Singled Out: Down On Maddy's Titania

Down on Maddy

Down On Maddy mastermind Patrick Kleven tells us about "Titania" the lead single from the project's forthcoming debut album, which is set to be released on April 14th. Here is the story:

Our song "Titania" mirrors the slice of time between the light and the darkness of the dreamworld... It happened one day when I was fading in and out of sleep, in that place between consciousness and unconsciousness where you don't know what is real and what is fantasy. It was disorientating, yet profound at the same time. Most people, I know, have had this experience.

In this moment, the surreal and bizarre images of a dream not only linger in wakefulness, but they're also woven into the fabric of waking reality. The images, of course, evaporate very quickly and the fog is lifted.

Because this profound moment happens so quickly, where reality collides with fantasy, I wanted to convey it in an original song---to "stretch out" this moment.

And this is what I set out to do. Immediately, I was met with resistance. A certain musician I was working with at the time told me that it couldn't be done and that it was too vague and that it was impossible to convey this type of state of mind. "It's just music, man," he said. "You can't make people think weird." This comment, along with similar comments from family members and friends, got to me. I assumed they were right.

And the idea, like a dream, slipped away.

Then, at a band rehearsal, several months later, after having forgotten about the whole idea, I was strumming different riffs and chords from my repertoire, and I happened to juxtapose a seemingly innocent chord with a darker, insistent one (the other chord's cousin). These riffs which were eventually used in the verses of "Titania." One might call this odd juxtaposition a "bait and switch."

Although I knew I had a good progression---distinctive makeshift-delay and choppy strumming---that had song potential, that's all I had at the time. A chord progression.

It wasn't until I read Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" that I considered revisiting the idea of illustrating the in-between stage of dream and reality. The visuals and themes from this classic play---dreaming, being lost in the forest, waking up from a spell not knowing who you love---came to mind while I was jamming the odd chord progression.

From there, I decided I was going to write the song, whether it worked or not. (It still didn't seem like a possibility---more like a longshot.) After putting in some long hours of trying different things, adding and subtracting reverb in studio sessions, rearranging lyrics and other song components, we were actually getting somewhere.

Some parts were tough, other parts, like the melody, flowed. Especially the verse melody that was inspired by the Alice In Chains-style "horizontal" backing vocals. The high point, however, was writing the chorus lyrics and melody; I especially love singing this chorus line: "At the top of the canopy green, you keep it at bay…"

As kind of a finishing touch, another high point, we added a guitar solo played through a Les Paul guitar and a tube amp---in other words, great tone. An effective guitar solo can really sum up the rest of the song with just a few well-placed notes and I think we achieved this.

Although not everybody who listens to this song will think about the moment between dreams and reality, they will definitely get a sense of a dream in the song. Besides, with songs, like dreams, you don't always get an exact understanding of what they are.

Whether or not we achieved what we set out to do is up to you, the listener.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself here and learn more about the album right here!

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