We are happy to announce the development of a new song: You and Me. This song has been years in the making – even if we have only actually been physically working on it for the past couple of months. This song is simply about Kenny’s relationship with his wife. Kenny’s tried several times to write a song about the subject, but until now, the songs felt forced or too unauthentic. You and Me ventures off into a new – folky sounding – genre for us, and it virtually takes the sound and direction of Sequestered Together and bends it in a proverbial ninety degree turn. The flexibility to do that feels pretty good!
Without getting into too much detail (or give too much away), we have decided to not follow a particular genre when we write music. We know – we know.. This doesn’t really work.. Who are we marketing to? The short answer is: We just want to write music we like. If that means spanning a couple, or gratuitous amount, of genres.. so be it. It feels musically liberating and allows us to express ourselves however we like – regardless of it’s “marketability”. We understand that very few, if any, mainstream artists have executed this successfully, but we aren’t focusing on how radio ready our set of music is. We just want to create music we, and hopefully other people who hear it, like it.
Here are the song’s lyrics:
|Verse 1||I married you in the fall.|
I felt just like a child but ten feet tall.
See – I don’t open easily.
But expressions simple with you and me.
|Chorus||You and Me.|
You and Me.
|Verse 2||I made up my mind that day.|
I’d give my life to you in every single way.
I know sometimes we’ll disagree.
But happiness I’ve found between you and me.
|Chorus||You and Me.|
You and Me.
|Bridge||Well I fear that I’ll die by myself, and you’ll move on to love somebody else.|
I fall out and I feel so behind from side effects that I try to find.
I’ve found out how to tell you the truth: You are my rock, my soul, my muse.
You sooth me from my made up pain. Because of you, to this day, I’m okay.
|Post Bridge||I’m okay.|
You and me is a simple song meant to be a retrospective on my relationship with my wife — let’s just call her El. On its surface, it is pretty straightforward. The lyrics in the verses paint a picture of my pride and nervousness at our wedding, along with the general love and devotion to my wife even during tough times.
The bridge takes it to a deeper, more personal, level and meaning. For those of you that don’t know me (Kenny), I had a pretty serious bout with anxiety a couple of years ago. Don’t worry – I’m A-OK these days, but the bridge explains the situation and my appreciation towards my wife for guiding me through that tough time. I think when it was all said and done, that period of anxiety brought my wife and I closer together. I am and will be forever grateful to her. This song is the best I could do to show her how thankful I am.
Kenny’s style of writing music is very abstract and organic, so development has been going on for a few months. He tends to not write out things, have a chart of ideas, or develop overarching concepts of what a song needs to be or achieve. Everything comes in the moment and what is created is what he feels sounds good. This method is aggravating because it’s difficult to sit down and just work on a song. His mind doesn’t think of music as something that can be worked on like a building or program. The end result is a cool concept that sits around for a while until the rest comes. Josh has done a good job of corralling Kenny’s efforts, helping the song along the finish line, and making it what it is today. Many people would have probably gotten frustrated and stopped working on it with him, but Josh has been a great teammate and we are figuring out how to work together. [this would be the bro-hug portion of the conversation]
As a side note.. It is kind of funny how opposite our music writing styles are. We plan on taking that as a positive since we can blend our styles and use them to our advantage. We can teach each other how to do things we wouldn’t normally do better. Kenny added this into the development because it’s important when you are working with people (not even in a band per-say). Everyone is different and it is up to you to learn how to work best together.
This song began as a guitar riff / melody hummed onto a phone, and to all songwriters out there, we highly suggest getting a recording app on your phone. We’ve forgotten countless cool little melodies over the years that could have been immortalized by a quick tap on the phone. The riff was showed to Josh and he loved it. We decided to move forward with it because we felt it was one of the better ideas we had at the time. That is when Kenny-osis set in. Every time we tried to pick the song back up to write more – KTL just had the hardest time appending parts to it. When we added something to it.. It didn’t feel natural. He’s weird.. and doesn’t know why he’s got a mental block about writing sometimes – he just does! It is difficult to go back to something that came to him in the past. So long story short – the song sat around because of his medically diagnosed music-writing phobia. We’ll get better about it in time.
Things started rolling again once the lyrics and subject of the song were established. The folky-ness was an obvious attribute of the song, so the mandolin was a great addition. It is one of those instruments that just puts you by a campfire. Kudos to Josh for creating the complicated mandolin parts. It really enhances the song. He has done an awesome job of taking this song to the next level with the mandolin so we also decided to take advantage his brass-playing ability and added in some cornet. We felt like it would be a good idea to do because – well – Sufjan Stevens. Plenty of his acoustic / banjo songs feature it and they sound awesome.
We are finally finished recording this puppy and we had way too many ideas to throw at it. The tambourine and the kick for percussion came in last. Here are some of our initial recordings.
This first cut could technically be called finished. You can listen from end to end, but it lacked that something special. We tried to record everything in one take…and it just didn’t work.
Here’s our re-recording of the underlying song…no vocals just yet.
The recording started with the acoustic guitar. I went with a large diaphragm condenser and a sure sm-57 to record the instrument in stereo. I have the two mics on separate track and they are hard-panned to the left and right respectively. I then re-recorded the guitar part on two other tracks and flipped the left and right pan on the mics. This gives an interesting / dynamic stereo sound.
Next came the mandolin. I went with the same mic selection but with a little bit different placement. The only difference is the mandolin was only recorded once. This introduces a new – more central – layer to the sound. The mandolin comes at you more directly and stands out a bit more. This makes sense because the mandolin is more of a solo-type instrument.
We decided to begin laying down the vocals. The acoustic guitar and the mandolin play a nice part as the foundation of the song and gives us plenty to work with in terms of vocals. The vocals were recorded twice through one microphone and panned hard to the left and right respectively. It gives an interesting sound to it – kind of like the flaming lips. It is hard to make this method sound great because you have to sing it relatively the same way both times [not just pitch, but the downbeat and length of notes], or else you will get some ugly and very noticeable discrepancies in the sound. So keep that in mind if you decide to go that route.
Now that we have the majority of the song complete, we added in some cornet in the buildup and the bridge to give those parts some edge. We were able to achieve an ensemble sound by recording a 3 part harmony multiple times with different panning schemes. If you listen closely, there is a solo-esque cornet part that plays above the ensemble parts. This was only recorded once, not panned, and the volume is raised a bit. The combination makes this part more pronounced and is similar to the mandolin/guitar relationship in terms of panning and volume.
We actually have a vide of us performing this song! It’s still pretty new so we’re working out the kinks of how to play it live.