August Burns Red Singled Out Week: Carpe Diem
Track six on Leveler is a song called "Carpe Diem." This is probably the least traditional ABR song on the album as it is slower in tempo and doesn't have any terribly heavy parts. Instead, it's a driving song with builds, crescendos, and a whole lot of dynamics.
"Carpe Diem" came to life in a very out of the ordinary way. I was driving to my sister's house to meet her and my brother in law for dinner, which has become a weekly tradition when I'm home from tour. I was listening to The Hope Conspiracy's album "Death Knows Your Name" and thinking how cool it'd be to play in a band like that. The thought of writing straight forward driving hardcore songs was very appealing to me and I began to think about trying to write a few of my own, not for ABR, but on the side. I never really had time to do a side project, and as it would turn out, I still didn't.
When I got home that night I began fooling around on my guitar trying to write something more in the vain of The Hope Conspiracy. I wrote the main chord progression for the song and the big build up intro. Being that everything was fairly straightforward the song was coming together very quickly, that is until I got side tracked when I saw my glass guitar slide sitting on my desk in front of me. I have never been very good at playing with a slide, but always thought they sounded cool so I occasionally would play around with one. While noodling about with the slide I came up with the melody to the clean section in the middle of "Carpe Diem." It was a simple slide part that kept me on only one string, which was difficult enough for me.
I eventually found myself back on task wanting to continue working on the song I had set out to write in the first place, but I couldn't get that slide guitar melody out of my head and I decided to try to work it into the song I had been writing. That's where the big dropout/clean guitar section comes from. I really loved the huge shift in dynamics and how minimalistic the clean section was turning out to be. I was really falling in love with the song and started to think maybe I could use this for ABR, though I was a little wary of what my band mates might think as it was so out of the ordinary for us.
I finished the song the following day and had everything tabbed out in midi format to show to the band. I emailed it to everyone and explained how I loved the song, but realized that it was very different for us and if everyone hated it, I'd just save it to record on my own time down the road. Everybody was cool with it except for our bass player, Dustin, which is now ironic because he is very fond of the track now that it's all finished and recorded.
I generally don't write lyrics, but I had an idea for "Carpe Diem." The idea was to write the words as a conversation between two people. One person would be a dreamer chasing a goal. The other person was a nay-saying realist. I wanted Jake to sing the dreamer's lines and have Dustin sing the nay-sayers lines. We had never done any back and forth like that and I thought it would be a cool contrast in voices and really tell a story. I wrote a bunch of lines for the song, but never finished the lyrics.
Eventually we were in the studio recording Leveler and the lyrics to "Carpe Diem" still weren't finished. Dustin came to me and asked if he could take a shot at finishing them as he was really into the idea of two people having a conversation within the song. Dustin basically rewrote the entire song using my idea as a blueprint while writing from his own personal experience. He experienced exactly what this song is talking about when trying to convince his father that he wanted to go full time with a band. Dustin also wrote all the vocal patterns and sang quite a bit on the track.
While it's not a traditional ABR track, "Carpe Diem" really breaks up the album well and is a great breather in the middle. I have faith that this song will grow on listeners over time and possibly become a sleeper favorite off of Leveler.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!