Ep. 45: Song “Ocean” (Influenced by Pedro the Lion)

Today’s episode is about the title track from one of my albums called Ocean recorded back in 2002.

At the time, I was into a Seattle indie band called Pedro The Lion. One of my favorite tracks of theirs was “Of Up And Coming Monarchs” off their 1998 album, “It’s Hard To Find A Friend.”

When I wrote my song, there are several elements from the Pedro The Lion song that I borrow. First, I liked the 6/8 time signature. Most pop/rock songs are 4/4 time, which means each measure is made up of 4 quarter notes. With 6/8 time, each measure is made up of 6 eighth notes, which gives it a sort of waltzy, drifty quality so I wanted my song to have similar quality. I also liked the way the chords progress. The notes added between the main chord changes gives it a better melodic flow than just playing the chords straight so I tried to incorporate that as well into my song. I also liked how the lyrics mention things like like the ocean floor and swimming. I think it’s interesting imagery for a song.

I actually wrote it in 2001. I had recently graduated high school and my family was moving from Washington State to Utah and I wrote this the night before we moved. It was definitely the close of one chapter of my life and the opening of a new one. The first verse talks about returning home to an empty house and talking to the walls. That’s me sort of imagining what it will be like in the future to look back at this moment. The other verses talk about swimming in an ocean and building sandcastles and flying, which are all childhood memories having to do with growing up in Washington for me. I was thinking a lot at the time about the way a location can shape the way you might turn out as a person and how you view the world. So, I would say this song is kind of a farewell letter to both Washington and to my childhood.

I recorded this about a year later. Unlike the Pedro the Lion song, I used an acoustic guitar instead of an electric. I played a pretty straightforward and simple beat on the drums using brushes. I also invited a friend of mine, Robin Jolley, to play cello, which I think added an interesting quality. She’s great at improvising so there’s actually a cello solo on the second half of the song.

Download “Ocean” on Bandcamp

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