Thursday, April 9, 2009

An Electric Candle sits with me...

Anyone who possesses the original demo tracks of What To Keep & Let Go may be all too familiar with the mouse clicks, chair creaks or Instant Message beeps in and around the songs. Some, and I can name a few, have actually gotten quite accustomed if not fond of these little dashes of imperfection and realism...after all, the songs were all recorded down in one take to get a basic idea; caring about what sounds were in the room were not too much of a concern.

But what if these listeners actually find themselves missing the demo tracks and what made them so real and in the moment? Granted we at the studio haven't necessarily been bogged down by perfect tempos and rattle-free bass strings. Things still are sounding pretty natural and interesting. But alas, I have realized it would in fact be nice to keep a little bit of the demo quality in at least one of the songs in the final record. And I believe that Electric Candle is the perfect candidate.

Recorded in the attic of my friend Chad's house on a cold December night in 2007, Electric Candle could be my most honest and intimate song on the record. I wrote it after walking away from what could have been a very loving and meaningful relationship; however I just didn't want it. Was I not ready? Perhaps. Afraid? Most definitely. Love has always been something I have handled with caution. I've never been proud of how I react to getting too close to that night was particularly sad having ran away yet again..

So needless to say, I felt really alone. The only thing that was with me in that room that made any sense was one of those Christmas candles that plugged into the wall and glowed in the window all season long. I found a lot of comfort in that one little light and so the song was born. The attic room was very small; low angled roof, one window, one door...but very comfortable. I'll always remember the space. It's modesty and peacefulness was the perfect setting for quiet and heartfelt song writing, video journals about my disease and low light thinking sessions.

So naturally it seems more than appropriate to try and recreate this setting while recording Electric Candle. Retaining the natural feel is something Dave and I are striving to do for this song. Backing me into a corner, miking the room from all different angles and allowing my tired voice to come through are ways of really capturing the feeling I had on that cold winter night. And to add even more to the mood of the song, I have decided it's best to tone down the energy of my strumming; plucking without a pick as well as singing the song in more of a whisper than my full out voice. In addition, Dave and I find it best conceptually to have this song be just me and my guitar; the song deals so much with being alone and not letting anyone else in that it only makes sense to record it that way as well. I regret to inform Adrian Newkirk of this news as I was really looking forward to having him play on it. However, I do wish to stick with that concept and I'm sure he'll understand. Perhaps I can find a place for him somewhere else on the album!

So as we work to get the right feel for this song, (there is even an idea floating around to record it on a nice rainy night, capturing the sounds of the rain to create a nice ambiance and atmosphere), I will continue to keep in mind the concepts of the album, what makes each song unique and how best to record them; I believe I wrote about Hello, Amy a while back and the concept brewing behind its recording method.

It's all coming together!

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