Ellis Paul

Nov 5 2009 - "The Day After Everything Changed" musings part 2

The songs here all could have been done acoustically and it still would of been a decent record. But we decided to follow through with what the songs were asking from us as far as mood, tone, and production goes. They were all little screen plays. We had to think how to present each one cinematically; We wanted people to see the songs in their heads, not just hear them. Rose Tattoo is an intimate song about a man and his wife struggling financially. So we wanted it spare-- sparse acoustics, hushed vocals, a single female voice singing with me- accordion and gentle guitar lines. Something like the Lights of Vegas was more dramatic because it's a scene of desperation. So Big drums, loud electrics sweeping vistas, sparse lyrics, image driven rather than literal. We weren't afraid to make it  stadium anthem big. Then comes the dilemma of how do you place these sparse songs against a stadium song?

We relied on my vocal. Having it always on top of the production so its tone would carry into each song and you wouldn't feel a whiplash effect from the genre hopping. Most listeners are breaking the albums down into an i-pod mp3 player these days, so maybe that wouldn't matter as much. But we wanted people to enjoy the whole CD as a single listen, so continuity was important between songs.

The main thing when recording songs is that they be emotionally real- you can lose that in any part of the process from the lyric to the melody to the performance and production. You have to bring out the best in the song in the studio, and I feel like I've never had so many songs on one recording do that.

Balancing light and dark: I wanted people to have joy be the predominate reason for putting the CD on- so I started it with the more uplifting songs. Every  album that I respond strongly to brings people to the darker corners of their lives and so, we eased into the heavier songs as the record went on. "The Day After Everything Changed" is poetic-about a fading relationship- so the imagery is about that- cracks in a window pane, leaves falling, iron rusting, it was cathartic to write and I hope people can apply it to the tough times in their lives. A song can partner with you, like a mantra, of sorts, an affirmation to move on and that you're gonna be okay.

updated: 5 years ago