this song was entirely born out of blind exploration. i jumped into this one head first, following miniature idea after miniature idea, never really having any clue what the final picture was going to look like. when i trust in the process enough to let myself write in that way, it’s a lot of fun. i often find myself roadblocking ideas in early planning of a song, due to over-thinking things. analysis paralysis, i think it’s called. but “segue” was the result of much play. and in a project consisting of writing 36 songs, “play” was a very, very welcome tangent in the process.
the beginning sound is a reversed piano melody i recorded a long, long time ago on a very cruddy old tape recorder. (micr0-cassette) over the years i’ve fallen in love with old micro-cassette recorders. i have a small collection of them. i call them mellotron makers… because they give everything you record with them that lo-fi, vintage, warble-y type of sound that i love and that makes mellotrons sound so rad. so that little piano bit was my starting point… reversing it and abruptly changing it to forward felt interesting. so that became the foundation of the song.
next, i played around with french horn sounds… which in turn lead me to the chord changes and guided the overall mood of the song. i love french horns… they remind me of batman for some reason. so any chance i get to add them, i’m for it.
then i began to experiment with sounds via an incredible iphone/ipad app that i’ve mentioned many times before — soundprism pro. truly a favorite of mine. soundprism was used all over the place throughout yearbook, and for songs like this, it was an essential part of my writing and recording process. (for those of you that don’t know what soundprism is, learn more here.) there are several “flute” trills throughout the song and i just love how that little character came out – which was made entirely possible by soundprism pro. same applies for those french horn chords.. in fact, most of the elements of this song were written/played using soundprism and it’s unique note layout. love. it. if you’re a musician, or would like to be… buy it!
percussion came next and was a lot of fun to mess around with. the result of a lot of adding and subtracting percussive layers. really enjoyed playing around with that.
right around 1:35, a little piano “breakdown” section begins… that whole piano bit came together in an interesting way. before that part was written, the song just kind of dropped off there… like a half-painted canvas. but i knew i wanted some sort of quiet bit to break up the song and to begin a new mood/feel for it. so, again in the spirit of blind exploration, i decided to sit at the piano, hit record on my iPhone and just see what happened in that section and just played whatever came. usually, the best-case scenario for that type of situation is that i’ll land on a couple ideas that i like, but will need to dissect it and arrange it a bit better to fit/make sense, and of course re-record it. but in this case, i was fortunate enough to like what came out, exactly as it was, iPhone recording and all and left it in as is. every time i hear that section of the song now, it makes me happy. one of those rare musical moments that benefited from less “work” to make work.
after that layer, the full picture of the song came into view. so from there, it was just a matter of playing around with more detailing and layers. the icing on the cake.
the title “segue” was a nod at being the middle song of the EP, but it was also named after the “segues” that were going on in my life at that time. plans of moving across the country, family transitions of all sorts, etc. it felt immediately like the right title.
the incredibly talented chris bethea mixed this track, along with the entire “may” EP and did so with absolute brilliance. i cannot say enough about his quality of work… professional, easy and extremely gifted. true story: not only did chris mix this EP under crazy tight deadlines, he also mixed this song during an insanely dangerous and deadly tornado that ripped through alabama last year. he wrote a blog post about it… read it here!
huge thanks to chris for an incredible job and for risking his life to do it! (yikes.. still feel bad about that!) chris and i have decided that “sleeping at last” might be bad luck for him, because every time we work together some type of emergency arises. including: a dinner together, where a very nearby car spontaneously burst into flames, an emergency hospital visit for his wife, during the mixing a previous song of ours… and now, a tornado ripping through his neighborhood. sorry, dude.
thanks for reading, guys. “silhouettes” is up next.
much love, ryan
ps. not sure why there is that photo in the video… kind of creepy. feel free to close your eyes while listening. ha.