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June 26, 2010 - Week 0
"Self-Titled Album (2008)"
For the sake of consistency, we are kicking off the Odyssey with a post about our first full-length album, The Theory of Funkativity. We wrote, recorded, and produced the album entirely by ourselves in 2008. The project spanned half a year and involved many sleepless nights, but the four of us are extremely proud of the final result. After factoring in the cost of studio time in Michael's living room and Pat's steep hourly rate, we were able to complete the album for a grand total of $0. Above all, it's been wonderful to see our hard work validated by the positive response from our fans and from the media. We put this post together to offer you an insider's peek into our music making process. It's a very small "thank you" for your continued support. As an added bonus, this post will likely spare some noble Wikipedia editor a ton of work. Please excuse the lack of pictures. We'll be sure to bring you all sorts of fun, colorful photos from the recording process in future posts. Take a good look around the page. This will be the format for all of our Odyssey music posts. In future posts, you will find two buttons below the embedded player: one to buy the song for $1 and another to download the song for free if it has been under 24 since the release. In the meantime, enjoy listening to our self-titled album, posted online in it's entirety for the first time ever. And if you like what you hear, please support the band by purchasing songs. We are counting on you! The album is available on iTunes hereBy SeanSomething to SayI wanted Something to Say to be the antithesis of a "falling in love" song. It's about discovering that your lover isn't as ideal as your hormones led you to believe. It's about that weird feeling of complacency that comes with stability in a relationship. It's a rant of the things people want to yell each other, but are too afraid to say at the risk of being abandoned. None of us want conflict in our relationships, but we love to see it in movies and we love to read about it in celebrity magazines. We're a culture of romantic hypocrites... but that's what makes us so interesting.Something To Say by The Theory of Funkativity Verse: I'm not the one you wanted I'm not the one you bargained for I'm not the one you thought of I'm what you got but you needed more You're not as bad as you say you are You're not some heavy chain or ball You're going to be broken hearted Don't you think I'd give it my all All I wanted was some peace of mind All I asked for was to grow old All I wanted was someone to warm me All I asked for was to never be cold Chorus: Hey there... got somethin to say? Hold up... you say your love has changed Come on... I'll let you take me away, but if you Cheat on me girl I'll make you pay Hey there... you know it won't be long Hold up... won't you sing my song Come on... it's time to be gone, this Seems so right but it feels so wrong Verse: You need someone to build your home You need someone to rake the lawn You need someone to keep you young You need me to miss you when you're gone Next time I will not answer Next time I won't wake you up Next time we'll take things faster Cause next time you will get enough We act like lovers when we lay down We act like a touch can fix it all We act like our parents don't see us We've acted this long now it's time to go Chorus: Hey there... got somethin to say? Hold up... you say your love has changed Come on... I'll let you take me away, but if you Cheat on me girl I'll make you pay Hey there... you know it won't be long Hold up... won't you sing my song Come on... it's time to be gone, this Seems so right but it feels so wrong Bridge: Why can't our life be like one on film The world seems better when it's black and white You say you have a pulse but I can't feel it Your hands always feel so dead in minePromised LandPromised Land is the closest I've ever come to writing a protest song. It's a semi-commentary about the unnecessary wars we're fighting overseas and the leaders that sold us on the danger of non-existent doomsday weapons. It also talks about our apathy toward fixing the world's problems. We're all guilty of that apathy. We slip back into our intoxicating little routines and try to forget about the depressing big-picture stuff. We're comfortable. Activism is not comfortable. The song is intentionally not overtly protest-y. I hate "1-2-3/What are we fighting for?" type protest songs because they're written by artists that are made rich by the system they're "protesting." Songs don't fix problems. Songs don't even do a good job of raising awareness. We're a nation of people who like to feel revolutionary, but don't want to put in the effort to revolt.Promised Land by The Theory of Funkativity Verse: We're all trying too hard How 'bout we stop it? Why don't we ever learn? And just because I know that Doesn't mean you taught it It's someone else's turn Even though we nod and smile Doesn't mean we've bought it 'Cause deep down we know we're cured We all know that life is short So live it while you've got it It's time to take the plunge, ladies first Chorus: I tried to control it And still things exploded Now you just promote it cause you're Blindly devoted My way is forsaken Advice all but taken It can't be mistaken so it's Time to reawaken and I tried to control it And still things exploded Now you just promote it cause you're Blindly devoted My way is forsaken Advice all but taken It can't be mistaken so it's Time to reawaken Verse: Why can't we find a place To use this thing called logic One day we'll all come to terms And all those other people Seem so damn robotic but they Don't have feelings to hurt Don't take the news too hard Let's all just laugh about it They got what they deserved So this is the promised land Somehow i highly doubt it I'm surprised we aren't more concerned Chorus: I tried to control it And still things exploded Now you just promote it cause you're Blindly devoted My way is forsaken Advice all but taken It can't be mistaken so it's Time to reawaken and I tried to control it And still things exploded Now you just promote it cause you're Blindly devoted My way is forsaken Advice all but taken It can't be mistaken so it's Time to reawakenDon't Say A WordDon't Say A Word is a Cold War ballad. I tried to make light of the fact that even though the "War" is over, someone can still push a button and wipe us all off the map. Nuclear War isn't an imminent threat, but it's depressing that it's even a possibility. Peace is kept and civility is maintained because, ultimately, everyone has missiles pointed at each other. We have to be able to laugh about getting ourselves into such a mess. It's a silly situation.Don't Say A Word by The Theory of Funkativity Verse: There is a man who stands on the corner He holds a sign, he really tries to warn ya His words are always looked over I guess no one cares that the world is crashing.... down The whole damn world is crashing down There was a girl who sat in a coma Until the day that the doctor awoke her She said "doc, put me back under," 'cause Living in this world just gets me down Living in this world just gets me down Put your hands over your ears Close your eyes Don't say a word Chorus: Duck for cover Love one another Now Embrace each other Love one another Now Verse: It's been so long since we've been together The past years, they seem like forever I'm not looking forward to the weather Radiated rain falls and it coats the ground The rain, it soaks the ground I hear the bomb drop so we run for cover A little boy cries out for his mother Everyone waves bye to each other But I've gotta laugh cause the world keeps spinning round The whole damn world is spinning round Put your hands over your ears Close your eyes Don't say a word Chorus: Duck for cover Love one another Now Embrace each other Love one another Now Duck for cover Love one another Now Embrace each other Love one another Now Bridge Chorus: Duck for cover Love one another Now Embrace each other Love one another Now Duck for cover Love one another Now Embrace each other Love one another NowClean CutThis is an ode to those insanely beautiful people in everyone's high school. They're more like a concept than like humans. "Concept" people, so to speak... the aristocracy of the awkward youth. Clean Cut is about those people getting with each other (like they always do) and splitting the atom as a result. For the full backdrop, add gymnasium's packed with post-World War Two era teens. Throw in poodle skirts, leather jackets, and all kinds of muscle cars. Then, pretend like disco bands are playing at the school dance. This song is sex.Clean Cut by The Theory of Funkativity Verse: You got the town in the palm of your hands, you could Have your way with every man Walking down the street in your new dress, damn If I could be with you Looks can kill, have you seen her hair When the wind blows all the boys will stare Look at me girl I'm in despair If I could be with you Hey what's this you left your old boy Holding hands, "I'm not your toy," back On the prowl, fair game, look out She wants someone who Brown hair blue eyes, 6' 2," walks Up to her, says "how do you do," I'd Fight any man to have one Dance with you Chorus: Clean cut he's the perfect boyfriend Take him home to mom So what do you really love him As you show him off Clean cut like your daddy's school friends Sit down smoke cigars So what was there really something Besides a family car Verse: Oh my word what a thing to hear He groans she moans as he bites her ear You're in love got nothing to fear All you wanna do is Next song the lights are low You wanna dance fast but the beat moves slow "Hey baby, why don't we go?" "Take a ride on my" Doing 120 on the highway five The two ask questions as they drive How do you think a species survives? A process called Chorus: Clean cut he's the perfect boyfriend Take him home to mom So what do you really love him As you show him off Clean cut like your daddy's school friends Sit down smoke cigars So what was there really something Besides a family car Verse: Look at those two they're quite a pair, I never seen a couple so fine, so fair, but They're both young so please beware, Behind close doors they We all know what true love brings, Cue wedding bells and them diamond rings, Ready for the next girl that I see I'll Chorus: Clean cut he's the perfect boyfriend Take him home to mom So what do you really love him As you show him off Clean cut like your daddy's school friends Sit down smoke cigars So what was there really something Besides a family carRunawayI picture a low budget 70s road-film when I listen to this song, and I mean that in the best of ways. A cigarette smokin', hot-rod driving, independent woman cruises for hours on deserted highways, stopping at long-forgotten diners and cracking skulls at biker bars. She's leaving some kind of sordid past behind and trying to find a new life, fighting back against the Man while simultaneously atoning for her sins. Sounds cliche, but I can't help love that kind of story.Runaway by The Theory of Funkativity Verse: Why did she feel the need to wink at the boy who refilled the coffee in front of her Was it because he had that sort of innocence that was contradicted as he looked down her shirt She reached into her pocket, Grabbed some change, set it on the table Got up and pushed in her chair She took out a cigarette Put it in her lips, took a drag, and said "Thank God I'm getting out of here" Chorus: Why do you you Run away Why do you Run away Don't feel bad It's okay Everyone Runs away Verse: On the road she looks up into the rear-view mirror Is there someone following She's not really sure Her bag is packed in the back She doesn't have a destination She knows she'll settle somewhere There's flashing lights behind her A cop pulls her over And fixes her with a stare He looks at her legs "Ma'am did you know you were speeding?" Says the woman, "Sir, I really don't care" Bridge: Running Running Away Running Running AwayHigh StrungHigh Strung is about watching close friends self-destruct at a young age. I tried to imagine myself in their shoes and wrote the lyrics accordingly. What's it like to not be able to control urges, addictions, and emotions? Is it liberating? Is it terrible? I've never been there, and I hope I never go there... but it's interesting to imagine going off the deep end.High Strung by The Theory of Funkativity Verse: Can we still kiss if you've gone and had some kids? It doesn't matter who he is because he still exists Call me crazy but I'm just an optimist You're the one who's made me feel sick of this I'm so jealous let me rot and bathe in sin I feel so naked when I'm stuck with this pathetic grin I never know when to stop, or how i should begin One more shot, then I'm over it Chorus: I dropped right to the floor Next day I wanted more Lights out, can't find the door, or key I know you can't complain Refuse to take my blame Think twice the level of your shame Verse: It's been three years and I wonder where the days went Just want you back cause I can't find replacement Snap to attention and quit your fucking wailing I said I'd do things right, but keep on failing It's hard to sleep when you're stuck up on the ceiling I've got to find a way to keep up on the feeling I said I'd stop but did anyone believe in me? One more shot - am I dreaming? Chorus: I dropped right to the floor Next day I wanted more Lights out, can't find the door, or key I know you can't complain Refuse to take my blame Think twice the level of your shame Bridge Chorus: I dropped right to the floor Next day I wanted more Lights out, can't find the door, or key I know you can't complain Refuse to take my blame Think twice the level of your shameOdysseyThese are my favorite lyrics of the songs on our self-titled. The words flow really well, and don't depend on a rhyme scheme to sound musical. They capture that period of time before sleep where we stare into the darkness and let our minds relax without any distractions or sensory inputs. It's a time where we're honest with ourselves. We think about what we want and if we can actually get it. I remember writing the lyrics as I was walking down the 14 floors of stairs in the hotel where I used to work. I wrote them on the back of a breakfast order receipt. I got a 10-dollar tip on that order.Odyssey by The Theory of Funkativity Verse: What's wrong It's 2 am and you're still up Just staring away at your ceiling Casually shunning the stars The window Doesn't help block out the street light Blatantly killing the moon shine Anticlimactic and bored Chorus: Me Foreshadows the others, and me Yeah me Foreshadows the others, and me Verse: Issues Continue to make you roll over Swimming in fog and you're confused, Lost and asking for more Mind games Previous bottled up reruns Syndicate questions of old times Foreshadow the others and meThe End is NearThe End is Near is not as cynical in meaning as the title suggests. I intended it to be empowering, but not sugarcoated. Whether we like it or not, we all have an expiration date. I don't think that's morbid. It's just reality. People who try to counteract aging are wasting their time. People who dwell on the past are wasting their time. Don't be satisfied with things just happening. Make things happen. Don't fear the end and don't try to prevent it. Don't lament the passing of years... embrace the time left.The End is Near by The Theory of Funkativity Verse: A great set of curves just makes me stutter I hold her up close, then I ask for her number Just cause I want her, it don't mean I love her Time flies by as you will discover I won't plea and I won't dread, Cause sooner than later we're gonna be dead And rather than think about what is said I wanna kill time with you in my bed The night is gone and again it's day I got 24 hours just to waste away with nothing to do but sit and wait And try to picture them pearly gates But don't get ahead of yourself You won't expire when you sit on the shelf Don't worry bout a thing like health Drink up, eat up, come on enjoy the wealth Chorus: They say the end is near But what they really fear Ain't what's ahead of us We're scared to be left in the dust And though I see the signs I know we'll be just fine We've all got a few more years So smile for me and dry those tears Verse: So next time that you walk outside With your hands on your face, and the sun in your eyes Won't you please take my advice And stop taking count as the days go by It doesn't matter what someone believes We all decay after we're conceived And though the thought might make you scream You feel yourself losing steam Feel slap, feel the sting on your face Feel the tightness as your back strains I think it's pointless for you to complain You can't do nothing to fend off age Back in the day you used to get the boys Gone is the is attention that you once enjoyed When death comes, don't you make a noise The cold hard grave gonna make it's point Chorus: They say the end is near But what they really fear Ain't what's ahead of us We're scared to be left in the dust And though I see the signs I know we'll be just fine We've all got a few more years So smile for me and dry those tearsLeave Me Alone-I'm fascinated by girls who are attracted to assholes. I don't understand what they get out of being mistreated, but it must be satisfying in some way, or then they wouldn't tolerate it, right? Sometimes I imagine if I could be good at being an asshole, and if chicks would dig it. Leave Me Alone is all about being mean and playing hard to get... and getting rewarded for it.Leave Me Alone by The Theory of Funkativity Intro: When you're alone When you're alone Leave me alone I don't need you Anymore Verse: Hello, what's new What should we do tonight I'm fine, how bout you You're dressed up so nice I sure, hate to do This but I think it's time Please kindly remove Your arm from mine Her high-heel shoes Suddenly match her eyes Fake eye-lash unglues And I just watch her cry Hope my words will soothe Trust me I'm not your type You yell, get a clue And I just say you're right Chorus: When you're alone When you're alone Leave me alone I don't need you Anymore Verse: What have I to lose No point in looking back How did I choose To love a girl like that The shit I went through All the panic attacks Not sorry it's true Because I'm free at last The phone at home it rings and rings And you pretend that everything Is fine and just how it used to be But what you can't t-take or see Is that your future is not with me No, not with me, but you can dream You can dream, yeah You can dream You can dream Chorus: When you're alone When you're alone Leave me alone I don't need you Anymore When you're alone When you're alone Leave me alone I don't need you AnymoreMorning (Out)Morning is how I want my life to be... my ideal. It's slow-paced, deliberate... glorifying and romanticizing the little things. It's the feeling of loving someone so much that their most mundane actions seem beautiful. It's the feeling of belonging to someone, being cared for, and feeling whole.Morning (Out) by The Theory of Funkativity Verse: He woke up late that morning And she was next to him She still slept, eyes closed, slow breathing He knew it right then When she got up she smiled and laughed And put on his shirt Soon her voice came from the kitchen Your breakfast is served He said Chorus: Baby I love you, can't tell you enough Just stand there, look pretty for me You're perfect, an angel, sent from above That girl I call mine but don't deserve Verse: Later in front of the mirror They got ready for work She slipped on her stockings so gently And zipped up her skirt He watched as she glided so gently His razor dug into his skin She looked up, her worried eyes said You've cut me again Chorus: Baby I love you, can't tell you enough Just stand there, look pretty for me You're perfect, an angel, sent from above That girl I call mine but don't deserve Baby I love you, can't tell you enough Just stand there, look pretty for me You're perfect, an angel, sent from above That girl I call mine but don't deserveBy MichaelMy goal for this album was simple: I wanted to create a complete, cohesive work. The best albums tell a musical narrative. They unfold in a meaningful way, and every song plays a distinct role. Now, these sound like obvious tenets of any album. Every song plays a role by very its existence. But there is something special about an album where every song is created, not only to sound good on its own, but to exist as a piece of a greater musical work. No "singles," no "bonus tracks," just quality songs from start to finish that play well with each other. When an album is written with that mindset, it shows. For me, it wasn't about rebelling against the "singles culture" or proving a point. I like complete albums, and I write what I like. On the individual song level, my objective was two-fold: I wanted the instrumentation to sound like the four of us jamming, and I wanted the music to translate well to the live setting. These ideas went hand in hand. When we jam, we don't usually have ten thousand guitars playing at once, so I avoided using extra instruments as much as possible. By keeping the arrangement simple, I was able to make the individual parts more complex. The compositional process was straightforward. I wrote and recorded either a guitar or bass line, gave it a complimentary part on the other instrument, then re-recorded the original instrument based on the accompanying part. The first take disappears and I'm left with a jam on a jam. None of the solos or embellishments are preconceived. As a result, the guitar and bass on this album are in constant play with each other. It works both on the record and on the stage. It's fun for us to play, and we hope it's fun for you to listen to. (Note: harmonic/harmony = chords, melodic/melody = single notes)Something To SaySomething to Say beautifully captured the essence of The Theory in 2008. Whenever someone wanted to know what we were about, I would play them Something to Say. I began by writing the guitar progression that would eventually become the verse. Both the bass and guitar parts on the final track are almost entirely improvised, structured around the original progression. They constantly push each other forward and dance around one another. While the verse is in constant motion, as soon as the chorus hits the progression comes to a halt and the song drops into a heavy blues/rock riff. I love the contrast this creates. The bridge is made up of a series of repeated two-chord progressions, each ending with a guitar interlude. The solo in Something To Say is very different from my usual style. At first the take sounded too empty to me, but after listening to it I had the idea to try doubling the part on piano. It was a strange experience, because while the solo made perfect sense to me on guitar, on piano I had to take it one note at a time to figure out what was going on. The end result was a great fit for the song. A high-energy solo would have been too much for the piece's already swift pace. The song's conclusion is a guitar and bass jam similar to what Kyle and I would play live. The guitar sustains the verse's chordal progression and the bass swims around it, setting the stage for the intro riff of Promised Land.Promised LandLike Something to Say, Promised Land offers a powerful contrast between verse and chorus. The chorus is a rampaging, solo-style guitar line accompanied by a rumbling bass. I began with the chorus bass riff and crafted the guitar around it. I wanted the song to start with a boom, so I placed a segment of chorus at the start after a brief intro. At this point I knew that nothing I could come up with for the verse would up the intensity of what I had so far, so I took everything a step down. It's dark reggae that you can tell is going to detonate at some point. The bass carries the verse along, and it's joined by a percussive reggae style guitar backing. Out of no where, it explodes back into the chorus, and the process repeats. The bridge is similarly two-faced. It begins with a clean solo on top of a simplified verse part, then launches into a silky distorted solo over the chorus. The outro is ringing and melodic. After the chorus blows you up, this outro is what is left. Deaf, broken, but changed.Don't Say A WordThis song was fun to write and more fun to play. Don't Say A Word is a throwback to the Parliament style of funk. It's a modern misconception that funk has to have a minor tonality. Parliament made some of their dirtiest, grittiest funk music in a major key. The song was born out of the verse guitar riff. Verse in motion, chorus in limbo. I always love the vocal parts Sean comes up with, but I was especially thrilled with what he did with Don't Say A Word. It's melodically pretty and lyrically knowing. The chorus is a simple, scratchy guitar part that leaves space for the group vocals. I left the first half of the bridge as a blank canvas for Sean to do something creative, and that he did. Awesomely Parliament-esque. The second half of the bridge ramps up into a taste of the verse before entering the final chorus.Clean CutClean Cut takes Don't Say A Word's facade of prettiness and shoves it. It's a filthy funk/rock tune born one night when I was hanging out at Kyle's house. We decided it would be fun to go wander to the park next door and play the recorder we found in Kyle's closet. Inspired by anticipation of our adventure, I cranked out a guitar riff through his bass practice amp. It was all rhythm, all percussion, and it became the verse guitar for Clean Cut. The bass line pounds an intermittent grooving response, and it all gives way to a Hendrix-inspired rock chorus with a staggered rhythm. It's a rhythm that makes no sense when I think about it but complete sense when I don't. The bridge features a restless wah solo that wants to disconnect itself from the backing instrumentals. It's very rebellious. The final chorus comes to a halt, yielding to the singing guitar intro of Runway.RunwayRunaway is a melodically driven song disguised as a chordally based piece. I wrote the intro part while jamming with Sean and Kyle. In a moment of silence, I kicked on my Big Muff distortion. With that pedal, when you play multiple notes at once your sound turns into mud, but when you play a single note you end up with a thick, ringing tone. It sounded great as I alternated between a note on a low string and a slide on a high string, like separate voices playing simultaneously. The pedal also caused each note to cut off the previous one in a very musical way. That sound inspired the intro melody which became the song's foundation. The melody undergoes a couple of transformations, not from a musical standpoint, but in the way it's interpreted. When it first appears in the intro, it gets treated like a guitar solo. When it resurfaces in the chorus, it becomes a backing instrument, like an implied melody branching out from the chord progression. Then it changes again in the bridge when, all of a sudden, the guitar solo drops down and returns to that melody. That moment sums up the way I treat the guitar in general: even when it's a backing track, the guitar should always have some sort of melodic significance, rather than just strumming along with chords. I love how the bridge turned out. It starts with that singing guitar solo, then Pat comes in and the chord progression shifts. It's the first significant variation of the harmonic progression. The listener is used to hearing the song return home to the same chord at the beginning and middle points of every measure, so the shift carries a lot of weight. The solo relaxes into a conclusion that dutifully winds the piece down.Girl In My HeadThis was the first song I wrote for the album, and it ended up being one of the funkier tunes. The original concept came from a jam at Kyle's house. I had an assignment to make a movie for my high school video/film class. Kyle and I thought it would be great to record our own soundtrack, and even better to make that soundtrack offensively funky. The verse for Girl In My Head was inspired by the tune we came up with. While most of the songs on the album move around during the verse and become rooted at the chorus, Girl In My Head is the opposite. In the verse, the bass and guitar start each measure in unison, diverge into an improvisational riff, then return at the start of the next phrase. They always return home. A crisp, muted guitar comes in half way through each verse offering another level of rhythmic intricacy. The song takes off as the verse ends. The chorus shifts into a major key, rising and falling with a large range of motion relative to the verse. The bridge is a funky bass and guitar jam. The drums back down, then return to yank everything back together for a heavy solo. The drum line behind the solo is simple and determined. It's the song's the first and only instance of rhythmic simplicity and fluidity.High StrungSean came to me with an idea for a chorus, a concept that had struck him aboard a train in Europe. He didn't have a set melody in mind, but he conveyed this idea of a musical explosion piloted by the guitar... something simple, low down on the neck, and heavily overdriven. That concept became the instrumental response in the call/response verse of High Strung. Originally I thought the part would have to be a chorus, and I spent a ton of time trying to come up with a verse to do it justice. I finally decided to try the part as a hard-rocking verse, and the chorus fell into place on its own. The guitar and bass spell out a rising and falling melody, each time coming to rest on a different unstable chord. I wanted the chorus to be huge. The bridge builds on this feeling, but it drops the underlying melody. A touch of harmonic variation gives the bridge character of its own while foreshadowing the return of the concluding chorus.OdysseyThe verse of Odyssey is an adaptation of a piece Sean had written. The guitar part is almost identical to that of Sean's piece with the addition of swing rhythm. Sean showed it to me at his house one day by strumming out the part. I picked up a guitar and immediately played the solo that became, note-for-note, the intro to the finished song. I don't normally use preconceived leads, but it was such a great fit for the song that I couldn't imagine anything else in its place. It acted more as an introductory melody than a solo. I wanted the chorus to have a straightforward chord progression to match the elegant simplicity of the verse. Odyssey was the only song on the album for which I didn't have a running melody in my mind, so I stuck to the chords and used very few embellishments. Normally I envision a melody in my head when I write an instrumental part, and that melody becomes engrained in the guitar line. However, in the case of Odyssey, the vocal melody already existed.The End Is NearI came up with the guitar riff for the verse while jamming with Kyle. We were playing on the side of my house that borders our noise-sensitive neighbors, so we were sticking to things that were chill, funky, and swingy. This punchy, oddly spaced part came to me, and it was begging for an insanely funky bass line to be dropped underneath it. After playing around with a few ideas for the bass, the song was born. The chorus features my favorite style of guitar. It's got an underlying chord progression that rumbles along while a melody gets played out on the higher strings. The chorus also has a rhythmic twist that momentarily blows up the groove. I don't know why it works, but it does. I wanted a huge, rocking chorus, and I love the result. The bridge takes the song all the way to its conclusion, an interesting structural anomaly. The song always dictates what I write, and this one didn't want to back to another chorus. The bridge and accompanying solo escalate until they finally crash down into the guitar outro.Leave Me AloneThe verse guitar part originated from a jam between Kyle, Sean, and I. It was one of those days where nothing sounds right, so we started thinking outside the box. Sean began playing a drum line with a constant kick drum. I had never heard anything like it before, and the guitar part I came up with became the verse riff. That kick drum line remained as the defining feature of the song. The bass follows the guitar for the first half of each verse before splitting off into wide leaps, playing high at some times and low at others. Those high and low bass parts become separate entities existing above and below the guitar. The song tears open during the chorus with dual guitars bending simultaneously over an emphatic bass line. During the bridge, the bass continues the riff from the chorus while the bending guitars shift to a different spot. This creates a slightly dissonant but extremely rich backdrop for the solo.Morning (Out)This is one of my favorite songs on the album. I imagined this huge, moaning guitar part that would dictate the pace of a verse. The final take was almost entirely improvised, built around a heavy strum at the start of each measure and a bend that becomes a recurring theme. The bass occasionally walks up or down to meet the guitar at the end of a measure, which puts further emphasis on each strum. All of the instruments are unleashed during the chorus in a lush progression that wants to root itself but isn't allowed to do so. There isn't much I can say about the outro. I don't understand much of how it works. For whatever reason, the chorus felt like it wanted to go into a series of dissonant chords that I could clearly hear in my head, and I kept messing around with things until my guitar made the right sounds. It builds up with a part that is kind of stationary but kind of not, at which point the piano enters. It feels like it's always moving, and yet it doesn't go anywhere until the final couple of chords. At that moment, all of the instruments swell back into the same two dissonant chords that lead out of the last chorus. This gives way to the final solo guitar progression. Again, I have no clue what the part is doing or why it works. All I know is that it's a series of widely spaced chords. Each chord I played had a very specific direction in which it wanted to move, and I followed the trail until I got to the end.By MichaelThe recording of this album was a scrappy process, but in the end we got the sound we were looking for and we did it completely on our own at no cost. Success. I knew what I wanted: big rock tone that still sounded like the four of us were in a room jamming. There are two schools of thought when shaping the recorded sound of an album. The first is to give every song its own unique tone by using different mixing techniques, different processors, switching microphones, etc. I don't think there's anything wrong with that approach. On the contrary, some of my favorite albums were recorded that way (see: Sgt. Pepper, Consolers of the Lonely). However, there is something special about albums that have a uniform sound from start to finish (see: Californication, De Stijl). A consistent sound furthers the sense unity between songs. You can hear a song from one of those albums and know exactly where it belongs. You can picture yourself listening to the songs that come before it, the songs that come after it, and it evokes a deeper chain of memory and emotion. On top of all that, we, as a band, have a certain sound. We created that sound because we like that sound. Why would I go out of my way to change that? The mixing process took months and made for a fantastic learning experience. Sure, we could have sent the tracks off to a professional studio, dropped a few hundred dollars per song, and gotten a better sound, but it's incredible to look back and realize how much I learned by pushing forward through the highs and the lows (hah) of the process. By doing the engineering ourselves, The Theory of Funkativity remains entirely self-sufficient. What follows is going to get technical. If you have a basic knowledge of gear and want to know how we got our sound, read on! We recorded the album entirely ITB with an Mbox2, an AKG C414, an Electrovoice PL76 that once belonged to the Rolling Stones, and a couple of Sure SM57s. The Mbox didn't have enough inputs so we recorded the drums on a Yamaha AW2400 and transferred them to Pro Tools. We used the 414 for vocals and set up a vocal booth using a couple of acoustic pads. For guitar we used the 414 and a 57, both up against the grill and pointing towards the center of the cone. For a roomier tone on Morning (Out), I distance miked with the PL76. Almost every guitar track is my '88 American Tele through a '77 Marshall JMP head and custom 4x12 cabs with Alnico Blues. My Gretsch White Falcon made a few appearances as well. When I wanted a cleaner tone on tracks like Don't Say A Word, I played through a Fender Twin Reverb and occasionally a Fender DeVille. All of the distorted tones were recorded using a Boss Blues Driver, Boss DS-1, and Big Muff Pi. The wah tone on Clean Cut and Leave Me Alone is an '80s Ibanez WH-10. For acoustic guitar I use my dad's Takamine from the 80s. I don't know what year or model it is, but to me it's exactly how an acoustic guitar is supposed to sound. The bass tone is a mix of a DI'd signal and the 414 on one of Kyle's 1x15s with a Gallien Krueger 700 RB-II head. The bass is a 2001 Music Man Sterling. For the fuzz tone on Leave Me Alone we used a Big Muff Pi. Sean's kit is comprised of Pearl Export shells and Tama hardware with a Sabian Hand Hammered Raw Bell Dry Ride, Sabian AAH Hi-Hat, and a Zildijian A Custom Crash. We used a 57 on the kick for punch and a homemade sub kick mic (a reverse wired guitar amp) for the boom. I put 57s on top and bottom of the snare, but the recorded tone is mostly from the snare bottom. I like the way a crisp, rattly snare cuts through. I used a single 414 as an overhead. My go-to plugins were the PSP MasterQ for equalization, the Massey CT-4 for compression, and the PSP VintageWarmer2 for compression and warmth. I used all three extensively, monitoring through a pair of Mackie HR824s. You can expect greater detail in the Engineering sections of the weekly song posts, but there is simply too much to cover for me to delve into the details of the album's mixing process. There is so much that I would absolutely love to talk about, but there isn't any one single element of the mix that I could cover without delving into a million othe related parts. Still, if you want to know more, please ask away.