The premise of this project might sound dubious. Really? Songs written from the age of 13 through 16? The thing is, these three years embodied a crucial time in my life, when life altering choices were made, which I now identify as a clear moment of demarcation. I had actually started writing and recording songs when I was about 8 years old, but something happened when I was 13, and wrote “A Day’s End,” (which is being re-recorded for this album with a full orchestral arrangement, the way I had originally imagined it.) It was distinctly the first time I took a step back from a song I’d written and said okay, I think I really actually have something here. From there began a wild roller coaster of the unimaginable joy of discovering love, the devastation of heartbreak, grappling with crippling depression, and an insatiable yearning for answers in questioning the meaning of my existence. I was so reactive to everything, and when something happened in my life that moved me, it moved me. It hurled me, up or down, and I found these dramatic melodies and heartfelt words, which seemed to just flow out of me without effort. The songs that came out of that time, to me, were like lightning in a bottle. In having a chance now to really take these songs apart and get to their cores again, I found myself asking “where the hell did this come from?” And I wrote so much through those years. I’m narrowing down my song list to just the ones that I had to include in this project, and I landed at 22 songs!
Making this album so far, arranging demo recordings and beginning with our drum sessions, is like something I’ve never experienced before. It’s like scrapbooking with handwritten intimate letters, and diving back into old conversations with incredibly intense emotions becoming fresh again. This reigniting of such a volatile piece of myself has sparked into flame an old familiar passion in me. I’m finding myself as emotionally charged through this process as I was when I wrote the songs, and that’s all being funneled into the crafting of these arrangements and recordings.
Over the years, I kind of unknowingly played telephone with myself with these songs. Every time I’d get my hands on a new piece of recording gear, my first move was to redo the “classics.” There are so many unreleased versions of these songs. Without even realizing it though, over the course of continuing to try to improve the original recordings, I unintentionally changed important nuances, vocal rhythms, and even pieces of the melodies. I noticed this when I decided to listen back to one of my original home recordings, and then in digging deeper I found that it had happened to every one of the songs. I found that the original versions were objectively much better, which makes sense I guess because they captured my purest intent for the songs. I then spent about 4 months preparing demo sessions in pre production. This process involved deeply analyzing my original home recordings/arrangements to get down to their cores. I took into account all of the little nuances, instrumentation choices, rhythmic patterns, and tempos that actually made enough little differences for each song to to effectively evoke the right emotion. I’ve actually been thinking to myself that I’m glad I waited this long to actually officially release final recordings of these songs, because I don’t think that I had enough sensitivity in past years to some of these minuscule details, which I now think make or break each one.
In case it’s not clear enough, I am so very excited about this project, and more motivated and inspired than I’ve felt in a long time. I truly think that that will show in how this music comes out in the end. I really think that this is going to be something very special.
I should mention - I am also running a fundraiser to help with the colossal costs of completing the project. If you’d like to contribute, and be a part of helping to bring this special album to life, you can check it out here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/recording-the-missing-musical-chapter