Welcome to Singled Out! where we ask artists to tell us the inside story of their latest single. Today Ben Grey of Scarlet Grey tells us about "The Sky and I" (featuring Davey Havok of AFI) from their new album "Fancy Blood". We now turn it over to Ben for the story:
This is a song that came together very quickly for us and I believe we actually already had plans to go into the studio before we even started writing it. When we decided to make this record, we knew we were working with an extremely tight budget, so we booked one day at Paramount Studios to track the drums, bass and rhythm guitars for five songs. The only way to do this is to track live, which is borderline insanity in 2010… Needless to say, we were practicing heavily to make sure it was unbelievably tight... I mean not only did we want the album to come out great but we certainly did not want to embarrass ourselves in front of world class engineers, you know what I mean? So while we were rehearsing the first five songs off of "Fancy Blood," Pete just started playing the bass progression that would eventually turn into "The Sky and I." He's done that quite a few times actually, where he'll just sort of throw something together without even thinking… "Quiet Kid" and "No Boys in the Ballroom" have similar origins.
What followed was one of those 'lightning in a bottle' type situations for us, where the first thing everybody instinctually played was eerily close to what was finally recorded. The song was on its feet within an hour and then we decided that it just had to be on the album. We knew it could be something special. That night, I went home and finished the melody and lyrics... I couldn't go to sleep without having it completed, I was so into it. The thing that was so cool about this song's process, was that we never over-thought any of it. It was one of the most natural, organic evolutions of a song that I've ever been involved with. We wrote it, arranged it, recorded and mixed it all ourselves within 2 weeks... And then to have Davey Havok be a part of it made it all the more surreal.
I had written the part with him in mind never, really entertaining the idea that he might be into actually doing it. I mean we're close friends, but I always get weird about stuff like that. We had maybe 3 days left of recording before our mixing date at Paramount... (yes we mixed the record in 16 hours and yes it was insane)... and Davey was in town to work on the new Blaqk Audio record with our drummer Keith, at his studio. So after one of the sessions, Dave told us that he wanted to come out to the Scarlet Grey show that night at The Roxy... So we decided to play "The Sky and I" live so that he could hear it and see if it was something he would be into doing. He really liked it... What an incredible relief.
So the next day, at 11 in the morning we finished tracking "The Sky and I." Days don't really get better than this. I describe "Fancy Blood" this way sometimes, but more aptly, it is this song that I should describe as a love letter to the underground. Without delving too far into it, this song is very much about our band and very much about what Scarlet Grey and our city have been through. So to have Davey Havok, a former ambassador to the underground singing about Scarlet Grey's love affair and bittersweet departure with the Los Angeles underground, really meant the world to me and ushered the song to a place we could never have taken it alone. I feel really privileged to have had this opportunity to make this song, this way. I'll never forget it.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album
- right here!
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