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Track By Tracks: SPURGE - Crown (2021)


1. NC Flow:

Like most of my songs, I came up with the bassline for this first. I’ll allow myself an hour or so around midnight to just noodle in my bedroom. I came up with the riff to the verse one night and laid it down. I tracked the keys next and remember feeling super excited about how those two parts played together. It felt like a 90’s underground hip-hop beat so I looked for some acapella stuff to go with it. I landed on J Cole and Rhapsody by happen stance. I knew they are both from North Carolina, my home state, so I decided to dedicate the track to NC. My homie from NC, Craig laid down the trumpet parts. I sampled a NC hardcore bands from my high school days, Deathblow and Prayer For Cleansing for the whispers and screams. Originally, the bass breakdown in the bridge had a different beat, but my buddy Brian did something really cool on the toms, so I kept that part bass, drums, and vocals. The classical part in the beginning was me just being extra. I like a nice long quiet intro. Makes the music more powerful when it comes in.

2. Neumatic Weiner Tube:

I did the bass line for this one first as well, but I believe I played it on guitar originally. I can’t even tell you what that lick is anymore because like impressionist artists, I tend to get really excited when I’m layering sounds and this one for sure got buried. In fact, this frustrates some mixing engineers and I gave my buddy Greg (who mixed this) a caveat about how many layers on the tune. He’s a beast and it didn’t bother him. Actually, I think he enjoyed it. Anyway, every night I’d layer something new on this tune and would get all giddy about how the sounds blended. My boy Charles did the first guitar solo and my boy Mic did the keys solo. I remember toying with a major third to minor third as a cadence for this one, kind of like Radiohead’s Creep, and really liking how dramatic it sounded. The name came from my buddy Chris who said I could visit my wife while she was gone through a network of neumatic weiner tubes set up window to window. I know neumatic is spelled wrong, btw.

3. 57:

So, I kept seeing the number 57 everywhere for a while and it really started freaking me out. I mean like everywhere. Cell phone battery, temperature, highway exit signs. Just everywhere. I started to get agitated about how superstitious I had become and how I for some reason decided it was a bad omen. I’m typically a pretty positive person. So I wrote a song to change my attitude about this set of weird coincidences. I choose to look at 57 as a positive omen now. This track took a while to write because my bandmates wanted to do different stuff at the time so it has a ton of guest features. I got to mess around with a ton of percussion in the jam part which was a lot of fun. It reminds me of a slowed down Pertrushka from Firebird by Stravinsky.

4. A Skunk In Possom’s Clothing:

Sounds really down home, don’t it? The name is about pretending to be someone you’re not. I used to love doing this at parties. Making up stories about myself. I’m laughing now just thinking about it. So, originally this was called Circadian Rhythm and it was released on our Self Titled album. I messed up the distribution though and added a duplicate song under that name. Turns out I can’t delete it unless I delete the whole album, which is why on Spotify A Pile of Ivory Shapes and Circadian Rhythm are the same song. Whoops! No bother, I just released this tune on Crown. I think it fits better on this record anyway. This one was written by the whole live band. I’m having to relearn it now for our album release and for the life of me can’t remember the last three chords in the prechorus. I’ll figure it out eventually.

5. Furud:

There is a star in our Milky Way called Furud. I think it’s a really pretty name. It makes me think of a far away place, spacey and dreamy. Like, you know it’s real but it feels like a dream. The lyrics are also about my hometown of Winston-Salem, NC. This is how I feel about Winston. It happened so long ago. I know it was real but it feels like a dream. I moved when I was 20. I go back to see friends and my family, but it’s changed so much. The music was written around a bassline our producer discarded for a song I did with Charles. He cracks me up, I knew he would think it was too busy. I love it though, so I kept it, wrote a whole song around it. Stylistically, it’s also similar to a lot of the underground music in Winston at the time.

6. Traveling:

Surprise! This whole tune was written and tracked during my midnight hour noodle sessions. It reminds me of the Chili Peppers. They are my favorite band. I love Flea. If they bother you with their constant mentions of California and pop formula, check out Uplift Mofo Party Plan or Mother’s Milk. Mother’s Milk is probably my favorite record. A balance of raw energy and developing musicianship. What all players strive for I think. I know I do. What were we talking about? Traveling! Actually, that’s where the name cam from. On Californication there’s a track called Road Trippin and I think it has the same vibe as this tune so I called it Traveling. Also, one of the breakdowns sounds like Zeppelin a little bit. When I play this track, it helps me breathe.

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