Ginkins Finding Emo
It was like a million years ago but I still remember recording this EP somewhat. Ginkins (jeen-kins) was my first real band and we'd done a demo before hand that turned out pretty well. I was still attempting to learn how to sing properly so that I could play live without a hitch. Mike, the bass player, helped out a lot with this. I think I owe my sense of melody to him. Definitely. Our drummer, John, was the somewhat competent drummer rounding out our little circle.
The original idea was to make a concept EP. Mike and I always joked about how they had concept albums but never concept EPs. So I decided to make some of my songs work within a framework of a concept. I got the idea about the rise and fall of a hipster and that pretty much stuck. I don't think the others knew exactly how it was going to go down but I had a loose idea.
I was employed at Jamba Juice right before recording and I remember that I had broken my collar bone stage diving off of the Gothic's stage. Unbeknownst to my drunken old self, the Gothic discourages such actions, so the crowd just split like the red sea when I got up there... It sucked but I got some great pain medications for my trouble.
So I lost my job and Mike said he had saved up enough of his own personal money to invest in the recording. I didn't realize it then but it was one of the coolest things he's ever done for me. Well, I mean that aside from him saving me from a few over doses... Ahem, anyhoos.
We had to practice in short intervals because of my broken collar bone. It sucked but we got the songs down enough to record them without any hitch really. I called up Brian from Uneven Studios (and of Hot IQs and Accordion Crimes) and set up a time for us to go over there and do it. I've known Brian ever since I met the afro laden white guy at one of his band shows. His reputation preceded him and we'd recorded our demo with him. Once I get into a groove I like to stay comfortable to say the least.
It was on a cold December day that we packed our things and headed downtown toward the studio. I was happy on my medication and I think I rode with John there. When we convened over at Brian's place we set up in his living room and he mic'ed us accordingly. My amp (a Peavy Supreme solid state head with no name 4x10 cabinet) was mic'ed up and set in the basement of the studio. Mike's bass was just a direct line into the console. John was the only one with his instrument in the same room as he was. We went through the songs a few times taking rough takes, just enough to build click tracks for the songs we were about to record.
What followed was the genesis of Finding Emo.
This song is about how your check is always gone before you even realize you had it. The concept for the EP was that this was the song where the scenester had a job to get money to go to the show. Recording it was a lot of fun because it's just two chord progressions. It wasn't up until recently that I really gave it much thought.
The pre-chorus vocal was based on Mike's bass line. Originally I just kept on with the verses up until the chorus. Mike added a little ska surf chord to it and we just couldn't resist adding hand claps and random percussion. The ending apparently switches keys within the key or something like that... Mike said it was odd. People generally tell me that my songs shouldn't work and that my choruses come out of no where, but it works. So meh.
This song has to be the bounciest song ever written about date rape. The original demo of this just had the verses with me shouting “Tie me up! I'll throw up!” throughout the chorus. I came back to the song after Mike salvaged it from older demos and I thought up a new chorus for it, seeing as it was sort of bland considering my new-found skills at making melodies work.
The song was inspired by these two gay gays who lived next to me in Georgia. Mind you that I was a virgin in every sense of the word up until about the time I was twenty one or twenty two. So the idea of guys giving other guys drugs for sex really scared me. Then again, so did taking off my shirt in public...
Oh yeah, the guys talked about drugging potential mates and I wrote a song about it.
The bass line is what really makes this song. It took me forever to figure out Mike's bass line for the chorus but it's doable I suppose, that's if I ever have to show another bassist how to play it. What was cool about Mike's lines were that they were melodic like something you'd hear in a ska song.
The bridge in the original just had me screaming “I was a boy and I never got saved!” but for the EP I decided to sing it instead. However this worked out well enough but Mike made me scream it again over the sung part.
In the concept of the EP this is the song where the hipster goes out on the town.
Allie Hale did backing vocals for the choruses. She took the melody in a different direction and at first I didn't dig it. I do now though because it just adds that much more to the song. That's if you can pick it out in the mix. I think maybe there are a wee bit too many tracks on each of these songs. However I like extra stuff so you can just suck it. Metaphorically speaking of course.
You're Not Cool
This song was written as a response to another song by a local band called The Symptoms. I remember I went to one of their shows at the Larimer Lounge and I was in obvious distress I would think. This is because while I was in the cordoned off section of the bar for all agers, the band was in the bar area getting their drink on. I promised myself that I would never hide in the bar if I was playing an all ages show. But of course I turned twenty one and the alcohol won over the morals so... Anyways, the drummer, #3, came out and asked me if I was okay. I told him that crowds just get to me and he smiled. When they played their set they introduced one of the songs as being dedicated to me. It was called Yr Cool. I just heard that part so I went home and wrote “You're Not Cool” as a response. It wasn't until later that I found out that the original song was written about a really cool bartender. I was embarrassed but the song stuck.
Conceptually it's about the hipster going to the show and feeling as if they were his people. You're not cool and that's what's cool about you. That sort of thing.
This one and Excuse Me? Both have the most guitars in the album. The clean opening chords were the scratch guitar. Once the drums kick in the verse is made up of about two guitars in the first verse and three in the second verse. This song has my favorite solo I think I've ever recorded just because it gave it a total Nirvana vibe.
The second and third choruses had Josh from The Symptoms singing during them. He's also the guy who yells “Josh says you're cool so I'll take his word for it!” What's funny is that we both have similar voices. I remember Brian saying that Josh sounded like the rich kid and I was the kid he was beating up. Mike also sings on this but it all still sounds like me in the end...
One thing that I like to do is make the guitars bigger as the songs progress. I'll generally add two clean guitars and two or three distorted guitars over that. It was hell mixing but it pays off in the end with the over all sound I'd like to think.
Brag About Sex
Ok... I've had some problems with sexuality before. Still do. I just think that it's best enjoyed by sexy jocks and submissive females but I've grown to rely on it myself. The original song was about how people, like my drummer, brag about sex. I'm sure he was quite the man whore but I just didn't want to be the one dripping wet or... Actually where am I going with this? Eew...
The riff is as old as me playing guitar and I remember I had an old guitar demo of it. Once John added the opening drum beats it became a real song. Conceptually it's about how the hipster is now a full blown hipster. Hurray!
The second verse was a jibe at the scene crowd. But the animosity sort of receded as the years progressed. Nothing big anymore really. It's almost embarrassing to listen to now. It was so paint by numbers punk. I think I was trying to write a Pennywise sort of song to appease John. He wanted a fast punk song and that's what I hope I gave him.
The bridge was done by Mike. He also added the whoas in the end, I helped too but it was him who really did it first. I'm just a follower. I was happy that I could actually sing the part to be honest. I don't do a lot of my own back up vocals because me harmonizing with myself sounds like a chipmunks record.
This song was written on the spot when I still had about two or three hours before Mike and John would be at the studio. I stayed the night with Brian and once we woke up I wanted to make the most of our time together so I just did the entire thing acoustic and added the electric guitar later. The vocals were the hardest to record. At least at the time it was a hard song to sing. I really want to redo the vocals but then again if you went back to make everything you've ever done perfect then you'd never get anything done. At least I suppose that's how normal people do it.
The beginning tisk is not a drum or cymbal but is actually me opening up a can of PBR before I had to do vocals. It just aligned perfectly so we kept it.
Please don't get mad about the Tears for Fears bridge. I know it's like that. It just came out the way it did. So we did what any other plagerizing entrepreneur would do. We added background vocals.
The song is about the many times Mike had saved me from myself. It's hard to listen to now because it just makes me feel so damn guilty. For the EP it's mostly about the hipster having second thoughts.
This was a fun song to play live. Mainly because I could always sing it just like the recording. There has to be more than eight guitars on this song if I remember correctly. Mike did the first verse oddity while Allie Hale did the first pre-chorus, second verse, and third pre-chorus. She was awesome because she just gave the song a perfect creepiness. Josh B. sung the third verse, the same guy as in You're Not Cool.
The guitar solo at the end is actually two guitars just going at it at once. The song is just a total mind fuck with head phones.
This song is the send off the hipster gives his people. The song means pretty much the same thing personally as well. It was originally a Milkshakes song so the song had an in-joke about being a scenester. However once we recorded it as a full band it sort of gained a sadness to it. It's my favorite song on the recording and Brian's too. We had like five songs recorded and I wanted one more just because we had time. So I thought of the Milkshakes song I had and John just went along with it. It's the only song where I play bass, not very well, but I play it on the song.
The bridge was just awesome when we recorded it. We just kept layering on the vocals until it had this huge whoa sound. Almost Offspring in some ways I'd suppose. I think it's the strongest part of the EP.
Mike being Mike, added the cool little solo at the end of the song. We had him just keep playing for about five minutes and instead of us fading out we added white noise that just clicks off. Just like this journal article. It just clicks off...