I woke up this morning and it struck me...it's March already. The first couple of months of 2018 have flew by and it’s been a gripping year so far. After recently ending a three year relationship, I moved into a garage by Venice Beach for the Winter. I’ve found the environment and my situation quite…inspiring. Venice is probably a shell of the former counter culture mecca it was in the 60’s through the 80’s. Money and expensive organic grocers have moved in, tech offices have set up, etc. But while it’s lost some of it’s edge, it still retains a lot of the seediness and beauty that makes it feel like…well, Venice. Walking through the canals or along the boardwalk has given me plenty of time to ponder, reflect, and focus on writing as I continue this year long monthly single series.
Last week, we released the single for February, “I Need You,” along with b-side, “Linger.” I’ll probably write more about “Linger” sometime down the line, but for now I thought I’d give you some back story on “I Need You.”
“I Need You” is a suspiciously paranoid song that I wrote in 2016. When I started it, I was preparing to leave for my first tour after leaving my job. I was set up in a basement in Philly trying to get an hour long set together. I think I only had a thirty minute set, so there was some pressure to write some new songs. During this period “I Don’t Feel Alright” and “I Need You” were both written from scratch and thrown into the set along with some other re-hashed songs I had in the bank. It’s a little backwards that I’ve been playing this song out for two years before releasing it, but it took a while to finalize it.
“I Don’t Feel Alright,” addressed the transition I was going through from gainfully employed marketing manager to struggling musician (you can read more about that song here). But this song was about something bigger going on in the country. In early 2016, we were in the throes of a vicious election cycle. While I don’t think the candidates had been finalized, I think it was becoming clearer who they might be. The election campaign was an absolutely absurd time of witnessing things I never thought I’d see on the national political stage. I felt completely inundated and bombarded by a slew of ridiculous antics…and I had a lot of trouble looking away.
The lyrics of this song changed over the course of that year as it became clearer who was running. Rather than trying to stew on things politically, this song became an escape to think about the campaign in another way. I watched the documentary, "Mitt," about Mitt Romney's campaign earlier that year (highly recommend it). So I wanted to reflect on what might be going through the candidate’s minds and the maniacal personality it takes to put together such a desperate plea for attention on a large scale. I also wanted to think about the unintended consequences that might come up after being the main characters in an absurdly orchestrated event that a whole country puts themselves through.
If you want, you can read the lyrics here (Side note: I will always be posting the lyrics for these new songs on the Digisaurus BandCamp page). But this song started out with the music first. I was listening to a lot of of newer electronic pop by Disclosure, Sam Smith, and Lorde. I wanted to create something that could create tension while keeping the rhythm moving. After playing around on my piano for a few hours, I ended up stumbling across the opening chord structure that could be morphed and switched around to progress the song through it’s elements. From those chords I tried out a bunch of different patches on my Nord Lead 2, and ended up creating the one that could create some chaos as it's frequency was released.
Once the basic demo came together in that basement, Landy and I worked with Jeff and Eric that Winter to lay down their drum and bass tracks for the live show. I was doing the first tour solo and still figuring out the son, so this gave me a chance to fine tune it on stage. Jeff and Eric joined me on the road later that Summer and Fall, and after a year of playing it live, we decided to re-record everything in the beginning of 2017. One of the greatest things about going back through and re-recording is the ability to blow new life into a song that you know so well just by tweaking sounds, accents, and the arrangement. I remember one of the last things Landy and I were trying to figure out was how to start the song. The opening chords weren’t clicking by themselves, so I sat down at his Wurlitzer and fiddled around with those god damn chords until I came up with something a little more dramatic and refined. With some nice synth strings rounding it out, we had our intro and the song was complete.
You can listen to “I Need You” now on Spotify and all your other favorite streaming platforms. Take a listen at the links below, and if you like it, please share it around. It really helps.
Apple Music & i-Tunes: http://hyperurl.co/i1hntg
I’ll be leaving Venice next week as I embark on a month long tour up the West Coast, through the mountains, and back to LA via West Texas and the Southwest. Take a look at all the dates on my Live page, and I’ll see you soon.