Driving Music

05. Watching the Wind

Driving Music – Watching the Wind by Driving Music

Cheer up, my darling
Haven’t you heard things won’t be ok?
It’s been a mess right from the start
Stretch for the sunrise
Crumble the bones of your snowy feet
And let those stiff joints melt apart

Like these tragic times
Turn our words into water

We’re watching the wind
Watching the wind as it blows
Just watching the wind
Watching the wind as it blows

Out your second thoughts
To make room for whatever we…

Lay down, my darling
Hear the dirt whisper in your ear
How there’s no way out of this
So nest all your could’ve-been’s
As your ghost spins around itself
Ringing doorbells down the street

And once things settle down
We can be how we’ve always been

Watching the wind
Watching the wind as it blows
Just watching the wind
Watching the wind as it blows

Up our paradigms
And we can once again go back to
watching the wind, watching the wind as it blows.

. Trumpet by Daniel Develly.

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Of all the songs on Comic Sans, “Watching the Wind” was the very first one to be written and recorded, and the last one to be completely figured out. Before getting it right, I tried adding a bunch of instruments that ended up muted in the final mix, considered re-recording the vocals and often second guessed if the song should be on the record at all. It wasn’t until the final mixing stages that I found the right delay to add to the vocals and decided to go way over the top with it. The ongoing echo felt immediately right both sonically and thematically, or at least as right as it sounded in my head the whole time. That little tweak was enough to make this burden of a song one of my favorite things on the record.

People often ask me if there were any special tricks production-wise to make Comic Sans sound good, and the only answer I can give them is patience. Solid songwriting can be enough and is definitely essential, but in the era of musical recordings it’s inevitable that a song sounds the way its production wants/allows it to sound. There’s no song without a production, so in my work groping for the right sounds is just as important as finding the right chords and the right words. And like everything that’s made with no money, no profeciency and no impending deadlines, it ends up being a straining, time consuming process. Recording is essentialy a fruit of patience, of spending just enough time in front of the computer trying to get all the right sounds, while also trying to remain sane enough to still be able to tell what sounds are actually right and what are not. It’s hard, labourious work watched over by constant judgement. One can’t work without the other.

In other words, it’d be hell, if it weren’t the most fun thing in the world. I’m sure working with producers can be enlightning, but the ones that I think my work could strongly benefit from are certainly way out of my financial possibilities (which are zero). So I’m just glad I enjoy every possible aspect of recording if the environment is right, and that I once had the click to get enough gear to record everything I needed at home, allowing me to spend as much time as I wanted screwing things up just to fix them up again. Comic Sans was all recorded in one room, with one mic (the highly accessible and gorgeous sounding Studio Projects C1); two different guitars (one acoustic Yamaha and my dear electric Epiphone); two different basses (a Ripper and an old, humming Aria-Pro); two different keyboards (a Korg and an old-ass Yamaha) and a lot of cheap percussion. Everything was processed until it sounded golden or rubbish – whatever felt more interesting and unique at the time. The record is a collection of all those choices, which of course leaves me with plenty to regret in the future and no one to blame but myself.

“Watching the Wind”, the basic song, is actually very simple. It’s all built around broken time signatures and images evocative of parts of nature that I feel stranger to – whether it’s snow or the capability of making out what the dirt can whisper in one’s ear. It’s often noted that nature’s many forms have played an important part in my lyrical universe for as long as I can remember, which is just as true as it is weird. Even though I grew up in a small town, I was always the city type. Everything I do involving nature will certainly end up with me covered in bruises, cuts and the crankiest of all moods. Traffic noise, on the other hand, can often sound like music to my ears. So “Watching the Wind”, like most of my songwriting, is also a way to get in touch with a side of life that I hardly ever notice, which is probably why it ends up in my songs so often – as if imaginary dirt, rain and snow could be sources of infinite revelations, since I’m seldom physically close to the real thing. In a way, these songs allow me to consciously afirm the feeling of belonging to something I don’t really feel I belong to, which is probably the drama of being human and creating art and culture (in the definition of Ezra Pound, what’s left after you’ve forgotten what you set out to learn) for no reason but to perpetuate and celebrate all of this we’re not really sure of.

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