Singled Out: Cosmonaut Radio's Fly Away
Brooklyn rockers Cosmonaut Radio are gearing up to release their new "Creatures" EP and to celebrate we asked guitarist Russell Castiglione to tell us about the new single from the effort called "Fly Away". Here is the story:
We are so happy to share our new single, "Fly Away" with you and the rest of the world! This song is usually a favorite at our live shows. It was written over three years ago and has gone through a lot of shaping to get it to where it is today.
I first came up with the main guitar riff four years ago, when our former lead singer, Arun Ramachandran, was still in the band and we were under the name "The Cosmonauts". He wanted us to write a "power ballad" and, one night, sent me a few inspirations including "When The Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin and "Young Men Dead" by The Black Angels.
I started playing the riff a few days later for the band. It was in G Sharp Minor and stayed there until Mike Tamola, our former bass player, started moving down every measure and then this became the chorus of the song! Austin Deyo, our drummer, picked up on the Zeppelin vibe right away and started playing a beat loosely related to "When The Levee Breaks" and it was just perfect. Once we had the chorus and that beat, the rest of the structure fell into place. Led Zeppelin is a huge inspiration for all of us in the band and so we wanted to do a powerful guitar/drum breakdown in the middle, which made me very happy.
I wrote all of the lyrics for this one. The song describes my feelings about a breakup I went through several years ago. It was a very toxic relationship by the end of it. One of the things I experienced during that time was this feeling of going in circles about the same arguments and how each one felt like a competition; who was going to win the argument and the amount of selfishness it takes to think that way. She would say whatever it took to get an emotional response out of me and "win". Later, when I was writing this song, I had been running a lot in the city. So, I sandwiched the imagery of running in a competition and the feelings I had about the breakup to write the words to this song.
The recording and realization for this song was a long process. We started recording it two years ago with Rashid Ramkissoon, our go-to engineer, and didn't like the way it came out. It didn't seem powerful enough, my guitar was too clean sounding, the drums weren't right, etc. The one thing we did keep was our keyboard player's performance. His name is Andrew Koehler. He did a fantastic job with the Hammond B3. So, we recorded it again and this time, we used a bigger room for the drums and I used my Washburn out of a Mesa Boogie amp from 1982 aka the love of my life. We also feature a saxophone player, Daniel Blumenthal, who put a sassy line in the choruses along with a solo into the second verse. We had him go crazy in the last chorus as a way to demonstrate all of the wild emotions one experiences during a toxic relationship.
Once we got the rhythm section happening, I came back in the studio a second day with my Gibson Les Paul and played out of three amplifiers simultaneously. I work as a sound engineer at Dubway Studios and had been wanting to try multi-amp recording for some time. I worked with another engineer, Adrian Thorstensen, to get this huge guitar sound that is now apparent in the final recording. We used ten microphones, all of which I used in mixing.
Freddy Millan also did a stellar job with the performance of this song. Once I taught him the melody a few years prior, he put his spin on it and made it even more epic. Then, in the studio, we had him do a few takes on the last chorus and decided to keep a take where he just flew off the handle, going from the bottom of his range to belting in the higher register of his voice. It was one of those moments where everyone looked at each other and just knew that was the keeper.
So, after this long journey, "Fly Away" is finally finished and sounding exactly how we had imagined it. We couldn't be happier with how it has turned out and what each one of us brought to the table, both in the songwriting and recording. We hope that this song gives people the power to recognize and step out of a toxic situation in their lives and move forward knowing that they did the right thing. At the very least, we hope they head bang to it and maybe do some air guitar 3:57 into the song. Thank you for reading and we hope you enjoy our new single!
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself here and learn more about the album right here!