It’s strange starting to write a new album. Its not something you do everyday, its like a stamp on a moment of your fleeting time on this planet. As I get a little older these songs are getting more important and as the guy who writes the lyrics for the band I don’t want to screw it up again. Our latest album Weird Decibels 1 is the first record in a while I’ve been happy with, especially the words.
During the March 2013 snow I couldn’t run to work like I normally do so I started walking and I had the old Weird tunes on, reflecting on what I had written. Until Weird Decibels 1 I had not really paid attention to the depth of my lyrics. Our first album, 1995’s Whapper Stormer is strong lyrically for as a young song writer I was bursting with ideas. The five albums after have moments I am proud of but there are a few lyrics I literally wrote in a drunken stupor!
We arrive at Weird Decibels 2 and I have a strong sense of purpose to write songs that will not only mean something to me but to others as well. i would like them to transcend further than the four walls of our rehearsal room.
So far we have three songs in development. They are at an early stage and there are hints of lyrics. Often I sing along to the new guitar riffs and something pops into my head. Working titles are Left/Right, Rain Parade and Feet First. (we’ve had an idea of two word titles for WdB 2 as a follow up to the one word titles for WdB 1). They are quite dynamic, influences so far point to The Pixes, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. We’re not going quietly!
The feedback for WdB1 has been immense so thank you. Does it put us under pressure to better it with WdB 2? No. The advantage of being in a band 18 years old and 7 albums in is that we’ll always try to write our best record. We write with freedom, without a care in the world.
2011 Spring is in the air, a sense of optimism lingers in our practice room. We’ve written ten songs, we could do with more and I’ve started researching possible lodge locations for recording, something of a deadline approaches…
We’d been writing on and off for the best part of three years. Eventually you have to call it a day, an album must be born. We wanted more songs, more choice and more diversity in the works we already had. It was with great fortune that we hit a creative surge. Deliverance Power, Steel, Psalm and Wonder all final session songs, all made the final cut one of which became a single.
Deliverance is a song of such enjoyable simpleness based around an A and G. The lyrics tell of a souls rejection from heaven despite his suffering.
Send it to the mountain send it to the sky (this melody is sung by Derek and Stu, its one of those melodies that just comes to us songwriters, I’ve no idea where the inspiration came from)
you’re refused deliverance don’t ask god why x2
Send it to the mountain send it to the sky
you’re refused deliverance don’t ask god why x2
I’ve—torn—and opened skin
E G E A#
Hands—clasped—and tied (simple song eh?)
Deliverance really helped bring the album writing home as once again it proved simple songs work, we don’t need to labour over writing. Hopefully we’ll take this lesson over to Weird Decibels 2.
Power is the quietest song off the rowdy dB1, clean guitars, A Foo Fighters ‘Big Me’ moment. The lyrics are closer to personal experience than most of the album. It was at a time of uncertainty for me and my wee family. We were trying to sell our house which was too small now that my Wife and I were new and proud parents. We got the news that our house had a major problem growing out the back (Knotweed) and we may be unable to sell. The feeling of helplessness and frustration that the landowner next to us had allowed this destructive weed to grow was unpalatable . It got me thinking about Power and how a minority of people can have such an effect on the majority This was one of the few songs practically written by myself. These days we’re writing as a band and we’re better for it. Power worked though!
Steel is a blood and guts stab at depicting knife crime in Scotland. It is a crime that has haunted our fine nation for generations. Set in Falkirk (which to my knowledge doesn’t have a major knife problem) it tells the story of a family man randomly stabbed on his way home. The verse riff was an idea from myself and Stu stapled on the chorus wonderfully. Derek splashing symbols add the much needed metallic sound, Greg’s bass gives the song a menacing undertone and Jemma brilliantly added Piano over the last verse and the finale. We borrow the Pixies quiet/loud dynamic here Nirvana fans! It was a very difficult song to get right.
Now we were entering the final month of writing, the lodge was booked for November and the long (wet) nights of the summer reminded us that our album was nearing the winter of its creative life. Psalm… where did this epic song come from?
I love Battery, it is a fantastic example of a band at its creative peak. We were ‘borrowing’ ideas hence the start of Psalm, I even dug out an old guitar to try and replicate the acoustic sound at the start of Battery. The riff at the start of Psalm was actually taken from the middle section of Rusted. It worked well on its own as an intro. Stu once again nails the chorus. The verse guitars are a mixture of Stu’s classic guitar and my alternative Nirvana tinged riff. Greg tunes down for Psalm and I take delight in pretending to start the song while he frantically drops an octave only for me to start something else! The end of the song is where I knew that as a band we have never been more cohesive. Stu linked 3 solo’s, I hit a nice vocal, Greg, Derek keep it flowing and Jemma made this track with the church organ. A very apt sound for the lyrical content. Privilege its winners and losers are the subject of my wrath here. I guess seeing Cameron and co tell lie everyday that they want to ‘share the pain’ as they sit on millions does that to you!
Wonder is last, i’m not sure if it was written last, but it was amazing that at the end of writing WdB1 we were given a song that has become my favourite song that we have put to hard disk. Stu played this repeating riff over and over, it reminded me of Smashing Pumpkins 1979. Derek jammed along with a flowing beat, I started singing, just mumbling words trying to find a melody. Sometimes words just pop in my head. So I’d sing ‘I wonder why’, then I’d insert a random line, but I kept singing ‘I wonder why’. The melody was there, the chorus were not. I loved Nirvana’s Lithium, the chorus ‘Yeah yeah yeeahhh’ so hey if Kurt can do it so can I!
I wonder why many things, fall they way they do
I wonder why we conform and struggle to see things through.
The earth on which we stand is covered in Autumn leaf
The signs of winter touch our soul as we feel bereaved
I wonder why we cannot see the people closest to us
I wonder why we still stand there refusing to admit our loss
The bridge on which we stand has crumbled and untied
We can either run to our sides or repair it over time
I wonder why you built a palace, lined it with golden chairs
I wonder why you sit alone and deny your getting scared
The silence of a room littered with photographs
Of people that you still love, but people of your past.
I consider these lyrics to be among the best I have ever written. Wonder went on to become the first single lift off WdB1, we made a video for it.
15 songs done and dusted. We would record them all and how we recorded them will be depicted next. All the Laughs, Smiles, Sighs, and nearly Tears.