MikeDot and I sat down for another writing session last night at the studio. Once again, the results were promising. In Ted's honor, I am calling the nascent song "Please Hamer, Don't Hurt 'Em."
Mike hates that title.
What was interesting about it was that I really feel like we have sharpened our focus on what we can make the band sound like through the songwriting.
Ever since we became a three-piece, creating the band sound has been a bit of a conundrum for me. Mike and Joe can vary their sounds somewhat, but the guitar has the most options available for different sounds and approaches. The problem was that I was growing tired of the sounds and approaches that I had used in the past because they were so heavily indebted to mainstream rock. As satisfying as it is to play a lot of big, thrashing chords, it was getting kid of dull for me.
It was "Paper Airplane Crash" that set off the lightbulb in my head. We played it on Sunday at Tedstock and I really felt like it was the most original and satisfying song in our set. It builds on the minimalism that we explored in "Beauty Mark" and it includes time-honored Microdot techniques like different instruments playing in different time signatures. Most importantly, the arrangement itself is a centerpiece of the song. All three instruments have a lot of independence in movement and the result is more of a weaving of sounds, as opposed to the big brushstroke of one color you get when the bass is holding down the root, guitar filling the air with big chords and drums laying down a backbeat.
On the way home from Tedstock, I felt like the light had been turned on and I could see the map at last. It's hard to put it into words, but I had a clear conception of how we could sound as a three-piece that didn't amount to a retread of a lot of 1990's indie tropes and 1970's prog tricks. Mostly, it involves weaving the instruments together and using that weaving to create patterns of tension that resolve into beauty.
What was cool about last night was that I think Mike is looking at a pretty similar map, which is exciting. Nothing beats working with somebody who is on the same page.