Ep. 82: Song “Invisible” (Influenced by Ben Folds)

This song actually has a pretty long history. I wrote it back in 2003 while I was a missionary in New York City. I was volunteering weekly at the Bronx VA Hospital and I got to be friends with one of the patients. I showed up one week to find out he had passed away and wrote this song shortly after on one of my days off on the church piano. It’s about memories, death and the connection between this life and the next.

For the style of the piano line and melancholy lyrics, I was going for something along the lines of the  Ben Fold Five song, “Brick.”

After I returned home from being a missionary, I let the song kind of sit for a while, not knowing what to do with it. It didn’t seem to fit with any of the bands I was a part of. Eventually, nine years later, I dug it up for my “50 songs in 50 weeks” project. At that point, the production I heard in my head for the song was something along the lines of Coldplay’s song, “Paradise.”

For my production, I tried to use a similar drum machine beat, a tambourine, some layers with the keyboards and some synth-style sounds with a guitar played with an ebow. Here is what that version of the song sounds like.

So that version was all fine and good but then 6 more years went by and I started working on my new album and thinking about which songs should be included. I had the feeling that this was a catchy song that deserved more attention with the production. I started to play around with some ideas based off of a few different songs I heard as inspiration.

I really like production of the song, “On That Day” by Slowreader. They really let the piano loose on a funky rhythm and combined with the percussion, it makes something really unique and catchy.

I changed the piano rhythm up on my song to sound a little more syncopated and rhythmic rather than the straight way I played it before.

Next, I recorded a few drum beats kind of similar in style to the Slowreader using using the kick, snare and toms but no hi hats or cymbals. I looped a few bars of one beat for the verses and another few bars for the chorus.

Again referring back to the Slowreader song, I played some additional percussion parts with a mason jar and spoon. I also added a similar part with a hi-hats, then added some tamborine to ground the whole thing.

Another song I drew inspiration from was the Flaming Lips song, “Fight Test.”

I like the funky, distorted synth bass sound they used so I came up with something kind of similar.

With the beat and basic parts down, I needed some additional elements to change the song up so it wasn’t the same thing the whole time and had distinct sections. There’s a simple two-string guitar part that comes in on the second verse, a retro organ sound, and handclaps.

For the solo section, I wanted it to sound pretty thick so there’s actually 4 guitars playing the same part in unison with different sound effects on each part.

This was a fun song to remake and put together with a fresh approach. I think it works well and is probably my favorite song on the album. Here’s the final mix.


All at once the ghosts between the
Walls appear and fill the empty space
All and all it’s still the same
Plastic toys and roller coasters
Coney Island running in my brain
All and all it’s still the same

You won’t ever see me anymore
You won’t ever see me, cause I’m invisible

Images are flashing through my mind
Projecting bits of broken light
All and all it’s still the same
Hospitals and battle scars from
Wars we fought when we were still alive
All and All it’s still the same

You won’t ever see me anymore
And I hate to see you go
You won’t ever see me anymore
You won’t ever see me, cause I’m invisible

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