"intermission" & how it was made.

"intermission is the 20th song in the yearbook series, track 2 of the "april" ep. in my early days of writing music, I discovered delay effects for guitar for the first time and it changed my life forever. (totally dramatic, but also very true..) as a guitar player, I became obsessed. I didn't use delay in any fancy ways, just simple echo effects and that's all it took to fall madly in love with my electric guitar. i would set up my amp downstairs in my parents basement and play for hours. I loved it. but in recent years, my electric guitar has taken a bit of a backseat (and my delay pedal along with it!) in favor of my taste for more acoustic instrumentation.

for "intermission" I thought it would be a ton of fun to revisit my old habits of setting up my electric guitar and amp and just mess around (something I've not done in many, many years) - I had so much fun. I dusted off my trust line6 DL4 delay pedal and went to town.

one of my favorite features on that particular pedal is the ability to record short loops... click one button and it immediately begins recording whatever you're playing, click another button and it begins replying it, looping over and over. rinse and repeat and you can create a multi-layered cake of guitar sounds.

after an hour or two of messing around, I created the guitar loop that is foundation of "intermission." i thought it would be really fun to write the song in the same way the loops were originally compiled - which is how the song begins. one guitar, followed by another with harmonies, followed by another with more and so on and so on. I liked the idea of preserving the origins of this song in the actual final arraignment.

at first, the general outline of the song came together very easily and fast on this one - but once I got to writing vocal melodies and lyrics, that's when the brakes were slammed to a screeching halt. (never a fun time) ... halfway into writing the vocal melodies for this song, I realized that it reminded me of another song I heard a while back. as a musician, this is something that one encounters often - there are only so many notes in existence, and unfortunately sometimes you follow an idea into someone else's song and have to forfeit the song entirely. it's happened countless times before and is always a bummer - spending hours and sometimes days and weeks on a song and and realizing that it's someone else. ugh. I've always been very strict about it and throw things out the window right when an idea feels no longer my own. for "intermission" the melody kept leaning into a familiar melody and it took many days to flip it inside to and make it mine. eventually I was able to make it happen and in retrospect, I'm very happy to have invested those extra days of work to bend it into something that feels new to me.

musically, this was a fun song to put together... enjoyed programming the very simple, dry drums... guitar layers, synth patches, etc. a favorite sound for me is the little toy piano bit that starts around 1:30 - that's one of my favorite little keyboards in the word - the casio sk-1. love that thing.

lyrically, this song is about transition. it's about the challenges of being stuck between point a and point b. or as the song states, "somewhere between side a and side b" - (which by the way is a mini reference to the iphone game "superbrothers: sword & sworcery" - if you've played it before you know what "side a" and "side b" is no doubt.)

when I wrote this, most things in my life felt very caught in some middle space... everything felt a bit up in the air in one way or another.  for that very reason, i decided to make it the middle song of this ep (which also explains the title "intermission") so writing this song, writing down these thoughts, to get it off my chest, made me feel better - to get these frustrating thoughts outside of my head.

the song "in the meantime" is next up, which is another train of thought about being in some sort of middle place... it was written as a sort of answer for the thoughts written down in this song. a prayer of sorts.

thanks for reading!

love, ryan

listen: [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/46796537" params="auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&color=000000" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]



i’m so tired but i can’t sleep. my mind is full but i can’t speak. among the dust of the hard-to-reach, i’m stuck right here, somewhere between side a and side b.

i could call it compromise or just an intermission. some kind of consolation prize for the race i never finished.

i want to turn these tired gears. i want to feel the follow-through, some kind of equilibrium… something to set my watch to.

i’m here, somewhere between victory and a white flag. caught in this purgatory dream, i’m stuck.

but i want to set the record straight, i want to retrace my every step. if i could just rewind all the tapes then maybe i’d find my loose thread.

call it a compromise or just an intermission. some kind of consolation prize, so close, but never finished.

i want to turn these tired gears. i want to feel the follow-through, some kind of equilibrium… something to set my watch to.