B-side’s have always been fascinating to me. Growing up in the UK in the 90’s, singles actually were still quite a strong source of sales in the music industry. It was dominated by the very popular CD format at the time. I would buy these with my pocket money, and it never occurred to me that the 2nd and sometimes 3rd songs on these CD’s had a name until I started to get very into Oasis around the age of 12. I was about 50% integrated into US culture at the time, and after a period of flirting with the likes of Blink 182, Limp Bizkit, Korn, and DMX (essentially required listening if you were born in 1987, in the 6th grade, and living in suburbia), I let my intense British pride take hold as my friends were moving into the likes of Linkin Park and Jay Z. I started festering in a world of Blur, Travis, Coldplay (Radiohead was a bit too advanced for me then) and for some odd reason, Craig David (I insisted to my American school mates he would be the next big thing). But it was Oasis who really grabbed me.
Even though I was about four years too late to peak Oasis, the first three albums were playing constantly in my room and firmly solidified my Englishness for the next three years. I become a die hard fan, joining online fan forums and pouring over not just the albums, but the b-sides from all their singles. I came to understand that b-sides didn’t just have to be bad club remixes, shitty acoustic demos, or instrumentals. They could be full songs that fell anywhere on the spectrum. These songs had a different side to them that weren't constrained by having to fit in on an album (although somewhat contradictorily, “The Masterplan,” Oasis’ b-side complication record, made for a great collection of songs), and I felt like the songwriters took more risks .
So that's what I aim to do with my b-sides this year. Take a different approach. In my last post, I talked about how my new single, “Knocking Heads,” was written in 2013 during a shut-in month in Ohio and while I was going through some embattled relationships. It’s corresponding b-side, “Correcting a Fool,” was written during the same period and builds on those circumstances. So it’s only natural that the two got paired together. While “Knocking heads” firmly entrenches itself in a more aggressive tussling with the external, “Correcting a Fool” slows things down and creates an atmosphere that leads to introspection. Rather than a complement to “Knocking Heads,” I like to think of it as a break in the cycle where one can really reflect on the words and actions their taking.
From a production standpoint, frequent collaborator, Ben Rohletter, and I had a few sessions on this song. One of the hardest things was dealing with it’s minimalism. We would keep adding ideas and instruments that would sound great, but ruin the atmosphere. Sometimes utilizing space as an instrument is one of the most difficult things to do as a musician, but I think we ended up with a good compromise as the bridge erupts into a cacophony of electronic sounds. One of my fondest memories is recording the series of soaring swells at the end of the choruses and in the beginning of the second verse. That’s an acoustic guitar that Ben held a microphone too as I tried to subtly pluck the string and turn the tuning peg up and down to the correct pitch.
If there’s one thing that I’ve always wanted for “Correcting a Fool,” it's that it be released in the throes of Winter. There’s just something so damn morose about it. I'm happy it ended up as my January b-side, and you can listen to the song here:
I’m going to be taking next week off from the blog to get some housekeeping in order. But I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with a brand new single. “I Need You” drops on February 21st. Stay tuned.