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July 19, 2010 - Week 4
Can you believe it's been four weeks already? Here's our latest track, a rock ballad entitled "Face It." We are still working on moving into our new LA home. It's been oh so much fun transferring all of our gear in SoCal's sweltering heatwave (now accepting applications for roadies), but everything is coming together nicely. Things we've learned: - A week without a couch is too long - A day without the internet is way too long - Pool cleaners make great bee hive removers - Sean has mad 409 skillz - Listening to Parliament makes any task 3-4 times more enjoyableBy SeanThe lyrics for "Face It" originated from an idea that Pat came up with after hearing an early version of this song. Pat had this vision of a man exploring a jungle getting totally lost and climbing up to the top of the tree to see where he was. I really liked the idea of the man being "lost, but not alone," so I ran with that theme for the majority of the song. In the final version, the lyrics are more about being young and not knowing what to do with love, but I feel like there's a shared sentiment between the old and final versions. In the end, I hope that the message translates that even when we're feeling lost, we can at least find solace in the fact that there are tons of other people feeling the same way.Face It by The Theory of Funkativity Verse: Finished with it I went ahead and did it Forgot about it How did it come to this Looking for something For someone I can drink with To feel less broken I'm broken, I'm helpless Face it fully You have to see it surely By now here's how I told you do it now Save it for when Someone listens I'm done with this now cause I I'm fully undone, yea The story's unsung, yea I'm lost not free no one can Tell if it is me Chorus: When you see me I'll admit That I'm lost, but at least I'm not alone, no Lost but not alone When you see me I'll admit That I'm lost thank god at least I'm not alone Lost but not alone Verse: Fate is staring At me it's daring me to Go make the next move I can't who knows what's due Fear has taken Over my head forgiven I can't forget My turn, get set Finished with it I went ahead and did it Forgot about it How did it come to this Dwelling on the He said she said I'm done with this now cause I I'm lost not free no one can Tell if it is me Chorus: When you see me I'll admit That I'm lost, but at least I'm not alone, no Lost but not alone When you see me I'll admit That I'm lost but at least I'm not alone Lost but not alone Chorus: When you see me I'll admit That I'm lost, but at least I'm not alone, no Lost but not alone When you see me I'll admit That I'm lost, at least I'm not alone Lost but not alone When you see me I'll admit That I'm lost, but at least I'm not aloneBy MichaelFrom a compositional standpoint, "Face It" is completely guitar-driven. I wrote the entire song on guitar before touching any other instruments, which is unusual for me. Normally I'll write a guitar part, mess around with a bass accompaniment, then rewrite the guitar based on the influence of the bass. With "Face It" the initial guitar part I wrote is exactly the same as what you hear on the track. One of my favorite things to do with a song is to pair a chordally stationary verse with a moving chorus. This is the case with "Face It." Other than occasional exceptions at the end of each phrase, the verse sticks on a single chord. I let the guitar and bass melodies dance around that chord, but, harmonically, the part remains stationary. The bass line is a falling riff spaced out accross all the strings. It spans a wide range that simultaneously anchors the verse's low end and embellishes the guitar part in the high end. The part is not fluid and not quite staccato. Each note lets up just before the next one hits. The stationary nature of the verse sets the stage for a heavy unleashing when the chorus is finally reached. The chorus runs through a seemingly patternless progression of chords. It travels from start to finish with no large-scale repetition (other than in the final chorus). During the writing process, it was one of those parts where I had no idea how or why the chords worked where they did, but I had a melody in my head and the chords fell into place. The chorus contains an odd number of measures. I wasn't conscious of this while writing it, but it felt natural. Whenever possible I like to sit back and let the music write itself, and sometimes strange but beautiful (to me, at least) things like that happen. The lead guitar line is a series of individually picked notes. It spells out what's essentially a hybrid melody/harmony that flows seamlessly accross the chordal switches. On top of this, I wanted the chorus to have a sea of background vocal harmonies that rise and fall against different instrumental elements of the chorus at different times. The song is constantly swelling and receding.By MichaelThis one's all about the kick drum. You might have heard of it... it's kind of a big deal these days. As with any element in a mix, the kick drum is all about compromise. Everyone wants to have a gigantic kick drum sound, but the key is getting it to play nicely with the other instruments (especially the bass guitar). For starters, I tune Sean's kick as low as it can go without flapping. I also remove the front head to get a cleaner, less reverberant sound. We use two mics: an ND868 and an SM57. They get placed side by side half way from the center to the rim, at the height of the beater, and about 4" from the head. Discovering the 868 was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It captures an awesomely full, well rounded sound that's got enough low end to compete with a sub-kick mic. The 57 compliments it by picking up a nice meaty beater click that helps the drum cut through the mix and gives it definition on a sound system with weak bass. I also tape a credit card onto the beater's impact point to enhance the click. I use a high pass filter to cut out all of the lows from the 57 and avoid phase issues with the 868. Everything worth capturing in the low end is already present in the 868's signal anyway. Next I combine the two tracks and apply the traditional low-mid cut to keep the kick from sounding overly boxy. After that I add a notch to filter out the drums resonant frequency and keep things dry. I also gently roll off below 50Hz or so to avoid flabbiness in systems with poorly tuned subs such as car stereos. Next, everything gets sent through the VintageWarmer2 compressor which I talked about in an earlier post. It's extremely colorful and very dangerous. I smash the signal hard and then use parallel compression to keep a good amount of the original clean signal and prevent the plugin from taking over. I go with just a 15% wet/dry mix and let the my drum bus compression take care of the volume leveling. The resulting sound is the Sean Brust kick tone. It's fat, dry, and punchy, and it sits nicely alongside the bass guitar.