Monday and time to head back in. “Call You Home” is on the agenda for today. This is a song that took me ages to piece together as a demo as there are lots of different parts. I had to place every drum beat due to my inability as an engineer and my general aversion to programs that have anything to do with making music. Could have saved myself a LOT of time with another program but wanted to learn it the ‘old fashioned’ way, if you will.
Again the natural place to take this song was into R and B, 70’s soul world. We spent an hour or so getting a loop underway that would sit underneath Matt’s verse groove. One of the main surprises of this session for me has been that Joe, and all of the players have been prepared to take on the parts that I have written for the songs. I am a terrible bass player, an average guitarist and a below average keyboard player, but in the main the parts on the demos have formed the basis of the tracking. So “Call You Home” has a bouncing, looping bass line that is complimented by a pretty complicated rhythm, lots of string and synth overdubs and (as many Americans like to say) a shit ton of harmonies. A song that is full of possibilities but also full of ideas that could bog it down if they aren’t carefully employed. Again Zac has taken the demo part to a new place. A smoother synth but with a big sweeping bend that has replaced a chromatic ascending run. Lots of my ideas are a bit stuck in the 70’s but Zac is able to interpret them and bring them up to date. His brain is in perpetual motion when it comes to trying new parts for songs. He must be exhausted by the end of the day. I just have to stand there and sing, come up with inane and mildly entertaining comments, and try to look handsome. No wonder I’m exhausted too! We decided to put a long outro on this and give the band a chance to ramp it up into a bit of a cacophony, or as we used to say in The Fingers, a David Duchovny. It’s enormous and once we add horns and triple guitars it will be the biggest moment on the album.
So far so good and we are moving on to “Grow Around You” which has a pretty catchy guitar riff and is a Bill Withers-y soul song. For some reason I seem to have mostly been motivated to write songs in my life in times of distress. It seems that it is a way for me, like for many writers, is a way to express things that I couldn’t put into an ordinary conversation. Inside a song the veil of timidity gets lifted and it is much easier to say how you feel. Someone very close to me was ill and in this song I am basically making a bargain with the universe that if things turn out ok and that they come back in one piece I will take care of them from now on. Sean has added a very active but tasty baseline to the bridge, which was until now the weak point, and given the whole tune a tightness that it never had before. Lots of tremolo on the guitars and a swinging beat help the whole tune to open up on the chorus.
OK, that’s the update for now and I hope you are enjoying getting some insights into where the songs are coming from. More coming soon and tune in for some snippets as things progress.