Week 10 – Belong

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The Finished Product!
1. Passive Aggressive

2. Guns Blazing

3. Wake Up

4. Okay, Remain

5. If You’re Getting This

Both Sides Are Even
21 Questions
Passive Aggressive
Fettering
Wake Up
Guns Blazing
Okay, Remain
Nailing The Coffin Shut
She Just Likes To Fight

Wow, what an adventure it has been over the last couple of months. It’s amazing how I’ve seen people go through the process of recording albums, and they talk about how hard it is, how tiring it is, but I had no idea. We recorded five songs over the space of about two months and that was tiring enough. Playing live music still remains the most fun part of being in a band but even then it’s a lot of time and energy that goes into setting up and getting everything ready on the night. When I started this project I honestly thought it wouldn’t be too hard. Or that it would be fun. Or that I would be killing two birds with one stone by getting the band into recording by having a deadline and getting a project done at the same time, but boy, we sure did cut it close for a second there.

The music video clip file itself is more internet than I have access to in nearly two months of payments so here’s a nice little promo for “Okay, Remain”. The song itself was written in Ed’s backyard, recorded in the same vicinity too, and completed with love.

I’ve made some dot points about what it means to be in a band, or what they don’t tell you, if you will.

– Finding the right people who are committed. Commitment to the band is the biggest factor, & if just one person isn’t committed, you don’t have a band.

– Buying all the equipment that goes into the band. Shit load of money. Instruments, Amps, Mics, Leads, Pedals, Stands, etc.

– Finding the right space to rehearse. Hugely underrated. If you find a bad place for free it is generally pretty unproductive. If you find a good place that’s great, but a huge amount of money. $90 between three over three years every week. Gee, how much is that?

– Writing decent songs. It’s really hard to know if the songs you write are really any good. It’s about putting yourself out there and being okay with little people know about your life, and inside your mind.

– Organizing gigs. Organizing a gig is far beyond harder than playing a gig. Generally no one wants to put it together so finding bands to play is the easiest part of being in a band, because no one can be bothered organizing it themselves. Ed was great at doing all that (he has a shitload of time on his hands).

– Getting to the venue and setting up for the night and packing up. Takes forever. But worth it (even when you don’t get paid some nights).

– Recording music. It’s not as fun as it looks, playing the same song riffs a hundred times in a day. But it is an experience I’ll give em that. It’s nearly as tiring as playing a gig at 1 o’clock in the morning. But more importantly, it takes a long time to record. A long time.

– Music video clips are really fun. And they’re a really great excuse for everyone to get together and drink and talk about music.

– Getting it out there. This part is generally out of your control. More often than not you’ll feel like you’re handing CD’s to a brick wall, but you do it in hope that when the brick wall is done with it, someone will pick it up.

If you live for it, than these things aren’t hard to take it, they come naturally.

Fettering

My greatest fear in the world is being in debt. I hate the thought of it. I hate constantly being in it. I hate wondering if I’ll ever get out of it. I hate that so many people are in so much debt. I hate that banks will never change or do anything about it. I cannot for the life of me remember where I first found this word “Fettering”.

Fetter |ˈfetər|
Noun (usu. fetters)
A chain or manacle used to restrain a prisoner, typically placed around the ankles: he lay bound with fetters of iron.
• A restraint or check on someone’s freedom to do something, typically one considered unfair or overly restrictive: the fetters of discipline and caution.
Verb [ with obj. ]
Restrain with chains or manacles, typically around the ankles: (as adj. fettered) : a ragged and fettered prisoner.
• Restrict or restrain (someone) in an unfair or undesirable fashion: he was not fettered by tradition.

This remains Harvey’s favourite song I’ve written to this day, but when he sings it whenever he sees me I do wonder if he’s taking the piss. It is a solid rock song though. One I cannot reproduce acoustically.

Fettering in selfish mastery
Pessimistic seen fortuity
All I want from you now
Is to undo all that you have done

You have your way as if you think you know me
You pile up constantly at my feet
Did I ask to speak to you?
Am I playing by your rules?

Week 9 – The Year Of Hibernation

Passive Aggressive
Both Sides Are Even
Fettering
Wake Up
Guns Blazing
City
Nailing The Coffin Shut
No Reply
Okay, Remain
She Just Likes To Fight

Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?
If You’re Getting This

Above is a nice little video one of my friends recorded from our set at The Espy on the same night as Steve Kilbey (The Church) and Ricky Maymi (Brian Jonestown Massacre). Pretty awesome if you ask me. Harvey rocked up in forma attire to play drums that night. I think he got a little hot (Given a typical gig consists of him ripping his shirt off halfway through the set. The sound guy was a bit shit though. I couldn’t hear my bass at all but I still rocked out into the crowd and nearly took someone out with the neck of my bass. I enjoyed in the video, Harvey losing his stick and still keeping time. He truly is unreal.

I got the audio files of our tracks off Alex and whipped a quick album artwork on Adobe Photoshop 7 with a photo from my Instagram collection. I must have spent hours burning CD’s I gave out to people who came to the gig on the weekend which people seemed to enjoy. People love free shit.

She Just Likes To Fight

I don’t even know how this song came out. Musically, the band was banging our heads against the wall playing stuff we’d played for years while trying to come up with something that was going to be worth it. It had been a while for a good song. I thought about how maybe I was over-thinking the intensity of how complicated a song needs to be in order for it to be good and “She Just Likes To Fight” came out. It’s essential E minor, D major, C major, repeat. The key riff came about while Ed had been recording for the CD, I was sitting in the other room playing an acoustic guitar and just went with it on the spot. I knew I would write it down and save it for later. Try and guess what the song is about.

Your silence, I’m dying to try
I write it on your wall but you don’t reply so why not?
Did I do you so wrong?
Bet your friends are thinking how lucky you are to be gone

And this all heals in time
But the seasons change is just another way of saying you were right
You just wanted to fight
The best of both worlds don’t come into your mind

And if you had enough
We bring out the worst in each other
At ten thousand miles, so why would we bother to try?
You don’t move me no more
You pulled the pieces apart when you walked out the door

And this all heals in time
But the seasons change is just another way of saying you were right
You just wanted to fight
The best of both worlds don’t come into your mind

I just wanted you to stay
But you give yourself away
And you’ll give yourself away for the rest of them

Week 8 – A Lesson In Crime

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We played Pony Bar over the weekend which has by far been the most fun I’ve ever had. I brought a disposable camera and got my friends to take heaps of photos. It was perfect because the bleakness of the photos on disposable actually match the venue. It’s a pretty dirty place that rock loving people go to to have fun. Usually we’d open with “Both Sides Are Even” because that’s probably one of our more catchy, speedy songs, but considering the venue I wanted to start with a song that slowly builds into this epic finale. It’s about using math to figure out women, and failing at it.

The photo above is me, 8 years ago, when I was 15 playing to my school! The only thing in this photo I really notice is how baggy my jeans are.

I’ve also got the vocal recordings done! So Alex is going to mix and master the album and I’ll pick it up from him in a couple of days. I’m so excited to finally have something recorded after so much time, money, and energy being put into the band. We used a vocal booth in the city to do it. Ultimately I want the vocals to have a distorted, tinny sound, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job.

Never Ending Maths Equation
21 Questions
Passive Aggressive
Wake Up
Okay, Remain
Guns Blazing
Nailing The Coffin Shut
She Just Likes to Fight
Both Sides Are Even
If You’re Getting This

Both Sides Are Even

This is about the only song I’ve ever written where I haven’t tried to focus too hard on the lyrics. It’s a really simple, straight forward pop song which I hate but unfortunately when we play it live it hooks people in. I tried to make it be about having an even relationship but when the words came out naturally I was talking a bit of shit. I actually sing “It’s just how we do” – what?

How did the last one end?
On a good line?
Was it alright?
Where we both knew it would only start again

In the same light
Exact same fight
And if you lose it would only be my end

And we wrong rights
Like it’s our passed time
It’s just how we do it

Save yourself for the road
We won’t need maps where we go

We don’t amount to anything
We just don’t make it right
If you would just start listening
Both sides would be even

Week 7 – Wincing The Night Away

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This week Ed finished the guitar chords and lead sections, so the songs musically are nearly done. I just have to record the vocals now. I think it’s fair to say more time could have been taken into recordings Ed’s guitar parts. There’s a couple of miss-cues and I’m pretty sure one section of lead was recorded wrong but sometimes mistakes like that can sound nice and be unique to the song. Is that too optimistic?

We also played another gig at The Empress Hotel. We played their last year with some bands whose names slip my mind. This time we played with a band called Winterun, which was cool! Except Harvey sprained his wrist playing hockey (“playing hockey”) and as a result couldn’t drum so we turned it into a bit of an acoustic show, which was fine with me because I love mixing things up sometimes.

Both Sides Are Even
21 Questions
Passive Aggressive
Wake Up
Guns Blazing
Nailing The Coffin Shut
Okay, Remain
She Just Likes To Fight

21 Questions (Sinking Ships)

I wanted to call the song “Sinking Ships”. Harvey was set on calling it “21 Questions”, apparently because when we play the song in rehearsal, they’re the only words he understands me singing. Alas, we are a democracy and I can’t do everything in the band so I let him have this one. This is a pretty fun song to play live. It’s fast, and upbeat. To contrast this, when I play the song on acoustic guitar it’s completely polar opposite. Lyrically it’s pretty depressing. I wrote it in the sense of, ‘nothing ever goes my way’. Yes, poor me…

Losing a battle is easy cause I’ve lost a few
And high-speed crash landings are nothing compared to the truth
But sinking ships are fine as long as we’re me and you

21 questions if I check out don’t move me in line
What used to be stale air space that you now occupy
And days turned to reflections are no longer easy on the eyes

Cause it’s all the same to you

Gaining a few yards to lead us, is that too much to ask?
I don’t go out of my way to jump but do I come down to fast?
Since I’m leaning towards the ending, I guess I’ll only finish last

Cause it’s all the same to you

Week 6 – This Is Happening

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Another day spent in the studio. This time we recorded where we have practiced every week for the last three years, at Bake House Recording Studios on Hoddle St in Richmond. This is where bands like Nick Cave and Cut Copy rehearse when they come to town. And I’ve heard The Panics jamming here too, so it’s not cheap, but it is worth it. Today was much quicker than last week. I got the bass lines down in about two hours. I probably could have spent more time doing them but they sounded great none the less. Ed got guitar chords for two of the songs done also which is good to hear some of the songs finally coming together, although I’ve played them so many times now I could almost be getting sick of them. But the songs are like my children and I love them all equally.

Nailing The Coffin Shut

This is the song that really hits home for me. It’s probably the most personal song I’ve ever written. It’s slow, and very dark. I’ve spent the last three years on and off with what has been my longest relationship to date. The song was originally called, “Fuck You Bitch”. No, I’m kidding it wasn’t. But it could be. I haven’t really based this song on any other. I don’t think that she was the down fall of the relationship, and I don’t think I was either. In the end I think we just turned each other into two people neither of us recognized anymore. A lot of my songs posted here are related to her but this would have to be the signature song.

It’s sort of about how we would fight, break up, get back together and talk about how we were going to work on things and make them better. That the relationship was going to be fair and equal, but ultimately the same problems would come back and we’d fight again. We really gave it everything either of us could but in the end it was dead in the ground, and we nailed the coffin shut.

What d’you say, I don’t care if I told you
What d’you say, I don’t care if I know
I happen to be the last thing that you noticed
I happen to be the last thing that you know

Did I catch you at a worser time?
Are you waiting on another line?
Have I boarded up out last goodbyes?
While waiting on the other side

I nailed the coffin shut too tight
And all your last requests denied

I’m wiping off the dust
Nailing the coffin shut
You don’t know me at all
You should have paid more attention

When you way up all that we’ve been through
What the hell was I supposed to do?
Never listen when I need you to
Only hearing what you see as truth

“We always fight”, is no excuse
Remind me what I see in you

I’m wiping off the dust
Nailing the coffin shut
You don’t know me at all
You should have paid more attention

So just let me go
I need to know
The timing’s off
It never stops
We never know

I nailed the coffin shut too tight
And all your last requests denied

I’m wiping off the dust
Nailing the coffin shut
You don’t know me at all
You should have paid more attention

Week 5 – I’m New Here

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First time in the studio! Yay! You will not believe how brutally tedious it all was. Essentially all we got done today was the drums to all the tracks we were going to record. It took three hours to set up the drums and get them all mic’ed up, test the sound through the recording equipment and production on the computers.The whole day took nine hours for four drum parts.

Here’s Alex clearly having the time of his life. He is fantastic. I met Alex through a friend of mine who strongly recommended him, in terms of getting this done at no cost (We got him a slab of Asahi and a bottle on Cointreau). He’s studying Audio Engineering at RMIT so he said he’d use our recordings for his assignments if needed. Alex has about $10,000 worth of recording equipment so it’s fair to say this is more than just a hobbie for him. He’s happy with our music because the last band he recorded was death metal.

Okay, Remain

I was sitting in Ed’s backyard drinking beers and we were jamming out ideas. I think we were singing Death Cab For Cutie or something to get the strumming for “Okay, Remain”. When I’ve played it live, it’s the only song with just myself and an electric guitar. I wrote the lyrics a while back after dating a girl for a couple of months. The relationship was very back and forth, and I found it really hard to connect no matter how much I wanted it to work. The girl at the time wasn’t entirely sure she wanted a relationship, but knew she wanted me in her life. It wasn’t ideal. Now, I try my best to make sure this is the song that will get girls attention. So far this has not worked. Will keep trying.

You set me off to the point where I explode
I don’t want to hold on but I can’t let go
If I’m going down than I want to know
I’m only so brave to take you on

If you let go than you just might see where I’m coming from
Kiss me one more time and I swear I’m gone

You don’t even know the heart you broke
You should have seen me trying to let you go
Moving on is like watching grass grow
Painfully slow
It has its highs and its lows
It stands tall when you wont
So just leave me alone

If you let go than you just might see where I’m coming from
Piss me off one more time and I swear I’m gone
If you really cared, it’s cliché I’m aware but you’d let me go
I can’t relax, turn and don’t look back, and I’ll love you more

Week 4 – Turn On The Bright Lights

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Last weekend we played in a band competition. It was a complete disaster. Well, not a complete disaster but the whole thing was bullshit. I got an email from some guys letting us know they had a spot for us in their band competition (which literally every band you talk to will tell you they’re a bad idea, but why you ask?). We were stoked because it was held at The Espy – arguably Melbourne’s most iconic music venue. All we had to do was sell tickets to people at $13 each, which is about $10 more than I’d pay to see some bands I’ve never heard of either. We had to sell at least 35 or we were told we wouldn’t be allowed to play… We were then also told after entering that we only had a 20 minute set. Enough time to play 3 or 4 songs, assuming Ed didn’t wail out on some awesome 10 minute guitar solo. We decided to cut slower parts of our songs and speed them all up which was pretty exciting. We also had a couple of new songs ready to go, particularly what will become the albums title track – “Passive Aggressive”.

Both Sides Are Even
Passive Aggressive
Guns Blazing
Wake Up
City
If You’re Getting This

Of course we went over-time – fuck them.

Passive Aggressive

“Passive Aggressive” is my sort of ‘fuck you to the world’. An angry white boy song perhaps, about all the bullshit things in life. Having to wake up early everyday. Being hungover. Working shit jobs to buy shit I don’t need. Pissing people off. Being misunderstood by people, mainly girls.

But ultimately still not being able to figure it out – Why am I always so far away from you?

I do never stop
I wake without warning and try to get up
My dreams are a puzzle that I just forgot
And trying to remembers like breaking Fort Knox
A little despondent, only more to the top
Why do I work all the dead end jobs?
Why do I have superficial wants?
Why do I lose what I try to pick up?
My minds as distorted as it is avant-garde
Am I the only one who just wants to stop?
Am I the only one who’s just had enough?
I’m forcing an issue a little too much
I try to get out but I’m so far

Why am I always so far away from you?

And all the lies that I’ve made
It’s hard to keep track of what gave me away
Exactly to the point where I wanted you to stay
Have I learned nothing from what I appropriate?
And give my best to all the people I deceived
It wasn’t your fault you’re just not quite what I need
To end up this way in a state of disbelief
And not come across so passive aggressive
I try to be gone but I’m so far

Why am I always so far away from you?