Ep. 47: Song “Descent Into Madness” (Influenced by Sunny Day Real Estate)

For this week’s episode, I break apart a song from my “50 songs in 50 weeks” series. This one was written back in high school. I originally planned on playing it with my band at the time, Made in the Shade, but it didn’t quite come together when we jammed on it. When I wrote it, I was heavily into the band Sunny Day Real Estate. They came out of Seattle in the 90s and are considered one of the godfathers of emo. They’ve been an influence to hundreds of artists, including myself. Here’s their song, “Pillars” from the 1998 album, “How It Feels To Be Something On.”

I wanted to try to capture the some mood as Pillars. I began this song with just the guitar riff. For the recording, I’ve doubled it up to it’s two guitars playing the same part, just to help it sound a little fuller.Next, it needed a beat. I didn’t have a drum set available so I opted to use drum machine loops from my computer. It almost gives it sort of an industrial quality, which I kinda liked so I went with it.The guitar part and the drum machine and played a bit mechanical so I added some groove with the bass line.

The song needed some more texture to it so I added some ebow parts. If you’ve been listening this podcast, you’ve probably heard me talk about the ebow, which I used a lot during this era. Basically, it’s a little device which you hold up to your guitar and it makes the strings vibrate without actually touching it and sounds a little bit like a cello. There 4 ebow parts, which played together make up the main chords of the song. It’s purposely played just a little messy because I like the swelling sounds it makes when you get too close to the pickup.

Next came the vocals. The melody lines kind of overlap so there are two tracks for that, plus another track for harmony. I added distortion to the vocals, which make a messy “static” sound during the parts where I am not singing. I liked the direction of the messiness so I look a few of these static moments and ebow parts, looped them in reverse and added some strange sounding effects. I think it gives a real sinister and creepy feel fitting for the song.

I think the whole thing came together in kind of an interesting and unique way. It’s sort of a different sound than my other songs but I like it.

Lyrics:
Hold me down, take away my pain
Let it go, show me your apathy
Washed right through, diseased soul to stay
Empty space, no one understands your place

Hold me down, release my consciousness
Think it out, concentrated thoughts remain
Sending me on my own
You’re sending me on my own

You’re so alive it’s killing me
You’re so alive it’s killing me
So unclear, so afraid
So unclear, and so diseased

Hold me down, take away my misery
Enter now, open doors you await
Sending me on my own
You’re sending me on my own

You’re so alive it’s killing me
You’re so alive it’s killing me
Able minds, Lost at sea
Endless ways, so diseased

Download “Descent Into Madness” on Bandcamp

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