Track By Tracks: Marcelyn The Band - Monstruous Existence (2020)

1.Friday 13th:
Marcelyn: Every album we’ve released so far has at least one completely a cappella track on it so we wanted to include another on this album. I usually write the a cappella tracks using a looping pedal so I can layer my voice and make it sound like a fuller, more complete song, but I wanted to try something new this time. This song is somewhat of an ode to choral music and I wanted to recreate some musical inventions that are frequently found in choral pieces. The first part of this song is a chorale, where all the voices are singing the same rhythms and words in harmony. The second half is (almost) a fugue, which is basically when a melody is passed around from part to part and it creates this really dense polyphonic texture. I also wanted to modern-ize the song, so I added some modern harmonies, like major 9th chords which are really popular in contemporary choral music. Basically, I just got super nerdy and technical, which was so fun for me! 

2. Empty Room:
Marcelyn: Juliet, the singer of Bad Sleeper and my co-writer, and I tried to start a band before Marcelyn, the band became a full band instead of my solo project. We couldn’t get our schedules to line up because we’re both in grad school and have pretty demanding careers, but we kept in touch. I really love Juliet’s writing style and still wanted to work with her, so I eventually just asked her to write a song with me. We were originally planning on writing the song then having both of our bands form a super band and record the track together, but we only got to meet up twice to write before COVID-19 hit. Our last writing session was actually the same day both of our schools announced that they were cancelling in-person classes for the rest of the semester. Since we couldn’t keep working together in person, we decided to send the rough demo we made to our bands and have them come up with our own unique arrangements and release them separately. I don’t think I’ve seen any other bands do something like this, so we were really excited to explore this new idea and I’m so happy with how both tracks turned out! 

3. Guilloteens:

Marcelyn: This song is based on a couple conversations I’ve had with my best friends from college and the chorus is somewhat of a mantra I say to myself whenever I’m really stressed. I actually wrote this before COVID hit, but it feels more relevant now than ever. 

4. Set It On Fire:
Travis: I was watching the news one time and saw a bunch of people protesting without a chant. So I got the idea to write a song that was like a pulsing chant to sort of give them a bigger voice; something that was like a march with a groove. The song is about feeling cheated - short changed - and being fed up and not taking it anymore. Not accepting the hand you're dealt.

5. I Smell Like Experience:
Mike: I don't sleep through the night, I'm up for a little bit every two hours. While I'm up, I record with my phone the song bits that I dreamed of. Then I go back to sleep and forget all about it. I have a bunch of these bits. Most are terrible, but sometimes I get a song like this. Also, the crazy operatic background vocals is something I've wanted Marce to do since forever and I'm glad it finally worked.
6. Number A:
Marcelyn: This is the first song I wrote on kalimba AKA thumb piano. It’s based on a Billie Eilish cover I arranged. People kept requesting that cover at shows and online, so I thought I’d just write a song I could play instead of the cover. 

7. Quarantine Song: 

Marcelyn: I wrote this song a few months after the quarantine started. I felt obligated to write something about COVID and tried a few times, but I had to take some time to process the shock of everything I had been working on being cancelled suddenly first. Then when I sat down to write the song again, it just poured out of me and thus Quarantine Song was born. 

8. Sled Ted: 

Travis: This song had a lot of room to experiment. I wrote some background parts for Marce that countered the bass line and sort of swirled around it. The end of the song was fun to mix down - we took vocal parts from each track and reversed them and did all kinds of fading and panning. 

9.The Show is Over: 

Mike: This is the third version of this song. There was a really fast one and one that was drenched in reverb. The reverb version was originally going to close out our last album, but we cut it for time. I'm glad we brought it back, it's a good album closer.

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