Now and then it’s a good idea to take stock in the items in your life. Chances are most people spend so much time pursuing “the American dream” that they become enslaved by the very things they want. A friend of mine, Grant Baciocco, spent some time last year paring down his life to 600 things or less. That’s a pretty amazing task when you think about it.
I can think of one friend who is absolutely amazing at keeping things pretty simple in his life. That would be Derek Sivers of CD Baby fame. His version of the American Dream is pretty simple. Create a business to help others. As for his own living, right now, I don’t think he even has a home. He’s been cruising the world and enjoying it. When he does have an abode, it’s usually furnished with a bed, a chair, a table, and his laptop computer.
I know that in light of Grant and Derek, I’m kinda tied to more stuff. However, a vast majority of my friends think I’m very spartan. Which is laughable. I will say that my version of the American dream is not the same as everyone else’s. I do want a nice house. Actually a few nice houses for different atmospheres. One in the mountains. One at the coast. One in England, and one in Sweden. That’s four. Of course each of those residences would be tied to each other via the internet. The one in the remote area would likely be the one with the killer studio and thus house the server for all my data. Outside of that, I’d want a mountain bike for riding, skis for skiing in the winter. A bed, a kick ass kitchen for cooking, and a nice bath room. I’ll even through in a Tesla Roadster for good measure.
As I’m looking around my house right now typing this, I can see a stack of CD’s that could be digitized and put on a hard drive. I could then donate the CD’s to charity or something. I have a couple of shelves of books that I’ve read. Most of them could be donated to the local library. Actually, I already made a donation of a bunch of books to the library. Hmmm… I could be into paring down even more. I know after this I’m going to hit craigslist to get rid of an Apple G5 1.8 ghz processor that I have from an old computer.
Anyway, the idea is to get rid of all the things that end up owning you. Which is what Brandon and I came up with as our first writing venture. I met Brandon at the SESAC bootcamp a couple of weeks ago. He’s a cool cat. We get along good and he’s a fantastic singer. I like working with writers that understand melody, Brandon definitely has that. I know that I’ve pushed him into a different way of working while writing a tune. I know that he has pushed me to think about different subjects. It’s a good thing.
What Owns Me as you can hear is nice mellow head shaker. Brandon has the impression that the song fits a musical character, like something in Rent or something. I can hear that, but I don’t really feel it’s a song for a musical. At least not in the form it is now. To me it feels like an album cut. Though I have had another friend tell me he feels it’s a potential hit song. One thing that everyone can agree on is that it’s memorable. That’s the real beauty of it. The melody hooks you in.
There’s some other bizarre things we did musically in the song. Which you’re not likely to notice. Thus I’ll point them out in case it’s interesting to you as a reader. First is, the verse is a standard 8 measures of music. However, we start the lyrics on bar 2. We did no actual intro section on purpose. Thus the one measure of an Emajor chord is the intro. I pushed for that, cause I thought it was weird enough to be cool.
Because of that setup, when you come out of the first chorus and back into the 2nd verse, there is a heavily strong desire to go directly into lyrics over the Emajor chord. The first few times through the song, I was really anticipating words and melody on it. It really tricks you and gets you thinking was it an accident – the answer is: no. The rest of the verse is a rather odd change of a bass line under the Emajor chord. |:Emajor|Emajor/C#|Emajor/C|Emajor/B|…:| When you isolate that E over the C it’s very dissonant, but somehow it worked out great. Again a weird idea I put out in the writing session and it stuck.
One thing to keep in mind, this is a rough demo. A simple drum loop, some acoustic guitar, an effected electric guitar for some ambience, a little bass line and Brandon’s vocal. It’s nice and clean. Showcase’s the tune, the lyrics and melody without mucking it up a whole lot.
We’re already into our next song. To which we’ve got the structure, and the melody. Based on the early listening a drummer friend he really likes the idea. Brandon loves the guitar part I came up with, so that’s a cool thing. In our next session we should hopefully be completing the words.
In the meantime, if you’re in LA tonight, go catch Brandon at the Mint.
Hope your 4th of July weekend was a great one!