would write about just that. At first listen, "Tornado" seems like a bittersweet love song (which in a way is very true), but in reality it is about my struggle with writing lyrics on my own. Unfortunately, Ryan and I have since grown apart, so I feel like this song is my closure.
Keep it in the cold, cold ground
Underneath a dead weight pound
Let it go a tornado out of a no name town
If money is a tragedy what the hell is so funny?
Keep it on an envelope
Words to a song we wrote
A King and Queen in between a Knight who loved her so
Tell me what you got him on
Tell me what you caught him doing
So I go around thinking now I own this whole town
You’re a charge in the midnight air
I’m calling it a sound
And I go around thinking now that I could do no wrong
You’re a charge in the midnight air
I’m calling you a song
You want me to go home and make it right
All I want to do here is get high
You’re leaving for reasons I don’t even know
All of my time spent on you
Coming and going ain’t exactly what I’m to do
Tell me what you did to me
Tell me what you got from me
All alone I see you dancing and I can’t believe
Got to be a special song keeping you away so long
I go around thinking now I own this whole town
You’re a charge in the midnight air
I’m calling it a sound
And I go around thinking now that I could do no wrong
You’re a charge in the midnight air
I’m calling you a song
You want me to go home and make it right
All I want to do here is get high
You leave me to follow the words that you wrote
All of my time spent on you
Leaving for reasons I don’t even know
I have some words now too
Give it some thought when the thought has become just you
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Ever book a show at a place you never heard of just because you're excited you finally got a gig? And then once you get there, you see a teenager unloading an instrument out of a car with a dad in the driver's seat saying, "good luck at your first show, son!" Well, that didn't quite happen to me, but it came pretty close.
To begin with, let's be honest. What am I?
I am an avant-garde, weird, silly song girl
I don't write songs you're going to hear on the radio
I don't write songs that make sense to sing at a bar (unless it's an oxygen bar)
I write songs about fruit and pasta and enjoy covering Syd Barrett songs
Essentially, I write the kind of music that makes you want to laugh
So I had played live only a handful of times before one of my first shows in Seattle several years ago. I was pretty nervous because I was sure I had been booked with the wrong crowd -- hardcore punk and rock bands with 4-5 members. Then here I am -- the 3-piece piano songstress group with a guitarist, a MacBook, and a badass drum machine guy.
That's right -- drum machine, baby. No live drums here because that's how I rolled back then!
I am the first band to arrive to the venue, promptly 3 hours before my starting time. I inquire about being given the opportunity to sound check. I'm given the glance over and then asked where my drummer is. "I don't have one," I say, "I have a drum machine." The guy nods and says to hold on a bit. Then the other bands arrive. Immediately, the headlining band is starting their sound check and this goes on for 45 minutes. Then the opening band gets to sound check for 30 minutes. And whaddya know -- it's time for the show to start!
The opening band was loud and awesome yet I'm positive all 4 guitarists were plugged into chorus pedals to sound like 8 guitars instead. By the time I had to start, I was already "late" by 15 minutes because the opening band played extra but of course, I was told that I still only had until 10pm. This gave me 30 minutes total -- including setup and breaking down around everyone else's equipment. Gotta make it good...right?
Admittedly nervous and frustrated, I start the set with "Out of Me." Anyone who had moved closer to the stage to check me out had already disappeared back to the bar. This song is not popular live. We move onto "This Breath Breathed."Ho-hum, ho-hum. Then I sing "Until I Drown" and I guess the explicit lyrics caught people's attention. The crowd takes notice that someone is on-stage and isn't singing punk. I shouldn't be surprised that a song about drowning in *** is going to cause people to listen. In what felt like the longest 15 minutes ever, I forget what I opened up the set with. We proceed to end with "Out of Me."
Halfway through the song, I realize I am singing the same song twice. The same song that drove people to drink. At this point, my mind came up with the following solutions:
Which one did I go with? NATURALLY I WENT WITH OPTION 3. Did I learn anything from stopping mid-song in a panic and running off stage just because I sang the same song twice? Yes. I learned that:
I had very patient and accommodating band members back then.
I am going to start playing my music live again to help promote "Honeymoon On Neptune." In the meantime, I am happy filling the role of bassist and/or keyboardist in other bands and not being in charge of scheduling band practices...and booking shows.
I was in the midst of writing for a new record that I was hoping to begin work on in the winter of 2011 and I had taken in interest in Boxing. Not so much in terms of being glued to a TV screen watching ESPN and following specific fighters, but in terms of thinking about the mechanics and metaphysics of being a fighter, the reality vs the perception. This was also made more absorbing by the fact I was reading a book called "On Boxing" by famed fiction writer Joyce Carol Oates, who apparently is an avid boxing fan and has been going to see fights since she was a little girl, going with her dad. In her book she talks a lot about the connection between the artistic process and that of training for a fight. I became really taken by this connection, how each is a performer at the mercy of their audience, and how each works tirelessly, and mostly in solitude, at something which then culminates in a public spectacle (ring vs. stage), where each has to access a very different part of themselves that, otherwise, has no real place in day-to-day life. I thought a lot about what it means to be an artist vs being an athlete or a craftsman, how they are all inter-related. Why is a boxer an athlete and not an artist? What would I, as a songwriter, benefit from approaching songwriting like I was a boxer -- that this is something you have to dedicate yourself to doing every day, that you have to love it and breathe it in, not just when you get to play the big stage, but when you have a 7 hour drive to a gig in West Virginia to play for a handful of people and make eight dollars - you have to love it then, especially then. It's easy to envision being a fighter in that moment under the bright lights, seconds before the knock out punch and the rush of the crowd, but hard to want to be one when you realize that being a fighter is much more about learning how to be hit, about taking punches, more than it is about giving them. That the reality of a fighter is more about learning to persevere through pain. Maybe being a musician is more about taking punches too. At their best, both are crafts focus on the perfection of simple things, find their power in those things, and are both perceived in ways that are very different from what they actually are.
Boxing was finding its way into many of the songs I was writing for this new album. And then I came across an interview with Muhammed Ali in Oates' "On Boxing" where Ali is asked how a fighter knows, after he has been hit hard, that he is hurt. Of course, in characteristic Ali style, he says that he wouldn't know, because he has never been hit hard enough by anyone. He says that he has heard you see "black lights" when you've been hit too hard, and that, when that happens, you can rest assured that you are hurt and hurt bad.
This image of "black lights" stuck with me, I wrote it down, and kept thinning about it, the image of the neural circuits in a fighter's brain flashing dark, deathly lights. There was something seductive in this, the irrational nature of a fighter stepping into a ring knowing full well he is going to get hurt, a kid who probably grew up with nothing, a kid who learns to use that nothing to build a rage hot enough to forge his fists into hammers, sending one opponent after the next to the canvas, intoxicated by glory, with the idea that he could finally be somebody, and, in that pivotal moment, coming up short. Due to one slip of the hand, one misstep, all hopes of being a champion, being loved by the crowd, by the neighborhood, having his mother be proud of him, are dashed away forever.
I wrote a story about this fighter, about how night after night he tapes up his hands, shadow boxes in the mirror with an almost religious zeal, trying to achieve personal salvation through acts of punishment and bloodshed; a young fighter who does the work, who takes his lumps, yet ultimately is defeated. It's a story how sometimes the fury of defeat can be just as sweet, just as transcendent, as the sweet smell of victory. It's a story about the importance of doing the work, about the struggle, and the love of it all, despite whether you end up being the one giving the knock out punch, or the one receiving it. Both play a part, and both have something to teach.
Black Lights - "Song Lyrics"
All I see are black lights
Rushing through like headlights
The screaming of the crowd tonight
Pulls me in just to let me go
All I have are bad nights
Wrapping knuckles, taping hands tight
The calm after a fist fight
Is the hollowest sound I know
I was born in the gutter from a mother just seventeen
No father or a brother in a world so hard and mean
I learned to fight before I learned to read
I could throw my hands with a devilish speed
And someday momma, you'll see, I'm going to be somebody
Sonny had a cot in the office of his downtown gym
I swept up, cleaned the locker rooms, and did some work for him
But a champion man needs champion clothes
I stole a few cars to earn a few rolls
I boxed every shadow in the darkness of a midnight mirror
And all I saw were black lights
Rushing through like headlights
The screaming of the crowd tonight
Pulls me in just to let me go
And all I have are bad nights
Wrapping knuckles, taping hands tight
The calm after a fist fight
Is the hollowest sound I know
I was twenty one and zero, top seed in the welterweight class
I was staying out all night, sobering up during morning mass
I was hurling myself at a break-neck speed
Amphetamines and the Apostles' Creed
They ran my picture in the paper with a headline that read
Title bout scheduled on the eve of Independence Day
I came out in a fury, I was hell bent on putting him away
The static rush of a blood-lust crowd
I was fighting to loose, I was fighting too proud
The last thing I remember was dropping my left on down, and spinning around
Staring at those black lights
Cold and lonely as a moonlight
Oh the crowd is going wild tonight
I give them more than they will ever know
And all I have are bad nights
my lungs are breathing smoke and dynamite
Oh my heart is aching and my head ain't right
And that's the feeling that I can't let go
All I see are black lights
Rushing through like headlights
The screaming of the crowd tonight
Pulls me in just to let me go
And all I have are bad nights
Wrapping knuckles, taping hands tight
The calm after a fist fight
Is the hollowest sound I know
It's the hollowest sound I know
Since college, I have maintained a shoe box filled with scraps of paper, clippings, polaroids, found objects, cartoons, but mostly hastily scrawled lyrics all assembled during phases of living in St. Cloud, MN; Merida, Mexico; Hamburg, Germany; and Switzerland. After having settled in California, I began to mine the box for songs to complete and discovered that the easy part is the hook, the gotcha line – and the hard part is crafting a song that sticks together and keeps the audience interested and if possible off guard.
The Room is a song which deals with the inevitable loss we all have to face at some point in our lives. Growing up, we're taught how to deal with loss, how to move on, how to cope. There comes a point for everyone where no matter how hard we try, no matter how hard we need to, the loss is too much to overcome, too hard to bear, too inconceivable to look past.
Written from the perspective of a man who has lost the love of his life, The Room depicts the desperation and heartache of a lifelong loss in a small chapter of denial. The man refuses to deal with what has happened, instead convincing himself that his loved one's hospital room is now his waiting room, his refuge, his church, and he won't leave until he can leave with her.
The Room is wrenching, brooding, and heartbreaking, but at the same time carries a message of unity for anyone who has lost something they can't accept.
During one of the hotter moments of one of the hotter summer's in recent memory (thanks to all the whiskey and debauchery it was one of the last 3, just not sure which one) lead singer and guitarist Chad Dickerson of Switchmen found himself and some close friends in quite a situation. His close friend had recently struck up a romance with a charming seductress from Chicago who going forward we will refer to as Liz, and she wanted to come visit him for the weekend and to bring with her a friend for Chad to "get to know."
The friend who we will call Barbie from here forward, was according to Chad, "Scrumptious in all the right places, with a charisma about her that let me know instantly, this would be 3 days I would NEVER forget."
The four of them decided to drive an hour North and East of Lexington to Morehead, KY, and swim off of some rocks known as Billy Branch, on Cave Run Lake. They knew the girls being from Chicago had never really seen anything quite like Kentucky wilderness, and thought it would be a treat.
It had been years since Chad and Travis had traveled to this location, where nights of drunken howls, torrid sex, and many other unspeakable things were very much commonplace. Just like they used to do they purchased an exorbitant amount of booze and of course, girls.
When the four of them arrived, they grabbed several beers and some whiskey from the stash, and began the walk down the hill via the glass ridden dirt trail. As they made it to the large flat rocks where many before and after them have gathered, they noticed the main area was already taken up by several sunbathers and swimmers. There was what seemed to also be a fraternity style hazing taking place, as 18 young men stood like a marching band, fully clothed in jeans and long sleeve shirts, on the verge of heat exhaustion in the 90 something degree heat.
No less than 5 minutes into the excursion, both guys casually opened a beer and sat back to take it all in. Before either of them could take their first drink of the cooling elixir a stranger muttered "Boat Cops." The guys looked at each other bewildered and had no idea what was going on. Years before it was unthinkable to NOT drink beer and whiskey at these rocks. Sure enough coming straight at them was a ranger, and straight at them did he ever come! He drove his boat straight into the middle of the crowd and planted it against the rocks and proceeded to make Chad and Travis enter the boat with their booze.
Liz and Barbie were just awestruck. They were scared beyond belief, being 7 hours from familiar faces, places and anything that seemed normal. That's when Chad remembered Barbie's next move.
"I looked at her while all this was going on, almost in slow motion, and she subtly all in one motion winked at me, started to cry, and made sure that one of her perfect and extremely proportioned boobs got the full attention of every man (and woman) that was witnessing this situation. Even the ranger skipped a beat. I thought to myself, damn this girl is Rambunctious."
The two guys were then driven to the other side of the lake and made to pour out said contraband and were released immediately after striking an undisclosed deal with the ranger. By the time they got back everyone in sight had abandoned the rock and all the booze they had purchased was confiscated.
The four returned to Chad's home, promptly purchased more alcohol, and began to drink the night away. They all passed out in random places Chad remembers, and then the strangest thing happened: "I awoke in my bed and Barbie was on top of me, in all her glory giving me one of best fellatio's of my life. She then arose from her deviant mission, smiled and said, 'Breakfast will be ready in 20 minutes' and went on her way to the kitchen. Now that's Rambunctious!"
A few weeks passed and one day in happenstance while playing the guitar the song and the lyric just came out together and worked like a charm.
Earlier this year Switchmen went into the studio in Lexington, KY with Duane Lundy (Jim James, Ben Sollee) and had one day to track just to see what happened. "I had been chasing Duane around for a year to get him to work with me, and this was to be the day. I had no idea that in our first 5 or so hours we would have a radio single."
The track was then mastered by the legendary Rafe Van Hoy (Fleetwood Mac, George Jones, David Allen Coe, Writer of #16 Number One Hits) in Nashville, TN.
During the middle of all of this Chad's friend Bryan, from Princeton University, had just graduated and was making his way with a buddy out to Hollywood for the Summer when the two stopped for a night in Nashville. It just so happened that the guy that was traveling with his friend, Matt Marder, was a filmmaker and was on his way to work in a major Hollywood studio for the summer.
"I hit it off instantly with Matt and had told him I had this great idea for a video using all, public domain, vintage commercial footage. You know tongue in cheek 50's skanky style things. I sent him the footage I had found and told him what I really envisioned. Two weeks later we had an immaculate, top notch video, that didn't even cost $100 to make."
Rambunctious is currently being pitched to several radio stations in a 7 state radius based around Nashville and Lexington, respectively. It is available on iTunes for download, and the video is available on YouTube and several other outlets. Switchmen are currently finishing up and EP/LP with Duane Lundy that will feature 2-3 tracks produced by Rafe Van Hoy as well. It is setup to be quite a record and the group hopes that it will in fact take them to the next level in their careers. Make sure you keep this group on your radar and when they tour through your town, save up your dollars and come out for a night of their self branded "Shotgun Fed Rock 'n' Roll.
"Read my feelings, wrong the rights, distant dealings, fear into fright, I want you, you want me, let's make this happen, drift into the sea" is the opening line to my song DIVE IN DESTINY. I tend to write from the side of contradiction in that we can't possibly control our destiny but we sure try to. The chorus says "and I won't let destiny get the best of me, destiny ain't got nothing on me, destiny can take the rest of me"
The chorus is an anthem of not allowing Destiny to control your life. Few of us actually live on a daily basis, we plan 5years in advance of what our life will be like or what we hope our life will be like, and Dive in Destiny is saying "I won't let destiny get the best of me" To me the most important part of music is what it makes you feel and how it makes you feel. Belting out against your destiny feels good and empowering, and we humans love to feel empowered.
The last verse of the songs states, "into the fog wraps, the wake to rest, the night air settles in it's deep dark breath, set the bar high, rise and fall, we want nothing but we take it all!" Again, the contradictory in the lines "we want nothing but we take it all" is a thought provoking contrast in next saying "and I won't let destiny get the best of me" Of course I want this song to be interpreted however one could apply it to one's life in the most positive and uplifting way, that's the most important thing. it's much less important of what it means to me and I want the listener to apply it to their soul to it as I have attempted to apply mine.
In the fall of 2004, I was back home in New Hampshire, getting ready to return for a second year of grad school, and head over heels in love with Cecile, a French exchange student that I'd met the previous year.
The only problem was that Cecile was back in France and I was stuck in New Hampshire, with a grueling year of research and writing ahead of me. The future was uncertain. I had no plans for after I graduated. Should I go back to Philly and get the band back together, and struggle to pay the rent? Or should I keep heading down the boring but comfortable path that academia seemed to be offering?
The only thing I was sure of was what I felt for Cecile. She was the One, the Big Love, my muse, and my inspiration.
I sat down and started to write. "It don't matter where you go, it doesn't matter how far away, Je toujours serai ton petit bébé." The French grammar was not quite right (I was only a beginner!) but the sentiment was spot on. The rest of the song seemed to just spill right out of me, and by nightfall I was playing it to her over the phone.
I'm not sure if the song had anything to do with it, but 8 years later I am living in Paris, married to Cecile, and writing songs for our baby daughter Emma. I'm still not sure what the future holds, but in those moments of doubt, I sing a familiar refrain: "Je serai toujours ton petit bébé."
Most of our songs are made up narratives about things we think are interesting/funny/amusing. Most of our music is pretty light hearted and fun. But, one of the songs from our new album is actually based in real experience. (It's sort of the closest thing we've ever done to a battle rap).
The song is titled Suntan Charlie vs The Hurricane and its loosely based on the interaction that our lead singer, Ostrich, had with the former governor of Florida Charlie Crist. A little while before they met Charlie Crist had gone around the state of Florida claiming that Florida had not been hit by hurricane while he was governor because he wrote prayer letters and stuck them in a wall in Jerusalem. Ostrich did not think that this was a very good policy for dealing with hurricanes in a state that has seen pretty heavy hurricane damage over the years (in fact he lost a job in the Florida Keys due to damage caused by Hurricane Wilma). So, when he happened to run into Charlie Crist, who was campaigning for senator, at the time Ostrich asked him about it. During their brief conversation on of Crist's aids put a campaign sticker on Ostrich's chest, which Crist ripped off upon finding out that Ostrich was non-religious.
The song is a response to that encounter, a childish mean spirited immature response (we are a punk band after all). Although we think it's fine for people to believe and practice any religion they choose, we also think the governor of a state should not make official statements of magically warding off hurricanes and furthermore should not act in such a ridiculous and bigoted manner when confronted about it. Also, as the song points out in the bridge, a lot of other places did get hit by pretty serious hurricanes during Crist's tenor as governor. If he had the power to stop hurricanes, why only do it in Florida? Why let a hurricanes hit already impoverished areas that are even less equipped to deal with those disasters? So that's why we wrote that song. But, in addition to covering this topic we think it is an awesome high energy punk song, with a nice grooving bridge in the middle. I hope you find that interesting. Not too many bands have personal beef with high ranking government officials. The song is going to be on our upcoming album Curse of the Unsinkable Ship which will be released in January of 2013.
The song "Cool Blue Fire" came from conversations I have had with people who are facing the end of life. We spend so much time building walls that are designed to keep others away from our vulnerability. But when the end comes it is impossible to maintain the illusion of strength. How a person responds to this event is determined by how much they can let go and trust others to help them through their fear of dying. I have sat beside 3 people who are going through this event, and it always gives me a renewed perspective on living. Mostly they feel that "lifetimes are catching up" with them. They suddenly realize how much they need to give and receive all the love they held back through their lives. Everything else falls away and they call out to their loved ones for comfort, and to let them know how much they are needed.This process is both heart-breaking and inspiring, and I'll never forget it.
When Diamondwolf sings this song we remember to be always in the present moment. We feel deeply honored to be able to make music. "Cool Blue Fire" reminds us that life is short, and that we owe it to our fans to sing every show like it's our last.
Without your cool blue fire
I won’t make it
come back and find me
down on my knees
Now there’s lightning strike
buried in ashes
that’s what I surrendered
to be by your side
And lifetimes are catching up with me
in a state of emergency
And I won’t make it
there’s nothing to follow
and no one to believe
but I’m gonna take my chance
I’m willing and ready
to love like tomorrow
won’t ever come
And lifetimes are catching up with me
in a state of emergency
When I call your name
won’t you help me tear this madhouse down
Our desires still remain
and there’s no way out of your cool blue flame
Now the border is open
But I was not invited
and I can’t go alone
Lifetimes are catching up
Lifetimes are catching up with me
in a state of emergency
I AM FLYING
I titled my latest album, LIBERTY, because I decided that I'm going to live and do music not bound by anything and found out that's what I want to do. I AM FLYING is the first song in the album.
"I AM FLYING IN THIS SPACE UNLIMITED. I AM REACHING THE SUMMIT ABOVE THE SKY. I AM BREATHING THE AIR THAT'S TIMELESS. I AM FLYING IN THIS SPACE UNLIMITED."
I'm from Seattle, WA, originally, but currently living in Japan. Upon the mega earthquake and tsunami last year, so many precious lives were lost. And, we realized that the fact is that there is not always tomorrow and everything is so fragile and irreplaceable.
Personally, one of my siblings and two of my friends passed away so soon this year. I am still sadden by it and devastated that I cannot say that I love him and her any more. I can't help thinking that on this day last year, he was here and she was there. And, I reaffirm myself that I must live now, this moment, and that's the only thing I can do. I know I'm imperfect and must have made and probably will make mistakes in my life but I want to live this moment and truly want to be a better person, which I think equals to be a better singer, and love and cherish all the people around me and all the people I meet and the moments with them, whom you never know when you can meet again. Although there's an end to a life, there seem to be no end to love, dream and sincerity.
What is beautiful about life and human beings are not the future but the fact that we are currently here, living and caring for each other. And, that's the only thing we really have to do and enjoy. Because we are alive, we can imagine a color that we've never seen before. Because we are alive, we see each other in our eyes. And because they were here, we could feel them next to us all the time. I AM HERE. YOU ARE HERE. AND, THEY WERE HERE. THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS.
Somewhere in the wooded boondocks of Northwest Washington there sits a barn, converted into a restaurant, bar, rehearsal studio, and music venue by a former Icelandic children's television star (this story is true). Being a new band with limited options for shows in our area, we decided to give them a call. After setting a date, listening to frustrated exhales regarding the size of our band (there are four of us), and repeating and spelling the name of our band several times, we listened as the curmudgeonly booking manager explained the origins of our band name to us. It was not, as we had thought, a traditional folk tale with its roots in African and Cherokee culture, but in fact a cartoon segment in a 1946 Disney film. We thanked him and went on our way, promoting our show as usual. As the date drew closer, we noticed that the website for the venue had not one but three calendars, and none of them had a correct listing of our upcoming show. When we contacted the booking manager about this, he assured us with a bite in his tone that this could not be true, for he ran the website himself. The calendars never changed.
On the day of the show, we arrived to a dry-erase board that read, "Tonight! Live Music. Beer Rabbit." and a full parking lot. "Odd," we thought aloud to ourselves, "the venue must have done more promotion than we thought." The truth was that our show had been scheduled on the same evening as a rehearsal for the 40-person cast of an original musical about the Salem Witch Trials (there were several hip-hop numbers in said musical). When we asked the proprietor if she was concerned about the lack of parking, she responded that she was not. When we asked where we could find the equipment necessary to start our sound check, she responded that she was unsure of the whereabouts of said equipment and that we could ask the sound guy, whom she thought might be there before or perhaps slightly after our planned start time. So we set off in search of our needed equipment. It was in the hallway.
We played our set to the best of our ability (the occasional interruption of upstairs rehearsal music blasting "Where My Witches At?" was a bit distracting, but we managed to hold focus). We passed the hat around the small crowd, and considered the night, for all its pitfalls, a success. We approached the booking manager (who was nursing what we can only assume was his eleventh drink at the bar) pleased with our performance and anticipating his response. He shook our guitarist's hand (holding it for an inordinate amount of time) and with indifference stated that we had a long way and a lot of work to do and he hoped we had what it takes to weather the hardships. He then offered us another date the following month, but absentmindedly named a different month with each mention of it afterward. As we turned to finish packing our equipment, the proprietor advanced upon us with a hallow smile we later agreed was eerily similar to that of a Stepford Wife. She thanked us for our performance and, as she leaned in close, said quietly, "We generally appreciate our performers to stay past closing to help clean the restrooms."
LOONER, a Los-Angeles based rock band, is the husband-and-wife songwriting team of Angel Roché, Jr., and Zoë Poledouris Roché. The couple has spent the last twelve years seamlessly melding their disparate backgrounds of salsa, orchestral composition, jazz, pop, industrial, and reggae into a signature sound distinguishable by Zoë’s haunting vocals and Angel’s locomotive beats. Their songs are a curious mixture of the dark and the light—piercing lyrics entwine with poppy melodies, and catchy hooks are underscored by fuzzy prog rock riffs. Under the spell of their undeniable style that they call Steady Rock, even covers find themselves LOONERfied in an instant.
Two people from different worlds, the Rochés found a connection in their devotion to music. Zoë, raised in Encino, California, is the daughter of the late renowned film composer Basil Poledouris, and boasts major motion picture songwriting, scoring, and acting credits of her own. Angel, raised on the south side of Chicago, is the son of Puerto Rican immigrants, and spent his childhood playing drums in his father’s 16-piece church salsa band. When the couple connected with a fiery kiss at the Viper Room in 2000, they knew immediately they would commit to each other for life—but their musical union surprised them both.
“She unleashed the songwriting monster within me,” says Angel. “I started hearing melodies and playing guitar.” They took a line from a movie, Teenage Caveman, to name their new endeavor, and used a looping technique on stage that gave them a full band sound. Songs would begin with Angel creating rhythmic “beds” on beatbox or guitar, while Zoë folded in a bass line and layers of vocals. The result was finely crafted songs that built to a consuming climax, leaving audiences marveling at the all-encompassing soundscape from stage.
With their live technique perfected, they independently produced three albums: The First Five (Year), Follow the LOONER (Year), and Rules (Year), while Angel was busy playing drums and percussion in Dave Navarro’s and Ziggy Marley’s bands. In 2004, LOONER joined the national Roots, Rock, Reggae tour as the only rock act on the bill, and in 2006, released another album, The Greatest Weakness. By 2009, the couple had added Damon Ramirez (Fungo Mungo) on keyboard and synthesizer, and set out on a six-week cross-country tour that celebrated the release of their infectious pop single “I Love My Tamagotchee” and its B-side, a hypnotic remake of the ‘80s reggae hit, ”Dutchie.” “We wanted to be able to play songs from the get-go, instead of having to build all of them,” says Zoë. “Damon added that fullness.”
*But although the band expanded, the Roché’s songwriting remained the same: bare naked lyrics that speak to the ups and downs of human relationships, juxtaposed over danceable beats and unexpected stylistic twists and turns. The Rochés let us in on their intimacy (hear the desire in Angel’s voice on “While She Sleeps” when he sings, “Does she dream of how our life will be”), while they allow us to recall our own passions (instantly relive a magical moment through “Ordinary Woman” as Zoë sultrily croons, “When our fingers touch/I lose my breath ‘cause you’re too much.” We feel her betrayal as our own in “Had None”: You saw what you wanted/You took what you wanted/And now you walk around/As if you had none, and find our own fortitude in “Don’t You Know”: You can do anything you try/To those who say it’s just a waste of time/One great big kick right in the eye.”
LOONER’s latest lineup includes Michelle Rangel (Go Betty Go) on bass and newcomer Yuichiro Asami on guitar, and the band is currently releasing songs one single at a time from their album Year of the Ox (2012), a nod to the Chinese astrological sign for 1973, the year both Angel and Zoë were born. It is a sign whose telltale trait is determination, and the songs on the album were written during 2009, another Year of the Ox, while the couple was expecting their daughter, Jesse, who has made them even more resolute to rise to the top of life’s waves. “Make It Happen” is a call to action anthem that strikes at the heart of anyone who ever had a dream. “Sunshine” is about allowing love to shine through the darkest hour. On YOTO, LOONER’s depth of songwriting holds up a musical mirror and reflects the realities of life, while providing a lose-yourself-and-dance good time!
“LOONER is our life project,” says Zoë, and Angel adds that because their goal is to try every style of music, they may just be getting started. “We want to be just hitting our stride when we’re fifty.”
Our song Save Our Love, from our debut album "Take Flight", is the motto of our band. From the title someone instantly assumes this is about a relationship or a love song. True but not true. This is a metaphor for what this band loves more than anything else, our band and music.
This song tells the story of the struggles a band faces and that nothing will hold us back from pursuing our dreams; together. The opening line states "Time, was never on our side when it came to this life but in time we came to realize all the signs that have been right in front of us this whole time" - this is about the length of time and commitment it takes to make a name for your band and former band members that had addiction problems that almost caused this band to fail.
The two original members changed the name of their former band and recruited 3 new members to start fresh and begin rebuilding the dream we all have. With a new name, Falling Through April, and new members it was time to write about how nothing will stand in the way of our success.
The lines "Profile my style, it doesn't matter to me. I'm just 'running the clock chasing a dream' tick tock don't stop or forever stay in the same old scene - hey California we'll be coming your way with all the pretty girls and we're here to stay. On an east to west coast airplane comes the music that'll make you sway!" is our anthem that no matter what people say about how difficult the business is and we're wasting our lives chasing an unattainable dream we believe in ourselves and our music and before you know it we'll be on the West Coast to take over the scene and continue to make our dream a reality.
My Best Worst Gig Ever
My worst and best gig were actually the same gig. I had been playing regularly in a small town in Michigan, one lost between Flint and Lansing and farmland, and I had made some new friends in the town. One new friend said, "We have a huge festival in town you need to play! Here's an email for the festival organizer. Her name is Natalie."
When you start out in music, you don't ask questions about gigs; you are excited to play anywhere. I looked past that this was a train festival (Yep. choo, choo trains), and focused on the promise that there were supposedly going to be tens of thousands in attendance.
What I didn't know was the stage area was half a mile away from the actual festival grounds. So it's 11 AM on a Sunday morning, and I'm standing on a stage and playing to no one. Well, except for Natalie, who was not the festival organizer, but the person who had gotten stuck booking acts in the doomed, off-site entertainment area.
Here's where my worst gig becomes my best gig: Natalie is gorgeous! Who would have guessed the person booking me for the worst gig ever would be a beautiful, intelligent blonde in her 20s? During my set, Natalie clearly felt terrible that no one was there, so she sat down to listen. After I played my last song, we spent the next hour walking around the festival together.
Three years later, Natalie and I walked down the aisle and said, "I do." To this day, my wife is still embarrassed that the first time I saw her, she was wearing a pink conductor's hat and a bright orange train festival T-shirt. I'm still embarrassed I played at a train festival. But we are both happy I did.
Chicago indie-rock quartet WitchFeet will be releasing a debut full-length record in December 2012 via No Support Records. This up and coming band mixes driving rhythms with loud guitars and fetching melodies to create a sound all their own. You really can't nail them down to a genre, as evident on the debut album titled ART GARBAGE. The nine tracks take you from anxious guitar rock to soft acoustic charm and everywhere in between. Sometimes within a single song, but all the while keeping you hooked. While WitchFeet have only been around a short time, the members are no strangers to the Chicago music scene. These guys have been honing their skills in past and present bands like All Eyes West, Green Skies are Blue, Hinter, Signsedso, The Hysterics, Jared Grabb, and Hayweek to name a few. They didn't come together with schtick 'n' style and try to recreate whatever's "in" at the moment. They keep faith in good tunes and let them speak for themselves. WitchFeet are aiming to help bring that guitar based indie rock that you loved in the 90's back to the fold.
Here is my story, and the personal meaning of the lyrics in my music..
Two years ago, I was fat and depressed. At 270 pounds I felt like the weight of my life was too much to bear, and there were days when I felt so helpless that I could not even bring myself to leave my house. My one-year-old son was diagnosed with epilepsy, my two-year-old daughter was allergic to everything, my husband had lost his job, and I was on the brink of losing my mind. I had given up my career in order to be a stay at home mom and create a strong family…I was failing.
I tried to act normal with my friends and family, but all the while I was hiding binge eating, drinking, and popping pills. I needed to take control of my life…I had been here before….
In 2002 while in school, I was followed into my apartment and attacked by a man I didn’t know, and who the police said was there to kill and rape me - there had been a string of other attacks and killings recently. That day I fought for my life, and the next day I asked everyone to pretend like nothing happened. I never dealt with what took place in my apartment that day. I compartmentalized it. I shut it away in a little dark box, locked the box with a key, and hid that key so even I forgot where it was. I was prescribed sleeping pills, pain pills and antidepressants to get me through the day - and at night, I drank and did whatever else I could to forget. I was running…escaping from my attacker…every day…every night…
Over time, the pain was less acute. The anxiety started to settle. I got off the prescriptions, stopped partying as hard, and took control of my life. My locked box stayed hidden deep inside. By 2006, I was completely sober, married, and ready to start a family. In the months leading to and throughout my pregnancy, I was incredibly careful about what I ate and drank. I took care of myself because of the little baby growing inside my body, and I was going to be the perfect mother.
Flash forward to 2011 in the ER with my now 2-year-old son screaming as he wakes up from his latest 27 minute, full-body, tonic colonic seizure – the type called a “grand mal” seizure. I hated myself…I thought this meant that I had failed as a mother. This was my fault.
Now I see that I wasn’t failing as a mother, but every time my son had an episode, I would be slammed into panic-mode, and all of those “fight or flight” instincts would fire…for days afterwards I was a wreck. The walls of my little box started to crumble, and I would have nightmares about the attack at school. I tried to stay up all night, so I did not have to relive it.
I thought, “if it happened before, it could happen again.” We installed an alarm in our house. During the day I stayed ensconced in my protected little cage, and on the rare occasions when I ventured out, I never went alone. I was afraid; epilepsy had made me remember what it felt like to be out of control. A seizure can happen at any moment and the results can be catastrophic.
I kept asking my son’s neurologist “why is this happening to my son?” He had no answers for me, because without an underlying brain structure issue, the cause is unknown. He did ask if there was anyone in our family who had epilepsy. There’s no one on my father’s side with epilepsy, and my mother was adopted so her history was unknown. The neurologist said that if there was a genetic link, we could better understand what was going on. However, without the genetic link, we needed to do a whole battery of tests.
During those weeks of testing, I prayed to and begged God for help and strength. I reached out to the world to forgive me for everything I had ever done wrong and made a promise to myself to change my life forever. I would go to therapy, start taking care of myself, open my box, deal with my demons, and help other struggling people to live their lives to the fullest.
The tests came back and there was nothing wrong with his brain that was causing the seizures. The neurologist again asked about family history, and I had nothing to offer. That day, driving home from the neurology appointment, my mom called me. “Stefani, I have 5 brothers, and my brother Patrick is in a home being cared for because of his severe epilepsy.” I could not believe what I was hearing; Catholic Charities had contacted her after an inquiry she made 11 years ago to find out about her biological family.
This was the message I was waiting to receive. It was the catalyst to inspire me to reach out to other people and talk about what I was going through and how I needed help.
I started to write music again. I started running – this time not in my nightmares, but with a friend to support my lifestyle change. I started seeing a therapist, and I read as many books as I could find on health and nutrition. I started losing weight and feeling in control for the first time in a long time. I got involved with the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles.
I wanted to be an inspiration. I wanted to live for health, not be healthy enough to live.
Since that moment of inspiration two years ago, I have run four half marathons and one full marathon. I lost 120 pounds by finding the power inside myself, and I am finally comfortable talking about my attack and my son’s epilepsy.
I also started playing the songs I had written for my friends, and they encouraged me to record them. Now two years after my lowest point, I have released my EP that was recorded in Nashville, I have a worthwhile foundation that I’m aligned with (and that benefits from song and album sales) and most importantly, an understanding that no matter how bad things seem, the power to change is within each of us. We can’t do it alone, but when we reach out to the world, someone will respond. It may take a while; you may even hear your own echo, but someone will respond.
My song "Reach For The High" is autobiographical. When I was in high school,last year, people were criticizing everything I did, as many were jealous ofmy music career. I know this because before I came out with a CD and music video people did not make fun of me much. When I was 16, I released my first CD, 'Rhythms of Life." There was a large launch party, attended by over 2,000 people at a major club in South Florida. The event was covered by the press, both in print and on TV.
As a result, after I started generating a lot of attention, the whole school knew who I was and many of the students did not support my career. They would make fun of my songs and make fun of me as a performer. I would go home many days and feel really bad about myself. Oddly enough,i found out that the very people that were criticizing me and making me feel bad were following me on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, and secretly knew where I had been performing. But, they would never compliment me or publicly support me. So, as a comeback to all of the offensive remarks, I decided to write a song to all of the people who tried to bring me down.
I realized when I was writing the song that this theme is bigger than I am; it is universal. I know so many people have experienced something just like I did and could relate. I wanted to write a song that would empower everyone to never give up and believe in themselves. So I wrote, "Reach For The High." I structured the lyrics in a way where the verses explain what people said to me in an attempt to pull me down. For example, the song begins with "Give up before you fail. Stop trying, and dream on, they say!" and in the second verse I wrote the things that my "friends" would do such as "They kiss you, hug you when they see you and they tell you 'You're great!'. Then they turn around and whisper to their friends. They're so fake." People would pretend to be nice to me when they were with me, but I would later find out that they would talk about me behind my back and make fun of me. I then structured the hook to be inspirational to people who have ever felt bullied, criticized, or judged and wrote, "Reach for the high. The power's inside. There's nothing you can't do if you believe."
I wrote these words because after my experiences, I realized that it really does not matter what other people say as long as you believe in yourself, work hard to reach your goals, and keep your head up high. I debuted "Reach For The High" at the Annual "Inspire Greatness" Gala for the Special Olympics in Miami and felt it was a great song to instill in the young athletes that they can overcome their obstacles if they believe in themselves and to not let others bring them down. I can't wait for the day when I prove to all of the people who didn't believe in me that I can achieve my dreams and I hope "Reach For The High" empowers all of the Special Olympics athletes I sang for, and many other people to feel the same way.
Have you had a similar experience? Share it below...
"So did you waste it?...."
That's pretty much the question I was asking myself at the time. I'm pretty sure we all come to the point sometime in our lives where we stop and ask ourselves "What the hell are we doing?...and why? There's definitely a moment where things change, and we go from being passive and reactive to everything that occurs in our lives, to when we grab a hold of the reins and actually start living it.
So this song was pretty much my moment. We were in kind of a transitional state with band (both our bassist and our drummer had left to pursue other goals), finding new members, and I had just gone through a couple years of hell (crazy ex girlfriend, DUI, and some other worse stuff I won't mention..). So I was in a wierd spot, not feeling too positive about where I was life-wise. On top of that, writing lyrics to songs always came pretty easy, but after everything that had been going on, I honestly didn't know what I was going to write about anymore. I was stuck, I was questioning pretty much all all the decisions I've made, and wasn't really proud of who I felt I was becoming. Munir, our other guitarist suggested I just try writing about everything that happened and how It affected me, and so that's basically what I tried.
"There's no mistakes, you are what you are....Yeah there's no mistaking it, you'll be what you become."
I figured: We're all pretty much the sum of all our parts, both the good and bad, and regardless of what's happened.....our pasts don't dictate our respective futures. We'll all go through situations that are less than ideal and majorly suck, but as long as we learn from those situations, we'll end up stronger, and more capable people.
"Words will be words, and until I start to live them, pain is what I'll feel and the need to be forgiven, and love will be a game, until we all start believing it's true..."
"So I'll deal with these cards, the hand that's been given...and play them till the end, because in the end we're not living...and hope is what I'll have, and hope is what I'm breathing in..."
To sum it up: Life's a gift, so we shouldn't waste it...as long as you stay positive and try to be the best "you" possible... it'll never be wasted.
Inside The Flame
I thought this song was going to be the simplest song on the album, and it turned out to be the most complicated. It was like meditating a mandala, circling around and around, going deeper and deeper into a vortex to reveal the song’s truth.
I started writing this song during Diwali in my bedroom in India (mainly because it was the only room in the apartment that had a/c). At times isolated and lonely, I started thinking about my past relationships and how everything seems to go so well at the beginning and then slowly disintegrates - that the image that your partner portrays at the beginning of a relationship isn’t necessarily who he really is and that the real person emerges in time.
Sonically, I wanted to explore the struggle of maintaining one’s identity in a relationship while giving and relating to one’s partner (in other words, looking at the layers of each partner and also looking at the layers of the relationship between the two of them) while also exploring the slow disintegration of a relationship.
The song started off as an experimentation of a moody, atmospheric lullaby of layered synth sounds and a simple bassline. For some reason (and this doesn’t usually happen) most of the lyrics and the main vocal melody came quickly. I wasn’t happy with the monotony of the song, and so I started to work on the arrangement. I added a loose drum beat, an overlay of tablas, and a flute outro to the chorus. I wanted to convey the chaos of a fire and the calm aftermath of the burning, so I worked more on the second chorus and a breakdown of disjointed chaos leading to an unsettling calm and finally, a transformative final chorus. When I returned to the States, I sat down with Blake (Fleming) and we fleshed out the simple drum parts that were there, which added another layer of intensity to the song. After that was done, Doug (Wright) and I did the same thing with the basslines and then Will (Dahl) and I worked on the guitar parts. After all this was done, I revisited the vocal melodies until I felt they were right. I experimented with my vocal tone in the verses and choruses and tried to emotionally parallel that of the life of the relationship and its disintegration and transformation. With the verses, especially, I wanted to affect a soft, gentle siren with a hint of something darker below the surface, which is realized in the formidable chorus. In the end, I suppose the song is kind of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, a paradoxical yin yang of emotions. We just hope that the listener will feel something.
Listen to Inside The Flame and leave a comment below
"Venice", the title track, off of Lyn Saga's first full-length release is a testament to California power-pop. With crunchy guitars and squealing feedback, the song is reminiscent of Weezer-eque riffs. Lyrics are simple, honest, and relatable, juxtaposing the Venice beach lifestyle with the qualms of working a stuffy nine to five job. Saga's expressive vocals further emphasize this struggle and the longing for a more simplistic carefree life on the beach. The lyrics: "I want to be the person that I used to be/On Venice Beach when days belonged to you and me/Before the work and all responsibility..." were influenced by Saga's real life experiences working in a high stress environment as a surgical nurse while trying to maintain the quintessential laid back California lifestyle. "The only thing that I looked forward to during that time in my life was the weekend. All I really wanted to do was to play my guitar on the beach!" states Saga. "But instead my life felt like a Robert Frost poem 'i have promises to keep and miles and miles before I sleep'. And that is what I tried to capture in this song. I think that stressful situations can easily change who you are inside and it's important to step back once and a while to recognize this."
This song was inspired by watching a documentary about Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. Although I remember the times when this was happening, watching the documentary made me relive all this. It reminded me of the conflicts and the ignorance, but also of the hatred that some people felt towards the people fighting for their rights. At first, watching dogs attacking people, reading about church bombings, and watching guys beat up old men and women I felt great anger and had some nasty thoughts myself. Then I heard Dr. King speak about the dream he had for our future, for the future of his children and all children, a future where people would be working together.
Somehow this started me thinking about family and how all these people that were full of hate and prejudice, all these people that were acting so cruelly also had their own children, wives, mothers, family. From then I started thinking about what I thought Dr. King envisioned, the fact that ultimately we’re in this together: like it or not, we were going to have to learn to respect each other so we could have a just society. And if we are all humans, then we are all “Just One”. As I started thinking about the song, I extended the idea to include anyone whose suffering or misfortune might be ignored. That’s how the song was born.
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"The Ship" is the first single released in May of 2012 from alternative folk rock trio 2nd & Broadway. The Ship has a universal meaning that anyone who has experienced being taken advantage of emotionally can relate too. The tone of the song is set in the first line. "Rig it up from the highest sail and point it towards the sea, let it take you wherever you want oh don't you worry about me" The nautical references are metaphors for a vessel that is quite literally carrying the singers heart on board. Using it to their advantage and utilizing it as a guide for themselves. The meaning comes to fruition in the line "and when it beats know it beats for you, it's iron forged, it's strong." The song comes to an end with a melodic chant one could hear through the smoky haze of a pub as the last drinks of the night are finished.
If you're at a party talking about the formation of Australia's dual-gender grunge pop four-piece Love Hate Rebellion, chances are you'll be telling the story of their chance meeting in a Brisbane gay bar; or you'll be hearing it from someone else. You might mention the "Suspenderboys AAA Side", (their first release), or even drop the names of producer Jeff Lovejoy, film maker Rob Johnson (Orange Light Media) and model/actress Sarah Livingstone (she starred in the music video).
The story you won't tell will be the one about Sex Flower; and that'll be ironic because it's not just the second track on the "Suspenderboys" disc, but also the original name of the band. The story of Sex Flower gives a fuller perspective not only on the song, but on the band's formation.
You might already have noticed track two on the "Suspenderboys" disc is actually called "Sweet Orchid" and not "Sex Flower".
You're a bright one; so let's get on with the story.
Everyone knows the Pelser sisters (Rachel and Ariana) had travelled from Durban (South Africa) to Sydney, finally settled for a time in Brisbane, Australia, before meeting Jim Sky during a clubbing marathon. Fast forward to November 2010, and Jim was singing at a club called the Jubilee Hotel, fronting math metal band KUNST with Peter Mengede (HELMET, Handsome). Having been holed up for months in the rural north west, Ariana snapped for lack of musical direction and hit the town that very night with her sister Rachel. The girls were out to let off some steam and get into some alcohol-fuelled crazy times, but Ariana had another plan underneath it all; find people to build a band with.
Before the incident where Jim was drunk out of his mind with grief, having just broken up with his fiance, and now chasing a new romance into the depths of a gay bar; before he ran into his future bass player in the same establishment, thrust her onto an unsuspecting drummer and unknowingly danced momentarily with her sister; and even before Jim's new girlfriend decided his new crazy friend wasn't a gay bass player, but was instead hitting on him; Ariana Pelser was standing in the crowd at the Jubilee Hotel, mouth wide open in amazement at the power and ferocity of Jim's performance as the front man for KUNST. So it was no surprise that she approached him later on.
Fast forward again past the confrontation the very next morning over the misunderstanding with Jim's girlfriend, past the point where they almost parted ways and didn't speak to each other ever again, beyond the months when they did in fact refuse to speak or make contact, and we see Jim and Ariana finally relenting and walking into Jim's basement, guitars in hand. LHR still didn't exist at this point, the other two future members having their own lives and projects going on.
At first they only played around with Jim's material, Ariana later explaining she was 'too shy' to let her own work out of the bag. At long last, Jim's gentle and encouraging approach pushed Ariana out of her shell and into showing him the key bass line for a song she wanted to finish and call 'Sweet Orchid'. Jim followed along at first, then suddenly branched out with a discordant riff, and the pair fell immediately into musical love.
What followed were weeks of long nights, candles, fairy lights, bourbon and guitar riffs (the preference for writing music being under this particular atmosphere). Meanwhile in their personal lives, each was undergoing a powerful relationship crisis coupled with sexual identity issues. Encouraged by bourbon, Jim and Ariana discussed their deeper life issues and realised just how much they had in common both as people and as musicians.
As the band moved into a rehearsal room and filled with more members, the pair realised that underlying much of their blossoming work was a sense of sexual repression, low self esteem and a powerful lack of fulfilment. Ariana's self-deprecating notion that she must be something that other people wanted at the expense of her own life appeared in the first verse; while Jim's negative and apocalyptic self-image appeared in the second. Encapsulating the personal verses, Jim's chorus referring to his continuing idea that anyone engaging in a relationship with him would inevitably come to hate him and leave.
A haunted past including cheating lovers, domestic violence, self-harm, mental instability, intoxication and a deep internal wish to break free from the pain of existence were all poured like so much bourbon into the verses of a song still unnamed.
At the same time Jim and Ariana talked almost incessantly about band names, watching DVD after DVD of bands they loved - Placebo, AFI, Coldplay, The Doors, and more. Eventually deciding that a band name must be extremely special and have a powerful meaning, they started delving into numerology, coming up with numbers preferential to a successful, long lasting and meaningful band name. Lists were made, arguments had, and then quite suddenly one morning while leaving for another rehearsal, Ariana stopped and said "screw all that - why don't we just call the band Sex Flower?"
It seemed perfect, encapsulating everything they'd experienced and were still going through. It also seemed perfect as the name of their still untitled track. Not forgetting all the numerology work, they checked the numbers, and the name stuck. 'Sweet Orchid' was out, and 'Sex Flower' was in.
There was just one problem - the rest of the band- Rachel (guitar) and Andy, (drums), were now a romantic item and didn't like the band name. Citing "The Sex Pistols" as being too close and a variety of other reasons, "Sex Flower" quickly became a bone of contention among the band. Against a backdrop of romantic tension among the new couple and arguments over the band name, things weren't shaping up well for the fledgeling outfit. Before the dust settled, time would pass and each band member would snap. Ariana would storm out of their rehearsal space on more than one occasion, and at one point Jim would lose his cool and lock her out of his home.
At long last Jim and Ariana decided to drunk again, and reflected on the whole affair.
They reread the lyrics of the song, and suddenly realised they both had at some point decided they were no good to anyone - yet together they managed to look beyond their own self-hate and see a mirror image of someone truly special with a great gift for the world. This in turn created a rebellion against the original feelings of self-destruction, epitomised by Rachel and Andy (guitar and drums) rebelling against a band name they knew to be representative of their negative side. From this realisation came the band name proper - Love Hate Rebellion.
They walked back into the rehearsal room with LHR under their belt, and agreed that things had to slow down. Love Hate Rebellion was agreed upon by all as being a great band name and indicative of the band dynamic as a whole. As a footnote, LHR fit the numerology bill as well.
As for "Sex Flower" the song, there would be one final transformation. After such an intense emotional journey the band needed something to put their energy into - and so what had previously been a deep, slow groove sped up into the distorted mid-tempo powerhouse they would later take into Jeff Lovejoy's studio. Reflecting a more positive and hopeful outlook, the song returned to its original title "Sweet Orchid", and the band continued on with a new song and a new name.
Dizzy Bats's song "Sundial", simply put, is a tribute to the college years. The "Sundial" refers to a place on campus at Connecticut College, frontman Connor Frost's alma mater, where he and his friends would often gather to reflect and unwind, usually in the early AM hours. The song brings the listener through specific events, including Freshman Orientation, Graduation, and the infamous Johnson fire of 2008. The tune also refers to everyday happenings, such as the perpetual struggle of waking up for class as well as other completely legal and harmless activities that took place behind the closed doors of Larrabee 309. Like at the time the song was written, Frost transitions into the "real world" fiercely and abruptly. "Welcome home, son, you've received a package, it's not money or that western tree" references that daunting stack of paperwork that marked the end to the collegiate years and the beginning of the dreaded post-graduation life. Despite this reality, these friends and years are never forgotten, as Frost sings: "Won't forget these campfire moments, and all that you taught me."
This nostalgic piece serves as a dedication to friends and commemorates an incredible time. No matter what happens in the next ten, twenty years, we can always go back to the Sundial.
The song Shine Your Lantern Down was written for my (Donnie Brooks's) little brother who passed away unexpected in a tragic accident in March of 2011. I was full of mixed emotion and still grieving when I decided to write a tribute to my little brother's memory. In the attempts to write a proper song I wrote over 10 different songs. Not happy with the sad emotion that each song I had written expressed I had all but given up on writing a tribute when I suddenly stumbled upon a riff I had been working on for sometime. It was a different approach than I had thought about to that point. It was a more joyful type of angle, this made perfect sense immediately. It was very clear that I needed to write a song that was more of a celebration of his life. The end result lives as a tribute to his light hearted way of life and hopefully brings some smiles to anyone who has lost someone they love way too soon.
Duncan Daniels is a 28 year old singer, Music Producer and Songwriter, born in Boston, Massachusetts, raised in England and Nigeria. Over the years Duncan Daniels has perfected the art of bringing to life a diverse mix of Pop, Rock, and R&B. His music combines the right ingredients of beats, vocals, lyrics and rhythm that can only be unique to his name and his brand, DunkishRock.
By Duncan Daniels
I have come a long way from my early days producing at Tuck Tyght Records in Port Harcourt Nigeria to producing and recording Artists here in New York City. I got into music as a nine year old kid, after listening to classic rock songs like Aerosmith’s “ I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing”, Bon Jovi’s “Always” and Michael Learns to Rock’s “Sleeping Child” to name a few, found out that I was blessed with an ability to write music in a format that told a story that conveyed or expressed certain feelings or emotions or just a simple message that could change lives. I fell in love with Alternative Rock and Pop music for the sole reason which was the fact that it allowed me to express myself to the fullest on a song. Although this genre was not that popular in my current local at the moment I stock to it because it was what I loved, it was how I wrote music, it was me “Dunkishrock”, a nick name actually coined up by my friends at the moment, from my first name “Duncan” and because I made rock music, so it was my rock, hence the name Dunkishrock.
The main reason I got into music production in the first place was because I was unable to find any producers at that time in the area that could produce my type of genre so I decided to learn and produce them myself. I was so determined at that point, even recording a full Rock album was my biggest dream. I did eventually fulfill that dream; I released a 12 track debut album titled “I Don Taya” which till today contains most of my personal favorite songs I have recorded. I achieved this “Big Dream” only to realize I had only just clipped the surface of my music career. I was such a novice in the business aspect of music and that caused me a great deal in the way I handled the marketing of the album, to cut long story short. It did not do too well.
Not long after that, I moved to Boston MA, to pursue a degree in music production at The Berklee College of Music. but struggled a bit musically, as my once strong confidence in my music had been tarnished by the disappointments of my first album and just like so many of us musicians today I decided to try more commercial or appealing genres of music that might get a lot of attention from a certain demographic. That’s when I lost myself, the writing from the heart was gone…the passion in my delivery was false but I did gain a larger fan base and audience with songs like “Like This” featuring MI etc. Shostoppah was a really good album but almost all the tracks only showcased my production skills at most. I had to force myself to sing in different styles that were not my person.
After Shostoppah the struggle continued, I released single after single trying really hard to impress people at the same time competing with other musicians who really, this was their style and not mine. After releasing my last single Wine Am Low featuring Sukiyaki, which was a really good song from the commercial afro music perspective, I had a self check moment, I realized how much self doubt I had let myself fall into and how far I had strayed from my original sound and I was not happy about that at all. I really needed a sign and just as I was beginning to lose all hope, I received two phone calls from two friends who do not know each other and both calls coming in, less than 24 hours of each other. They had called to tell me what I had been thinking about. They confirmed that I sounded pretentious and having heard music from my first album, felt I needed to be myself and not try to please everyone. This totally hit the hammer on the nail there and so I went to work.
I felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulder and all the pressure was gone, like I had been set free from prison. I then decided to keep it real and be true to myself and make music how I feel it and not bother about what was popular at the moment. After all, most of the great musicians of our time created trends with their music and most tried to imitate. I am writing this personally as a way to encourage anyone who has a vision or dream, the best way to achieve this is by staying true to yourself and not doubting your abilities. The late Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma –which is living with the result of others. Opinions drown out your own voice, and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary”. So without further ado, I would love to re-introduce myself, my name is Duncan Daniels, I am a Music Producer, Singer and Songwriter and I love to Rock! Here is the Music Video to my first single off my upcoming third Album “iDunkishrock” titled “Blindly in Love”. Enjoy.
Blindly in Love: THE MUSIC VIDEO
“Blindly in love” follows a different approach from the norm, whereas a track is recorded and then released in audio format to be played on radio and based on how popular the record becomes, a music video is created to add visual to the song that is loved by many. This is a music industry standard ploy and it works. “Blindly in love” however is a story in which both music and visual events are very instrumental in portraying the message behind the song, they cannot be fully appreciated one without the other, only as a full package does the message impact the listening viewer. I love to tell stories with my music and this is an example of how I will continue to express myself through my music. This video can be interpreted in so many different ways; however there are no wrong interpretations to it. Whatever metaphorical message you get from this video is yours to keep. We put a lot of work into getting this done so I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.
It's Your Fault, is the first track on my debut EP release. This song explains my thoughts on beautiful women in the world and how men get caught up with them. Every song that I write includes a story that I was once involved in that leads to the outcome of the overall situation. In today's society beautiful women are everywhere, literally. As I said earlier, each song does involve some of my own instances, while others are fiction, but that’s not to say that a situation has happened to someone else.
It’s Your Fault, talks about a man, a hard working man, who comes home one day only to find that his woman is no longer there to greet him as he walks in the door, from a long day of work. Now, the man is a hard worker, but he also has some infidelity issues. Basically the “main” girl that he was with, gets fed up, and decides that it’s OFFICIALLY over. Now the man realizes that he had something good, as a matter of fact he had something really good, but he doesn’t realize that until she is gone. Deep down inside, the man knew that she would probably leave, but in the instance she stays gone.
He meets back up with her and explains to her that it’s BEAUTFUL WOMENS FAULT, and how they are everywhere, now he is explaining this to the main girl, while yet, including her in the herd of women in the world. He tries to justify the fact that beautiful women have weapons that get men caught up, and that’s where the infidelity comes in. They have their legs, eyes, lips, and hair and even there hearts that men just fall into. This song explains all the temptations of beautiful women. It’s a story, a funny story that I leave up to the audience to one determine if it’s in fact fiction or not. I also leave the song up to the audience to determine what really happens in the end. “They keep coming my way, they keep, keep, coming my way, beautiful women it’s your fault!”
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Hard to Wave Goodbye in Handcuffs is your typical, twisted love-gone-wrong song. It's a simple story of domestic bliss that inevitably results in handcuffs and regret (and all to a happy little melody!). It was one of the first songs we wrote and recorded and is still one of our best known and most played songs. It garnered even more attention in the Summer of 2009 when CMT decided to use it and another one of our songs for the soundtrack for their TV reality show, "The Chopper Challenge". Since then it's been played numerous times on terrestrial and online radio and podcasts. It was even used in the independent film, "A First Time for Everything".
I was scheduled to perform at the Tarrytown Farmers' Market on Saturday, August 25, 2011, from 10 a.m. until noon. The "stage" is a small grassy knoll next to an equipment shack with an electrical outlet, where the market manager sets up a rickety sun awning for me.
That week, Hurricane Irene was approaching, along with dire warnings for the NYC metropolitan area. A city official told the media, "people should not take the risk of going outside during Hurricane Irene. Don't tempt fate." I got the idea of personalizing Irene, which created the song's central metaphor, and I came up with a simple, driving blues structure. At first I wanted to make it more complicated but the song worked best with just two chords (A minor and A (okay, an occasional A7)), which pleased me since I'd never written a song with only two chords before. It was mostly finished in time for the farmers' market.
The morning of the 25th everything was shut down, but Irene was approaching more slowly than expected, and at 9 a.m. it was dry and not yet windy. I called the market manager and she told me the farmers were there so I figured I'd show up too -- as did half of Tarrytown since noone had anywhere else where they could go.
I saved Irene for the second set. I was solo that day. Noone but my dog had heard it before (he liked it but he's easy). It got into a nice groove and I was playing around with the two chords in different rhythms between verses, and by the time I was through I knew I would put it on the CD. Five minutes later the outer bands of Irene arrived along with some high winds and sideways rain and I was done for the day. So I guess I did kind of contradict the title of the song.
For the album, I wanted to record it live with a band and build it like an approaching hurricane to a high-energy, almost-chaotic finish. Fred Gillen Jr.'s Woody's House Studio is an old converted horse barn with a control room, a recording room, and an attic, all sonically separated. I brought in my drummer, Sticks Levine, and the YaYas (Catherine, Jay and Paul) to record it live. Fred was on bass as well as recording engineer, and he (playing DI) was in the recording room with Sticks. I was in the control room with my acoustic guitar (with a vocal mic and a guitar mic); Paul was next to me on the keys (also DI), and we built little cardboard-and-sofa-cushion forts in the control room to separate (as best we could) Catherine and Jay, who were singing the harmony-counterpoint. Jay also added some electric guitar, which ran through a mic'ed amp in the attic. We all wore headphones of course.
Everyone came prepared and the second take was it. We just looked at each other and nodded our heads. On the CD, the only thing added to that second take is a little harp towards the end.
The track Love Me was inspired by three key occurrences in my career. While being in the club scene regularly performing, I would notice as the night went on, people would start dancing as if they were making love/humping/ having sex; whatever you want to call it. Secondly I have wanted to take my music to a different level, I told my music engineer that I wanted to do a new track inspired by techno and dance beats. Thirdly my popular phrase “If you want it, you can get it from me” I’m an all around guy that can make any task possible; jokingly I came up with this phrase to my friends. It has become catchy and stayed around. Without these three occurrences at the time, this song would have never came forward.
Love Me was then born. I went to the studio, my new beat was finished, went in the booth and the hook came to life. “You said you just wanna dance, but I know you wanna love me” The whole concept is comical now, my crew laughed for days. People dance but they look as if they are making love; this is a popular thing in the clubs.
Now the song is a hit! Definitely a big hit in the club. The beat and my lyrics hype up what people are already doing, plus making them laugh. This is my main goal when I make music; making something that everyone can listen, laugh, and relate to.
Our story as a band is interesting and unprecedented. Three members started out as a classic rock cover band doing 60's-70's hits for parties around the Dallas area in their freshman year of high school and the fourth member was in the grade above and was in a bluegrass band. When he was a senior and the other three were in the 11th grade, the four members decided to jam together and write some original songs. Our first song we all wrote together was So Cold. The song featured much input from each band member and took many creative turns in the writing process. After about a whole month of writing the song, we attempted to record it on a Mac computer in a friend's small and dark garage. We finished recording, but it just didn't come out exactly how we had hoped, but we just couldn't put our finger on the problem. Two months later, the computer with the recording file crashed and we lost the song, but it was a blessing in disguise. We rewrote many parts and added in the special elements of fiddles, horns, and a wah guitar solo. It came out perfect and we just had to put it as the opening track for our self-titled debut album released in August 2012. Although one member is now in college and the other three are still seniors in high school, Light Horse Harry is still in full effect, playing shows in Dallas and Austin and is beginning to make a major impact with their debut CD. To listen or download the full album for free, follow the link below.
My song "Eager Pilot" was written, as most of my songs tend to be, when I was pining over a boy. A best friend of mine at the time, with whom I wrote music with and spent a lot of time with. Even though some part of me knew that he didn't feel the same way, I went for it because my heart is a fearless soldier, and I just had to know if his heart was pining for me back.
This song is about being fearless but totally terrified of following your heart. Of being frustrated at the cowardice of others. Of the object of your affection pullin' on your heart strings but not actually going after you. The pain of being vulnerable. All of those things.
The stories behind some of the songs from our recent album Deep End Of Down:
Disillusion - The opening track was written about the moment of realization that the end of a relationship may be inevitable no matter how much you wish you could fix it. Maybe it is giving up or maybe it is finally seeing the truth. Either way, it becomes a fight just to keep the sour taste out of your life.
Autumn - The idea of the seasonal changes coinciding with the changes in life is one that sticks with me. Cold is cold and hot is hot. I still think Marilyn Monroe and James Dean will never be outdone. Still, I think of hope in never finding anyone lost on a road their clouded mind may have created. I wrote this song with that in mind.
Nothing Short of Giving In - We recorded and released a five song demo called Nothing Short of Giving In. One night, I wanted to expand on that idea in a song and this is what came out. To be thrown to the wild away from what you may know as bland and the everyday is something I wish I could live in. Whether it's yourself or another person who brings this out in you doesn't really matter as long as you get there. This was one of the first songs we finished for the album.
The City - I was working in a hospital. I was tired of walking through the ghetto. I listened to old funk nonstop at the time. The music scene in New York was hitting me hard or the lack of one. It made me realize that New York's music scene has jaded qualities to it as if business is here while creativity and substance is elsewhere. The two completely separate experiences of working in the hospital and my own dissatisfaction with the music scene in New York City created this mixture of words I wrote blending perfectly with a guitar riff I always played when I was just too frustrated to care about anything anymore. I wrote this song out of frustration.
Deep End Of Down was written in two phases consisting of songs I was writing after the release of our first 2010 demo Nothing Short Of Giving In and songs I wrote during the breakup of a relationship in the fall and winter of the following year. This is the first time we focused less on playing guitar riffs and more using the writing process to get out of our heads which we were so stuck in at the time. It's an emotional album that helped me move forward in decisions I was making at the time.
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On our latest CD "Cougar Bait Blues", we have a song called Bottled Bravery and Canned Courage, which I actually wrote a long time before I cut out (most) of my drinking, which I finally realized was a crutch that was actually holding me back (the part of "Drinking with the Harp Girls" --title of my previous CD-- that I really can't do without....wasn't the drinking). Anyhow, I had been jamming with the horn players from a Northampton band called Primate Fiasco for about a year (they run a jam on Tues nites, where I meet the young players, including the luscious, sax-playing Emily Duff of The Raft), and I wanted to feature them on my next album....so....I rewrote the song as a New Orleans second line groove, and assigned them the Professor Longhair-like riff, which I wrote on a bar napkin, and the luscious Emily, who's actually a music PHD candidate, wrote out for them later in parts (helped by their alto and trumpet players Steve Yarbro and Nick Borges). This also allowed me to have their Tuba player (J. Witbeck) double the bass line.
At the end, when I waver on sobriety, we pretend it's Emily's birthday (we didn't actually drink Irish car bombs, that's a Harp Girl specialty....but I believe there was some Jameson product consumed). Oh, and the other references are the Shutesbury A.C. girls (fans who want us to play at their home club, shouting "We want to get you in the SAC"), and my former waitresses from the Dove's Nest restaurant, who put up a big chunk of the recording money for this track!
I love to quote famous blues motifs (for example, in our version of Fluffy Hunter's Walk Right In, we quote Muddy Waters' "Walkin through the Park"...or in our Daisy Dukes song, the horns insert the bridge from james brown's "Hot Pants") and I really love to set up interlocking musical parts (Bruce Iglauer of Alligator Records says he loves the rawness of my guitar playing contrasted with the smooth horns)...sometimes we'll do the same thing with my gruff voice and a silky female voice. Now I have a lot of fun that I CAN recall!
This little Theological number was written after meeting the lovely, Guiness-bearing angels known as the Harp Girls....and our video was shot at an annual musician party called Jopeypalooza....we had raced back just in time from Fenway park (Sox won).
If God Can Make That
Are You Happy is about love (nothing too important), and has humble beginnings. We didn't write it out in the desert around a fire while slamming peyote. I didn't sell my soul, or befriend a Kodiak bear in the process. No, this tune was meant to be the opposite of its subject matter, simple. Originally it was meant to capture the dissipation of romance in relationships, and how that "IN love" feeling, can transition into a more calm version "love." Of course like always, my own experiences at the time turned the lyrics into more of a case study, and ultimately chronicled the timid moments before a breakup.
Story Time. I was dating this girl, who at the time worked at Chuck-E-Cheese’s. In fact, she was Chuck-E, the actual mascot. I'll leave it at that. We weren't exactly "power couple" of the year. So I was supposed to take her to lunch one day, but when I get to her work it's clear she'd been bottling up weeks worth of complaints and discontent, looking for any reason to explode. My presence was enough. Now I don't know if you've ever been in a verbal battle with Chuck-E-Cheese while parents and children both look on with a combination of disgust and confusion, but I wouldn't recommend it. So after the argument, I'm looking into Chuck's eyes, and out comes the line "Are You Happy? Seriously, are you happy with me?" To which she replies, "I don't know." Which means "No, but I'll spare your feelings." We broke up.
On the way home, the chorus just popped into my head and stuck there, like a broken record to a tune that didn't even exist. Still, it wasn't till weeks later when writing the lyrics that I could flesh out all the emotions from that day. The juxtaposition of setting (Chuck-E-Cheese) and event (Getting my ass dumped) was more irrationally comical than symbolic at the time. Adult themes of love, loss, rebirth, and even uncertainty were superimposed on a backdrop of youth and innocence. This confrontation of ignorance and knowledge creates unrest in the feeling of what can only be called magic, like a child who happily plays without thinking or knowing about the world’s harsh truths. He embraces freedom, without questioning it. He enjoys life by living it. He loves. Then again, Are You Happy is really just The Stickies story about a tragic breakup.
I began writing Reality my senior year of college. A work study at the campus audiovisual department, I was afforded the opportunity to record anytime given it didn't clash with the department's recording schedule. Slow to recognize my blessing, a couple months til graduation I decided I would make the most of my last days and record several songs for me to take with me as I entered the "Real World" as so many adults had hinted toward. Always a defiant and stubborn individual I ignored my Aunt's concerns of graduating with a philosophy degree and being able to survive. I, like every other past, present, and future college graduate, was running on a high. That high of late nights with no consequences, deep conversations with new friends, and an identity independent from my parents and my childhood. I knew things were going to change but I had faith that I was equipped- I would conquer the world as I had conquered campus parties as the resident DJ via smooth transitions and popular songs. I would not compromise, I would continue to fight for social justice, and continue to quit jobs that did not make me feel fulfilled. I did have sense enough to secure a position in NYC as a teacher, expecting to eventually find a gig doing music. Just in case my aunt was slightly correct, I would have income until I could eventually branch out on my own.
Certain I would never be a "slave" or drone, I was still optimistic about my future and changing the world. I had become confident within my four years- the most social and comfortable I had ever been- I was performing poetry at open mics, actually dancing at college parties, and earning a reputation of being "cool and laid back." My work study gig at the audiovisual department was a plus and complimented my cool demeanor. People would walk by me amongst the huge mixing board, quality listening monitors, and top of the line microphone and somehow it reflected me. Thou the equipment was nothing I could afford especially on my work study paychecks, the fact that I even shared the same space was valuable. With graduation steady approaching I realized my 8.75/hour job- though it was only enough for club outings and alcohol consumption- was a rare opportunity and most likely the coolest gig I would hold for a long time.
Fieldnotes From a Caravan is a collection of songs that was written from Maine to Nashville, and from Thailand to Nepal. During a six month teaching assignment in Bode, Bhaktapur, Nepal, to which Betty, a cheap, stickered acoustic traveled, a few songs that have really stuck with me were penned.
I made the fatal flaw of many a traveler, and fell in love with my fixer, the person who is responsible for helping with translation, getting a person settled, and showing them around. This wonderfully open hearted young man with enormous eyes would take me on motorbike rides through the mountains, and it became clear it wasn't purely to show me the sights. When it became suspicious to the locals that we were spending so much time together, I headed back to the city to visit my friend Mamata, who is one of the only self-made, divorced, successful business women in a country where divorce is still practically unheard of.
The song Appalachia to the Himalayas started in her kitchen as an idea to write about the mountains in Nepal, but feeling slightly lonely in Kathmandu, and thinking about my home state of Maine, where I'd hardly spent any time in years, one of the most striking features of Maine, the seasons, starting coming up as s theme. The seasons are extremely distinct, and have a huge bearing on people's moods, and hence their relationships. The song hints at a somewhat rocky relationship and follows it through the four seasons starting with a summer fling through to the next summer. It's a song that I wrote purely for myself, that has, to my surprise, struck a chord with a lot of folks.
Production-wise, the drummer, Eric Elsner, really took to this song, and had great ideas for musically creating the seasons to go along with the lyrics. He brought in all kinds of percussive toys, and improvised a Japanese drum out of a bass drum, some tape, and a couple of chairs.
From the tepid waters of Sebago Lake, to the metallic smell of cold air on the ocean, to a cool June rain, this song goes through the senses of the seasons and feeling of longing. Not everyone can travel, but I hope in my songs to bring my travels to you.
Pull Out a Rabbit
Originally this song was part of a group of songs that were written in a tuning of my own devising. As first conceived, Pull out a Rabbit was just a simple, unusual melody and some soft backing organ, the chief inspiration being Elliot Smith's "Angeles". When I decided to present this song to the full band as part of our latest recording sessions, we all agreed that it worked well as a quiet song but something was missing. In a moment of rare inspiration we decided that what was missing was a full on rock out ending, a la The Flaming Lips or Granddaddy.
Lyrically the song draws from that place in each of us where we know something isn't right but we do it anyway. And from the feeling that you just want to give up on everything, but know in your heart you aren't that type of person and most likely you'll get out of bed even if you don't want to :)
The song 'An Ordinary Swiss' is a spotlight on a freudian slip by one of the presidential candidates who stated that his was nothing more than “an ordinary Swiss bank account.” The statement exposes a frame of reference that is so alien to most people as to be an oxymoron. Conventional wisdom suggests a Swiss bank account is used by the non-Swiss for the express purpose of hiding money and avoiding taxes. So, the song, my attempt, is an artistic statement in sound that alludes to that mind-set, probing the context that is capable of such a statement. There is much that is not clearly defined, almost atonal, but there is a theme, some relation to 'G minor' and a suggestion: "erster Klasse oder zweiter Klasse." This isn't a choice for the listener, but rather a judgement pervading that same negative space that later declared that 47% of the people are indolent beggars. It's a funny and scary place.
'An Ordinary Swiss' gives equal weight to the sampled sounds of physical instruments and the sounds born of algorithms. All at once digital, synthetic but ultimately aural, analog and hopefully authentic. One of my goals was to employ sounds of purely digital origin not as special effects but as integral and equal expressive parts.
The the song is number five on the album 'Astroturfing.' The album was released in July and 'An Ordinary Swiss' was made available to listen to in its entirety at reverbnation.com/doubledog55. All of the songs strive for the same broad use of tonal colors riding on groove to express something less tangible than itself – but a something that has profound impact. Frighteningly good fun.
This was the first song I wrote lyrics to for Mojo Radio. When I write lyrics I usually split the difference between what roles off my tongue on the first jam- through, and whatever I can eloquently fill in around that. In this case, upon hearing the chorus part, the phrase "My gilded cage has been rattled." came out of me. I have the easiest time writing lyrics when a chorus comes to me first, it lays the groundwork for my thesis.
Next I think of how to lead up to the message of the chorus, in this case, I went for the commonly used young-old blues stance: "Used to feel that I could fly so high...nowadays feeling the weight of my time, it's much easier to close myself in...my gilded cage has been rattled"...etc. I'm particularly happy to sneak in any double entendre bits such as birds out the window to shake my loose seed at (huge Steven Tyler fan). All in all I feel the song's about two main themes, not growing old complacently, and the blues theme of busting out of a bad relationship you're stuck in. Specifically in some of my pentameter, you can hear that I was just coming out of playing reggae music, with crammed in triplet bits like "whatever it was, whenever that happened to be, I said I'd surely love to feel it again."
My name is Jay Psaros. I am a Boston based singer/songwriter. I've traveled the country playing my music several times, especially at the start of my career. The tours have taken me from the sweltering, damp South to the dramatic and romantic north of Alaska. My first two releases were full length albums with ambitions tours based behind them. My first albums "Tripping and Running," and "On Up the Road" received praise locally, regionally and nationally. After all of this was done it was time to re-evaluate. Then came my latest release "Simply." After two years of constant writing and touring, the candle was burning a bit low. Making a living as an artist is never easy but I started to worry as funds were running low and my writing wasn't as fluid and consistent as before. I knew I had to keep writing and recording. So I took a little retreat to the studio when it was time to start recording the EP "Simply." The only problem was, I didn't have too many songs.
I record in a studio located in Easton, New Hampshire. It is a small studio called Mojo and the town of Easton doesn't so much as have a store, let alone a police station, town hall, etc. There is no cell phone service or internet, but the surrounding environment is completely inspiring. While I was at the cabin I go to before and after sessions I just started writing. I had to remind myself that "Not every song can be a great one." It was the first time I was writing to write, without some inspiration behind me. But I kept at it. The cabin can get lonely, but the distractions are few. I didn't have a theme or "meaning" for the song but I was trying desperately to uphold a professional attitude, in which in a creative field, there is a fine line between "do it for love" and "you gotta make a living." In music, songs are the beginning of "you gotta make a living."
Once the melody and chord structure was built, the line "People say I'm running with a bad crowd, giving me looks to keep me out of their town" popped into my head. Still, with no meaning behind it, I at least had a theme. It was late, and my session was scheduled for early the next day. With no distraction around and a quite environment I just started to throw out lines. So often, songwriters are always asking "the meaning of things." I had to abandon this concept and let whatever was stuck inside of me just come out. As the song began to build and grow, I found myself with many lines that don't mean much (to me personally.) However, I found these lines to be interesting and thought provoking...in a way, the song started to ask me what the meaning was. With the song near completion (just lacking a bridge) I headed up to the studio. Down the mountain road, onto the highway, North through the rugged Franconia Notch, and into the woods to meet my engineer and good friend Tony Cimino. Tony runs Mojo and has played the drums, engineered and co-produced all of my music. We work well together and I find that in the studio, being able to make a full band sound with just the two of us has allowed for a very efficient formula. There are no egos to compete with and no egos amongst ourself.
I presented the song to Tony and we sat down to come up with a bridge for it. We were able to come up with something that fit the song perfectly. It drops the rhythm and does something that is almost as random as the lyrical content of the song. It was a perfect fit! Later in the week, we were joined by Olivia Brownlee to lay down some female vocals to the track.
So there it is, there is no crazy story behind the song. No shocking romance, no tragic circumstance, nothing out of the ordinary or truly eye opening. But this was a lesson to me. This song is my favorite song on the EP "Simply." With lines like "Where's the ball when we need to pitch, what good is a trailer if it's got no hitch?," it seemed that the song was asking me the questions that I usually ask a song. If I didn't let go of the idea of concept and meaning, I never would have arrived with this tune. The funny thing, to me, is that now this song has incredible meaning to me, as it represents what can be accomplished if we just try. Sometimes we don't need meaning, or inspiration, or even a reason to do what we do. But, if we are open to the experience we can learn a lot from whatever that experience may be.
Dueling pianos is one thing that never crossed my mind when I ventured out to create a career in music. Original music was all I did, and playing in bands was all I ever wanted to do. I quickly learned, however, that the average stranger would much rather give me a few dollar bills to play Tiny Dancer or Sweet Caroline than to hear me pour out my own emotions. This realization led me to a job playing dueling pianos in Chicago to help with the bills as I continued working on my singer/songwriter career.
Dueling piano players are absolute rock stars, for about 3 hours, and only in the bar they're playing in. As soon as the bar closes and all of the drunk fans who listened as if we were the greatest musicians ever go home, the dueling piano player is completely forgotten. You go from rock star to employee in sixty seconds. My song, Almost was born one night I finally started to realize that the glory I thought I had at the piano bar was worthless.
I was sitting in a booth by myself, waiting for the manager to finish paperwork with the servers so that I could get paid and get home before the sun rose when that first verse popped in my head - "The bar is closed but I'm still here/It ain't a glamorous life but the money's real..." I go on to write about the way I felt when the bar goes from ultimate party to hangover silence. Sitting there after such an emotional change would always get me thinking, and it would generally be about regrets - in this instance, a past love.
The chorus of the song evolves with each instance. The theme of the chorus is that I still think of this past love, and at first it blames my surroundings, revealing that "I think of you almost every night." Influences from the dueling pianos begins the second verse as well - "Take another drink just because I can/I'd rather drown in here than suffocate out there" - referencing the free drinks and how easy it is to want to drown your sorrows rather than face them.
The bridge describes the morning after, and how thoughts of the past love are still very apparent, leading the song to end with "I think of you almost all the time." It is a true regret, not simply an emotion triggered by alcohol.
“My Sunny Day” is one of my favorite tracks on the album, in part because of the way it makes me feel—relaxed and ready for some lovin’! But it also holds a special place in my heart because it was inspired by something my Nana said before she passed away. She had been suffering from multiple cancers for many years. After a decade of doctors telling her she had only months left to live, her pain became unbearable, and the pain medication had a ton of negative side effects including nausea and sleeping problems.
She finally decided to try a more, shall I say, natural method of relief. One night in her living room, after a natural relief session, she told me that what she loved most about it was how “the world moves slower.” I immediately knew I would turn it into a song. We talked about a lot of things that night—one of our last together—and when she fell asleep, I holed up in my room and penned “My Sunny Day”. Nana’s gone, but her memory lives on in me and in the song she inspired.
When we write music, we want it to touch base on an emotional level with our listeners. We don't want to write just another catchy melody (although a catchy hook is obviously important), we want to write something that tells a story. Something that has meaning. With our song "Strength to Stay", we feel we wrote a song with not only a catchy tune, but a song that gives an important message to anyone who hears it. When I (John Clark, lead vocalist and bassist) just graduated from college in 2009, I dealt with a serious case of depression. For weeks on end, I wondered if life was worth living, and seriously contemplated suicide. There was no rhyme or reason why I had depression, or why it chose what was supposed to be an exciting time in my life into a nightmare. Doctors told me it was a genetic issue that was passed down to me from my mother. That's about the best answer I got. I was given anti-depressants that were supposed to help. They didn't. I just wanted to block myself off from the world, crawl in a hole, and be left alone. So that's what I did.
Finally, on June 17th, 2009, everything crashed down. I sat at my computer for 2 hours screaming at the top of my lungs, asking for a reason, a sign, anything showing that I was supposed to be here. When nothing came, I decided I was going to commit suicide. I went to try to find my dad's gun. Before I could find it though, my family came through the door. My brother, who is nine years younger than me, was as happy as ever. He is autistic, and one of the biggest influences on my life. If you know anything about autism, you know that people with autism have trouble expressing themselves in social situations. They don't express emotion very well because they don't really know how. But on this night it was different. He walked through the door, looked at me, and without hesitation said "Hey bubby, I love you." And after screaming for two hours, I finally had the answer I needed. I knew I was meant to be here. I knew my family needed me. I knew my brother WANTED me here, and I didn't want to let him down. I finally started dealing with my problem instead of internalizing what I was going through. I started seeking help from family and friends. And I started writing music with my cousin. It was therapeutic for me, and I've been writing ever since.
A lot of times, people don't want to talk about mental illnesses/disorders. It gets swept under the rug as a "taboo" subject that people are afraid to touch. Men especially, are led to believe that having issues like this somehow makes them less of a man. That's why we try to give a message of hope everywhere we go. We want to let people know that they are not alone in fighting this battle, and that suicide is never the answer to any problem. I believe that every person in the world has a reason to be here, and that's the message that I and the rest of the band want to send with this song. It's a culmination of my struggles and eventually my victory over something that I almost allowed to take my life. This song is a message to the world that you should never give up, never let go, and never let a temporary problem take you away from the things that mean the most.
Irene Torres & Josh Piche wrote this song while the band was in New Orleans. There's a magical mixture of musical styles all blended down in NOLA, and this song has some of that southern N'awlins jazz/blues vibe. The song was inspired by the many different ways you can get into trouble down south with sticky fingers. We recorded the song at Listen Hear Productions in New Orleans on an energy exchange basis, in fact the whole album was recorded for free. The band had been writing for a week or two prior to going into the studio and recording all the arrangements live on a zoom recorder instead of writing them down to save time. I put all the recordings on my external hard drive and the same week we were to go into the studio, we found a homeless dog on the street and took her in, she tripped the hard drive wire and the hard drive crashed, we lost all the recordings of arrangements and had to go into the studio cold with lyrics and go on memory. We ended up recording 3 songs in a day and a half and was very fortunate to bring in Chris Mason, who I had only met a couple days prior to the studio playing a gospel church service. Chris laid down some of the tastiest keys and organ after listening to the songs once or twice. The sax player on Sticky Fingers we had never met before the recording, the engineer was friends with him and he randomly came by the studio, heard the track and said, "you guys gotta let me try a take." We did and he sounded fabulous, the hallway mic really made the sax sound vintage. This is one of our biggest hits of four debut EP.
Our Tuesdays Feel Like Fridays
Our single "Tuesdays" was written mostly about the Open Jam we host every other Tuesday at the Legendary Dobbs in South Philadelphia. For us, the open jam session is the funnest part of our week, and it doesn't matter if it's only Tuesday....we still party like its a Friday.
The secondary inspiration for the song draws from past experiences. The line about being in a movie was taken from actually being in a movie. The song from our first album "High Up" was featured in the movie "Living Will" starring Ryan Dunn from Jackass. We actually had some facetime too.
So the song basically says everyday is a good day to party because we all only live one life....so why not let it be one big party.
The song "Sober" is about two people being in love, And having this perfect relationship, And then one of them all of a sudden has to move away, But they make a promise to each other that one day they will be together again. In this case the person who is left behind doesn't want to wait sober to hold his/her loved one again. They try to find a way to feel numb from the pain, But in the end of the day the reality is still there.
Life has a way of racing past one's own consciousness without leaving any trace or connection between what has happened, and the current moment. The individual is left with the unsettling feeling of not remembering a portion of the journey; such as the feeling one gets on a long drive alone when there is suddenly an awareness of location, but no recollection of even thinking about driving for ten or fifteen minutes. What just happened? How could my thoughts drift so freely? How did I stay on the road?
This phenomenon came into play when I wrote the song 'No Radio' by The HickoryTown Ruckus. I had taken a part-time job outside of the city to help get through school and I could barely afford a $400. Dodge Shadow to get back and forth to work. The car ran fine but only had the essentials. Life had become very busy for me and there was always some force managing the capacity of my thoughts; school, work, or the cares of this life. When the radio gave out in that old rusty Shadow, the silence was redemptive. In a moment I was given clarity and transported to my earlier years. Back then I used to drive around just for the sake of driving. I had no agenda for the night or my life, just a road. Now, the green Shadow became a refuge, and every weekend when I drove to work, the rides gave me a necessary time of reflection and prayer. All of the worries and burdens I had assumed as a 'responsible adult' took a back seat. Many of the lyrics for this song came one night as I was driving home and instead of taking a left turn towards my house I went straight and drove through the city in no particular direction.
For me this song is about the beauty of loneliness, the energy that is released by spontaneous living, understanding that who I am is is purer than the limits my thought processes place on my soul. It is about rejecting the conformity that you have submitted to by finding moments of freedom, staying true to the ideals that made you who you are. For me the song is adventurous, uncontrolled, mysterious; it celebrates a faith that once burned so strongly that even as the flame dwindles, the mere memory of it is enough to rekindle thoughts of truth, revolution and life changing experiences. When its just me alone in the car and there's no radio, there is a catalyst for finding "another moment I can't repeat."
I wrote "Road Rising" about the feeling of restlessness I had for most of high school, which I attended in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I used to make trips down to Charleston pretty often by myself to visit friends, and driving alone was (and to some degree still is) the only thing that made me feel like I was going anywhere. I learned how to sing the way I do now on those trips too; I sang along at an ear-blistering volume with Jeff Buckley, Soundgarden, Nirvana, No Doubt, whoever was on the CD player at the time. Before that, I had only sung in church choirs or chorus in high school, both of which aren't the greatest places to develop a rock style of singing.
I was raised in a conservative Christian home and never rebelled much against my parents until after high school, so I generally experienced a lot of pent-up anger and anxiety regarding the rules I had to follow but didn't understand or agree with. I knew I wanted more out of my life than what I saw around me in the suburban South; I wanted to somehow transcend mediocrity and do something great but wasn't sure how to get there. Driving the 1.5 hours from Myrtle to Charleston always gave me a sense of going somewhere and doing something and, for some reason, assured me that I would one day break out of the backwardness and stagnancy of where I grew up to find my own way.
Although I did one day figure out what it was I wanted from life, I went through many years of doing what I thought I "should" do rather than what I wanted to do. I put so many of my dreams on hold for other people and for some sort of ideal that never really delivered. I hit a breaking point in 2009 and decided to pursue what has always made me happiest in my life: music. "Road Rising" was written then and encapsulates the feeling I had both in high school and later on of wanting more out of life and pouring all of myself into my vision so I could finally get where I wanted to be.
Talitha Cumi - The Inspirational
A certain miracle from Mark chapter 5 became the inspirational focus for what is now our favorite song. A synagogue ruler by the name of Jairus came and begged Jesus to heal his little girl, or else she would die. This early in His ministry, Jesus was doing miracles day in and day out, and He didn't refuse the request of Jairus. As it happened during the travel, Jesus was interrupted by another person in need of Him, and maybe that appeared to be enough of a delay to prevent Jesus from arriving at the house of Jairus. When He arrived, the people were already in the makings of grievances because the little girl had died.
"Stilettos" is a female anthem for all the ladies who've gone through a bad break up with a certain "cheater" in their life. It's a sassy way of saying goodbye.
I'm the definition of a true girly-girl and in a situation like this, you get the chance to flaunt what that man will be missing by wearing your stilettos walking away from him.
Most Beautiful Thing
I grew up with an older sister and I also had many girls that I considered close friends. After years of observation, I noticed a trend. And a sad one at that. I've found that the majority of girls feel like they have to doctor their appearance in order to feel beautiful and they feel like they have to work for their worth.
Personally, I think beauty has nothing to do with the outward appear, but everything to do with the person underneath the skin. But as a society lead by pop culture, we have masked the truth behind true beauty. Now we find "beauty" in the face of a magazine cover, movie screen, computer, etc. So the message I wanted to relay behind my song "Most Beautiful Thing" is that there can't possibly be a more perfect and beautiful you. You don't have to work for your value and worth, because you are priceless just the way you are.
The song Gold Dust came about when I was going through a lot of life transitions. It's about the delicate line of waiting and pressing through for something to become what you want it to be, or realizing that it's not meant to be and that you should let it go. It has a two way meaning for me of a relationship that was crumbling apart, as well as a reality check of my aspirations. The song is about the fragility and beauty of wanting something to work out, but the looming possibility that it won't happen. Thus the chorus lyric "Were we building just to watch it fall?" The last line of the song is "There used to be Gold Dust coming out of your mouth..."
Here we go again, thinking this ride will never end
waiting on forever takes a long time
i would rather say goodbye
Yellow paint is slowly peeling off the walls
soon this old house will crumble and fall
three stories high with nothing to show
all the potential of an ashes glow
When it's all said and done
did we really say anything at all
were we building just to watch it fall?
Left that chair in the corner of my mind
there sits all of my hopes and dreams combined
and I tell them one day soon they can leave
until then the dust keeps gathering
There used to be gold dust coming out of your mouth...
Have you had a moment like this? Share your comments...
At first listen, A Mayfield Affair's upbeat, banjo driven, almost country-ish song "Kansas" might conjure up sweet thoughts of the Wizard of Oz, with its many references to the Oz story, but the truth has a slightly sharper edge than you may think.
I wrote it as a reply to an argument in a recent romantic entanglement. I rarely talk about it, but once, in another universe, I was engaged to a woman who I thought was the one for me. She became close to my family (who all live in Kansas) and when things went south, the engagement ended. Yet she would still talk of wanting to go out to Kansas to visit them. It was her dream to sit on our front porch, drink sweet tea, and relax in my family's company. I sat down to write out my thoughts about this and a song was created. I was trying to make a point without turning the song into an "I Hate You" moment, and I wanted to explain that my family was a perk of being with me and that she couldn't get her dream of Kansas family moments without me, so if she still wanted that, then she needed to come to her senses, and come back to me.
Funnily enough, when she first heard the song, all she focused on was that it appeared that I was calling her a witch with the "You'll never get there riding brooms" line. With the writing of this song, it paved the way for me to write more metaphorically, in order to try and spare some feelings, as my writing style up to that point was always very literal. Those involved in situations I would choose to write about would have no trouble figuring out what I was talking about. Learning this has saved me a lot of trouble, and made the music I've been a part of creating much better.
Break My Fall
The song "Break My Fall" is about realizing the journey that one has to make in life to reach the apex of a dream. One must risk everything to achieve greatness. "Break My Fall" directly refers to cushioning an impact from fate itself. After recently almost dying in St John's hospital from a heart virus, I started to realize how fragile life is, and how important it is to use our time wisely. Growing up in LA has opened my eyes to a different side of people. In the song, I use the desert as a metaphor for LA' shallow abyss. Essentially the song is about starting over and "Setting out into the unknown." The lyric "I walk on this tightrope" refers to the balancing act of trying to make it in LA and staying sane.
Hudson started out as a drummer for bands in the Los Angeles area before transitioning into a vocalist for metal bands in the East Coast area. After being immersed in the hard rock/metal scene he decided to become a singer/songwriter. Hudson has released an EP consisting of six original songs, which exhibit a variety of styles. The aggressive influence of metal always carries over into the lighter pop element in the music. Hudson Has just finished a 10 song Album which will be released in the next month titles "New Eyes." He sings and plays ALL of the instruments on his album.
The Devil Lives on Lyman
It was late, I couldn't sleep, and I was in a really dark place. I decided I was going to manifest all the things that pissed me off about my breakup and lack of closure into one song…One song that could really hit home...One song that could pull me out of the purgatory state I was stuck in.
I wrote out lyrics through the night compounding everything I could to stick it to her. I called it, "The Devil Lives on Lyman". Lyman was a street I lived on with my girlfriend, and living there I had never felt more disrespected by a person in my life.
Lyman is a beautiful quiet street in the Los Feliz district of east hollywood. It a street filled with young couples starting lives together. She was a sweetheart of a person and Los Angeles brought out the worst in her. She went from being the most trust worthy person in my life to the least over the span of a year of living together and I could do nothing but leave after the amount of disrespect I had taken over that year.
The opening line is "been missing her love, it's clear it went missing in her my dear", aims at how she transformed into a person I didn't know anymore. I reference John Smith as a John Doe type figure who she had cheated with as "thank god" I had an evident reason to talk myself out of putting up with it any longer. She had daddy issues, drug issues, self respect issues, and I addressed everything within what sounds like a very happy upbeat song.
The point of Lyman was to sound like a positive twee garage style song on the surface but to really hide the depths of the fuck you's I wanted to send to her specifically. This song meant everything to me to get me over that purgatory phase of not being able to move forward or go back, it was my final goodbye. I've been told by many it is one of the all time "fuck you" songs they have heard and that really resonates with me considering it was a very difficult thing to share these things with the world.
The Theme of the EP "Votive Flower" was inspired by my experience of taking an hour lunch break from work everyday writing songs in Elysian Park. I stared at the flowers in the park and saw a parallel between my relationship and their life. They both take time and energy to grow and once they bloom, there is a period of pure bliss before they can only wilt to dead (or a breakup = to death). This undoubtedly became the theme of the record.
When writing songs, I try to truly speak from the heart. Surrendering was written over the course of several months, as I was exploring my desire to embrace music and songwriting. The theme of this song is letting go and surrendering to the process of opening myself up to my feelings and emotions. I believe that sometimes we all have to accept the fact that there are experiences in our life when certain things beyond our control. So much of the time, that involves love or spirituality, but could really relate to many of life's experiences. “Surrendering” was selected by Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) to be pitched at it’s “Pitch to Publisher” luncheon and I’ve also been selected by NSAI as “One to Watch”, which recognizes songwriters who are “on the rise” and have gotten the attention of the song evaluators for their ”unique and promising writing skills. In addition, ”Surrendering” made it to the semi-finals for the 2012 Show Me The Music Songwriting Contest. Thank you for your consideration.
I wanted Radio Waves to reach someone.
The whole idea for the song sprung out of a moment several years ago when I was torn up over an ended relationship. One of the things I hate most about painful break-ups is how difficult it can be to relate naturally to that person after it's over. I felt like a robot, saying what I was supposed to say, but never really what I wanted to say. The song was my way of saying what I needed to say, sincerely and unashamedly.
I wrote the song when I was home visiting my parents in the summer. I'm from the inland desert area in southern California so it was one of those hot, impossible to sleep summer nights, and I woke up in a sweat after a strange nightmare about a satellite falling from outer space in through the window and crushing me. I stayed up all night writing the song on an electric guitar.
The song was in a way, one of my sincerest confessions. I wanted to tell this person that I loved them, despite everything. It wasn't about getting them back, its not a song of desperation, it's simply my way of saying, wherever you are in the world, the universe, whatever, wherever you go in life, I love you, and I just want you to know that.
I imagined myself a mad scientist, crossing transmission wires, interrupting satellite signals, capturing my message in a sing-a-long style song and somehow feeding it into the radio station they had tuned into at the time.
The song didn't come together musically until later. I was living in Madrid at the time and had begun to play with a group of musicians there. We put the song together in the attic of my piano player at the time, Sergio Valdehita, and that's were it took on the sort of jazz old time feel at the beginning, and the musical builds that give the choruses their power. I didn't realize just how powerful the song was until we started playing out around Madrid at our live shows. We had built up a lot of momentum on the scene there, and I remember people getting teary-eyed, others singing along at the top of their lungs, couples wrapping their arms around each other or sometimes just a person staring up at me, like I had written the song for their ears only. It's one of my favorite songs to play live. When I first wrote it, the song was a tribute to something that was gone, but now it's taken on a more hopeful quality. When we play it around new york these days, I see the affect it has on people and I know its about something living, the beginning of a love story, between all of us.
"Gracia," the title track off my newest album, is a song I wrote to pay homage to my hero, Dona Gracia Naci. Dona Gracia was a 15th-century, Harriet-Tubman-like figure of Renaissance Europe. As the Spanish Inquisition was spreading in Spain and Portugal at the end of the 15th-century, Dona Gracia, a widowed single mother, amassed enough wealth to bribe kings (and even popes!) to secure safe passage for hundreds fleeing the Inquisition. She was a rebel, a true maverick of her time. She used her smarts, her femininity and her wealth to do what she thought was right-- all as a single woman in the 1600's!
I learned of Dona Gracia's story as a small girl, as we share a similar background of Spanish Sephardic heritage. I have always admired her spirit and no-nonsense drive to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, very few people have ever heard of this remarkable woman, as she has been all but ignored in history books. I thought it was time to give her her due. As the first verse I wrote says:
You give us grace
You give us life
You give us promise
You give us bravery
You give us strength
You give us defiance
Because of you we have the
Honor, fight, effect;
Because of you we stand with
Power, height, respect
The language I wrote the song in is in Dona Gracia's original language, Ladino (also known as Judeo-Spanish). It was the language that the Sephardic community spoke after their dispersion from Spain. Most people have never heard of this language, but surprisingly it has survived the last 500 years. It is rare for people to write songs in Ladino anymore, and I am proud to stand as one of the few Ladino artists today who does.
The song concludes with an English sound byte of the iconic feminist, Gloria Steinem, from a speech she gave in 1971 to the Women's Political Caucus in Washington, DC. As she says in her words, the debates are not really about money, or sex, or gender. It's about something much bigger. Dona Gracia deserves the fame and accolades today not because she was a woman. It's because she was just an amazing person. Period.
I hope my song "Gracia" helps introduce people to Dona Gracia Naci, as well as to the rich, vibrant culture of Ladino-- as both deserve to be heard.
The song "Colonie" was written when I was 19 years old. My family had moved away from my childhood home town, and went to the town of "Colonie". I was so upset about leaving behind my friends and all the things and memories I loved so much that it drove me to write. The song morphed into this song with multiple meanings. First, the song is about the actual leaving behind my childhood and growing up in this town called Colonie.
The Colonie is the song can also be like a colony itself. The song talks about not wanting to be stuck in a colony also. The colony can be a group of people that always bring you down and make you feel terrible and by leaving behind that colony, makes you happier in the process. It also can be placed in terms of a relationship where you don't want to be stuck with someone because they are a negative thing in your life. The song really allows the listener to take their own interpretation, but it all stems from leaving behind a childhoood and not wanting to be surrounded by people or a place that feel wrong to you.
Low Flying Planes' song, "Pea Soup" was one that we just recorded in the studio and it's all about how the band has come together over the years. The song talks about our lead singer, Devin (he wrote most of the song) and how all that he needs "is to live by the h.." He talks about how he listens to the radio, and plays Nintendo but the only way that he'll ever really understand the world is if he can play music. So, the chorus explodes with "What I need, what i need are the answers to come to me; this is what I want and who I want to be. Because it builds me up, starts it over and over again" His soul is 100% into the song at this point, This song is truly about what it means to be a musician. It has everything to do with being willing to go through whatever it takes. And it has nothing to do with giving up.
It sounds cheesy, but this song is really a crowd favorite. Finally, after a heart-wrenching solo by Fitch (our lead guitarist), Jenna (female vocals) jumps into a key change and brings it up to a B Major with an even more powerful chorus. The song ends with a run that is so awesome it feels like it was not performed by anything less than a full blown recording studio (Jenna has that effect on people!) AND IT'S OVER! The song ends, we end the set with it too. We want to remind people how much we appreciate them coming to see us perform and that we want to do it for the rest of our lives. Music, even though it's nice to get fans and tours, would be absolutely nothing without the passion, and that's what "Pea Soup" is all about (PS Just like music, Pea Soup only tastes good if it has a lot of love in it, that's why this song has it's name!)
VISIT WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/LOWFLYINPLANES FOR MUSIC AND MORE INFO!
Phantom Fundamental is an up-and-coming band from Mason, MI. (just outside of Lansing) We are classified as an 'alternative' band, but one of our goals as musicians is to exist outside the confines of a genre. Instead of trying to fit in, we just make the music we want to make. Of course, we have roots constant in our songs- such as rich acoustic undertones through guitar and piano layered with complex, stimulating sounds through electric guitar and synthesizer- but we always try to reinvent what a band can do. Using those aspects of our sound as a base, we are able to branch out, taking leaps into more areas of music than even we anticipated upon joining together in early 2011.
In this way, we aren't limited to a single genre and combined with an openness to take interesting and unique paths in our songs, we can really write from within ourselves. And this is the single most important thing about making music: You've gotta feel it and you've gotta mean it.
Our new song 'Right Past Me' is no exception to this ideal. It's a song about heartbreak, lost love, and a fairly universal human experience. Stepping away from some of our more complex arrangements, 'Right Past Me' is based around a simple four-chord structure with subtle, but intriguing embellishments throughout the song. This allows the lyrics to take center-stage and connect with the listener in a truly fundamental way.
This song tells the story of a heartbreaking experience that we know we're not alone in feeling. It's the story of a breakup between two very close and very in love people. The pain of the loss is so much that they both block out every memory of their relationship together. And after some time, when the two pass each other on the street and don't even acknowledge one another. If you have ever gone through a difficult breakup with someone that you deeply cared about, you can definitely understand the emotions in the chorus.
Here she comes
Right towards me
I stop to
But she walks
Right past me
In the end, 'Right Past Me' is organic and heartfelt. It was written only as an expression of true worry and despair. You've gotta feel it and you've gotta mean it and Phantom Fundamental does just that. We think that you'll enjoy our new song and hope that you can really get a sense all of the heart that we put into 'Right Past Me.'
The Story Behind 'Never Enough'
I wrote Never Enough after candid conversation with a friend about our past vices. I had spent 10 years as an alcoholic plagued by denial, and he had spent a number of years loaded with coke. Today we both are living strong in sobriety, but you can never forget what it's like to love something that destroys you.
We swapped various red flag moments including my two near death experiences, and his $100,000+ debt owed to a 'to rename nameless' drug dealer. "When I came down from cocaine, I would lay in bed trying to sleep. I hated this drug. I would tell myself I would never do it again, but his phone number would race through my mind, over and over. Non-stop. Until I called him." And "Never Enough" was conceived.
The story I tell in the song comes from the love affair I had with alcohol. It seduces you with it's beauty, tempting you to unleash yourself, and then you do whatever you want without holding back. In the midst of it you feel lost, but you're still hungry for it. Near the end you've felt the damaging effects of it in your life, but you can't stop. "Racing through my mind, wild enchantment darkening my whole life..." Every time I sing this song, this is where I see my friend batting at a phone number like bats flying around his head.
At the end of your affair you feel nothing, sucked of life and passion. "Sweet Jesus take me home I've lost my way. It's all I want, in the night, and all that tortures in my days."
The chorus emulates the cycle. "It's never enough, just give me something else to forget her." And I remember returning to my folly, because I never wanted to face the reality of my addiction. "Her" in the song refers to me, which is funny because I played at an open mic one night close to the election and the host talked about approving the gay marriage bill and immediately afterward I played my song. I realized they totally thought I was gay, and I always chuckle when I think of it. Especially since I was 8 months pregnant at the open mic. Alas ladies, I am not gay - and fellas I am betrothed, but I would not still be married if I was not sober today.
"Never Enough" depicts the human condition, the beast within us all that we must tame or keep in line. Those dirty little vices that can grow, and grow.
The lyrics to our song "Monsters" is about our obsession, or really any artist's obsession with creating music and trying to become successful in the music business.
How much we all give, how much we all compromise, how much effort we exude to progress even an inch. The tough road of progress can feel like a visitation from a "monster" in a nightmare and at other times feel like the most wonderful dream. The "monsters" are not only in our dreams, they also are our dreams.
The "monsters" also symbolize the music and songs we create. Making music is one of the most exhilarating and wonderful experiences in our lives, however, questions like "Will the song be liked?", "Will anyone identify with this?", or "What life will this song lead?" have a tendency to arise. The song is also about how these fears, imaginary though they may be, can paralyze if we're not careful.
This song has been, and continues to be therapeutic when we play it live. It helps us re-focus on the reasons we make music and helps us overcome our fears in what we create and how to move forward.
The group is comprised of four songwriters with different backgrounds and different ways of telling their stories. Below is the story behind one called, “Odd Jobs”:
Odd Jobs was written during the height of the occupy movement. In Minneapolis people were gathering by the hundreds at the city capital, financial institutions and foreclosed homes in protest of a wide range of issues. Some were camped out in tents in the city to protest. Late in the evening police came with knifes to slash tents, trash bags to throw belongs into and handcuff to arrest people in their sleep. At the core of all the intricate issues and protests is the search for common respect for all people. Odd Jobs is the story about a character is grappling with the costs of living in a society like this. Questioning the costs of protesting, the benefits and looking for some personal truth.
I make a little money on the side/through odd jobs and late nights
works not steady but it pays in cash/if you ain’t making it your spending it so I spend it while it lasts
I'm a sucker trying to make ends meet/struggling to stay on my feet
What is the price of a voice/to scream in the streets
Making the choice to rise from your knees
I heard once and maybe one too many times/that the boys downtown are turning dollars out of lies
So the people flood the streets with their painted sings and protests rhymes then beaten by the police lines
I was looking for a different conversation with significance
down at the city square, thats not public anymore
Just searching for truth leads me that government lies but honey money does too
“Wine & Excuses” is the oldest song that made the record. I know this because I was still living in Philadelphia when I wrote it, back in May 2010. Earlier that year, there was an enormous blizzard that dropped about three feet of snow in the city. As it happened, I got snowed in at my apartment with a few close friends and a girl that I had just started seeing. What followed was a really fun, but weird, two-week period where no one could get to class or work. Our cars were plowed in and public transportation was shutdown. We were all stuck hanging out with each other for every waking second, drinking far too much alcohol and playing a ton of Monopoly.
While that may sound more like a party than the inspiration for a love song, think again. Most relationships start gradually and take quite a bit of time before both parties are comfortable spending long, uninterrupted stretches of time with one another. Hell, some relationships never end up at that point at all. But when the situation is thrust upon you, it can definitely be a profound experience for both good and bad. It forces you to start going through the lifecycle of a relationship at an extremely accelerated pace – for better or worse.
For me, when Philadelphia finally thawed out and we had to return to our normal lives, it felt like I was waking up from a dream. Part of it might have been the hangover. But some of it resulted from having a very new relationship, and the unstable emotions that come with it, thrust upon me very quickly. It took on a much more serious vibe than I was expecting, due mostly to just the sheer proximity that was unavoidable due to the storm.
All of that freaked me out, and I did what my younger self always did when I felt freaked out – I ran away from the problem. When the wine ran dry and the excuse of being stuck together was no longer valid, I felt way too vulnerable and looked for a way out. It wasn’t until a number of months later that I looked back on things with a clearer head and realized my mistake. But as is often the case, it was too late to handle it differently.
The verses in the song refer to a lot of the details of that week, some more fictionalized than others. For example, the SEPTA regional rail train schedule and the bridge from City Avenue to Manayunk. My car was also plowed in so badly I never thought I’d see it again. (I eventually did, and immediately drove it to Atlantic City for one of our finer collegiate gambling sessions). The choruses are just about the girl getting frustrated with me for not being able to make up my mind. I don’t think they are actual quotes, as most of this was unspoken frustration. My mind probably made it out to be way more prevalent than it was in reality – I have a habit of romanticizing. Finally, the bridge is just about regretting how the whole thing was handled. “Should I figure it out, I hope you’re still waiting around – but I doubt that you will be” is a pretty self-explanatory quote.
The writing process for this one was pretty interesting, since it’s the first song that took on a collaborative feel from the rest of the band. When I first wrote the song, it was a quieter acoustic and piano number that I demoed on Garage Band. But when we were rehearsing up shows to support my solo EP Destinations, we needed a few more tunes to round out the set. We started jamming on the acoustic version of “Wine & Excuses”, leading Pete to suggest we try it in a more upbeat style. Then he laid down that glorious twang in the intro and I started grinning like an idiot. The rest was history.
I credit the song for really pushing us to become a real band that worked collaboratively to write songs. It was also instrumental in helping us find our sound. We jump around a lot, but I think the pop sensibility with some Americana twang and straight up rock and roll guitars shines through in a lot of what we do. We started to find the balance with “Wine & Excuses”.
While recording this song, we intentionally pushed the tempo a little bit since we knew it was going to be the first proper song on the record. Like most of the songs, we tracked bass, drums, and guitars live. I remember nailing this one very quickly and feeling good about it. But then later in the night, we all had a few cocktails and played it back and we thought it was so fast. I think it was just that our brains were fried from an 18-hour day of tracking and all the gin and Sierra Mist we drank slowed our reactions, because after sleep and coffee it sounded great in the morning. It was one of only a small few studio freak-outs that ensued during the sessions for Don’t Paint Your Days So Gray.
Also, for the record, the harmony on “smile right through all the sad, sad, songs that you sing” is a four-part. There was no Auto Tune involved. Meg nailed the super high note on the first or second try, because that’s what she does. It might be my favorite harmony on the record, after the seven-part on the intro
I wrote the song Thin Air last summer (in 2011) while my boyfriend was away on an extended trip. We were spending a lot of time together and so I missed him quite a bit when he was away on his trip. It was still the beginning of the relationship at this point, so some of the inevitable anxieties began to surface when he was gone and I was stuck in New York feeling all Bananarama "Cruel Summer." (I literally had that song in my head for weeks.) There is a lot of vulnerability at the start of (almost) any new relationship - whether it's a romantic relationship, starting a new job, buying a home, moving, etc.
I'm Gonna Love You Anyway
Wrote this song on my grandparent's piano, which was passed down to me. My grandfather gave it to my grandmother for their wedding anniversary decades ago. It was the night after the events in the song took place. I was on fire. The song came out so simply. I never changed a line from that first time I wrote it down. I started singing and the first lines came out: "I started out younger." That's when I knew what I was supposed to do, when I knew what the song needed from me. It needed everything. I decided that I was going to make this song reflect one thing: honesty. And in so doing, make it an offering to the one I loved, the night bearing witness. I would chose love. It's the last song on the album "I We Us Are Was Were Is", but it represents the beginning of something.
Flash ahead seven months from the time this song was written. We are married. There's a sense that it was always going to be like this. We were always together, even when we were apart. Some songs are written long before you ever sang the melody for the first time or put the words to paper.
"78sixsixsix", the third track from our EP Moxy Kid is a song about breaking out of a small town and the small people in that town. The title of the song comes from the zip code 78666 which is the San Marcos, Texas zip code. Everyone that lived there made jokes of it being an 'evil' because of the '666' zip code.
San Marcos is a college town and the song chronicles my years in college when I felt out of place and strange. I had always felt like I wasn't fulfilling my potential and I used the small town as a metaphor for holding me back from what I really wanted in my life. I liked the idea of an evil town and I drew inspiration from Daniel Johnston's well known celebrated song 'Devil Town.' For me, the song is about trying to break free from old habits and negative people hence the line "won't the world just let me out? Won't the world just melt me down?"
Ask any musician/songwriter and they will tell you that songs have a life of their own. Like any good book, poem, or painting being created, it is its own entity. It tells you what it wants to be, where it wants to go, and when its journey has ended. That is what Skateboarder is to Silk Flamingo & the Beat!
Front-man/ rhythm guitarist Alexis Preciado met Mike (drums) and Mark Ocegueda(bass) in the spring of 2009. Alexis, call sign Silk Flamingo if he were to ever have one he says, was quite content with playing café or coffeehouse type shows acoustic solo. However, after meeting Mike and Mark Ocegueda and having a few jam sessions in the garage, a complete song was born, Skateboarder. The trio fell and fell hard for a song they knew would be an instant fan favorite. It was then decided to see where the song would lead the trio.
Having added “the Beat” to a call sign because of a newly formed rhythm section, it is hard to say what came first. Could it have been the formation of Silk Flamingo & the Beat that came up with such a catchy new punk delinquent anthem? Or could it have been Skateboarder, a song whose unconditional love went above and beyond any normal song to actually create something from itself to form a band called Silk Flamingo & the Beat!
While most break-up songs tend to dwell on the idea of leaving or being left behind, lead singer/songwriter Lydia Benecke of Blue Kid opted to re-empower herself by imagining the slow murder of an ex-lover in the band's aptly titled The Dismemberment Song.
While the lyrics lay out a step-by-step process for disassembling the offending ex's body, the true message of the song is not one of violence, but rather one of taking back control, as best evidenced in the bridge:
"''cause I'm all out of hurt, you've used up all I've got / so I'm chopping you up and still coming up squat / If I wanted to bleed, I'd just roll up my sleeve and saw, saw, saw."
The Callout was a song seven years in the making. Frontman Brian Clover came up with the concept in 2005. At the time the song was a slow ambient ballad drawing a lot of influence from Pink Floyd, one of Clover's biggest musical inspirations. As StillLine grew and become a much more upbeat rock band the song's sound started to feel out of place, and The Callout was eventually shelved. It would remain on the shelf througout the recording of the band's 2005 Ep 'After The Fall' and all the way through the creation of 'Forty Two', StillLine's 2011 full length album. It would be during the writing process of 'We Are All Asleep', StillLine's forthcoming full length album that the concept would surface again.
Guitarist Mike Fey had always been particularly fond of a melody Clover had written that, in the original version of the song, had served as it's bridge. This time Fey suggested it be the verse and had composed a different chord progession changing the key of the song. At this point in time the 'We Are Asleep' album already had ten tracks composed and recorded, infact they were already deep into the mixing process. The band had decided to write one more song and initially "The Callout" was going to be brought back as a final track. It was composed as the slow melodic song it was originally intended to be, however this time around, Clover recognized something different. On a wim Clover would join drummer Taylor Patterson with nothing but his acoustic in and effort to put together his new concept of song. Once introduced to the rest of the band, it was immediately and unanomously decided that not only did it have to go on the album, but that it would be the debut single. Thus, "The Callout" 2012 was born, and is ushering in the release of the 'We Are Asleep' album for 2013.
"The Universal Dance" is a song that was lyrically inspired by the song "Strange Overtones" by David Byrne & Brian Eno. In "Strange Overtones", the narrator sings about a person he hears writing music in the next door apartment and how that person is trying to put together a song. The narrator basically knows that eventually the song will come together and all the pieces will fall into place.
I thought, what a neat storyline. "The Universal Dance" plays along the same lines. There is a person living in an apartment and the female neighbor above is a dancer who is trying to figure out a dance routine. Our narrator is a retired dance instructor who has not danced in years but knows that he can help the struggling neighbor with this very difficult dance number. Throughout the song he works with her and helps her develop the routine until it's ready to be performed on stage and this is very gratifying for him.
The title of the song comes from a friend of mine, Ross Podgornik, who coined the term. I have this ridiculous, flamboyant dance move that I'm known to bust out from time to time and when we were in college Ross started calling it The Universal Dance. Eventually I realized it was the perfect title for this song.
Comment below. Do you think this song should be on our next sampler?
Ever feel lost in a cycle in a relationship where you should have a lot of catching up to do but yet the communication just isn't there or it has long ago faded? Ever feel like you're just treading water in a relationship and that all of a sudden the years have gone by and you have no idea who the person is you're with anymore? Well that's the story behind "Catching Up," the new single written by Tyler Mechem and recorded by Crowfield (Charleston, SC). Mechem has an uncanny knack for summing up the feelings and emotions that these uncertain times in a relationship can bring about. Mechem prefers for the listener to reach their own conclusions about what the song might mean.
Crowfield blends Infectious, charismatic rock with elements of Americana, alt-country, and pop and has been captivating audiences across the U.S. with an engaging stage presence and insightful and poignant lyrics. Frontman Tyler Mechem formed the band that would come to be known as Crowfield when he relocated to Charleston, SC in 2005 from Indiana. In 2008, they caught the ear of acclaimed producer Rick Beato (Shinedown, Needtobreathe, Crossfade, Trey Anastasio, Stuck Mojo, Charlie Mars). Crowfield's debut album "Goodbye, Goodnight, So Long Midwestern" (Ten Star Records) soon followed and won the band a legion of fans with it’s stripped down focus on rock and alt-country.
Crowfield’s third album The Diamond Sessions features a return closer to the band’s original sound. The album, also produced by Beato, features everything from ethereal acoustic solo numbers like “Measure of a Life” to soaring radio ready tracks full of horns and strings like “Catching Up” to the rock of “Mistake” and “Black Hills.” Formerly signed to Universal Records, Crowfield is full of broad commercial appeal and is currently on tour across the United States.
The song "Best Friends" is the title track off of our debut record, which we released this past August. I personally really like the placement of the song, since it comes right after the song "glow brighter", which in contrast is much more lamenting and dramatic. "Best Friends" started as a joke between myself (Sean), the guitarrist (Mike) and my roomate at the time Aldean. I heard Mike playing the chord progression that would ultimately become the song, and the words just came out of me. Lyrics are certainly the hardest part of the writing process for me, and as a result many of my lyrics do have an abstract, "come up with your own premise" type of aura. However, "Best Friends" is one song that everyone can grab the same meaning out of, and needless to say it has been a real hit on the record as well as on our live gigs.
When Mike and I finally showed the song to Paulie (Keyboards) and Sam (Drums), the song pretty much completed its self in one rehearsal. All of a sudden, we had this jazz-meets-randy newman type of song that we knew had potential to really grab people. I find that the song has a very abrupt, yet relieving impact when we play it live, especially because we often surround it with material that sounds NOTHING like that song. The contrast of our live set really comes full circle when we play it.
When the record "Best Friends" reached its labor stages, it was obvious that the record should be named after this song, particularly because the record literally could not have been done without some of our best friends. We are so thankful to all of the people who made the record possible (our engineer did ALL of the work for free, artwork was done by our close friends, friends always coming in and out of the studio as we pulled all nighters), that we even asked many of our friends to contribute to the shout chorus at the end of the song, so that they could help contribute to the love we felt towards them, and to the friendships that surround us everyday.
I woke up with no shirt, a bloody left foot and a hangover the size of the moon. I had no idea who the girl was laying next to me and was clueless as to how I got home. 24 years old, in between jobs and on the run from every major relationship in my life. It'd be great to say that this was a once and awhile occurrence, but at the time Broken Road was written, it had become a daily ritual. The first verse of the song is born.
Confusion: My life had become an over boiling melting pot of reckless self destruction, constant disappointment in myself and a relentless feeling of spineless mediocracy. I had recently committed to the notion that I would pursue the life of a musician. Nobody told me that the early stages would be defined by endless hardship, intense criticism and financial instability.
We were in between recording our EP a month later and I had put the song aside. I was living out of my F250 to save money for the album, and the band was drinking heavily to soften the hard floors which served as beds. Showers were few and far between and health had become a fairy-tale like notion we scoffed at. On a phone call discussing the recordings, a "friend" in the industry assured me that I was on the "road" to success. I had heard it all before and had followed the direction of too many people too many times. Bullshit! I was struggling just to get through the day- how could this be the "road" to success? The rest of the song came into my head as soon as I hung up.
"You want music that people can relate to?" I thought...
Here you go: a brief insight into my massive struggles while trying to make it in music. A sometimes painful, seemingly endless and brutally honest, Broken Road.
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Could any of us live without our cell phones? IPADS? Laptops? Have you ever stopped to think about how reliant we are on our digital devices for communication, information, connection, etc. A lot of people think that these devices connect us on a broader and more global scale, but I firmly believe that they disconnect us to reality. People seem to be losing the ability to have real, human conversations with each other in public. Kids text so much that their ability to emote and grow socially seems to be blunted. Now I may seem like a pessimist, but I'm not! I'm just stating my observations.
"Bomb in the Backseat" is a satirical rocker that shows how far we have really come to relying on technology and the endless amount of information that is available at our finger tips. The chorus states
"I got a bomb in the backseat waiting to explode, I learned how to make it from an app on my phone."
Though it may seem like an act of terror, the character is actually a symbol for the negative aspects of what can happen to us when attached to the digital world. it's a play on the fact that there are apps for almost anything these days, and why not a "bomb making app"???
Rock n' roll is without a doubt the most powerful vehicle to get a message across about society. Artists like The Stones, The Who, Guns N Roses, have all written songs about their views, and this is mine. Not to mention the song is really catchy!
The story behind "Pretty Little Mind"
The Song "Pretty Little Mind" is about all of the things that can happen when you have distance from your loved one. The lyrics begin "There's a strange strange stranger sleeping in my bed//now sleep for me is out of the question".
The journey of the song is from a one night stand to a lonely show ending with a run in with the police, laced with a Chorus of longing and hope.
I wrote this song missing my lover who was abroad for 3 months. In that time there were all of the things that I wasn't proud of, things that felt very insignificant compared to my love and my longing "counting seconds hours minutes days months till you're by my side". We pick and choose the way we appear to others, "Pretty Little Mind" is a reflection on that. It's a song many listeners have latched onto and on the whole a universal concept.
When I wrote "Big Fat Hissy Fit," the BP oil spill was happening. So the lines, "I like my coffee, like I like my Gulf Of Mexico: real expensive and all black," just came out. As a former resident of Florida, it was very sad news to hear. As I kept refining the lyrics, it started to evolve into this kind of social commentary about others and myself. The lyrics dive into the way our minds work when dealing with insecurities and mistakes we make over and over again due to human nature.
The main point the song tries to make is that we are all the heroes of a story that's going on in our heads. No one ever believes they are the bad guy, and with the exception of a few people in this world, no one is completely evil. Just ask any religious extremist group. A lot of people are against them, but they still believe in their hearts that they are doing the right thing! There is no right or wrong...just perceptions of right and wrong.
The story of Thieves & Gypsys song “Penny Arcade” is one of those stories that makes me try to understand the wondering spirt and wholeness that is called randomness. I didn’t really think much about what the song was about or what the message was until it was finished. It was a bit of a reverse effect on me opposed to the “standard songwriting method”. At the end and once I had a chance to think about Penny Arcade and look at the words and the music, I was able to understand what I was trying to get through to people.
In the early life of Thieves & Gypsys, every now and then I enjoyed playing on the streets in downtown Santa Fe. After a few showings I grew to enjoy the feeling of getting a chance to show off some songs that I had written and getting gas money. At the time I had been seen a girl for a few weeks. Like all flings it was interesting and had its place. A few weeks later she broke up with me during one of my small busking moments. About ten minutes after the break up, a man with a his six or seven year old daughter stopped to listen. He would ask me, at the end of my song, if I knew how to play any reggae music. I told the man “I only play original music” . His daughter looked at me and asked “What if you wrote a reggae song right now” I laughed and said I’ve never written a song on the spot but I could try. At that moment something just came over me and I put my finger to the strings and the structure for the song came out at that moment. Almost like a free style rapper. Then the opening lines to the song and melody followed:
“Penny Arcade a nickel a game
Can drive you insane, right from the start
Head for the heart right for the heart
tell me what you know”
I repeated that line one more time then created the chorus:
“So how low to your pretty little soul?
Tell me stories about what you don’t know”
Once I finished the chorus I simply ended the song. The little girl smiled and laughed then told me “That was not a reggae song!” I replied “Well I tried for you” her father dropped a couple of ones in my case and off they went to continue with their lives. I stayed there for a few more minutes trying to make sure that the song was burnt into my head. i then rushed to find a pen. I stopped a local cafe and asked a waiter if I could barrow a pen I then wrote down the chords and lyrics that had just been given to me out of randomness.
I would later head home call Aaron Jones to come over check out this song I had written. We sat in my living room for a few minutes talking and learning the song together. After I finished the lyrics of the song in that jam session we took a break to get some food.
Aaron and I ended up cooking and talking about bass players and bass riffs that we both loved. We finished eating and asked Aaron to come back to the living room with me to play the song one more time to lock it into our memory for our next whole band rehearsal. Once we finished it I felt like the song was solid and there was not much else to do but show it to Dave (drummer). But once I put the guitar down Aaron started playing a thumping bass riff that caught my ear. I asked him what that “You just played” he answered casually “A riff I like to warm up with”. With excitement told him we need that riff to finish the song. Aaron modified his little warm up riff to fit the song for the opening and closing bass riffs for the song.
We had a rehearsal sometime later that week with the whole band. Dave started the song with a slight reggae feeling. Aaron asked if he could play a “faster punk dancer version” Dave let the song begin and right after the critique Dave executed the idea and Penny Arcade was born.
After playing the song over and over Dave and Aaron finally asked “What is the song about” I felt like I had a blank look on my face. I really didn’t know what to say. I just told them I did not have the slightest clue. I looked at the lyrics and told them the story. I then realized that the song was about simply about that day and my girlfriend breaking up with me and this little girl calling me out to write a song. Then I looked deeper and realized that the opening verse was me telling myself that sometimes I can lie to myself to believe that there is something less to something or a story then there really is. Like how you are in a penny arcade but its a nickel a game. Out side it says penny arcade on the sign but inside the games cost a nickel. That was the original verse that I wrote on the street and it explained the whole song to me. There is always more to everything on the inside then what you see from the outside. Then the chorus when the line is “how low to your pretty little soul, Tell me Something you don’t know” It feels like you are diving in into that idea much more. Like how far do you need to got to understand something and everything in life.
I truly believe that this song was created out of randomness. I don’t think it would be the true and honest song if it was not for the events that happened to me at the time of writing it. If I had not been dumped that day I would not have had the deep thought of “why” in my head. If the little girl did not ask me to write a song there on the spot I had the opportunity to write a feeling that was still raw that didn’t have the chance to be diluted by whatever conclusion I would have drawn with my wondering train of thought. I own the emotion that of the song to Aaron random riff that just happened to fit the song so perfectly to pull it all together.
From that point Penny Arcade is requested before and during show. We believe Its a song that people turn to because of its honest raw message. I’m happy for this song and the randomness that is the fog around it.
The song "Crystal Fire" off of the album "Vaca Money" released on 9/30/11 was written by Adam Brown of Mosey West. The song was written in April 2011. After a rough night at the bars, Adam woke up to the smell of smoke in his home. The smell of fire was actually coming from the Crystal fire, a wildfire in the foothills west of Fort Collins. Adam stared out the window at the smoke as his head pounded from the night before. Snow fell lightly on the ground and Adam picked up his acoustic guitar and wrote the song about his experiences over the past few days.
The Story of Comfort Series #2
I don't really know how any of my songs begin—a half remembered phrase plucked from a book, or billboard, or something a friend said. A strange chord strummed in reaction to a creative dead end. I don't remember where this song sprouted. What I do remember is that it grew on the road.
In 2006 I went on tour for a long time. First a full six week U.S. tour alone with electric guitars, big amps, analog synthesizer, and a wide array of effects pedals, and then moving onto a two month long adventure around Europe. Five shows in two months with nothing but an acoustic guitar and an overloaded backpack.
I do remember banging out the intro verse of this song on a glockenspiel next to the campfire while camping in the wilderness of Montana on a night off from tour. I have a muffled tape recording of this somewhere. The next time I can remember really working on it was in Italy. I was playing a show at a venue in Tarcento, Italy—a beautiful small town at the base of the Dolomites that's built along one of the clearest rivers I've ever seen. I got picked up from the desolate train station there by a guy named Alejandro, who helped run the venue. He apologized for being late, explaining that he had had to cover the plants at his family's farm from to protect them from, as he put it, “ice balls falling from sky.”
He immediately took me to a farm where they ran a little restaurant on the property where everything they served was either produced on the farm or traded with neighbors who produced said item. That night I heard about some large waterfalls upriver a bit from where my hotel was. They had trouble explaining how to get there, but I remembered that they said if I followed the river upstream I'd find it.
The next day I used my only pair of shoes to walk in the rocky river the two miles or so upstream to the falls. Quite a site and a quite a day. I made my way back to my hotel after my river trek and worked on this song as well as others. I think I finished another song that I played for the first time that night as part of my performance.
From Tarcento I went to Florence where I had some friends enrolled in an NYU affiliated video production class. I made friends with one of their instructors and ended up staying in Florence for two or three weeks, sharing the flat where she was staying. During the days I would work on music there while she was teaching. From Florence I ended up going to a small series of five towns on the Mediterranean called Cinque Terre. There are hiking trails that run between all of the villages. I couldn't really afford to stay anywhere so I hiked around all day with my big backpack and guitar until I found a little spot up from the trail where I could sleep and wouldn't be seen. Not very legal, but very beautiful. A big bright moon, a warm sea breeze, and I could hear the waves lapping against the rocks below. I slept great.
In the morning I walked into town and got some breakfast and set out to hike to the next carless village. The hike quickly turned into a steep vertical climb, and I celebrated my youth, testing my physical limits with my heavy backpack and guitar through this steep rocky terrain.
Stops in France and Spain concluded the European leg of my trip, and I ended up in Brooklyn, New York for about two weeks. I was playing a few shows and just hanging out.
I was staying with a friend who had a great basement in Brooklyn in the house he shared. While he was at work I'd work on music. I believe I finished this song in that basement. If I didn't completely finish it, I finished it enough to debut it a couple nights later at a show I played.
This nine minute song is both a part of and a partial retelling of a pretty epic journey that solidified the importance of this style of travel to my creative pursuits.
Gas City is a place where it’s always just after dusk on the hottest night of the summer. Police sirens echo through the streets every hour, on the hour, but no one even notices any more. It’s little more than background noise, like lost children crying for their mothers or the sound of overworked air conditioning units, trying to spit out their final last breaths of cold air before breaking down for good. Single 60 watt bulbs glow electric on booze, pills, stripper’s lace, newspapers from months ago. Everybody plans on getting out one day, somewhere that life isn’t so damn hard, but the city only holds your dreams and hopes out in front of you, just out of reach, just like the moon.
‘Gas City Blues’ is about two people that almost found something like love in a place like that.
"'I'll Take It All' is one of our favorites, because it captured a moment in our early days as a band. Diego and I were preparing for an open mic one day, when I came up with a rhythm using some unique chord structures I'd recently learned. I just couldn't get this rhythm out of my head, which is always a good sign. Diego started singing along and came up with a pretty good melody -- no solid lyrics, but that didn't matter.
The song was only hours old when we packed up and headed to the Stone Bar in Hollywood. Evan had been out of town that day, so he had no clue about the song. I had just told him about the song's time signature when he got to the bar. We ended up being the last ones to go on that night, which worked out well. Why? Because after we did our two songs I asked if we could play a song that we'd come up with earlier that day. Diego immediately looked at me like I was crazy, since he had no lyrics, but I just smiled and pushed him back onstage.
I launched into the opening riff with Evan figuring it out on the fly. Soon the melody that we had worked on at home was gone, and Diego was flowing in a way I'd never heard before! He began singing about what he was seeing: our friends having a great time, drinking, dancing and showing their support for what we were doing. It quickly became the theme of Diego's lyrics and ultimately the song. When we finished, the reaction from the crowd let us know we had just done something special. Now, if only Diego could remember the lyrics!
Fortunately for us, our good friend Don Tonic was set up to record the performances that night and surprised us with a copy. After listening to it, we realized we wanted to keep about 85% of Diego's spontaneous lyrics and the new melody line. With a little tuning 'I'll Take It All' was officially born. It quickly become a favorite closing song at our shows as it sums up the night of good vibes and great people."
I was asked once, what was the funniest gig experience I have ever been through. While I have several hundred stories I could tell, one event on the road really sticks out for me. First a little background on my childhood. My name is Joe Vitale Jr. and I am the son of veteran rock drummer Joe Vitale, who has played drums for the Eagles, Buffalo Springfield, Joe Walsh, Crosby Stills & Nash, Dan Fogelberg, Peter Frampton, and the list goes on. I had a normal childhood but I also grew up going out on tour with my dad. My mom and I watched my dad perform with a multitude of groups and at nearly every show there would be something hilarious worth mentioning.
In 1991, my dad was out on tour with the Joe Walsh opening for the Doobie Brothers. Now as many of you know, Joe Walsh is quite a character... So are the Doobie Brothers. The events which follow started as a simple prank by Joe Walsh and his band serving drinks like waiters to the Doobie Brothers while they were performing their show. This one event started a chain reaction prank war between Joe Walsh's band and the Doobie Brothers and each night they tried to one up each other. This continued for several weeks until the show in Cincinnati, Ohio. During Joe Walsh's song "Funk 49", my dad and another drummer (Joe Walsh likes to have 2 drummers on stage) would toss drum sticks back and forth during the drum solo section. The crowd has always loved this going back into the 1970s. Although I was only 14 at the time, my job was to catch the drumsticks that fell in between the drum sets. This night was no different except that this night the Doobie brothers had lined up behind the wall that separated their equipment from Joe Walsh's gear. Each of them had 2 cans of silly string and when the drum solo started, like a sky full of spaghetti, the silly string flew! It covered both drums sets and due to the wind that evening, the bulk of the silly string landed, covering me. I have all of this on video.
Needless to say the counter attack on the Doobies had already been thought out, planned, and executed. Cincinnati has a wonderful zoo and before we got there, Joe Walsh had his staff contact them and ask them if they could bring out a variety of animals to be paraded across the stage during the Doobie Brothers son "Jesus is Just Alright." The Zoo was happy to comply. So like Noah leading the animals two by two to the ark, Joe Walsh, (dressed as Noah) led the parade of animals, including parrots & emus across the stage. This final strategic strike won Joe Walsh the prank war and forever resides in my memory as one of the funniest on tour events I have ever been a part of.
Joe Vitale Jr
Let the Rain Fall was penned in the backyard of my apartment in the Spanish Harlem section of New York City. One of my best friends was going through a difficult breakup at the time and I wrote the song for her. The verse talks about those final moments of a relationship when you know it’s about to sink but you just can't let go.
While the song began as a "break up song" it quickly turned into a song about letting go and starting fresh. Rain is often associated with sorrow but I find it can be cleansing, beautiful and pure. In the hook "let the rain fall down on me, let the water wash my pain away, goodbye sorrow and hello to a brand new day" that's the idea I was hoping to convey.
Musically the songs structure is fairly simple. The challenge for us was to bring in other elements to give the song a unique sound and feel. The addition of the pizzicato style plucking of the cello strings adds subtle color to the background that for me simulates the falling rain of a passing storm. The Tabla dictates the rhythm at the beginning of the song and represents a beating heart. Towards the end of the song the full drum set kicks in, adds intensity and drives the song from what initially began as folk based, singer songwriter tune into a rock ballad.
The story behind my song "The Journey" was inspired by...well, the multitude of changes that were so rapidly taking place in such a short amount of time. I was graduating from college, most all of my friends were moving away, and on top of being stuck in the post-grad pocket of "what the hell do I do now?", the decision was also clear that I needed to leave the beautiful town of Bozeman, Montana which I had come to know as home, and make the move to Los Angeles. That was really scary for me. In Bozeman it is easy to get really comfortable and I just wasn't growing in the ways I wanted. I started reminiscing; thinking of great times, terrible times, times I've wasted. I started to reflect on everything. I would hum this tune in my head while I was scraping ice and snow off of my windshield which I have always hated doing, but part of me wondered if I'd miss it. Months went by and little by little the song wrote more and more of itself. Later, before I moved out, I sat there on the couch scanning over the house I had lived in for years with two of my closest friends and just wondered "where the heck did time go?"
I still feel like yesterday I was that little kid wondering what I'd be, what I'd look like, where I'd go when I grew up. I'm not entirely convinced anyone ever grows out of that. Everyone has a story; everyone's journey is different, but somehow we all seem to think that ours is the most important. It's just always been funny to me how that works. The culmination of how I felt about everything in those moments is ultimately how this song came to be. So there on that couch, almost half asleep, I deliriously scribbled down what eventually became an entire song. Especially being very new to songwriting at that point, this song remains very special to me. For me it is a record of where I was, where I am, and I will remember to take it with me wherever I am going. I hope that anyone who hears this song feels the same way. Ultimately, everyone is a journey and that journey only ends if we allow it to. And in listening to to one of the themes of the song, I should probably take more of my own advice and not be afraid. Get out there and do stuff with your life. It really is way too short.
I'll tell you the origins of the song Movement Finds the Man. The original spark came while riding the El train through Chicago. I rode past Harold Washington Library (or college, or both, not sure) and I simply wondered who this man was so I googled him on my phone. I read a bit about him but one quote really moved me and it was Washington speaking about Martin Luther King, Jr. and he said something along the lines of great movements find men (women too) to attach themselves to. Great people do not go out in search of these things. They are simply living their lives and trying to do what they believe and maybe make a difference when these 'movements find the man.'
Fast forward a few years. I was walking to a guitar lesson on the Lower East Side when I came across a chalk drawing of a flower on the sidewalk. I guess I was feeling particularly lucid that afternoon and the line 'flowers in the pavement, everyday is perfect, i guess.' came to my mind. I was particularly excited about this one because the melody was there and it felt like it was gonna come together without much effort, which is a rare treat! As I got into it, it became a song about trying to live my life with a faith that I am exactly where I,m supposed to be. That there is comfort in knowing that the universe functions just as it should and that I play my part perfectly and that if I behave as I ought to and continue to work on myself and be a better man, the movement I seek will somehow find me. Whatever all that means.
Baby / I want to be
the one who makes you act crazy
Don't believe / what you see
I feel tired and lazy
I don't want to fail this Chemistry
I'm not going to change the air you breathe
I just want to make the most of the least amount of company
Lie to me / just be discreet
and don't offend me with integrity
I get mean / when you corner me
and I may seem more like an enemy
But I don't want to fail this Chemistry
I'm not going to change the air you breathe
I just want to make the most of the least amount of company
I don't want to fail this Chemistry
I'm not going to change the air you breathe
I just want to make the most of the least amount of company
I wrote this song about wanting to make a relationship work but not setting the bar unrealistically high. I'm more or less providing a disclaimer for a potential love interest in the verses. The chorus begins with a nostalgic reference to high school chemistry and then proceeds to deglamorize the idea of love in favor of a more pragmatic approach.
Oliver Sean’s latest single ‘All I Remember’, which was launched in the US last month during the singer’s first major US Tour, has been selected by the Recording Academy along with two of the artists music videos ‘So Good’ and ‘Alone’ for the 55th Grammy Awards Nomination list.
The new single features Oliver Sean’s distinctive style of percussive rock laced with heavy licks and earnest lyrics.
This International Portuguese star already has a huge fan following in Asia and The Middle East and is now gaining a growing legion of fans in the US and the UK.
He recently spent time in Lisbon after completing his US Tour before jetting off to Dubai for a TV premiere followed by a headlining performance in India at the Miss India Contest.
This is the second year in the running that Oliver Sean’s music and music videos have been selected as exceptional recordings by the Recording Academy and placed in the Grammy Awards nomination list.
The year 2012 has seen some major milestones being achieved by Oliver Sean, first with the announcement of the singer’s MTV Europe Music Awards nomination followed by Oliver Sean’s first major US Tour headlining at historic venues including ‘Cafe Wha?’ and ‘Whiskey A Go-Go’, where legends like Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and the Doors have all performed. And now the announcement of the Grammy Awards nomination list second year in the running firmly establishes Oliver Sean as a force to reckon within the International music scene.
“The Grammy’s have been a dream of mine since I was ten years old and watched AC/DC perform at the Grammy Awards on television” says Oliver Sean, “this year is particularly special for me because the song selected for the nomination list ‘All I Remember’ is one of my absolute favorites and both the music videos selected for the nomination list are directed by me.”
Besides being an award winning and respected singer songwriter and music composer Oliver Sean is also a film maker.
Several of Oliver Sean’s productions of his own music videos and various International artists’ music videos currently play on international music channels like MTV and Vh1, all directed and produced by Sean.
His music video ‘So Good’ is now an MTV EMA Nominated music video and a Grammy Nomination finalist making this platinum selling single, which is also the title track of Oliver Sean’s last album 'So Good' his highest selling single till date.
Oliver Sean is currently working on his new album and the music video for the ‘All I Remember’ single which will hit major networks in the 1st quarter of 2013. Also in the works is the much talked about Oliver Sean LIVE in the US DVD which is to be released in a few weeks and Oliver Sean fan club members will receive this DVD for free. Sean is also gearing up for his headlining performance at the Scorcher fest in Sydney Australia on 22nd December 2012 and several gigs across India, Dubai, Bahrain, Muscat and Qatar all through December, January and February before heading back for his second tour of the US in June of 2013.
For the latest information on Oliver Sean and to join the artists’ fan club please visit http://www.oliversean.com.
Comment on "All I Remember" below...
A verse by verse story behind the song "Wait this out" by EXILE SESSIONS
"Haven't been the best of friends to you"
- I was BAD
"I've seen better days with you"
- there were great times.There were fulfilling moments. There was a fork in the relationship road. The relationship took the turn that said "sayonara" to good times.
"Only too aware that distance creates distance"
- Nobody is a fool in love. We only play the fool. We are aware of the emotional distance we create. And we are aware that it gets bigger with neglect.
"Took it just enough to fall apart, i wish we took it too far"
- If you take a cake out of the oven too soon it falls apart. Unless that cake says "Carvel" on it. I love Carvel cake.That i love ice cream cake is not important.
" You should wait this out"
- If you wait- it'll be better than not waiting. Dig?
"Now my imagination is spinning to make up a memory that seems fitting"
- DE - NI- AL
"But lying is empty. You're bitter,loyal and you love me"
- RE-AL-ITY with a side of growth.
BRIDGE AND FINAL CHORUS
Tricks For The Heart...
It was fall, I had to crank out a photoshoot for my 3rd album, and the photographer really wanted to do the shoot at our local State Fair in Asheville NC. I hadn't been to the state fair since I was at least 12 or 13 when the lights and endless rows of people all added to the excitement of paying to play on a big machine playground. Being in my late 20's at the time however, the thrill was slightly fading. For some reason all I could think about the fair was; a lot of people, farm animals that smelled like poo, rides that gave you whiplash, corndogs, funnel cakes, deep fried snickers, butter, oreo's, and every other unhealthy thing you could think of to deep fry all available for a nice chunk of change. I wasn't sure if I was excited...or worried.
We arrived to the fair right before sunset. The photog's girlfriend bought me a candy apple, and we began to snap shots in front of rides in motion. So far, so good. As the sun set, we decided to jump on the ferris wheel and snap just a few more shots to see what we came up with, despite the loss of light. As we rode the ferris wheel...all the fair's lights began seem brighter and more enticing. I began to read some of the signs & examine the games for the little booths down below. They had booths where you could wager how many balloons you'd pop by throwing darts to win crappy stuffed animals, there were the rubber ducky lottery things, where you pick up a duck and hope it's the right one to win a plastic cup...basically, all the classic state fair booths where you could try your hand at luck for a "small fee". As I looked at the booths, and the people throwing their money into them, only to lose after they used their 3 turns up...I noticed that one of the booths was called "Shoot Out The Moon", which instantly created all kinds of imagery in my mind. As we continued to go around in circles on the ferris wheel, I kept seeing that sign, "shoot out the moon" over and over again, and song line ideas began to creep into my mind. By the time the ride was over, I had the story for my song, Shoot Out The Stars clear in my head.
I saw a story in my mind of a hopeless romantic after a breakup, feeling tortured by other people in love everywhere they turned. To the point where they just wanted to shut out every romantic notion they could think of, in order to avoid feeling lonely. They would even pay money if they could, to shoot out the stars, ignore the moon, pretend it just wasn't there for a while. Or at least until they felt better. The "Shoot Out The Moon" booth, along with the others, just seemed to have such a funny parallel with pessimists of love, or the aftermath of a broken heart. However, I should point out that when I was at that fair, I was still in a romantic relationship, so it wasn't until about 6 months later when the relationship began to end, that I was able to make that idea in to a song with feeling.
Luckily, It eased the sting of that relationship ending because it brought a humor to mind in comparing it to just another state fair game booth. In a nutshell, that relationship was like those frivolous state fair game booths with their fun flashing lights... it looked like fun to the eye, but in reality it was focused around a trick of paying more for something than it was worth. Then when you've spent to much, you realize you've been had, and you remember not to be fooled again by such candy coated musings. And of course, if enough time passes, you always might just forget the lesson and do it all over again...but hey, C'est la vie! Best to enjoy the ride. You just might get a song out of it instead of whiplash every now and then.
When I wrote this song, "Make it Happen", I was exploring the path that leads us to our dreams. Writing this tune also helped me learn more about myself as a person so that I could inspire other human beings to not give up on their dreams under any circumstances. I deeply believe that we have all been born into this world to become happy individuals and to help others do the same.
Catch My Breath
The lyric, "I'm trying to catch my breath, but I haven't caught it yet" says it all. When an important relationship comes to an end, people don't seem to feel the emotional repercussions it brings at first, but when they do, its like getting the breath knocked out of you. This song touches on how a broken relationship can bring you to your knees.
"Catch My Breath" is mostly about a breakup I went through with my current girlfriend. When she broke up with me, at first, I didn't feel anything - I was cold. Then, after a few days, I started to feel the impact that our breakup had on me. Emotions flooded my body and I was left lonely with no one to talk to. I missed her very much, but didn't have a clue how to tell her.
After a month of hardly any contact with my, at the time, ex-girlfriend, I heard about how our breakup took a toll on her. I was told she missed me just as much as I missed her and finally, I realized what I had to do - I had to catch my breath. Soon after, I reconnected with her and we're now we're happier than ever. This song is dedicated to her.
The song "Ghost and Me" was written both by Ryan Koch and Leeane Melendez. Ryan was going through a break-up and wanted to express his grief through a song that he had composed an instrumental for. He wrote the first verse, which caught Leeane's eye, however, she though the song needed more of a cohesive theme. The two did some thinking, and ended up likening their past-relationships to "ghosts," because they always somehow come back to haunt us. This was the first song Ryan and Leeane shared the lyric writing duties for because Leeane had previously written all of the lyrics to Ryan's instrumentals. The outcome of the song changed their songwriting process for the better. The two now collaborate on every aspect of their music by mutually sharing a stake in the creation of lyrics, melody, and instrumentals.
One night, many moons ago, I was nursing a heartache with Jack Daniels and a few of my friends. As the evening passed and the Jack and Coke settled in, my friends and I sat in my bedroom while I complained of my broken heart. As I made a few statements and reminisced a few memories, my friend Lisa raised her glass high in the air and shouted, "I'll drink to that!" We all cheered to her toast and I grabbed my guitar.
Within a few moments "Willie" was made. What has now become my most requested tune, and what is now known as a fun, rowdy drinking song spawned from one broken heart, one bottle of Jack, and three friends on my bed crying in our drinks. I'll drink to that!
The song ‘Clarity’ has a special connotation for us. We met while working at an acupuncture clinic in Santa Monica. I, Alicia, was going through a bit of a rough patch. Having studied music almost all my life and having recently graduated from Cal State Northridge with a degree in Vocal Performance, I was feeling lost with how to proceed with a career in music and not at all happy to have to hold down a 9 to 5 job while figuring it out. At one point I even considered that maybe music wasn’t what I was meant to do after all, and I became even more confused. So at work one day, with needles sticking out of various parts of our heads and while drinking the barely tolerable herbal tea given to us by the doctor, I turned to Aura and said exasperatedly, “I just need to find some clarity.” Aura then turns to me, a shocked look on her face, and says, “I just wrote a new song called‘Clarity’!” Not long after, we performed at our first open mic together, performing ‘Clarity’. After that performance we both decided that this was something we wanted to pursue. A year and a half later we came out with our EP, and titled it ‘Clarity’, of course. I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes you get what you ask for : )
St. Louis based Aaah!RealMonsters recently released their first full length album, Relocate, in August of 2012 and will begin the recording of their second album in the months to come. Composed of band mates; Tom Watkins, Matt Moore, Nick Dawes, Keith Bowman, and Ryan Martin, the group is aggressively pursuing recognition in the ever expanding pop-punk scene. Lead singer Tom Watkins and composer of the single, You'll Get What's Coming explains how the anthemic single came about. The song came to the band as a, "show and tell," display in one of the band's rehearsal's, and the band was immediately impressed and inspired to bring their potential hit to the attention of their producer, Aaron Baker. Since it was released, it has taken some national attention and has notably been selected to be featured on The Morning Drive Mix for 103.9 FM, The Rock of Long Island. DJ Henry K invited A!RM to sit in the studio and run through a brief interview.
The track is a real life account of an abusive relationship involving Watkins' mother. A melancholic lyrical composition serves as a threat to the abusive significant other; letting him know that one day he'll get whats coming to him. The first line, "a diplomatic man wears a suit and a tie," and the first line of the second verse, "a diplomatic man keeps his hands to himself," is addressed to Tom's mother, telling her that when the right person comes along, he'll be, "wearing a suit and a tie," while crossing his T's and dotting his I's. The metaphor serves to describe that she deserves someone who treats herself and her family with the up most love and respect. "she wont be coming home tonight," expresses the distress that this relationship put upon Tom and the rest of his family.
Tom sculpted an intense sway of emotion throughout this tune. A few of the intense bursts of emotion occur around the phrase, "go and relocate yourself," which was Tom speaking out and telling this abuser to find a new place to cast his shadow. Listeners are encouraged to sing along and poor out their own emotions in whatever way they relate to Tom's lyricism. This call to arms is especially evident in the tracks anthem, "you'll get what's coming to ya." By this point Tom has said all he can say and has clearly indicated what's in store for the diabolical 'other.'
A harmony of group vocals is put in place to demonstrate the shared disapproval of his mother's relationship with this unimpressive man. The cornucopia of vocals is brought together at a high point of emotion building toward the finale and leaving listeners' ears ringing with thoughts of karma in "you'll get what's coming to ya."
Tom's raw honesty is tangible as the song holds true to his real world experience; this rough patch in his life served as the inspiration for the popular single by Aaah!RealMonsters.
"Prove Me Wrong"
I don't know why I use the word "buddy" so much. This is the second time. The first was in Le Meu Le Purr's song "Celebrate". I guess I just like the ring of it. I remember writing the first few chords and the melody. Then, "The Hope For Man Is Gone" came out. I don't know from where. Maybe it's was everything on the news, my way of poking fun at myself, or just listening to "The Wall" too much. I've always been a sucker for hope; things can and will get better if you want them to. I thought I should write the song taking the point of view of a king, a tyrant, a president, big business, or even god. "Maybe one day someone will hear it and get pissed off enough to do something about their situation" I thought. Of corse this is 50% bull shit. I'm really just yelling at myself.
We Are Waiting is the title track to the debut EP by the Dallas-based band Always The Alibi. We usually close out our shows with this song to leave on an energetic high plus it has a great call-and-response thing going in the chorus. We love to get the crowd involved in this part and they always have a good time singing with u
This song was one of the most fun to record in the studio. It has a good energy and we love all of the texture added to the verses. Our producer, Bryan David, has such a knack for building little counter-melodies to the primary tracks. It gets interesting because you never know if what he's suggesting is going to work until you hear the final mix.
People have always asked what the song is about or the inspiration behind it, even a few of the band members. Like a lot of songwriters, I prefer to leave that up to the listener. It's not a political statement, just a call for every person to find their own voice to what matters to them.
As a songwriter and lyricist I've come to terms with the fact that I can't simply sit down and 'work' on a song. I've found that the good ones usually arrange themselves somewhere out in the ether and are beamed down to me. When that happens I grab a pen no matter where I am and wish for the best.
Ooh Girl was kind of like that. I was renting a tiny apartment by the beach during the last days of Fall in Santa Cruz. I'd broken up with my longtime girlfriend a month before and was getting mentally prepared to face the holidays and my crazy family solo for the first time in a few years. In the middle of my self pity I remembered what a friend had told me about manifestation. I put aside my skepticism and spent a few minutes imagining my dream girl. What she wore, what she looked like, where we would meet, how everything would happen so simply and beautifully. I immediately had a storyline in my head. When I sat down the song just came to be.
I never knew it would end up being so popular or that people would identify with it so much. I've seen little kids doing covers of it on YouTube. I've been stopped by a marine fresh off the boat from Afghanistan that told me he'd play the song every morning before deployment and think about his home and his wife. But the most common question is always 'so...who is the girl with the dark hair?' I always enjoy telling people it's a song about no one. It's a song about meeting that dream girl, not the happily ever after part, just the one moment or night when it happens. That first eye contact that make your heart flutter. It's a feeling we all crave and I'm so stoked the song captured a small part of it.
Walking with Strangers is about the unwillingness to start fresh with anyone, give anyone new the benefit of the doubt. It's about not trusting friends or acquaintances, to living forever lost in a crowd, and to decide this is the easy answer to a problem seemingly figured out.
I wanted the song to have a simple feel that would imply everything is fine, but also capture the stubbornness of a person set in their ways, or their decision. It explains a state of mind, at first with the attitude that "this is what I don't want from you, and why if you ask anything of me, you won't get what you want." That message becomes a more honest reflection, "this is all I've ever gotten from people like you."
By the bridge, the song opens up and all the tension is released. Whether this signifies anger, the true longing for companionship, a desire to change, etc, is really up to the listener. It's a glimpse into what is truly felt behind the mask of calm. Rather than using words to explain it, the release is in the music.
When the energy begins to subside, you get the sense that nothing is going to change how this person feels, and the song comes full circle back into the facade of calm and solitude.
I wrote this about personal experience of finding it hard to let people in after metaphorically burning my hand on the stove too many times. It's not meant to support the idea that people should be alone, but rather understand that nothing is really as simple as it seems. No one does anything for simple reasons, but are always led by fears and desires they can somewhat express, but not necessarily fully understand, and below the facade of what we tell ourselves, there is a very deep well of raw emotion. Walking With Strangers is about how some of us keep it all under a tight lid.
Odd Wounds is one of our favorite songs.
David wrote most of it in his head while he was working at a deli, and business was slow. Andrea helped him smooth the ruff edges lyrically while they were walking their dogs. Who plays what is lost to time.
The cool thing about Odd Wounds is its a country song. All band members were born in Kansas, and old school country music is always around making it a tradition to write at least one country song; We accomplished this via Odd Wounds.
The meaning behind the song? Well being a country song its simple lyrics is suppose to help the listener unravel the complexities in their life via introspection BUT it can be used for anything. In my experience Odd Wounds makes for a great dog bowl.
This song begins in the incomplete philosophy I lived by in my youth. There were two things that made me happy: writing songs and being there for the people whom I cared about. When you are young, your "friends" are decided by proximity and social chemistry. You make a lot of decisions without ever knowing who people are, including yourself.
I found out that someone very close to me, someone I thought I knew best, had attempted suicide. I found myself holding the girl’s family together with every waking second after the unexpected event. I made myself available to the girl at all hours of the night because she did not come out of her shell until then. Someone had to, right? So time ran together for 37 days and 37 nights until I had nothing left. There was no patience in me anymore.
Right when I was sure it could not get any worse, the former boyfriend of the woman I was dating killed himself and blamed it on us in his note. All of the woman’s "friends" turned against her. The woman’s family, not knowing how much it hurt her, cracked jokes about her being "to die for" all the time. Between her friends and her family, I had a lot of fights on my hands. (At the time, I was boxing. It wasn't how I solved everything, but it wasn't a last resort as it should have been). It was lost on me at the time how selfish of a thing suicide is if there are those in life that truly care about a person.
I couldn't figure out how to be the woman’s lover and her friend through this, so we split. I became like a big brother (or a guard dog) to her instead, making myself available to her no matter what. The universe must have let everyone know that I was available to lean on again, because everyone called during the next few days with pleas, cries and yells of, "I need this," "I need that,” and, "I need you." I kept showing up until one day I ended up at my former lover’s house to resolve some issue between the woman and her brother. I walked in, kicked him in the balls, and started wailing on him. I didn't say a word, just let all of it out on him. I was breathing steadily, yet tears were flowing. I continued to rain blows down until he stopped fighting back. Apparently, the offense against her was bad, because she said thank you as I left. (He was in prison the next time I heard anything.)
I left without a word, proud for a moment. Then I realized, as messed up as he was, I didn't even know what he did. What did that say about me? I tried not to let it get to me. The next day I showed up at the gym, but it hurt my hands to wrap them up in tape! So, I skipped boxing and went to school. After school, the baseball team started taking batting practice. I hit one ball and throbbing pain went through my hands as I dropped the bat. So I went home. Then I picked up my guitar to write the pain away as I did when everything was a little bit more than I could handle. . . but my fingers wouldn't move the way they were supposed to.
I had to settle for just lyrics that day because I was being punished by the universe. After 17 years on the planet, I had not yet realized - if you are going to be a good friend, family member, or just there in general, you have to be able to stand on your own two feet first. Until you are, you will not be ready to be there for anyone else.
The music came six years later as I stumbled upon one of my first song books. The "Nightmare" of my youth was simply too important not to finish.
Writing and recording my own album has always been a dream of mine, but for many years I was too scared to chase it. I was managing to make a living as a professional musician playing other people's music but I wasn't happy. More often than not, music was taking a backseat to image, managers would screw me out of money, and I would be surrounded by people who treated me as one more disposable guitar player. Out of fear of losing my gigs and not being able to pay rent, I was forced to put on a fake smile and take it. Through it all, however, I held onto to the hope that I would eventually be able to play my own music for a living.
One day, after another painful rehearsal, the bandleader of a group I was working with handed out strict wardrobe guidelines, detailing everything, even what brand of socks the band was allowed to wear. If we did not follow these guidelines, we would not be paid. I am all for looking good on stage, but since this band had not yet written a single song, I decided I couldn't take it anymore and something inside me snapped. If I wanted a shot at my dream and the life I had imagined, I needed to start now and not waste any more time. I called up a producer friend of mine and the next day we began pre-production for what would become my first album, "No More Rain". I had no idea where this project would lead me, what the album would sound like, and certainly no idea of how I was going to pay for it all. I just knew I had to start taking responsibility and control of my own future.
"Jam #65" is one of the last songs I wrote and recorded, and did so to chronicle what I went through to get up the courage to make this album. Now, the "painful smile" I was wearing on so many gigs has be replaced by a real one. Thanks to the risky leap I took, I love what I do again and feel proud to have created something of my own that no one can take away from me.
"La Di Da" is a special song for us, primarily because it was the first song we wrote with a keyboard as the lead instrument. Prior to it, we had been a guitar/bass/drums-only band. But we made some discoveries, as we played with this new sound, that led us to prefer the keyboard-driven sound for the kind of music we were writing. We are now a mainly keyboard/piano-driven rock band, and we basically owe that metamorphosis to this song.
Lyrically, it tells the story of two people--Mary Johnson and Robert Brown--who meet and subsequently have their worlds changed. They fall in love and try to join their worlds together, which they find difficult to do in different ways. But throughout the song they learn that their differences do not pose threats to one another, and that whatever they chose to do about resolving their differences, the world still continued to turn.
The message behind the story was intended to be one of existentialism. Relationships and friendships have varying effects on the different people involved, and it is all dependent on the meanings assigned to the relationships by the participants. We get to choose whether or not the end of a relationship means the end of our world, or whether we can simply carry on with our heads high. We choose the lessons we take from mistakes made, and we choose whether we carry on the same as we have before, or whether we make significant changes to our behavior. Our lives and relationships are all upon our own shoulders, and no matter what, the Earth will keep spinning around the sun for us to have these little adventures upon.
Musically, we drew from old classic rock such as the Beach Boys, modern indie, pop-rock, some jazz, and even a healthy dose of Broadway music theater. This combination sums up Sun Ghost's sound, though we have our darker songs and our lighter songs. "La Di Da" is a light song, with a light message about some heavy things.
The inspiration behind Go For It started when my agent approached me and said he wanted to book me gigs in LA. I was extremely excited about the opportunity to perform in that market. When I begin doing shows in LA I noticed that there was a whole lot of competition. It didn't make me feel intimidated nor did it make me doubt my ability to perform on the big stage. But it did motivate me to examine myself to see what else could I do to become a better artist and rise above my competitors.
What Ends Well is inspired by a tumultuous point in my life. My parents divorced and we had to foreclose on the house. I started living on my own because my parents were in a custody battle over the younger kids and neither had the means to support my older brother and me anymore. Inevitably, everyone has to jump into what is considered “adult life,” but the suddenness of the situation left me in a strange state. As a result of the bitter divorce, my younger brother started acting out, so my parents decided to ship him out to live with my aunt in Colorado for a while—it ended up being nine months. I only found out the day before he left that he was actually leaving; since I was working to pay rent I couldn’t afford to take off work suddenly to see him leave. The whole situation left me feeling shaken and detached from my family and friends. For a time I just went in and out of tune with myself. I felt lost, unbalanced, and angry at the world. The lyrics in the song represent these feelings of alienation and paranoia. The title gives a bit of dark humor to the story; Shakespeare said “All’s well that ends well.” I ask, “What ends well?”
The song All the Things is based on two friends that grew up with me around Philadelphia. "All the Things" .... "we do for love" refers to their relationship. For the sake of all we'll call them Jack and Faye.
Jack, fitfully brilliant, possessed a charisma people tripped over themselves following. The very intensity that people swooned over was simultaneously what isolated him. Everyone loved Jack, wanted to be him, around him, but he had a mysterious fire within that fueled him. No one better understood how it burned him up than Faye.Faye was one of those rare souls brought into this world with an extraordinary amount of kindness and compassion for others, almost to fault. Despite the various hardships she endured, Faye's gentleness never calloused. Thinking back to our childhood, Faye only had eyes for Jack; their relationship grew so strong I began to imagine Jack whispering secret words to her one childhood afternoon that bound them together forever
The song has obvious allusions to the Occupy Movement that swept our country over the last year or so. The lyric of the song neither champions, nor denounces, the movement; instead, it's more about my own personal struggles with challenging the status quo and how, ultimately, as the song says, " [you have to] occupy yourself, before they [the establishment] occupy you."...which is a very zen, look-inwardly, "revolution in the head", type of philosophy. There's also some obvious double meanings to the title phrase, "Occupy Yourself". Aside from the thought-provocing lyrics, the song also has a really catchy chorus that, at least by the measure of our fans, is not easy to forget.
Rather than talk about just one song I've written, I'm going to write about the latest EP I released called If We Could See. I won't talk about each song obviously, but more so the main message/story about the album.
I grew up right outside Boston Massachusetts, then went to school at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. I never really thought about pursuing music full time as I graduated with an Economics as well as a Math degree then moved onto working on Wall st. in New York City. I would perform music on the side, but never really thought about going full time until a few years ago.
I was brought up in a very happy family who always taught us to think of others before ourselves. I was taught that being a good person, doing the right thing were paramount, but most of all be happy in life. After working on Wall st. for several years, I realized that I was not doing this. I had changed from the person I was raised to be and I didn't like it. So I started working with different charities including Musicians on Call (brings music to hospital patients' bedsides), Mid Atlantic Burn Camp (a camp for youths who are burn survivors), Music 4 More (an Org that helps raise money and donates musical instruments to schools around the country), and CHAP International (which is a group who travels to Africa each year to help build orphanages and help people of Liberia).
I started to think more and more about leaving Wall st. and pursuing music full time. After seeing children that I have worked with in these organizations accomplish so much, I became inspired to do the same. So a little over a year ago, I left New York City, moved to Los Angeles and have been pursuing music full time ever since. My message is simple, Be Happy & Help Others. Most of my music carries that message which is why I couldn't' really speak about one song, but rather the whole album. Each song has it's own small story, but the main message throughout the album is about enjoying life's journey but helping others along the way.
To give back to the organizations that brought me to the realization of what I should be doing with my music, I donate half my proceeds to them. I continue to work with them all and will also be traveling to Africa in June to Liberia.
Last year, Alex Silas set out on a three month backpacking trip across Italy and the Balkans to do a little soul-searching - all while balancing a full time job to put himself through university, pay rent and fund his own studio sessions. Along the way, Silas met up with fellow travelers, hung out with locals at a stop in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina and even went as far as to jump off a bridge 27 meters above the Neretva River.
Inspired by his travels, he immediately started writing and recording upon his return home and, over the next few months, Catania, Silas' new EP, was recorded, mastered and released independently. Almost immediately, Catania started getting adds on local college and university stations, charting in the Top Ten across the country. The song Carryin' On has received features on major stations like CIHT (Hot 89.9 FM in Ottawa) and CILV (Live 88.5 FM in Ottawa). All of this attention earned Silas a spot opening for Kardinal Offishall and Classified at JUNOFest 2012.
Now, Silas is back in the studio working on a follow-up EP due out this fall and performing shows in full support of Catania all over eastern Ontario.
You look up at me, your face covered in fear and dirt
Since my heart's been broken, things just haven't been the same
Is the ground not appealing? I chose it just for you
The box makes its closure...and I'm smiling again
You never liked to hide
You never liked to hide
You never liked to hide
But I must insist you do
The idea of the song Riviera was to have a contrasting mood between the music and lyrics. The jazzy, semi-upbeat atmosphere was meant to make the subject ironic and humorous. And, just to clarify, yes, the subject is about a killer obsessing over a crush, kidnapping her, and burying her alive. Initially, I was afraid to actually sing the lyrics in English and was going to translate the verse to French, but we could never find a translator. We still wanted a French vibe to the song though, so we named the song after the French Riviera, a location my guitarist visited as a kid. The whole thing was deeply inspired by songs like Butcher Pete by Roy Brown and Knives Out by Radiohead. Yeah, I supposed it is a bit morbid, but it's far more interesting than your typical love song.
Etienne Alonzo of Lonely Playground
The song "Nothing" is story about the struggles of a local band. Anyone in an orginal band can relate to the hard work it takes to keep a band together, book and play shows, and try to build a following. "Nothing" is a song that highlites believing in the band and putting in hard work with little or no reward hoping that one day it will pay off. We are all nobodies trying to become somebodies and using our music as a vehicle to do so.
Laughing For Now
It's our single and we had a close friend pass while we were writing it. The song is about partying too hard with every vice you can imagine. Knowing all along that you're killing yourself and at the same time not giving a shit and laughing about it all the way to the grave. The chorus says it all "I was laughing, I was grinning, and I was smiling while i was sinning, and I was Crying, Because I was Dying, but I was laughing, awe man, I was laughing".
There are some other good lyrics in that song as well, such as "we ride it until the sun comes up, 32 days out of every month" We love the simplicity of the song. Everyone can understand it and I'm sure a lot can relate. The song Home on the other hand has a deeper meaning. At first listen you'd probably think it's just about a drunk guy who can't find his way home. Really home is "the road" or being on tour. We were on tour for 3 years 3 years ago, and we have been trying to find our way back ever since.
One of Path Of Motion's newest endeavors, the unreleased song Lighthouses, from our upcoming EP, is an hard rock epic, from the point of view of a young man at sea, leaving everything he knows behind. The song uses vivid imagery and metaphors of violent winds and the high seas, while the man spends his days and nights without guidance, searching for somewhere to dock his boat and restart his life.
After the storm he sails in finally breaks, he uses the stars and his heart to guide him, and regains somewhat of an inner peace, regarding his new life, which begins at the sight of a lighthouse in the distance, beckoning to him, as a strong presence in a pitch black night.
We wrote this song with as a story, as we've all dealt with personal experience on leaving behind parts of our lives, and though you may not know what's coming, and it may be a rough ride, there is always a light at the end of the journey, you just have to be willing to ride out the storm. We all wanted to be able to reach out to people in a tough situation, perhaps embarking on a new journey, or in the midst of big changes, and convey to them that if you stick it out, it really will be ok, you just have to be willing to work and wait for it.
Path Of Motion
Jeff Zimmerman - Guitar, Lead Vocals
Brian Kron - Lead Guitar, Screams
James McCreavy - Bass, Backing Vocals
Chris Grogan - Vocals, Drums
Song From 22
When I was 22, I met a 21 year old. The first time we hung out, we had a "marathon date," if you will. We played drinking games and watched movies, drank a box of wine while walking around the city of Boston at 3am, took the subway to the beach when the public transportation opened, stopped off at the airport for coffee and donuts, bought pancake mix for lunch... and collapsed from exhaustion. The entire event lasted about 14 hours. It was everything I was looking for-- irrational, mindless FUN!
I could get used to this...
We went to bars just for last call, hung out at playgrounds after-hours, and walked miles in the dark to get to crappy all-night diners.
Then... just as I was getting used to it... I remembered what it was like to be 21.
I'm not saying one year is a big age difference, by any means, but when you've just turned 21, you can drink legally, and BAM-- the world is your oyster! This kid had no intentions of making this a regular thing, let alone a committed thing. So, I came down from my dating high, wrote "Song from 22" and vowed not to stick around long enough for karma to show me what I had done just 1 year prior.
Ever since then, it's been one of my favorite songs to share with people. It's super lighthearted and relatable. I take people on a journey with me-- all the way up to cloud 9, and then right back down to earth-- snapping their fingers and tapping their toes along the way!
O, Be I Your Bluebird is a love song between two birds. Sadly, the love didn't stand the long distance between Montreal, Canada and NYC, but the feelings are still true today. As an American living in Montreal, Canada in the summer of my 24 years, I met a Métis (half Native American - Cree, half Anglo) guy, and fell for his honest music and dashing looks. His last name was Cardinal, and I, always flighting around from this country to that (US, Canada, France, Germany), found someone whose eyes I wanted to see through. He was a Rocky Mountain countryman, a whistler, writing of tall trees shaking the hands with this God-given sky. Not that either of us were religious. It was an all-encompassing understanding of the divine quality of time and distance.
When we were living and loving long-distance, he wrote a poem for be, talking of staying by. I wrote in turn for him, andThe song starts out talking of whistling trails and round rump tails. Intimate times with each other.
Humans is that special kind of post-punk that blends heart-tugging melodies and distorted guitars to embody a certain component of youth we can all remember and identify with. This song is colorful and bright, even when the theme is dark and gripping and even spacey. This song is about how small each and every Human can feel at times "a grain of sand on the beach''. but it also is about how we all no matter how small can make the most out of this life and how we have some kind of purpose being alive here and now ''don't you feel like there something more out there I refuse to believe in nothing we have to exist for a reason'' another line from the song "This is not all that we are". This song is an anthem of life that you can relate to no matter what emotion you are feeling.
Black Dimes by James Gilmore
There are many things I'd like to see before I die. As a generation, we've been a part of incredible change, a two steps forward one step back progression that frustrates and inspires all at once. I was born in the opening credits of the 1990's, January 4th. By the time I could crawl, Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait which led to the Persian Gulf War. I was barely forming sentences when it and the Cold War had ended, and Los Angeles was ablaze with riots. When I was a toddler Bill Clinton was sworn in as the President of the United States.
The story behind this song begins in the depths of a canyon. Far below the capabilities of a river is where we sat. The night was filled with desert air - thinner than paper and sharper than a knife. We had been touring for two months. We had just finished our Midwest and East Coast tour and we're parked at the Grand Canyon. Ansley began strumming the guitar as the band began dancing around the campfire like forgotten salamanders in island's cave. The melody began to channel the past - filled with nostalgia and excitement - like a turquoise ice ocean filled with pink fish - the song "uh oh" began to come to life. We spoke of Destruction and happiness and the inevitable demise of the universe. Afterall - it has to happen one day. Nothing lasts forever. However, Ansley began to question this in the song as she began to lay cryptic hidden messages within the lyrics of the song of the true meaning of life. Using an ancient coding device known to the Ubaids there is a hidden message of hope and unity amongst the living and the dead - - - thus, Uh Oh!
In the Spring of 2009, I was in my third year of living in Seattle, and had never felt more trapped. Caught in a vortex of heartache and frustration after another failed relationship, dealing with a band on the rocks, and coping with the crushing corporate monotony of my day job, I was ready to hang it all up and drive back home over the Rockies - Chicago, specifically - to live with my parents and get a fresh start. I stumbled through the summer largely alone, clumsily attempting to tie up loose ends with my remaining obligations and living like there was no tomorrow, as I knew I'd never be coming back.
It took that period of self-indulgence and confronting the three years prior head-on to bring me to the realization that moving back home wasn't what I really wanted (I didn't know what it was exactly, but moving back into the basement wasn't it), and that as soon as I got back to Chicago, I'd start fantasizing about escaping again, taking the first ticket out of town and making the same mistakes all over again.
The song I wrote in this period, Empty Road, alludes to many things - wanderlust, self-loathing, nostalgia for times that have hardly even passed by - but what I mostly wanted to get across was that while escaping to the open road is an incredibly freeing, and often is a very necessary step towards finding clarity and getting closer to achieving true happiness, it's really just that - a means to an end. For me, that end was moving somewhere new without baggage, (only three hours south to Portland, OR), eventually ditching the corporate job in pursuit of a music career, and getting a lot more sleep, but I like to think the message of the song is universal.
They always say write what you know. So I did with my song “Never Look Back” from my debut album “Dancing With Shadows”. Over the past 15 years, I've been working very hard to make it in the music industry like so many other musicians. It's tough to navigate and easy to be destructive if not kept in check. One day I was working in the studio and starting writing a new song. I hadn’t even titled it yet but it seemed to have a very powerful bass line and groove the more I worked on it, and it practically wrote itself. Like so many other singer/songwriters we put all our emotions, feelings, life circumstances into our work and I was going through a particularly difficult time-- but was determined to push forward.
I wrote "London-town" for a friend I knew back in college. She had studied abroad, and I imagined her in London during a snowy winter and missing her boyfriend back home in the States. Having been in London myself several years ago, I drew from the various places and overall charm of the city I remembered.
After putting "London-town" on the album, I called my friend to let her know I had written the song for her. She called me back not long after to tell me she loved it! Only...she hadn't been in London, she had been in Limerick, Ireland. And she wasn't there in winter; it was in the spring. And...she wasn't dating anyone at that time.
I still wrote this song for you.
The song of my band, Long Time Divided, that still resonates with me is our song Breaker. Not only was it one of the first songs that we ever wrote, but it also has a heartbreaking story to it that was born from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I just remember all the horrific news reports of all these people stuck on their roofs or fending for themselves in the streets but it wasn't until our band first formed and started writing the song in 2008 that I was able to put to words what I had seen day in and day out through all the broadcasts. To this day, Breaker is still the one song that we have requested at our shows over all the rest and I think it's because of the honesty of the lyrics coupled with the incredible guitar hooks.
The song "Want It All Tonight" is autobiographical. It is about a relationship in which two people fall completely in love and, as touring musicians, have to deal with the distance and separation interjected into the relationship. The song is about being willing to give up everything to, as the song states, "...spend my life in your arms". The lyrics are a reflection of my belief that if the passion is there, if the love is real, no distance can take that away.
When we started writing "23", we had been talking a lot about fugue states--psychological phenomenon wherein people inexplicably wander off from their lives and find themselves somewhere else later, with no recollection of the time in-between. (I think it started, actually, from talking about the use of fugue in music, where various melody lines work together to create a single, complex melody).
I am a solo artist that makes music to express my talent through wave sounds. The experience of being in different bands throughout my life has made this blend of attractive riffs possible. My influences are mainly from Argentinean rock bands, but it does not stop there. I blend my influences with British and American flavor to create the impeccable rock recipe. Being able to play different instruments, compose, mix, and master, gives me the ability to expose all of my talents on each track you hear. All of these different aspects make a final and tasteful rhythm that wakes your most inner audio sensors in your brain.
Fans of MOTU recognize that many of MOTU’s songs have a political or social message. An example of this is “A Better Day” from the “MOTU – Time Runs Faster” CD. Seeing the hardships that have come out of the housing collapse, and subsequent job losses that resulted from this recession, reminded me that we live now in a much harder time then the world I remember in my youth. The erosion of the middle class in America is a sad truth. However, America has seen tough times before and I do believe that better times are ahead. So this hope for tomorrow was the inspiration for this song:
One particular song, Bump, is an angry hard driving look at the destruction of drugs. The inspiration came when at one particular studio, the sound engineer who had been nominated for a Grammy asked me, "hey, ya wanna do a little bump?" It was obvious after years of "bumping" all that he had was gone, and all that was left was remnants of a man and heroin. Along with that picture was the memory of a close friend bass player with a gold record, and a beautiful, brilliant little boy, was so enslaved by cocaine, he would neglect his son. During a sober, cogent moment he realized what he had done, then realized his addiction. So torn, so filled with remorse and a feeling of no way out, he installs a hose in his exhaust pipe, closes all the windows, starts the car and goes to sleep forever. " Do a little bump and it all goes away"
Our fourth album, Window Dressing, is a concept album about how things aren't always as they appear. The song cycle travels from the simplicity of youth to the complexities of relationships and modern society. During the songwriting process I was reading "Owl at Home" by Arnold Lobel to my 6-year old daughter. The book has five separate stories but she would always ask me to read "Tear-Water Tea" over & over.
Who Really Knows
I sat there and rested until I caught my breath. I had been chasing her throughout the night into the early morning. Each time I reached for her, she remained just out of reach. I stood up and continued walking in the direction she had ran, until I collapsed from exhaustion.
The wind touched the back of my neck just the way she once caressed it. I heard the breeze whisper my name, and it gave me the strength to stand. I turned to see my love, feeling her presence. She was not there. The air grew heavy and dense, holding me captive and unable to move. I laid there the entire night, motionless and scarcely able to breath.
The night turned to morning, lifting the weight. Just as an inmate makes his escape from a prison, I stood and walked in the direction of her voice determined to find her.
Our worst and best gig experience:
We were on a tour in Asia last April (2012), and we rented a van to drive from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore to play at the Blue Jazz Café. We were all tired and crazy hungry after a week of gigging every night when we finally got to the border and were finally asked for our documents. We were all given permission to enter Singapore after our luggage was meticulously searched and we had to throw out OUR CHEWING GUM!!! Chewing gum is illegal in Singapore, who knew?! Only Avishai, our drummer was kept for about one hour at the border. The border patrol was telling us to play the show without our drummer, and not risk having him cross the border, and then not be able to return to KL. To say the least, we had a stressful time in the car arguing about what we should do. We just knew we weren't going to leave anybody behind. We decided to wait and hope for a miracle to happen that would enable all of us to make it to the gig on time.
Two hours later, the border patrol changed shifts and we sent our drummer out once again to try and get a temporary visa. Luckily, this time there was a lady interviewing Avi, and he managed to charm his way through and get his temporary visa in less than 10 minutes!!!! We continued driving to the Blue Jazz Café to find the city of Singapore to be a labyrinth of streets filled with expensive tolls! It was a huge challenge trying to avoid spending all of our money on these tolls and still somehow get to the club on time after all of our delays. We just made it to the gig last minute and we ended up playing for a huge crowd and making new fans that eventually came to see our gigs in New York last fall. The trip was a mess and it was the most stressful we ever had while touring. In the end, the show we played made it all worth it. By the time we started playing, all of our worries and stress were transformed into energy and excitement, and we played the best gig of our tour in Singapore.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, July 4, 2011, a group of us were gathered to celebrate and play music in a friend's backyard here in Marfa, Texas. One of my friends played a song called No Soy De Aqui, by Facundo Cabral, and it moved me so much I asked her to play it again. When I got home I looked up his song and music on the internet and found he was a beloved folk singer from Argentina and an icon in all of Latin America, much like Bob Dylan. He was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 1996, the same award given to Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama.
I was immediately inspired and I began hearing the music to a song and picked out the melody and chords within two days, but the words would not form within me. That following Thursday Facundo Cabral was mistakenly and brutally murdered in a drive by shooting in Guatemala on his way to the airport. I felt like I had lost a newly found friend.
That night I struggled with the words and music. I sat outside beneath a black, star-filled sky at about 3:00 a.m. The words began to form within me. I said aloud to the night, "this song will be called For Facundo Cabral, and the first words are the dance goes on, the song goes on". Immediately after I spoke the words a shooting star sailed across the sky above me, from north to south almost to the horizon, leaving a green trail of light. The next instant, another shooting star split the night from over my right shoulder, traveling east to west leaving a golden trail and almost seemed to skip out of the atmosphere. I laughed aloud. I felt like Facundo Cabral was telling me, thanks, see ya.
The words formed easily after that and the song was finished the next day. It is a tribute to him and his vision of a beautiful world that sings to us, if we only take the time to hear it.
Access Royale were headlining a festival in Warrenton, VA and the crew hadn't supplied a proper mat for the drums to stay in place. Mid way through a song, the bass drums started to slide away from Robzie (drummer). So the bass player thought to place his foot on one side of the drum head to prevent it from sliding any farther but it started to slide sideways instead. Robzie's foot was fully stretched at this point, still trying to maintain a bass drum rhythym.
The most amazing place I've ever been...... I'm from a small town, things are slow here and if you don't pay attention, this place will take time away from you. It's all so the same that weeks can go by without ever noticing it and no one really notices you, which I guess can be a good thing at times. All of these people who have accidentally acquired responsibilities and worries and addictions in the form of bills, kids, spouses (whether you like them or not), the bar, drugs, gossip etc. All of them with limited knowledge of the outside world and all so opinionated and uninterested in learning cause.......they all already know.
So for me it's become a bit of an addiction, the most amazing place. A place where every second is valued by everyone there. Everyone in your presence, taking in the spectacle that is your art. It can be 5 seconds away but things are so different once you get there. It's your place.