Light Will Remain cover
Songwriting

Evolution of an Idea: “We Speak to the Revelator”

I have no idea why, but some time around…2007(?) someone left me a voicemail with the first minute of this song:

No explanation. One of those flipphone-era voicemails with no missed call attached to it. The maddening (and kinda exciting) part was that I couldn’t really suss out what the song was. I think finally my friend Jesse pointed out that it was Cocteau Twins and an hour’s worth of blind searching later, I found “I Wear Your Ring.”

Before that though, I transcribed the main melody and most of the chord changes. I stayed obsessed enough with the idea to begin fashioning a whole song around it. The song would have numerous shifts and time signatures but still retain a kind of poppy feel. As well, I wanted the listener to feel like they were actually “moving” through multiple aural environments during the song, using instruments almost as cinematic foley to create scenarios in the mind’s eye. I had a really vivid idea in my head but it was hard to translate.

So I started sharing the bits and pieces I had with my cohort in The Atomic Bomb Audition. It was too abstract not to get a bit warped in translation but the piece inevitably went from soundscapes to atmospheric rock. And it gave a home to a nice little riff that I had that was very easy to build up to a satisfying peak but..didn’t really go anywhere interesting after that. That became the intro. The only thing left missing was the ending.

So I stole something else. Something I knew. It was “Betty’s Theme” by Angelo Badalamenti from David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. (start at 1:05 to hear the part I’m referencing):

One of my favorite pieces of music just…ever. So? I did something supremely obnoxious: I pilfered the melody and put words to it.

The resulting amalgam of all the above is:

Hey, we tried…

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