Singled Out: Martin Clancy & the Witness Protection Programme's You Can't Stop The Rain

05/27/2011
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Today Martin Clancy from Martin Clancy & the Witness Protection Programme tells us about the new single "You Can't Stop The Rain". Here is the story:

There are many different routes to songwriting and one of the paths that I most get a kick out of is jamming with a piece of machinery I'm not entirely certain how to work. If a song starts emerging without being looked for then a great creative rush can occur. Because chances are you're gonna delete it before you grab it and if it doesn't get deleted/lost/crushed/zipped or destroyed then it's like getting a surprise birthday present, albeit, from yourself, but a surprise nonetheless. "You Can't Stop The Rain" was a lot like that.

I was fiddling around in the studio, which I do a lot of, when I'm pretending to know what it is I'm supposed to be doing and need to look focused and busy. Despite that, the groove started waving to me and my curiosity was hooked. I set a loop of the verse and left 8 bars with the beat so that I could try some interesting chord changes. So far, so so normal. Now, I had the basis of a potential song which I hadn't managed to mangle or delete.

The vibe I have with Seaport Music Records (www.seaportmusicfestival.com) is that I might be working on several different projects simultaneously. The good thing about this is that when music emerges it has many different potential homes so that you don't have to strangle it into becoming something that really it shouldn't be. However with the first version of "You Can't Stop The Rain" this "freedom" is not always a direct route to goal.

At the time I was working with one of my groups (gLab) and David whose part of that crew heard it and said "I've a great idea for that mind if I give it a go?" "Cool," I thought and I gave him the track. Two weeks later he came back with a wild and funny lyric about a sadomasochist tourist who has a panic attack on a flight. And of course David insisted that it must be sung in a German accent, so we did that. Upon hearing it the gLab crew chased David out of the building. Haven't seen him since. Hope he's OK actually.

After that I completely forgot about the track until I started trying to find a follow up to last summer's disco inspired "Flat Foot" release by myself and the Witness Protection Programme.

When it came to choosing the follow up single I figured it would be a good idea to present four songs and let some fresh ears work on helping pick what should be next. We worked, and worked, and then worked some more on 3 club-oriented tracks, but I really wanted a fourth song and didn't have one. Then I remembered the tune about the SM Tourist, wondered if David was still alive, and decided to start over on it - quickly.

One of the ways we work in the Witness Protection Programme is to simply let good people play. They don't have to be "good" musicians or any of that crap, but they need to have a bit of wit and imagination about them. Ger Eaton (backing vocals) and Al Conor (piano) have magic in their boots, and soon the track was finished and included as the fourth number. As the musical inspiration for what was now "You Can't Stop The Rain" was very much grounded in the Indie world, I expected a few eyebrows to be raised when I included it with the other club heavy tracks.

Photographers often included a "bad" or "wrong' photo in a presentation selection to make the other shots look more appealing. "You Can't Stop The Rain" was my "bad photo." It was an unashamedly indie track placed in with more focused club based material. However, my DJs friends went crazy for it. I initially thought they were joking because I had been! Although with the track at number 29 this week in the Billboard Club charts it's a great example of one of my favourite sayings, "No One Knows Anything" and in this case, least of all the writer/producer, me.

The lyric was written when it appeared the snow would never stop in Dublin. As "You Can't Stop The Snow" sounded like the vocalist had a chronic lisp (though probably would have worked if it had been sung in the original intended German accent) I switched it to "You Can't Stop The Rain" which, oddly enough started to then happen in the city for the following 2 weeks. As I write this, I'm back in Dublin which has a water shortage at the moment, somehow this appears relevant to include.

I have no idea what the chorus means but I believe 100% in its vibe and attitude. "Anything you wanna do, anything you want to say, I'm gonna say it anyway." Other lines like, "all that wasted time," I find way too uncomfortably easy to relate to. So better not expanded upon here.

The last part of the song - The "fly" section is my favourite part of lyric. It says, very little in one literal sense - it actually only says "fly" several times (songs don't necessary have to come with a manual though this one appears to be getting one), but when I hear that I nod my head in acknowledgement. A dumb hazy Big Lebowski-styled acknowledgement admittedly, but it gets me every time.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself right here!

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