ALL SO UNSUSPECTING
Restless Nervous started with a drum loop that I found that interested me while I was just going through presets.
Then I pulled up some pad of a synth sound, and just started futzing with chords. All in all that came pretty quickly.
I think ultimately I was just in experimental mode. Didn’t have a strong desire to try to “write a hit” so to speak. I just wanted to work on music.
Lately I had been reaching back into the 80s for inspiration. So the synth bass was paramount. Pulled up a sound for a basis, and tweaked it until it had sort of the razor’s edge I was looking for. Old 80s bass tones ironically don’t have a lot of low end. At least in my vision for this, that’s what I wanted.
First line came out:
“Someone will walk this road alone, taking with them the words they wrote in scattered poems”
Ah. ok. Now I know where I want to go with this.
I won’t tell you what the song is about (I prefer you tell me), but desolation, despair and what happens next are all critical elements.
Then I thought: how do I bring guitars into the mix?
I wanted clean clean clean. BUT….No amp. Went direct into a mic pre, 60s/70s style. Loved it. (Yes, the single note distorted flurry at the end was amped; I mean the primary guitars that begins in the 2nd verse). Interestingly enough, more time than you would think was spent experimenting with different mic pre settings before I arrived at the sound that I wanted. I naively thought they might be rather similar (they were not). But wow, the way it cuts. I was completely enamored.
Songwise, then the chorus came. Interesting….
and then an hour or so later…
hmmm……..wait a minute…this is…….. interesting.
Couple late nights later, I had my friend Greg Berella come in for drums, and the whole point was to replicate the drum loop I found (which is deceptively not simple to play). I wanted him to branch off as the song allowed, but to keep the basic snare and kick the same.
Oh, and NO overhead mics, no room sound whatsoever (I recorded the tracks just in case, but muted them all). And no cymbal crashes. It’s a tightly wound, dry, punchy fucking thing; I wanted it to feel like you were playing it yourself. Without killing your ears, turn it up at the beginning beat: you’ll hear the kick pedal squeaking.
I added some ancillary percussive loops that played around what he was playing, but ultimately his performance was great. It was a comped final off a few different takes, as I asked him to be improvisational in later versions. For something that is both simple and busy. I just love it. He made the drums sing.
And he even said at the end of the night, “You know, this one is really growing on me.” (and then months later: “this one is my favorite”)
That’s just it:
I felt the same.
This song was the song that just enveloped me slowly like an old movie’s quicksand, and grew on me so as to be undeniable. I don’t know or think if this song will be immediate for you. It certainly may not. But for me, I loved how it just felt right the more you heard it… How it slowly revealed.
You know that feeling you get when listening to something on an album, somewhere buried between the tracks is this…”you know,….I gotta say…I really like this one….”?
It’s like almost admitting that you wouldn’t or shouldn’t have liked it in the first place… that it was all so unsuspecting.
Yet there it is.