How are you preparing the release of your EP “Creation Myths”?
We’re trying to hit this on all sides really.
We’ve been bumping a social media campaign, we’ve released two singles, we’ve hired a PR firm to get blog premieres and interviews (like this one!) and we’re working with another company to try and get airtime on the college radio circuit.
Add to that a bunch of show dates around the east coast, and we’re really acting beyond our capabilities as a small band I feel.
Anything that gets attention, or that you can write headlines about, or post about, whatever. Just as long as the word goes round.
Is there a link, lyrically speaking, between all its songs?
I think that there are thematic threads.
Loneliness, self doubt, love, all the easy targets. But I think that each song on this EP is really its own animal.
They all deal with different ideas, they all have different sonic influences, and I think that gives them strength.
No one wants to hear the same song in different forms five times. That’s boring.
But they all touch on the universal messages that keep art generally relevant. Which is all to say that lyrically, no, I think they’re not intended to be linked.
What inspired the verses of “Contessa”?
Contessa was really a song that I tried to write without thinking too much.
Which maybe sounds counterintuitive or lazy or something, but I think that sometimes songwriters really get in their own way, and giving yourself space to just have a little fun can have some amazing results.
I did re-write it a little bit, but for the most part the verses stayed as they were, or rather, as they poured out of me.
And it’s really me talking to myself, in some way, I think, though of course the actually subject of the song is a nameless “Contessa” (Italian for “countess”) which I picked mostly for aesthetic reasons.
It’s a gentle reminder that things are ok, no matter how crazy you feel or how weird the world is.
Do you remember writing “Thank You for sharing”?
Oh yeah. This one was the most piecemeal of all the songs on the record.
I had these two really sectional guitar parts (the chorus riff and another that was condensed and ultimately used only sparingly, in the second verse) that I spent like two months building out with synths and drum parts. I was having a really hard time with the melody though.
And then I had a bridge part, and a little bit of a better idea with some of the melody, and still no lyrics.
And then I had the four other songs tracked except for the vocals, and the entire band was flying back out to do this one last song, and I was scrambling around trying to figure out this last piece when I had this really riotous weekend with some friends in the Utah desert.
Without going into too many details, I ended up locking myself in the bathroom Saturday night and just singing my heart out into my computer where I had the demo track.
And the next day on the plane to LA I wrote all the lyrics down on my phone, and by the end of that week that song had been tracked in its entirety.
It holds a special place for me, that song, because it’s about the experience I had in the desert that weekend, which will go down in my memory as one of the most beautiful, significant weekends of my life.
What is the best verse you ever wrote?
That’s such a hard question, because who can really say what’s “best?” Lyrically, there are ones I find more satisfying to sing on a kind of primal level, but others probably do a better job encapsulating what I was actually meaning to say (something that any songwriter will tell you is surprisingly difficult).
Gun to my head, I think it’d probably pick the first verse of “Zambia,” which goes:
So go to Zambia!
That’s a name, a place you’ve heard before
Poster you can splash across your door
On a lip the joint burns through
On a spit, you’re turning too
Most nights alive, you sweat like Zambia
Which I think is just creative enough to be enticing, without being too nonsensical as to be non-relatable, a problem I feel I run into a lot.
How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
With a lot of trepidation, back and forth, stops and starts, and tapping on my Iphone.
Lyrics sometimes come more easily depending on the song, but for the most part I find I am melody first kind of guy.
If I write lyrics without any music, mostly what I write is poetry, which is all fine, but often doesn’t translate into good lyrics. I can usually find words for a melody, though.
I also try and write down every line I hear or think of that might be good in a song, and sometimes if I need inspiration I’ll look back through that quote log and see if there’s anything compelling that’ll fit and go from there.
It’s a messy business mostly, but one I hope I’m getting better at all the time.
What is the last song you wrote?
The last full song I wrote is Thank You For Sharing actually. I’ve been writing again recently, and have produced a bunch of half-songs, but nothing complete.
Some stuff that might be good eventually though.
I’ll have to see. Logic Pro is telling me that the most recent file it created is called “Delirious Pop Song” which I’m sure it is, but I would bet that’s probably not what it’s going to be called if I ever release it, so, don’t hold your breath.
What does music mean to you?
Music is the language of birds, of angels.
Music is an expression that transcends nations, creeds, cultures and prejudices. Music is a unifying force in times of joy, pain, grief, confusion, anger, tranquility.
Music, love, and art as a whole, is probably the only thing really worth living for. Law, custom, capital and food may govern the body, but music is of, and belongs to, the soul.
What makes you happy in life?
If I ever figure it out I’ll let you know.
Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez