Friday, October 2, 2009

ABOUT A SONG - "Running with the Wasters"

This one came about in a very unusual way. I usually write the song on a piano or guitar, with all the melodies and chords planned out and the arrangement down pat before I even start setting up mics in the basement to demo it. The original demo I did of this about 3 years ago, I just had an idea for a vibe of a song. I was probably listening to a lot of New Order at the time. I don't remember. Anyways, this one I came up with the beat first. I wanted something different rhythmically, something where the drums don't switch to the cymbals on the chorus, where all the dynamics come from the vocals or instrumentation. Almost like a drum machine dance track.
I laid down the drums and then I used my favorite setting on the keyboard, bassoon, and tinkered around until I came up with a hummable melody over the chords and had vaguely mapped out a song. By the way, I never told anyone the secret ingredient to the song, but now's probably as good a time as any. The intro do do do hook is the first three notes from that song "Pure imagination" from the original Charlie and the Chocolate factory, the "Close your eyes and you'll see a world of pure imagination. I think people subconsciously associate the melody with childhood, but that's just my psychobabble from many hours of sitting in a van.
Anyways, I wanted the song to be an anthem, something the hordes would shout along to at a football or soccer game. In fact, the original working title on my Pro Tools was "Soccer Hymn", which doesn't even make sense. Of course, the song ended up being a little too melancholy to be a successor to "ole" or something along those lines. I also had kind of a hard time singing the doo doo doo's and I didn't plan on keeping them in the song, but the guys said we had to. They were right, clearly.
Lyrically, I don't know what to tell you. I never sit down and say I'm gonna write a song about a certain subject. I usually just sing stream of consciousness type gobbledeygook along to the melody until I find a line that sends me in a certain direction. So take what you want from the lyrics.
A small last note, I had this song in the can for a while and I don't think we were gonna do anything about it. No one else in the band seemed to be very excited by it. Months later, my roommate and a friend from out of town heard the song on my computer and were appalled that we didn't play it. So I can credit them with saving this song from complete obscurity. Believe me, the songs of ours that you've never heard would make you scratch your head and ask why we didn't put this or that on the album.
I hope this has been enlightening in the most profound way.



Robin @ Milestone Artists said...

Thanks so much for sharing this...I love to know about the work and inspiration behind a song, and this one is one of my favorites and an example of great collaboration and chemistry.

Matthew said...

are you telling me this song had nothing to do with me turning down my track sholarship? I bragged about that to at least 7 girls brah

Anonymous said...

I love the metaphor you created with the drums and how their transition from small clean sound at the beginning to the big dirty sound at the end is a symbol for someone's coming of age. It's brilliant!


I never thought of it that way. That's what's great about alot of songs, everyone sees it differently. I know how tough it is too. When I was thrown off the wrestling team for selling poppers to my teammates, I didn't get out of bed for a week.


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