Singled Out: Omega Swan's What's Ur Damage

05-17-2017
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Omega Swan

Nashville electric rock band Omega Swan recently released their new single "What's Ur Damage" and to celebrate we asked Marcus Garceau to tell us about the track. Here is the story:

'What's Ur Damage?' is a song that's been brewing at the core of Omega Swan for a while. Not necessarily the lyrical content or the music that makes up the record, but the energy and sonic palette has been a vision we've had from the start. We started to touch on that sound with the release of 'Hate Love' (2015), and developed it further with 'Autonation' (2017) - but with 'What's Ur Damage?' that vision really starts to show itself.

The vision is an update for Rock n' Roll. Like a new iOS for your phone. Something beyond guitar riffs, raw power and gritty vocals...I want Rock n' Roll with melody, power hooks, and synthesizers, unafraid to embrace modern pop music. Rock n' Roll in the style of Def Leppard, Van Halen, Billy Idol, Prince, AC/DC, etc. Rock n' Roll that's rooted in quality songwriting and decorated in over the top production. It's hard to say if Rock music will ever make it back to mainstream radio, but i think we'd all love to hear a Rock anthem with a fat hook and shredding guitar solo hit #1 on the charts again. I have a feeling the kids do.

So with 'What's Ur Damage?' we were thinking about all of these things, and were trying to find that line between Rock n' Roll and modern Pop music. The initial descending synth line over the main guitar riff came in a jam at Aaron's place. He lives up in the woods of Goodlettsville, TN, in a small little cabin where we write and rehearse. We were rocking out, and I was singing that synth melody over some early version of the guitar part....and we were all like "That sounds like some anthem-type sh*t!". I dug the melody and kept working with it, but originally was just singing "AAH"'s instead of lyrics. Then one night I was watching Mr. Robot, and there's great dream episode where the main family is sitting in a car, and the sister says "What's your damage?" to the brother as to say "what's ur problem"...which in context is pretty meta because that phrase became popular in Heathers (1989) starring Christian Slater, and now it's being pulled in to Mr. Robot (also starring Christian Slater). They knew what they were doing.

Anyways, I LOVED that line. I just thought it had so much attitude, and could be taken in a bunch of different ways. Like "What's your damage, man? Why you gotta do that sh*t?" or "Checking in - What's your damage? Read me your levels." or " What's YOUR damage? Who broke your heart? What'd they do you?". Not to mention it had that throwback 80's thing that we're into right now, in the reference to Heathers. I instantly was looking for somewhere to put that as a lyric, and it just so happened to fit that melody I referenced earlier quite perfectly. It turned into the chorus "What's your damage, baby? AAH! Looking for a fight tonight?" I was picturing the song being sang by an outcast ring leader, a Joker type character, to a lost, beat down girl, as an invitation to join the gang of damaged goons who run havoc and lead a life of hedonism and chaos. That line set the tone for the rest of the lyrics, which came pretty quickly after that. I brought in Carson Ponce, a great writer and frontman of the band PONCÉ to help put some final touches on the lyrics.

Once the song was put together and rehearsed, we played it live in Nashville a few times with some early versions of the synth parts to get some feedback. People really responded to the chorus, and loved the Heathers reference. When we took it to the studio (Red Fern Recordings - Nashville) with our engineer Edsel Holden it was about 75% of the way there. We re-approached all the synths and built vocal harmony in the studio, and Edsel and I took it back to Redact to mix. We were referencing Bad Romance and Rebel Yell, among other things, when mixing this one. Edsel polished it up, Β we sent it off to mastering, and Eureka!

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

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