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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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 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.