Singled Out: WildeStarr
One night in 2003, I fell asleep next to Dave (WildeStarr guitarist Dave Starr). I dreamt that we were pulled over by cops. I sat in the car while a group of them surrounded Dave. I could not see what they were doing. I had a sense something was wrong, and as I tried to move, a Cop grabbed my shoulders. TIGHT. DON'T MOVE he said without moving his lips. I looked into the eyes of the cop to plead or bargain, and stopped dead. The solid black eyes staring back were not human. They looked at me as if I was an insect. I awoke in a panic, only to discover that the room was bathed in a humming and pulsing red light. I still had some sense that something bad was happening to Dave, but I found that I could not move. I was utterly paralyzed. I could see down the hall through the doorway, and the red light was everywhere. Suddenly it stopped. Gone. I could move. I turned to Dave, woke him up and asked him if he saw the weird red light. He said, no, but that he and his first wife had awoken to the same bizarre red light back in 1981, and he had seen it again in 1985 when he was alone at his rehersal studio. After that we started to joke that aliens were "studying" Dave. I just filed it under "Bizarre thing that's happened to me #958" and forgot about it.
Fast forward to 2006, Dave came up with this really killer bass line, kind of a rolling sultry sounding bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom BOM bom, but it was menacing at the same time. We were talking, I asked him what kind of feel was he looking for in the verse, and he was thinking of a mechanical "Techno" feeling beat, which got me thinking about writing something SciFi. I immediately thought of the red light experience, and did a little digging. I discovered that in real life, there is a weapon called a tetanizer, that can be deployed from the air, which renders those on the ground paralyzed. So the first lines were born. "In the fear of night...Wake up and Dream...You are the target of a pulsing ion beam. No time to sweat..they threw the switch...your muscles frozen in a tetanizing grip".
The Chorus was an interesting challenge, how to talk about alien visitation without sounding silly? I wanted the song to be a bit frightening. During that time I noticed a lot of talk and people's interest in "Angels". I started thinking, angels come from the sky, look down on you, visit you...so then an alien visitation would be an "Angel of a new kind". I wanted to convey pure terror, so I used the word "bleeding" to get the idea of the movement of the light across. "Walls are bleeding red light...Bare Force Controls the Night...Desperation Fills your Mind...Angel of a new kind"
I approached the keyboards more like a film score for Arrival, laying in textures and sound beds. Some of the key sounds are very complex and carefully mixed layers of up to 5 different sounds to get just the right tone and feel for the emotion I was trying to evoke. My favorite sound of all time is the one I created in between the first and second part of the first verse. It just hangs on one note, but it has the Détaché or "zhu" sound , which means the attack of a violin bow, with Bagpipe sounding undertones, that just vibrates your ears throat and chest in a way that feels like a tickle. I am the most proud of that sound, I could listen to it all day!
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album - right here!