Saturday, June 17, 2017

Raw to Polished - "At The Edge" - Song Insight

"We are all at the edge...good or bad. What we do with we react at the edge...will shape our lives"

I have several "Song Insights" blogs for songs I've written...kind of a "what's the backstory". For the next few songs, I captured the very first spark of the idea, record it into my phone, and once once the final recording is done...I provide you with a "Here's the raw idea I started with and here's how it ended up"

Song: "At The Edge"
Composer: Greg Hintermeister, ©2017
Arranged: Greg Hintermeister
Performed by: Greg Hintermeister, Karyn Hintermeister
Recorded: 2017 in Hint of Light Studios
Emotions: Finality, hope, determination

Finished Recording:

It all started with the phrase "At the edge, it's all so clear"...and I imagined standing (physically or metaphorically) at the edge where everything I've done up to this point in my life has brought me here...and the very next step, one that I cannot undo, will determine the rest of my life.

...and then I just started playing guitar. That's where the raw idea recording came.

The raw idea (take a listen):

The hardest part is to write lyrics that talk about these ideas. I love the craft of lyric writing, but it doesn't come easy.

In the spirit of #design, I interviewed my family and asked, "What do you think of when I say the phrase "at the edge". They came up with a whole list of ideas that ended up in this song!

Even better, not all the ideas were "happy" "hopeful" ones either. Which I liked as well.
  • "The edge of the knife" - could be good or bad, could be for vengeance or for defense
  • "The edge of the wood" - could be coming out of a very dark period in life, or it could be at the "edge of the lake" where most of us get flooded with memories
Highlights for me:
  • My youngest son suggested the double time section for the solo...not only does it give the song energy (which I was worried it was too sleepy), but adds an urgency to the 'adlib' vocals at the end of that section
  • My Julia sat and analyzed the lyrics for a while to give other input which made them so much better
  • Recording the guitar solos...the intro 'jazz' was all octave doubled and sounds so smooth with the PRS guitar set to the neck pickup, and the fast solo was the first time I doubled the whole solo to give it a bigger sound
  • My wife sang!!!! I love it when she sings on these songs. I know I'm biased but it gives it so much depth and beauty when she sings.
  • The drums! I (for some reason) chose hiphop drums for the song. Not sure why, but in the spirit of my #unfiltered year of recording, I kept it. Then for the chorus, I added a "loop" that just sounded really cool. 

One more thing: This (and all the songs on the emerging album called #Unfiltered), are songs that I try to not filter what I write musically or lyrically, and also songs I try not to spend too much time in post production. At this point I want to capture the energy of the songs, and if I mess up or there's lousy note, that's OK. I just need to get what I feel out into a song.

Technical Specifics:
Recording Unit: Logic Pro - iMac
Drums: Logic Pro "drummer"
Acoustic Guitar: Paul Reed Smith Tonare Grand Custom
Electric Guitar: Paul Reed Smith Starla
Guitar Amp: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Electric Guitar Mics: close: Shure SM57;
Vocal Mic: Sure Beta58
Keyboards: Rhoads keyboard: RD-500, Vibes - Logic Pro
Bass:  Logic Pro "Thumb Bass"


At the edge, it's all so clear
I finally see what brought me here
It's too late to turn back now
Here at the Edge
At the edge the moment's here
The next step is what you fear
Will it make you or make you fall
Here at the Edge
The edge of the knife I see sweet revenge
The Edge of the bed I feel sweet sweet tenderness
The Edge of the cliff there's majesty
We're all We're all at the Edge
We're all at the Edge right Now
At the edge we make our peace
or give in to our wildest dreams
I always wondered where I would fall
Here at the Edge
The edge of the knife I see the hero's fight
The Edge of the woods running from the dark towards a better life
The edge of the lake rich with memories
We're all
We're all at the Edge
We're all at the Edge right Now
 It's a beautiful edge
Launch you beyond what you thought was possible
It's time to leap from the edge right now
We're all
We're all at this glorious edge
What will we do with our edge right now
At the Edge
I finally see
Where I will fall
Here at the Edge
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