It’s been way too long. Let me tell you why, compensate you with a free download and the story of why the song is my Chinese democracy
I love making music, there’s no better feeling of communicating a feeling through a creative outlet. From time to time I revisit the old songs, remixes and mixtapes and while some of the work haven’t aged well, it’s a great feeling to know that I’ve been a part of someones soundtrack.
So the questions is, why don’t I release more music and why has it taken me so long to get new stuff out there? The biggest reason is that I’ve not been satisfied with what I’ve produced and the circumstances has changed a lot since 2006 when I produced my debut album. But now it is time to for me to get back on the saddle and release one of the tracks which have been around since 2007 and explain why it hasn’t been released earlier.
The track started when I watched the 2007 documentary “Zoo”, a movie with a disturbing subject matter but narrated with beautiful imagery and a soft, piano driven soundtrack. Below you’ll find an audio clip from the movie.
I tweeked the piano sounds and played the chords backwards to create a darker theme. Next I found a jazz infused drum sample which I luckily managed to mash up with the piano. But as you notice the Zoo soundtrack sample features outdoor sounds like birds and wind. Instead of removing that I started to look for something to compliment it. I wanted the sense of a person, sitting on his back porch at his range playing on an acoustic guitar. It was then I stumbled upon Ray Lamontagne and his song “Empty”. I’ve included this hauntingly beautiful song below, where Ray performs it live for the BBC.
Yet again I experiemnted by playing parts of the guitar backwards to create a sense of loneliness, especially since I pictured this lonely farmer at the porch – Now with a guitar in his hands maybe thinking about the big things in life. But then things happend. I was finally about to sum up the 12 songs I wanted to feature on my debut album “Whimsical Lifestyle” and while the song had potential, it clearly wasn’t finished. It had a nice intro but it went nowhere. I’ve uploaded the 2007 version for you to hear below.
[quote type=”center”]The song started collecting digital dust[/quote]
Since I was promoting my album, releasing mixtapes, remixes and everything else. It wasn’t until 2009 when I summed up all of the bits and pieces I rediscovered the track which was labeled “Who is Mr Hands”. Back then I was into making lots of piano melodies. As a person who has done sampled based music, you sometimes get tired defending your musicality when all you’re doing is “stealing others work”. So I wasted a couple of months playing the piano, luckely for both you and me, I didn’t actually release any of the material (unlike others).
So I laid down a simple piano melody since I couldn’t find any samples which mashed up well with either the Zoo soundtrack or the Ray Lamontagne song. I went at it for days to find something which could complete the song but it was still lacking something, there simply wasn’t enough to get a full song going. So the track went back into the library.
Through out the years I’ve been follwing a Polish music community, called 77cuts, which find rare and beatutiful vintage polish music and lets native producers remix and rearrange them into compilations. In 2010 they released a promo for their upcoming collection, a short one minute video which at the end containted a string section. I became obsessed with the short, 10 second clip of the strings, and wanted to fit those into whatever unfinished track I had. I went through all of the recent songs I had worked on but never found anything which mathched. But then I rememberd the old “Who is Mr Hands” demo and found my old harddrive containing all of my old Whimsical Lifestyle files. After several attempts I finally manged to boot up the drive and to my surprise – The strings fit right in. I was in heaven as the beautiful strings fit right beside the old man at the porch, playing his guitar. Check out the last few seconds of the following video from 77cuts.
[quote type=”center”] I emailed the owner of the polish music community and with a bit of Google translation I managed to get a hold of the original strings. But the song was still not finished. Something vital wasn’t there – I knew it. And the song was yet again collecting digital dust.[/quote]
A few months later I watched a movie called The Swimmer. It was a 1976 drama starring Burt Lancaster, and while I at the time thought it was barely alright – The movie stuck with me. The story of trying to return to a life you’ve lived was intriguing, and it brought up memories of lost friends and forgotten dreams. I wanted to get this feeling into a song, and yet again the “Who is Mr Hands” song came up, with the old man at the porch thinking about memories of the past. I started digging around for old songs I’ve heard with my old friends and recorded bits and pieces from The Swimmer movie.
Finally I had something. A three minute track, with a classic Mojib:ish twist with some added hip hop drums, and finally a sense of completion. But living with a song for so long tends to skew your perception. In other words, I couldn’t tell if the song was actually good or not. So I decided to send the track to two persons – The first one is a friend of mine who’s into The Avlanches and the second one is my brother, who’s really not into the kind of music I produce. Both of them thought the track was “alright but nothing more” and my brother claimed the track to be “6 out of 10”. So yet again I thought it needed more time and work. In late 2012 I produced this video, which contains a clip from the song thinking – If it’s never released, at least its used for something.
[quote type=”center”]You might be thinking to yourself – What does he think he has to live up to? Does millions of people expect the second coming? While I could go on and on about this – Let me sum it up by saying, if it matters to me, it does matter.[/quote]
But now it’s time. The second coming or not, I’ve made tracks better than this and I’m actually about to release new material soon – And I need to learn that sometimes it’s not always about me and taking things seriously – Sometimes I need to give something back. And while the track might not be the best thing you’ve ever heard, at least now you know the story behind it and it’s five years in the making. So lean back, picture the old man at his porch, strumming on his guitar and looking back at his life with joy.
Here’s the song in its entirety. And a special thanks to everyone who keeps emailing me to release something. It keeps me going!