Track By Tracks: NO SHADE - Broken Down (2020)

1. Comeback:

There’s a lot of albums/EPs that I’ve listened to in the past that I’ve noticed usually start off with a song that is just such a banger that I know the rest of it is gonna be amazing. Prime example would probably be “bad guy” by Billie Eillish. When I wrote “Comeback”, I knew that it had to be the song to kick off the EP. After writing a majority of the song at the same time as producing it, I knew it was missing some of the aggression and overall power, so I had my good friend Justin McLaughlin lay down some screams on the song. “Comeback” lyrically represents everything I’ve gone through in the past year whether it be past relationship trauma, fake friends, and just general stress of living in a modern day Apocalypse but still at the same time, being able to bounce back and still hang on by not letting petty things faze you. I feel like the song definitely does a great job of setting the theme for the rest of the EP. 

2. Alone:

“Alone” was released earlier this year as a single and it was written at a time in my life where I felt completely deserted by everyone. The song lyrically made sense for the EP but when it was originally released in March, it was definitely lacking a lot on the production side. After releasing the song, I spent most of my time perfecting my sound and learning to engineer the songs I was working on at the time. Shortly after the song had actually been released, an ex-bandmate of mine had released a song that sounded nearly identical to mine, with the main hook being almost note- for-note the same. To be completely honest, it really could have been coincidental so I wasn’t too upset about it, but at the same time, it was funny enough to include a small nod to the situation in the new and improved version of the song for the EP. Right before the breakdown happened, I recorded a sample of me saying “wait, his song sounds like mine…” as a small inside joke to poke fun at the situation (obviously “no shade” intended). 

3. Fading Away:

When I had originally written “Fading Away”, NO SHADE didn’t even exist. I was literally sitting in my friends garage with an acoustic guitar in my hand, just playing sad chords to jam to. The main hook of the song, “now I’m fading away” just came out so naturally that as soon as I sang it once, I instantly pulled out my phone to record the idea as a voice memo. As soon as I got home that night, I tried to make a beat to the song for hours. I had no idea what genre or style the song should be, so it took at least 10 tries to write an instrumental for the song that was somewhat listenable. A huge inspiration of mine is the band Drax Project so with the help of vocalist Shaan Singh, I was able to achieve the sound I was looking for. We sat down and dissected all the parts of the song that should either stay or be changed and it helped such an immense amount that I don’t think this song would’ve been able to be released if it weren’t for Shaan. I’m honestly so grateful that he was able to help out with the song. 

4. Stay Too Long:

During my stay-at-home lockdown earlier this year, I put a lot of time into perfecting my skill at producing music. “Stay Too Long” was the first song that I was genuinely proud of how well the mix came out. I had originally written the song as just a simple hip-hop style beat just to use as an idea for a future song but the lyrics and vocal flow came out so naturally that I knew I had to keep working on it. The general theme of the song represents the feeling of wanting to break away from toxic relationships, but at the same time feeling torn because you don’t wanna hurt the other person regardless of how toxic they can be. I also felt that because the song represents such a mixed feeling, it should be the most genre-bending track on the EP that features a dark-alt-pop beat towards the beginning but also has screaming guitars during the chorus. 

5. Suffice:

“Suffice” was another song that was released earlier this year as a single but this song originally had a completely different approach. I’m a huge fan of Machine Gun Kelly and his more recent induction to the punk rock scene so naturally I tried my attempt at it myself. The project file for the original “suffice” was literally titled “mgk type beat”. To be honest, the song was completely rushed when it was first recorded and it didn’t even sound like a NO SHADE song at the time. When I decided that I wanted to release an EP, I figured “Suffice” would be a good song to re-record and bring new life to the track while also giving it the “NO SHADE” treatment by adding some trap drums and 808’s to give it a more exciting vibe. While lyrically the song was written as a way to cope with the feeling of never being enough for a significant other, it’s an insane amount of fun to play on the guitar. 

6. Go:

Since I was a kid, I’ve always been a huge fan of metal music. Whether it be post-hardcore bands like Pierce the Veil and Bring Me The Horizon or just straight up classic metal like Megadeth and Metallica. Playing metal riffs on guitar is always a blast so I felt that the EP should end on a high note and feature a huge guitar riff. “Go” was the most recently written song so I knew it would be the song to close out “Broken Down”. The song features a sample before the breakdown that quotes “I hope you're happy with yourself, because I’ve finally broken down” which is literally the last text message I got from an ex-girlfriend. While “Go” is an energetic hardcore track, the lyrics represent all the anger and frustration that have been built up from going through all my past- relationships and finally finding closure in what I’ve been through.

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