Singled Out: The NowhereNauts
Songwriting with The NowhereNauts is a collaborative effort between Sofie, Anders, Hunter, Tony and myself. "Warned You" was developed in one of our collaborative writing rehearsal sessions back in May 2011 as we started looking forward to recording our second album. The song's inception began with the guitar intro riff Hunter started playing, and we built the song off of that spark. I was immediately excited to hear a song that could build off of this simple, mesmerizing guitar hook; almost like a drone. So we began with everyone jamming trying to develop the part using dynamics as the focus for the song to create an emotional rollercoaster. I joined Tony on floor toms as he played around the drum kit so we could keep the tribal vibe that the guitar part invoked. (We recorded the song this way in the studio too; me playing alongside Tony on the same kit). Anders began by moving around melodically on the bass and discovered a part that supported the guitar and drums (almost like a trombone or tuba would do as support in a New Orleans brass band—especially in the outro of the song)—this was getting very exciting. Sofie started improvising vocal melodies and some lyrical ideas. Once I heard that we essentially had three parts, we created a song form and played straight for about thirty minutes focusing on dynamics. We then recorded an instrumental version so that everyone could develop other melodies and lyrical ideas. What I found when listening back to the initial jam session recordings was that Sofie had some really interesting vocal melodies, and the hook "I, I, I," was there along with the words "I warned you." I took lines that I thought she was saying and made them more personal and emotional and added some rhythmic syncopation and wrote the verse lines " I warned you, I wear my heart on my sleeve more than most" then Sofie wrote " I want you, I use my heart as a lure more than most," and then I suggested "I want you" and to use both "I warned you" and "I want you"---the song now had a vulnerability to it giving it more emotion. Tony added the melody and lyrical hook that is used in the 2nd chorus over the "I, I, I" and I shaped it to make it more mellifluous and sang it in the studio: "And I want somebody to, and I want somebody to hold you." I wrote the melody and lyrics for the sing-a-long anthemic outro "Goodbye" and then Sofie brought into the studio the final lyrical part "You're mine" and that solidified the song as the voice of a femme fatale, which inspired the video too. Carl Glanville took the production to a whole new level when he mixed the song using Sofie's vocal range, the dynamics, space, and then the instrumental and vocal sonic density at the end to take the listener for a ride!
Note: I record every rehearsal when we are in writing mode because I never know what is going to be captured, and most likely we will forget what we just did. Because creativity is very linear, and thinking forward, you can't depend on the memory at this stage to get you back to a great idea or even remember how it sounded. Recording writing sessions takes the stress out of remembering, and allows the writer to freely create ideas, that can be examined and "rediscovered" later.