Pray For My Disaster – An Exercise in Creative Constraints

Pray For My Disaster was a great exercise in building tight constrictions before I went ahead and dove into the writing process. It’s true that what I’m known for is a large hybrid-orchestral sound. I love things that are cinematic, what can I say. However, I have entered into a new atmosphere of thought that has been extremely imaginative and creative. For years my obsession has been building artistic skill first over everything. Often to the detriment of the short road, however, it’s absolutely paying off in the marathon of life both financially as well as a source for deep and vital meaning that comes from within and the solid relationships I’ve built for years.

Rather, than just chasing down an idea, I decided that what I wanted to do was create the most harmonically and structurally simple song I had ever written. There are 2 chords, Dm & Gm, with the same guitar line throughout. What I wanted to challenge myself on is creating a new kind of melody at least for me. Something I’ve loved about more modern pop melodies is the sense of rhythm. Sure, there’s a lack of arc at times, but rhythmically, they’ve become enhanced. Clearly, it’s the mark of hip-hop and thank god for it.

I gave myself those very specific arrangement parameters, but also, that I would only spend a day to write it, another day to tweak the writing, and a 3rd to record in another studio. I was in L.A. and searching for the right place and found a total gem in Silverlake, York Recording Studios. Vibe is huge! Consider being around a person who you pay to home in on a vision that is important to you and that engineer being completely emotionally and intellectually checked out. This happens all the time both in the studio and in live performances. It’s not good for anyone. So, when I received Tim Moore’s positive email that agreed to meet me to check out the studio and when I did, his energy was giving and engaged. He was forthright and patient and I could tell that we were having a real conversation, only then did I decide to record at York. Two days later the song was done and I was back for tracking.

Setup took hardly any time at all and I was open to what Tim was saying concerning tracking and ideas he brought to the table like using a Nashville tuned guitar for some whole note strums. The entire time there was an excitement that we were making something together. Our intentions were objective and just wanted to suit the song. By the time vocals were being tracked, I was feeling an insane warm tingling sensation throughout my chest and after maybe 40 min. in the booth, we had our takes and in 20 min. a vocal comp.

I used the footage I took and made a quick video that detailed that experience using only the 1st mix. Normally, because I’m very concerned with being as professional as possible, I only post finished products. As a consumer of content, I personally prefer a finished/edited creation, but the expectations of any entrepreneur now, especially in the creative fields, is to maximize content. I think it’s gotten out of hand and what has replaced art, music, literature, journalism, & design – is simply content. It’s nothing special … just consciously digested sugar that provides no spiritual or intellectual nutrition which is the very point of art. Half-baked ideas are everywhere. And like babies, you need a certain gestation time if the idea itself can actually grow before it’s outside of the womb. However … I get it. I’m not going down the grumpy old man road here. What I’m trying to find personally is, at what time has an idea had enough growth before being fully formed that it’s okay to let the big bad scary world in to take a peak at it … because the game demands it, and I’m ready to play ball.