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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 : )
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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?"
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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